This article originally appeared at OutdoorHub.

I always get things mixed up. Maybe it’s a result of that jungle gym base jumping accident back in ’66.  One of the things that’s always confused me is flipping the bird. Most of us have five fingers on each hand – how on earth are we supposed to remember which one to flip in the heat of the moment? At least I get it right about twenty percent of the time. But I don’t feel too bad about my success rate – it’s still way better than Piers Morgan’s.

Flipping a spirited bird is not always a bad thing. Even if you are using the wrong finger!

Flipping a spirited bird is not always a bad thing. Even if you are using the wrong finger!

Most of the time when you flip the bird, you can reasonably expect to get a fist, or maybe a beer mug, in the face. However, there are many times when flipping the bird is actually encouraged, even if you are using the wrong finger. Hold that thought for a sec…

How many stories do we have to read about some average Joe (usually not Jane as they are better at paying attention) shooting himself in the leg or worse. None of these are accidents in the strictest sense. To me, an accident is a fluke of nature, engineering and animal husbandry. Like those times when lightning strikes your pistol, disengages the safety, melts part of the sear and blasts the firing pin forward. Those times are legitimate accidents. The other ninety-nine point nine percent of cases are what I call “negligents.” I know “negligents” is not a word, but it fits the same theme as “accidents” so bear with me. I think it has potential. Given that modern guns just won’t fire unless a trigger is pulled, it seems to me there’s an easy way to prevent all those negligents from ever happening: Get people to keep their dang fingers off the triggers unless they really mean to shoot something!

I figure since so many of us enjoy flipping birds I ought to find a way to make it productive. Then it came to me. I’m talking about flipping the bird at the range, in the gun store, your home, or even your buddy’s house. Basically anytime or place where you might handle a gun.

When you flip a real, R-rated, bird, you do it with enthusiasm. The finger is straight and rigid and there is no doubt as to your intentions. Why not use this natural instinct to help with trigger finger discipline? After all, if you’re flipping a trigger finger bird with gusto, your trigger finger is rigid and straight alongside the your gun–and NOT inside the trigger guard where things get shooty.

I see lot’s of opportunities to use a good trigger finger bird flip:

  1. Dealing with salespeople. What better opportunity is there to flip someone off? Next time you’re at a gun store or show, be sure to constantly flip the trigger finger bird. Not only will you be satisfied, the salesperson will actually thank you for it.
  2. While running. As if you don’t have enough on your mind while running a course in IDPA, IPSC, or 3-gun matches. Remember to let the bird fly when running between shooting stations! The Range Safety Officers definitely will not get upset, I promise. I will refund 100 percent of the money you spent on this article if you find otherwise.
  3. Flipping while racking. We talked about racking earlier in this series. Flipping and racking go together like drive-through wedding chapels and the Kardashians.
  4. When sticking a gun in your pants. There’s a sick and depraved joke opportunity here, but as is PG-rated, we’ll leave that to your imagination. But seriously, I’m gonna vomit live spider monkeys the next time I read about someone shooting themselves while holstering their gun. That is a great time to practice flipping a bird.
  5. Flipping while stripping. Another great joke opportunity passes me by. Way too many folks shoot themselves or a piece of furniture while cleaning their unloaded guns. How about exercising a flip while you field strip your gun to avoid a really embarrassing conversation with your significant other?
  6. Getting your gun out, or putting it in, your gun safe. A reader on my website survived what could have been a terrible negligent. While pulling a revolver out of his safe, he fired the gun. The bullet hit the steel door of the safe first before slamming into his big toe. Lucky for him that happened as the bullet lost most of it’s energy and he escaped with a banged up foot, but kept all his toes. Yup, the finger on the trigger was the culprit, as lightning was not reported in the area.
  7. While hunting. Whether you’re after bucks, hogs, or wascally wabbits, you might as well show them you mean business with a spirited bird flip. In addition to stunning your prey, it’ll prevent you from shooting your boots off.

What am I missing? Where do you like to flip a good bird?

This wraps up our series, The Seven Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting. We only narrowed it down to seven because that number offered a catchy title. Obviously there are more many more shooting behaviors and bad habits that we all need to be vigilant about. What else makes the list of Deadly Sins of Handgun Shooting?