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NEWS | July 6, 2022

Small Arms: Always THINK When Handling Weapons


Soldiers, when handling your weapon, don’t be complacent or undisciplined; instead, remember to THINK. Accidents are more likely to happen in a deployed environment versus garrison because Soldiers become relaxed with weapon handling.

Some of the most common ways unintentional discharges happen are when:
  • cleaning, clearing or performing a functions check.
  • entering or exiting vehicles.
  • retrieving, uploading or emplacing weapons.
  • following a change of mission, duty or weapon's status.
  • joking or playing around pointing a weapon at yourself or someone else.
  • handling a weapon with which you’re unfamiliar.
  • becoming distracted and fiddling with a weapon and unmindfully pulling the trigger.
  • improper headspace and timing and accidental ricochet or shrapnel incidents occur. (These don’t happen as often but are still a hazard.)
Here are some tips to help stop unintentional discharges.
  • Don’t use weapons you haven’t been trained on or that haven’t been inspected for serviceability.
  • When clearing a weapon, always remove the source of ammunition (magazine, belt, etc.). 
  • Never clean weapons with a magazine inserted.
  • Always avoid holsters that orient muzzles towards personnel. This should be stated in command policy.
  • Use the proper gauge. The M2 and M3 are not interchangeable.
  • When firing your individual weapon from the gunner's station, make sure the muzzle has cleared the turret. A good way to do this is to put the barrel over the turret.
  • Include guidance on the handling and use of foreign weapons and ammunition in command policy.
  • Always THINK weapons safety!
 
THINK poster
Click on the image above to download a PDF copy of the THINK poster

For more information on safety, visit the US Army Combat Readiness Center.
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