Embarrassing mistakes I made at SHOT

You all may as well get a laugh out of the top three stupid things I did at SHOT Show …

  • At Media Day I was having a great time shooting offhand with a Ruger No. 1 chambered in .300 H&H Magnum. A poor cheek weld on one of the shots left me with a bruised jaw for the rest of the week. I know better than to shoot with a poor cheek weld.

  • I was playing with the knives and on of the booth and cut my finger on an incredibly sharp blade. It would not be particually embaressing, but it would not stop bleeding (Murdoc can attest to that) and so many observant attendees and exhibiters asked me, with a smirk on their face, which knife booths I had been visiting πŸ˜‰ If you play with knives you are gonna get cut.

  • At GemTech’s booth I removed the dust cover on an ATI Kalashnikov. I had not yet been to the ATI booth and wanted to see what was going on under it. Problem was that I could not figure out how to put it back on … which really pissed off a GemTech staff member.

Gemtech Suppressors (ATI Kalashnikov, middle)

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Harald Hansen

    Good of you own up. πŸ˜€ First thing I did in boot camp after getting my H&K G3 (or rather Norwegian AG3) was to dismantle it – I spent hours getting the damn thing back together again so the sargeant wouldn’t chew me out in the morning. There’s a trick to getting the bolt back together, you see…

  • Raymond

    When I was 19 and took possession of my Dad’s old Mossberg it took me almost three days to put it back together. Couldn’t figure out how to get the lever arms in and then seat the sled onto the prongs for the forearm, it was a debacle.

  • Carl

    Let me propose the #1 Knife safety rule: The knife is always sharp. Even if it is not, treat it as if it is. πŸ™‚

  • Matt Groom

    ‘Tis better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

  • Ray, it took about 2 hours and 3 dis/reassembly videos on youtube before I could figure out how to get the bolt slide to fit over the bolt on a newly purchased mossberg 500 so I feel your pain.

  • AurΓ©lien

    A friend of mine disassembled a pakistani-made MG3 and took almost 1 hour just to put the barrel back at Eurosatory ’07. Thats common. A guy i know did the same with a FN F2000 and had to call one of the FN guys to put it back together.

  • AJ187

    You really have to be careful about working with a new battery of arms. I can’t count how many times I bought a gun and had to spend time figuring out how it actually worked.

  • SpudGun

    How refreshing, a firearms writer who is a human being. Good on you Steve for owning up to being as falliable as the rest of us.

    You’re looking at the guy who cut his finger on a gun. Got to play with a Saiga 12 for a couple of days and the little lever that holds open the bolt was sharper then most knives I’ve owned.

  • Matt Groom

    I made the mistake last year of enthusiastically picking up a new Colt Delta Elite Stainless and racking the slide. The legend was true; Colt’s are never chamfered, not even show guns. I sliced my finger open on the knife edge sharp bottom portion of the slide. I was immediately reminded of why I don’t like Colt’s. Every time I shook hands at the show, it would open back up and bleed through my band-aid. I’ve gotten stitches for less serious cuts!

    Ahh, memories!

    • Matt, ha, yea I had the same problem. It would keep opening up and I did not have bandaids. I had to improvise with toilet paper

  • CMathews

    I’ve had my WASR10 for a long time now, it’s still a pain in the rear to put the dust cover back on. And as for the comments on the Mossy 500, bought mine a week after I turned 18. It took quite a while for me to grasp how to take it down. Practice practice practice. It’s the first thing I do when I get a new firearm is take down… On a side note I also have to teach friends and family how to do the same. I also would like to send an attaboy your way Steve. Good to see you can eat some humble pie lol.

  • Bora

    Oh goodness, Steve, you don’t carry a full stocked BOK with you? :p You need to read up on your survival skills. You must carry Quickclot, even though you’re 10 000 miles from Iraq. At least that’s what ar15.com’s survival forum taught me.

    Joking, of course. πŸ™‚

  • elkroppo

    Steve, a little tube of superglue beats the heck out of bandaids. Put a little in the cut, quickly squeeze shut and allow to heal.

    Come to think of it, I am going to add some to my sharpening kit, and take some next time I buy/sell some sharp steel.

    • elkroppo, thanks for the tip.

  • Every summer when we would go on vacation my brother would play with the knives in the tourist traps and would allways cut himself. A girlfriend made the same discovery after I had told her the Kukri sharp.
    The first Broomhandle Mauser I ever handled belonged to a friends father in law. My friend showed up at my door after 10:00 on a work night and it took us until 4:00 or later to get the thing back together. For anyone who has never taken one apart, it’s true that the only screw in the dambed thing holds the grips on.
    The one that gives me fits to this day is the Winchester ’97. I’ve had mine for more than 10 years and still have to “play with it awhile” to get it back together from a detail cleaning.
    Anyone who doesn’t have a story like this has never taken a gun apart or isn’t talking!

  • Crapsworth

    I once made the the mistake of taking apart a Luger, with no tech manual or idea of how to put it back together. By the way, I too know the joy of detail cleaning a ’97.

  • wry762

    I’ve done the same thing at a gun show. The knife I was handling was so sharp that I didn’t even notice I’d cut myself until a few minutes later. I went back over to the knife dealer, and he just happened to have a tin of Band-aids and some antibiotic ointment.

    Please tell us what make and model of knife you cut yourself with, if you remember – all I noticed was that I cut myself on a folder.

    • wry762, ha, yea, I cannot remember. A lot of knife companies were in that part of the convention center. Once I cut myself I quickly left in the hopes that nobody had noticed πŸ˜‰

  • Aurelien

    Well not to one-up you steve, but i cut myself while playing with one of my own knives once. And i knew this particular one (Surefire Delta) was especially sharp. Did not notice it right away, and i looked at my finger in total disbelief when i saw blood dripping. Not a strong moment.

    I think any gun or knife nut has at least one story like that to tell.

  • Greetings from Falls County,
    The knife my girlfriend cut herself with was an Kukri from Altantic Cutlery. They were supposed to be military seconds, but who knows. As for my brother, he sliced himself open with just about everything you could buy at a tourist trap, slow learner.
    BTW, I reread my earlier post and realised I left out an important part. When the guy showed up at my house with the broomhandle he had the parts in a bread bag. The closest I had been to one before that was watching STAR WARS. I don’t know if it would have helped any to be there when it was taken apart.

  • Destroyer

    i appreciate the humility author, ive pulled a few boners in my lifetime of firearms usage as well (to increase the humiliation, i am a former military armorer and gunsmith).

    Ill mention one scenario with my beloved M1 Garand (manufactured by International Harvester) in which i was examining it after a day in the range. With the bolt locked back, i pressed on the bolt block in the magazine, releasing the bolt with my finger in the magazine well. luckily there was nobody around, though it was unsurprisingly a painful lesson to learn.

  • Greetings from Texas,
    When I got my first Garand EVERYONE told me stories about “M1 Thumb”. I was extreemly careful. Five years later, when I was a “old pro” it got me! Not only will that rifle chamber and lock your thumb but all of your good buddies (Oh Yeah, I did it in front of a room full of people) will laugh themselves stupid while you get it off. It almost happened again about ten years later but I got out.
    Moral of the story, if you don’t respect that rifle it will bite ya!