The standard operating procedure for while I was employed behind the gun counter was as follows:
- Customer asks to see gun.
- Take gun out of case, clear it, hand it to customer with slide locked back, cylinder open, etc.
- When customer hands the gun back, clear the gun again, point it at the floor (in the safest direction) and dry-fire (unless it had a decocking mechanism or was a .22 then you should use the decocker or lower the hammer manually).
- If a safety could be put on.. put it on.
- Put it back in case.
Upon starting IDPA this practice was reinforced.
Show firearm clear to the RO.
Dry-fire into berm.
I can't remember a single time I have not done this practice when clearing handguns.
Remove magazine, clear chamber, check chamber, point in a safe direction, dry-fire.
In my opinion I am not breaking any of the rules of gun handling. I am treating the firearm as though it were loaded. I am pointing the firearm in a safe direction. I am not putting my finger on the trigger until I am ready to fire (or in this case, dry-fire). I am aware of my target and what is beyond.
On both of the firearms I carry (a 1911 or Glock) this gives me a visual clue the firearm has not been messed with or handled since I cleared it. If the hammer is down on my 1911 or the trigger has not been reset on my Glock I know the slide has not been racked. Even if the firearm were to be picked up by a novice and played with the slide would have to be operated and the trigger is pretty much inoperable.
Of course I always check a firearm every time I pick it up but dry-firing is something I have always done upon clearing my semi-autos (provided it is safe to dry-fire).
Some have seen this practice and questioned whether or not it is a bad habit saying that I could get complacent with my dry-firing and unintentionally fire a round.
I suppose anything is possible... but I have yet to disrespect any handgun or the rules of operating those handguns to the point where I carelessly put my finger on the trigger or dry-fired in an unsafe direction/manner.
JD and I talked about it this morning and he agrees that it has always been a practice of his as well and he sees nothing wrong with it.
What say ye? Reasonable clearing method or bad habit?