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I get a stark reminder to treat every gun as loaded

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by DeadMoneyDrew, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. DeadMoneyDrew

    DeadMoneyDrew New Member

    Hi all,

    Last night I was browsing through a gun control debate thread in the off-topic section of a poker forum that I frequent. That forum tends to skew a bit left, so the antis in the gun control thread outnumber the gun guys about 60%/40%. There is one anti-gun guy who must wake up every day, scour Google News for stories on gun crimes or accidental shootings, and then post them in that thread saying "see guns are bad!" He has a particular infatuation with accidental shootings.

    Yesterday one of the gun guys commented to the anti-gun guy "Look, safe firearm handling practices are based on good old fashioned common sense. If you follow the safety rules at all times then your chances of accidentally shooting yourself or someone else are extremely remote."

    That didn't quell the anti-gun guy but it got me to thinking about how the four rules of gun safety are largely based on common sense and reasonable behavior.

    Today I got a surprising reminder to always treat a gun as if it is loaded. I was getting ready to head to the range, and I opened up my pistol case to get everything squared away. Out of habit I checked both guns to verify that they were not loaded. I fully expected to find them both empty, but instead I got greeted by this. Whoops!



    Granted, it is highly unlikely that I would ever commit a negligent discharge with a single action revolver. Plus it ended up being just an empty shell casing. Still, I could have sworn that I checked and double checked the cylinder before putting the gun away the last time I had it out. Seeing that casing still in the cylinder shocked the crap out of me.

    Then while shooting today I miscounted the shots, thinking that I still had a round left when I had actually fired all 10. I could have easily miscounted the other way and then missed the round when emptying the cylinder. Again, that is highly unlikely, but it only takes one mistake for someone to get hurt.

    So I got reminded today to always treat a gun as if it is loaded, and I am now sharing that reminder.

    Happy (safe) shooting!
  2. That's why I always check that a gun is empty at least twice.

    Seriously, I just somehow can't trust myself after only checking once!
  3. itchy1

    itchy1 New Member

    You can certainly never be too hyper vigilant when it comes to safety. That's a sweet looking ST you have there. I'm a relatively new SS owner and was thinking about possibly adding a 10.
  4. DeadMoneyDrew

    DeadMoneyDrew New Member

    That's the worst part - I swear that I checked it twice too!
  5. JVaughn

    JVaughn New Member

    I was taught that a gun can only be empty after you have checked it and it hasn't left your hand. If you lay it down, it is loaded again and has to be checked again. I've done that my whole life, can't be too careful.
  6. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave New Member

    I won't call a gun "cleared" unless I actually clear it or it is rendered non-functional (example, revolver without cylinder, pistol with slide/barrel not installed, etc)

    My big moment was when I got rushed packing up on a rental range (a terrible rental range with terrible safety, lousy ventilation, and a jerk behind the counter who would charge you on the way out if you went over your time ... this place almost turned the Mrs off of shooting back in the early days)
    ... back on topic, we rushed packing up, and were stuffing guns into cases fairly quick. When I got home and started unpacking for cleaning, I was pulling guns out and verifying them clear, when out popped a live round from the chamber of my trusty old Ruger mkIII.
    Me: "did I pack up the Ruger or did you?"
    Her: "damned if I remember, why?"
    Me: "come look what I found"
    ... ... and we never did figure out who stuffed that gun into a hard case and tossed it in the bag of gun stuff and casually tossed the whole thing in the trunk (well, I suppose I carried the heavy bag of steel and lead and put it in the trunk, I'm a gentelman like that)

    That was day#1 of the new ironclad household policy:
    -Loaded guns are A-OK - IN HOLSTERS
    -Guns not in holsters should be cleared, no "full mag empty chamber", no "hammer down", no "the safety is on" ... cleared
    -Any gun not in a holster gets cleared, not "going through the motions of clearing it" ... but clearing the gun with a skeptical attitude in a way that expects the gun to be loaded (duh, see Rule#1 of 4)
    -If someone is there to idiot check your clearing, use them as an idiot checker
    -Putting a gun in a case counts, clear it. Taking a gun out of the lockup counts, clear it. Taking a gun out of lockup and putting it on a table to be loaded into a range bag counts at each pickup, clear it when you grab it from the cabinet and when it goes from table to bag (leaving boomsticks locked open helps here).
    -No non-cleared guns in storage/transport unless they're in a holster.

    No bangnuts hiding in the boomsticks since, and it adds maybe 45 seconds to the average week in my household. If I could sum it up in one sentence, I'd call it the 5th rule (it is obvioulsy closely tied to Rule#1)
  7. DeadMoneyDrew

    DeadMoneyDrew New Member

    Thanks man. I was actually looking for a Single Six when I instead came across this bad boy at the Philadelphia Gun and Knife Show. It's great for plinking and target practice.
  8. DeadMoneyDrew

    DeadMoneyDrew New Member

    JVaughn and Dave, I am definitely adding those rules to my gun safety procedures.
  9. beatledog7

    beatledog7 New Member

    SA revolvers are the most complex firearms to prove unloaded.

