A TFB Readers Experiences With Not So Safe Gun Handling!

For those of us who have been around guns most of our lives we no doubt have stories of those we’ve seen handling guns in an unsafe manner. Heck you may have even seen a ND at one time or another I know I have.

I’ve seen people from all walks of life handling guns on the range when I was teaching and seen some serious lapses of judgement from many who should know better. Myself and other range officers at our PD could tell some stories when officers came out for qualification as well as civilians taking our free courses. Contrary to popular belief not all soldiers or police officers are gun guys or gals.

One short story about an officer having an ND on our PD parking lot will relate what a non gun officer can do from sheer carelessness. At the end of each shift the officer is required to unload the issued shotgun and leave the slide back to indicate it’s been unloaded, hopefully. The shotgun is then turned in and an officer from the next shift will check it out and sign for it. On this particular day the officer in front of me was walking to his car to begin the shift as was I. Rather than wait until he got to the car, put his gear down, and visually check the chamber then loading it this officer runs the slide up and pulls the trigger without checking anything. You know what comes next a very large 12 ga. boom which thankfully went straight up.The officer from the last shift didn’t unload the 870! His biggest problem after finding nobody was injured was seeing the Chief of police walking right next to me. That bit of stupidity cost him a three day suspension and of course loss of pay. I imagine the worst part for him was the hell he caught from other officers. We aren’t terribly happy or forgiving when one idiot makes us all look bad and puts us at risk by mishandling a weapon. This particular officer was NOT a gun guy.

When one of our readers submitted this post to me in an email I gave it a good read and thought it was not only interesting but had a lot of observations and experiences I’ve had. Anyway, I wanted to share his experiences with our readers and see what you have to say about it’s validity. Is he being over the top with his safety concerns or is he spot on with what he says?

The other day my buddy and I made a lunch-time run to the local, old established gun store. While there, a gentleman stopped in to have some tritium sights installed on his new Glock 43. He was telling us about the sights, the price and why he bought them while the guy on duty got out the tools to install them. Then, without even asking, the customer reached back to his holster and pulled out the Glock. He had it unloaded, no mag and locked open. I thought it was gun store protocol to always ask before you haul it out, but since he had taken every precaution short of putting it in a case I was willing to overlook it.
While the gunsmith worked, the customer stepped behind the counter and picked up a revolver lying on the back shelf. He admired it for a minute or two, sighted toward the back wall, asked permission and dry fired it. (I hadn’t noticed if he checked it before picking it up as I was watching the gunsmith work.) This gentleman then decided we needed to see it, turned around and pointed it right at me. I should have called him on it but just stepped out of the way. Sorry guy, the jury is in and any benefit of the doubt I had reserved for you is now gone.
After the customer left we were discussing various things with the clerk/gunsmith, a former police officer, who I like and have respected. While talking, he had in his hand a Glock he had shown us. Prior to putting it away, while we talked, he was tapping the business end of the pistol with the palm of his left hand. Dang, there goes that respect out the window.
Across town at the newer gun store I have had similar experiences. One lady was showing me a Springfield M1A rifle. She pulled the bolt and then could not figure out how to close it. For some reason she decided to turn it around and look in the barrel. I took it from her and told her, “Don’t do that, it makes me nervous.” Another day, I mentioned to her that her Springfield Range Officer 1911 was coming up out of her holster. (Cheap one-size-fits-most gun bucket – and why she’d be carrying anything with a light trigger is another question mark.) She pulled it and fiddled with it right in front of me, sweeping me more than once with a loaded gun. Another salesperson there, showing me a 1911, pointed it into the palm of his hand. When I said, “Don’t point it at yourself!” he said, “Oh, it’s not loaded.” and then swept me. I walked away. When he asked didn’t I want to see it I told him I’d look at it another day. I hope he got the clue. The fact is, I am not going to stand around and let anybody, amateur or professional, obliviously point a gun at me.
With all that said, the ones who most amaze me are the police officers working the check-in table at the local gun shows. I have seen many different officers there over the years and almost always, they are careless about where they point your firearm while they check it. C’mon guys. You are supposed to be the professionals, setting the standard for the rest of us. I would feel safer leaving my CCW holstered and just walking past you. I always make sure to unload it before leaving the car to avoid getting shot with my own gun. One of these days I need to just buy a safe for the car so I feel better about leaving it out there.
I guess my story begs a question. Am I just anal retentive and over-reacting? I can understand the rank amateur who needs a little education in firearms safety but in the gun store and especially with a police officer I would expect the highest standards of safety practices. Gun store owners and police officers, please ratchet it up a few notches. Remember, we see you whether or not we say something. All you good guys and gals out there who get what I’m saying, please help raise awareness of this. When someone violates good safety, be polite, but call them on it.

Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


  • Paul

    As a child I learned the rule about never allowing a gun in your control to point at anything you did not want to shoot. Dad was military and a former Border Patrol officer who insisted that gun safety rules must always be followed. My children learned these rules before they were allowed to come with us to any shooting place.

    It is sad that many people do not understand these basic safety rules. Mark Twain had some appropriate observations on other peoples’ bad manners.

  • Sarig

    My worst was out hunting with some of the old gents from my village. We were standing talking before heading to different positions, and one guy was just holding his rifle in his hand horizontally, swinging it around with the muzzle swiping the entire group as he talked. I noticed it was cocked, and asked if it was loaded.

    It was, but the safety was one, and it was 100% safe, and he was an engineer, so he knew those things.

    I never hunted with them again.

    • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Sounds like you are a wise man. Smart engineers have killed more people than mobsters due to miscalculation and bad math

  • I was at a Mg shoot on New Years Eve and a guy loaded a HK51 behind the line and proceeded to sweep every one in the area as he walked to the line. I told him and the shoot organizer about it. To say the least i kept an eye on him from then on. Well the next day the same guy was at another MG shoot, New Years day, and he was pulling the guns out of his truck for the shoot. I was suppose to attend this shoot as well but decided I had had enough. This guy was pulling out a 1919A4 wrapped in a blanket when it went off. The gun had not been cleared properly from the shoot the day before and there was a live round in the chamber. The gun was parallel to the line and the bullet ended up going through both legs of a gentleman further down the line. The only thing that saved the guy’s life was quick thinking and two tourniquets.

    • David

      Was that last incident by any chance in Houston, TX? If it’s the one I’m thinking of (lets not name names) its the reason I have multiple tourniquets in my bag of tricks.

      • Yes the New Years day shoot was Houston area.

      • Oh yes I have two tourniquets in my range bag which is an Oakley that has a trauma kit pouch.

        • Bill

          A comparo on the different tourniquets on the market would be a cool article, particularly if done by someone with TCCC/CLS/EMS experience.

          • Kivaari

            It’s a good reminder. My rubber based ones were soaked with “arachnid repellant” and it dissolved them. I’ve been too lazy and cheap to replace them. Perhaps I should.
            It pays to have a large aid kit along. I’ve needed the sucrose tubes before for a fellow shooter.

      • Ben Bushong

        Why not name names?

    • PK


      • iksnilol


    • Should be banned from any shoots like that! Just stupid!!!

      • Kivaari

        Amazing he wasn’t turned away at the first shoot.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Thats messed up.

    • HH

      wow. Most MG guys I hang around with and shoot with are a step above general gun crowd concerning safety. The competitive pistol shooter guys are at the top of the pyramid in this regard- to a weird robotic (but sometimes brain off) level.

