Gun etiquette question


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Shemoves
September 24, 2007, 07:12 PM
I've been taught that when handed a gun, you always check to see if there is a round in the chamber. Makes sense. Question is, if you have seen the gun already get checked, do you still check it?

Specific example: While at a gun store, a salesman pulls a gun off the rack for you. He checks it, then hands the gun to you. Do you also check it?

Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, mod feel free to move.

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Jorg Nysgerrig
September 24, 2007, 07:14 PM
I usually do, since working the action is usually something you want to do when you are inspecting the gun anyway.

Shadow Shock
September 24, 2007, 07:15 PM
Allways check it your self, even if it was just checked. Plus this will probobly make the gun store employee view you as a saftey oriented individual. Which never hurts.

average_shooter
September 24, 2007, 07:16 PM
The way I was taught; the person handing it checks it, shows you it is clear then hands it to you. When you take it you check it and verify that it is cleared. Check often while handling the firearm.

At gun stores, when checking out a potential future purchase, I do most of the handling with the slide locked back.

jlbraun
September 24, 2007, 07:17 PM
Absolutely.

It also separates you from the yahoos in the eyes of the gun store employee.

Shemoves
September 24, 2007, 07:19 PM
All great info, will do. Thanks.

GigaBuist
September 24, 2007, 07:19 PM
Always check. A couple years ago I was in my apartment with 4 other gun buddies. As pistols were passed about everybody checked them at least once each.

SuperNaut
September 24, 2007, 07:20 PM
Gun store scenario aside; because the first person may not be checking for clear.

pax
September 24, 2007, 07:22 PM
Yep. Check it yourself.

When you hand it back, hand it back with the action open, so the other person can easily check for himself, too.

pax

Justin
September 24, 2007, 07:25 PM
I always do, even if the person handing it to me just showed me an empty chamber.

By doing it every time I'm handed a gun, it reinforces the action, hopefully to the point where it simply becomes reflexive.

MrPeter
September 24, 2007, 07:27 PM
If someone hands me a gun I always always always check the action, I don't care if the action is open or it was just checked. This includes when I pick up my gun out of its kydex (I store them in their holsters, takes less space).

I also never put my finger in the trigger guard, unless I'm going to dry fire, and if I want to try the trigger, I always ask if I may dry fire this particular gun, if it doesn't belong to me. Some people are very particular.

joab
September 24, 2007, 07:29 PM
It also separates you from the yahoos in the eyes of the gun store employee.
Whenever I hand someone, especially someone I am not sure of, a gun I check it and close the action and hand it to them

I want to see of they will also check , if not I am I assume that this is a person unfamiliar with firearms

CountGlockula
September 24, 2007, 07:33 PM
There's nothing wrong to double-triple-quadruple-sextuple-sentuple...etc. checking.

You might get OCD. Disclaimer: Apologies to those that may have OCD.
:neener:

Mainsail
September 24, 2007, 08:01 PM
I always lock it open and take a gander down the bullet hole.

Floppy_D
September 24, 2007, 08:05 PM
If you don't check, just make sure you post in the negligent discharge thread when things go south. :D

XavierBreath
September 24, 2007, 08:13 PM
I always check a closed weapon that is handed to me. I always hand it back with an open chamber and a stern look in the other man's eye.

Proper etiquette would require the salesman to hand you a pistol with the slide locked back, chamber open, for inspection. A revolver would be handed to you with the cylinder swung open for inspection. A rifle would have the bolt locked back. Since he handed you a closed chamber, it was he who violated proper etiquette, not you. Thus your checking the closed chamber handed to you should not raise protest. Make sure you hand the weapon back with the chamber open.

Among experienced gun handlers and salesmen, this is how they instantly know if they are dealing with another experienced handler or a novice. Checking that closed chamber sends a subtle message that you know what you are doing. Handing it back chamber open tells the other person you damned sure know what you are doing.

