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First-Time Handgun Owner’s Guide

EL LOBO

Custom
Outstanding Job Paul Carlson. I remember my first semi-automatic handgun I was 12 I got a .22 LR Colt woodsman my father taught me how to use it and I killed a blue million cotton tail rabbits and gray squirrels with it .I could shoot it very well and I took it with me Fishing & Hunting .I learned how to field strip it and clean it .but I learned how to identify my target and what was beyond it and I only pointed the gun in a safe direction anything that could be hit beyond my target I dident shoot untill I could point in a safe direction.
 
Outstanding Job Paul Carlson. I remember my first semi-automatic handgun I was 12 I got a .22 LR Colt woodsman my father taught me how to use it and I killed a blue million cotton tail rabbits and gray squirrels with it .I could shoot it very well and I took it with me Fishing & Hunting .I learned how to field strip it and clean it .but I learned how to identify my target and what was beyond it and I only pointed the gun in a safe direction anything that could be hit beyond my target I dident shoot untill I could point in a safe direction.

El Lobo - Thanks for the compliment. Seems like we had a similar path. My first handgun was a Buckmark in .22lr. My family wasn't a gun family so my dad didn't teach me to shoot (I taught him later in life.) I shot the snot out of that .22 and after 5000 rounds I bought my first center fire handgun. The .22 taught me a lot and really helped me get started on the right foot. I still have the gun and recently put an aluminum barrel on it so my daughters could shoot it more easily.
 

Wirenut

Professional
Great video Paul for first timer semi auto buyers.
I came from a family that had no interest in firearms and back in the 70's when I started shooting information was minimal you either were shown by someone or you learned by trial and error.
I was pretty much a revolver guy, then I jumped on the 9mm bandwagon and bought a S&W model 59.
Still have it today.
Thanks Mike for the post.
 

SATRP

Master Class
Founding Member
An informative video. There is no such thing as too much gun safety knowledge.

Check condition of handgun has many connotations.

Assure handgun is unloaded has only one connotation.

We were taught to use simplest terminology that precisely described action to be performed.

We, the holder of handguns, were responsible for assuring a handgun was unloaded with slide locked back (or cylinder open) before handing it to another (most often, our armorer). His responsibility was to assure an empty chamber and handgun was clear of a magazine.

No one would take a handgun from another unless the slide was locked back facilitating easy inspection of chamber. The receiver was also responsible for assuring a handgun was free of a magazine.

Second chances are never assured with any firearm safety rule.

Always open and clear cylinders of revolvers, and always lock back slides of semis, assure empty chambers, and remove magazines before transferring guns to another.

Gun owners can come up with esoteric terminology to describe the most mundane functions. We were taught to use most simplistic terminology to accurately. describe action expected. I'd rather say, "I'm checking for a loaded chamber," than, I'm checking gun's condition," because the gun might be in very good condition...and loaded.

Anecdote: a couple decades ago, during a firearms training exercise, a rookie cop fired a couple unintended rounds down range. While his muzzle's position was correct in terms of safety, his finger on his gun's trigger without intention of shooting was a major gun safety violation. He tried to argue that they weren't negligent discharges because we were on a firearms training range. He was endeavoring to fool a large LA County police department honorably retired cop with 30 years' experience followed by a career as a law enforcement range instructor. Very calmly and without slightest equivocation, the retired cop/range instructor admonished the rookie that where a negligent discharge occurred did not alter its status as a negligent discharge. The only controlling factor was an unintended discharge of his handgun. Whether on a firearms training range or locker room, an unintended discharge was a negligent discharge (assuming no gun malfunction). Hence, he was written up for negligent discharge.

My point is I haven't forgotten how I was taught what I was taught and rationale for it. Metacognition, or how we learn, the term I prefer, is ingrained in us at our youngest ages. How we learn can be altered though knowledge and experience. Under stress, we tend to revert to what we know at a basic level: our training. Rather than risk misinterpretation of requested action, go with accurately descriptive terminology: "Assure your gun is unloaded," is unequivocal. "Check your gun's condition," can have many connotations. "Yeah, sarge, my gun looks to be in good condition."

Think of gun terminology like cops think of the 10 Code. Radio code is akin to a foreign language. When cops hear a radio code, their brains translate it to English which facilitates thinking, then translation from English to a radio code in response. Some 40 years ago, LAPD researched the mental process of radio code translation and the time lost in translation. Hence, it was suggested to merely say what's intended to convey eliminating necessity for translation. The identical concept should apply to gun safety rules.

