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Basic Firearm Safety



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Safety  -  Pistols  -  Rifles  -  Shotguns  -  Black Powder  -  Pneumatic


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If , through carelessness or inattention, an act has even the remotest possibility of causing you or others great bodily harm or death, can that neglect be justified on the basis of such slight probability?


Superceding Law of Gun Safety:  Every Weapon, Firearm, Black Powder Arm, or Air Gun may be LOADED and should be treated as if it could discharge at ANY MOMENT.


The Three Primary Rules To Live By

Rule # 1:  Keep the muzzle of every weapon pointed in a SAFE direction.

Rule #2:  Keep your finger OFF the trigger until the moment you are prepared to fire.  You are prepared not only after the decision to shoot has been made but also when the gun is lined up on the target.  As soon as the gun is off target or you cease fire, take your finger OFF the trigger.  This rule is especially important during stress or slow, deliberate re-holstering.

Rule #3:  Check each weapon when you first handle it and again when you relinquish it, to see that it's completely UNLOADED in chamber, barrel, magazine, and cylinder.


Gardner's Corollary #3.a:  When passing a weapon to another person, let them see your relinquishing check, leave the action open, control the muzzle, and get a verbal "thank you" before letting go.

Gardner's Corollary #3.b:  If the weapon is a PISTOL or REVOLVER used for self-defense, check to see that it is completely and properly LOADED  and all it's SAFETY features are employed before it is secured under your direct control, holstered, or put into a safe.  FOR RIFLES, SHOTGUNS, OR ANY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCE SEE RULE #3.

Gardner's Corollary 3.c:  When practicing dry fire in a safe direction, use snap caps, and check the pistol or revolver before EACH  manipulation of the trigger.  Avoid the temptation to dry fire one more time after loading the handgun.


Other Important Rules of Responsibility

Rule #4: Be sure of your target, positively identify it and, if at all possible, what's behind it.

Common Sense Background Awareness:  A bullet never misses, even when you do.  Most doors, ceilings, and house walls are NOT bulletproof. What you assume to be a safe direction may cause a lifetime of regret.  Even when dry firing in the home aim at a bulletproof target.  Please be ABSOLUTELY SURE of the final resting place of every bullet you fire.

Do not assume.

Rule #5: Maintain control of your weapon.

This last rule #5 is violated when a weapon is left unattended in a car, purse, briefcase, under the mattress, on a shelf unless it's in a tethered finger touch quick access safe.  Consider the relatively small cost of the safe when you purchase the defensive handgun.  Please see cases and safes under accessories.  From where do you suppose most of the guns flooding the black market and in the hands of criminals originate?


Do you still think it will never happen to you?

Nearly 100% of those I've interviewed who have handled firearms or have hunted extensively report that they have experienced, or know someone else who has experienced, a NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE.  In spite of the fact that handguns only account for a very small incidence of accidents,  safe gun handling, etiquette, and weapon control must be kept at the forefront of our mindset, especially when we carry these tools for hunting or self protection.  Never try to lower the hammer on a live round by holding the hammer with your thumb.  Empty the firearm first.  Revolvers require that you place the thumb of the non-shooting hand between the hammer and the firing pin.  While you use the thumb of the shooting hand to control the hammer, release it by pulling the trigger.  After the hammer has moved far enough forward, release the trigger, remove the blocking thumb, and lower the hammer to rest.

How many accidental shootings have involved "unloaded" guns?

Firearms require three things to function:  the weapon, the correct ammunition, and a person to disengage the safeties and pull the trigger.  Lacking any one of these three necessary items, a gun will not fire, but it still should be treated as if it could.  The most important safety of all is attitude.  Firearms that are not being used for hunting or self defense should be stored unloaded in a locked safe, because they are the primary targets for curiosity and theft.  Do not keep them in leather, or moisture will attack them.  Ammunition should be stored in locked, soft-sided containers separate from the firearms.

