The 2nd Rule of Gun Safety

The 2nd Rule of Gun Safety is one we hear a lot: keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. It’s sometimes obnoxiously phrased by internet dorks as “keep your booger hook off the bang switch.” Regardless, it seems like the 2nd rule would be one we can say is a hard and fast rule, never to be broken.

Not so fast, chief. Like the first rule, the 2nd rule of gun safety is more like a guideline. It’s an opportunity to get you to think about how and why you interact with the trigger. Obviously, for new gun owners we can treat the 2nd rule like it’s a firm go/no-go. Don’t touch the trigger until you’re aimed in helps build good safety habits. But what if you’re not a new shooter?

Experienced competition and combat shooters often get on the trigger earlier during the draw. Once the gun’s muzzle is level they’re on the trigger starting to press it as the gun moves towards extension. This is part of a technique called the Press-Out Draw, where the majority of the slack is taken out of the trigger during its movement. The sights aren’t on the target, but we’re touching the trigger.

That’s the best example of touching the trigger without sights being on target. A thoughtful consideration of this leads us to a new interpretation of the 2nd Rule of Gun Safety: Don’t touch the trigger until you’ve made a conscious decision to shoot. This allows us to get on the trigger early during the press out, and it allows us to fire the gun with a gross aiming index instead of always having to have perfect height and perfect light sight pictures. Should we teach newbies strict trigger discipline? Of course. But the point of these articles is to get you thinking about the 4 Rules in a new way.