      Never seen something like that a MG shoot though. Dang. The dude shot someone with an AD out of a freaking 1919a4??? Geeez. I bet he’s not very popular around town. Sheesh. I feel bad for everyone involved.

      • Actually I find there are way too many people who own machine guns and do not know the proper safe methods of handling them or even clearing malfunctions. There is always more money than brains out there and on top of that there really is no place you can get proper training for MGs unless you take one of the few classes offered (usually they only offer SMG classes) or have a military background and you were trained on MGs. I have seen several NDs due to not getting the bolt on to the sear before opening a top cover of a beltfed or pulling a magazine out of an open bolt SMG that is jammed. One ND resulted in the shooter taking one to the hand. Failure to properly clear Maxims, Vickers, 1917s and 1919A4s is pretty common with many new owners.

        • Iggy

          Even Ian from Forgotten Weapons once had a ND with 1919 (if I remember correctly) and he’s possibly THE expert when it comes to shooting/handling old machine guns. (this is public info, it’s on a reddit AMA).

          • Kivaari

            I bet it was aimed in a safe direction.

    • nova3930

      At my nearest public range, most people are very conscientious about safe range rules, going hot or cold, don’t touch anything on a cold range, etc etc. However, it never fails that there’s always the one idiot who wants to finger bang stuff on a cold range, sweep the whole firing line, etc etc. It happens often enough I’ve started wearing plate to the range JIC and hauling a$$ out at the first incident….

    • Sianmink

      Right adding an extra tourniquet to to the range pack.

  • USMC03Vet

    If your job is to carry armed weapons you should be a “gun guy” otherwise find a new profession.

    • Bill

      I agree in principal, but firearms use plays a tiny role in policing. I’m guessing there’s a similar issue in the military with relatively few fields focused on small arms. It’s just one skill in a very broad skill set.

      • Dan

        It does play a tiny role in policing, but when it actually comes into play sucking at that skill will have disastrous effects. I don’t expect gun nut knowledge but at least know how and why it works and how not to shoot me accidentally

        • Bill

          Absolutely. Agree 100%

          I think 2 factors come into play:
          1: We hear about bad and negligent shootings more often and in greater depth than we hear about good shootings (unless it’s a good shooting that has political overtones). The coverage of good shootings is typically limited to “Police Shoot Gunman.”
          2: Reality is messy. Typically people who need to get shot are in far less than ideal environments – see the Empire State Building shooting, and there are already questions raised about whether or not some victims in the Pulse killings were shot by police. I don’t want to sound flippant, but poop happens. Anyone who swears they can place 100% of their rounds on target in a gunfight is lying. I wish every gunfight occurred with perfect target identification and isolation, but that rarely happens.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Any published stats on average rounds on target in gun fights

      • MrEllis

        The reality is knowing how to use an AED will probably save more lives as a cop than being a “gun guy/gal.” But yeah, I’m shocked out how little some folks train with a weapon they carry every day. Statistically they’re gonna make it. OIS are rarer than we think.

    • Anomanom

      When 99.9% of an officer’s job does not involve using a weapon, it is not surprising that weapon skills fall behind skills in other tasks such as filling out copious quantities of paperwork, wrangling drink drivers, and breaking up domestic conflicts.

      • kzrkp

        they also almost never have to use CPR skills but hey

        • MrEllis

          We train even less on CPR. I spend about fifteen minutes a year training to meet the requirement for CPR. Of course I’ve taken the test for CPR/First-Aid/BBP over twenty times now. But still… I’ve know cops who never pointed their gun at a person in cities of substantial size.

          • Kivaari

            LAPD admitted that 100% of its officer did NOT meet the minimum first aid requirement. Pathetic.

          • MrEllis

            Hey, sometimes you don’t have time to train. The requirements don’t mean they do not know it it means they didn’t take the refresher course, a video usually and a multiple choice question. It doesn’t mean you forgot your fifteen previous years of training.

      • USMC03Vet

        If you can’t be safe with a firearm it’s time to go. 99% of the time that officer is armed.

        safety > whatever

      • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        The worse you can get from a form is a paper cut. It can be fatal but only if it gets infected. Irresponsible gun handling with get you dead ASAP. And being in a gun fight and not shooting regularly, another way to get dead ASAP.

  • Aaron E

    The writer is not over the top. There is a reason we have firearms safety rules and they cannot be violated without due criticism. We are all safety officers and no one who handles firearms should be indignant if someone points out s safety violation.

    Like Phil said – there are gun cops and soldiers (and dealers) and then there are non-gun ones. Stay observant and steer clear of the latter.

    I’m still active LEO and SWAT. When conducting room entries or active shooter drills there is always a potential of lasering. However even in those tight formations with rapid movements and many guns in play, we do not tolerate a blatant flagging. We use Position Sul extensively with rifles and pistols, and high port to a much lesser degree.

    In short – even in dynamic movements of many shooters with firearms out and ready there is no excuse for poor handling. Train safety into muscle memory and it becomes second nature. We do not rise to the occasion, but instead fall to the level of our training!

  • Tyler McCommon

    I work at a public gun range. Saturday and Sunday’s are the worst with people that have zero firearms knowledge, no proper gun safety and too much money. But at least there are the weekdays which are just regular’s.

    • I no longer have to use public ranges but when I did I never ever went on the weekend. It’s just to scary watching people with poor safety habits.

      • Mark Wynn

        This “weekend” phenomenon is instructive as I’ve only frequented an indoor range on weekdays since winter, trying to master the contrary trigger on a hammer-fired pocket pistol. Guess the hourly price I pay for this squared-away range is worth it. It’s only nine, constraining stations, well-ventilated, and a helpful but no-nonsense range master walks the line continually.

    • Joe Schmo

      I also work on a range that’s open to the public. I used to work the weekends, and they were busy as hell. I pretty much had to run the range by myself, I only had one good range officer. It got hectic, standard wait time was about an hour and a half for one lane during the fall and into the winter months. Being an indoor range, there are 13 lanes, so its not small, its just not as big as an outdoor range with a huge row of stations.

      There were so many instances of range safety officers (RSOs) having to stop people and tell them not to do things. It gets to the point where the RSOs are having to baby sit certain individuals because they are so bad. Personally, I would tell those people to leave, its not worth the time, but we try to educate these people to produce a more welcoming environment.

      A lot of the time, the people who were the least proficient were the people who claimed to know the most (not surprising). These were police officers, military personnel, and other people whom the general public believes to be gunslingers based on their profession.

      One guy loaded 3 inch shells into his 2 3/4″ 12 gauge pump action, I had to bring up stairs and have someone break down the magazine tube to get the shells out, the barrel and bolt had already been removed. I brought him the receiver while he was on the range. When I approached him he was shooting a revolver, and he turned 180 degrees and pointed the gun at my legs. I told him to keep the gun pointed downrange or unload it and put it down if he needed to redirect his attention. That was fun.

      The amount of times that I have had guns pointed at me is crazy. That’s why I only work there during the week, I simply could not stand dealing with the people who knew nothing about their guns and gun safety. Often I was the one having to deal with them, and I was working the desk for the range to check people in and out. The good RSO was helping someone else, and the bad RSO was off trying to offer private instruction to people and get extra money while he was supposed to be working.

      • Bill

        I had one cop try to qualify shooting 20 gauge shells out of a 12 gauge, and another try to qualify with the wrong barrel on his shotgun – the rifled barrel he left on since deer season, which don’t work real good with buckshot.

        There’s been several times in Basic Academies when instructors or I have had to literally do disarms and takedowns on trainees when they’ve committed Aggravated Stupid. You learn fast to lead with your reactionary hand in cause it catches a bullet or gets mangled in a cycling slide.

