What "Safe Direction"?


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Archie
July 23, 2003, 07:12 PM
I was just reading the "Another Short Gun Shop Story". It brings up an interesting point.

What is a "safe direction" in the real world?

Not talking about being on the range; downrange is a pretty easy concept to grasp (even if some folks have difficulty with it...) Not talking about the gun room at your house, where there is a wall or something to face.

How about when the gentleman who had to shoot the pit bull from next door went out in the back yard? What direction is safe then?

How about if you wake up at zero-dark in the morning with the sounds of someone prowling the front room, and you have to go check? What direction is safe? How about if you have to end up in the front yard? Your family is east and the neighbors (with whom you get along) are west The street turns to the south and there are more houses and the cops will be likely arriving from the north.

I'm not sure there is a final answer. I would opt for having the muzzle down and putting any potential loose shots into the ground, but that might not be smart on a sidewalk or parking lot.

Just something to think over when you're dreaming of being the next Doc Holiday.

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Standing Wolf
July 23, 2003, 07:45 PM
I'm not sure there is a final answer. I would opt for having the muzzle down and putting any potential loose shots into the ground, but that might not be smart on a sidewalk or parking lot.

Muzzle down works for me. Over concrete, I'd point a firearm down and at an angle away from myself. Over asphalt, I'd point it down, since I presume asphalt would absorb a round.

Hkmp5sd
July 23, 2003, 07:56 PM
If you are talking about moving with your firearm in hand, the safe direction is downward, with your finger off the trigger. (BTW, you should not follow a BG outside. If he is fleeing, let him go.)

If you are talking about engaging a BG, that depends totally on the BG. If you need to fire, you shoot and hit the BG. Justified use of deadly force means that you must immediately stop the BG's actions. What is in the background is a secondary concern. If you think you can wait to get a better angle, that most likely means you are not in immediate danger. That is why you practice frequently and carefully choose your firearm/ammunition (ie, minimize overpenetration or a round that most likely will not pass through your apartment walls, etc.).

As for shooting an animal, that really comes to common sense. Is it necessary to shoot the animal from your current location? Can you kill the animal safely with another type of weapon? Can it wait for an animal control officer to arrive?

P95Carry
July 23, 2003, 07:59 PM
As a rule of thumb ''down'' for sure .. the exception tho could well be when on a first floor or higher, in which case .... heaven knows what's below!! In that case I'd guess you'd have to make a best judgement re other sides of walls etc ...... not an easy call at all.

firestar
July 23, 2003, 08:30 PM
I know I'm in the minority but if someone is shooting at me or otherwise trying to kill me, I really don't care what is behind my target. I'm not going to stop and say, "may not be safe in that direction to shoot". To be perfectly honest, I am going to spray the entire neighborhood if I feel like that is what I need to do to defend myself.

I know that is not the PC answer but I am being honest, most people will do the same thing when the chips are down despite what the say they will do. I will be shooting 9mm JHPs if it is a home invasion situation and the way my house is located, it would have to be a very freak occurance to hit my only close neighbor. I am alone on three sides and the entire length of my house and garage (with car in it) separate me from the closest house. I am not overly worried but I don't live in an apt or tightly packed neighborhood either. If I lived way out in the country, I would feel safe with a rifle or a 12ga loaded with slugs.

Autolite
July 23, 2003, 08:44 PM
the safe direction is always pointing toward my 1972 Frigidaire. I keep some of my ex-girlfriends meatloaf inside as a backstop ...

SKN
July 24, 2003, 04:45 AM
One standard definition is the direction which, should an unintentional/negligent discharge occur only minor property/object damage may result.

Orthonym
July 24, 2003, 05:19 AM
Or, as I said on another thread, don't point it at anything _expensive_!

WAPS
July 24, 2003, 11:32 AM
Here is the definition I teach.

A safe direction is any direction where an accidental discharge will not cause injury or damage to property. In a structure such as a house, the safest direction is angled down toward the floor with the muzzle of the weapon pointed in a corner.

