Self-Defense Tip: No Octopus Hands

Train as you mean to fight. Get off the X. Find cover. Find concealment. Shoot from both. The rule also applies to gun handling. Train yourself to handle guns safely—unholstering, bringing sights onto target, reloading, transferring hands, making safe, re-holstering, etc. Get it right before you have to handle a firearm for self-defense. Unlike our faux Russian friend—who puts his finger on the trigger when he picks-up the H&K (2:00) and muzzles himself (6:19)—I’m going to assume you know the four basic safety rules. So here’s my heads-up to newbies and FPS Russia wanna be’s on gun handling: always manipulate a firearm carefully and deliberately. Don’t . . .

make tentative movements or wave the firearm about casually. Whether training or explaining, keep your off-hand away from the muzzle.

Speaking of which, some shooters use the slide’s front serrations for a press check (racking the slide slightly to see if there’s a cartridge in the chamber). I reckon racking a semi by pinching the slide ahead of the ejection port (4:50) or even grabbing the front of the slide from underneath (Todd Jarrett style) is a bad idea.

In a self-defense situation, with adrenalin turning your fingers to flippers, pinching a slide is going to be an iffy proposition; as opposed to the gross motor skill of grabbing a handful of rear slide and slingshotting the steel. At the same time, you can’t count on the fact that you’re going to keep your finger off the trigger when your hand’s near the muzzle. Sorry, you can’t.

Call me a safety Nazi (again, still) but if you are showing off your pistol it’s best to do so with the slide locked back. Me, I keep the slide locked back whenever I put a handgun down. Anyway, unlike FPS, you want to safety check any gun any time you pick it up. Really. You do.

More than that, I like to put the gun down between strings, step out of the gun range lane, pause, think about what I did, think about what I’m going to do, step back in and begin the loading, firing, follow through and unloading sequence.

That way I train myself to make only the movements I need to make in the same order the same way every time (varying what I’m doing so I don’t get a training scar). And I do so deliberately.

Deliberate movements avoid the problems of limp wristing, improperly inserted magazines, indecision and octopus hands: putting your hands in different, unplanned places in rapid sequence to try and manipulate a firearm.

Octopus hands are particularly dangerous when something unexpected goes awry during the unholstering, firing, reloading or holstering process. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Literally. Chances are one of your hands could do something stupid.

The trick there: stop. Don’t move until you figure it out. Then slowly and deliberately manipulate the gun. Well, when you’re training. In a gunfight, all bets are off. Getting your gun back into the game as quickly as possible is Job One.

As a trainer, I avoid putting my hands on a newbie’s gun as much as possible. When things don’t go as they should, I say “Stop. Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Make sure your finger is off the trigger.” Then it’s either “let’s figure this out” or “slowly place the gun down on the table, muzzle pointed downrange.”

‘Cause my hands plus his or her hands are too many damn hands on a gun. Sometimes even two hands is one too many. If you know what I mean.

comments

  1. avatar wvumounties8 says:

    A couple weeks ago I posted a tweet to FPS’s acct, something to the effect that they are idiots and dangerous. FPS responded in their ignorant “oh yea” kind of way. I have made it a point not to subscribe to any of their media offerings and do not plan to do so. I do find it refreshing that you call them “on the carpet” for their stupidity and unsafe handling of F/A. Unfortunately, to many of today’s young shooters are drawn to their “flashy” style of ignorance. To bad that who ever killed their buddy, did finish the job. Oh well, we can hope can’t we??

    1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

      FPS does look like he could use some work on discipline. But wishing him dead? Ouch.

    2. avatar JTPhilly says:

      Dude not cool. It’s one thing to call them on their safety habits. That’s fine and well deserved. But saying “To bad that who ever killed their buddy, did finish the job. Oh well, we can hope can’t we??” is way over the line. No need for anything even close to that.

      By the way, there’s an argument to be made that although he does violate safety rules routinely (along with almost every other YouTube video involving firearms), that he’s doing much more good than harm by bringing a whole new demographic into the gun world.

      1. avatar Leo338 says:

        +1

        Although he does need to be more concerned with safety he is one of us. He has 1.2 million likes on FB alone, that has to be doing some good for us. I know there will always be little arguments but turning on each other and wishing people dead that are on our side is taking it way too far.

        OH and BTW, great article Robert! Thanks for the sound advice.

