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Muzzle discipline in BAND OF BROTHERS

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Quoheleth, Sep 7, 2009.

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  1. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    Band of Brothers has been airing on Spike TV the past few nights and I've been able to watch it (the wife is out of town for the weekend, giving me sole TV rights).

    Now, I realize that there are lots of things going on: it portrays a war zone, combat situations, some things were horribly chaotic (last night's episode, for example, was Bastogne) and - FOREMOST - this is TV. But, I've seen several scenes - and not all in the middle of hot & heavy combat - where guys squat down to confab for a minute and a gun muzzle is pointed right at or very near another soldier, or a gun barrel is used to gesture a direction and it sweeps past another soldier, et. al.. I realize in combat, when lead is flying, muzzle discipline probably takes a back burner. I am willing to give a soldier a pass if he's diving for cover to save his arse. But even in scenes of soldiers on foot patrol, weapons frequently sweep others.

    Was muzzle discipline taught, emphasized and enforced in WWII combat areas? Or, is this the typical hollywood goof.

    Any WWII or Korea vets who can speak to the question? (I include Korea, b/c much of our Korea tactics were right out of WWII).

    Q
     
  2. Winston_Smith

    Winston_Smith Member

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    Watching it right now Quoheleth and noticed the same thing. I just assumed it was a risk associated with war. Think about guns mounted on vehicles, wouldn't it be very difficult control the muzzle? I am interested to see what vets have to say about this.

    I hope you decided to order your Garand from CMP. If not, watching this will make you send it in. :).
     
  3. Justo

    Justo Member

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    I was noticing that most of the spilders had there fingers in the trigger guards almost the whole time. Even when they were in camp
     
  4. EHL

    EHL Member

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    This is a very good and interesting question. I'll be watching this thread to see what comes of it.
     
  5. DougDubya

    DougDubya Member

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    Meanwhile, at least in Kelly's Heroes, Eastwood had his trigger finger on the frame of his Thompson, straight trigger discipline.

    Saw it again last night, and Clint was the only guy who didn't walk around with his finger on the trigger.

    Telly Savalas' muzzle discipline was the worst!
     
  6. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    Glad I've finally come up with a question that is entertaining & interesting to others.

    Yes, this is true. But on this board and others, people have a cow, a calf, a whole herd of pigs, and two chickens if someone even MENTIONS that they MIGHT HAVE accidentally allowed the muzzle of their weapon - finger on the trigger guard, frame, or "other" - to track past their own body parts or another person. If we have a coniption fit over such a thing if someone describes it happening at the range, was it a concern then?

    Yep. Mailed it in about 2 weeks ago and got the email confirmation that it was received last Monday. Now comes the worst part: 173 days to go and counting (Service Grade wait time is at 180 days). The latest TSRA newsletter seems to indicate that CMP is getting caught up, so I hope it comes out to be less than 6 months...

    If BOB leaves you hankering for the "Ping" of your own Garand, check out this game: http://armorgames.com/play/3582/palisade-guardian. You even get the ping. IMHO, go Tommy Gun, Carbine, and then save up for the Garand, and then the Bazooka. Woo-hoo!!!

    Q
     
  7. ezypikns

    ezypikns Member

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    Dang!

    I wondered if I was the only one who noticed that.

    I'm thinking that in firefights it might have been a liitle different, but this is when the GI's were moving or standing around.

    Anyone with combat experience care to comment?
     
  8. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Ane the answer is: Muzzle discipline wasn't a catch word in 1942-1945. We were at war, millions being drafted/enlisting, guys being trrained in a matter of weeks. Accidents happened (including guys shooting each other in training), and they moved on to the next important thing to do. My dad was a WWII vet, Borneo, Phillipines, Occupational Japan, and he never mentioned any training devoted to such safe handling. They were more focused on marksmanship and tactics. Guns were loaded, and common sense (not all that common now), seemed to be the call of the day. Obsession with gun safety and muzzle discipline is more of a recent (last 20-30 years with modern techniques of firearms, civil liability, lawsuits, and professional awareness basically MANDATING such things for accident prevention, etc.
     
  9. desidog

    desidog Member

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    Saw the same thing here...Great (&safe) minds think alike!

