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Unload and Show Clear!

The CMA shooting sport is based on a solid firearms education concept and it is a goal to promote safe, simple and effective shooting techniques.

One element of basic firearms education is how to unload and check a firearm. This manipulation should not foster habits that are undesirable outside of shooting sports.

Let's see how unload and show clear is properly done with a pistol in CMA.

Unload and Show Clear!

Upon the command 'If finished, unload and show clear!' the shooter will:

1 - Remove the Magazine

Remove the magazine from the pistol and stow it away. If the magazine contains rounds, those can remain in the magazine.

Unload and show clear: remove the magazine
Removing the Magazine

2 - Grip the Slide

Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and grip the slide with the weak hand covering the ejection port as shown below. If needed, rotate your body towards the strong side to assure a safe muzzle direction.

Unload and show clear: grip the slide
Gripping the Slide

The weak hand should form a little pouch beneath the ejection port to catch the round from the chamber when the slide is pulled back.

3 - Pull & Lock the Slide Back

Move the slide back while pushing the slide lock lever upwards and lock the slide to the rear. The round from the chamber should fall into the weak hand.

Unload and show clear: slide locked and round caught
Slide Locked and Round Caught

Stow away the round. Be careful not to move your weak hand in front of the muzzle.

4 - Check the Pistol

Both the shooter and the safety officer will now inspect the chamber and the magazine well. Make sure you can see into the chamber, point at it with your weak hand index finger saying: 'Check!'.

Unload and show clear: check the chamber
'Check!' Chamber

After checking the chamber, turn the pistol and check the magazine well. To do this, insert your weak hand thumb into the mag well and say: 'Check!'.

Unload and show clear: check the magwell
'Check!' Magwell

The shooter performs the check and he remains fully responsible for his firearm. However, it is the duty of the safety officer to follow each step of the process. If the safety officer is not satisfied that the check has been properly executed, he will repeat his command to do so.

After the check is fully and correctly executed the safety officer will command 'If clear, slide forward' and then 'Holster'.

Remember, even if the shooter just unloaded the gun under command of a safety officer, all safety rules need to be fully applied without interruption. The pistol will still have to be always treated as loaded, no matter what.

Pulling the Trigger

In CMA, we do not require the shooter to pull the trigger. The common answer to the question; 'Why should we pull the trigger after unloading?' is: 'To make sure the pistol is empty'.

Wait a minute...

What if a shot is actually fired because the check was not properly or not at all executed? At the shooting range with everybody wearing eye and ear protection and the muzzle hopefully pointed at the berm, the shooter will get a disqualification and his pride will be bent.

But what about when you are at home, or at the station or somewhere else? Where will that bullet go? Maybe through a wall, through a window, down the street, hitting a person? Absolutely possible. What about the damage to the hearing of the persons in the vicinity?

Pulling the trigger should only be done when the shooter actually wants to fire the pistol and it should not come out of a bad habit acquired when unloading in shooting sports.

De-Cocking an External Hammer

If the pistol has an external hammer, the safety officer will command: 'Hammer down' before holstering. The shooter will use the de-cocking lever to lower the hammer to the safety notch.

If the pistol does not have a de-cocking lever, the shooter must block the hammer from reaching the firing pin, using his weak hand thumb, while pulling the trigger.

Unload and show clear: safe de-cocking
Pulling Trigger with Blocked Hammer

In this way, the hammer is positively blocked from moving all the way forward. Once the hammer rests against the thumb, the shooter will remove his finger from the trigger. With the finger outside and above the triggerguard, the hammer can then safely be lowered to the safety notch.

Unload and show clear: safely lowering the hammer
Safely Lower the Hammer

The exact same manipulation has to be used when holstering a loaded DA/SA pistol without a de-cocking lever, when making ready.

Complete and Correct

Always do safety relevant checks completely and correctly. Don't take shortcuts and don't assume anything. Always take the time to make your checks and apply the safety rules at all times.

Thank you for reading and stay safe!





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