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So I have been around firearms my entire life and I believe I have been a fairly safe shooter. After being part of an accidental discharge where a friend end up shooting himself in the foot with my shotgun when I was 17. (Luckily it was a slug and not a shot shell.) After this AD I believe I have become an above average shooter as far as safety go.

That said the recent purchase of my XD-40 has shown myself a slight weakness in my safety awareness. The fact that the XD does not have manual safety I have become more aware of my somewhat lacking trigger finger discipline. I know that you should only have your finger on the trigger when address a target. I find that in practicing with my XD using snap caps I sometimes end up with my finger still in the trigger guard while clearing or reloading. I am working very hard to completely break this habit.

So does anyone have any good ideas or drills that will help reinforce the habit of keeping my finger out of the trigger guard expect when actually ready to shoot. I would like to get in the habit of doing this far more strictly than I do know with all my firearms but especially the XD since it has no manual safety.

Comments and Suggestion appreciated

mcb
 

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Shoot with a friend who keeps an eye on it and yells at you every time you screw up. Seems to work on the people I shoot with. :p
 

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Here's what LE trainers used when copshops switched, in droves, to Glocks. Oddly enough, most of these are things that 1911 shooters developed.

ON Target/ON Trigger,

OFF target/OFF trigger


Burn this mantra into your brain, and repeat it out loud at least once, every time you pick up a gun. When it becomes second nature, you can stop saying it out loud. Once ingrained, the thought will register in your brain whether you say it out loud or not.

The idea is that you never touch the trigger until your sights are aligned- on something you actually intend to shoot.

When working drills on the range, practice raising the gun on target and firing up to 3 shots; and then lowering the gun about 45 drgrees to "low ready." Remove your finger from the trigger-guard, and place it alongside the frame, before you start lowering the gun. Repeat this 3-4 times. Do not touch the trigger until your sights swing back up into your line of sight- to the target.

Always make sure your finger is away from the trigger, and your thunb is away from the grip safety, when re-holstering.

Once you have mastered this, have a shooting buddy stand behind you while you repeat this exercise. At the moment of his/her choosing, have them yell 'challenge!" as you are bring the gun on target. When this happens, keep your sights on the target yell "Stop or I'll shoot!"... and DON'T fire at that point.

The idea is that you do not condition yourself to fire the gun EVERY time it comes onto a target.

Anytime you handle a semi-automatic pistol indoors, always make a habit of doing the following-

1. Insure gun is pointed in a safe direction.

2. Remove the magazine and set it down- get it out of your hands.

3. Immediately retract the slide and lock it open using the slide stop. Let any ejected round fall onto the floor- you can pick it up later. Step on it so you can feel it, and know where it is.

4. Look down through the open ejection port and out through the magazine well- make sure the magazine is out, and that you can see daylight all the way down.

5. Tip the muzzle down slightly, and look into the chamber to insure that it is empty. Check it with your little finger.

If you close the slide for any reason, repeat this process and check the chamber again before dryfiring, disassembly, etc.

If my guns are loaded, they are fully loaded (hot chamber) and in the holsters I carry them in.

If I have them out for any reason, they are unloaded and locked open until the mages & ammo are removed and put somewhere else. Then and only then do I dry fire, strip for cleaning, etc.

And ALWAYS observe the FOUR RULES:

Rule 1: ALL guns are ALWAYS loaded.

Rule 2: NEVER let your muzzle cover ANYTHING or ANYONE you are not willing to destroy.

Rule 3: Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are ON the target.

Rule 4: Be SURE of your target, and what is behind it.


On a closing note- 5 years ago, I lost my nephew, who was close as a brother and my best huntin' buddy, to a stupid gun accident. He had been raised around guns (including handguns) and he was as safe as anybody I knew. We were both serious handgun hunters. He got excited over calling a coyote in close-real close-and he got careless, ONE time.

He is gone now, and I never walk the woods we hunted together without thinking about him. Be careful, and then be EXTRA careful.

Once it's done- you can't call it back.
 

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Good post!
 