    My grandfather taught me gun safety when i was little, and he learned in the Army before hitting a number of well-known beaches in the Pacific. He was very clear, and said it was very clear when they taught him...so i imagine its a bunch of liberal Hollywood actors who don't know better.

    I'd love to hear from someone who went through BT in WW2...
     
  10. Hummer1

    Hummer1 Member

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    Safety was a big issue in the sixtys when I was in the Army,they also told us that recruts were cheep they could call the draft board and get one free but if you lost your rifle it cost $78.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I agree with that!
    And Glocks had a lot to do with keeping your finger outside the trigger guard.

    It also might be noted that the M-1 Garand safety is inside the trigger guard.

    That is where I would keep my finger in combat too.
    You have to have your finger in the trigger guard to take the safety off in a hurry.

    rc
     
  12. rocky branch

    rocky branch Member

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    I think they are a bit lax in the movies to say the least.
    Even in absence of formal training, common sense and knowledge of more experienced people will prevail.
    Actual dummies get corrected pretty quick.
    Guys who do that for a living catch on pretty quick.

    What gets me in movies is guys walkng patrols strolling along scratching their asses and hollering at each other. Noise discipline is fairly important.

    I spent 18 months as an advisor to CIDG in SVN.
    My camp had a combination of Viets, Cambodians and Montagnards.
    It was a remote area with relatively primitive practices.
    A combat operation usually consisted of two Americaans and 10-20 Indig.

    You had to watch out-I don't recall anybody getting shot, but it seemed like their first reaction to contact was closing their eyes and ripping off a magazine.
     
  13. 45Badger

    45Badger Member

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    I would bet they got it pretty right. Basic training is one thing, being in a combat zone, on patrol, and under fire is quite another. Add hungry, cold, and scared s$$$less and the perspective changes even more. Think drivers education vs. downtown Chicago or the Jersey Turnpike. ALL of the basic safety rules are still true, but their application is seriously inconsistent. And (miraculously) 50 people don't get killed in car crashes every day on either of those roads.

    One of the nice things about the "four rules" is that they are redundant and provide a bit of "layered" security. If you break one (or two or three), you can still avoid killing somebody by accident. We have the luxury of being anal because we are shooting at paper and the worst thing that could happen is that you shoot somebody (or yourself) at the range. Think of it this way-

    sweeping- bad
    sweeping with known loaded weapon- very bad
    sweeping with known loaded weapon, finger on trigger- super bad bad

    So far, no damage but soiled undies

    sweeping with known loaded weapon, finger on trigger, pulling trigger- That is the baddest and can put holes in people.

    I suspect that getting shot at by enemy soldiers is worse (and more probable), and that my safety priorities and their practical application might change a wee bit. And yes, let's not forget that there are enough friendly fire incidents in combat to make us all think twice;).
     
  14. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

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    Here's a thought. A director may take several shots of a particular scene. Some shots are kept. Some shots are scarpped. Good acting prevails over adherence to proper trigger finger and muzzle control. It's unlikely that both the director and all the actors will have trigger finger and muzzle control down to muscle memory. Accordingly, even if the actors are told to keep the finger off the trigger and to have muzzle control, much of the best acting captured on film will inevitably have multiple violations of the Four Safety Rules.
     
  15. goofy grape

    goofy grape Member

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    I know that Clint was in the Army during Korea, so maybe that's why he had his finger outside the trigger guard. I was watching BOB on Spike the first night it was on. I have the series on VHS but my sister in law borrowed it and hasn't returned it yet. After I watched the whole thing in one sitting after buying it, I had to get a Garand. I found one (not on CMP, they were sold out at the time). It's 59 years old and still shoots reliably and accurately. I love it so much, I nicknamed it "baby."

    Okay, maybe I have issues.
     
  16. Mandolin

    Mandolin Member

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    If the saftey is in the trigger guard, then there is not much point in haveing your finger off the trigger.

    No wonder it took thousands of rounds to get a kill in Vietnam! On the other hand, marksmanshipp is near-useless in a jungle where you can't see 10 feet. blasting off a magazine is a fairly good respone to ambush, but only if you keep your eyes open. And what is it with peolpe carrying M60s over their shoulders in vietnam war movies? theey can't fire it that way.
     
