Training with the Safety ON or OFF?

Training with the Safety ON or OFF?

I’ve been a little grumpy lately. You see, I received an email from a former police officer who professed that he works for an organization established for the nation’s law enforcement trainers. The name is even catchy, leading many to believe this is a group of experienced individuals organized to help law enforcement agencies with their training. It’s just a little disturbing to me, as you will soon read.

In his email, he states that I have advocated the use of certain techniques during past classes. The guy wanted me to make a video saying that I felt the same as he does about using the safety selector during a speed reload with a rifle. He added, “Obviously, if your stance is not in line with us on this topic, then you don’t need to do a video. But I have had training from all of you and, if I remember correctly, most of you, if not all of you, advocated for the use of the manual safety during empty gun reloads.”

In all honesty, if I advocated for the above mentioned technique maybe I would have overlooked the delivery, which isn’t the right answer. The last time I looked up and checked, Old Glory was still flapping in the wind and this country is still called “America.” We’re allowed to have different opinions. This freedom extends to the techniques we use on the range and in the practical world. After a little research, I determined that this individual never took a class from me.

Train not to win? 


During a recent course, I had a SWAT team commander tell me, “For training, we don’t allow our guys to scan their sectors during a room dominance drill. We only allow them to scan and collapse their sectors during a real-­world mission.”


OK, my head almost exploded on that one. Who in their right mind says that? That team leader has not trained his people sufficiently for the “real world.” Second, he was a person who was not willing to train to the level to win his next fight. Training is not just about learning to survive, but to win! Therefore, you must train as you fight because you will fight as you have trained.

Now, back to the offending email. The author told me that I must agree or be silent. Not cool, dude. Then, he cited case law, specifically that the “1st Circuit Court of Appeals denied an officer ‘qualified immunity’ for failing to put his AR-­15 safety back on ‘safe’ when he accidentally shot and killed someone even though that was how his department trained him.”

Do we engage the safety on our AR as we conduct an empty carbine reload? This has nothing to do with the case law he cited. The officer who took his carbine off safe was poorly trained. After the initial room was cleared, he pointed that same ready-­to-­fire carbine at a compliant individual that was lying face down. Then, he put his finger on the trigger. At some point, the carbine went off and the compliant person was killed, the final no-­no in the officer’s list of violations.

We’ve gotta think. 


Even when I hang with safety-­conscious members of training panels at the NRA Annual Meetings, it made me squirm to hear one suggest to an audience of NRA members that it is OK to point your shotgun at your foot when waiting between stations at a skeet or trap match. There’s even a special adapter that ties to their boot to hold the muzzle in place. Not to my surprise, I’ve learned that accidents happen there, too. Perhaps there’s a market for Kevlar socks or armored shoes?

Here’s another quote from the SWAT team leader: “If a rifle training program teaches that the safety should be on under some circumstances, but can be off under other circumstances, then it’s just another thought process that the shooter must think through when under stress. If it’s required to be on whenever the trigger finger is off the trigger and trained that way to the subconscious level, then manipulating the safety will never have to be a thought process.”

Yep, you have to think. And we want shooters who think! During a transition from a hot carbine to a pistol, put the carbine on safe — no problem. Make an attempt to sweep the carbine’s safety lever to the safe position as you are transitioning from an empty carbine to a hot pistol. Placing the carbine on safe as you are behind cover reloading the carbine with no target immediately available? Well, I’m still in agreeance.


The sticking point I have comes when there is an immediate threat, you have no sidearm, you have somehow lost it running after a suspect or you shoot your carbine dry. It is now a race to reload the carbine and get it back in the fight. I will not teach students to put their firearm on safe during this movement because we are in a race and I want them to win.

I believe that there will be a more dangerous act that happens if the firearm is placed on safe in this scenario. Under duress, those who have reloaded with the safety on will forget to disengage the safety when it’s time to point the gun at the bad guy and squeeze the trigger. That’s reason enough for me.

It is fine to disagree. It is also fine for me to make my point with these paragraphs since, obviously, any video I submit will not be used to express opposing views.

So, there it is. My boiling blood has simmered and you’ve heard my opinion. I firmly believe that there are many so-­called “best” techniques.

Keep an open mind, keep training and keep preparing for the worst in the next gunfight you might have a front seat to. This is my opinion. You need to develop your own and train with it. 


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

A New Season of G&A TV

A New Season of G&A TV

In this new season of Guns & Ammo TV, we introduce two new series and bring back a viewer favorite - Camera's Don't Lie. We look at long-range tech and see how to make shots previously thought impossible. Next we visit ISS Prop House in Hollywood.

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

Feeding Your Firearms with Aguila Ammunition

Feeding Your Firearms with Aguila Ammunition

A group of competitive shooters talk about new products from Aguila , the Aguila Cup, and everyone's favorite new guns launched at the 2019 SHOT show.

Armscor Semi-Auto Shotguns

Armscor Semi-Auto Shotguns

We look at the new shotguns from Armscor - the VR80 and the brand new bullpup VRBP100.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and deer; here's everything you need to know to make it work for you. Rifle

.350 Legend Cartridge: Everything You Need to Know

Tom Beckstrand - April 02, 2019

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and...

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by examining the requirement around which Hornady designed the .300 PRC; the requirement came from the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Rifle

.300 PRC Review

Tom Beckstrand - March 12, 2019

The one glaring weakness in the .30-­caliber magnum cartridge lineup is best highlighted by...

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best production-grade precision hunting rifle available. Rifles

Review: Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan

Joseph von Benedikt - March 25, 2019

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best...

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a zeroed rifle scope. Here's how to sight in your rifle scope setup in five quick-and-easy steps. How-To

How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps

Craig Boddington - June 04, 2018

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

The goose-stepper's guide to training. How-To

Training with the Safety ON or OFF?

SGM Kyle Lamb [Ret.] - April 05, 2019

The goose-stepper's guide to training.

A discussion with Dan Jarecke, a top PRS shooter, about how to get started in long-range precision rifle shooting competitions. How-To

How to Getting Started in Long-Range Precision Rifle Shooting

Sam Statser - June 11, 2019

A discussion with Dan Jarecke, a top PRS shooter, about how to get started in long-range...

How to improve your shooting while at home. News

Dry Fire Practice

Jeremy Stafford - April 22, 2020

How to improve your shooting while at home.

Black powder and muzzleloader shooting can open up hunting opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be available. If you hunt with muzzleloaders, you will quickly learn the value of accurate range estimation, stalking and making a good shot. How-To

Black Powder and Muzzleloader Shooting Basics

Dave Emary - March 10, 2020

Black powder and muzzleloader shooting can open up hunting opportunities that wouldn't...

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now