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Old March 26, 2015, 09:59 AM   #1
sigsmoker
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Too careful handling a firerarm?

True Confessions:

I have been around firearms most of my life, owned and handled many.
I have been wondering if I have a bad habit of being too careful the way I care not to scratch or ding these things.
Will my OCD issues slow me down so much that in a self defensive situation, or in hunting, miss that trophy buck because I'll have trained myself to the point of subconsciously losing that extra second or two?
I'm not sure if anyone knows what I am talking about here but if you do, you might be like me and being overly concerned, handling these tools like they are Faberge eggs. After a day at the range they are cleaned, lubed and fingerprint free and stored properly unless I have it on me.
This is somewhat of personal problem since I also grew up around fine antiques and deal in coins. I may be too concerned about care and condition. But ... my guns look nice anyway.
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Old March 26, 2015, 10:05 AM   #2
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and for the record .... I am not mentally ill. LOL
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Old March 26, 2015, 10:07 AM   #3
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I'm a retired auto tech, my guns are also tools that I use and put back in place when done. They get dinged occasionally but that's ok. They are not fine art.
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Old March 26, 2015, 10:08 AM   #4
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Your firearms, your time, treat them as you will. I used to hunt with a Dakota M76 with XXX English walnut. I stopped using that rifle just to avoid dinging it all up. Same is true of a pristine 1952 Mannlicher Schoenaur, Winchester M70 .257 Roberts serial no. 2345, 2 piece stock (exhibition grade) FN/Sauer, and the list goes on. I couldn't own them without using them so I traded/sold them off to people who appreciate them. Kind of like you I would imagine.

As for hamdguns, I have always just treated them like the tools that they are. I spent over 5K for my competition open gun and I have sanded/ground on the plastic grip/frame, reshaped small parts with a file etc. I don't abuse them but I use them hard.
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Old March 26, 2015, 10:50 AM   #5
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I tend to be careful when handling any firearm but not to the point where it might restrict or get in the way of my using the firearm. All of them get cleaned and put away after use and some will have a little more wear and tear than others given that some will see holster time as they're for CCW, while others are more or less limited to use at the range.
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Old March 26, 2015, 11:02 AM   #6
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Depends on the situation and use. I'm very careful with all aspects of my personal firearms, not wanting to scratch wood or metal. Even hunting rifles or shotguns are carefully placed while in the field to avoid any marks.

But when I was working in LE, while practicing, training, or qualifying, time was of the essence. I would regularly dump or strip emptied magazines out of the gun and drop them unceremoniously to the ground with no second thoughts of their welfare while going for a fresh mag.

Same with my duty pistol, which I owned. It got scratched, holster wear, was in contact at times with my sweaty person, occasionally exposed to precipitation. You do the best you can, but you have to expect it's going to show signs of use and I was fine with that.
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Old March 26, 2015, 11:03 AM   #7
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Like any other tool, just treat them with respect. (The foregoing does not apply to the anti-gun tools of the left.) It's OK for them to get a little 'salty', but there is no need to keelhaul them! Keep 'em clean, in good repair, touch up the blueing when necessary, and store them securely. After all, you may end up in some hellish gun fight, save humanity, and become a famous icon in the gun industry. The brutal scars on your gun(s) as a result will be akin to a badge of honor!

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Old March 26, 2015, 11:11 AM   #8
wally
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I don't think its possible to be too careful handling collector or investment grade firearms. But for the normal mundane stuff IMHO it can border on OCD.

I don't see how you can carry a gun and not ding it up unless you have an exceptionally quiet and boring life.

One thing that can trip you up if you worry too much about condition of your carry gun is if you drop it and try to "catch it" -- this is probably one of the major causes of NDs from dropped guns going off especially on guns without external safeties, if you catch the trigger, boom!

OTOH of course you can't be too careful about the rules of safe handling.
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Old March 26, 2015, 11:27 AM   #9
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The bottom line is that guns are expensive, and there are specific things you can do to ensure their preservation in the long run.

Meticulous cleaning, storage, and oiling are parts of my routine as well. If a gun gets shot at all, I clean it and oil it. To me, it just makes sense.

However, I think it is important to accept that guns are meant to be shot and carried. I carry many of my guns on a regular basis and they show signs of it as a result. Try to see it as character, not dings or blemishes. This is especially important for my primary carry gun.

