Should The Muzzle Be Pointed Up Or Down?
Kevin Felts 02.22.18
While handling a firearm around others, should the muzzle be pointed up or down? On the flip-side, if you are around people handling firearms, would you rather they point the muzzle up or down?
James Yeager posted a video talking about the topic, and he says he likes to point the muzzle up. He goes on to provide a few examples of why he prefers up compared to down. James is a controversial individual. There seems to be a fine line between hating him and liking him.
Most of the comments on the video seem to support muzzle up. I was one of the few people who said muzzle down. There is a reason why I prefer muzzle down, and it is not based on a theory, or what “might” happen.
Real World Examples
Sometime around 1998, maybe 1997, several of my buddies and I were on a camping trip near a marsh. There were around five or six or us on the trip. One of the guys brought a short, but legal length double barrel shotgun for snakes. Cottonmouth snakes were common in the area.
The shotgun was on the ground. My buddy reaches down, grabs it around the trigger guard, and as he stands upright the shotgun discharges. The blast hits the ground around three feet from where I was standing. Dirt went everywhere, including on me. The discharge was 100% his fault. My buddy was not paying attention to where his fingers were at, or what he was doing.
Another incident was at a shooting range where an individual picks up a lever action 30-30, was not paying attention to where his finger trigger was at, and the rifle discharged into the ground.
Yet another incident where an individual was decocking a .357 magnum revolver. His thumb slipped off the hammer, and the revolver discharged. The handgun was pointing down and the bullet went into the ground. The shooter knew there was a danger in decocking the handgun and made sure the revolver was pointing in a safe direction.
What is the common trend with all three discharges, besides negligence? All three discharges, the round went into the ground and nobody was hurt.
I was there and witnessed all three examples first hand
Muzzle Up Or Down?
With the muzzle pointing down, what could have been the worse case situation in those three real world examples? The shotgun blast could have taken someones foot off. I was only 36 inches from losing my foot. Another buddy of mine was standing on the other side of where the blast hit. There were five or six people on that trip. We were all very lucky nobody was hurt.
With the muzzle pointing up, what could have been the worse case situation? The shotgun could have taken someones head off.
Given the option, would the reader rather lose their foot, or their head? Neither would be preferred.
Do the readers have examples of a negligent discharge they would like to share? If someone were to have a negligent discharge near you, would you rather the muzzle be pointed up, or down?