This etiquette comes from the military. An inspecting officer is always handed a rifle or sidearm with an open chamber that has been checked by the bearer in the officer's presence. This occurs with formal inspections and changing of guards. It is courtesy. Note too, that when the officer hands the weapon back, the chamber is open, whether he has manipulated the action or not.The bearer then again checks the chamber before placing the weapon at rest.

As Mr. Peter stated, keep your booger hook off the bang switch too.

El Tejon
September 24, 2007, 08:15 PM
The Four Rules light is always on.

DoubleTapDrew
September 24, 2007, 09:06 PM
I just take their word for it and dry fire at my temple a couple times before checking myself. :neener:

If someone gets offended at you checking for clear after they just did, keep an eye on that person. Personally I'm relieved when someone checks for clear when I hand them a weapon (even though I just did). Shows they know what the heck they are doing and care about safety.

skeeter1
September 24, 2007, 09:09 PM
Allways check it your self, even if it was just checked. Plus this will probobly make the gun store employee view you as a saftey oriented individual. Which never hurts.

I had one gunshop owner get really mad at me for checking a gun myself. That's what I was taught to do, and I'll always do it. I never went back to that gunshop, and it has long since gone out of business. I don't miss them.

theCZ
September 24, 2007, 09:11 PM
All the stores I frequent hand me a pistol with the slide locked back (sorry, I haven't shopped for any wheel guns). I still peep down the chamber. Bolt guns I keep the bolt open, unless I'm pointing in a safe direction to check bolt cycling (empty of course).

littlegator
September 24, 2007, 09:19 PM
I'm kinda a hypochondriac when it comes to checking it anyway, so nobody should be surprised that I check even after they do. Besides, I like to feel the resistance of the slide and the feel of the gun. It's just natural...

U.S.SFC_RET
September 24, 2007, 09:20 PM
Not only do I visually check the chamber each and every time I stick my pinky finger to feel the chanber to feel thet there is an empty chamber. Your Eyes will play tricks on you. Your mind will tell you what you want to see even if there is a round in the chamber. Trust me on this one.
I post those four rules in my signature line for a reason. Ask my brother in law and ask my uncle. They are not around any longer, unloaded guns kill.

230RN
September 24, 2007, 09:28 PM
I've had to ask them to open the action when they tried to hand it to me. I will not accept a gun with a closed action.

I visually and, if possible, manually, check the chamber. I also make sure I can see daylight through the mag well.

These are almost absolute rules --the exceptions are that with some arms you can't lock back the slide or bolt (eg, old 10-22s) or stick your finger in the receiver to feel for a round (again, some .22s).

One thing I've noticed with the popularity of steel-cased ammo is that the laquered cases can be hard to see in dim lighting because of their dark color.

For one used to seeing nice, bright brass, the newer steel cases can easily fool me if my glasses are a little dirty or I'm particularly stupid that particular day.

Because of this, I've gotten really persnickety about looking in the chambers and groping in there with a pinky.

Bear in mind that simply cycling the action is no guarantee that there is no cartridge in the chamber! Extractors break, slip, extractor springs break or wear out, etc. etc.

Because of this fact, I had my first negligent discharge several decades ago with a 1911 whose extractor had broken. I cycled the action a couple of times, but a round was left in the chamber anyhow. I've mentioned this before, but I guess it's worth saying again, that the gun functioned normally since the residual gases blew out the empty cases and the ejector kicked them out just like normal. The negligent discharge was, however, in a safe direction.

I found the broken extractor hook on my workbench the next day, which is how I know the gun was functioning normally without an extractor hook.

ShooterMcGavin
September 24, 2007, 09:30 PM
Absolutely, always check. Even if I just saw him show me the empty chamber, I check again once it is in my hands. It is too risky to get complacent with the thought that "he just checked, and he knows what he's doing".

