In the defensive shooting world we are trying to do two things. Teach responsible gun owners how to defend against a violent encounter with a handgun and improve their critical shooting skills.
Ticking Time Bomb
I have gotten more and more patient over the years, believe me it shocks me just as much. However, there are instances where I will loose it in an instant. Watching someone dispassionately pulling the trigger is one of those instances. Using a handgun in a deadly force encounter is no laughing matter, not something to be taken lightly. You have to prepare yourself mentally for the violent encounter. You make major life choices about taking another human’s life to protect life. You expends your resources at training in the hopes of never having to use your skills.
The Final Option
When I watch someone do a half ass job of unloading their handgun then almost without thinking point it down and pull the trigger it is as if they have forgotten an important point. When you pull the trigger, every time you pull the trigger, it is because you have no other option. You have either exhausted all options or you didn’t have an option from the beginning. The level of commitment towards defending your life is not easy, nor should it be taken lightly. It should not be something with a cavalier attitude. When you diminish the importance of a rule or value, you weaken its effectiveness. It is not difficult to see why carelessness sneaks into gun handling when we start to place less emphasize on safety.
What Really Happens
What could be some reasons one would blindly pull the trigger after unloading? A common retort is to relief pressure on the striker. By de-energizing the striker spring there is this belief you are increasing the longevity. If you were planning on a long term storage there could be an argument made. I would caveat long term measured in decades. If you are not storing the handgun for that length of time then it is worthless. The problem is not so much in the action, but the habit it forms. Students would unload in class to accomplish an administrative task. Maybe changing out holsters or cover garments. Or maybe, taking a break or to set up a drill with an empty chamber. My point, is the duration is in no way going to help relieve pressure. We are talking minutes before we charge them back up and start shooting again.
In the off chance the student doesn’t recognize the carelessness of this act it is one thing. To do it knowingly is something completely different. The amount of times of occurrence in a training class can create the environment this action becomes a habit. It becomes a part of your daily handling of firearms and starts to diminish the importance of safety. Safety rules such as all guns are always loaded loose their effectiveness. The monumental challenge of preparing for a deadly force encounter means you are pulling the trigger with the express intention of defending life. Don’t diminish this act.
To take this simple act and diminish it to the point it looses its effectiveness is a mistake. There is no value, but so much more at stake