Life lessons you've learned from shooting


May 6, 2011, 04:15 PM
Ok, so there are certain things you learn as a gun guy/gal that only apply to the firearms world, but there are other things that you've probably learned as a gun person that would be applicable to other fields of interest, or possibly great life lessons.

Here are two that I've learned as a gun nut.

-Don't go cheap or you'll regret it. Buy once. Cry once.
-When properly applied, a little bit of oil can go a LOOONG way.

What things have you all learned?

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May 6, 2011, 04:23 PM
Don't miss when someone's shooting at you.

May 6, 2011, 04:27 PM
if you think it might be a bad idea.. it is.

May 6, 2011, 06:39 PM
Make the correct decision and make it FAST but don't hurry.:what::D

May 6, 2011, 07:03 PM
Keep your toaster loaded and close by. Don't trust people that haven't earned it yet.

Ohio Gun Guy
May 6, 2011, 07:11 PM
You wife will always say no.

Sometimes you have to ask for forgiveness instead of permission when buying a gun.

May 6, 2011, 08:08 PM
My son once told me how invaluable the hunting and shooting experiences of his youth were when he later went to war. Those experiences gave him an edge others in the military did not have. As a leader he used those lessons to save lives and later was awarded two bronze stars for combat actions. Sometimes we never know what path life will take us, it's always good to be prepared for worse case scenarios.

May 6, 2011, 09:10 PM
easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
when in doubt, keep firing.

May 6, 2011, 09:15 PM
If you are presented with a decent opportunity that will keep you in the game, take it.

May 6, 2011, 09:23 PM
Always make sure you have as much distance between the eyepiece of the scope and your skull as possible BEFORE you pull the trigger......:cuss:

BP Hunter
May 6, 2011, 09:38 PM
But seriously, be patient and be more tolerant of people who may offend you. I speak for those who CCW. One time, while I was driving, some guy blocked my exit when everybody else gave me an opening. I politely waived my hand to him to move back so I could get out. He just gave me a finger. I lowered my sunglasses actually out of anger. He gave me the finger again. My blood boiled naturally, but because I was CCWing, and I knew road rage could get ugly, instead of returning him a finger, I gave him a peace sign and let the IDIOT go.

May 6, 2011, 10:19 PM
Have good tools; take the time to do things right; above all, ENJOY THE PROCESS!!

For way too many years my wife and I dealt with long hours, long commutes, impossible deadlines, and all the joys of managing our respective offices. The one exception was when shooting muzzleloaders and handloading. That was a matter of safety as well as accuracy but it was also therapeutic. I gradually learned to apply those lessons to most parts of my life. The result is a better attitude in general and improved health.


May 6, 2011, 11:20 PM
Aim with's easier to fix a busted window than to fix a busted skull!

May 7, 2011, 12:34 AM
Always know where your towel is...wait, thats not the advice you were wanting :D

Shoot until the threat goes away or you run out of ammo.

May 7, 2011, 03:01 AM
Personal protection is a personal responsibility, people won't always be there to get you out of jams, and inflated egos won't impress those who know more/have experienced more than you. I've probably learned a whole lot more but those are some important ones.

May 7, 2011, 07:45 AM
Take the price tag off the gun before getting home.;)

May 7, 2011, 08:00 AM
Common sense safety matters aren't "common sense" to everyone.

Being "right" isn't everything.

Pistol Ranch
May 7, 2011, 08:08 AM
ALWAYScarry a single action Colt revolver with the hammer down on an EMPTY cylinder.


May 7, 2011, 08:42 AM

I learned at a young age that there is a state of mind that you must have, a subconscience awareness when in the presence of a firearm, that there cannot be a mistake. There must always be that frame of mind that the b#ll***** has stopped, I must be careful, and aware of what I'm doing or someone could get hurt.

That quality or idea has carried over to my driving also...especially when the whole family is in the car.

Lee Roder
May 7, 2011, 09:12 AM
If it ain't broke, don't fix it :evil:

May 7, 2011, 04:06 PM
Train until drawing and firing is instinctive. Once under attack, you don't usually have time to think it through.

May 7, 2011, 04:12 PM
Pillage first, THEN burn.

May 7, 2011, 05:28 PM
Wear hearing protection, not just for shooting but any high decibel activity. Unfortunately learned this lesson too late to prevent hearing loss from shooting large caliber handguns without ear protection before I knew better.

