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Firearm safety tutorial

DeaconKC

One Too Many
Messages
1,715
Location
Heber Springs, AR
After seeing several threads about folks with firearms here, I asked permission to post a tutorial I recently did on the safe way to handle and unload a handgun. So if you are ever introduced to "this old gun" you can safely make sure that is indeed safe. This is not a thread to offend or set up a debate, strictly for safety purposes.
How to safely check and handle a handgun.
By DeaconKC


“I found Grandpa’s old gun, is it loaded? What do I do now?”
Hello, please allow me to take a few minutes so I can help you through this if you have never handled a firearm before. I am a licensed collector of firearms and a moderator at www.surplusrifleforum.com and handle firearms daily. I am not an “expert” just an experienced shooter.

First there are three main rules of safe firearm safety. Follow these and you will avoid embarrassment, or worse, tragedy.

1. ALWAYS TREAT ALL FIREARMS AS IF THEY WERE LOADED.
Even if you have just checked it, or someone has told you its empty, still treat it as loaded. Also you will check it yourself and still treat it as loaded. This is the mark of responsible firearm handling and avoid anyone who ignores this rule.

2. NEVER POINT THE FIREARM AT ANYTHING YOU DON’T INTEND TO SHOOT.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET.

If you cannot use these rules, keep your hands off a gun. Sorry if this sounds blunt, but I handle firearms everyday and carry on duty and even among trained professionals it is easy to become complacent. In the last year I attended the funeral of a fellow law enforcement officer who died from a negligent discharge from his weapon. This happened in front of his 4 year old daughter. Safety first.

Okay, now a quick introduction to handguns. There are two basic types you are likely to encounter, revolvers and semi-automatics [hereby called “autos” from here on out].

Both come in a great variety of sizes, due to intended use. Here is a comparison pic of 3 revolvers all capable of firing .38 Special ammunition:
023-1.jpg

From front to back a “snubbie” 5 shot, a K frame and a N frame.

Okay, so here’s a good place to throw in some nomenclature [big word so you will be impressed]. I will use my buddy the “Deacon” to help point out different things as we go along….
The barrel
006-4.jpg


The grip [on an auto, this will hold the magazine]
007-4.jpg


The hammer
008-1.jpg


Cylinder Release
009-2.jpg


How to check the revolver:
First keep your finger off the trigger.
Second look at the cylinder release. It may slide forward, ]Smith and Wesson, Taurus, Rossi], it may slide back [Colt’s] press inward [Rugers]. Taking the revolver in your right hand, keep your index finger straight along the frame of the gun.
027.jpg


Manipulate the release with your thumb and using the middle and ring fingers of your left hand push the cylinder out of the gun.
028.jpg


Now tilt the gun’s muzzle up and push the ejector rod, which is sticking out of the front of the cylinder, to eject the cartridges.
030.jpg



Check the cylinder to make sure ALL the holes are empty. Then push the cylinder shut. It will latch back on it’s own. DO NOT “FLICK” the cylinder back into the gun. This is hard on the gun and will get you hurt by the owner of an expensive gun.
 

DeaconKC

One Too Many
Messages
1,715
Location
Heber Springs, AR
Part 2

Okay, on to the autos…

Barrel, grip and hammer are the same. But some autos do not have external hammers [Glocks, etc.]
020-1.jpg


However, autos hold a magazine in the butt of the gun. It will require a different operating procedure to clear this gun.

The slide release
019.jpg


Magazine release, most will be right here, behind the trigger guard, but many will have the release at the rear of the butt of the gun.
013-1.jpg

014.jpg


Again taking the auto in your right hand, and keeping your index finger off the trigger, press the release in. The magazine should pop out, it may fall clear or stop after coming out a little. If it stops just pull it the rest of the way out.
015-1.jpg


WARNING: THE GUN IS STILL LOADED RIGHT NOW.

You may need to manipulate a safety at this point to clear the gun. Some will have it mounted on the frame [pictured] or on the slide. Frame mounted ones will usually go down, and those on the slide will usually need to be rotated upwards.
011-1.jpg


You will keep a firm grip on the gun [your finger is still OFF the trigger, right?] and grasp the slide with your left hand and pull it backwards. While you are doing this, roll the gun to the side until the remaining cartridge falls out. Let it fall, it won’t hurt anything, then pick it up. Now look into the chamber area to make sure it is empty.
021.jpg

018.jpg

Some very small autos will not extract a cartridge from the barrel, these “tip up” guns will need you to use a pencil to shove the cartridge out of the barrel, once the slide is back. Most of these are in .22, .25 or .32 and are tiny pocket guns.

If the slide locked back, use the slide release to let it go back forward.

Congratulations, you have now safely cleared the firearm.
 

scotrace

Head Bartender
Staff member
Messages
14,383
Location
Small Town Ohio, USA
Excellent - thank you for this information.

As always, handling firearms is a dangerous proposition. One must always assume a weapon is loaded, even if you know it isn't, even if you've cleared it. Safety always.
Also, the Fedora Lounge takes no responsibility if you use information informally presented in the threads here and shoot your fool self. ;)
 

pigeon toe

One Too Many
Messages
1,328
Location
los angeles, ca
Thanks for posting that. I don't think I could ever shoot a gun, but my ex and his friends like to go shooting, so gun safety is really important to me! Just holding a gun scared the hell outta me -- those things are powerful and people need to learn to respect that!
 

