This photo was used for NRA’s Carry Guard. I cannot find it on their website now but take a good look at the photo. What is James Jarrett doing? Why is his index finger on the trigger as he is drawing his pistol?

So a little caveat, James Jarrett is a veteran and has law enforcement experience.

As a veteran Green Beret, LAPD officer, federal agent and deep-cover intelligence operative, James R. Jarrett has decades of experience as a tactical weapons practitioner and instructor. He has also served as a professor of criminology and forensics, a private forensic investigator and a federal and state court-approved expert witness in ballistics, firearms, homicide reconstruction and use of force issues.

Jarrett is equally at home on the battlefield, at the crime scene, in the courtroom and in the classroom. He is the ideal teacher to guide you through the self-defense scenario and the long legal battle that follows, with the blunt admonition that “… your problem starts when you have won the gunfight.”


What the NRA did not mention is Jarrett’s right hand. According to an LA Times article from 1995:

He is a demolitions and guerrilla warfare expert who sees some FBI agents as arrogant prigs and believes the DEA is out of control. Jarrett is a Vietnam veteran, an NRA member and a combat shootist with a partial claw for a right hand.

Torn in a grenade accident, the hand was rebuilt with bone from a rib and tissue from his backside. Jarrett says he gave surgeons a pistol as a mold so his grip and trigger finger would be saved.


So he has a deformed right hand. Even though he has decades of practice and experience with his claw hand, is this safe to promote? Should we give the guy a break? Disabilities is one thing, but being safe is another and should be a priority. What is wrong with his left hand? Obviously from the LA Times article, he favors his right hand so much that he had it reconstructed just to hold a pistol. I am ambivalent on this issue. He clearly knows how to handle a firearm and I will give him the benefit of the doubt that his trigger finger is not on the trigger but possibly hovering just millimeters away. That might be the extent of his ability, he might not be physically capable to keep his finger outside of the trigger guard. However another side of me thinks this is a perfect example of being proficient in shooting weak hand. He should be using his left hand, if it is fully functioning. Especially when matters of safety and promotion of the NRA are concerned.

What are your thoughts? Give the guy a break for his bum hand or hold him to a higher standard for who he is and what he represents?


  • Havok

    A little bit of both. The guy does have a legitimate disability and as you said, he may not be able to move his finger any further than that location. But on the other hand, he is quoted as calling FBI Agents arrogant prigs. How could we not consider him arrogant in not switching dominant hands?

  • James Young

    He probably should’ve just learned to shoot left handed. It shouldnt be difficult. If his right hand is partially unusable he probably uses his left hand for most routine daily tasks.

    • Edeco

      Especially if he’s going to be an instructor/poster-guy.

      I mean the 4 Rules are a safety code, perhaps not the only one… if someone has a different system, their call. But it’s confusing to see a leader in an org that has chosen the 4 Rules do that.

  • conrad

    Finally, an article the snowflakes here can get their teeth into.
    Give the guy a break, for all you know he is prepping an 8lb NY1.

    • Phillip Cooper

      What does “prepping an 8lb NY1” mean?

      • conrad

        Glock’s NY Trigger requires 8 pounds for the break. In the old days a person would prep a revolver’s trigger as it was brought on target and it was a legitimate way to present your weapon for firing.
        8 pounds would be similar to a revolver and if we were to give the guy the benefit of the doubt I’d start with that. In either event, how he presents is up to him, I’d bet he’s entitled to his opinion. 🙂

        • conrad

          New York 1

  • Calavera

    “He is a demolitions and guerrilla warfare expert who sees some FBI agents as arrogant prigs …” I love this guy! Cut him some slack…or YOU tell him he’s doing it wrong. I didn’t attain this ripe old age by poking hornet nests with a stick.

    • Dougscamo

      Or bears….

  • USMC03Vet
    • Dan

      Or the video of Patrick shooting the 6.5 RPR without eye protection? Sometimes i wonder if they even read their own blog.

      • iksnilol

        Why would you shoot a precision rifle with eye pro ?

        The glass just gets in the way/smudges.

        Machineguns and autos in general I use eye pro, but not on precision guns.

        • Rick O’Shay

          I think this whole discussion is in the same vein of what I’m hearing that no one is the exception to safety rules, even if you’re shooting a bolt action at a slow rate of fire, etc.