May 7, 2011, 05:29 PM
It hurts to shoot without hearing pro in anyway. If it doesn't bother you, then the damage is already done.

May 7, 2011, 05:41 PM
Take the price tag off the gun before getting home.;)
An honest man does not necessarily mean a happy man.

May 7, 2011, 06:40 PM
Sadly, that gun owners are at least as likely as others, if not more so, to label people and judge them by those labels. :(

Is that politically incorrect? Heh, well I dont believe in 'politically correct/incorrect.'

Zach S
May 7, 2011, 08:06 PM
Ironicly, its gone the other way for me. I was working on cars long before I got into guns, and went to work in a plant shortly after I got into guns, so a lot of stuff was already second nature before I really got into shooting.

If it seems too loud, it is, and the simplest tasks are rather challenging when you cant see. Eyes and ears need protection.

If you drop a tool, let it fall!

You are responsible for your safety. Safeties, and machine guards, can and have failed in the past, dont rely on them.

Always have an escape plan.

If something seems wrong and/or you think you should be somewhere else, there probably is, and you should be somewhere else.

You forget about temporary repairs, until they fail. If you cant fix it right, let it sit broken.

If its worth doing, its worth overdoing but don't overdo it too much.

Listen to the man that learned the hard way.

Sometimes safety measures look stupid. Swallow your pride, look stupid, and be safe - says the man that wore his long hair in a bun, when he ran a lathe...

May 7, 2011, 08:17 PM
Someday you WILL have have an accidental discharge. NEVER ignore muzzle direction.

I am responsible for the consequences of my actions, good or bad.

May 7, 2011, 09:26 PM
Always be respectful and polite, because if someone knows your can fight back chances are they will test that.

Remember that maintenance costs (ammo and cleaning in this case) should be considered just as fervently as any other criteria in any purchase

Never trust a snickering relative when they say "trust me" ("that shotgun wont hurt as bad if you loosen it away from your shoulder... trust me")

Stress and lack of training will ALWAYS trump every bit of knowledge you've studied or been told

If children are taught to correctly respect but never fear any dangerous thing and raised to understand what it all sums up to they will hold that very closely in mind and be much safer than the "pretend it doesn't exist/wont happen" method (pretty sure there's a Bible verse that fits here Proverbs 22:6)

And most importantly... you can say stop or Alto or whatever you want but a large bore muzzle directed at the cranial area is pretty much a universal language :-P

General Geoff
May 8, 2011, 02:41 AM
the concept of carrying a gun is a crucible for determining others' true opinion of personal liberty, and also demonstrates a profound level of trust not typically found in any other dynamic in modern society.

May 8, 2011, 12:36 PM
Listening to old timers is good, but so is listening to newbies with no preconcieved ideas.

May 8, 2011, 01:00 PM
It's weird Rimfire Chris, but as a newbie a couple of yrs ago (and still) with exposure to both anti and pro gun people I find I have some very different perspectives on a few things gun-related.

I sought out good instruction and was told that guns dont go bang without your finger on the trigger, that guns today do not go off if dropped, and that I should carry my chosen firearm with one in the chamber. So I did from the start with little or no nervousness about one in the pipe. I had no preconceived notions about it so accepted what my instructors and research told me.

I did my first Wally Walk because I had just picked up my gun, shot it at the range, and didnt want to leave it in my car while I shopped. I reloaded her up, put her in my purse holster, and off I went. Aside from heaviness, I wasnt particularly weirded out or self-conscious about being armed in public.

Also, from what I often read here, I think (and this is just my opinion) that gun people have been so exposed to anti-gun sentiments that they automatically see (perhaps it's unconscious) carrying guns as wrong, or socially negative. Again, having been raised and lived in a very gun-neutral environment, I do not see it as such.

I say this from reading many of the threads where people automatically assume their guns will be unwelcome. People seem to think they need to inform *or consider* people when they're carrying *even when not posted, covered under employer policies, or any other social or public restriction.* I dont get that. It's like it's socially assumed we're in the wrong or doing something unacceptable. Like we have some obligation to tell people we're armed when we dont even know their status on the issue. (Why is it an issue if it's unspoken or unsigned???)

I didnt grow up or feel that during my lifetime...and I'm 50. I guess I've probably been equally exposed to both anti- and pro-gun sentiments and I dont feel like I'm doing something 'unusual'.

