Over the past 20 years I’ve taught everything from NRA Basic Pistol, to Texas CHL, to Defensive Pistol Skills to students with a wide range of skill, experience, and prior training.
As a competition shooter and customer of commercial ranges, I’ve had the opportunity to observe good, bad, and ugly gun handling habits. That experience has led me to accept an inconvenient truth about gun owners:
Every gun owner believes that his or her gun handling is safe, regardless of how good or bad that gun handling is.
This is an example of illusory superiority‑a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others. It’s also known as the Lake Wobegon effect, because none of us believe we are below average.
That means, of course, that none of the discussion that follows applies to you, but you probably know someone who would benefit from this article. What separates a gun owner from a “shooter” is how you handle your gun during the 99 percent of the time you aren’t shooting it. Strive to be a “shooter” and ensure that your gun handling is safe 100 percent of the time.
Most gun owners can recite either the NRA’s 3 Rules of Gun Safety or Jeff Cooper’s 4 Rules (see sidebar), and they will claim (even as they violate one or more rules) that they obey those rules all the time. My observation is that while the absolute gun safety rules are common to all situations, their interpretation varies widely, particularly with regard to gun handling at commercial shooting ranges and less formal situations.
Most of them occur because the person handling the gun does not fully grasp the concept of “safe direction” and incorrectly believes that there is an “It’s okay; it’s unloaded” exemption.
In addition to basic gun safely rules, there are fundamental rules of range etiquette, such as only handling guns at the designated firing line, and stopping all shooting immediately if a cease fire is called. Those who have only shot in informal situations or at poorly supervised ranges often are unaware of these range etiquette policies.
What to do when you encounter one of the Terrible Twelve at a range or a gun shop? As they are in the act of committing one of these gun handling sins, ask them, “Would you be willing to fire a shot out of that gun, pointed where it is right now?”
Hopefully they will answer “No.” Then ask, “Then why are you pointing it in that direction?” If enough people start correcting others on these errors, perhaps we can indeed, all be above average in our safe gun handling skills.
Read the rest of the article: https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/tune-up-your-gun-handling/