Thursday, March 06, 2014

▶ The Pillow Silencer - Gun Myths with Jerry Miculek in slow motion! - YouTube

▶ The Pillow Silencer - Gun Myths with Jerry Miculek in slow motion! - YouTube: Published on Mar 5, 2014
 Jerry uses a SW MP 9L to test the myth that you can use a pillow as a mock silencer. Ammunition used is Hornady 115gr Critical Defense flex tip.

(H/T: Bearing Arms)
(Video available on YOUTUBE )

I thought that was a surprising experiment, considering the results.

But there was one thing that surprised me even more.

Given the camera angles, it was difficult to tell for sure, but it appeared that Mr. Miculek may have swept himself a couple of times ... perhaps three times.

After the demonstration, he kept his pistol in his hand while he reached down to pick up a prop.  Perhaps twice.  And when he was talking about the results of the test, he kept his pistol in his hand.  At onepoint it appeared that he may have put his fingertip over the muzzle of the pistol.

Sure, the gun was empty .. magazine removed, slide locked back.  Clearly he was in no danger of a negligent discharge.  But still .....

... perhaps it's because of my experience teaching new competitors about USPSA competition.   I teach them that the three most frequent Match Disqualification Events (unsafe practices) are:
  1. Finger on the trigger when not engaging a target
  2. Breaking the 180
  3. Sweeping ... that is allowing the muzzle of the pistol to point at your own body part
Many new competitors are experienced.  But often, the bulk of that experience is in shooting from the firing line, often behind a counter.  They are not accustomed to working the gun from a holster.  Nor are they experienced with gun-handling under "competition" safety rules.

So, when they are not actively shooting, they have learned the bad habit of keeping their gun in their hand, often when they are talking to friends.  They gesture, they wave the gun around, their focus is on what they are saying, not what they are doing.  They may keep the muzzle pointed safely downrange (as Mr. Miculek did)

One of the most egregious of the bad habits is to fail to immediately holster their pistol after they receive the range command:  "If clear, hammer down, holster".  Instead of putting their save (admittedly unloaded) in the holster, they bend down to pick up their dropped magazine, or even pick up the live round they ejected when clearing their gun.   Frequently their muzzle follows their eyes and their hand or forearm moves in front of the muzzle when picking up dropped objects.

What they are doing is momentarily NOT being responsible for their firearm.  More specifically, they are more focused on extraneous actions than they are focused on firearms safety.

One of the prime rules of firearms safety is "Always treat firearms as if they are loaded".  This is often phrased as: "ALL FIREARMS ARE LOADED".

To casually handle a gun just because you "know" it is unloaded reinforces one of the worst of all bad gun-handling habits.  I would be inclined to disqualify any shooter from a match if I saw them handle a gun as cavalierly as Mr. Miculek did in this video.

I have the greatest regard for the skill, talent, experience and professionalism of Mr. Miculek.  Still, it seems to me that he is setting a bad example for less-experienced shooters who may watch this video and decide that "it's okay" to keep your gun in your hand, wave it around while talking, and touch the muzzle with your forefinger to illustrate a conversational point.

He may have not shown himself to be the perfect example of good gun-handling practices, on that day, on that occasion.

Not that I'm expecting Mr. Miculek to read this, and take the lesson to heart without feeling insulted.  (I know I would be insulted by the thought of a nobody criticizing my gun-handling practices).  I'm confident that he would never be as casual in a competitive situation.

But I hope that he would consider the impression he makes here.  I can just imagine the ensuing conversation if I criticized a new shooter for doing the same things he does here.  "Jerry Miculek did the same thing!  It must be okay."

It's not okay.  And no matter how experienced you are, no matter how many decades you have been competing, no matter how many matches you have won ... bad gun-handling practices must be identified, brought to the attention of the competitor, and reinforced by punitive measures.

Perhaps Mr. Miculek just wasn't in the right frame of mind on the day when they shot this video.  Personally, I cannot count the number of times when I've seen IPSC competitors at the Master and Grandmaster levels violate basic safety rules at Major Matches.

Perhaps Mr. Miculek will re-film this segment, and pay more attention to his gun-handling than to his conversation.

We can be interesting AND safe at the same time.

1 comment:

MuddyValley said...

Well said! You are right on every point. Even when a firearm is in pieces on my table being cleaned, I point the barrel away from me. Far from silly, it reinforces the mindset that it is always dangerous.
I've yelled at people much more experienced than me for sweeping me with an unloaded gun. I've yet to be yelled at.