    3. avatar VoidDragon says:

      Out of line, its attitudes like this that bolster the bad rep already being painted onto gun culture.

    4. avatar KeithF says:

      Foul Bro..

      JTP has the stink of it, call unsafe behavior, correct, carry on. No dead bodies

    5. avatar Carrymagnum says:

      Was it you and your buddies I saw on a video hopping off your snowmobile to club a baby seal and leave its carcass on the middle of the ice to rot? Seems like you have the same lack of respect for life as those guys do.

    6. avatar Michael says:

      “Unlike our faux Russian friend—who puts his finger on the trigger when he picks-up the H&K”
      No he doesn’t. He points it down range before placing his finger in the trigger guard to demonstrate the grip.
      “and muzzles himself (6:19)”
      The video ends at 6:19. I assume you are talking about after he shoots the 1911. Well, the slide is locked back on an empty gun. You said “Call me a safety Nazi (again, still) but if you are showing off your pistol it’s best to do so with the slide locked back”.
      Surely you could find another FPS Russia video so you could call him an idiot without making you look like one.

  2. avatar McG33 says:

    “Again, still” again? Still?

  3. avatar Big C says:

    FPS has pretty poor safety habits in general, but I don’t think he was unsafe when he fingered the trigger on the HK45 in this video. He was commenting on and displaying the ergonomics of the pistol and had it pointed in a safe direction. I don’t see that as out of line for a review.

    As far as his other safety missteps…all I can say is that I don’t want to be around when his luck finally does run out.

  4. avatar DJ says:

    “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” – some of the best advice on tactical movement I ever received.

    1. avatar LTC F says:

      I wish I had a dollar for every time I explained that to a platoon leader or company commander.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      My similar saying has been: “If you’re in a hurry to get a job done, slow down. That way you’ll do it right the first time.”

    3. avatar CarlosT says:

      It’s an age-old idea, too. The Emperor Augustus had as a motto “festina lente”, which means make haste slowly. It was a well worn adage already by his time, but some ideas really are timeless.

  5. avatar John says:

    Double cringe at 4:47.

    1. avatar Michael says:

      All guns were checked before video begins. Notice he has to rack the slide before shooting. Respect firearms, but if you have an unreasonable fear of handling them, then your anxiety might create a more dangerous situation than anything seen in this video.

  6. avatar Tierlieb says:

    Ah, it is easy to criticize FPSRussia. Few people in the gun community like him.

    How about the late Paul Gomez? No one in their right mind will call him less than a freaking genius. And if I recall correctly, he argued with gun in hand, pointed at things with it and even liked throw throw Glocks on the ground when needing space (for example 2:58 in the Vanguard 2 vid).

    The only difference I see is that he made several explicit statements about his interpretation of the 4 rules (as nearly every reputable trainer has). Because, let’s face it, “a gun is always loaded” is a stupid thing to say.

    As for the argument of adrenaline, gross motor skills and slide manipulation… it is lovely to repeat that. Sounds so combat-proven. Yet it is a statement that has been criticized by the likes of Todd Green & Pat Mac, so it is debatable to say the least.
    As pointed out, Todd Jarret does the weird front-cycle thing successfully as do several other successful IPSC shooters, even with non-serrated Glocks.

    And for taking things slowly and consciously, as in the lovely adage “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”, I think it was the great & grouchy Pat Rogers who said “Naaaa, only fast is fast”.

    So let’s not overdo it with the criticism, a lot of that is still open to debate. There is a reason “Safety Nazi” is not a term of endearment.

  7. I admit it. Each time I meet a legitimate Russian, with a heavy accent, I ask them to say “Moose and squirrel”. Just a thought.

    You are a worthy Safety Nazi, Mr. Farago. Don’t stop.

  8. avatar Ruun says:

    One comment on the press check; it’s an administrative skill. You don’t do a press check when you’re getting mugged. You do the press check before you stick the gun in your pants in the morning. As such, the forward-of-ejection port pinch is totally fine. Done correctly, the support hand does not cross in front of the muzzle. And since you’re in the safety of you bedroom and not on the street, there is no reason for bumbling it and shooting yourself. Many aspects of
    Defensive shooting should be catered to the lowest common denominator, as the simplest stuff is often the most effective, but I do not believe that administrative skills qualify.

