Thinking Is Doing

The best way to be safe is to think safely; 95% of safety is mental. Proper actions require correct thoughts. You learn the safety rules, then religiously apply them without exception.

How you think about these rules is important. You only use positive statements. “Keep your finger off the trigger,” as opposed to, “Don’t put your finger on the trigger.” I can’t remember the parts of the brain involved in self-talk, but they don’t recognize the difference between positive and negative quantifiers. When you say, “Don’t put your finger on the trigger,” what comes out, which guides action, is “… put your finger on the trigger.” When you do get it wrong, and we all do, acknowledge it and correct as necessary, but don’t mentally dwell on the mistake. You’ll only be programming the wrong action. Instead of thinking about what not to do, focus on the correct actions.

When a firearm is in your hand, the only thing you should think about is handling the weapon safely. You can’t afford to be distracted, even for a fraction of a second. Should something else need attention, secure the gun first. The majority of safety infractions occur when someone needs to perform a task involving the hands, as mentioned above.

Getting into a hurry, rushing and trying to impress your shootin’ buddies is a sure way to get into trouble with firearms. Slowing down is going to be your biggest aid when it comes to safety. There’s conscious thought prior to any physical action. You think about what you need to do, how to perform the action safely, and then finally act. Eventually, with proper repetition — slow, correct practice — a majority of these actions begin to operate at a subconscious level.