  • john huscio

    Is that Mr internet himself demonstrating his “mastery” of wheel guns in that photo?

    • Yes it is—–

      • Mark Wynn

        It really was photoshopped? Then it should have been labeled as such. That’s a different set of ethics, but perhaps even more important today.

    • Lemdarel

      It’s a poorly photoshopped picture of Al Gore mishandling a gun.

  • Jeff Smith

    A close friend’s father described pointing a loaded gun at his brother’s head after he made a joke about his aim while they were out shooting (and drinking). Needless to say, he hasn’t been invited to come shooting with me since.

    • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Roger that

  • Nocternus

    Used to work Armored Car for a very short period of my life. One guy I looked down at his service pistol and it was disgustingly dirty. I don’t think it had ever been cleaned. Had dried soda pop on the slide. I called him on it and he told me he didn’t care it was just ten pounds of crap he had to carry on his belt to get paid. I offered to clean it for him and explained that my dafety depended on his weapon functioning properly. He just shook his head and walked off. Second incident at the same place was a discussion with another guard of if he should purchase 2 additional mags for his pistol. His opinion was that he didn’t want spend the money. I tried explaining to him that it affected the safety of everyone if he didn’t carry a standard load of ammunition. He purchased the extra mags. And this guy was a former Marine and worked Blackwater security when he got out. Also took him 11 attempts to qualify with a pistol. Lastly I had a supervisor that carried in a Serpa holster that to amuse himself would unsnap and partially draw his pistol then reholster. I called him on it and wound up in my managers office. At least he stopped the behavior. Amasing to me how many non gun people choose a career where they have to carry a firearm daily.

    • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Some people should not be allowed to breath

    • Kivaari

      Scary. An guard at a nearby mill shot a hole in the guard shack. No one was allowed to pack after that. I wont go out for coffee without a gun.

      • Nocternus

        Shouldn’t punish the group because of the actions of one person. I used to have this argument with Administrators when I worked Corrections. I urged them to issue pepper spray to everyone instead of just the response team. Admin said they couldn’t trust all of their employees to carry pepper spray and be responsible. I looked at them like if you can’t trust a Commissioned Law Enforcement Officer with pepper spray perhaps you should fire that guy instead of punishing everyone for some people’s irresponsibility. Pretty much the same argument I have whenever there is a mass shooting in this country. Don’t punish the masses for the actions of criminals.

  • Bill

    People need to understand that a lot of cops aren’t gun guys or girls, just like a lot of doctors aren’t stethoscope collectors. Guns are just tools to get a job done, and tools that get very, very little actual use compared to a ballpoint pen. I have similar issues with police driving – every cop thinks they are a hotdog behind the wheel, and more are killed in traffic crashes than in gun fights.

    Non-cops may find it hard to believe, but at least at every agency I’ve worked in or with their can be a bias against the “gun guy,” for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that some are flat nuts and into the use of force for the wrong reasons. Sometimes the non-gun cops can be rightly or wrongly intimidated by the gun cops. Some place their focus on other cop skills, some are embarrassed by their lack of skills, and there are a slew of other reasons we as instructors have to try to diagnose and overcome.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall, and apparently it’s illegal for me to beat someone else’s head against the wall, or so I’ve been told.

    • Dan

      It’s only illegal to beat someone else’s head against the wall if there is a cop around…..oh wait..

    • Sianmink

      Cops are the worst when it comes to safe gun handling. They’re around them all day so they’re super complacent with them, yet they so often don’t have the training, knowledge, or desire to learn how to be safe with them.

      • Bill

        Blanket statements can be dangerous: some are, some aren’t.

        • Sianmink

          I don’t mean every cop, but on average, yikes.

      • Kivaari

        Like a traffic stop where the cops are using pistol mounted lights as flashlights.

        • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          WTF? Really?

          • Kivaari

            Really. Especially in large metro areas where “it is so dangerous”. Insanity in modern cops.

        • James_G

          That’s like soldiers using their ACOGs in place of binos to observe people,

          • Kivaari

            Like Brits in North Ireland using SUITs on Belfast citizens.

        • Bill

          Which is a policy violation that will get you a reprimand and unpaid days on the beach at my agency.

  • I understand the concepts of danger of looking down a bore, but in a home setting WITH NO AMMO NEAR GUN, how far do yo go before willing to look down the bore?

    Honestly, me? Drop the mag, rack, hold up to light and peek. Any more and the practices become superstition.

    Ex: I’ve heard:

    “I rack my slide fifteen times and run 3 bore snakes down the barrel before daring to look down it.”


    “I won’t look down my AR’s barrel unless the gun is fully field stripped.”

    • Edeco

      I use a mirror or a camera to look down without muzzling myself 😛

      Kidding… let’s see, pistols I just take the barrel out, long guns have the bolt out, revolver have my hand thru the frame window. Ammo nowhere around, definitely not the same table.

    • Xaun Loc

      Despite all the OMG stories already posted here. The simple FACT is that no one 100% follows the Basic Rules Of Gun Safety — if they did, every gun they own would be rusted into a solid lump because it would be impossible to ever clean or maintain any firearm if you tried to follow Always Treat Every Firearm As If It Is Loaded. The proper form of that rule continues with UNTIL YOU HAVE PERSONALLY CLEARED IT. The rest of the rules inherently require the same exception. Once a firearm is properly cleared it is no longer a firearm, it is just another hunk of metal (with or without assorted bits of plastic and/or wood attached).
      Even after a gun is cleared it should not be handled carelessly, but the religious devotion that some of the posters here CLAIM to follow is a line of BS in that what they really mean is that they expect everyone else to meet an impossible standard that they do not really meet themselves. There are several posts here from people complaining about other people handling guns in a gun shop — but those same people think it is fine for them to handle a gun in the gun shop. So, let me ask any of them, which direction to you point a gun inside a gun shop where it would be safe if it were to somehow magically load and fire itself? There is NO safe place to point a firearm in any gun shop I have ever been in. So, yes, even after you watch the clerk clear the gun and leave the slide back or the action open, you recheck it yourself to be sure it is absolutely unloaded — but don’t say that you keep the gun pointed in a safe direction at all times, because you DON’T. Probably the worst case of not pointing a gun in a safe direction is one that almost everyone here commits regularly with a loaded gun — holstering it — with most holster designs (especially any IWB holster) it is impossible to holster a pistol while keeping it 100% pointed in a direction you would be willing to fire the gun. That’s how cops keep shooting themselves in the leg while holstering their so-called safe-action Glocks with their finger on the trigger.

      • Agreed.

        I have a very tight knit group of of friends that do casual 3-gun style games with; usually no more than 3-4 people. Before guns are pulled out/etc, we all go over what we are comfortable or not comfortable with.

        Ex: One of our friends will in addition to putting gun on safety when ‘dropping’ it and picking up another, he’ll drop the mag and clear it. He asks if we’ll do the same. His father was one of the Rem700 discharge victims and is extra precautious, so we do sympathetically abide. Other times, dropping a loaded AR onto a gun case while on safety is fine while picking up your second or third stage gun.

        Since this is not ISPC/IDPA or whatever the competitive shooting sports groups are, our big rules are NEVER flag, and safety on while running. Turning 180/360 whatever is fine, as long as no one is flagged.

        All ’bout communication when in a group.