Caveat: none of the above applied to guns collected as evidence. Evidential integrity while assuring safety were controlling. Hence, guns collected as evidence, after they were photographed, were collected by experienced firearms experts to assure safety with minimal to no degradation of evidential integrity. Absent imminent threat (bad guy who could grab gun), cops would never touch a gun at a crime scene until is was processed consistent with crime scene scientific protocol.
 
An informative video. There is no such thing as too much gun safety knowledge.

Check condition of handgun has many connotations.

Assure handgun is unloaded has only one connotation.

We were taught to use simplest terminology that precisely described action to be performed.

We, the holder of handguns, were responsible for assuring a handgun was unloaded with slide locked back (or cylinder open) before handing it to another (most often, our armorer). His responsibility was to assure an empty chamber and handgun was clear of a magazine.

No one would take a handgun from another unless the slide was locked back facilitating easy inspection of chamber. The receiver was also responsible for assuring a handgun was free of a magazine.

Second chances are never assured with any firearm safety rule.

Always open and clear cylinders of revolvers, and always lock back slides of semis, assure empty chambers, and remove magazines before transferring guns to another.

Gun owners can come up with esoteric terminology to describe the most mundane functions. We were taught to use most simplistic terminology to accurately. describe action expected. I'd rather say, "I'm checking for a loaded chamber," than, I'm checking gun's condition," because the gun might be in very good condition...and loaded.

Anecdote: a couple decades ago, during a firearms training exercise, a rookie cop fired a couple unintended rounds down range. While his muzzle's position was correct in terms of safety, his finger on his gun's trigger without intention of shooting was a major gun safety violation. He tried to argue that they weren't negligent discharges because we were on a firearms training range. He was endeavoring to fool a large LA County police department honorably retired cop with 30 years' experience followed by a career as a law enforcement range instructor. Very calmly and without slightest equivocation, the retired cop/range instructor admonished the rookie that where a negligent discharge occurred did not alter its status as a negligent discharge. The only controlling factor was an unintended discharge of his handgun. Whether on a firearms training range or locker room, an unintended discharge was a negligent discharge (assuming no gun malfunction). Hence, he was written up for negligent discharge.

My point is I haven't forgotten how I was taught what I was taught and rationale for it. Metacognition, or how we learn, the term I prefer, is ingrained in us at our youngest ages. How we learn can be altered though knowledge and experience. Under stress, we tend to revert to what we know at a basic level: our training. Rather than risk misinterpretation of requested action, go with accurately descriptive terminology: "Assure your gun is unloaded," is unequivocal. "Check your gun's condition," can have many connotations. "Yeah, sarge, my gun looks to be in good condition."

Think of gun terminology like cops think of the 10 Code. Radio code is akin to a foreign language. When cops hear a radio code, their brains translate it to English which facilitates thinking, then translation from English to a radio code in response. Some 40 years ago, LAPD researched the mental process of radio code translation and the time lost in translation. Hence, it was suggested to merely say what's intended to convey eliminating necessity for translation. The identical concept should apply to gun safety rules.

Caveat: none of the above applied to guns collected as evidence. Evidential integrity while assuring safety were controlling. Hence, guns collected as evidence, after they were photographed, were collected by experienced firearms experts to assure safety with minimal to no degradation of evidential integrity. Absent imminent threat (bad guy who could grab gun), cops would never touch a gun at a crime scene until is was processed consistent with crime scene scientific protocol.
Good points. I have a specific reason that I don’t teach to “check if a gun is unloaded.” This phrase has the expectation that the gun is unloaded and often we tend to see what we expect to see. A point that was driven home when I watched one of the more prominent figures in the gun industry nd into the air while teaching a course.

verify the condition isn’t perfect, but I haven’t found the perfect phrase yet! ;)
 

jumpinjoe

Professional
Makes me wonder if we should have a new shooters corner/section for FAQs and introductory info so that we dont keep covering the same material with new posts.

Terminology
State Compliance
Organizations
Ect.
Hey Classifieid, nothin' here intended to insult or in any other way offend you, but that suggestion might should be re-thought. Reason is simple... here on the forum as in any other teaching situation ..... unless every contributor is an experienced, knowledgeable instructor, an FAQ section being answered by just anyone could very likely lead to at least some number of incorrect answers or at the least, not always comprehensive. I'm sure most on the forum are reasonably knowledgeable, and certainly serious about the topic of guns and safety, just as I'm pretty sure there may be at least one not quite so knowledgeable, albeit serious.

