I recently got a report of an individual who was the recipient of a self inflicted gunshot wound, he shot himself in other words. He suffered severe damage in the loss of some digits.
The incident occurred during live fire simulation training, or more specifically right after. After completing the training he was instructed to clear and safe. If individuals are undergoing this advance type training you would think they could be trusted to properly clear their firearms prior to leaving the area, but in this case it didn’t happen. The individual then moved to the weapon cleaning area and prior to disassembling his firearm he squeezed the trigger as per instructions on striker fired firearms. The rest is history.
I bring this up as we begin our pistol class to remind everyone that complacency kills. Rather than critique the individuals actions/inactions I want to focus on why we have TTP’s in the first place. I can remember watching a video prior to my first freefall where a jumper left the aircraft WITHOUT a parachute. Don’t ask how or why, the point is he failed to follow procedures. It is these procedures that are more than likely thought out in advance or put in place as a result of serious injury or death that keep us safer when we are conducting training deemed high risk. My concern is that if we don’t police ourselves then some administrator will step in and say that is too dangerous, you need to figure out something that doesn’t involve live fire. You think that won’t or can’t happen, but believe me I have already heard it and in the most unlikely of communities.
So if complacency kills then procedures we follow should save lives and for the large majority of times they do. I get pissed off when we see guys blowing off what may seem insignificant or just going through the motions and not really paying attention to what they are doing. You cannot take safety for granted and I don’t want to come across as being risk averse, we just have figured out where we can take risks and where experience has shown us we don’t have to. In a military class I did last month one of the junior members got dressed down by his chain of command because he wasn’t following procedures. He got the message loud and clear, it was reiterated how we are products of our habits and if you do a suboptimal job on the range, you’ll perform the same under stress.
Trust me, when dealing with high risk training whether they are shooting or skydiving they are high risk for a reason. There should be solid procedures to follow in order to achieve safe training. Learn them and habituated them so when it’s not training you perform to task. Think through what your doing, there is nothing you can do to recall a bullet or bomb.