      • Bill

        Sort of. The issue is when someone else has cleared the gun, but I haven’t. I decline to put that much faith in others, having seen too many screw ups. Same for searching prisoners. If I take custody from another cop, I search the hood, regardless. It’s the only way I can be certain, or as certain as possible.

        When teaching, I’ll do multiple clearings. I’ll clear the gun, the have a second instructor clear it also. It might seem excessive but part of the reason is to inculcate the importance of the procedure in a student: they can’t see it too much.

        • Mark Wynn

          Excellent … especially the “inculcate” reason.

      • Mark Wynn

        Yes, there’s always a safe direction to point a gun in a gun shop, although it might be constrained. And yes, I only point in a safe direction. If looking down the sights, that’s usually aiming high on a wall, above any potential heads that could come into the picture.

        • Xaun Loc

          So you think putting a round into the wall of your local gun shop would be OK, so long as it was up high. I doubt the shop owner would agree.

          • Mark Wynn

            Xuan Loc, guess you didn’t read my previous post where I explained that, after the salesperson checks the gun and hands it to me, I check th gun again. And, I never point it at anyone even though we both know it’s not loaded. Not even when shouldering a long gun to see how it fits, or sighting and checking the trigger action on a handgun. That’s how I do it, and frankly that’s how knowegable “shop owners” do it as well. Thanks
            It conform with:

            Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules:

            1. All guns are always loaded.

            2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

            3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

            4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

          • Xaun Loc

            You missed my point Mark — the point was that it is IMPOSSIBLE to adhere to rules 1 and 2 100% of the time as they are written. Both rule 1 and 2 absolutely require an exception for a gun that you absolutely KNOW is clear. There may be some room to argue exactly how you go about KNOWING that, but without the exception it is impossible to follow Rules 1 & 2 completely.

          • Steve

            How true, Cooper’s 4 rules and always double check the other guy’s clearing of the weapon!

    • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Once I have taken the mag/open cylinder and dropped rounds and cleared the chamber, I look down the bore and even stick a bore light at the chamber end. It’s never an unloaded gun that kills you, it a gun misidentified as unloaded.

  • Michael Blum

    While doing the paperwork for an FFL transfer at a small, but busy, gun store last year, the clerks were being good about their own handling, but not calling customers on their actions. Nothing *too* terrible, but actions that indicated a lack of any safety awareness. Some of the more attentive customers (including me) ended up kinda bunched in the furthest corner from the counter, waiting for our chance to do paperwork and flee.

  • datimes

    Regis does not look particularly pleased.

    • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Didn’t Al Jazeera Gore’Gore’s invent the revolver and then the internet

  • Trey

    Had the Good Fortune of shooting this Sunday with a gentleman who truly understood make safe when make safe was called I took the bolt out of my rifle and he broke his AR in half so both weapons were about as safe as they get

  • h311r47

    This sort of stuff pisses me off, and gives gun owners a bad name. I’ve seen this way too often at gun shops, and not just perpetrated by prospective buyers. Happens all the time at ranges, though thankfully the places I go have diligent range officers. Treat every gun as if it’s loaded, even if your best friend, whom you trust with your life, hands it to you and swears it’s cleared. Check every gun you handle to make sure it’s clear. Even when you know it’s empty, treat it with respect and as if it’s loaded. Only point at things you’re willing or intending to put a hole through. This is gun handling 101, something my father drilled into me before I was ever allowed to handle a live firearm. I’m willing to forgive a lot of ignorance, especially in those new to our hobby, if they can at least demonstrate this.

  • RICH

    Hey Phil…. Quick question. What do you mean by an ‘ND’ ? Having spent 30 years in law enforcement I haven’t heard the ND term but I am assuming it is similar to an ‘AD’ (accidental discharge) in which I have seen when on our range due to ‘stupid people’.

    • Suppressed

      Negligent Discharge.

    • Kivaari

      NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE. There are NO accidents. Just like there are no car accidents, they all have a reason for happening, and it is a human issue.

      • RICH


      • RICH

        Anything that is ‘UNINTENTIONAL’ is an accident ! IMHO. When an individual has a car accident does he ‘INTENTIONALLY’ drive into another vehicle or a fixed object ? I think not. I’m not looking for an argument just stating an opinion.
        Thanks Kivarri.

        • Nashvone

          It may not be intentional but there’s always a reason. Texting while driving, driving while intoxicated, worn tires on a wet road? Negligence in any of these areas can have bad consequences. Was it intentional? No. Was it preventable? Yes.

          • Kivaari

            CORRECT. I worked for a traffic safety commission, and we could not use the word “accident”. They are crashes or collisions.

          • RICH

            I spent 30 years on a sheriffs department and when I retired ‘accident reports’ were still called accident reports…..even the heading on the state form was ‘traffic accident report’. I guess it’s just a matter of what part of the country you are from. The state I retired to calls them ‘crash reports’ and licence plates ‘tags’. LOL.
            Stay safe……..

          • Kivaari

            Your SO was wrong. The state report “crash” or “collision” is correct. Go to NHTSA, and you wont see accidents.

          • RICH

            I’m not going to argue with you. Maybe the NHTSA used it’s own defination , description or what ever you want to call it. It wasn’t the SO I worked for that printed the accident report forms…. it was the state. I guess you are correct and the state government is wrong…….as well as the individual “cops and agencies” being wrong ! ! Whatever, as far as I’m concerned it’s way to trivial to whine about.

          • Kivaari

            NHTSA was directing states to create uniform reporting systems so we could track crashes and victims to determine who was fa fault. It comes down to “risk management”. Find the causes, and you can correct what was wrong. This can be critical for local government. If it’s a poorly maintained or engineered road or bridge, they get sued. If they issue a pistol and shotgun that officers use and misuse, it leaves the city or county open to suit. It’s why standards get set. Why a police department get sued by the victims (innocent or suspects) because the agent of the government had poor training, poor equipment, inadequate ammunition or poorly written policy.
            Police work is sophisticated and full of risk. An “accident” will be treated as a civil case where “negligence” resulted in an “accidental outcome”.

          • Mark Wynn

            Look, Kiv, it’s great your “traffic safety commission” had a semantics rule never to use the word, accident, as I’m sure it helped everyone stay focused on the mission of the commission. However, accident has a common and accepted definition used by most users of the English language. We get your point. However, you’re driving it into the ground. It would be like if I demanded that you stop using the word “commission” for your organization because I only define it as a warrant conferring the rank of an officer in the military.

          • Kivaari

            Look Mar, “Boston’s Gun Bible”.
            Chapter 1, “TERMINOLOGY”, page 1/7,
            “ND negligent discharge. Causing a gun to fire unintentionally.”
            Chapter 2, “SAFETY AND HANDLING”, page 2/1,
            “There is no such thing as an “accidental discharge.” There is a cause for every action, and guns do not “go off” by themselves. They must be loaded and fired by a human. When the shooter is untrained or careless – then occurs an ND (negligent discharge).”
            Now don’t put down the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. It is and was the 4 years I was there as well as at the PD 50/50, a cop oriented group. WE were usually “manned” with 250-650 cops at the early monthly conferences.
            Safety, with guns or automobiles involve personal responsibility. We didn’t have car accidents, but crashes. We didn’t have accidental gun fire, we had deliberate or negligent discharges.
            Now, I don’t have the penache’ of Boston T. Party, but I’ll accept his biblical version.

