Thursday, July 14, 2011

How not to... FU@%!N& SHOOT YOURSELF

Howdy folks! Mr. Normal here...

It's been a while since I popped a few proverbial rounds downrange here and, to tell ya the truth, I've missed it.

I've been giving one particular subject a TON of thought lately... whether or not to really, fully, and openly express everything I think about a popular video circulating the gun blogs of late. Yep... Mr. Grebner and the now-famous "I just f@$#!4& shot myself" video.

(warning... sensitive eyes and ears beware, there's going to be a little bit of foul language)

First - what you're about to see (if you've been living under a large smooth stone and haven't run into this yet) is a practical how-to video outlining just about everything you can do wrong and luckily survive a self-inflicted gunshot wound through negligence, ignorance, and hubris.

Yep, I just pulled out an "English major" word on ya. And nobody gives us a more apropos and succinct explanation of "hubris" better than Marcellus Wallace, of Pulp Fiction fame:

You feel that sting, big boy, huh? That's pride... fuckin' with you.

disclaimer - If you didn't pick up on it yet, there's going to be a rather loud burst of profanity at some point in this video. I'll give you a hint... it comes right after you hear another loud burst - of gunfire.

I can only imagine the sting ol' Tex felt as a 230 grain bullet tore through his thigh... and the sting he must feel today every time another gun blogger - whether he sees them all or not - posts this video and opens a constructive dialogue around it.

He asks us not to ridicule him... (yeah, really) so I'll try to remain factual in my analysis of what went wrong. And I'll spoil the surprise for ya now; every bit of it was a "software" malfunction. He makes a point of showing us the equipment he was using, but make no mistake -- none of the gear in the video is inherently unsafe in and of itself. 5.11 and BLACKHAWK! make quality gear, Glocks are good-to-go and Kimber well... they make expensive 1911s (don't ask me to be nice to Kimber).

This is as close to perfect as clusterfucks get. EVERYTHING we teach and live by as shooters flew out the window. And, even before we get into the debate about the 4 Rules, SERPA holsters, 1911's in Condition One, filming yourself for YouTube, that ridiculous "drawing from defensive retention" position, or engaging a target at 1 foot and only hitting yourself, here's a little reminder when you're at the range:

YOUR BRAIN IS YOUR MOST RELIABLE SAFETY DEVICE. (and sometimes even those fail)

Now that's out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks.

Problem Numero Uno
Tex here breaks the first and foremost rule of firearms safety -- Keep your trigger finger off the trigger until you're on target and ready to shoot. You'll hear arguments revolving around which of the rules are most important and here's my school of thought... a gun cannot be discharged unless someone or something pulls the trigger to the rear. That doesn't justify failure to observe the others, but if you don't pull the trigger, the gun won't go off. Period.

Problem Numero Dos
When shit starts going all pear-shaped, he doesn't stop. That's a FUNDAMENTAL key in "training." If my master grip doesn't feel right, I flub the draw, lose focus, or make a mistake, I immediately stop, take a breath, make sure I'm safe, and slowly / safely reholster. Then, I usually cuss a little and walk through what didn't go right so I don't make the same mistake twice. If you ever find yourself screwing up -- including slipping onto the trigger -- just STOP everything and get your wits. For the love of Baby Jesus, don't keep going... you'll shoot yourself in the damn leg!

When switching between both holster and firearm platforms, he makes the utterly critical and costly mistake of thinking he's working with one system when he's actually wearing another then rushing his way through a quick-draw for the sake of his YouTube followers. Again, ingredients for a perfect storm of circumstance, the only possible outcome being ND.

His "muscle memory" (which is actually 100% brain and 0% muscle - opposite of Ol' Tex here) told him to disengage the thumb-actuated holster lock on his Glock... with one BIG problem. He was carrying a Condition 1 1911 in a SERPA holster. When he drove his thumb forward he actually disengaged the thumb safety on the 1911 and when the holster didn't release he stabbed at the SERPA's "button" instead of re-indexing his trigger finger and pulling up again after re-securing his master grip.

None of the gear he was using was inherently unsafe -- he suffered a catastrophic "software" malfunction or may not have even had the right code installed in the first place. SERPA holsters require training, discipline, and practice. There is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to operate that little release lever and, yes, what you're about to see is characteristic of a lack of proper instruction and practice. He claims "thousands" of drawstrokes... but here's what I really think:

1) I've been trained by very serious men with very serious haircuts how to use a SERPA holster and how critical it is to maintain a proper trigger finger index during my draw. If I use this technique, my trusty SERPA holster releases every time. If I loosely index or keep my finger off the frame... gun no come out. It's that simple. In Tex's case, I'd be willing to bet he never had anyone show him how to use the system and, like most human critters, taught himself to punch the release button with the tip of his finger. It gets back to that pride thing... and that God-awful sting.

2) I DO have thousands of dry and live-fire draws out of a SERPA for Glock, M&P, and 1911 pistols and have never slipped into the trigger. Again... because I was properly instructed, practiced with the system diligently, and hammered home the consequence of even a single mistake. So far, so good. What spooked me during the days I worked as a full-time RO and trainer were the two or three people who would constantly complain about getting their trigger finger caught in the trigger when using the SERPA holster. No amount of explanation or training could get them to understand they need a "software" upgrade but all of them would inevitably go for a change in hardware... then proceed to claim the SERPA was junk. Ugh.

Problem Numero Tres
Attitude and mindset - this is probably my biggest problem with Mr. Tex Grebner. You should NEVER accept the fact that an ND is inevitable. They're not. That's a horrible, ignorant, and dangerous mindset to get into. Follow the rules, kids... all the time. Always. Without exception. Forever. Get it? Accept the fact that Cooper's 4 Rules are gospel, and revere them as such.

Negligent Discharges don't "just happen." They are the result of entirely preventable circumstances coming together to allow a sear to release a striker or hammer and drive a firing pin into the base of a priming cap which ignites a powder charge and propels a bullet down the barrel of a freaking gun.

That is all. Be safe, have fun, train hard, and shoot straight.

And remember... when your "training kicks in" don't call Mom first. Call 911.

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