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Safety first (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Rich Grassi at writes:

I’ve seen several myths promulgated in the recent past – it’s the internet again — and it’s time to take a look at them. “Shooting double-action (with a DA revolver) isn’t accurate past a few feet. Best to thumb that hammer back and shoot it single action.” If you’re hunting a game animal or trying to hit a cigarette pack at 90 feet, perhaps. If you’re using the revolver in the context of defensive combat, the answer’s no and it’s been no all the way back to Ed McGivern. Don’t believe me, just ask John Pride, LAPD – among other champions of police revolvercraft – or Jerry Miculek . . .

“Night sights are a crutch. You need to use kinesthetic skills so you can make those hits when you don’t have a glowing front sight.” 1. The number of people regularly shooting for practice in conditions of adverse light is nil — the overwhelming majority of armed persons will never get the practice to use that as a crutch. 2. The number of cops able to “shoot by feel” without visual reference to sights is likely to be smaller than the number of people regularly night fire. 3. Many of these people, when they actually get to shoot in dim light with night sights see something new: their sights.

I’m not a fan of hardware solutions to training problems, but they’re not going to get consistent, regular training and practice. We went to modern striker-fired autos not because they’re hugely better – though there are some advantages – but because we wouldn’t train responsibly with hammer-fired TDA autos. It’s that simple. There’s no excuse for not using a light for target ID. If you need it to see the sights, okay by me. But don’t put night sights in the dumpster. They serve a purpose.

These guns are very bad. The FN High Power has a manual thumb safety. The SIG P228 is “double action,” obviously too hard to learn. The GLOCK 19 is one of those “leg shooter” Modern Striker Fired Autos (MSFA) – out of all the thousands who carry and use them, a few people shoot themselves.

“Manual safety levers are a bad idea on defensive handguns.” Sheepdip. They’re a bad idea when we attempt to get the “less inclined” to employ pistols with safeties. If you’re not going to practice, train and prepare, by all means, use a “point gun, pull trigger” interface. If you engage in regular practice and you’re willing to put in some work, the world opens up to you: you can shoot DA revolvers accurately out to some ridiculous distances, you can run a pistol with a manual safety “proprietary to the user,” you can do the mechanics on autopilot freeing up the forebrain to deal with changing conditions. If you don’t like the safety on a handgun, buy one without.

“MSFA pistols shouldn’t be issued to the troops. In fact, the M9/M11 format isn’t that good an idea. In fact, MSFA pistols (pick the brand yourself) are “leg shooters.”” Yeah. And retention holsters with a finger-release are automatically dangerous. Except they’re not – until you start changing holster-types in the same range session, issue them to people who likely shouldn’t have a license to drive – let alone have easy access to the ultimate force option – or shortchange training on Rule 3.

The thing with any firearm is that it’s a firearm. It’s designed to fire a projectile at a considerable speed and make a hole in something some distance from the user. All of a sudden, when it works as designed, it’s dangerous. The Rules are in place for a reason. Of all the things you can ignore – dry practice with gun handling, trigger presses while you watch for movement in the front sight, live fire practice with a plan – one thing you mustn’t ignore is the rules. The troops drive tanks, fly airplanes, shoot artillery – and I can’t trust them with a striker-fired pistol? Please.

“SYG – so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws are racist and promote shootings.” Wrong again. That particular body of law is better described as “No Mandate to Retreat.” Coming from the Castle Doctrine of Common Law – which stated that when attacked in your home, you have no duty to retreat – the current addition to law is that “when in a public place where you have a legal right to be and you are attacked, you have no duty to retreat.” So, when someone yells about repealing the current law, know that they are, by default, promoting a “duty to retreat law.”

If you are victim of a violent home invasion, retreat shouldn’t be required. But, if you can safely move to a safer location, would you? If you’re in a public place and you see trouble brewing, does the fancifully named “Stand Your Ground” law mandate that you wander into the fight? In fact, if you have the opportunity to safely retreat from a potential threat, would you prefer that over engaging in a fight? Okay, that’s the way most folks are. The law doesn’t force you to hold a position against an attack. It allows you to hold that position if you can’t safely retreat – not much of a change.

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  1. I heard Obama was in bed with the Gun and Ammo manufacturing companies throughout the country. That explains everything. A true corporate democrat.

  2. The internet. There’s your problem right there. Never before in the history of humankind have so many people had a voice that could be heard by uncounted millions of people. You don’t have to be a Pol, a corporate bigwig, a famous celeb, a sports star. Anybody with access can put forth their “Expert Opinion.”

    Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see is still good advice.

  3. The only real rule of self-defense is do what is best in your case , if cover is near use it, if retreat looks better do it, if stand your ground is the best do it, and always keep the bad guys off guard , even a wild attack may save your life, and you can do night training with air gun, learn point shooting , learn to shoot with both hands in case you are wounded , the wheel gun has many plus , like putting it point blank against the bad guy you can keep shooting until he goes down , a auto pistol will not cycle well if against the bad guys body , the only RULE OF THE JUNGLE, is do it to win , forget laws etc…and think backup, backup, backup, weapons , and my next move.