For the many years I've been teaching, I have yet to run any class, whether basic gun safety or a Hunter Safety session, where there is not at least one participant who thinks they know more than the instructor. And in all truth, if they truly did I wouldn't mind a bit. However, what usually happens is this guy/girl will be absolutely convinced they know the right answer and/or solution, but what they actually know is some old wife's tale they heard from their grandpa, or their dad, or their Uncle Bill, or a friend at the bar, or actually from somebody's old wife, or maybe just dreamed it up on their own and couldn't be more wrong.

Now generally these folks are not smart azzes or trying to provoke or anything else, they simply think they know the answer, but it's based strictly on the basis that it's what they thought they knew for years. In every case of this happening with me, I immediately tried with all the respect for the person I could muster, explain to that person the error and with an emphasis on clarifying it for the class at the same time. Then usually if at all possible, I would try to connect with that person after the class to offer a little more detail in the right answer.

Either way it's bad to be providing erroneous info, especially to newbies. And when it's in a written format such as FAQ on the forum, it's even harder than in a personal presentation for someone who really does know to offer a correction. The written word never carries the same nuance or tone that the spoken word does and will often lead to someone being mad at someone else, and probably still thinking they're right. In reallity, can one not offer to correct something he knows to be bad info, even on a forum? But some embarrassment and possibly hard feelings will invariably follow.

Man, whether talking about guns or women, we need to be as accurate as possible .... especially for those newbies. I know you know what I mean? I'm not implying you may be the one who has it wrong, just that it's likely there may be one or two here who does. I'm sure the mods will consider your suggestion and decide reasonably.

Best regards,
jumpinjoe
 

Classified

Professional
Founding Member
Hey Classifieid, nothin' here intended to insult or in any other way offend you, but that suggestion might should be re-thought. Reason is simple... here on the forum as in any other teaching situation ..... unless every contributor is an experienced, knowledgeable instructor, an FAQ section being answered by just anyone could very likely lead to at least some number of incorrect answers or at the least, not always comprehensive. I'm sure most on the forum are reasonably knowledgeable, and certainly serious about the topic of guns and safety, just as I'm pretty sure there may be at least one not quite so knowledgeable, albeit serious.

For the many years I've been teaching, I have yet to run any class, whether basic gun safety or a Hunter Safety session, where there is not at least one participant who thinks they know more than the instructor. And in all truth, if they truly did I wouldn't mind a bit. However, what usually happens is this guy/girl will be absolutely convinced they know the right answer and/or solution, but what they actually know is some old wife's tale they heard from their grandpa, or their dad, or their Uncle Bill, or a friend at the bar, or actually from somebody's old wife, or maybe just dreamed it up on their own and couldn't be more wrong.

Now generally these folks are not smart azzes or trying to provoke or anything else, they simply think they know the answer, but it's based strictly on the basis that it's what they thought they knew for years. In every case of this happening with me, I immediately tried with all the respect for the person I could muster, explain to that person the error and with an emphasis on clarifying it for the class at the same time. Then usually if at all possible, I would try to connect with that person after the class to offer a little more detail in the right answer.

Either way it's bad to be providing erroneous info, especially to newbies. And when it's in a written format such as FAQ on the forum, it's even harder than in a personal presentation for someone who really does know to offer a correction. The written word never carries the same nuance or tone that the spoken word does and will often lead to someone being mad at someone else, and probably still thinking they're right. In reallity, can one not offer to correct something he knows to be bad info, even on a forum? But some embarrassment and possibly hard feelings will invariably follow.

Man, whether talking about guns or women, we need to be as accurate as possible .... especially for those newbies. I know you know what I mean? I'm not implying you may be the one who has it wrong, just that it's likely there may be one or two here who does. I'm sure the mods will consider your suggestion and decide reasonably.

Best regards,
jumpinjoe
I understand your concern, and agree. There is no substitute for live interaction & training. However, i belive the best way to run such a thread, as it is done in other forums, is to make any posts go through a validation processes. Sometimes you just need to be able to go back and ruminate on material. Having it written down somewhere would be great for beginners.
 

6clicks

Alpha
The Four Golden Rules of Gun Safety.
Firearms are Tools.
Know Your Local Laws.
Be careful With Self-Proclaimed Experts.
The Movies aren't right.
There is No One Right Handgun Grip or Stance for Everyone.
Shotguns Aren't Necessarily Best for Home Defense.
AR-15s are Not Assault Rifles.
 
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