6 Dec 12

In the wake of my last Quip, I received many responses with regard to appropriate gun-handling in an instructional environment.

I realize that what follows is controversial, at least in the minds of some:

On my end of the spectrum, our exposure to guns is all “serious.” There are many recreational (non-serious) uses for guns, and every sport has its own collection of devotees, along with its own protocol and “rules.” Most of these diversions I know little about, have scant interest in, and will have little to say about. My comments apply to serious training (not recreation), with serious guns, for serious purposes. My students carry guns routinely, guns that are instantly ready to be used, and all my students have honestly confronted the anguished eventuality of being compelled to shoot, with great precision, other human beings in an effort to avoid being hurt themselves. Since we can’t know exactly when such a serious threat will rear its ugly head, we’re ready, physically and mentally, all the time. I train Operators!

With the foregoing in mind, we need to confront the fact that:

(1) “Safe Gun” is a contradiction of terms

(2) “Dangerous Gun” is a redundancy

It is my opinion that instructors who teach one handling protocol for “safe” guns, and another for “dangerous” guns, are setting themselves, and their students, up for disaster! I’ve personally witnessed assorted guns being casually pointed in unsafe directions in classroom settings, with the tacit approval of the instructor, because the guns involved were all supposedly “safe.” Of course, we see similar dangerous behavior in gun stores and at gun shows.

In my Courses, the emphasis is on correct gun-handling, in all environments. We have no “safe” guns, ever. When I want to personally demonstrate an unsafe/inappropriate procedure, I use a blue prop-gun from Rings’s, never a functional gun, no matter its ostensible condition.

On the line, we sometimes do dry-fire drills with pistols, but I encourage my students to carry two guns, so at least one is always on their person, loaded, and ready, while we dry-fire drill with the other. My students are thus never “unarmed.” They hence become accustomed to constantly “going armed,” and being aware of what they means Just as there are no “safe guns,” there are no “safe places,” nor “safe times!”

All guns are always handled the same way, regardless of their supposed condition, and regardless of the setting. I rarely even ask a student what condition his guns are in, but I do instantly correct all inappropriate gun-handling. We’re not merely teaching students how to handle guns when they’re on shooting ranges. They’re learning how to “go armed” in all environments.

Accordingly, I am suggesting that when you have “safe” and “dangerous” guns in your life, there is little doubt that some day, you’ll get them mixed in with each other! Similarly, when we train students to handle “safe” and “dangerous” guns via two, separate protocols, we do them no good service!

“There in no item found in the typical American household quite so dangerous as an ‘unloaded gun!’”

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)