In Part 1, I covered the first five gun safety rules, as provided by the National Sports Shooting Foundation (nssf.org). Their focus tends towards hunters and their use of rifles and shotguns in the field.
NSSF Gun Safety Rules Modified: Reloaded
I’ve adjusted our review of this last part of the list for CCW holders and their pistol and revolver carry and use.
6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care!
Soft strikes, where the striker or firing pin doesn’t hit the bullet hard enough to ignite the primer, is a bad sign. Mostly it’s a bullet quality problem, but it can be from a faulty or broken firing pin.
In a previous blog here, I’ve addressed how to train for similar failure-to-feeds or other jams, like double feeds or stovepipes. The old standby jam clearer for pistols of “Tap-Rack-Bang,” meaning you have to palm strike the base of your magazine hard enough to re-seat it into the gun, re-rack the slide (one reason to not just rely on dropping the slide release when you change magazines, but to pull it back to the limit and let it fly forward, to make sure it picks up that next round), and get back on target. Don’t fire your revolver again if the previous round didn’t fire.
It’s rare but a pistol round can eject the shell and still get stuck midway in the barrel. This is also possible with revolvers, to jam the bullet half way in the barrel because the powder mixture was off or another flaw. Pistol or revolver, a jammed barrel is a dangerous condition. If you fire another round on top, you can literally blow up your gun and cause serious injury or death to yourself or a bystander.
The rule of thumb with bullets, barrels, and guns is simple: you already know what a normal shot sounds and feels like, leaving your gun. Any deviation from that exact sound and feel should cause you to stop, drop the magazine, lock back the slide, or open the revolver cylinder and investigate. I’ve seen some rounds simply fall out of the barrel and others get wedged so tight a gunsmith had to clear it.
7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
Not wearing your ear coverings or plugs on an outdoor range is not macho; it’s stupid. Not wearing your ear protectors in an indoor range may cause you to get kicked out, and the damage to your inner ear with just one explosion can be permanent. The less you protect your hearing, the more you can guarantee hearing loss, or worse yet, giving yourself tinnitus, a constant ringing in your ears that can stick around forever. I double up, with both soft ear plugs and my ear muffs.
Protecting your eyes with high-quality, shatter-resistant glasses is another no-brainer. I recently fired some 9mm factory reload rounds that fragmented just slightly around the target. I could see tiny pinholes, from a few inches to half a foot away from where the round penetrated. These little guys can end up near your face or in your eyes, which is bad times. All guns create a mini chemistry experiment when you pull the trigger, as the powder flashes, burns, and the whole combination sends a hot piece of lead away from you at lightning speeds. Invest in quality lenses and keep them from getting scratched up.
And before you rub your eyes or touch your face or mouth, make sure you wash your hands and face to get the lead residue off. Exposure to the powder and lead in bullets can be toxic over time. As we learned from seeing those poor kids in Flint, Michigan exposed to lead in their drinking water, it accumulates and can cause brain function problems. Develop the habit of washing your hands and face before you leave the range.
8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
Again, this is usually a hunting thing, but it bears repeating: make certain the right magazines or speed loaders, with the right rounds, are going into your pistol or revolver.
In the police academy, during a nighttime stress exercise at the range, with sirens blaring and lights flashing, I managed to feed a double ought buck round into my Remington 870 Police Shotgun backwards. How I was able to close the slide and get the firing pin to strike the plastic pellet side still baffles me. The range officers were not happy with me when they had to get their gunsmith to take the hopelessly-jammed thing completely apart. Bullets are designed for specific guns and modifying anything outside that norm is asking for serious, expensive, and painful problems.
9. Don’t alter or modify your gun and have guns serviced regularly.
Everybody’s an expert when it comes to working on their guns, or giving you advice about how to work on yours. The YouTube woods are full of homemade videos on how to modify and otherwise “improve” guns. As a result, I’ve seen people badly damage their guns by: forcibly applying new sights with a hammer; breaking the hammers off their revolvers; bending their magazines; and ruining their pistol triggers.
If you’ve been trained as a gunsmith or been through an armorer’s school, like Glock and other manufacturers offer, then have at it. If not, don’t always trust videos or your buddy (who can’t even keep his car running), with gun repair and modification advice. You wouldn’t operate on your own knee. Get qualified, professional help when you want to make additions to your gun’s structure, including new sights, lights and lasers, and trigger modifications.
10. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
Having just said some gun modification videos on YouTube are definitely sketchy, take the time to find good ones and learn from them. There are a lot of great gun owners who have created worthwhile videos and blogs on buying, disassembling, cleaning, lubricating, and firing your specific model. Choose what you watch and read wisely and learn.
Do you have any comments on my customizing the NSSF next five gun safety rules too fit the CCW carrier and pistol or revolver owner? Please do add them below and let us know what you think!
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7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
Except when shooting in a defensive situation – can’t tell the aggressor “Wait a sec, I have to get my eyes and ears on . . .” I have wondered if it would be wise to occasionally (or at least once?) fire your gun(s) without ear protection – so you will know what to expect when you HAVE to shoot without protection. The thunderous experience of hearing your first shot in a stressful situation could inhibit your ability to continue firing (if additional rounds are needed).
Just my two cents. I think it would be beneficial because I agree with your premise. However, that being said. I grew up where no-one used hearing protection. It was common where I lived back in the day to just go out plinking for an afternoon and this is from the age of nine up. I can tell you from personal experience that tinnitus is no joke and I used to find myself in my early twenties stopping and asking people if they heard that sudden high pitched ringing off in the background until I realized what it was.