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Whenever you have a hot firearm in your hands - one locked and loaded - you should constantly monitor its status much like pilots keep both eyes on their instruments.
Loading and locking any sort of gun, leaving it ready to be fired at a moment's notice implies that you are carrying or have close to you a potentially lethal instrument that could cause a lot of damage if not properly controlled. On the other hand, the decision that took you to lock and load your weapon certainly implies that you perceive a significant danger; otherwise, you would be an imprudent fool, wouldn't you? Because playing with loaded guns is indeed playing with fire.
So, you have two reasons to know how is your loaded gun, and keep informed on its status: To make absolutely sure that no accidents happen, and to remain assured that in the event of a shootout it will respond as expected.
Aside from dedicating my time to the study of survival techniques I am an aircraft pilot, and one of the things that you learn as you begin to fly is to keep a constant eye on all your instruments, even if you fly on autopilot. There is a certain "ritual" so to speak, involving how you should look at your panel, how you eyes should move and what you should look at.
This little habit is not something that pilots perform every fifteen minutes or so as they have a cup of coffee and talk about the weather. They might talk about such things, have their espresso, eat dinner, read the newspapers and look around, but they still manage to check their instruments… every thirty seconds, even if they fly fifteen hours from Trelew, in Patagonia, to the Betio atoll.
If you go on talking to a pilot in command you will see that he or she can be colloquial, but his or her eyes will constantly wander; pilots sometimes seem a little unpolite as they fly and talk, but the reality is that they are constantly checking the instruments, no matter what.
The same should be taken as an attitude in the case of loaded guns. It might seem silly to constantly check the status of your magazine, the safety devices, slings, sights and so on, but remember: Once you load a gun you are not just carrying it. You are preparing to jump into a fight, and every little advantage that you might develop for yourself could make the difference between your survival and that of your enemy.
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