The most important part

I’ve been providing firearms training for approximately thirty years, in the military, law enforcement and in the civilian world. I’ve come across a large spectrum of students while doing so. The majority of the students have some firearms background and are relatively safe handling a firearm and just need a few mental notes in order to make them safer. There are some who are very safe handling a firearm but just need the fundamentals of firearm manipulation, marksmanship and common drills. Some know everything there is about safety and their gun handling skills are great but they just want a higher level of advanced training. But then, there are some that just don’t get the safety aspect of handling a firearm. No matter how much training they receive their firearm safety skills just don’t cut it. I’ve always felt, and I believe most firearms instructors feel, that if the safety aspect isn’t there then the rest is useless.

I’ve been somewhat perplexed about these students and wondered why they can learn marksmanship, gun manipulation and even firearm drills but then the safety portion of it goes right out the window. What is it about them that won’t allow their brain to lock in on the safety of handling a firearm? Now when I talk about safety while handling a firearm, let me explain what that means to me.

Muzzling: The muzzle is the front end of the barrel from which the projectile will exit. So, where the bullet comes out. So muzzling is the action where your muzzle, or end of the barrel, is pointed at something you are not intending to shoot.

Finger on the trigger: This is the action needed when the shooter has consciously made the decision to fire the firearm. Placing your finger on the trigger is the final removal of all safeties that your particular firearm might have.
These are the two actions needed to fire a firearm and to hit the intended target. But what is the purpose of the two if you are not intending to hit the object the muzzle is currently pointing at and why is your finger on the trigger when you are not intending on firing the firearm? Those are the two fundamental safety rules that a small percentage of shooters have a major problem with. Why?

The answer that I have come up with has to do with the mental state of the shooter. What is important to them and what has not been made to be, “The most important”.

When you go to the range or shoot wherever you go shooting, how much thought and training goes into your muzzle and finger. Without firing a single shot, what drills do you do to make your muzzling practice and your finger placement on and off the trigger second nature?

Go buy a toy gun and walk around the house with it among your family and friends, doing whatever you would be normally doing and ensure that your muzzle never points at anything you are not willing to destroy. Then pick a couple of portraits on the wall, identify them as threats and point your toy gun at them. When your sights are aligned and your ready to fire, move your finger to the trigger. Say “Bang Bang,” and when the threat is gone, remove your finger from the trigger and back to the frame of the gun. If you have a mechanical safety on your firearm, practice this. Your trigger finger and your thumb that releases the mechanical safety both work in conjunction with one another. The thumb drops the safety as the finger goes to the trigger. As the finger moves away from the trigger the thumb engages the safety. If your firearm does not have a mechanical safety, then concentrate only on your trigger finger.

Muzzling, and trigger finger are the two worse safety violations committed by shooters. Make it second nature to always know where your firearm is pointed and always know where your trigger finger is. Then go get whatever training you want, because if you are safe, your instructor can do so many more things with you instead of wasting valuable time on your safety practices, or lack of.

Oz Johnson is the owner of, Johnson Group Tactical, a Phoenix based Firearms and Tactical Training service. We have a group of like-minded neighbors, if you would like information, please visit


For any questions regarding my article, please email me at [email protected]
Oz Johnson/lead instructor

Concealed Carry Permit Training planned at American Legion Post 34

Public encouraged to learn Firearms Laws

Cave Creek –Johnson Group Tactical will offer Concealed Carry Permit Training at American Legion Post 34 on JANUARY 14th & FEBRUARY 4th from 11 AM – 3 PM for people interested in securing a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) Permit. The class, which costs $89, will be held at the American Legion Post 34, which is located at 6272 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, Ariz., 85331. Discounts are available for military and first responders. The class fee includes fingerprinting but does not include the $60 application fee to AZ DPS for the final permit.

“We believe in preparation and situational awareness. We teach tactical mindset,” says Oz Johnson, founder: “It’s the ability to have the thought process that comes with training and experience by using your cognitive thinking to quickly determine your next course of action.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) is the practice of carrying a weapon in a public place, in a concealed matter, either on one’s person or in a close proximity.

“If forced to draw your gun in self-defense, you must know exactly what to do next” says Karin Johnson. “It’s about making the right decisions.” This class meets the requirements for those who want to obtain their Concealed Carry Permit. Regardless of whether you choose to get your permit, the education provided is beneficial for all Responsible Armed-Americans.

The business can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 602.410.7355.