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Great information given already.

As for clearing and reloading drills, you could try taping your trigger finger to a popsicle stick so that your muscles will remember the finger position while performing those actions.
 

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My Drill Sgt. was pretty persuasive in teaching trigger-finger discipline!
But that my not be a good option for you.
 

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Do what invssgt says.
The XD was my first pistol. I would sometimes completely empty the gun and sit down infront of the tv. Not shooting the characters, just sitting there with a gun in hand finger on slide to teach myself the muscle memory of where my finger needs to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the good input guys especially invssgt. Safety is one of those things we always need to be practicing.

Thanks
mcb
 

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Engage in organized shooting activities, IDPA, USPSA, Etc. After a disqualification, you will learn very quickly to not have finger in trigger guard during any drills, except when engaging targets, the finger should go to the frame above trigger guard to prevent grasping handgun if you stumble or fall. It's like thumb on safety on a 1911, it takes some conscious effort to accomplish.
 

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A tip on reloading/clearing/racking the slide. Since I has a 22lb spring, I am real careful on this gun.

I use the middle of my index finger on the grip safety, so in a sense the gun is perpendicular to the hand of my palm, and my trigger finger is NOWHERE near the trigger.

Of course I always observe all other properly safety techniques.
 

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Invssgt had an excellent post. The only thing I have to add is practice, it takes 3000-5000 repetions of complex movements to make them second nature.
 

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The XD's disassemble lever is a perfect place to park your trigger finger if you're a lefty. It's like a base, it feels distinct, and you can easily get in the groove of , "lever, trigger, lever, trigger, on-target, off-target, etc."

If you're a lefty, that is.
 

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[TASF said:
Overkill]Shoot with a friend who keeps an eye on it and yells at you every time you screw up. Seems to work on the people I shoot with. :p

Good system, also, (with trigger finger on frame slightly above TG) point target, look target, shoot target. Good starting foundation to "point shooting".
 

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shoot with same said friend, except when you hose up, he gets to hit you in the head with a shovel..

I believe that has been offered as a solution before if I remember correctly.

T
 

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No such thing as a accidental discharge, only negligent discharges.

In the Marine Corps, if a round was fired when it wasn't supposed to be, someone went to jail.

Galen
Alabama
 

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Get with a friend and watch each other's trigger finger discipline while practicing dry fire drills and while shooting.

Create a trigger finger routine: same steps, same order, every time. Perform it slowly at first, eyes on what you're doing, while repeating the steps out loud. The more senses you involve in learning, the more quickly it imprints on your brain. You'll be able to increase speed, stay silent and keep your eyes on your target as you get better.

Get in the habit of treating your gun as though it were loaded at all times. While safeties don't fail frequently, you don't want to be the one to shoot yourself or someone else if yours does.
 

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I don't know if this was mentioned, because I ain't gonna read all of this post. Try this drill. Draw and address a target as from tactical or concealed carry. ONLY ever 1 in 10 of these target addresses should be a dry fire. The rest should simply be finger outside the trigger guard practicing sight alignment.
 

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I was loading my Makarov the other day and even though it has a manual safety I came to the frightening realization that without the safety the gun will go BOOM if I pull the trigger.

It was almost scary. I was extra careful unloading it.

I still feel safer with the XD's "passive" safeties.

After experiencing my brother shoot a Gold Dot hollow point into my mattress, I've become a lot more careful.

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"After experiencing my brother shoot a Gold Dot hollow point into my mattress, I've become a lot more careful. "


I could never imagine handing my gun to anyone with even a magazine in it and without the slide locked back. The first thing I do when I hand someone a gun is release the mag, unchamber the round and lock the slide, then I look twice to make sure there is no round in the chamber. Then I look again. As far as the trigger guard just unload your gun and hold it alot with your trigger finger resting against the outside of the trigger guard(i just press my triggerfinger against the laser activation switch). You will eventually teach yourself to hold the gun that way until its time to fire. Whenever I pick my gun up it looks like im making the sign for number one with my shooting hand.
 
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