Safely Unloading Semi-automatic Firearms


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Waltherguy
November 12, 2011, 04:34 PM
Safely Unloading Semi-automatic Firearms

Unloading a semi-automatic pistol or rifle is not difficult but the sequence of tasks must be performed in the proper order. If the shooter mistakenly pulls the pistol slide or rifle bolt first, a new round from the magazine will be inserted into the chamber and the gun will still be loaded even after the magazine is removed. The shooter who does this thinks that his firearm is now empty when in fact it is still loaded. This is a very dangerous situation and the cause of many negligent discharges.

Recently pistol manufacturers have come up with a mechanical solution for this problem which is called a “magazine disconnect safety”. It is only available on some guns. The Ruger SR9, Walther P22 and the Sig Mosquito are a few examples. Any pistol which has a magazine safety will not fire if the magazine has been removed so even if the gun was not unloaded using the proper sequence it still won’t fire. This is a fine solution on the guns that have a magazine safety but what about the millions of pistols and rifles out there that don’t have it? I think the solution to this problem is the use of one of the memory aids- rhyming.

How do you teach a child to remember the alphabet? You use the “ABC’s” song. How do you remember the color sequence on a deadly coral snake? “Red on yellow kills a fellow.” These two examples use a common memory aid, rhyming, that makes the job of remembering information and proper sequences much easier. Using this technique, I have written a simple poem for unloading a semi-automatic firearm:

Drop the mag then pull the slide.
Take a look and feel inside.
If you unload your gun this way,
You’ll always know that it’s OK.

Did you notice that the first letters of the first four important words are in alphabetical order?

I hope that you will use this little ditty when unloading your semi-automatic firearms. And please pass it along to your shooting friends. It just might save a few lives.

Be safe,
Waltherguy

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FIVETWOSEVEN
November 12, 2011, 04:43 PM
First magazine safety I know of was made in 1935 with the Hi Power but I'm sure one was made before it. As a LEO I can see it being useful but as a civvie I don't want one.

rcmodel
November 12, 2011, 04:46 PM
Recently pistol manufacturers have come up with a mechanical solutionYes, as recently as 1955 when the S&W Model 39 was introduced.

Or as recently as 1935 when the Browning Hi-Power was introduced.

But of course by then, it was old news.
It had already appeared on the 1906 Browning/1908 Colt pocket pistols.
And probably some others earlier that escape me right now.

rc

Millwright
November 12, 2011, 04:46 PM
A very good memonic Waltherguy ! Kudos !! >MW

TexasRifleman
November 12, 2011, 04:52 PM
Nice idea, any training help is good. I still use this pretty much all the time.

http://www.savagerangesystems.com/img/products/bullettraps/minicheckit.jpg

cambeul41
November 12, 2011, 06:24 PM
The magazine safety is something I have not appreciated until recently.

I may not carry at work. I may leave my gun in my car, but I do not like to leave it in fireable condition -- so I take the ammo with me. I have been unable to find a rule or law against that, since Michigan law prohibits the concealed carry of a "pistol" in certain "gun-free zones," but makes no mention of "ammunition-free zones."

With no magazine safety, I need to take the chambered round with me, or the gun is still fireable. That compels a daily rechambering of the first round or two which increases the likelihood of bullet set-back.

With a magazine safety, I can leave a round chambered and a thief would still need to obtain a magazine before firing it.

Other than that, I still would prefer that there were no magazine safety.

shep854
November 12, 2011, 06:49 PM
Cambeul41, be careful with the ammo anyway. Once, long ago, a Speed Strip fell out my pocket at work. It was seen, and came to the notice of management. I was written up for "carrying live ammunition at work" and told I would be fired if it happened again.

Hossfly68
November 12, 2011, 08:24 PM
You guys that feel inside are gonna get a big surprise when a slide snaps your pretty little pinky off at the root. You may not get shot, but your new nickname will be "nubby". I did like the rhymn though!

Macgille
November 12, 2011, 09:12 PM
The only safety that works all the time is between the ears of the gun handler. Depending on a pin, sear, or transfer bar will eventually leave you with an AD or worse. Magazine safeties are OK but don't depend on them. Use your mark one eyeballs and empty the chamber after removing the magazine. Then replace the ejected round in the magazine, let the slide forward and insert the magazine after the slide has gone all the way forward. While you are doing all this keep the muzzle down or down range. Safety is you, not a piece of metal.

NOLAEMT
November 12, 2011, 09:30 PM
You guys that feel inside are gonna get a big surprise when a slide snaps your pretty little pinky off at the root. You may not get shot, but your new nickname will be "nubby". I did like the rhymn though!
Have you ever tried it?

