March 04, 2009
Preventing some unwanted discharges
Lt. Dan Marcou (ret.)
Too often unwanted discharges happen to the most highly trained of weapons handlers. They happen when there have been so many years of safe handling incorporated into your psyche that a momentary and dangerous mental lethargy sets in and suddenly, when you least expect it, when your weapon is most certainly not loaded, “Bang!” If it does happen, hopefully other automatic safeguards were engaged at that moment that your mind was not and a very real tragedy is averted.
How does one avoid the unwanted "Bang?"
Do you remember when you were young and your parents were teaching you to cross the street? They taught you to “Stop, look both ways, then look again before you cross.”
You can incorporate this into your efforts to be safe. Before you are going to make a weapon safe, Stop. Think what you are about to do. Picture what you are about to do and how it should be done correctly. Then proceed with your weapon clearance procedure when your mind is totally engaged in the act.
Many unwanted discharges take place jut before, during, or just after the act of making a weapon “safe.” It happens, when the handler is physically engaged in what he/she is doing, but they either are not mentally engaged or they are distracted.
To help ensure that your mind is always mentally engaged just add the step before you clear your weapon. Stop and picture what you are about to do so that your mind becomes engaged also. Then, when you are most sincerely certain that you are mentally engaged in the clearance of the weapon, proceed with the realization that a firearm has no brain and needs to have yours properly focused for it to function wisely.