When you hand it back, hand it back with the action open, so the other person can easily check for himself, too.
If I am handing someone MY gun to inspect, I clear the gun but I do not hand them my gun with the slide locked back. I am too worried that a careless person will drop the slide lock and SLAM the slide closed on an empty chamber. You can call me inexperienced or say that I lack etiquette, but I may be saving my defensive gun from being abused.

If I am handing someone's gun back to them, or back to the salesman at a gun shop, then I do hand it back with the slide locked back.

Another, related question: I prefer to hand a gun to someone with the muzzle pointed downwards or in a safe direction to the side. When someone hands you a gun butt-first (pointed directly at themselves), should you just grab the gun with a shooting grip? Is that a little uncomfortable for some of you, as it is for me?
Of course your finger should be off the trigger.

shooter429
September 24, 2007, 09:52 PM
I saw a perfect and frightening example of how important this is at a store just a few days ago. The place has an indoor range as well as a pro shop with rentals. The store policy prohibits loaded weapons in the store section. A customer comes in off the range to turn in a rental gun. The customer laid the weapon on the counter and asked to see another. The store clerk asked if the gun was unloaded, and the customer said "yes, of course." The shop clerk picked up the gun, pulled back the slide, and we all got to watch a live round was ejected from the gun and flew across the counter. Needless to say, I was a little shocked. I asked the clerk if that was very common and he stated that it actually was. :uhoh:

What if the clerk had not personally checked it or another customer picked it up without checking it himself? :eek:

Great question.

Be safe.

Shooter429

glockman19
September 24, 2007, 10:14 PM
Yes always check every gun I'm handed every time. It's been engrained in my psyche.

Neo-Luddite
September 24, 2007, 11:50 PM
My line, not meant in any disrespectful way whatsoever;

If Jesus hands you a weapon and tells you it isn't loaded, check the chamber.

tnieto2004
September 25, 2007, 12:43 AM
I always lock it open .. Just a habit I have formed

Dgindlesperger
September 25, 2007, 12:47 AM
Again, ALWAYS LWAYS ALWAY check yourself and once you do NEVER point it towards anyone even if you now it's empty...they don't.

Gary Frost
September 25, 2007, 04:02 AM
The first time you don't check is the first time of developing a bad habit.

BikerRN
September 25, 2007, 04:09 AM
Here's the question I would ask if someone had an AD after being handed an unloaded gun, "Did you check the firearm to make sure it was unloaded?"

If the answer is "No" then I think you deserve whatever bad things befall you. Remember, stupidity can be terminal. You could kill or injure yourself or someone else by your actions or inactions. Do you really want that on your shoulders?

I double check each firearm through a series of steps. Basically:

Look
Touch
Feel
Then I "LOOK AWAY" and do it again

Are you sure that gun is unloaded? I even do this in a gunstore. It's a good habit to get in to and one that should never be violated.

Biker

onewithgun
September 25, 2007, 04:17 AM
Just remember.
All guns are always loaded.

It's when you break your system that it fails you. If you keep the habit then you won't screw up.

swingset
September 25, 2007, 04:44 AM
saw a perfect and frightening example of how important this is at a store just a few days ago. The place has an indoor range as well as a pro shop with rentals. The store policy prohibits loaded weapons in the store section. A customer comes in off the range to turn in a rental gun. The customer laid the weapon on the counter and asked to see another. The store clerk asked if the gun was unloaded, and the customer said "yes, of course." The shop clerk picked up the gun, pulled back the slide, and we all got to watch a live round was ejected from the gun and flew across the counter. Needless to say, I was a little shocked. I asked the clerk if that was very common and he stated that it actually was.

What if the clerk had not personally checked it or another customer picked it up without checking it himself?

Great question.

Be safe.

Shooter429

Regarding your question:

If the clerk had not checked the weapon, and another shooter had picked it up without checking it, would the gun have gone off without someone squeezing the trigger?

