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I get a lot of firearms training. Why wouldn’t I? My life depends on it. That said, even my go-to gun gurus—men with mad skills, real world experience and deeply considered theoretical insights—differ on weapons, weapons handling and tactics. But they all agree on gun safety fundamentals. Treat all guns as if they’re loaded. Never point the muzzle at something you don’t want to destroy. Finger off the trigger until hammer time. So why does United States Air Force Security Force member Daniel Chase (a.k.a. dchaselap) get it so wrong in a safety video?

Dunno. But this is one of the most egregious examples of YouTube gun handling I’ve ever seen. The fact that Mr. Chase displays his ignorance is bad enough. That he presumes to tell someone else how to handle a weapon takes it to a whole ‘nother level. Let’s start at the beginning, where Daniel introduces himself and his gun.

We could debate the assertion that “the first thing you want to know is how to carry your weapon.” I’d say the first thing you want to know is how to handle your weapon: as if it’s loaded. And then segue straight to finger discipline (Danny’s digit is creeping around like an octopus), followed by muzzle discipline.

But there’s no doubt whatsoever that pointing a gun at the ceiling is insane. For one thing, do we know if anyone’s upstairs? Second, that attitude puts the muzzle a bit close to the shooter’s head; that’s a magazine full of not good. And third, point the gun downrange, downrange, downrange. Keep it level.

Ironically, that’s what Danny says after demonstrating the complete opposite. Is he THAT unaware of what he’s doing with the gun? The dictum “treat every gun as if it’s loaded” is really about safety awareness. KNOW where your gun is pointed and where your trigger finger sits. I’d be tempted to add rule 1.5: focus on safety. No distractions. Perhaps I’d call the stricture “take this shit seriously.”

“The second step is clearing the weapon out,” Airman Chase informs us. Uh, no (see above). Anyway, I guess Daniel means “making it safe.” And when our Junior Birdman releases the magazine, whoa! During his search for a place to put the [pray-to-God-it’s-empty] magazine, the gun is pointing EVERYWHERE.

Saints alive that’s some piss poor gun handling.

Also worth noting: like the Glock, the Springfield XD’s ejection port (the place where the spent casing flies out of the gun) is on the top of the gun. Airman Chase appears to be placing his hand over the port whilst racking the slide. Uh-oh. If his hand blocks the round coming out, it might stay in. The next round comes up behind it. Now you have two rounds in the chamber.

The XD’s firing pin is right behind the bullet (obviously). Release the slide with two bullets in the chamber and the pin can ignite the primer in the second bullet. See how that could be a problem?

While racking the slide from the top is the way to go for self-defense gun handling, you have to be sure to always grip the slide behind the ejection port.

Next, does Chase really tilt the gun UPWARDS to see if there’s no magazine in the chamber? Yes he does. What happened to keeping the weapon level and pointed downrange? Sticking your finger into the magazine well is the safer technique. To visually check the chamber, tilt the weapon sideways.

I agree that you need to have a magazine to load it. But that’s only the first incline in a steep learning curve.

A novice needs to know where to put the gun while they’re loading. How to put it down. How to tell if they have the right caliber bullets. Which hands to use. Which way the bullets face. How to get the first bullet in. How to press down the first bullet to ease in the second. How to know when the magazine is full. How to know when it’s empty. What to do if they drop the magazine.

Like everything else about guns, loading a magazine looks simple and easy. But it isn’t. Nor is putting the magazine into the gun. Again, which way does it face? Which part of the magazine should make contact with the gun first?

Mr. Chase’s method of insertion is dubious. He slides in the mag and taps the gun slightly. In fact, he should slam the magazine into the gun in one smooth but violent motion. If he’s going to “tap” the magazine to ensure that it’s seated, SMACK that sucker.

I practiced with an XD on Saturday. The gun failed to fire three times; each time, I hadn’t inserted the magazine with enough oomph. That’s not going to happen again. It’s a lesson novices need to learn from the git-go. And if they can’t get it right, someone should tell them to buy a revolver.

Mr. Chase then advises his YouTube newbs to use the slide release to load a round. Wrong, for many reasons. First, a novice is not going to know where the release lives. Second, using the release makes the gun jump. Jumping guns make new shooters jump. Jumping guns and jumpy shooters is a lousy combination. Third, in a real “situation,” hands turn into flippers. You’ll never find that slide release. Never.

Why does he tilt the gun up to release the magazine? Because he’s been very badly trained. Yes and he wants to catch it before it hits the floor. What’s the best place for an empty magazine? On the ground. What’s the best way to get it there? Gravity sucks; straight drop. Chase needs practice mags that can hit the deck AND carry mags. If he damages the magazine, it’s all the better for practice.

The mag drop issue is another reason I ditched my Baby Glock: I couldn’t reach the magazine release button without changing my grip on the gun. As I did so, the weapon tilted. XD for me. (Dot com baby.) It’s that important. Teaching novices otherwise is . . . counter-productive.