    1. avatar Michael says:

      Top off magazine, insert in magwell, rack slide, release mag, holster gun, top off mag, insert mag. Press check? We don’t need no stinking press check.

  9. avatar InBox485 says:

    I didn’t watch the whole thing, but there is nothing at 6:19. The trigger finger at 2:00 is just silly. He is on a range talking about ergonomics with the muzzle facing the targets. What’s the big deal?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Actually it’s facing down the road. Anyway, it’s no big deal. Until it is.

      1. avatar Michael says:

        FPS has a 180 deg. range.

    2. avatar John Smith says:

      I agree with much of what Robert is saying. They are very lax at handing these weapons at the range. When handing they should lock back the slide or by other means prove the firearms cannot be accidentally discharged.

      At the sametime I am noteworthy for appearing “unsafe.” I am that guy at the gun show that looks down the barrel of a gun to check the bore. I am also that guy that enjoys completely dismantling his firearms and cleaning every nook and cranny and performing minor gunsmithing. Often I speak to people regarding safety and ask them the question – when does a gun cease to be a gun and become parts of a gun? When does gun parts cease to be gun parts and become metal? At a gun show people are not always welcome to dismantle a mans gun for sale because they want to examine the bore from the breech end. While at the same time, I’m not going to buy it unless I can see the bore condition. And thus, sometimes one is forced to check the firearm magazine, check the chamber, lock the slide or otherwise block it open for inspection and violate rule number one.

      However I don’t see the rules in black and white, I see them in full 32bit color. They are appropriate guidelines to follow at all times with exceptions and where possible and if not possible other safety procedures should always be in place.

    3. avatar InBox485 says:

      I had to watch it again to see what you were talking about. FPS spent most of the video pointing guns off to the right, so I assumed that was a downrange direction, but the video never points that way.

      I guess I don’t expect every YT video to spend half the video safety checking handguns on a live range. I also don’t expect a video tour of a range to know what directions are downrange, and if the backstops are sound, or what is behind them etc. I’m also not one to nanny people making a video about the type of eye and ear protection they do or don’t use just because I would choose to wear a lot better either. But if nit picking a YT channel is your thing, carry on.

  10. avatar Ash says:

    Re the “gross motor skill of grabbing a handful of rear slide”. FYI, that’s actually a fine motor skill.

    A gross motor skill is stand, walk, run, swim – nothing more complicated. It’s a common mistake in the gun community. If it involves hands and fingers, it’s almost certainly a fine motor skill.

  11. avatar John says:

    I love it when haters take the time to write these blogs, picking apart and ranting over people who are moving and shaping the industry. The post is tired, real tired…

  12. avatar Brooklyn in da house says:

    You keep going after FPS but he is producing short movie clips. I dont know for a fact but i would think he has a whole production team behind that camera. He is not some random guy out there by himself shooting with a $500 home camera blowing things up. This makes him no different than what you see in movies or gun shows on tv when they blow things up. His videos are for entertainment purposes only, not educational videos.

  13. avatar Dz says:

    I recently attended a 4 day handgun course at a well known school and they taught the under front slide press for an admin chamber check. I was uncomfortable with it at first but after a while it became second nature. They did give the option to use palm on the top of the slide to manipulate a chamber check but they discourage using a finger grab slingshot for anything.

    Also while I am not a huge fan of FPSrussia I think picking on him isn’t very nice either. Gun rights need all the help we can get especially from the dynamic he brings in. His vids come across as a production to me and should be viewed as gun related entertainment.

  14. avatar SGC says:

    RF has a real hardon for FPS aparently…two articles on him recently! I bet FPS appreciates the extra view on his YouTube account though…lol.

    And FPS ain’t even a cop…go figure?

  15. avatar Ardent says:

    I’m always skeptical about ‘gun handling’ advice. While I (reluctantly) agree that some of it must be ‘reduced to the least common denominator’ that isn’t to say that the same applies to everyone or in all situation. As Ruun points out, the press-check is an admin function, necessary, and preformed correctly, safe. In much the same way as a dynamic entry attempted by untrained (or even untrained together) personnel is almost suicidal dangerous but actually safer than other options for the well trained who must make entry, many gun handling techniques are skill and training dependent. Consider this, what a formula one driver does on the track would get most people killed on the road. These sorts of things are highly dependent on who, where, and why.

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