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Old January 6, 2015, 07:55 AM   #1
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Question for Instructors

Here is a question I asked of an instructor I've been getting instructions from. I'm also considering working for him as an instructor.

"While attending your classes I have had a pistol pointed at me 3 times. Once by an instructor and 2 other times by students."

My question to the instructor: "When the above condition happens what do you think about ending the students instruction for the day."

I'm not posting his answer, I'm curious how other instructors handle this?
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Old January 6, 2015, 04:49 PM   #2
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Once in the 1980s I was teaching a Virginia Armed Security Officers course and one student officer kept turning with his revolver when he had a question or problem. I blocked him the first time and gave him some advice. A while later the same thing. I blocked his arm and told him the next time I would break his arm. Haveing competed in Tae Kwon Do tournaments he knew that was a deffinate possibility and never repeated the mistake. Would I have actually broke his arm? I'm glad I didn't have to find out. Some one pointing a weapon at me or anyone would have failed the course.
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Old January 6, 2015, 06:26 PM   #3
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Blanket is NEVER ok to muzzle someone unintentionally. That said

I have been teaching dynamic firearms classes since the mid '90s. Any student that muzzled someone got a stern warning about the serious nature of the event and was told if it happened again they were off the range.

If one of my instructors did that, they would be GONE. No second chances. By the time you are competent enough to be teaching this stuff muzzle awareness needs to be second nature.

I cant think of an instructor worth anything that would just let it go.
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Old January 6, 2015, 11:02 PM   #4
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If my 14 year old can have muzzle discipline with airsoft ( as well as real ) gun , I'd think 1 stern warning would be more then generous.
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Old January 7, 2015, 12:10 AM   #5
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For the firm i used to work for, our rule for safety was screw up=go home.

We sent home 6 cops from an agency one day...chief called and chewed my butt . I told bring your kids to the range and let me sweep them with loaded weapons and hung up. He called back and apologized.

I always wear my vest by the way.

For newbies i train, safety is drilled in. I only train them one on one. A ha r d block usually gets the point across but haven't had to do that but a couple of times.

I saw an instructor years ago take down a guy for the second offense...Weapon was still loaded and he squeezed off one while going to the ground nearly hitting another student. I and most of the rest left the class at that point. Wasn't worth dying to get the certificate.
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Old January 7, 2015, 03:44 PM   #6
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In a basic level class, I could see a VERY stern warning on the first occasion. In any intermediate or advanced class, I would have them sit out for a while or ask them to leave.

In one on one instruction, I position myself to be able to block most sweeps toward myself.

...I don't instruct classes.
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Old January 7, 2015, 10:10 PM   #7
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I'm not an instructor, but it would seem to me that "taking a guy down" or what I'm envisioning as "a hard block", or any other physical impact on a person that could cause them to lose physical control of the gun in their hand would be putting the others in the class in more danger than the initial muzzle sweep.

I'm all for being harsh with somebody who doesn't pay attention to where the muzzle is, but I'd be even more critical of an instructor who thought it would be valuable training to wrestle with them while its in their hand, when they should know better.
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Old January 7, 2015, 10:45 PM   #8
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I don't know about others but when I have used a blocking technique, I always know if the gun is loaded and whether the student will respond to it in a beneficial manner or not. Don't read too much into a short response. There are literally thousands of books on teaching and lots on teaching firearms skills while I haven't read them all, way more goes into teaching than I can cover in a site like this.
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Old January 8, 2015, 11:17 AM   #9
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Openly call them on it and burn it in !!!

In preparation to our live fire during our Hunter Safety classes. We go over the four safe gun handling rules of which Muzzle Control is the most important. We challenge the students to not only follow but "catch" anyone else that does not follow this rule. The student go from station to station of which four involves gun handling. We instruct the students to personally report any problems to the instructor at that station or myself. Basically they walk around all day, burning this into their heads. .....

On one occasion, I swept a rifle, close enough to a lady that she ducked and reminded me about the muzzle. Did not make any difference that I didn't think I did but it was her call and a good one. ...

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 8, 2015, 01:11 PM   #10
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Reading this post brings me back to my time in the peace time infantry.

Muzzles WERE everywhere.
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Old January 8, 2015, 01:16 PM   #11
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If you're waiting until they have a loaded gun in their hand to find out they are sweeping others- you're behind the curve.

