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Are you breaking a basic firearms safety rule?

Submitted by J. K. Kimsey
Disabled, Georgia

Since I first learned to handle and shoot a firearm, I was taught the number one safety rule has always been "NEVER POINT A WEAPON AT ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY." Unfortunately, the most common place taught to law enforcement officers to point their handgun while "covering" a suspect is at their belt line/waist. My question to all that are currently using this technique...are you ready to destroy (shoot) that suspect? Then why are pointing our weapon at them?

The vast majority (95 percent) of the time that I have been a Firearms Instructor (15 years), I have taught thousands of officers to point their weapon in front of the suspect’s feet while “covering” them. There are many reasons why of which I will list a few:

1. If you are not justified legally to use deadly force, then you should not be willing to destroy them, so therefore your weapon should not be pointed AT them.
2. If you have your weapon pointed at a waist level, then you cannot SEE the suspects hands if they are any where below the waist (pockets?). Your eyes are the primary way that information is given to your brain, so if your vision is blocked for any reason (by your weapon and hand or hands), then you cannot be receiving all pertinent information.
3. Learning to work your trigger (finger applied to it, adding pressure) on the way to the target (as the weapon is being directed toward the centermost part of the target) is a very beneficial technique for both speed and accuracy.

So, if you are drawing your weapon for the purpose of “covering” the suspect, then your trigger finger never enters the trigger guard and the weapon is not pointed at them. If the suspect begins an act that legally justifies the use of deadly force, the trigger finger is then put inside the trigger guard and within the first few inches of the weapons movement from the cover position, you begin applying pressure to the trigger so that the shot breaks when the sights are on the desired target area (center mass, center of the upper thoracic cavity, center of the largest visible target or part of the suspect, etc.).

It has been shown that when done correctly, “working the trigger on the way to the target” is a much faster and more accurate technique than raising the weapon from pointed at waist level to the chest, then putting your finger on the trigger and applying the necessary pressure to fire an accurate shot.

Now, we have not even touched on the topic of the effects of stress on the human body which seriously interferes with near-vision, fine motor skills, and more.

Also, hopefully this will address some of the many recent comments made to the “Video Tip” by Tori Nonaka of Team Glock titled “The Importance of Trigger Control” and the article “Point shooting: Instinctive response to deadly threats” by Mike Rayburn.

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