GUN SAFETY REVISITED
Some recent incidents have prompted me to put this document together for you. I am releasing it now as we have had some down time from the last 3 gun while most of us shot the Nordic Components match. We all know that gun accidents can and do occur. We as the match staff try and set up stages to minimize some of the risks. We can’t prevent every occurrence. All firearms need to be treated as loaded at all times. We have all been taught this primary rule of firearms safety.
The first item I will readdress is the holster you use for you handgun. I wrote an article a while back with recommendations for security holsters. At the Pine Island match a loaded handgun was dislodged from the shooters holster after the shooter abandoned his shotgun and ran toward his next shooting position. Luckily the gun did not go off. I know many have internal drop safeties but it is dangerous none the less. The shooter was DQ’d. The holster, I think was a blade tek common in USPSA. That shooter was surprised because he thought he had the retention tightened. He was also very accepting because he knew how serious the incident was.
If you are a 3 gunner who is shooting a common gun like a Glock or Smith M&P there are ample inexpensive choices for secure holsters. If you have another gun and can’t find something, ask me and I will find a solution for you.
The second item I have seen and have heard about from other RO’s is what I am going to refer to here as the speed abandonment. I saw this at SCAPSA hidden bay stage in March. Shooters were throwing their handgun in the dump container which was a small trash can screwed onto a 55 Gallon barrel. I have seen shooters throw their rifles and shotgun into barrels as if they were tossing a spear. This is not an appropriate method of “abandonment” of a firearm. We need to self-regulate our actions when it comes to this. You may have been watching the 3 Gun Nation “pros” do this and move very fast, I have. Be careful who you emulate. Some of these guys are very good. Some are flat out reckless.
I will always sacrifice time on the clock to do this safely. I see those who do it in a very conscience
manner. Their actions do not go unnoticed and are appreciated. Win by shooting fast and accurate, not by trying to speed abandon.
At Pine Island there was a rectangular Tupperware container screwed to the top of a table and the shooter was to place his handgun in the box. Remember we can put our guns down loaded and on safe or we can completely empty them. Neither of these two ways removes any responsibility on the part of the shooter for doing so in a safe and controlled manner. In the above situation the RO later informed me that the gun was tossed into the box, bounced out and landed on the table. The RO further stated the gun rotated and he could see down the barrel.
I am happy that we have so many new shooters that keep coming to our matches. It is the responsibility of everyone to set good examples. What one shooter does very fast is not necessarily appropriate gun handling skills for someone else.
A discussion has been opened on this topic and we, your match staff, are deciding on how to handle the safety issue of “tossed” firearms. I know that we as shooters refer to the guns we shoot as tools and don’t care about them getting dinged up. But wanton disregard for them by tossing them like garbage is going to be addressed.
I hope reading this is the first step in correcting this. Step two is going to be the implementation of stage DQ’s for tossing firearms. Again, we all need to treat every firearm with respect to minimize the chances of accidents occurring. This is going to be in part subjective by the RO but will hopefully curb this action. Now incidents like the above pistol toss will not be tolerated and will be immediate DQ’s from the match.