Josh Montgomery: Muzzle Sweep: What You Need to Know – Top 7 Facts

Muzzle sweeps: not many people know precisely what this term means, but regardless, many have gone through it. The only differentiating factor is on what end of the muzzle sweep you were. This occurs mostly with newbie shooters – and if not handled carefully, the result can be rather dangerous.

Still, what do you need to know about muzzle sweeps – and how do you ensure that you stay safe throughout everything? By being informed, of course. Not only do you need to know precisely what muzzle sweeping is, but you must also know how to protect yourself against it – no matter if you are the one holding the gun or not.

What Is a Muzzle Sweep?

Muzzle sweeps tend to happen fairly often in groups where multiple people hold a gun – and most of them happen accidentally. A muzzle sweep happens when you aim your gun in a careless manner towards someone – but you do not intentionally mean to do so.

Gun owners who have just begun shooting tend to be at the cause of this, but it can also happen when a person upholsters their gun. Most of the time, they do so without knowing – but whatever the circumstances, this is regarded as a mistake.

When someone is muzzle sweeping, they are violating the second rule of safely using firearms – the one that says that you should not point a gun at a target unless you are actually planning to shoot at it. Guns can discharge accidentally, and you may cause injury when it wasn’t even your original intention to do so.

Obviously, a gun that has been holstered may sometimes point at your body parts or at someone else (e.g. when you are sitting at a table and someone passes by you), but in this case, there should not be any dangers. A holstered gun is unlikely to go off unless you actually put your finger on the trigger.

Top Facts to Know

Have you ever muzzle swept anyone, or were you a victim of such an occurrence? Here are a few facts that you might want to know.

  1. A gun won’t go off unless someone is handling it

Many people are sent into panic mode when they see a holstered gun pointing at them. One awkward move, or one finger sitting awkwardly on the trigger, and the gun – no matter if it is a concealed or a hunting gun – could go off.

However, a good gun will not go off just like that when holstered. For instance, if you go for a gun with the best sniper scope in the world, the only danger will appear when you are locking on a target and accidentally sweeping over something else. Still, a good quality gun delivers awesome value, and won’t simply go off just like that.

  • Bullets can go through anything

As a gun owner, you may be thinking that if you muzzle sweep and shoot through a wall, the bullet will remain stuck there and will not be hurting any innocent bystander. However, because of the speed of the bullet, not only do you risk the bullet bouncing back, but it can also go through a surface.

Therefore, let’s say that you are at the shooting range, practicing some moves. You can’t just assume everyone is safe simply because you have a bit of wall between you two. With the muzzle energy of firearms, a bullet can be very destructive even through a wall.

  • The safety isn’t always reliable

Many people end up carelessly muzzle sweeping while touching the trigger because “the safety is on anyway.” However, human error can happen – and when you think the safety is “on,” it can actually be “off.”  You should never assume anything when it comes to guns.

  • Muzzle discipline is not as easy as it seems

You might think it’s just as simple as that to keep the gun pointed in the right direction. However, it is very easy to muzzle sweep yourself accidentally – particularly if you are the owner of a handgun.

When you are just learning concealed carry techniques, you do not even notice when the gun is not facing a safe direction. You only notice it when someone is either yelling at you or you see the gun pointing at your leg. You may be careful when placing the gun in the holster – but it is not as easy as it seems.

  • Muzzle habits are built with time

Yes, they are prohibited in the laws of firearms from the very start – but this doesn’t mean that people are perfect. Every good habit is built through repetition – regardless if we are talking about firearms or anything else. By handling several firearms or replicas throughout time, you will get into the habit of pointing your gun in a safe direction.

  • Sweeping in a room will create a panic

Muzzle sweeping in a room full of people will create panic. It does not matter if the gun is unloaded or not. Every gun owner is trained to “see every gun as being loaded,” thanks to the gun rules. So, when they see the gun pointed at them, they will obviously go into distress. Bear in mind that if you muzzle sweep a shooting range continuously, you might just get yourself kicked out of the place.

  • You should also point out anyone muzzle sweeping

Yes, you should avoid muzzle sweeping people. But the fact is that most accidents occur when muzzle sweeps aren’t reported. Let’s say that you notice someone being careless with a gun. Even if they say it’s unloaded, there is always a chance that they forgot to unload a chamber. Some people might accuse you of overreacting – but you never know what might happen.

Final Thoughts

Muzzle sweeps should not be done, regardless of where you are. You may be at the shooting range, you may be on the hunting grounds – or you may be in your own house. Whatever the case, assuming that it’s alright to muzzle sweep can prove to be dangerous, and it can get you in trouble.

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6 thoughts on “Josh Montgomery: Muzzle Sweep: What You Need to Know – Top 7 Facts

  1. This post reminds me of something related. Students who around school shooters are now starting to fight back from what I am seeing (annecdotal evidence I know) but I have not heard about any training for students talking about keeping where the muzzle is pointing in mind.

  2. Muzzle sweep also referred to as “covering” something. As in Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules.

    All guns are always loaded.
    Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

  3. This is a good argument for mandatory training before being allowed to own a handgun. Much harder to carelessly “sweep” someone with a long gun.

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