It gets worse. We can now clearly see that Mr. Chase is grabbing the front of the XD’s slide to load a round. Even worserer, he’s holding onto the slide as it comes forward (a.k.a. “riding” the slide). The top part of a semi-automatic handgun needs to snap forward. Pull the slide all the way back and let ‘er rip, under her own steam.

Again, a clean, snappy rack is easier said than done. But it must be done. It’s only a matter of time before the method demonstrated by this video leads to a jam.

Mr. Chase then attempts to show viewers the importance of breathing re: keeping the muzzle pointed at the target. He illustrates the point by swinging the gun left to right. If he had adopted a proper firing stance and breathed a bit, he’d know that the gun moves up and down with the expansion and contraction of the shooter’s lungs.

The Airman recommends taking “a breath in, a breath out, a breath in, a breath out, at the bottom of your breath is when your air is completely out of your lungs.” So we need to take two breaths before we fire. No seriously. People learning about guns for the first time are hopeless pedants. What you say is what they do. Your instructions need to be crystal clear. A good instructor knows this.

He also knows not to overload a newbie with new information. Mr. Chase’s rapid-fire explanation of single action vs double action is as clear as mud. And completely irrelevant.

Safety awareness. Trigger discipline. Muzzle discipline. The human mind has evolved to remember three concepts at a time. Any more is too much. Especially when a student is under stress like, say, when they’re holding a loaded handgun.

Here’s a question: are you a good instructor? I see people on the range learning how to shoot. I cringe at the mistakes they’re making. Bad mistakes. I keep my mouth shut unless they start shooting dangerously. At the point I intervene, either personally or by ratting them out.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. But safety starts at home. Those who don’t know how to handle a gun safely shouldn’t teach. And those who teach should always be willing to learn.

If Airman Chase has a thought in his head, he’ll take this video down ASAP. Even if he does, these words will remain as an indictment of poor firearms training and the superior officers that allow Chase to carry a sidearm.

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  1. First, basic military is the worst way to learn about weapons. I've known more than a few ex-military personnel that had no business holding a loaded gun, yet they insisted they were experienced because "I was in the army!". In fact, a lot of personnel in the armed serviced rarely if ever touch a weapon outside of basic. And when they do, they learn one weapon one way period.

    Second, I've known many many people that hold a pistol for five minutes and become instant experts. They like to insist they are safe because, duh, they thought about safety for five full minutes. Some of that may be to convince a skeptical significant other that keeping a gun in the house is okay, but really some people just like the sound of their own voice. Which makes YouTube the perfect machination of the devil.

    I'm with you on the range experience. I hate to butt in on someone else's little seminar, but when the gun handling is dangerous I have to say something. I've given up on the general comments unless specifically asked. Too many people, too much stupidity. (Sorry about the pessimism, long night.)

  2. First off your response to this article is absurd. Everything you mentioned contradicted yourself. Let’s start from the top. First, if you knew anything about trigger and weapon control you would know that how Chase holds the weapon is exactly how you are trained in the military and also the safest method. Your comment stating “Danny’s digit is creeping around like an octopus” is ignorant. While “handling” the loaded weapon you finger should NOT be on the trigger unless ready to shoot, hence why he places his finger on the outside on the gun.
    Second, the fact you have nothing better to complain about you pull in simple differences of verbage as in “clearing out the weapon” instead of “making it safe”…… pathetic. What Chase says makes perfect sense. Making the weapon clear of all ammunition with therefore make the weapon safe and do no harm to others. The fact that he visually assesses the magazine and chamber is a very good step. there are many ways to ensure a weapon is safe, however, I would agree that a visual assessment is 100% fail proof, especially for “novices” as you state.
    To step away from this topic for just a moment, did you really say “Even worserer” in your rebuttal? Yes you did. Pick up a dictionary please. You call yourself and editor? Well, who is editing you? (They should be fired)
    Back to topic again….
    I have never had a jam the way he shows to load a round. you state you should always have the slide as far back as possible and “let er rip” well I would say the slide being locked back and aloud to fly forward is exactly that. This isn’t an action movie where you slap a mag in and rack the slide back like your James bond.
    I noticed your section about breathing also…. well….. If you knew anything at all you would know it’s not actually an “up and down movement” your actually creating a figure 8. Although I know it is hard to see with the naked eye, and also with just fixed sites, but take that one as a free lesson (I won’t even charge you for it). His breath in, breath out method is the only method. If they are a first time shooter they are more than likely afraid of the weapon. By breathing it brings your heart rate back to normal, therefore allowing them to make a more accurate shot and hopefully not hit someone!! (Something you learn through stress firing courses).

    In closing, “Airman” Chase is not a student learning on the range. He was taught to do one thing and one thing only, keep his weapon prepared to “neutralize the threat” to defend our country. His weapon skills are that of a military member, and if you have a problem with that, go sign some papers, put on the uniform and do it yourself. Until that time, I would recommend choosing another individual for your ridicule other than a person that protects your freedom. Stay in your lane “Editor” (and I use that term LOSELY)

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