Gun Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility!
ATACS Advanced Tactical Training Services was envisioned to be primarily a partner in training for Philippine Law Enforcement, Armed Forces and Private Security Agencies. Although employing non-lethal simulation training rifles and pistols, the mental discipline of gun safety should always be applied.
True, the Real Action Marker is not capable of killing a person. But one can still be blinded unless wearing appropriate protective equipment. Put more importantly, training with the RAM means that you are harnessing skills that you will later use when holding a real firearm. As such, being ignorant of gun safety rules means you are inviting disaster. Showing lack of respect when using RAM will more often translate to lack of respect for your real gun.
Firearms safety transcends mental and physical discipline – it is a way of life for all those who are and who wish to carry arms. Guns and the Real Action Marker are tools; used properly, both are useful and enjoyable tools.
Thus ATACS advocates everyone using the RAM to learn at heart the four Cardinal Rules of Gun Safety. It will prevent you from accidentally hurting yourself or someone else. Remember, there is no such thing as accidental discharge, only criminal negligence.
Rule # 1: All Guns Are Always Loaded
All guns are always loaded. ALWAYS! Unless you have checked it yourself, always assume that the gun is loaded, and that you have verified its condition. Don’t rely on the word of anyone else. The gun in your hand is also your responsibility, therefore any incidents that occur with it will make you liable for it.
When picking up a RAM rifle, check first if the safety lever is set on the safe position. But even if it is on “safe” don’t point the gun around indiscriminately, because if the trigger unit has a leak, the gun will still fire and hurt someone. Next, check the ejector port to see if a paintball shell is loaded. Quick tip: If you see silver, it’s loaded. If you see only black, that means the maglock is engaged and the rifle is empty.
For RAM pistol, there is no safety switch. In order to ensure that it is loaded or not, eject first the magazine. Then pull back the slide to see if a round is chambered. If there is a paintball loaded, locate a safe area, a blank wall or container and point the gun towards it, then discharge the round.
Rule # 2: Never let your muzzle cover anything that you are not willing to kill.
Never let your muzzle cover anything that you are not willing to kill or destroy. You must always be aware of where your gun is pointed. Never let it point at anyone or anything that you don’t want to shoot.
The same is true for the RAM as with the real gun, because both shoot projectile that can cause certain levels of injury. Like in rule number one, the safety on the RAM rifle may not fully engage if the trigger unit has a leak. Thus if you point your RAM at anything that you are not intending to shoot, the gun might fire on its own due to the malfunction and you might end up hurting someone.
If your gun is never pointed in an unsafe direction, then no one can be harmed by it, even if you do something stupid. You MUST exercise due care when handling a gun or your RAM. Even if you know the RAM is empty, don’t let it point at anyone, unless the instructor has given you the order to begin the force-on-force training session.
Rule # 3: Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger & Out of the Trigger Guard Always.
Simple and effective. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on target, and you have made the conscious decision to shoot. This is especially important when using the RAM in force-on-force training. Indiscriminate firing can lead to unintended injuries to members of your team.
Another reason for this is basically neurological – the primitive brain and man’s natural self defense reaction is to tighten up every muscle in the body when startled, including the trigger finger. So if your finger is on the trigger at all times, when the shooting starts, you might end up pulling the trigger by accident. If your finger is out of the trigger guard and along the frame, you will not be in danger of shooting by mistake.
Rule # 4: Be Sure Of Your Target And What’s Beyond It.
The hand that holds the gun is responsible for whatever is done by that gun. If you launch a bullet, you are responsible for it, no matter where it lands. When using RAM for training or recreation, you will also be responsible for whatever you hit.
Know your target and what lies beyond it is the essence of force-on-force training with RAM. This is not a movie wherein all the tangos line up for you to shoot down one by one. They shoot back. They can use hostages, usually members of your own team or training class. They might be hiding in an area where your teammates might soon emerge, thereby creating a situation for friendly cross-fire. Worse, there might be bystanders, spectators or even marshals near your line of fire.
As such you must know the capabilities of your RAM, what damage it can do to a person a long or short range. You must also be certain where your shot will go when you fire, what you might hit if your miss your intended target. And although the paintball round will not penetrate, you assume in training that you are using a real gun and thus you must also assume that the ammo will go through the target and hit something else.
Before you fire, look over the intended path carefully. If it’s not safe to shoot that way, don’t. If you have to shoot, and it’s not safe to miss, then you better not miss. Find a way to win. Change the background by moving, or change the angle by kneeling.
REMEMBER training with the RAM means: You train like you fight in order to fight like you train. Be mentally prepared. Respect your Real Action Marker, not as a toy but as an effective training tool that it was envisioned to be.