    In addition to the three (NRA) or four Cooper) rules, I have a few other rules that keep things safe:

    - Never put a loaded gun in a case or safe.
    - Never put a loaded gun on the bench.
    - Never let go of a loaded gun except to its holster or its standby place.
    - Every gun is loaded, of course, until I prove it's not loaded. If I put it down or give it to someone else, it's loaded again.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  10. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames New Member

    There are a lot of people who would criticize you for the condition of your brass. That ding in the rim, clearly visible around 12 o'clock, would send them into a tizzy. They would say the cartridge should've been replaced with an unblemished example before their gun was put up.

    I'm not one.

    I think you did OK. Yes, the gun was not ready to use, but it's a little rimfire. If your situation is so dire you need that RIGHT NOW you are probably in an irredeemably bad way. I assume you had the brass there as a cushion for dry firing, and the gun you keep loaded has a bit more oomph....
  11. r1derbike

    r1derbike New Member

    I pulled the mag on my xds to clear it, pulled-back the slide a bit to see if there was a round in the chamber, did not see one, did not see the raised chamber lever and deemed it cleared. My wife, who has much better vision than I, pointed-out there was a round in the chamber.

    She has a sixth sense about things, I envy her insight, and trusted her, so I fully racked the slide, and out popped a round that I swore I did not see. The xds will fire with the magazine removed.

    She saved my bacon this time, as I always point the weapon in a safe direction and release the striker as a last action, trigger locked back.

    This prompted me to double-rack the slide with magazine removed to clear before pointing downrange and releasing the trigger/firing pin. The really scary thing about this, is that I ALWAYS double-rack the slide to make sure there is no chambered round; always, except once. Must have been in a hurry, distracted, whatever, no excuse. Even though the round would have discharged in a safe direction, what may have happened is not acceptable. The trigger reset is so short on the xds, I obviously didn't pull the slide far enough back to see the round, whether poor lighting, distraction, inattention, and not noticing the loaded chamber indicator, talking to my wife during what should have been a clearing ritual, it all stacked-up on the wrong side of the fence to create a dangerous situation. If I don't see daylight looking through the barrel from the breech (I do this every time now even though I've racked the last round), the gun is loaded.

    Now, there is no exception to the clearing ritual. Be safe. My mistake(s) that day will not be repeated. As it only took a "what could have been" scenario to scare me to follow procedure, no distractions. It would scare anyone.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
  12. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames New Member

    Press checks (and chamber loaded flags) are to reassure you that there really is a round in the chamber in case you need it. They are a good practice and should be part of your safe gun handling.

    They aren't how you unload a gun though. That's the point of them...they leave the gun loaded. That's why you use them...so the gun will still be ready to use after the check.
  13. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact New Member

    Its all about being "in the moment", being there, 100%.
  14. hovercat

    hovercat New Member

    Every firearm is always loaded. I will allow a little leeway if the bolt/barrel/slide is removed for cleaning. Still pointed in a direction where I am the only one in harms way.
    This is my golden rule, and the kids were not allowed alone with a firearm until that idea is part of them. You can pull cartriges out of its behind all day long but the gun is still loaded. If you believe that deep in your soul, all the other safety rules are just part of #1.
  15. r1derbike

    r1derbike New Member

    Yep, wasn't 100 percent there. Distracted means dangerous.

    I hope this story will prompt others to be careful, and follow safe handling.
  16. r1derbike

    r1derbike New Member

    I know that Ed, I used that method to see a round in the chamber just once, for a clear check, to determine if the round was in it. I didn't see it. In my mind, it was cleared, which it wasn't. Big no-no. Fortunately I didn't have to experience an unexpected discharge downrange because of my wife's keen eye.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  17. DeadMoneyDrew

    DeadMoneyDrew New Member

    Heh. Seems I'm not the only one to have ever suffered a lapse in attention. :uhoh:

    Mossberg 500a, so...just a wee bit more oomph, yes :eek:
  18. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames New Member

    You press check when you intend to (or think you will) shoot soon and don't want to fumble around dropping the hammer on an empty chamber. If you didn't see brass you would rack the slide to chamber a round. The worst outcome is a perfectly good cartridge being ejected. I don't see where that's a big deal.

    I guess you are saying you went to empty the gun but got derailed into making sure it was loaded...
  19. r1derbike

    r1derbike New Member

    Something definitely was out of sync!:scrutiny:
  20. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    All a press check proves is there is brass in the chamber.

    It doesn't prove it is a loaded round, or if your extractor failed to pull out the last empty case.

    It also, in all the excitement, can leave the gun out of battery so it won't fire a loaded round.
    If in fact, it is one you looked at.


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