May 8, 2011, 01:21 PM
Even if you SEE the other person unload the gun, check again yourself to make sure it was done right.
Don't point a barrel at anything you don't want to destroy.
There's more respect and less fear at the range than on the street, because everyone is armed.

May 8, 2011, 01:59 PM
Smooth is quick.

May 8, 2011, 02:17 PM
Hello friends and neighbors // Some good thoughts here.

1) Most folks are unconscious not malicious.
Sadly both can make you just as dead.

2) Slow is smooth
Smooth is fast
Slow is Fast when reloading

Tom Fury
May 9, 2011, 12:37 PM
1. Nobody has to die today; sometimes having a gun on me tempts me to stay in situations that I could just as easily walk away from; I have learned to appraise when a situation is likely to escalate into something unfortunate, and realize that it could be more unfortunate because I could have walked long before things went to condition Black; just because the other guy is escalating I don't have to go there. I don't have to prove I have a right to be there; no one has a right to remain in an escalating situation.

2. I live in the UK; responses from seemingly normal folk here to frank mentions of firearms as a normal thing just freak these people out; they really believe you must be some sort of lusting-for-violence monster and worse than a molester of schoolchildren; maintain your freedom at all costs; it will be harder to reverse the entrenched anti-gun mentality than to reverse the anti-gun laws.
B. Massad Ayoob was right about not scaring the horses; in spades, our freedoms are terribly linked to the perception of us in the minds of the larger communities in which we live; don't live one-dimensionally (gun owner; deal with it) this is an attitude we can do without. Guard the privileges of Liberty with wisdom.

3. Rifles were invented because no one in his right mind wants to shoot the wolf in the baby's room with a shorter range weapon; The farther out you can stop him, the better.
Believe it or not, I apply this to dealing with trouble in Church; it reminds me not to overextend grace to folks who spell (smell like) trouble; Jesus called it being wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

4. I recently had to teach on Fatherhood and used the very American idea of a Father giving his son a rifle for his birthday to explain it; I pointed out that the thing that kept it from being as irresponsible and evil a thing as my English brethren were horrified to imagine this was, was that the heart of a Father would be to trust the son with something like that because he intended to make it an occasion to love the son by also teaching him responsibility, respect, and to value something important; a true father would make it an occasion to be a real Father to his son.

5. You have no idea how much fun it is, when one of my British friends asks me "Why is it legal for all of you Americans to own and carry guns?" to tell him its' all their fault...

Cheers, TF

Claude Clay
May 9, 2011, 01:47 PM
on the back of my bus card:

Smooth is Good
Smooth is Fast

that situtional awreness works when driving, the last time i was unable to avoid an accident was 1980.

that guns are a specal item. they contain the ability to change or take life in an instant.
handle them with a clear mind in a deliberate mannor. cars are similiar though more forgiving: what with 7 air bags and list of assists. you can not call a bullet back.

May 9, 2011, 02:06 PM
Just because you scored Expert doesn’t mean you’re an expert shot. The 45ACP is not a one shot show stopper.

May 9, 2011, 02:17 PM
There is no such thing as being "too safe" with firearms
What commands respect on the range and in the clubhouse? Safe handling first, good shooting second, the quality/looks of your firearms a distant third.
If you are having a "bad day" at the range, calmly pack up and leave. Bad practice wastes time and ammo, and can ingrain bad habits.

May 9, 2011, 03:21 PM
Someday you WILL have have an accidental discharge. NEVER ignore muzzle direction.
No, I will not. I abide by the 4 rules, always.

May 9, 2011, 03:28 PM
i've definitely learned to appreciate my relationship with my wife more after reading on gun forums. asking your wife permission to spend your money, i've never heard anything so ridiculous

May 9, 2011, 11:29 PM
Lesson learned (observed): Don't be an obnoxious know-it-all in the shop or the range with newbies. They hate it and it makes you look like a horse's ass. There's no better way to turn someone off from the sport than to criticize their guns, their stance, etc., while simultaneously acting astounded that the newbies didn't know the history of the 1911 or who John Moses Browning was.

May 10, 2011, 02:55 AM

May 10, 2011, 09:13 AM
Patience, practice and most importantly safe weapon handling all carry over to non-gun aspects of life. :)

May 10, 2011, 10:07 AM
Make a list. Be thorough. Be careful. Have fun. Life is fragile and short. Don't take yourself too seriously. Take seriously your duties. Watch, listen, and learn. Objects/possessions won't fill that void in your heart. I'm not superior to anyone else. Take your time and get it right. Don't piddle around unproductively. Try hard. Forgive much. Forget nothing. Get up and do it. Stop making excuses. Stop lying to yourself and everyone else. Don't accept mediocrity. Nobody is perfect, we're all pretty jacked up. Save, stockpile, but don't hoard. Your not as great as you think you are. You are not a failure. Get up again. And again. Examine yourself.

