FEATURED IN TRAINING
There's an old saying that goes: "There are two kinds of shooters--those who have had negligent discharges, and those who will. Well, some instructors take exception to this fatalism, claiming that they've never had a negligent discharge, and so you shouldn't either. While I hope that's true for you, there are also a number of extremely well-regarded instructors who will admit to having had a round come out of the gun that they hadn't intended. Part of this is simply the law of large numbers: The more you practice, the more rounds you shoot, the greater chance the odds will catch up with you.
That's why we religiously practice the four redundant safety rules that should be burned into our brains by now: Keep your finger off the trigger until you want the gun to discharge; treat all guns as if they were loaded until you have proven to yourself with a redundant protocol that they are not; always keep your gun pointed in the safest possible direction; and know where any bullet coming out of the gun will come to rest. These safety rules are redundant so in case we screw up on one, the others should still keep us and others safe.
One of the most common ways officers generate a negligent discharge is a result of dry fire practice--something that is highly recommended. It goes like this:
- You're dry firing a drill repeatedly;
- You decide you're done;
- You load your gun and holster it;
- Oh, just one more, you say;
- You draw your gun to dry fire, but it goes bang instead.
Basically, the part of your brain that's still thinking about the drill hasn't registered that the gun is now loaded.
There's an easy cure for this problem, and one that many professionals routinely do. When you're done with dry-fire practice, just after you finish loading your gun, say in a loud voice: The gun is loaded now. Your verbalizing the fact that the gun is loaded especially if done loudly is something your brain can't ignore. This little trick works like a charm.