Really? Even on the range? In the Army I don't know how many times I've heard the RSO go: Ready on the right-ready on the left-BANG!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.
Congrats on your new XD, curlyjive! I think you're doing the right thing by learning your gun's controls and functions before shooting it for the first time. And you've chosen a terrific way to learn by taking an NRA course to start.
I'm not sure of the dimensions of the other XD-9s, but with my 4" service model the ball of my trigger finger rests nicely on the back side of the takedown lever. There's a small indentation there. Get used to feeling the contours of that spot with your finger.
Good question- I don't think you could flip it- the center piece that stops the guiderod is keyed, so it wouldn't engage the guiderod correctly.Is the takedown lever able to be flipped? Seems like it should. Or perhaps place a piece of grip tape behind the lever hole on the right side.
Taping my finger with the popsicle stick sure did it for me.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.