By: Mark Williams
"Fire Control" is by far one of the most important things we teach at the Carbine Essentials class and also the hardest to understand. Simply put, it is the marrying of the shooters strong hand (usually right) to the pistol grip. As Instructor Trevor M. states "Fire control is like your foot on the gas pedal and your non dominant hand is the steering wheel". Having your strong hand on the pistol grip all of the time ensures the carbine can be manipulated, controlled, put on/off safe and of course fired. Any time we take our fire control off of the carbine, we loss the ability to do all of those things. Although this seems like common sense, it is much harder to do then it looks.
We usually see students leave fire control when loading and unloading the carbine, operating the charging handle or trying to manipulate another piece of gear. For bench rest shooters, this may suffice. For competitive and real world carbine users this can be down right dangerous. Additionally , we see many beginning carbine shooters go off fire control when looking for magazines on their kit. Understand, it is up the shooter to learn his or her gear so when the reload comes, it becomes muscle movement to those magazine pouches with the non-dominant/non- fire control hand.
Fire Control also has one big benefactor, safety! T3 is harsh on students about safety control. An M4 Carbine platform is inherently dangerous and is easy to cause an negligent discharge (ND). Military and Law have been dealing with these problems for over 50 years and all of us instructors have seen it happen in real world circumstances and on the training range. You need to understand your safety cannot ever be used enough. It should be on 99.9 percent of the time your are using your gun. As we teach during the CE course, the only time you switch off safe is that 1/10th of second before you pull the trigger.
We usually see near misses and negligent discharges happen when shooters are on the move. For instance; shooter fires his carbine with a control pair, walks forward five steps and then puts his foot in a rut. The shooter stumbles and because he forgot to safety his firearm, unconsciously squeezes his fingers into a fist when he falls and the firearm is discharged. It is important to remember if their is no immediate threat that you are actively firing on, the firearm should be on safe, whether in the alert, ready or gun position.
If your still confused, check out this video. Watch as the instructor never leaves fire control. Before the drill when he does his press check and slams the forward assist, his right hand stays on the pistol grip. Notice how during the entire drill, the safety is turned on and off every time the shooter moves from position to position. Try to see the safety being turned on during the speed reload and then off on the next engagement. This is proper fire control and safety management.
Their is only a couple of times we suggest taking your hand off fire control. Although their are several other reasons, these are the most realistic and most reoccurring reasons:
1.) To conduct an immediate action to a type II or III stoppage. (Double feed and brass over bolt)
2.) To administratively lock your bolt to the rear.
3.) To conduct a strong side to weak side transition (Obviously)
With that being said, take a look at your carbine and your gear and identify any accessories you may have which require your to operate them with your fire control hand. Lights, Lasers, PEQs, DBALS,NODS (Night optic devices) Tape switches. They all need to be positioned so they can either be operated ambidextrously or on your dominant side.
Fire control and safety management is a boring aspect of carbine training . In fact its like OSHA compliance and sexual harassment training in the workplace. The issue is, without fire control and safety management, you cant continue to do the technical skills without this incredibly important discipline. Attend the Carbine Essentials class by Trigger Time Training in Longmont, Colorado and we will give you the tools needed to get it done right.
If you have any questions or comments please comment below or message the instructors!
Mark is the Chief trainer at TTGC and T3. With over 8 years in the security industry as a US Marine, Professional Instructor and constant student, Mark has a passion for assisting others with Training and Equipment. We hope to hear from you here on the T3 blog and look forward to some good conversations.
Trigger Time Gun Club L.L.C, All rights reserved
3575 Stagecoach Rd. Longmont, Colorado 80504