Monday, August 3, 2009

Match Safety

We all know the four rules:

1) All guns are always loaded.
2) Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
4) Always be sure of your target and what is behind it.

I sometimes wonder how firmly entrenched these rules are in some peoples minds, especially under stress. Last weekend I was helping to RO an indoor match. We had a new shooter, and we all were helping to keep an eye on him. He had shot before, but had no practical shooting experience. When he came up in the firing order I walked him thru the stage, I showed him where to move and what to do. I explained all the range commands to him. I told him that safety was more important than anything. And than the buzzer went off. Muzzle discipline and trigger finger control went out the window. I stopped him and we restarted. This time he was more aware of his muzzle but that trigger finger continued to be a problem. Towards the end of the match he started to get it, I got tired of yelling "Finger!". He could not comprehend the command, "Unload and show clear." That finger did not want to leave the trigger. He knew the rules, but the stress was causing him to forget them. Which tells me that they are truly not ingrained into his subconscious.

I remember the first time a buzzer went off in my ear. I believe that I went brain dead for about 7 seconds. At the end of the stage I was told that I sure knew my way around that Sig. My reply? "Thank you, we've been thru alot together."

Train like it's serious. This applies to the four rules as well. They are more firm then the commandments, they are there to keep us safe, with no extra holes when we go home at night.

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