Safety Tip: Searching with the Muzzle

Officer safety isn't only about not getting hurt in a fight it extends to surviving the aftermath and avoiding an aftermath at all if it s not necessary. The latter is the subject here. Years ago, I was taught at the Smith & Wesson Academy (then under the directorship of now New Braintree (Mass.) Chief of Police Bert DuVernay) that you should properly conduct searches with the gun out with the muzzle downward and pointing in a safe direction. The general tactical rule says you should point the muzzle to the danger area, of course, and that still holds. But I've seen way too many officers searching with their muzzles pointed directly in front of them, into the area where a suspect's center of mass would be. This is dangerous and foolish. With the gun oriented this way, you are much more susceptible to hitting a person that shouldn't be shot if you fire as you are startled, and any accidental or negligent discharges (e.g., from tripping) are more likely to hit one of your own.

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