      • USMC03Vet

        They aren’t very consistent, but since no author is listed it’s even harder to tell.

  • Just Say’n

    NOT with a Glock am I giving him a pass! Maybe with a 1911 or something with a thumb safety, but that looks like a good way to get Glock leg.

  • ExMachina1

    “What are your thoughts? Give the guy a break for his bum hand or hold him to a higher standard for who he is and what he represents?”

    How about we take this opportunity to realize that even “the best” will have lapses in discipline. No one is above making a goof or having a ND. Think you don’t know someone who could always stand to improve their firearms safety?–look in the mirror.

  • The Rambling Historian

    Shoot safe or don’t shoot.

  • Nicks87

    I think he just got caught cheating maybe? I doubt he has any issues with weapon safety.

  • Anonymoose

    Clearly banning SERPAs wasn’t enough.

  • Bill

    Wrong is just wrong. This is taking adapting to a disability too far.

    It doesn’t bear the same safety implications, but due to eye surgery and age, my dominant eye changed from one side to the other, and I’ve had to adapt to that, by using my “new” eye, and it’s hard. It’d be a lot easier if I wore a patch over my former dominant eye, but that’s a little extreme as opposed to relentless draws, dry-fire and practice using the correct eye, even though decades of using the other makes it difficult, to say the least

    Sometimes struggle is the best answer.

  • Big Daddy

    None of my business he earned the right to do what he wants to. Did he ever shoot himself or have a bad shoot? No… there ya go. Worry about what you do and not what everybody else does.

    • Dan

      I worry about what other people do with guns because they may shoot me if they screw up. I dont wear a seat belt because im worried about plowing into another car I’m worried another car will plow into me. I lock my doors because of what other people will do. So yeah, I’m going to worry about what other people do if it has a chance of affecting my safety. Thia guy however I probably wouldn’t worry so much about.

  • Gary Kirk

    He’s using a Glock… How many holes does he have in his right leg? If the answer is zero, let him be.. He’s apparently had the time and training to compensate for his disability. However, I could not personally condone such a thing.. But, if it works.. Why not

    ETA: If that truly is the extent of his hands manipulation.. How does he get the firearm out of the holster? Carve out the trigger cover?

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Getting it out isnt the issue. Usually a finger in any condition (including his) can bend back farther with external force applied than his own muscles can bend it. Just push it against the holster and slide the gun out.

      But how does he get it back in?

      • Gary Kirk

        Guess that I should’ve mentioned that as well.. But if that truly is as far as his finger will extend, he’d actually have to extract the firearm with his wrist twisted so the bottom three fingers grasp the grip and wrap his hand appropriately to get the firearm out and trigger finger inside the trigger guard at the same time..

  • Keiichi

    Interesting question.

    On one hand, I believe that individuals should deal with the situation they’re in, and if he is proficient given his disability, good for him.

    On the other hand, it can be argued the photo demonstrates the proscribed method for drawing a firearm from a holster, and without the context of his disability conveys unsafe action.

    I tend to think his personal adjustment for his disability is fine, but the photo used by the NRA for public material was a mistake.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Exactly what I wanted to say

    • Bierstadt54


    • I see what you did there, you cheeky bastard

      • Keiichi

        … I’m not sure what you’re referring to. My statements are not ironic.

  • MadMonkey

    He can shoot however he wants, but they should have chosen someone else for the marketing photo.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      Or at least a different pose for him.

  • Mark Spencer

    Screw ’em. NRA showed their true colors when they crapped all over USCCA.
    NRA is about money, not 2A rights.

    • Rick O’Shay

      Oh, sure. Let’s invite the guys who will be our main competitor for carry insurance at the event where we’ll be making a massive push to launch it. That’s a great idea.
      That said, the NRA and USCCA both need to decide whether they’re lobbying groups or not. This carry insurance thing is leaning in the direction of not.

      • Can you tell me more about USCCA and their relation to the NRA? I ask because the emails I get regarding them seem awfully salesy and I ignore them.

