Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gun advice for the newbe -3

Training and Storage and Carry

One of the most overlooked and a very important aspect of becoming armed is training. If you don't hit the bad guy, you generally won't stop the bad guy. Training is also important for safety. Each and every lesson, The First Step in picking up or handling a weapon is to determine if it is loaded.

I recommend a person new to shooting handle their weapon about once every 3 days for a month or so. Check to see if it is loaded, and look at how each of the components function. If you haven't already had some experience with guns, have someone you trust give you lessons. On an automatic, pick up and hold the weapon and operate the safety at least 300 times in the first few months you own it. Make it a habit to know what position the safety is in.

How you hold and grip the weapon is extremely important. Your finger should never be on the trigger, unless you are ready to shoot. Get in the habit of picking up the weapon with your finger along the side of the frame. Get in the habit of holding it with both hands. It takes about 300 repetitions to build a habit, so if you pick up and hold your weapon 5 times every 3 days, that will be about 300 times in about two months.

I also recommend you do not chamber a round in an auto, until you have taken it to the range at least once. Also, any round you chamber and then remove from the chamber is no longer fit to be considered for defense, but should be taken to the range next time you go and practice. Repeatedly chambering the same round will damage it. If you do not know where some good ranges are, this site might provide an answer.

Most ranges charge about $15 per person to shoot, and about $1 per target. There is a lot of variation from one range to another, so the price could be a little less, or could be double.

Your first goals at the range are to shoot enough ammo to insure the weapon works flawlessly, and enough to get the feel of the weapon's recoil. If you can choose your practice distance, practice at the longest distance you might shoot inside your house.

You don't have to be the most accurate shot in the world, but you should be able to hit the upper half of a man's chest (about an 8 inch target) reliably. Plan on shooting 50 to 100 rounds each time you go to the range.

A word here about the 357. Great gun, but the 357 personal defense ammo has a LOT of recoil, and I have seen 220 pound men in good physical shape have trouble with it. Also, the 357 ammo uses a slightly harder primer, so if you choose that ammo, you need to fire at least 50 to insure the weapon functions reliably. All in all, unless you are really serious, I don't recommend the 357 magnum ammo, even though I recommend the 357 gun.

On your second or third trips to the range, you may want to practice double tap (shooting the same target two or three times) and multiple engagements. The thing you want to prevent is seizing up even for a moment, or stopping to see the effect, after the first shot.

How much or how often you need to practice does depend on how much responsibility you have. Will your family, or even you neighbors be depending on you? If so, that means more training is in order.

SnapCaps are dummy bullets, designed to be placed in a gun while dry fired, or stacked with other ammo in a magazine, so as to simulate a misfire. Their primary use is to be used to prevent damage to the weapon when the weapon is dry fired during practice, but as so many weapons now (be certain to consult the manufacture's paperwork on this matter) can be dry fired without damage, the main use I have seen for these is to add one at random to the ammo the shooter is firing. This does two things. It reveals if the shooter is "flinching" when they pull the trigger (which will kill accuracy) and it allows the shooter to practice what to do in the case of a misfire.


Along with the importance of safety when handling a weapon is safe and secure storage. About the last thing you want is for that weapon to be used, in someone else's hand, to harm someone. Since 87% of burglaries happen when no one is home (see note below), if you own a gun, you simply must own a safe of some sort. The particular type or design isn't important, with one notable exception, and a couple of things that some people simply overlook.

First and foremost, do not use one of the small lock boxes that are designed expressly to keep documents safe in a fire. Besides the fact that these safes are not hard to pry open, they use an insulation that is impregnated with water, and tend to build up humidity inside.

Next most important is that the safe must be easy for you to open and difficult for a thief to either open or take with him. For this reason, I do not recommend trigger locks (gun can be taken somewhere and the lock removed), and I do not recommend dial locks (too hard to operate at night). And the safe (unless it is extraordinarily heavy) needs to be nailed or screwed down to prevent a thief from simply walking away with it. I also am not convinced of the reliability of biometric locks.

There are many good safes on the market, and many people have one already have one, so I won't go into much detail, but there are a couple things to remember. A safe loses about half its security if the thief already knows it is there when he enters a home, and many thieves have already been in the home they intend to steal from, though maybe no further inside than the front room (that magazine salesman who spent 20 minutes pitching to you last month, or that alarm company representative trying to tell you how bad crime is getting). So your safe shouldn't be visible to the casual visitor. Also, you should be able to open it and remove your gun quietly in the night. This means using sound deadening material on the safe walls and practicing a couple of times.

Carrying a weapon

While the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to possess and carry weapons, the governments in most cities and several states do not recognize the Constitution, and therefore it is imperative you learn the laws concerning carrying and even transporting a weapon in your location.

One good thing, though, has come from the fight between those who insist on following the Constitution and those who insist on depriving people of their liberty, and that is gun safety courses, usually in connection with getting a concealed carry permit. The most important things these courses teach are when to shoot, or not shoot, and the laws concerning deadly force in your location.

As I intend this article for those who have little or no prior training in firearms, I won't go into how to clear your house once an intruder has been inside. My primary advice is that if you don't have to, don't. Arm yourself, call 911, and then back off into a concealed position and wait it out. If the intruder grabs your TV and runs, let them go. A firearm is to defend your life, and generally not to defend your property.

While accidental shootings are fairly rare (see note below), absolute insistence on safety as a part of training is important, as zero is the only acceptable number of accidental shootings. That is why I stress the importance of verifying whether it is loaded when you pick it up, and locking it up when not needed.

Note: I ran across a good article discussing the myths promoted by the anti gun lobby. The Linkquotes below are from page 2 of that article.

"Then there is the argument that more private gun ownership will lead to more accidents because the average citizen isn’t sufficiently trained to use a weapon defensively. While gun accidents do occur, the Cato study indicates that they are the most overstated risks. There were 535 accidental firearms deaths in 2006 within a population of almost 300 million people. Although every lost life is tragic, the proportion is not particularly startling.

On the other hand, Newsweek has reported that law-abiding American citizens using guns in self-defense during 2003 shot and killed two and one-half times as many criminals as police did, and with fewer than one-fifth as many incidents as police where an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal (2% versus 11%).

Finally, on the subject of public safety, just how well have gun bans worked in other countries? Take the number of home break-ins while residents are present as an indication. In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, nearly half of all burglaries occur when residents are present. But in the U.S. where many households are armed, only about 13% happen when someone is home."

1 comment:

dw said...

Saw an interview years ago where a criminal admitted the obvious on tape. He did not fear the police harming him. His only real fear was an armed victim. The criminal himself has to initiate any threat to is own life. What mind would like to make criminality a safe profession and remain dangerous to the victim.