          • Kivaari

            Boston’s Gun Bible
            TERMINOLOGY 1/7 ND negligent discharge. Causing a gun to fire unintentionally.
            SAFETY AND HANDLING 2/1 “There is no such thing as an ‘accidental discharge’.” “There is a cause for every action, and guns do not ‘go off’ by themselves. They must be loaded and fired by a human. When the shooter is untrained or careless-then occurs an ND (negligent discharge).”
            OK The WTSC was my 50/50 job, split between the PD and the state after retiring. Yes, I was triple dipping. I was awarded for doing a good job.
            Don’t take my definition, just use the biblical reference.

          • Kivaari

            Boston Tea Party’s “Boston’s Gun Bible” pages 1/7 and 2/1 explain it. I am right.

          • Kivaari

            “Boston’s Gun Bible”

        • Kivaari

          Car crashes are a result of someone doing something wrong. Follow the rules of the road and you wont have a conflict with another car. Stay on the road and don’t hit a tree, your choice. If it’s icy out, then you crash, it isn’t because of the ice, it is because you are driving too fast for conditions. If it’s raining and you slide off the road because your tires are without treads, that’s your fault. If the hillside crashes down and kills 4 women in a car on I90, they were innocent victims of poor highways building and/or engineering.
          If you have a car that all of a sudden accelerates to full throttles, that may be your fault for failing to maintain your car, or it is a recalled issue, where the engineer created a failing design. Everything pretty much has a human failure behind what happened.
          People prefer calling things accidents, because they don’t like assigning blame to anyone, especially themselves.
          If you have a ND, why did it happen? Finger on the trigger? Worn or broken part? Poor design? Dirty gun? All of those are human failings. If it is a poor design, as happens, than you may not be responsible, unless your stray round hits someone or something that should not have been hit. You will be held liable if you hurt someone, but so would the gun maker. Multiple defendants in the lawsuit. Proportionally shared negligence. If a person is hit, it is really YOUR fault.
          After investigating scores of car crashes, I have never observed an accident. I’ve sure seen bad driving resulting in injured and dead people. I’ve even been in crashes.

          • RICH

            How many traffic accidents or accidental shootings have you had to investigate as a Police officer or Insurance Agent ?
            What do you base your “EXPERTISE’ on ?

          • Kivaari

            Crashes? Quite a few. I am a retired patrol sergeant. My last 4 years were split between running a traffic safety project for the state while still doing patrol. 50/50. We never had many shootings. Most were negligent discharges, or suicides. The last I was out on a stabbing when a man shot his brother in the butt with a Glock 17. I did get that traffic safety commission job, thanks to my understanding of crashes and DUIs. WE did not investigate accidents, there are no accidents. I’d be curious as to what causes an accident. So far, I’ve never observed one. Act of God maybe, where a tree falls on a car? We even found that some of those resulted from keeping a riparian zone to keep environmentalist happy.
            WE could not use “accident” in official paperwork.

          • gusto

            Simply not true

            sometimes stuff just happens

          • Kivaari

            I’ll go by NHTSA and WTSC. They funded my position.

          • Mark Wynn

            Has to do with intent. Example: Unless the pilot was shot down or intentionally made a smoking hole, it’s an accident. Then the military accident board does its thing … and attempts to explain exactly why the accident occurred. Which invariably concludes that somebody did something wrong.

          • Kivarri

            Not true. Controlled flight into ground is one thing. Why? Was it a bird strike? If so they consider engineering changes to reduce that risk. Was it like the F117 control surface failure resulting in the loss of a plane, lightly injured imprisoned crew chief that failed to install a bolt. EVERYTHING has a reason. Metal fatigue? Engineering failure or failure to test the materials prior part manufacture, stressed beyond G-forces r rotations. Look at the investigation conclusions on most plane crashes. “PILOT ERROR” is listed. Even if it was a gear box on a CH47, but the Army doesn’t want to say so since it’s the same box on 2000 of them. It looks bad before congress. The Army does that, because someone was wrong.

          • Mark Wynn

            Kiv, I was in USAF Public Affairs for 30 years and have had to understand, and then explain to news media and civic leaders the results of dozens of aircraft incident and accident investigations. You’re jinking all over the sky, here, but, unfortunately, you’re missing the target. Might try to stay within you own little MOA. What part of … “accident” has to do with intent, and “negligence” has to do with behavior … don’t you understand?

        • Dan

          If his tires blew out or he passed out for some odd reason then it’s an accident. If he was reaching for something. Or otherwise not paying complete attention to what he was doing negligence. He didn’t intentionally drive into the tree, but he also didn’t intentionally try his hardest not to.

        • stephen

          When a firearm negligently discharges its 99.99% due to the negligence of the shooter. Even if there was a mechanical malfunction with the firearm, the shooter is responsible for following the safety rules so it doesn’t hurt/kill anyone (point in a safe direction, etc).

          As for your car accident bit, when a person crashes into your vehicle due to their negligent actions and not yours (you were driving safely) thats unintentional because it was not due to your actions. However if you’re negligent and crash into someone thats due to your… negligence.

          The same applies to firearms – if the shooter doesn’t know his firearm or the condition (he forgets if there is a round in the chamber) and his finger pulls the trigger, that is on him.

          IMHO there are no unintentional discharges – there are only levels of negligence.

          • Mark Wynn


  • Kivaari

    I had a customer from “Shooting Stars” draw his loaded BHP, hw swept me, I reached out and disarmed him. I suggested he be more careful. He was an arrogant guy and I figured he would shoot someone sooner or later. A week later he used that gun to kill a guy at a party. The shooter was acquitted, once more an idiot jury pool. He was always trolling for trouble, getting into fights and yelling matches, just so he could bully his way around.

  • SineNomine

    A lot of people have a serious misconception that police are highly trained with firearms. In some departments they don’t shoot more than 50 rounds a year. Think about that for a second. That’s not even a warmup at the range. Also, a lot of people going into the academy have never handled a gun before, and the training they get is perfunctory. I saw a TV special about LA County police cadets once that showed them on the range. I’d say over half of them would have been banned from any gun range with a semi-competent range officer. So just keep in mind that a badge does not automatically equate to solid firearms training or proper gun safety habits.

    • Kivaari

      YOU have that right.

  • gunsandrockets

    Familiarity can breed carelessness.

    • Dan

      This….so much this

    • iksnilol

      Yup, I notice this the most when driving.

      I am so used to my car and its limits that I can drive pretty “fast” (keeping the speed limit in spite of the road being curvy and whatnot). But when I drive somebody elses car? Brake much more.

      • Tassiebush

        I guess the other one is driving on an unfamiliar road. That really slows me down.

        • iksnilol


          But when you know a road? Sweet goodness you can drive efficently.

          Funny thing is I need to drive on a road twice to get to know it (once at night and once during the day). I remember visiting this one town during the night and I was confused (I’d only driven there during the day).

          • Tassiebush

            Yeah totally know that feeling. I find it weirdest driving at night in unfamiliar countryside for the first time.

          • iksnilol

            It’s weird, but relaxing. I like driving at night. Best time to drive is about 02:00 or 03:00 in the “morning”.

            Dark and peaceful.

          • Bill

            And on a motorcycle

          • iksnilol

            Have yet to drive a motorcycle. Don’t have a license for one (I’ve only got a license for a scooter, which I ironically don’t know how to drive, and license for a car).

            I prefer cars though. Sit back in the seat, relax, have some good music playing (lately it’s been a lot of eurobeat).

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            And if it’s raining, cars have a roof, and heat/AC

          • iksnilol

            NEVER USE THE AC!