        • Rick O’Shay

          Two entirely separate entities. USCCA’s primary role/objective is to provide training and carry insurance for those who choose to carry concealed. Their lobbying efforts are there, but seem to be secondary. NRA, as we know, have a primary role of lobbying, and with the recent launch of Carry Guard, seem to be working to attract more members by offering training and carry insurance for those who choose to carry firearms on their person on a regular basis. I was at one point a member of both, for different but overlapping reasons.
          The way I see these circumstances being handled, it’s akin to (in my mind) USCCA having Law Shield or some other attorney referral service set up a booth at a trade show USCCA is managing/running.

    • Andy Lander

      You think fighting the antis is free? How much money has USCCA I’m sorry Delta Defense LLC put up defending your second Amendment rights? How much time and energy have they lobbied in at state houses, or in congress? How many paid lobbyist do they have? NRA Is a non profit organization, USCCA aka Delta Defense (is a for profit business that advertises its self as an Association) If it wasn’t for the NRA you would have Hillary Clinton in office right now.

      • Havok

        Ok Andy, let’s analyze this in the simple spectrum of right and wrong.

        You openly allow someone that you know will be a competitor the second you launch a product that you have been building for almost 2 years(according to the guy at the NRA Carry Guard Booth). You then, less than a week before the event, essentially kick them out after arrangements have been made to ship convention material to the location, hotels are booked, and flights are arranged.

        Right or wrong?

        • Andy Lander

          Interesting you bring that up. I was at the Great American Outdoor Hunting show in February of 2017. USCCA had a booth at the Great American Outdoor show, their staff was talking about the disinvite to Annual meeting 3 months prior.

          • Robb_USCCA

            I feel compelled to jump in on this as a part of that booth staff at the Great American Outdoor Show (glad you swung by!).

            We had fully planned to attend the NRA show (I had plane tickets and a hotel room as did my 7 colleagues) ,and as of 4/5/17, we still had our booth booked and ready to go. Our leadership was in talks with NRA at the time of the GAOS and we were still invited.

            Is it possible that you had heard us talking about our own expo in Fort Worth as an upcoming event the NRA was not choosing to be present at? (We do invite them though! 🙂 )

            Or perhaps it was them barring us from their August personal protection expo in Milwaukee? I know we received notification about that around the GAOS time.

  • adverse4

    As long as he’s not shooting at me, I don’t care how he does it.

  • Ted Unlis

    Using the handicap excuse as KingsX for firearm safety is pretty weak, doubly so if his left hand is in good working order. Justifications for booger hook on the trigger as you clear leather aside, there are a lot of seasoned shooters who should know better with this potentially fatal bad habit, and many of them were outed after that bad habit produced a ND as they drew from a Serpa holster, but of course they came up with an excuse for that PDQ, it was the holsters fault.

  • Ger San

    Leave the man alone. He’s already done more than any ten men, infinitely more than any keyboard commandos. If that’s how he needs to do it, that’s his business.

  • WW

    You guys are missing a huge point. He HAS to be able to get that finger out of the trigger guard or he’d never be able to draw his gun! Think about it, if he can’t get that finger out far enough, then he’d jam it every time he tried to draw.

  • Steve W

    When you consider your support hand provides the majority of strength you can see why moving to a permanent left hand shooter isn’t viable.

    And what gun god appeared here on earth and told us we must all do things the same way? Sure, ideally the finger outside the trigger guard during the draw is the norm. But it’s not the only way. It’s a training issue. Someone with his background knows where the potential for safety issues is and he would know how to train around them. We need to stop being so “Gun PC” lest we’ll become the unpleasant people we try to avoid.

    But no one is saying, a GRENADE accident? And being with it enough to guide the doctors too allow use of his handgun? The man is awesome. He’s earned whatever exceptions he requires to get him through the day.

  • iksnilol

    I don’t see an issue. It’ll be an issue if he shoots himself.

  • Bob Broadhurst

    We lead through example….therefore I believe he should be held to a higher standard. At the very least, any photos or footage of him should not illustrate his right-handed draw stroke.

  • Strider

    Leave the man in peace, he did not cause any harm so far. Go sneak somewhere else.

  • Sid Collins

    While I appreciate and respect his service, wrong is wrong. If he is too old to continue to learn, refine, and improve; then he is too old to remain as the example.
    “We have always done it this way” is often the worst of reasons.