I care for it meticulously, ensure proper function, but it is strictly a tool to me, and for that reason I carry a polymer semiauto with a stainless slide. It is really quite soulless when compared to my other guns, and if it is damaged, or confiscated, it can be easily replaced. My "special" guns are treated more gingerly. When I carry one of them, I almost feel dressed up, like I'm doing something special. Ironically enough, that something special usually involves rougher than normal conditions, like bolder scrambling or hiking off trail.

Don't worry yourself man. OCD is a relative term. And for the record, I'd be more likely to allow a trophy animal pass me by to avoid damaging my rifle too. To me, the gun is a trophy of hard work, or an heirloom from a friend or family member. But in a defense situation, screw my carry gun. If it saves my life and then disappears into a black hole shortly afterwards, I'd be mad at having to replace it, but my heart sure wouldn't be broken over it.

Carry on man. You aren't alone.
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Old March 26, 2015, 11:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigsmoker View Post
True Confessions:

Will my OCD issues slow me down so much that in a self defensive situation, or in hunting, miss that trophy buck because I'll have trained myself to the point of subconsciously losing that extra second or two?
The way I read your question is that you're worried that in an effort to avoid any scratches on your gun, you may be building bad habits that you will slow you down in an emergency. It's kind of like the old phrase "train like you fight"...and in this case you're training verrrry slow to avoid any cosmetic blemishes to your firearm.

If I'm reading that correctly, then I'd say just buy a carry gun and in your mind designate that as a gun that can carry all the battle scars it needs...and train with little regard for how it looks. I'd gladly trade a few scratches on a carry gun for an extra second or two in an emergency. Two seconds in a situation where you might need your gun is an eternity.

With regard to hunting...it all depends on what you hunt with and how you hunt.
If you hunt with fancy guns or guns that have some emotional value to you then yeah, you're probably going to baby them a bit in the woods. Here again, if you're worried you might miss an opportunity, buy a synthetic stocked rifle and designate it as your field gun.
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Old March 26, 2015, 01:28 PM   #11
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It makes sense to keep them running well and do preventative maintence, just like your car.
Scratches, stock dents, and damage to the finish kind of goes with using them.
No need to mistreat them if they're going to be dependable.
But no need to baby them either.
Heck, every time a round goes off, the gun gets dirty and burned some.
If I wanted something fancy to just look at, it surely wouldn't be a firearm.
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Old March 26, 2015, 01:35 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies. It sounds like I am not entirely alone and won't be needing any medication. You guys understood my post and it wasn't as far off the wall as I worried it might sound.
I think I'll try to be a little less careful with condition and put that energy more into safety and be OK.
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Old March 26, 2015, 01:36 PM   #13
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There's a certain amount of care and respect that's necessary...

There's additional care that, while not necessary, extends the service life...

And then there's polishing the cannon ball.

I enjoy handling and cleaning my guns.... but my time is limited with many other priorities so I do my best to not slip below the second category.

It's really a quality of life issue and that is a personal issue for each of us.
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Old March 26, 2015, 01:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
There's a certain amount of care and respect that's necessary...

There's additional care that, while not necessary, extends the service life...

And then there's polishing the cannon ball.
Well put.
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Old March 26, 2015, 02:02 PM   #15
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My guns are as much a part of the hunting equipment as my boots. At the end of the day they are both cleaned and put away. But when in use the guns are out there in the mud and dirt just like the boots.

