Some advice from the Panhandle Rancher…….

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.

 – Rourke



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.

Panhandle Rancher

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  1. Hi Rourke, Panhandle-rancher has some sound advice there. Anyone using a holster should have some good instruction. I have also been hit with bounce back pieces of bullet during competition and practice. Shooting some AP 3006 at a steel disc 40 yards down range one day, the stellite core came straight back after knocking the disc hard, hit the tin roof behind me and rolled down the roof and landed in the snow at my feet. No more metal for me, and those gravel pits are not the best either. Safety has to be number one or all your prepping will only help somebody else.

  2. Rourke,
    Some good advice here. I’ve put 1,000’s of rounds down range and (knock on wood) I haven’t been dinged by any bounce back. After some deep and serious thought (must have put at least 3 or 4 seconds into it) I am of the opinion I can go the remainder of my life without beoming acquainted with the experience. I am carrying a few pieces of metal around that I picked up from some former overseas activities, but nothing self inflicted.

  3. All too true my friend, metal targets are in point of fact a vicious “advisary”. I am glad that you came thru the ordeal ok fine. I had the pretty much the same event in my life, but it was from a 7.62 NATO round. I was in the Air Force at the time and staioned in Iceland, so that was a cinch that I was “drafted” into the base GDF ground defense force, we went out to do fam shooting with the Navy weapon of choice the old venerable M-14, well you get the gist of rest of it fired twice hit the metal gong once and that is all it took. Funny that was the first on only time they drafted aircraft mechs into the GDF. left a sore spot on the left shoulder that bruised for a long long time good thing I was wearing a field jacket with liner and thermal underwear. Needless to say I have not shot another metal target since that time (1980).


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