I'm not trying to make light of someone handing back a loaded weapon, but the 4 rules exist for a reason. Even if I'm handed a loaded weapon, I will not ND because a: I don't put my finger on the trigger, and b: I don't point the gun where it can hurt someone.

I always check guns that are handed to me, but your question supposes that the next person to pick it up would have done so by the trigger.

pax
September 25, 2007, 10:41 AM
I always check guns that are handed to me, but your question supposes that the next person to pick it up would have done so by the trigger.

Given the number of fools in the world ...

pax

TexasRifleman
September 25, 2007, 10:46 AM
The first year or so I was shooting (10 years old or so) I took some what would now be called "child abuse" beatings for violating the "treat all guns like they were loaded" rules. Mostly verbal beatings, and a couple of times with the belt.

Harsh? Maybe in today's thought, but I'm grateful to both granddads for the yelling and time spend with the the leather strap (only twice actually, well deserved I might add) for this and a couple other valuable lessons.

Knock on wood I have not failed this test again since I was 10 (40 now).
Hope I won't.

My grandad would regularly open the gun cabinet and take some random rifle, check it, then hand it to me.

If I didn't immediately check it, even though I watched him do it, there was no shooting for me that weekend.

Now, sending me out with 5 rounds of .22LR and telling me to not come back til I had at least 4 bullfrogs, well that was just cruel lol

I became handy with the gig I kept hidden out back but that's another story ;)

ronwill
September 25, 2007, 10:50 AM
Certainly do. As stated before this will relax those working in the store. I've had salesmen leave me holding a gun to stay with a customer who was obviously new to guns. Safety is always a good thing.

Walkalong
September 25, 2007, 10:51 AM
I always check a gun before handing it over. I give them an auto with the slide locked back or a revolver with the cylinder open. I check all guns handed to me regardless. :)

When I am at the range I leave revolvers and autos open on the bench so others can see they are unloaded.

ShooterMcGavin
September 25, 2007, 02:09 PM
While I agree with the practice of handing a gun BACK to its owner with the slide locked back, do you also follow that rule when you are handing your personal handgun over to a friend? Are you at all concerned that another person, even someone very experienced, might just release the slide lock and slam the slide closed???

Now, if they draw the slide back, lock it, and then release it to slam forward... well, that's just wrong. I think that is even more discourteous than dry firing without asking.

Pax Jordana
September 25, 2007, 02:21 PM
I was once handed a shotgun, loaded, whose action I proceeded to open. I missed the shell, and two more fell out when I bent down to grab the first.

Nearly blew off the right side of my head when I bent down to "dry fire" the "empty" gun to put it away. Turns out the other two shells came from my pocket.

Check. Not checking sets off my schmoe alarm, from here on out.

Tom Servo
September 25, 2007, 02:30 PM
Most people I hand the gun to are NOT very experienced, and if there's going to be an ND, it's very likely to be in my general direction. It's not only courteous, it's in my best interests to check.

Most folks never even drop the slide, but they'll wave it around, finger on trigger, until I tell them to stop. I even have "experienced" guys who will close the action and hand it back that way. I usually make a point of opening the action and checking it (with a bit of dramatic flourish) when they hand it back.

Nobody seems to ask before dry-firing anymore. The worst are the old guys who'll dry-fire the gun 50-60 times, slam the slide open and shut, and then insist on one that "hasn't been handled so much."

If they sweep me (or someone else) with the muzzle more than once, and that person's gone. If they dry-fire with the muzzle covering someone, they're gone.

First off, every gun is always loaded. This dovetails into all the other rules. Ignorance is no excuse. If I see someone who's got no experience, I've got a stern-but-polite lecture I give, but if they keep it up, the polite part goes out the window.

I've no desire to get sued or dead.

Here's what I was taught. You don't hand someone a gun until you've checked it. You don't take a gun from someone who hasn't checked it. Even then, you keep the action open, finger off the trigger, pointed in a safe direction. It's courtesy, yes, but it's also self-preservation.