  4. I go round and round with me wife on Wikipedia. She hates it. My stance is that Wiki will not get facts wrong – Hydrogen is a gas with one electron, American Independence Day is July 4th, etc. Articles like Causes of the French Revolution are more subject to writers own style, interpretation, research and a few other factors that are a bit more sketchy.

    • Wikipedia is almost entirely dependant on Internet-supplied information. That includes hoaxes and urban legends. The editors can’t verify or correct much due to the volume of information, and they’ve been known to be biased as well. So the moral is always verify the facts; not necessarily on the Internet.

  5. Actually, there’s a corner of my home acreage where I practice kinesthetic memory at night, with Nagant M1895 and TT-33.

    I close my eyes, turn around a few times, walk a couple arshinii, repeat a couple times and then evaluate/fire.

    I’m no Dirty Harry, but in my shotgun shack of a home 10-12 yards is the furthest I’d ever have to shoot unaided, and I can do that just fine.

    Antique weapons to be sure, but they Work. The Internet says that a Nagant is “weak kneed” but I’m shooting 100 grains at 1075 FPS. A TT-33 doesn’t hold a lot of ammo, but I like the way it feels in my paw.

    I literally helped build the Internet in the early days — Berkeley was a centre of early work on that — but none of us ever dreamed that it’d become so much, both good and bad.

    Anyway, great article — irrespective of the referenced but missing images and unusual style. Thanks, TTAG et al.

  6. I guess I’ll chip in my 2 cents. Personally I’m a big fan of safeties. I live in a very low crime area and the odds of me ever needing to use a firearm for defense are much lower than the odds I’ll have a brain fart and subsequent NG (yes it will be my own damn fault if it ever happens). It doesn’t take much practice to figure out how to flip your thumb up or down, respectively. I read a few anecdotal stories a while back about cops whose lives were saved by the fact that the bad guys who got their guns couldn’t figure out how to take them off safe. I can appreciate the no safety logic, but if you’re going to get into a quick draw situation, assume you will be shot. Unless you hit the BG’s brain or sever his spinal column, he will be capable of pulling the trigger one last time before dying.

    When you’re dealing with the military I think a firearm like the M9 is a good idea. With 1.5 million young men handling firearms it’s not if someone will have a NG, it’s how many per year.

    I have never owned or even fired a Glock, so maybe I’m just ignorant, but I have a Taurus PT709 which I believe has the exact same take down procedure. I simply can’t see the logic in HAVING TO DRY FIRE A WEAPON before you can take it down. As many Glocks as have been sold you can’t tell me there aren’t a few holes in a few floors from that. I’d also add with the Taurus, I don’t like a safety that locks the slide. Why require taking the weapon off safe in order to chamber or unchamber it?

      • My only issue is that with a safety you should always make a practice of flicking the safety up (in the case of the M9) regardless of how you carry, because you could inadvertently bump it on safe while holstering. Most people will instinctively pull the trigger 3 or 4 times before realizing it’s on safe, although with the Beretta’s trigger disengaged it should be pretty obvious.

  7. I can usually hit at least 2 out of every 6 shots with my 3″ 629 on a 10″ steel plate double action only. At 100 yards.

  8. Forgive my ignorance. What does MSFA stand for? Does it include DA/SA handguns like the SIGs. All I have owned, used and trained on are SIGs DA/SA.
    No leg holes so far. My finger doesn’t go on trigger until target is acquired.

      • Generally speaking (I think) the striker fired pistols have a long trigger pull like a DA revolver but with a lighter pull. It’s easier to accidentally fire a long 5lb. trigger than a long 10lb. trigger.

      • MSFA’s got a reputation for being extra dangerous “accident machines” because people who weren’t used to them and weren’t fully engaging their brains did some stupid things with them back in the bad old days of the ’80s when they were a new thing in the US.

        In reality, as everyone outside the Pentagon knows, the modern striker-fired (semi)automatic pistol is the simplest, most user-friendly type of firearm that has ever been invented. As for the leg-shooting thing, there are two easy ways to avoid that problem: 1, keep your finger away from the trigger until you’re looking through the sights; 2, use one Springfield Armory’s XD line of pistols, which feature a grip safety. For best results, I recommend using both ways. 🙂

      • They are not. That is the articles point. If you know how to handle a weapon properly it is not an issue. As an instructor, I find many people are not familiar enough or practice dry fire enough with their gear. The argument is that you can pull from your holster and shoot yourself easier. The myth began with SERPA holsters. You can shoot yourself with any gun if you are not careful. You should be able to draw an shoot safely like it was second nature.

        So much can easily be done but simply watching TV and practicing.

        • actually, the article is talking about (mainly) cops who weren’t trained to keep their fingers off the trigger when reholstering (and in general, apparently).

          many of the old school revolver holsters had a relief cut around the trigger so it was open. so you could reholster your weapon and it wouldn’t fire even if your finger was on the trigger.

          then the mad rush to switcht to semi autos in the ’80’s. new holsters, no relief cut, no training, BOOM! – the gun went off by itself – it’s not safe!
          i remember talking to several LEO’s back then. they firmly believed that glocks were random killers.

  9. The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine. — Abraham Lincoln

  10. Shooting a DA pistol of revolver can be plenty accurate… once one learns how to stack a trigger.

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