I took a training class back in the 80's, and the first two evenings (prior to three days on the range) started with dry-fire-once from the bench, then one shot dry fire from the leather before we ever loaded the guns. From a students perspective, it was s-l-o-w, but it was very safe, and I won the next match I entered, so it was effective.
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Old January 10, 2015, 06:24 PM   #12
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In our course there are always two instructors. As it really works, one is an instructor and the other is a safety officer. We run a hot line, which means the Handguns are always loaded when on the line (not so with shotguns)

My instruction:

Your weapon will remain in its holster and snapped down until you are told otherwise.

You will not touch your weapon even in the holster. Do not rest your hand on your holstered weapon.

If you have a stoppage during an exercise you will keep the muzzle down range as you clear it.

If you cannot clear the stoppage you will keep the weapon pointed down range and raise your non-shooting hand.

You will not pick up any dropped loaded magazine, empty magazine, loaded round or brass until told to do so.

You will not leave the line until told to do so.

You will not leave the instruction area until both instructors verify that your weapon is clear and safe.

I have zero tolerance for safety violations. If you commit a safety violation you will be removed from the line and will report to the Major for duty for the balance of the shift.

That last one gets them. Nobody wants to stand before "The Man" and tell him they screwed up and have to repeat the training and qualification.
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Old January 11, 2015, 02:21 AM   #13
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I like that. I asked again about sweeping of students and teachers. I was told that it's impossible with new students. In one class I was told there were two students that were dangerous. This is really not making sense to me.

I really have a problem with this.
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Old January 11, 2015, 04:03 PM   #14
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If the instructor was using a definitely unloaded weapon during instruction and it was done on-purpose, I have no problem with it. If the weapon was or could have been loaded, I would have a big problem with it.

As far as students are concerned, if the two sweeps were done by the same student, he would have to leave. If it were two separate students, the instructor just needs to take remedial action.
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Old January 12, 2015, 11:28 PM   #15
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85% of mine are instruction and re-qualification of corrections officers. At the academy we initially train with no ammo.

At the academy it is different.
No ammo anywhere and all weapons are administratively cleared by two instructors. Each person is brought forward and goes through the drill with a weapon and I put two empty magazines in the pouch and hand them one. These magazines have no followers so they do not lock the slide open.

Then they get two magazines loaded with two rounds each, and one with four. The four goes in first and they fire two from the holster, then to High tuck, then two more. They reload and go to high tuck, Fire two, reload and go to high tuck, fire two more drop and show empty.

During this it is one on one and I am standing right on top of them. Only after properly demonstrating that are they allowed to go on the line with the others. Of course that is during the initial 40 hour course.

Last edited by garryc; January 12, 2015 at 11:34 PM.
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Old January 13, 2015, 02:48 PM   #16
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Nobody gets a gun in their hand until they are drilled on the safe gun handling rules. Once those rules are down pat, they get to pick up an empty gun. No one is allowed to point a gun at another shooter, me, or even themselves. The first time, if it happens...and it does every once in awhile, they get a stern warning. The second time, they are finished shooting for the day and not allowed back with the class until they can recite the safe gun handling rules as if they know them rather than repeat them back like they memorized something for the sake of remembering a few sentences.

In a club I instruct in, an older gentlemen just didn't get it. He consistently pointed his gun at other shooters without realizing what he was doing. When it was firmly brought to his attention, he said he was unaware he was doing that. The next time he did it, he was not allowed to shoot with the club until he received some private instruction (from me.) When I thought he was cognizant of what he was doing, I turned him loose. It didn't take long for him to point the gun sideways in his lane. He has been banned from shooting with the club until he can prove he can shoot with others without putting them in danger (and I'm almost positive that will not happen). Just as a side note, this gentlemen took a gun cleaning class from me and actually pointed his gun at another student without realizing he was doing it. "But it was empty" was his defense. What about the safe gun handling rules? How many stories could you tell about what you have witnessed or read about "empty guns.?"

Age should not be a factor when a person stops driving but the criteria should be their cognitive abilities. Some people decline rapidly at age 70 while others are very sharp at age 90. As instructors, we should be very aware of our older students and pay close attention to their situational awareness and cognitive abilities. The particular gentlemen in this story seemed very sharp when engaged in conversation but when a gun was in his hand, his brain appeared to stop functioning.
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