The slide does not have enough energy to do anything other than give you an "ouchie!" moment. It doesnt even really leave a bruise.

Alec
November 12, 2011, 09:54 PM
The slide does not have enough energy to do anything other than give you an "ouchie!" moment. It doesnt even really leave a bruise.

I take it you've never seen someone's thumb get eaten by a Garand.

"Ouchie" indeed. :rolleyes:

Hossfly68
November 12, 2011, 09:57 PM
A Witness will draw blood. My 1911 only gave me an ouchie though

beatledog7
November 12, 2011, 09:57 PM
I don't want to try it. If I need to feel the empty chamber, I use my other hand to hold the slide back in the same manner as one aligns the frame and slide to push out the slide lock pin. That way the slide release isn't the thing keeping me from getting the owie or the nickname, whichever it is.

FIVETWOSEVEN
November 12, 2011, 10:10 PM
But of course by then, it was old news.
It had already appeared on the 1906 Browning/1908 Colt pocket pistols.
And probably some others earlier that escape me right now.

I had a feeling but didn't want to open my mouth to be wrong. Should've just asked to see my mom's 1908.

With no magazine safety, I need to take the chambered round with me, or the gun is still fireable. That compels a daily rechambering of the first round or two which increases the likelihood of bullet set-back.

I have used the same round in my XD-40 for a few months now for the one that gets chambered and I do unchamber it at least 3 times per week. What I do is I drop the round into the chamber, ease the slide forward till the extractor presses against the round then I pull it back while pointing the gun somewhat up so the round follows the slide back. I pull it back until the round drops slightly under the extractor then I ease it back forward. It sounds like a process but I can do it under 3 seconds.

shep854
November 12, 2011, 10:20 PM
The "Pinkie Check" is no big deal, except that it allows you to positively check the chamber in less-than-perfect light conditions. Most folks would be surprised at how hard it is to see clearly into a gun's chamber.

Tinpig
November 12, 2011, 11:20 PM
With a magazine safety, I can leave a round chambered and a thief would still need to obtain a magazine before firing it

I don't know what pistol you're carrying but with a Browning High Power it isn't difficult at all to reach a finger up through the magazine well and depress the magazine disconnect, allowing the trigger to be pulled with no magazine in place.
Mag disconnect or not the BHP, at least, is still fireable if a round is chambered.

Tinpig

27hand
November 12, 2011, 11:36 PM
Let me ask a question as I do not own a handgun with a mag safety.

Many autoloader malfunctions can be attributed to magazine problems.

Can these safely designed handguns fire a round manually loaded or is it a necessity to have a magazine in place?
I guess what I'm getting at is if your carry gun mag malfs and you do not carry spare mags, are you SOL?

I would probably just pull my BUG but many do not even carry spare mags let alone a spare handgun

splithoof
November 13, 2011, 12:49 AM
I will NEVER own a sidearm with a magazine safety!

toivo
November 13, 2011, 01:15 AM
Let me ask a question as I do not own a handgun with a mag safety.

Many autoloader malfunctions can be attributed to magazine problems.

Can these safely designed handguns fire a round manually loaded or is it a necessity to have a magazine in place?

I guess what I'm getting at is if your carry gun mag malfs and you do not carry spare mags, are you SOL?

Well, as long as you can insert the mag, the pistol will function. If you had a stoppage that required removing the mag, you'd have to re-insert it before the pistol would fire. I suppose you could manually load a round and then re-insert the mag to override the mag safety, but by the time you could do all that, you might be SOL anyway.

rcmodel
November 13, 2011, 09:49 AM
other than give you an "ouchie!" moment. It doesnt even really leave a bruise. Au contraire!

I saw a buck private drop a 1911 slide on a 2nd. Lieutenants finger during an arms inspection once.

The 2nd. Louie screamed like a little girl and peed his pants right in front of the whole company!
Course it didn't help that the 1911 wouldn't let go by itself, the officer couldn't rack the slide with one hand, and the buck private was too stupid to do it for him!

They drilled a hole in his nail to relieve the pressure and put his finger in a splint that afternoon. Then he later lost his fingernail completely.

rc

shep854
November 13, 2011, 11:15 AM
RCmodel, talk about a comedy of errors! It sounds like a major FAIL of firearms training; I mean, even knowing that it happened, I can't visualize how it could
have. Of course, "2Lt" gives a clue.:scrutiny:

rborensr
November 13, 2011, 11:50 AM
I suppose we've all seen the video of the DEA agent presenting in front of a classroom when he shoots himself in the foot literally seconds after proclaiming he "was the only one in the room professional enough to handle" his issued .40 caliber Glock. While I suppose no one is perfect and even "professionals" make mistakes, he should have known to drop the mag first, and its simply common sense not to have it pointed at yourself when you pull the trigger.