Please note:  always wear eye and ear protection in proximity to discharging firearms.  Quality eye protection is worth every penny.  When shooting a semi-auto pistol, wear a cap and high necked shirt to protect the forehead and neck from hot brass.  Stay behind shooters of revolvers to avoid the splash of lead and hot powder granules that project sideways through the gap between the cylinder and barrel forcing cone.  When using a two hand hold on a revolver, keep all of the support hand thumb behind the gap.  The touch hole of a flintlock jets a flame to the right side.


Transportation of Firearms and Ammunition

A MN permit to carry a handgun also allows one to carry long guns in public. However, in any motorized vehicle, boat, snowmobile, ATV, etc., all firearms, except handguns carried with a permit, are required to be unloaded and either completely enclosed or cased (MN DNR regulations), in a securely tied package (MN Statutes), or locked in a trunk.  It is recommended that the magazine of a semi-automatic firearm be removed from the magazine well of the gun, but the magazine may be loaded and transported in the same package or box as the firearm itself.  In MN, ammunition may be transported in any safe manner.

When crossing state lines, Federal Code requires that all unloaded firearms, as well as all ammunition, should be in a locked trunk not accessible from the passenger compartment. According to federal guidelines, the glove box or center console is unsatisfactory. Vans and sport utilities lacking a lockable trunk may have a locked box in the vehicle for both guns and ammo.  Be careful.  Some states ignore the federal code and don't allow any firearm possession whatsoever.

When flying, check with each individual airline concerning their firearm and ammunition transportation policies.  Be careful, as some states through which you fly or drive may feel they can arrest you for possessing a firearm.  Even if you are in a state that recognizes your permit to carry, you are subject to all the laws of that state.

When carrying a long gun in the woods, unload the chamber or barrel while crossing fences, climbing stands, or traversing rough terrain. Please be muzzle conscious, even if you believe the weapon is unloaded.

What young children should know:

It goes without saying that they shouldn't talk to or accept candy from strangers, right?  Here are the four simple rules the NRA Eddie Eagle Program teaches in hundreds of lower schools across the country, should a child see a gun before he or she is mature enough to understand the basics of gun safety.







Great Grandfather Gunthorp's Advice

In anything you do, if something doesn't seem right, feel right, sound right, look right, or smell right, stop immediately and carefully plan your next move.  If you have to help a tool do its work, it's the wrong tool or the wrong work.  If you're digging yourself into a hole, the first rule is to stop digging.



"Rules to Live by"
by Anonymous

Be aware: "Be truly aware of your surroundings. Take note of people, unusual elements, changes in the norm and anything that doesn't seem right."

Have a plan: "Consider what routes you could take to get out of a place or situation. Consider what you would do if you are a target of a Home Invasion, something went wrong in your office, on the bus, in the parking lot. Consider what you would do in the worst of all scenarios."

Be decisive: "Don't hesitate. Don't second-guess yourself. If you execute your plan, be decisive. A mediocre plan executed assertively will serve you better than a perfect plan executed too late."

Be prepared: "Be certain your cell phone and flashlights are charged and ready to use, especially at night. Keep these and other necessities together in one place. Always have what you need when you need it, and know where to get it."

Trust your intuition: "If you have a feeling, that is, if your gut tells you something is not right, then listen to yourself. You lose nothing by avoiding a potential conflict, for instance, by crossing the street, taking the next elevator or getting off the bus early."

Be smart: "You don't have to give directions, change for a dollar, open the door or respond to a question from a stranger. Be smart. Don't worry about being polite or hurting somebody's feelings."

Don't look like food: "In the great outdoors, predators go for the weak and fearful because they're usually not going to fight back. Don't look like either."

Leave: "If a situation looks bad, do whatever you can to get out of it. Whenever possible, prevent and avoid rather than confront. In other words, leave."

Firearm fundamentals

"Five Musts" for firearm self-defense

1. Safety -- live by it: "Having a gun in your hands is a tremendous responsibility. Recognize and accept that responsibility in each moment."

