Firearm Safety for Krav Maga Practitioners
Over the past ten years I have taught Krav Maga in Israel, Europe, North America, and South America. In most of the countries that I teach, the practitioners (ordinary citizens) are not allowed by law to carry firearms let alone use them for self-defense. However, in all of the places I have taught around the world everyone trains pistol and rifle disarms. Most students will never have the opportunity to truly train with the use of firearms, yet they still MUST know the four cardinal rules of firearms safety:
1. Treat all firearms as loaded
2. Never point the gun at anything that you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot (safety engaged if it has a manual safety)
4. Know your target, its background, and its foreground
As a Krav Maga instructor I always speak about the importance of realistic self-defense training, how our training needs to mimic the real world. I constantly try to apply that ethos to my practitioners and of course myself, this means follow the rules above. When my students practice their pistol and rifle disarms with blue guns (plastic molded replicas) they are not allowed to treat them as toys. I insist that my students follow the basic four rules of firearms safety.
The background/backstop or rather where the bullet will impact when it is redirected should always be on my mind when training gun disarms. How crowded is the area I am in? How far is the nearest person? Are the walls around me concrete or just simple sheet rock? Additionally, terminal ballistics should be a part of this thought – How far can a 5.56x45mm round travel? Or a 7.62x39mm? Essentially all of the answers to this questions will determine if the firearms needs to be re-directed right, left, up or down…or maybe not at all.
Most rifles and some handguns are equipped with a manual safety which either block the trigger from being depressed or disable the trigger. How does this help me, the defender? If faced with a threat of a gun that has a safety and see that it is on safe, it may be the better opportunity initiate the defense before the gunman takes their firearm off safe and puts their finger on the trigger. Note that a safety does not guarantee that a gun will not fire therefore always refer to rule number one!
The four basic rules of firearm safety will not just make practitioners safer when training disarms but also smarter in the way that they approach the defense. Krav Maga practitioners will have a deeper understanding of the defenses they perform as well as a safety first mindset.
Founder -Tactical Fitness
P.S. Knowing the rules of firearms safety will also prevent me from smacking your hand if I ever train you in the Krav gym and see you put your finger in the trigger when you are not supposed to.