  • Russell W.

    A quick question to all those saying no, he’s wrong, WTF, etc. How many of you have videotaped yourself drawing your firearm, a lot of y’all will be surprised at when you put your finger on the trigger. Just saying.

  • Hyasuma

    He is not properly gripping the gun out of holster either….his grip should be higher and wedge of his hand should be on top of the beaver tail regardless. That could probably just solve the problem of his finger.

  • Will

    Call the photo editor on the carpet and take him/her to task.

  • parker

    i too have a claw hand from military service. i can shoot left handed but shoot better with my claw hand. i have been reprimanded for having my finger on the trigger, but it is not. my finger is curved due to the damage and it is something i’ve dealt with since 1969. what you see is not always so, and it is so easy to judge when you have nice straight fingers to place along the frame of the gun. i’m sure this man knows where the tip of his trigger finger is at all times, as i do. it must be wonderful being a know it all and a critic all rolled in one. be thankful you have not had to put the years of training into our hands just to do the simplest things in life, and to do what we love, shooting.

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    He can have all the real world experience, yadda, yadda… still it would make me veeery nervous to have him around in practice. I’m sorry about his claw hand, but my safety is foremost. YMMV

  • At first I was shocked at what appeared as a major safety violation, and surprised this was an NRA picture. It definitely appears as if his trigger finger is on the trigger during the draw. But to find the correct answer the viewer must look closer at Jarrett’s entire hand and grip on his Glock.

    Using Windows Photo Viewer I was able to zoom in on the got a much different impression of what is going on. First, Jarrett does not appear to have the best grip on the Glock. His hand is not high on the grip. The the light-colored area at the back strap of the grip (top of grip in picture) is the sun reflecting on the interior portion of Jarrett’s thumb and web. His knuckles are in line with the back strap instead of closer to the front strap of the pistol grip when properly gripped. This means there is a little space between Jarret’s web and the pistol. This causes his trigger finger to be further back than it would be with a more secure grip. Finally, upon zooming the picture (although grainy – I’m not a computer whiz) you can clearly see Jarrett’s trigger finger fingernail outside of the trigger well. Though his trigger finger is slightly bent (as evidenced by a partial shadow on his trigger finger), the finger is NOT inside the trigger well or resting on the trigger.

    Perhaps what should be more troubling is the poor grip upon drawing, and if Jarrett cannot obtain a proper grip due to his claw hand.

  • Here’s the zoomed in picture of the points I made in my previous post.

  • ItalianAmerican

    Anyone knows what shirt he’s wearing?

  • atfsux

    I’ll admit bias here right out of the gate; I am an alumnus of Jarrett’s from his now defunct USMA (United States Marksmanship Academy) formerly operated at Ben Avery Shooting Complex in Phoenix, Az. (He shuttered the business when he retired to the mountains of New Mexico.)

    I have rarely met any individuals as morally responsible, thoughtful, principled and dedicated to teaching as James Jarrett.

    All of us students would tend to pay very close attention to what he had to impart to us, in no small reason, because as a combat veteran, he had authority on the topic. While there is a wealth today of combat veteran instructors after 9/11, Mr. Jarrett in the 80s and 90s was an uncommon asset to the firearms educational field. As such, I felt privileged to get the opportunity to attend his courses, and am still proud today of that association.

    In the many days I spent attending USMA, I never observed anything but the highest adherence to safety. I have since then attended a few other weapon courses run by other established industry schools, and I have not yet seen any higher level of safety than Jarrett demanded and enforced. In explaining to students why he could be such a Range Nazi, James was fond to say that in all his years of instruction and tours in Vietnam, he had come closer to being killed on the range than in combat. We would look at his hand that had been mangled by an NVA grenade and be in awe of the statement. It drove home to us the seriousness of observing safety dogma.

    While I understand the jump to admonish what APPEARS to show in the photograph,…I simply advise that if you met the man and had a conversation with him,…you would be impressed, and in shaking his hand, would feel far less compelled to condemn what your eyes are interpretting.

  • J.Larry

    At the angle this picture is taken from i don’t believe his finger is on the trigger because i believe you can see his finger nail, if it was turned in and on the trigger you wouldn’t see it. Just my 2 cents