2. Learn to shoot: Get the best training you can afford: "Contrary to what we see on TV, shooting is neither easy nor is it intuitive. Learning proper techniques, especially for self-defense, is critical. Start with fundamentals. Then learn to shoot for your specific real-world applications."

3. Know your weapon: "Train with your firearm. Beyond shooting, you'll need to know how to handle gun jams and malfunctions and other issues that could rear their ugly heads at critical moments." See rule #5.

4. Keep your firearm in good working order: "Make sure that your firearm is clean, and that all systems work properly. Have a gunsmith do a complete check every one or two years. Replace your ammunition every few months."

5. Understand that all mechanical things can break. Take the time and learn about W.E. Fairbairn, Applegate, and Jeff Cooper. Their teaching has been proven in war and has lasted the tests of time.


top     back to Firearms

Safety  -  Pistols  -  Rifles  -  Shotguns  -  Black Powder  -  Pneumatic


NRA Gun Condition Guide

Perfect: New in every way.

Factory New: All original parts; 100% original finish; in perfect condition in every respect, inside and out.

Excellent: New condition, no noticeable marring of wood or metal, blue perfect except at the muzzle or sharp edges. All original parts; over 80% original finish; sharp lettering, numerals, and design on metal and wood; unmarred wood; fine bore.

Fine: All original parts; over 30% original finish; sharp lettering, numerals, and design on metal and wood; minor marks in wood; good bore.

Very Good: In perfect working condition, no appreciable wear on working surfaces, no corrosion or pitting, minor scratches or dents on wood and metal, 85% blue. All original parts; none to 30% original finish; original metal surfaces smooth with all edges sharp; clear lettering, numerals and design on metal; wood slightly scratched or bruised; bore disregarded for collectors firearms.

Good: in safe working condition, minor wear on working surfaces, no broken parts, no corrosion or pitting that would interfere with proper functioning, 75% blue. Some minor replacement parts; metal smoothly rusted or lightly pitted in places, cleaned or reblued; principal lettering, numerals, and design on metal legible; wood refinished, scratched, bruised, or minor cracks repaired; in good working order.

Fair: in safe working condition but well worn, minor wear on working surfaces, no broken parts, no corrosion or pitting that would interfere with proper functioning, 50% blue. Some major parts replaced; minor replacement parts may be required; metal rusted, may be lightly pitted all over, vigorously cleaned or reblued; rounded edges on metal and wood; principal lettering, numerals, and design on metal partly obliterated; wood scratched, bruised, cracked, or repaired where broken; in fair working order or can be easily repaired and placed in working order.

Poor: badly worn, rusty and battered, perhaps requiring major adjustments or repairs to place in operating condition. No blue. Major and minor parts replaced; major replacement parts required and extensive restoration needed; metal deeply pitted; principal lettering, numerals, and design obliterated; wood badly scratched, bruised, cracked, or broken; mechanically inoperative; generally undesirable as a collector's firearm.


Top Ten Ways You Can Tell if You Might Be a Target

10.       You hear Bush and Chertoff in the background when you phone your mom. 

9.         Your picture is on the front page right after you win the Power ball. 

8.         The slower you go on the six lane, the more cop cars line up behind you. 

7.         You wear a fur coat to the mailbox during deer season. 

6.         CSI is in your office when you get to work. 

5.         Your mailman carries a GLOCK 22. 

4.         Their noise sets off your car alarm as you pass a motorcycle gang. 

3.         Uncle Guido and cousin Luigi need to stay with you awhile. 

2.         AMW features a serial killer, and the picture looks just like you. 

1.         You hear helicopters when you weed the garden.



top     back to Firearms

Safety  -  Pistols  -  Rifles  -  Shotguns  -  Black Powder  -  Pneumatic



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Gunthorp  Duluth, MN email: info@gunthorp.com