            At least if you have a 4 cylinder engine like most cars do. Negatively affects fuel economy and power.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Hahahaha. Never use the A/C here in Eastern NC is very uncomfortable. I’ll gladly pay a little extra mileage penalty. But then I am not as near the artic circle as you are ?
            Going without A/C here is like you going without heat in the dead of winter. It can be done but it isn’t advise

          • iksnilol

            Glove compartment has gloves for a reason 😛

            When it is warm I just roll down the windows, shift down a gear… and hit the gas. Coincidentally it works really well as a hair dryer as well xD

          • Mark Wynn

            Why don’t you two get a room. And talk some more about cars ….

          • iksnilol

            Or… we could just go to my car. 😉

          • Kivaari

            As the bar are clearing out !!! Target rich environments for DUIs.

          • iksnilol

            I’ve yet to experience that. I should probably warn that there’s different times where it is appropriate to drive in different areas. But the nights in general are quiet, especially on weekdays.

          • Kivaari

            Europeans have much harsher limits. I suspect MOST know how risky it is to drink and drive. Some police do random stops, having everyone, including cops, take a PBT. A common limit was 0.05% BAC with some now down to 0.00%.
            Having a 0.02% could lead to a 1 year to life long license revocation.

          • iksnilol

            Oh yeah, we’re serious about drunk driving. Most important is the social aspect I’d say. Here in Norway, if one in the gang is drunk the rest won’t let one drive. And if you do somehow drive drunk you get ostracized by friends and whatnot. In Norway the BAC limit is 0.2% whilst in some countries (Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic) the limit is 0.00%. Having a BAC between 0.21 and 0.40 leads to a 700 dollar fine in Norway. Getting caught with BAC over 0.4 but under 0.5 leads to a fine between 1200 and 1400 USD. More than 0.5% and it gets tricky: You lose one and a half months pay… before taxes.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Sounds good to me. My son lost 4 friends in a 6 month periods due to alcohol. They don’t look after each other like we used to. One fell off a wall and died. The others died in car accidents and two took others with them

          • iksnilol


            I know that feeling. An associate of mine got killed due to drunk driving. Caught a heavy Mercedes station wagon going 160 km/h to the driver side. DOA right there.

            Not a fan of alcohol due to crap like that.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            2 is my limit. I like being alive, don’t like being out of control, and not a fan of feeling bad the next day.

          • iksnilol

            I respect that. I don’t drink at all. If I am not in a good enough condition to shoot/drive I am uncomfortable.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Except for the drunks driving the wrong way on the interstate at that time in NC it’s great

          • iksnilol

            Oh my.

            That sounds crappy.

            Here where I am, during the weekdays it is completely empty. Managed even to sneak in a bit drifting… considering my car is FF layout that is somewhat impressive, at least to me.

          • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            It is crappy. It is like play Russian Roulette driving around big city highways. It is not just NC. We tolerate drunk driving way too much here.

  • Joe Schmo

    I don’t think he is being overreacting at all. I work at a gun store/range and this is the type of behavior that is exhibited by a lot of people. It is scary that these people have not taken the responsibility to learn the guns they buy and some of them carry these guns!

    Lots of people do things that make me want to take their gun away and tell them to come back when they’re adult. I’m 19, I should not have to tell full grown men to be responsible. Frankly, I’m tired of it. The amount of people that come in and claim to know what they’re doing and then violate every safety rule, they don’t know how to hold a handgun or shoulder a rifle, they don’t know the laws regarding certain items, and they don’t care to learn.

    I’ve seen people do the following:

    1. Draw a carry gun and hand it to me, loaded
    2. Draw a carry gun and point it at me, loaded and unloaded
    3. People don’t know how to clear their gun
    4. People don’t know how to load their gun
    5. PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT GUN THEY CARRY (happens a lot, a lot of “Um… a .45”)
    6. Guys bring in their significant other who is nervous around guns and asks to see a gun and hands it to her, then she point it right at me with her finger on the trigger. (Happens mostly with guys with girlfriends/wives, the reverse has happened)
    7. People cannot keep the gun pointed downrange when loading
    8. People don’t know why their gun had a misfire (they don’t examine brass or the gun)
    9. People don’t understand the limitations of their capabilities with certain guns (They don’t get that shooting a double action only S&W 442 is not going to be easy at ten yards)
    10. People don’t know how to lube their guns
    11. People get slide bite (especially the “experienced” guys who claim to be so knowledgeable)
    12. People are ignorant and don’t care to listen to reason

    Luckily we have never had a significant incident, no one has ever been hurt.

    While I don’t feel this way about everyone, we have a lot of regulars that are awesome. There a lot of knowledgeable and responsible people I deal with, and I appreciate them. But like the rest of the community, the few annoying people tend to ruin it for the rest.

    I try my best to not be like every other gun store and range employee that assumes everyone coming in will be an ignorant and irresponsible person. Everyone I work with tries to make the environment as welcoming as possible. It is a place for education, not fear and ignorance. People like myself cannot expect people in the community to change without educating them. Everyone should try to treat people with respect and teach them; more people will join the shooting community if it is a welcoming and educational place.

  • Hey guys, I have a question. I was at a “degenerate Chinese cartoons for filthy weaboos and lonely virgins” convention. There was a “scam operation” going on at the con by a bunch of rogue people. I talked about those scammers to the three officers acting as security at the con. One officer asks me what my getup was (I was in PMC attire) supposed to be. I told him it’s airsoft gear and gave him a card where you could get such gear at if he’s interested in such a sport and how they may sell some gear that Officers can buy and use for training purposes only. I asked him what kind of Blackhawk holster he was wearing as I was’t familiar with the kind he wore (turns out it was a LV3 holster). He said “he didn’t know and he was simply issued it.” I told him I know it’s a Blackhawk holster, and that was a GLOCK in it. I also realized the rest of the gear he wore was mostly Blackhawk and that his armour was LVII soft body (I think, I’m probably getting my terminology wrong). He acted dumb as if he knew nothing about it. The other officer told him, “yea, that’s Blackhawk, that’s what we’re issued with.”

    Officer 1 then asked me if he could get himself a new LV3 holster at the airsoft store I introduced him. I told him they do (turns out they only sold LV2 holsters max) but it’s only rated for airsoft use since they’re chinese clones/bootleg and it should never be used for actual military or police use. They’re essentially toys. I told him Cytac holsters may be legit but they’re LV2, but I can’t guarantee it. However, I know that specific store can do special orders for police and military (i.e. $200 extremely high quality military grade ripstop pants that is comparable to Crye or 5.11.). You might be wondering, why $200? Mind you, this is Canada, otherwise known as land of the “LGBTQABCDSEFG Pride” degenerates and land of insanely high taxes (Ontario).

    So my question finally is: Should I have told him to stop acting dumb? Should I have asked him if he really knew nothing about the gear he was issued with? Does he even know how to operate a pistol or a rifle (Ontario police are all equipped with C8 rifles recently) safely with utmost professionalism?
    Perhaps I should have told him that I prefer a “Gun guy” to be a cop than a cop who hates or dislike guns. Because really now, how am I so sure that the guy who doesn’t like guns but wants to “protect people” can do his job better than a Gun Guy does?

    I mean, after reading the article’s story, it’s kind of worrying, you know? When you join the Police Force, you’re expected to be well trained with your firearms. Your firearm is like your child. You treat it like your own child and it’s your “lifeline.” To not like firearms is like half-assing your job.

    Should I have told him that at the expense of him getting himself embarrassed in front of his coworkers?

    • Norm Glitz

      You’re too full of yourself.

      • What do you mean? I don’t think there was much harm asking such a question here, no? I’m simply curious.