I would be very careful with the thought of pointing a muzzle at any hard flat surface, as if the weapon were to discharge, although it would be away from you, the question remains where is the projectile going to go?

Be Safe

Bryan S. Williams
Williams Associates Protective Services, LLC
www.wa-protective.com

Poodleshooter
July 24, 2003, 12:07 PM
I've always been a little leery of the "point the firearm towards the ground" advice. As someone who has been splattered with lead splash from hard targets, I'd much rather point it up in the air. I'd trust a bullet at terminal velocity a mile away rather than a ricochet next to my feet.
I point up if downrange isn't available.

Jesse H
July 24, 2003, 12:20 PM
Remember to point it up, if you're upstairs. I'm usually upstairs at my house, so safe is usually up.

I know I'm in the minority but if someone is shooting at me or otherwise trying to kill me, I really don't care what is behind my target.

Even during a struggle in a small room, with other loved ones present?

Mike Irwin
July 24, 2003, 12:23 PM
I'm with Firestar.

If someone is attempting to harm me, the "safe direction" argument becomes pretty much moot as far as I'm concerned. I'm not certain, as I've never had the occasion to ask, but I sort of doubt that my attacker would stop what he's doing and shift 128 degrees around a circular arc so that there's the blank wall of a building behind him.

boltaction
July 24, 2003, 12:48 PM
In my group of Instructors, we always talk about the safEST direction, rather than the safe one, because, depending on the situation, there may NOT be a TOTALLY safe direction. Obviously, on the range, we all know where to point the firearm, and that is probably the only truly safe direction. Many of you have referred to "down" as a safe direction, but with all due respect, down is WAAAY too imprecise. MY FOOT is in the down direction. Now, 45 degrees DOWN, and not toward anyone's feet/legs is a better way to go. Still, you have to consider the flooring. If it is a cement slab covered by carpet, 45 degrees (away from people, again) may be OK (Cement basement floor, with cinder black walls? down, 45 degrees, toward corner - if there are people there, well, move them, or most likely you should not be handling in that situation, anyway). Wooden floor with people downstairs, then that is a no go. Interior corners are many times wood reinforced, and that may be a safest direction. Up is ALWAYS a problem, as YOU are responsible for the projectile, and where and on whom it falls. Can't remember the last time I pointed a rifle or handgun "up".

Watch the soldiers in Iraq. 99 out of 100 times, they seem to have fingers off trigger, and gun point DOWN at 45 degrees. They have been well trained (can't say the same for guys in old WWII footage, where the percentage is much lower). However, if a soldier or a PO is in a crowd, safEST direction my be UP! Again, it all depends upon where you are, and what the situation is, and what the building materials are (e.g., stamp the floor hard to figure out if you on wood or a cement slab). In our basic firearm courses, we tell people to practice this type of mental exercise in different locations or social situations so they are prepared if the need arises (e.g., a bunch of us "gun nuts" standing around a buddies gun safes, admiring his Glock collection).


Respectfully,
Boltaction

Orthonym
July 24, 2003, 07:33 PM
It would be nice to have a large trash can full of damp kitty litter handy while manipulating slide/hammer on some autoloaders. A stack of wet newspapers works for me.:) On pointing into the air: Went to a Friends of NRA event a while back where they wouldn't let me shoot a rifle prone, afraid of bullet sailing off somewhere and hitting a golfer, I guess. Not allowed to come to "Raise Pistol" anymore, either.

M67
July 24, 2003, 08:39 PM
Or, as I said on another thread, don't point it at anything _expensive_! As a loo-tennant said in basic training, the first time I did sentry duty on the flight line of the air force base: If you have to shoot, try not to hit those aircarft, they're ยค%& expensive. :)

JackShandy
July 24, 2003, 10:30 PM
You mean all those movies and TV shows where the cops have their weapon pointed up, usually right next to their ear, and with finger on the trigger...you mean that's...not correct? :rolleyes:

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