Friday, March 20, 2015

Training, Practice, Experience. And now ... shame?

Tam had a good look at a loaded muzzle at a gun show, as recounted below:
View From The Porch: The Safety Dance: He mulled that over for a second as I turned away to see what was going on down Mike's way when, out of the corner of my eye, I see the cop unholster his sidearm. I got a real good look at the muzzle in my peripheral vision, and also took extremely good note of the fact that, even if his lack of muzzle discipline was appalling, at least his trigger finger was in register against the frame. Thank heavens.

One only assumes that this Uniformed Officer of the Law (you know, one of the "Only Ones") had been trained in gun safety practices and procedures.  Also that he was experienced.   So we can only conjecture about why he didn't actually PRACTICE safe gun handling.

My guess is a combination of things:

  • The only time he draws his firearms is on the range, and
  • he doesn't spend a lot of time on the range, and
  • that time is not under the direct supervision of a Range Officer, and
  • he just never got called on his shoddy skills, so
  • safe gun handling was never made to be (in the words of our revered Vice President of the United States of America)  "... A Big F*CKING DEAL!"
I recognize this.   I train new shooters for USPSA competition, and I see a LOT of people who are supposedly experienced, competent gun owners.

They do some really stupid shit.  Like, keeping their finger on the trigger when moving, loading, unloading, or clearing a malfunction.  or waving their pistol around when they're distracted by non-shooting activity.  (One of the more common errors: reaching down to pick up a dropped magazine at the end of the stage without holstering their pistol ... possibly sweeping themselves.)   Or they forget that one of the primary rules is to always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

At matches, I've DQ'd a LOT of people who go through my training class ... always for unsafe gun-handling practices.   I hate to do that, and they hate it too.   It has got to the point where I don't compete much any more; and if I do, I don't want to be the acting Range Officer when one of my students is shooting.   But so many of people have gone through the training now (about 250 since I finally started keeping records in 2010) that it's hard to avoid RO'ing a past student.

And this "Safety Dance" article has brought to my attention that I've done a less than perfect job of training.

My practice during the Live Fire Exercise portion (2 hours of the 3 hour course) has been to warn students *("FINGER FINGER FINGER!" or "MUZZLE!") when they seem to have forgotten the correct safe gun-handling procedures.

I've been perhaps too lenient with my students, because of course I don't want to drive anyone away who is interested in learning new shooting practices and skills in a competitive shooting environment

So I'm instituting a new policy of higher discipline during training: the "Training Match Disqualification".  One warning, no more; after that, I'll stop the shooter and send him back to the end of the shooting rotation before they can try the exercise again ... safely.

I may lose a few shooters who just can't seem to learn.  But that's a small price to pay considering that I may be squaded with "can't learn" people at a future match.

And yes, those people eventually get tired of being DQ'd at matches, and never show up again.

I would rather lose a couple of slow learners than to squad with them at a match.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LEO are the only ones that can be trusted with firearms, according to our lawmakers.