The What If?

Imagine if you hear a loud crash as you are getting ready for bed. The lights are off. No one else is home. But you hear people talking and rummaging through your kitchen.

In a dangerous, high-stress situation like this, in which you fear for your life, it might be necessary to retrieve your firearm. Your home-defense weapon is loaded and ready in a nearby safe. As you enter the code, the noises get louder. The home invaders are now yelling and pounding at your bedroom door.

You yell at the intruders to get out of your house. It’s still dark. Panic has set in. The safe lid pops open, and, shaking, you grab for your firearm, finger slipping onto the trigger. You negligently send a round through the window in front of you.

The commotion outside your bedroom door grows. You hear screaming nearby. And suddenly you notice someone is calling your name.

Still stunned from the gunshot, you strain to decipher the words. It turns out your neighbors are frantically instructing you to get out of the house because of a nearby fire that’s raging out of control.

It was all a terrible misunderstanding. But now, there’s a bullet somewhere for which you are completely responsible. What if it hit someone?

The Why Not?

While this situation is unlikely to happen, it’s important to recognize that negligent shootings can occur when we are untrained, when we panic, and/or when we don’t take steps to ensure safety. One step we must consider when staging firearms for home defense involves using a simple, easy tool: a trigger guard cover.

If your gun is loaded (with a full magazine seated and a round chambered), be sure to use a trigger guard cover. This ensures you don’t press off a round while you grab for the gun in the heat of the moment. This potentially deadly mistake could happen because of the adrenaline dump, but it could also happen just because of the somewhat awkward position of the gun … or even you!

As in the real-life example in the video, a negligent discharge can happen to even the most experienced shooter. Even though using a trigger guard cover of some sort seems to be a very small safety step, it can make a very big difference.


About Beth Alcazar

Author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals, associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and creator of the Pacifiers & Peacemakers column, Beth Alcazar has enjoyed nearly two decades of teaching and working in the firearms industry. She holds degrees in language arts, education and communication management and uses her experience and enthusiasm to share safe and responsible firearms ownership and usage with others. Beth is certified through the NRA as a Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for multiple disciplines. She is also a Certified Instructor through SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute, DRAW School, TWAW and I.C.E. Training and is a USCCA Certified Instructor and Senior Training Counselor.