I don't like magazine disconnects and patently refuse to own a firearm that incorporates one.

FIVETWOSEVEN
November 13, 2011, 01:32 PM
I suppose we've all seen the video of the DEA agent presenting in front of a classroom when he shoots himself in the foot literally seconds after proclaiming he "was the only one in the room professional enough to handle" his issued .40 caliber Glock. While I suppose no one is perfect and even "professionals" make mistakes, he should have known to drop the mag first, and its simply common sense not to have it pointed at yourself when you pull the trigger.

He shouldn't have even had live ammo in the gun, it was a classroom demostration, not a shooting range.

mac66
November 13, 2011, 09:16 PM
The safe rifle rules at Appleseed are pretty easy to remember. We make the students sing them after they learn them. The first three are applicable, just change "bolt to slide"

1. Mag out
2. Bolt Back
3. Safety on

The next three aren't really applicable but are part of rules.
4. Flag in (we use chamber flags which doesn't really pertain to this conversation)
5. Rifle grounded
6. No one touching the rifle

We say them and do them the exact same way every time so it becomes habitual.

northark147
November 14, 2011, 12:35 AM
The 2nd. Louie screamed like a little girl and peed his pants right in front of the whole company!

I'd pay good money to have see that. someone outta give that private a medal.

My guns are always loaded, If i pull the trigger, whatever gets hit In case it goes off when i didn't think it did isn't going to hurt my feelings a bit. I Lock my bolt or slide back and look, but even though i am certain its clear I wont pull the trigger unless Its pointed at something that i don't care if eats a little lead.

Nushif
November 14, 2011, 04:27 AM
"The 2nd. Louie screamed like a little girl and peed his pants right in front of the whole company!
Course it didn't help that the 1911 wouldn't let go by itself, the officer couldn't rack the slide with one hand, and the buck private was too stupid to do it for him!"

If it wasn't the premise to every second joke in the book I would almost be mildly tempted to believe it. As is ... Pics or it didn't happen.

In any case, the notion of feeling with the pinkie is definitely sound in situations where you can't see in the chamber, makes sense to me, but frankly in terms of realism if I am out, and it is too dark to see the chamber of my gun ... Why am I, the average homewowner not simply you know ... Getting outta there?

There is a point of diminishing returns after a while. If for instance your lower half has been removed by trauma, both arms are off as well, it makes precious little sense to practice racking a slide with your gums, because you will have bled out.
Your mileage may vary here, of course, but I see very little point to practicing for feeling for a round in the dark, when I could simply insert a round in the chamber before it gets dark, and learn how to reload blindly, just as an example. Who has ever cleared a gun in the dark under duress? I would imagine loading the thing would be more of a priority. And in the odd case of a stuck casing, in a prepared household, as we are most likely to be in, given our circumstance why not simply go for another gun?
Again, I definitely understand the value of malfunction clearing, emergency responses and the like, but at a certain point I think two miles a day of retreat practice will serve one better than racking a slide with a pinkie toe.

shep854
November 14, 2011, 07:40 AM
Nushif, that's a good point; there are some things you should not be doing with a gun in the dark. The reason for a feel check is that, even in "normal" light, the chamber can be shadowed and hard to see--especially in rifles, doubly so in rifles that use AR-style "star" bolts and lugs.

TX1911fan
November 14, 2011, 12:47 PM
Everytime one of these threads comes up, I ask the same question. Why is anyone pulling the trigger of a gun they just unloaded anyway (other than Glocks and other weapons where you have to pull the trigger to release the slide)? I think this is very bad practice. When I clean my guns, I drop the mag, lock the slide back, check visually and with my finger that the chamber is clear, and then DO NOT PULL THE TRIGGER. Why would I? There is no ammo there, so what point would I have in pulling the trigger. Too many people think they have to drop the hammer. I just don't understand it.

ATBackPackin
November 15, 2011, 11:17 AM
Redundancy is never a bad thing when it comes to safety. That is why I at the very minimum I check the chamber twice. That is how I know the gun is safe and that is what I teach others.

Skribs
November 15, 2011, 12:45 PM
I'm sorry if this sounds elitist, but if you can't remember to take the mag out and THEN empty the chamber, you probably shouldn't be handling a firearm without supervision.

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