- Nearly all accidental harm from firearms comes from failing the rules of gun safety.
- Responsible gun owners obey firearms safety rules.
Bryan Hill / October 02 2021CDC.gov reports that in 2017, 486 people lost their lives and 20,488 people were injured. How? Not through malice, but negligent discharge (ND) of a firearm.
Modern firearms only fire when the trigger is pulled. When someone's reaction to a ND is, "the gun just went off", it's usually that person's moral failure to own up, not a mechanical failure of the gun.
How do NDs happen? Anytime you get startled, the natural response is to clench both your hands. This guy got a burning hot brass casing down his back. Look what happens as he reaches for it:
The guy behind him nearly got blown away. How do we prevent this?
Your trigger finger is safe when it's resting as high up on the gun as possible. This is known as maintaining trigger discipline. On a pistol, rest it on the slide.
The lower your finger goes towards the trigger guard, the more likely it will find the trigger as it clenches shut.
So until you choose to fire, keep your trigger finger up on the slide, or you'll end up like this guy:
He kept his pistol pointed downrange the whole time. He maintained muzzle discipline. The muzzle is where the bullets come out, so point it at something safe.
What's safe? Anything that stops bullets without hurting people. If you're at a shooting range and on the firing line,then as long as you have your pistol pointed downrange,it should be safe.
Why do we need this rule? No one has perfect trigger discipline all the time. We're human. And as we can see in the above video, in rare cases the gun itself can cause a ND. When that happens, it's usually due to shoddy custom work.
The tricky part is having good muzzle discipline during weapon handling: reloading, clearing jams, holstering, etc.
Some real-world examples of people failing to follow this rule:
Though rare, tragedies like in the above video occur every year. They're a fatal failure to follow this rule. Always ID your target before you shoot. If it's too dark for that, ID them with a flashlight or a weapon-mounted light.
Obstructions are things that could be between you and your target, especially if you miss your target.
The backstop is whatever ultimately stops your bullets. If you miss your target, will your bullets hurt a bystander? Your bullets could go through the target. What happens then?Here's a bad example:
Just a side-step or two can make all the difference in safe shooting.