13 July 99

I just received this from a friend in the Midwest. He is the training officer at a large, municipal police department:

“Had an incident here recently on the range. One more reminder that trigger finger placement can’t be a casual matter, and that safety skills ARE tactical skills:

A new reserve officer was attempting to qualify with his Kimber at our indoor range last week. One phase of the mandated qualification drill involves a one-hand-only draw with a subsequent transfer of the weapon to the other hand. While trying to accomplish the transfer, the officer accidentally launched a round. It struck the Plexiglas barrier at the forward end of the shooting stall.

There is little doubt in my mind that the officer had no idea of where his muzzle was pointed when the accident occurred. God, it seems, looks out for drunks and amateurs!

I was out of the office on the day when this incident took place. The range officer who was present called me and asked, ‘if someone has had an AD on the range, does that mean they fail the qualification course?’ After trying to rope in my heart rate, I asked if anyone was injured. Thank God, the reply was in the negative. ‘Yes,’ I declared, ‘They fail!’ I then made arrangements for the involved officer to receive remedial training.

As the incident occurred with a ‘cocked and locked’ weapon, it started a great hue and cry here. After trying to patiently explain to the powers that be that the particular weapon type was not a contributing factor, I was finally forced to demonstrate that any and all of our department firearms will go bang when Mr Trigger is pressed.”


> Correct trigger finger placement is not a “safety” issue. It is PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENT, and, as such, must be met by all officers. Improper trigger finger placement during drills is thus as much of a disqualifying error as is missing the target.

> Likewise, muzzle consciousness is also a performance requirement. When things other than designated targets are struck by bullets during qualification or when students display a casual attitude with regard to the direction in which their weapons are pointed, that should be considered a disqualifying error also.