May 10, 2011, 10:16 AM
Once the trigger is pulled it's a done deal. The same can be said for what comes out of our mouths.

Rail Driver
May 10, 2011, 10:31 AM
Patience pays. Don't be in a hurry to draw down on someone in every case. He may really just want to bum a smoke or panhandle some change. Not everyone is a goblin.

May 10, 2011, 10:37 AM
No, I will not. I abide by the 4 rules, always.
Thats the kind of arrogance that will ensure you will.

May 10, 2011, 05:22 PM
2. Be polite to everyone you meet but have a plan to kill them.
I can't seem to read that comment and agree with it. Help me out here; why should I put together a plan to end the life of everyone I meet?

May 10, 2011, 05:54 PM
pretty much what post #19 and post #46 said... my version being..

"if you cannot or will not accept total responsibility for what comes out of the barrel, no matter the outcome, don't pull the trigger"

that applies to pretty much everything in life, but most things in life are not as immediately and irrevocably clear as shooting a firearm

May 10, 2011, 06:23 PM
post 50:

I think that rule is just to get people over the apprehension of using deadly force. If you are going to carry a firearm, you must be prepared to use it and POTENTIALLY take the life of every person you meet.

At least that's my interpretation.

May 10, 2011, 06:42 PM
well, I go with post #50 myself
every person I know with a CCW who actually carries on a real frequent basis, is well past the "apprehension" thing
and not one of them that I know personally has any desire to kill anyone
(no more than they hope their house will catch afire so they can use a fire extinguisher)
and none of them fantasize about how to best kill everybody they meet, or think about who to kill first every time they walk into a room full of strangers
that's just a "cutesy phrase" intended to appeal to the Walter Mitty gunslingers
(unless, of course, you really are undercover DEA or SWAT team)

May 10, 2011, 08:53 PM
Prepare for the worst, pray for the best.

And if someone asks to shoot your "M249" when you are holding an AR-15.....tell him you're out of ammo or the next thing he will ask is "Where is the full auto switch thingy??"

Basically as post 50 said, have the mindset that anyone could do you harm, and you have to be willing to defend yourself without hesitating.

May 10, 2011, 09:01 PM
Patience and care in the things you do.

Patience and care while caring for the things you own.

Patience and care when teaching another person.

Really, patience and care summarize my firearms experience.

May 10, 2011, 09:03 PM
No, I will not. I abide by the 4 rules, always.
With that attitude, I hope I'm nowhere in range when you're armed.

May 10, 2011, 09:05 PM
As far as being polite and courteous but always have a plan to kill everyone you meet I've always interpreted it as a silly way to put situational awareness, its not about desire to cause harm its about never being caught off guard as one should always pay for the best and preparer for the worst, albeit that turn of phrase does seem to me to bee samuels to use unless understanding exists to the point because it does sound entirely too blood thirsty outside of context.

Another good lesson is the same as measure twice cut once, once you make a decision it better be correct and you better be confident in its validity because there is no turning back

Never, ever be too macho our prideful to take safety 20 years old my hearing is already degrading rapidly due to thinking "only sissies wear ear plugs"

May 10, 2011, 09:12 PM
There are a lot of stupid/useless laws in this country.
Illinois is especially crazy.
Always look around for good deals.
It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it (well actually learned that lesson during a thunderstorm while camping, but it applies here too).

Nom de Forum
May 11, 2011, 03:58 PM
You should spend as much time training yourself when not to shoot as how to shoot. Failing to do this is asking for disaster. You are far more likely to suffer the consequences of shooting at the wrong time than be in a situation where you must shoot.

May 11, 2011, 05:08 PM
there are other things that you've probably learned as a gun person that would be applicable to other fields of interest, or possibly great life lessons.

Seems a lot of folks are missing the point of the OPs post. Not what gun stuff applicable to guns have you learned, but what has shooting taught you in a broader or other sense.

Patience and persistance are taught in shooting that we may not learn many other ways, but that we can apply to nearly every aspect of our lives. The first time you use the wrong tool and mar the finish on a favorite firearm and swear you'll take the time to get the right one next time is beginning to understand.