Paisley

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,439
Location
Indianapolis
One finer point of firearm safety: kids shouldn't handle guns without a responsible and knowledgeable adult present and in charge, even if they know how to handle guns. Talk about this issue with the parents of your children's friends. My brother Marvin might still be alive if this rule had been more firmly enforced in our house; he died in a hunting accident when he was supposed to be at home.
 

Adelaide

New in Town
Messages
30
Location
Somewhere
Thank you for your contribution. I have handled revolvers and rifles forever but am new to shotguns. While I was cleaning all of our long guns recently I had to phone a friend to find out how to 'pump' the shells through the gun. I wanted to know how many it would hold. I didn't shoot anything accidentally and recommend highly becoming familiar with any firearm you might come into contact with.

A.
 

anon`

One Too Many
An excellent notion and thread, Deacon.

I would, however, consider altering rule #1 slightly: all firearms are loaded at all times, unless and until you clear the magazine and chamber.

It says the same thing, but is rather more dramatic in doing so and tends to impress upon new shooters in particular that your buddy telling you the weapon is unloaded just doesn't cut it.

Also, there'sd a fourth rule worth remembering: safeties are mechanical devices, and can fail. Never trust the safety to prevent a firearm from discharging.
 

DeaconKC

One Too Many
Messages
1,715
Location
Heber Springs, AR
Good points anon'. Actually Rule #4 is "Always Know what is beyond your target." As always, safety first. As you emphasized the safe gun handler always treats all firearms as if loaded at ALL times.
 

warbird

One Too Many
Messages
1,171
Location
Northern Virginia
Miss_Bella_Hell said:
What if you're left handed? ;) Are there lefty guns?

Yes. And lefty mods that can be made to many weapons to make their safeties left or ambi.

There are also left handed bolt action rifles. :)
 

LaMedicine

One Too Many
Even though I live in a country where possession of firearms is very very stricktly regulated--the majority of people probably never once set their eyes on real firearms during their lives-- I find this thread very educational.
I think your assistant Deacon is very cute, too. :D

I also think this thread should be included in the Historically Great Threads, or be stickyed somewhere. :)
 

Undertow

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,126
Location
Des Moines, IA, US
I failed to mention in the other thread, so I'll mention here, that you should always treat a semi-auto as if the safety were off, regardless of whether or not it is set.

A safety is nothing more than a mechanical stop which can and will fail; maybe not for you, but someone, somewhere will experience safety failure.

And there are some cowboys out there who like to ride "cocked and locked" but I've been told, and I'm sure many out there agree, that's not the kind of habit you want to form (this mainly applies to 1911 model .45's, I don't know that any other gun is capable).

Just a little story for yous guys:

I was hunting deer a few years ago in Iowa on public hunting ground, alone, in the middle of the winter (I know all of the things wrong with that, believe me) and I was getting ready to go home.

I had unloaded my 12 gauge Mossberg 500, put all the shells in my pocket, flipped on the safety and rested the gun muzzle-to-the-sky on my shoulder while I walked back to my car.

Now I SWEAR I had unloaded the thing and I KNOW I flipped on the safety. I hit a rut in the ground and tripped, somehow my finger slipped and pulled the trigger and BOOM, the gun goes off next to my ear sending a slug into god knows where. And had I been walking with the muzzle pointed downwards, or perhaps with someone walking beside me, who knows...

So no, safeties don't always function, and yes, sometimes unloaded guns aren't unloaded!! :eek:
 

SamMarlowPI

One Too Many
Messages
1,761
Location
Minnesota
the 1911 was designed for carrying Condition 1 or 'cocked and locked'...I believe this applies to the Browning Hi-Power as well...
 

Paisley

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,439
Location
Indianapolis
Undertow, your story reminds me of my brother Bob. Our cousin Jim told us this story at Bob's funeral (no, Bob didn't die in a firearm accident--different brother).

Jim and Bob were coming home from Uncle Leslie's funeral and Bob was plinking signs along the road as he was driving (he was left-handed). Jim told him to stop--it kept waking him up. Finally, Jim heard a big ka-boom and woke up to find Bob's eyes as big as saucers: Bob had accidentally shot out the windshield of his pickup. :eek:
 
Miss_Bella_Hell said:
What if you're left handed? ;) Are there lefty guns?
Yeah, or you learn to work around the right-hand things. Like, say, using the "birdie" to drop mags and your trigger-finger on the slide-stop on an auto-pistol...

@SamMarlowPI: Any single-action, there is no safe Condition Two carry--you have either Condition One (cocked. locked, round in the pipe) or Condition Three (hammer down, chamber empty), this is the only safe option for a single-action revolver. Right on BHP, also.

Don't trust a safety, they don't always work...

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SamMarlowPI

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1,761
Location
Minnesota
Diamondback said:
@SamMarlowPI: Any single-action, there is no safe Condition Two carry--you have either Condition One (cocked. locked, round in the pipe) or Condition Three (hammer down, chamber empty), this is the only safe option for a single-action revolver.

i was responding to Undertows comment about "cowboys" carrying 'cocked and locked'...1911s (and i think the Hi Power) were designed for Condition 1 carry...nothing "cowboy" about it...

it would be a bad habit to carry something like a Sig220 with the hammer cocked...
 
Sorry, Sam--was trying to elaborate on your point, not pick a fight. To me, "Cowboy" is Cocked and UNlocked on a single-action autoloader... like the Texas Ranger who carried his with round in pipe, safety off and grip-safety tied down with a band of rawhide, and when asked if it was dangerous replied "It better be."

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