Dear Gun Whisperer
I keep hearing about “Safe Direction”, need to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, etc. What is a safe direction, can’t I just point at the floor or a wall, or outside? Why do I need to worry about it anyway?
Safe or Unsafe?
Dear Safe or Unsafe
Very simply stated, a Safe Direction is a direction which, if the gun were to be fired (and we know they don’t go off by themselves) no one would be injured or killed and property damage would be minimized.
This is an important concept, number one, no one gets hurt, number two, minimize property damage as much as possible. Floors and walls are not safe directions. A round can easily penetrate a wall and keep on going, and you can’t see what is on the other side. Same with floors and ceilings. If it is a concrete floor, there is the risk of injury from ricochet or fragments. Outside? Well, contrary to well publicized advice from a prominent politician, this is very dangerous since you just don’t know where the bullet with strike.
When do you need a safe direction? First, when you are practicing, you are keeping your firearm pointed downrange, toward to backstop and not waiving it around. But if you are dry-firing, you need a safe direction. If, like me, you shoot Glock and need to pull the trigger to take it apart, you need a safe direction. There is lots of advice on line about making a safe area. I have a cinderblock wall in my basement, with dirt on the other side, and a Kevlar vest that hangs in front of it. Would I be happy if I shot my vest? No, it wasn’t cheap, but, it beats putting a hole in my hardwood floor. You can manufacture a safe area, a couple 50 pound buckets of sand or cat litter, a Kevlar clipboard (www.ThinkGeek.com), a Kevlar top to a range bag…there are options. The key is to be safe, triple check your firearm, know what is in the direction, and beyond, where you are pointing your gun.
The Gun Whisperer
This article is not intended to provide legal advice, nor is the substitute for consultation with a trained or certified gun-smith or trainer in making any particular decision or election not to act. Laws, customs, and weapons choices vary widely within states across the country for reasons ranging from climate, general and specific dangers, and political philosophy.