Practice is important. Proper practice is more important. That's true for many things done in life.

Proper training is worth the money. While most of the time we can "figure it out" there are some things in life that benefit from a coach or training that saves us all the headaches of making mistakes and then trying to solve them.

Appreciation for quality instead of just "good enough". While there are plenty of things in shooting that "good enough" is plenty good enough (foam ear plugs, range bags, kydex holsters, etc.) there are plenty of times we see the benefit of paying for real quality in firearms or in gunsmithing. We begin to see it in other things around us. WIth that, an appreciation of the the skilled craftsman and the time and effort that goes into making a outstanding functional piece of art. When give the opportunity to see the hours of careful meticulous work that comes from years of training and experience coupled with real talent we begin to appreciate true craftsmanship.

Action! Take action when you know it needs to be done and don't dither or doubt. Too much of our lives are wasted dithering and doubting when acting would be more satisfying and save time to boot. Think, "I shoulda bought that off the first guy's table, but nooooooo I had to wander off and argue with myself about whether I could find a better deal!" can translate to "I saw this expensive whatsit for what I thought was a good price and got it instead of letting someone else beat me to it." or even Taking action to accomplish a simple task that needs doing.

Just because it doesn't make sense doesn't mean that a politician won't create a lie and then twist the facts to support it.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 11, 2011, 05:20 PM
Hit the target good the first shot because you might not get to take a second shot! Nothing worse than a wounded animal that gets away only to maybe suffer for several days before dying to the wound or having another larger animal eat it alive.

May 11, 2011, 05:36 PM
Empty guns make nasty hurting holes in you and idiots with empty guns should be widely avoided.

May 11, 2011, 06:00 PM
Life Lessons:

1. When buying things... look for quality.
2. Don't confuse quality with "expensive".
3. Reliability outshines all other qualities.
4. Take responsibility.
5. With practice, you can improve your game.
6. Be a student of your game. Be willing to learn. Never stop learning.
7. Mindset is more important than toolset.
8. Be aware of your situation.
9. Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.
10. Developing good habits will keep you out of trouble. (Such as "The Four Rules")

May 11, 2011, 06:05 PM
Pay attention to EVERY detail.
Self controll.

May 11, 2011, 07:21 PM
Life Lessons:

1. When buying things... look for quality.
2. Don't confuse quality with "expensive".
3. Reliability outshines all other qualities.

Aldo Gucci perhaps expressed it best... "The pleasure of a low price goes away, while the sting of poor quality lingers."

Ignition Override
May 11, 2011, 08:28 PM
Ohio Gun Guy:
I quoted your signature line to my wife, but had no response.

Tom Fury:
Interesting. Out of curiosity, is it "their fault" only because of the Am. Revolution, or also due to the fairly recent gun confiscations in both the UK and Australia? It would be rewarding to see the responses. Send a pm if you would like.

A really attractive English lady works in a small office in the largest park/rec. area here.
When I mentioned that I had two British rifles from WW2, and that she could easily attend gun shows about two miles away, you can imagine the surprised, concerned look on her pretty face. This might be the easiest way to look behind the "British reserve" to see the real person.

I will never stop admiring them for the way they stood alone in 1940-1941 in that terrible situation.

May 11, 2011, 10:27 PM
Focus, BREATHE, squeeze(don't jerk).

May 15, 2011, 04:33 AM
Someday you WILL have have an accidental discharge. NEVER ignore muzzle direction.

I guess I had my first ND today. I was loading a loaned SA revolver at my car at practice today. Her gun was a lot softer than my stiff Uberti. I've practiced lowering the hammer at home, altho we are supposed to have an empty chamber in that space. I wasnt sure if I did have an empty chamber set at 12 o'clock and needed to check (because you start with 5 rounds and an empty chamber). I tried carefully to lower the hammer...but it slipped.

Gun was pointed carefully at the grass. People laughed at me and asked if I was shooting frogs.

I hope it's my last. Blanks or not, I am always conscious of muzzle direction and trigger control at cowboy mounted shooting.

May 15, 2011, 07:18 AM
Always sweat the small details.
Learn the manual of arms forward and backward.
Practice safe habits over and over until you don't have to think about it.

Just as I always 'drop the mag, then rack the slide', I make sure to approach any task with safety in mind. A gun is a tool that can malfunction or break, sometimes with tragic consequences.

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