GarandOwner
September 25, 2007, 02:30 PM
+1 to the check it yourself, safety one, also as stated many times before, shows the gun clerk you are competent and safety oriented.

On a side note, I once went to the gun store that I frequent, and brought one of my friends. I hear "Hey look here." When I turned, he had a used Remington 700 with scope pointed at me. We immediately left. Needless to say, some people just dont have common sence when it comes to guns.

SDC
September 25, 2007, 03:04 PM
Definitely, check it yourself, even if you just SAW it checked; this is why they added the "hammer down" sequence to "unload and show clear" during IPSC competition, just to make doubly sure that there's no round in the firearm. Also, when you're passing a firearm to someone else, I'd consider it common courtesy to take the magazine out and lock the action open, check it, then pass it to them with the action still open.

PcMakr
September 25, 2007, 05:48 PM
Have a friend who is now retired from LE after about 26 yrs. About year 21 or so, as a Lt. in detectives, he had a ND. As a uniformed officer, he had carried a 6" Python, and had extensive experience with them. One day while he was in his office, a younger uniformed officer brought in his Python he was having some trouble with and asked my friend to look at it. My friend watched the uniformed officer open the cylinder, dump the cartridges, and close the cylinder. The officer handed the revolver to my friend, but, my friend neglected to open the cylinder to check. He put the gun up next to his ear, with the long barrel pointing up and backwards behind him. He DA the trigger a couple of times listening to the action and then BOOM. Fortunately, the gun was pointing in as safe a direction as possoble in a city building in a relatively large city. It took out the window in his office, him which was on the 6th floor.

Unfortunately, he lost the eardrum in that ear. The doctor said that it looked as though it had been removed surgically, it was so completely gone. They were able to build a new eardrum, but he still does not have the hearing he used to have.

We have been good friends for over 35 years, and worked with him for about 4 of those years. I know that he knew better, but he admitted that he "saw the officer dump out the shells, and just had a lapse in habit of checking, just didn't think about one of them hanging up in the cylinder." I know that even though he damaged his hearing, and had to take a lot of ribbing from other officers, and crap from superiors, that he is thankful nobody was seriously injured or killed. It was pointed in a safe direction, at least as safe as up in a city can be.

If anybody gets offended about you checking after they have checked, s@#*w them. It's somebody's life at risk!

Creature
September 25, 2007, 05:54 PM
I consider it impolite if the person that I just handed a gun to doesn't check!

And I let them now it.

ambidextrous1
September 25, 2007, 06:04 PM
Xavier got it succinctly correct in post #16 in this thread; I won't repeat it here, but will add that if the sales clerk does a chamber check & tries to hand the weapon to me without the slide locked back, I request that he lock it back before I'll take it. After I'm finished with the firearm, I lock the slide back & check it before returning it.

TehK1w1
September 25, 2007, 06:06 PM
There's nothing wrong to double-triple-quadruple-sextuple-sentuple...etc. checking.

You might get OCD. Disclaimer: Apologies to those that may have OCD.



I actually do have OCD :uhoh: and while it can be hard to live with, one of my compulsions is "Checking" things, like if a door is locked, the stove is off, or if a gun is loaded, if the safety is on, etc. While OCD can very difficult to live with (I also "Close" things, I once locked myself out of my car twice in one day :mad:), this is one of the few things that makes it livable. I have irritated gun store employees by checking 5-10 times while looking over a weapon, though :p

Houston Tom
September 25, 2007, 06:09 PM
you can not be too safe

Green Lantern
September 25, 2007, 06:19 PM
I would not be offended in the least if I checked a gun, handed it over to someone, and then s/he checked it themselves, and I think most safety-minded gun owners would agree.

When you weigh the risk of "Offending" someone vs. the risk of an ND, the choice seems simple to me! :D

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