When does a Glock 19 cease to be a Glock 19? The five items in that photo are all roughly the same size and shape as a Glock 19. Three of them weigh approximately the same as a Glock 19. Four of them have a trigger you can pull. Three of them shoot projectiles, and two of them are firearms. All of them have a role to play in teaching someone to shoot, but only one is a Glock 19.
The reason why I bring this up is because there’s been some chatter about how the four rules of gun safety apply to the training world. Should you point a piece of blue plastic in an unsafe direction? What if it has a laser in it? What if it’s a chunk of plastic that shoots airsoft BBs?
We can all agree that using a Glock 44 or a Glock 19 (the only actual guns in that photo) inside a classroom comes with a lot of issues. I’ve been in classes where we used our actual carry guns, cleared, verified cleared and then been rendered inert with a chamber flag and barrel block. I’ve been in classes where we’ve used simunitions or airsoft, and we’ve pointed those (fake) guns at our fellow students over and over again, because that’s what you do in force on force training.
Should you treat a blue gun or a laser gun as a real gun all the time, and never point it in a unsafe direction? No, I don’t think that’s necessary. We use those “guns” in situations where we don’t know about the backstop, so we use something that is physically incapable of going “bang,” or even sending a BB downrange.
Now, should we point a blue gun or a laser pistol at someone during class? No, I don’t think we should. In my youth, I spent many days running around and pointing “guns” (cap guns, crooked sticks, whatever), but as the saying goes, once I became a man, I put away childish things. I stopped pointing gun-like things at other people. The exception to this is, of course, an airsoft event or a force on force class, where such before isn’t only allowed, it’s a requirement for success. Those events, however, have strict safety rules to prevent you from bringing in a firearm and causing a tragedy.
After all, they are the four rules of GUN safety, not the four rules of everything with a grip and a trigger safety.