        • Norm Glitz

          Your whole post was you, you, you and your plastic airsoft toys. That the officer you bothered wasn’t interested in your equipment, just what he was issued, doesn’t make him “acting dumb”.

          You asking him if he even knew “how to operate a pistol or a rifle” is like a housecat asking a lion if he knew how to chase animals.

          • Why do I get the feeling you’re being hostile towards me? If asking such a question gets me this kind of response from the TFB community then I won’t ask anymore questions. I don’t think you know that I have friends with actual firearm licenses who regularly shoot guns at the range. I also have military friends as well who tell me all sorts of things.

            Over the years, I’ve met officers who hate guns very much but still want to keep their Police jobs. I simply don’t understand how you can continue on being an officer if you hate the sole thing that keeps you safe and alive in a job that puts your life on the line.

            Yet why you’re acting like that towards me, I don’t understand. Is it because I play Airsoft therefore I’m a 2nd rate netizen in the community?

          • Norm Glitz

            Not hostility, just calling you out on your pathetic self centered delusions. “I have friends with actual firearm licenses”. Really? And you play with plastic toys and pretend you’re superior to the cop who doesn’t care about his holster that he was issued.

          • Disqus gave me an error so I’m going to rephrase my original response.

            First of all, my parents told me if I ever wanted a firearms license, I would have to get my own house, car, and full time job. That’s the condition I was given. Different family conditions, different rules. First, I need to graduate college and then university.

            Second of all, I apologize if my question offended you in anyway or whatsoever, I never meant it that way. Please don’t hate me or think I’m an inferior POS libtard degenerate of some kind. I think if we met each other and conversed about various topics, you’d like me quite a bit. You and I both love guns. I want to be a responsible gun owner one day just like you are and the rest of the TFB community. But I’m just a kid (20 years old). My knowledge on firearms and Police Forces aren’t as good as you guys are. So please, don’t sh** on me like that, okay?

            I simply don’t understand the following:
            1. Why the Officer played dumb that he didn’t know what kind of gear he was issued.
            2. Why he wanted to buy a new holster even though his Union only allows what they issue if they need replacement.
            3. How can I trust an “anti-gun” Officer with handling firearms and keeping people safe? I mean, we already read the above article, correct? With Officers mishandling firearms and etc? That article reminded me of that Officer I met at the convention.

            Please and thanks.

  • Tassiebush

    Some of those examples would worry me and other wouldn’t but I think there are two aspects to this. Safety and percieved safety. You may know a gun is safe but another person does not and it’s unreasonable to expect them to just take your word for it or expect them to trust that you’ve done things right.

    • Len Jones


  • Cymond

    We decided to go to a convention somewhat last-minute, and were staying with a friend, and her roommates (who were previously unknown to us). At one point in the weekend, one of those roommates whipped out a percussion revolver, swept the entire room, thumbed back the hammer, pointed it at his friend, and pulled the frickin trigger!

    I was stunned. It happened in the blink of an eye, and felt the need to talk to our friend about it later.

    • Edeco

      Wow. On the plus side maybe it damaged the nipple, little just dessert.

  • Norm Glitz

    My favorite routine when handing a gun (that I’ve cleared) to someone is to say “I think it’s unloaded.” That usually gets some sort of facial expression and an exaggerated clearing from them. Which, of course, is the desired result.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I learned to shoot and was taught range safety by my father, a former Marine and Vietnam vet. If I made a mistake with my rifle the gun went back in the bag and the shooting was over for the day followed by a strongly worded safety lecture with a practical demonstration.
    Ive never had an incident in over 30 years of shooting due to having this drilled into my head as a kid.
    Also, I learned first hand what bullets really do to living creatures by examining my hits on dove, rabbits, quail, snakes, etc. That kind of close up examination of splattered blood and guts makes an impression that sadly most of the Modern Warfare generation who grow up in an urban environment will never get.

  • Phil Hsueh

    Reading this article makes me wonder if somebody shouldn’t develop a form a snap cap with an actual cap in it for use in gun stores and for training. This way, if someone goes around muzzling people and pulling the trigger without first checking to see if the chamber is empty they’ll get a bit of surprise and (hopefully) a bit of a scare which would, hopefully, teach them a lesson without harming anyone.

    • Edeco

      have it shoot an ear plug 😀

  • Jwedel1231

    100% agree. I’m getting anxiety from reading the article and these comments.

  • BryanS

    Even at a private range I’ve been swept with a loaded gun. The last time it happened, I asked the guy to keep it pointed down range. “Its empty”. As soon as he sets it down, I pick it up, pull the slide back, watch the round pop out, and stare at him.

    He left about 5 minutes later.

  • “If you point that at me one more time, I’m going to shoot you.”

    “Most people are accidentally shot with ‘unloaded’ guns. That’s why I’m so upset.”

    Range officers, God bless you.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Excellent article, Phil — thank you for publishing it. I also found the comments from the other readers useful and interesting, Also, the overall discussion was remarkably civil yet highly conscientious and to the point.

    In the end, what it comes down to regardless of experience or skill level is to always think before you act at every step when handling a firearm, and to never make assumptions.

  • mossbergman

    You can educate the ignorant …but YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID . Ron white was right.

  • mossbergman

    when I worked retail every gun taken from the case was ck’d before handing to a customer. then ck’d again before going back in the display case.

  • Nodonutz

    I am a retired LEO – 19+years. Have seen my fair share of carelessness at the range by folks who should have known better. I did have an accidental discharge once – we were all cleaning our duty weapons after range. We all heard a ‘pop’, and the guy next to me had an ‘Oh Sh%&$t’ face. He had a 9mm round roll off the table and when it hit the ground it just happened to hit the ground ‘perfectly’. Luckily no one was injured.
    A similar incident to the one in the story. We had a Rem 870 ND at the start of a shift, except it occurred inside a patrol car. He did not properly prep the shotgun and as he was putting it into the rack KA-BOOM! Once he came back from beach time, he got a trophy – which was topped with a car that had an umbrella inserted where the hole would have been in his patrol car. Hahaha….
    After moving out of CA and having to re-qual for my HR218 every year I’ve gone to various local departments, usually a rural agency, to range qualify. One time I was horrified at the lack of discipline on the line and around it. I asked to go on the first go-round so I could get the hell outta there. I felt I couldn’t say anything because it was a small tight knit group from 5-6 surrounding agencies, all knew each other, knew me, and if I ever encountered them in the field – I did not want to be ‘that guy whose the trouble maker’. There is a serious lack of PROPER training – I realize how lucky I was to have been a part of 2 departments that took training serious and spent the time and $$ to do it right.
    I’d say the ‘reader’ who shared is spot on – you can never be too cautious or safety conscious around firearms. You are responsible for you safety, whether it be CCW or watching out for other idiots. Too many dumbazzes out there.

    Be Aware and be safe, and I DARE you to just say ‘No’ to doughnuts 😉

  • Dayne Adams

    When I read “negligent discharge” I always assume it concerns someone who should know better. The reassurance “oh, it isn’t loaded” should never provide reassurance at all. It should in fact be the reason to walk away. A cliché is a truth we get tired of hearing, and perhaps firearms enthusiasts do get tired of hearing it, but it still remains true. Their is no such thing as an unloaded gun. By strictly adhering to that belief, we can virtually eliminate NDs from our lives.

    It is my believe that on average, police officers are less knowledgeable about firearms that the civilian enthusiast. While most of US would love to go to the range several times a week, for some cops, that trip to the range is just one more thing they have to do. An acquaintance of mine has been a cop for many years, but the only firearm he has is his service pistol. He doesn’t carry when off-duty. And this is of course his decision, but it reflects his lack of interest in them.

