Four Gun Safety Rules to LIVE By

Four firearm safety rules to live by presented by Team Glock.

Don’t just survive, thrive!



Its Not Your Gear, Its Your Training

Green ear muffsGreen ear muffsI recently read two articles that each targeted a specific piece of equipment stating that they were unsafe for use. The first article spoke specifically about the Blackhawk Serpa holster and the second about handgun mounted lights. Both articles which were totally unrelated to each other point to the fact that both the holster and the gun mounted light encouraged accidental discharges and thus should not be used. Having extensive experience with both this particular holster and with handgun mounted lights, I have to disagree wholeheartedly with the conclusions of both the articles authors. (I will say, however, if you don’t feel safe using a particular piece of gear, then don’t use it. I only speak for myself based on my personal experience.)

I will be doing an article soon to address some of the other issues that are alleged to accompany the Serpa holster, but for now I will stick to the issue of accidental discharges. Let me first explain how the retention system on this holster is disabled for those not familiar with it. The Blackhawk Serpa has a button on the side that is activated with the index finger to release the holsters retention mechanism allows the firearm to be removed. It is the depressing of this button with the index finger, the very same finger used to pull the trigger that is the source of concern for those who don’t like this holster.

I have used the Serpa holster for open carry while on the job and have trained, and trained with hundreds of other using this holster with no issues what so ever over the last 5 year. If activated properly with an extended and ridged index finger, it is impossible for the finger to accidentally engage the trigger causing an accidental discharge. It simply cannot happen. A square peg won’t fit into a round hole.

As for the gun light, the issues some have appear to arise because some have been trained to engage the gun light with the same index finger used to manipulate the trigger. In a high stress situation, it is possible to overdo it with the index finger and inadvertently hit the trigger. It is also possible during this same kind of high stress situation to completely miss the gun lights activation button hitting the trigger inadvertently instead. In both instances, an accidental discharge is possible.

In the case of the gun light, manipulating the gun lights on / off button with ones trigger finger is bad technique and should not be taught. The proper way to activate the light is with the thumb of the support hand making accidental trigger manipulation an almost impossibility.

In both the holster and gun light scenario, poor technique encouraged by poor training was the real cause of the increased incidents of accidental discharges, not bad equipment.

I harken back to the early days of the Glock pistol when its distractors believed that the lack of an external safety and the lite trigger pull was the reason for so many perceived AD’s. It had nothing to do the either, rather, it was caused by the trigger finger being on the trigger when it wasn’t supposed to be. Again, poor technique and or training.

As in so many other areas in life, we always look to blame the “object” when bad things go wrong instead of the person in control of the “object.” It wasn’t the SUV that ran over the pedestrian in the crosswalk, it was the person driving the SUV, and it is the gun that kills, it’s the person pulling the trigger. But the SUV and the gun are always to blame when bad things happen.

As a responsible gun owner, be it a private citizen, law enforcement officer, security guard or member of the military, it is on you to receive proper training in the safe handling of firearms and to practice said training always. It is also incumbent upon you to point out an unsafe condition when you see it. Guns do not shoot themselves; it is the person behind the gun who initiates the firing sequence. It time that this fact is accepted. Absolutely there is bad gear out there, but not every bad thing that happens is a result of bad gear. Sometimes when things go wrong, the answer to how and why can be found in the mirror.

Don’t just survive, thrive!


Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility. You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life. It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun. Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.


Should I Fire a Warning Shot?

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 3.08.38 AMWhen I teach new shooters the basics of everyday concealed carry, one point I make during my lecture is to always shoot center mass in an effort to eliminate the threat as quickly as possible. Almost without fail, a hand will go up and the inevitable question is asked. Dennis, why can’t we just fire a warning shot or perhaps shoot the bad guy in the leg or arm? Isn’t either of those two options better than shooting a man in the chest or stomach which could result in death?

Here is my response to both the warning shot and shooting to “wound” questions. No, and here is why.

Anytime you fire your gun during a self-defense situation, you are utilizing deadly force. I don’t care if you point the gun straight to the ground, death or grave bodily harm is always a possibility when a firearm is discharged around others. Firing a warning shot means you are either pointing the gun over the bad guys head and shooting a projectile aimlessly into the air, or pointing it down and firing it aimlessly into the ground. In either case, you cannot be sure that the bullet will come to rest in a safe place. Doing this is not acting in a responsible manner which can result in the death or grave bodily harm of another human being, one that may not be engaged in threatening you, but might just be innocently going about his daily business.

Aside from not being the responsible thing to do, firing a warning shot is actually a felony in some states and I will guarantee, you will have your firearm permanently confiscated by the government.

When you fire your weapon, be it at the range, on the street or in your home in a self-defense situation, you are responsible for each and every round you fire. Where that round goes is your responsibility whether you are shooting at the bad guy or just firing a warning shot. You must know your target and what surrounds it and know when you can and cannot shoot. A warning shot increases the chances that the bullet will end up someplace you didn’t intend it to go and it is bad tactics to boot. If deadly force is justified, and that’s the only time you should be firing your weapon away from the range, then aim for the bad guy and eliminate the threat as quickly as possible, don’t just try and scare him.

Now, for the shooting to wound scenario. I believe this has become an issue for two reasons. One, because Hollywood loves to depict its “hero’s” as being able to hit anything, no matter how small a target without even aiming during a gun fight. It’ looks cool on film to see a gun shot out of a bad guys hand, but the reality of the situation is that in the real world, that kind of thing doesn’t usually work. Statistics tell us that three quarters of the shots that are taken during a high stress armed encounter will miss the mark, even when the one making the shot is a trained law enforcement officer shooting center mass. The center mass of a person, even a small person is a pretty big target, especially considering the fact that most armed encounters occur at arm’s length or slightly farther. If you can’t hit a large target, how are you supposed to hit a smaller target like the leg or arm, especially considering that the legs and arms will be moving around a lot. From a tactical standpoint, shooting at anything other than the largest area of a target, in this case the torso during an armed encounter is just plain dumb and most likely will result in you coming out on the short end of the fight.

The other reason I think that some people would rather shoot for the leg or arm instead of the torso is because they cannot wrap their minds around the fact that there are times when taking the life of another person is justified. I cannot blame these people because taking the life of another human being is not a natural act. It completely goes against how we are wired. For most sane people, taking a life is a learned behavior. So these people say that they would rather shoot to wound than to kill. If that is the case, you should find another means of self-defense and not even bother to bring a gun to the fight. Odds are you won’t be able to fire it giving the attacker an opportunity to take it and use it on you or another innocent person. To arm yourself with a firearm is one that must be made by each individual based on their own abilities and moral compass. If you have not made up your mind to use your firearm resulting in the potential of another person losing his life, leave the gun at home.

So to wrap up, it is irresponsible to fire your firearm into the air in an effort to scare away a bad guy. Guns aren’t made to scare people, and shooting somebody anyplace other than center mass, also known as the torso is tactically a bad decision in 99.9% of the situations you might find yourself in. (A terrorist with a bomb is a good example of a situation when you will need to shoot in the head to shut down the brain fast.) Understand that taking the life of a bad person to save the life of an innocent person is justified, but if that doesn’t work for you, pepper spray might be your best bet.

Don’t just survive, thrive!


Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility. You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life. It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun. Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.