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.