  17. russ69

    russ69 Member

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    From what I see on the news from Iraq, stuff like that is a constant thing. I see guys kneeing and the guys behind shooting just over the top of the other guys helmet. War is dangerous and people get shot by their own guys. It's messy.

    Thanks, Russ
     
  18. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

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    I was always taught that muzzle discipline is paramount. If you flagged someone, you got pretty tired (in training at least).

    In combat, muzzle discipline was still important. Even when we left our patrol base, our gunners on the towers lifted their muzzles to not flag us.

    I can't recall flagging anyone, being flagged, or seeing it happen.
     
  19. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I've often wondered how often Garands in WWII were carried with the safety on?
     
  20. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    I guess the question still remains: If you are trying to be period correct, would your soldiers from WWII be focussed on "muzzle discipline" and "trigger safety" (having not had tons of such conditioning during training), or would the film be more accurate as we see it (reckless, uninformed gun handling)? "Band of Brothers" can be a contemporary training film, where all new gun handling procedures are displayed, or historically correct. You can't have both. I have seen a WWII movie where no one is smoking (polictically correct), and it just wasn't RIGHT!
     
  21. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    Whoa...I didn't say that. I don't see "reckless" - what I see is comfortable and casual. They are in a profession of arms - albeit, unwillingly - and, between training and combat they are comfortable.

    Maybe that's the ticket, huh? I recall one scene last night with a new LT who's so by-the-book that he could stitch barbed wire with his rear end. Contrast that with some of the seargants who were in Anzio - they were by-the-book when needed, but as a rule, not so uptight about it.

    I think much of this is our perception - as someone mentioned about cigs: it was how it was; today, it's verboten.

    Anyhow, keep the conversation going!

    Q
     
  22. MTO

    MTO Member

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    In the peacetime US Army of the latter half of the 80s, I remember the muzzle and trigger discipline was lax except on live ranges. And on live ranges, the extent of our safety instructions were, "keep it pointed up and downrange."

    In fact, I recall that the muzzle/trigger discipline was far more rigid in high school JROTC with inert drill rifles since an intentional violation was grounds for expulsion from the program.

    As a guess, I would imagine that such laxness under actual battle conditions would quickly yield numerous friendly casualties due to NDs and that the powers-that-be would adjust doctrine to prevent this.

    I don't recall whether it was depicted in the miniseries, but Ambrose's book recounted that one of the lieutenants was shot badly by a nervous sentry (while they were in Holland, I think), and during the Battle of the Bulge, one paratrooper ND'ed himself in the femoral artery with a captured trophy Luger. I would think that a proper mindset backed by the four rules that would make you mindful of where your muzzle is pointed would make you think twice before sticking a loaded pistol in your trousers.
     
  23. MTO

    MTO Member

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    Sorry to do this quick follow-up: I want to make absolutely clear that I am not being critical of the Army or the soldiers with whom I served and who came both before and after me. I know that I am most certainly not fit to shine the boots of the men of the 101st in WWII.

    I think of it much as Quoheleth has illustrated with the point about cigarettes. That was then. This is now. Seat belts, bicycle helmets, and child safety seats, anyone?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  24. ezypikns

    ezypikns Member

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    Do not sell yourself short........

    if you served your country.



     
  25. PandaBearBG

    PandaBearBG Member

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    As someone from the modern era of the military looking at those boys, given how they were quickly trained and pushed to limits and expectations no one would ever think about placing on the shoulders of our troops today, into one of the greatest (and by that I mean large scale, truely world changing war, I am not a fan of our boys dying for anything) I think muzzle awareness was low on the priority list. Not saying that it is a bad practice, I swear by solid muzzle control, and that other troops didn't accidently friendly fire, its just that Easy Co. were well documented and I'm sure as historicly accurate as the series is that acting didn't obscure facts or mannerism of those older troops. Easy Co made themselves an elite and effective fighting force literally by battle, they were smart and brave and I'm sure their ultimate safety (their finger) knew when their rifle would go bang. Men like that do not make dangerous mistakes.

    Of course these are the men that the troops of today strive to be like, fortunatly for the most part, it was a peace time world for troops, with the exceptions of Viet Nam and Iraq, where the flaws and inefficiencies of training could be tweaked and itemized down to every action and move. Doing push-ups in a "correct" manner, "correct" pull ups, etc.
    The military is an evolving machine, it's gotta start somewhere.
     
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