Lately I have seen some dangerous trends developing. The first is not maintaining control of your firearm, and the second is carrying a pistol with an empty chamber. Let’s address the latter first.

Rule 1 states, “All guns are always loaded.”

I like training on a “hot” range, where everyone’s guns are always loaded. The reason? Contrary to what some may think, it’s safer because folks are much less likely to flag anyone with the muzzle of a gun. They know their guns are loaded. It prevents the old and weak argument that “I didn’t know it was loaded.”

I once observed a shooter with a bolt-action rifle at a public (cold) range. Rather than retract the bolt and visually and tactilely check for an empty chamber, he pressed the trigger to confirm the rifle was empty. Instead of the “click” he was expecting, he was met with a loud BOOM. Thankfully the rifle was pointed downrange and the only damage was when the rifle jumped off the bench and its once beautiful stock was badly scarred.

One proponent of carrying a pistol with an empty chamber said that with practice, one can draw the gun, rack the slide, and get hits on target as fast as with a loaded chamber. This begs the questions, how much practice and is it worth the effort?

Carrying with a loaded chamber in a modern semi-auto pistol is perfectly safe and is the norm for hundreds of thousands of peace officers across the country. Carrying a partially loaded pistol is both foolhardy and dangerous.

As for the other dangerous trend, maintaining control of your firearm should be common sense, but many people seem to lack that quality. Recently the chief of police in the town where I live left his pistol in a public restroom.

What ended up as an embarrassing situation could have ended in tragedy. In another case, a two-year-old shot himself in the head with a pistol that was not properly secured in a bedroom of the house.

Numerous handguns have been stolen from vehicles, including police cars. Thieves around motels target cars that have decals and bumper stickers indicating the car may have a gun in it. Your car is not a holster. Either wear it or store it safely.

Rule 1. All guns are always loaded.
Rule 2. Never let the muzzle cover something you are not willing to destroy.
Rule 3. Keep the finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you’re ready to fire.
Rule 4. Be sure of your backstop and what is beyond it.
I’d add Rule 5. Maintain control of your firearm.

Memorize the rules of gun safety and live by them.

Until next time, stay low and watch your back.

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