How can you prevent a negligent discharge?
The correct answer is, “Keep your finger off the trigger until you have made a conscious decision to shoot.”
Any other answer means you might poke a hole in something you have no intention of poking a hole in. If that “something” leaks blood, you have an even bigger problem.
Keeping your finger off the trigger until you have made a “conscious decision” to shoot is a bit of a tongue-twister, but it is a phrase that should stick in your head every time you pick up any firearm.
Ergonomically, your finger just fits inside that trigger guard and across that trigger as if it were perfectly natural.
Don’t fall for it!
Keep your trigger finger up on the frame until you have decided to fire. Then, when you are done firing, move your finger off the trigger and back up onto the frame immediately.
Poor trigger-finger discipline is the primary cause of a negligent discharge. Think about it: A gun doesn’t just “go off.” It is made to fire. One must do a very specific sequence of things in order to make that gun fire, and that sequence ends with operation of the trigger.
If you keep your finger off the trigger, you can bet that — 99.99 percent of the time — that gun will not fire. A true mechanical malfunction leading to a negligent discharge is so rare these days that it is almost impossible to have an unintended discharge because the gun is “broken.” Most of the time, if something breaks on a modern firearm, the result is that the gun will NOT fire. Yes, you still want to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, but keeping your finger off the trigger is the key to safety.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
If you want to improve your firearms safety, get a training pistol or unload your carry pistol, remove all the ammo from the room and practice drawing and handling your gun while maintaining strict trigger-finger discipline. Get in the habit of keeping your finger off the trigger. You will be glad you did.
About Kevin Michalowski
Executive Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine Kevin Michalowski is a USCCA and NRA Certified Trainer. He has attended training as both instructor and student in multiple disciplines, including pistol, rifle, shotgun, empty-hand defense and rapid response to the active shooter. Kevin is also a fully certified part-time law enforcement officer in rural Wisconsin.