I recently received an email from the Panhandle Rancher regarding the recent Colorado shooting and firearm safety.
I thought it was excellent and with permission I am passing on to all of you.
My wife commented regarding the shooting. She wondered how many people would have been killed in the cross fire had the shooting occurred in Amarillo. Everyone packs heat here. What I see is the result of Colorado’s gun laws in action.
Second, regard range practices I thought I’d pass on some wisdom of the ages, learned the hard way by way too many.
I begin range practice with a brief of what to do if the trigger is pulled and a bang doesn’t occur. I segue into range safety and close with a reminder about hang fires. Doesn’t happen a lot with boxer primed smokeless but I have seen it when the ammo has been stored in a car for the summer. Occasionally it will happen with old Berdan primed military ammo. Keep that barrel down range and keep the action closed.
We conduct a safety check of all firearms before firing. Barrels are checked for obstructions (ever seen what a mud dauber will do to a gun barrel?) and all kinds of debris finds its way into pistol barrels. After the bore check, I have everyone verify the functionality of all mechanical safeties (not that I use them but some depend upon them and never check) including the barrel disconnect for center fire pistols.
I always try to have as few on the line as possible with a safety observer behind each shooter. Many pistoleros will wave the muzzle of their pistols behind them when holstering a weapon. I demonstrate the proper safe way to holster a weapon. When the course of fire is complete, I announce, “holster an empty weapon,” with the expectation that everyone will check for an empty chamber before holstering.
If for formal timed practice, my command is with x number of rounds load your magazines, etc. I depend upon the raised hand of either the shooter or observer to indicate a malfunction or other safety issue and upon seeing one, announce cease fire on the bull horn.
I took a round to the chest from a subsonic MP5 back in the day. My partner (I was his observer) was shooting popper targets and one of the bullets did a 180. I no longer shoot metal targets. I saw the dull copper streak as the bullet headed my way. My next recollection was looking up at a bunch of agents surrounding me. I did the wiggle the toes and fingers test and raised a hand to my chest. It is absolutely amazing how much blood can come from a chest wound. I was laying on my back in a sticky puddle. A military ambulance was called and my shooter loaded up with me. I remember looking at my friend from the gurney and seeing how white he was. Of course he saw his pension going bye bye. I pointed to him and the EMT gave him a paper sack to breathe from. I can still hear the sack as he sucked it in and out. I was given the bullet later and threw it at my friend. You might say this helped me focus on range safety thereafter.
Let’s stay safe out there.
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