    Anyway, I don’t think we should give anyone the benefit of the doubt, no matter
    their status or history. If we see a safe handling error, say something.
    Yes, we may get blessed out or laughed at – but there’s also a chance
    we may be saving someone’s life. Like theirs, or OURS.

    Gun safety rules are like the constitution. They must apply to everyone.

  • Steve

    Not retentive or over reacting. Broke at least 3 of these.

    Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules:
    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

  • Will

    As a certified firearms instructor and a police firearms instructor since 1979 allow me to assure you that not every law enforcement officer you meet is highly competent with firearms.
    The majority I’ve trained are competent and conscientious about there firearms; but please be aware of the fact that some barely pass minimum standards for qualification. For years the standard was 70%. That meant they were allowed to miss a man sized target with three of ten rounds fired. And that was not under stress.

  • Raymond Miller

    Hey Al, you have to look down the barrel and squeeze the trigger to see if it’s loaded and working properly.

  • Bob

    I’m an NRA certified pistol instructor. Wahoo. Unfortunately, even after instructing people in the safe usage of firearms, people do stupid stuff with guns. Doesn’t matter if they’re law enforcement or civilians, people do stupid stuff. My fave is LEO’s locking up firearms in their vehicles only to come back and find that they were burgled and all their guns, badges, vests, etc. are gone. Val Demmings, Orlando’s ex-police chief, was attempting to leave for work and forgot something in her house and ran into her house for “just a few seconds”, when she came back out to her car, her pistol, duty belt, ammo, badge, everything… that she had left on the trunk of her car, was gone. She’s running for Congress now. BTW, all that stuff was never found again. Maintaining positive control over your firearms is paramount to gun owners. LEO’s maintaining positive control over their weps is a matter of public safety as well as life and death, especially when they can legally carry full-auto carbines. There’s like over 200 million gun owners in this country and I don’t see 200 million accidental discharges or gun thefts, do you?

  • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Phil, I understand how you feel. I worked at a gun shop and I loved to traded used guns for new. The problem is that about half the guns came in loaded. They pull them out of a pistol rug and start to point them at you as you move to the side and bring your hand up to block it and ask them to put it down with their finger off the trigger. Some people would get angry and I would calm speak about gun saftey [as in not point them at things you didn’t want bullet holes in]. They would tell me about how the gun was unloaded and the when I would drop the mag and rack the slide and a round would pop out. Then they would all be all red faced.
    I like to think I taught them some gun saftey but I know people are stupid.
    I don’t think you are going overboard. Bullet holes and my body doesn’t go well together. You can’t go overboard on saftey. Keep it real Phil

  • James_G

    I have almost 30 years experience with both civilian and military law enforcement, I rarely consider a civilian LEO a “gun guy” unless he has SWAT experience from a larger dept. Just like most military are not “gun guys” Just because you carry a weapon on a daily basis doesn’t mean you really know how to carry one safely, or shoot it with precision, that takes time, effort and personal commitment, things which many people that carry weapons on a regular basis just don’t want to commit to.

  • Old Vet

    Having suffered two gunshot wounds, I will tell you in a not very nice manner to get the hell away from me if you are being an idiot with a firearm. I too worked at a range for several years and the horror stories are there for the asking. I rarely shoot at a range anymore, it has become too dangerous for my way of thinking. Too many non-gun guys buying because of the fear of politicians and then not getting any training is too common. I experienced the non-gun policemen like author also with ND’s at the range with them. We had a detective that dropped his little derringer in the bathroom stall and it shot a hole in the ceiling which just happened to be the Chiefs floor above……oh yeah!!! Yes he got some days off too.

  • Fantom100

    Monday this week I went to a local supply store,it’s initials are RK, I buy a lot of ammo there . At the counter was a long haired greasy young man who was obviously the smartest man in the world and had his (girlfriend) with him ask to look at a 1911 45ACP pistol. The clerk cleared the weapon and handed it to him and he turned and scanned everyone up and down the counter to show it to his girlfriend. The clerk ask if he was going to purchase or his girlfriend. He said she was going to purchase and handed it to her which she pointed at the clerks groin and attempted to pull the slide back, and couldn’t. Smartest man in the world said he would teach her how to work it. I moved in behind her so as not to be on the muzzle end of the weapon. I had already seen the rifling as they scanned everybody at the counter with it. It was shoulder to shoulder people that day. I moved down the counter and purchased my ammo and left. She purchased the 1911 and 2 boxes of ammo. Luckly she had a 3 day wait. Hopefully she will get professional training. I owned a Gun shop for 10 years and I would not of sold these two a weapon. The pistol was too big for her and it was obvious it was for him. The clerk should of refused the sale.

    • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Sure sounded like a straw purchase

  • smalltowndude

    “Begs the question” does not mean “raises thd question.”

    • Mark Wynn

      Actually, it does.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    There is nothing wrong with having positive values.

  • westoast

    It’s a never ending battle. You have a choice of dropping your standards (Turning off your survival instinct) or being ready to point out someone’s carelessness at any given moment.
    It appears that some people consider gun safety the same way they do passing a driver’s test. They passed the course now they will forget everything they learned and hope the angels are watching out for them.
    It’s tough when you have to remind someone who obviously should know better, but when they make an obvious potentially deadly move and don’t get a look on their face that says “Oh crap, I can’t believe I just made such a boneheaded rookie mistake…” you have to point it out to them. They may be too rusty to be trusty.

  • John Swinkels

    It would appear we all have a story to tell,well this is one particular incident i have witnessed on a number of occasions as a range officer,that you have probably seen also.Its about the guy who is shooting a semi-auto at the range and he has a jam rather than keep the thing pointed down range, they have a habit of bringing it across their chest pointing a loaded gun at all the other shooters to the left.Their is only one answer to all of this is Practise Practice and more PRACTISE.

  • Mark Wynn

    No, you’re not over-reacting. Like a lot of bad behaviors, I suspect it involves watching hours of clueless gun handling on TV dramas every day. I used to grumble, “he just crossed his partner ….” until my wife got tired of hearing it. I do find one’s accorded a certain respect from gun store employees when they check a gun before handing it to you … and you check it again, anyway. And then keep the muzzle pointed away from anyone, even though you both know it’s not loaded. I think this either has to be ingrained from childhood (as I was) … or make it a mark, a conceit if you will, of a person who really knows guns. Perhaps gun organizations could promote these safe handling “conceits.”

  • Sick and Tired in Ohio

    If they’re not gun guys or gals, why the hell are they working as police?

  • Mark Wynn

    It’s more the principle and the practice of it.

  • Simcha M.

    When it comes to gun-safety, you can NEVER be too anal-retentive and that is what I tell all my students.

  • Jeff Edwards

    I was sitting in the den with my Dad about a year ago (he’s 84) and he started waving a .38 in my direction as we were handling and talking gun stuff. I called him on it (nicely) and he got indignant, saying, “Hey, it’s unloaded! I know how to be safe with this stuff!” “Evidently not”, I replied, and left the room immediately. He’s still pissed about it, but I don’t care. I’ve decided that either you can be trusted, or you can’t, and if not, I don’t want to be around you if you’ve got a gun on you. I have developed a healthy aversion to being swept with a weapon, pain and death over the years. Somehow, I think they’re all related…

  • Mark Wynn

    Word, Don.

  • AirborneSoldier

    Good article.