A farmer probably takes better care of his tractor than most people take care of their car. It doesn't prevent him from plowing his fields with it.
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Old March 26, 2015, 03:25 PM   #16
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It's all in how you look at it. To me, guns are too expensive NOT to use them. You may have read the recent thread about the custom Ruger Bisley I just had commissioned. When it's all said and done, I'll probably have $5000 in it. It won't languish on a shelf or in the safe. It will be used. It will be shot. It will be hunted with and it will be holstered. Sure, it will wear but the joy is not only in owning it but using it in the field. You can't make memories with a firearm you're too afraid to use. So you can either deny yourself the pleasure of owning and using it, or you can dispense with your fear. IMHO, life is better with the guns and without the fear.
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Old March 26, 2015, 03:33 PM   #17
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I have firearms I collect and firearms that don't have much value. I have fired all the firearms in my collection, but some get more use than others. Some of my firearms I ding up through use and I view it as a badge of honor. My Kimber Custom has lost the finish around the muzzle, ALL my AR's have chips and scrapes. I have a nice mechanically sound M1 and a few 1903 Springfields that get lots of use. My correct and apparently unfired before me M1, 1903a3, my Mosin sniper and my Star model B war bring back see very little use.
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Old March 26, 2015, 03:41 PM   #18
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I recall a story about a cop who carried a revolver, who wound up in a gun fight with 4 bad guys. He took out 3 of them, but the 4th one killed the cop. When the investigators searched his body, they found 12 empty shell casings IN HIS POCKET, and his revolver was empty.
He was fighting like he trained at the range, taking time to put the empties in his pocket.
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Old March 26, 2015, 04:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigsmoker View Post
I have been wondering if I have a bad habit of being too careful the way I care not to scratch or ding these things.
Just like with a car, the first dent is the hardest.

Put an "idiot scratch" onto a 1911, and it will become easier.
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Old March 26, 2015, 04:27 PM   #20
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I've never equated gun cosmetics with gun safety. If I can, I prefer not to scratch one up. But, if that means so much "cosmetic diligence" I can't enjoy them then it starts to feel a little like OCD to me. Something i have a bit of experience with.

Rust I just can't tolerate because that's often the result of negligence. But scratches, dings, finish wear, scares and burn marks means I've enjoyed my life. Same goes for my guns.
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Old March 26, 2015, 04:55 PM   #21
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If you see your guns as too nice to damage through use, put them on the wall and buy guns that do the same thing, but aren't as meaningful.

I primarily buy guns as tools. There are guns upon which I stake my life. With them, I couldn't care less how they look, and am focused on getting ever more proficient with them. The more they get used, and in some cases, abused, the more I trust them to function when I need them to. Same goes for my hunting rifles. The more they get beat up in the field, the more I can trust that they won't fail me. There's a lot to be said for a beat up gun that is still doing its job.

But I do have one gun that I can't bear to ruin, and that is a Wingmaster. It has some dings in the stock that kill me when I see them. It stays in the safe, or is babied at the skeet range to avoid any other scratches/dents/dings. It's a toy, one that is enjoyable largely due to its quality of finish. I don't need it to save my life, or bring home dinner, or really do anything at all... I just want it to look and feel nice.
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Old March 26, 2015, 05:30 PM   #22
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Get a polymer framed handgun, an AR, and a stainless synthetic stocked hunting rifle and you won't need to care about the appearance of the gun so much. You can train and hunt worry free.
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Old March 26, 2015, 06:14 PM   #23
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I feel this way about most guns when I first get them. Then after a few months of use, I stop caring as much.

Take my CZ550 American in 308win. When I first got it, I did my best to keep it all nice and ding-free (even though it already had a few in it because it was used). I hesitated slightly to rest it on a barbed-wire fence to take a shot on a coyote, but then realized it didn't matter in the long run. I got the gun cheap and I was with one of my best friends since childhood. Every time I see the little nick on the forend, it brings me back to that time and place.

I had an FNX45 that when I got new I tried to keep nice. Then I took it on some weeklong climbing and backpacking trips in the PNW. Again, I find myself enjoying the look of the wear because it makes the gun mine.

When someone pulls up to the range with a gun that is "well-loved" (not necessarily abused) I find it easier to take them seriously. Along the lines of the saying "Fear the man with only one rifle" (and its derivatives).
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Old March 26, 2015, 07:55 PM   #24
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For me it depends on the firearm itself. A nicely blued fine shotgun with a high-gloss finish in excellent shape gets treated more tenderly than the rifle I carry at work, and use in real life situations. The shotgun gets the white glove treatment, while the work rifle is kept in optimal operating condition with far less care for aesthetic value (because these kinds of guns get bumped into things, and finishes get worn, etc).
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Old March 26, 2015, 09:21 PM   #25
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I used to be like that. I think I gradually worked into the "they're tools" attitude I have.

Honestly, I don't understand the effort to keep them pristine, but they're yours.

Mine used to be pristine, but now show signs of hard use that some might call abuse. I may have cleaned my 9mm AR five or ten times. Over 10k rounds through it...



Edit: I avoid collectible firearms, in an effort to preserve them...
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