Thinking About Safety

This post was originally written by Hognose, from Weaponsman.com .  He kindly gave me permission to re-post it here as a guest post and we are always thrilled to share his work. You can read more of the websites always excellent and always entertaining and informative posts by going to this link.

www.weaponsman.com

Indeed it is the best website not out own.

Larry Vickers is thinking about safety:

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Hat tip Miguel at Gun Free Zone, who wonders if one of the mishaps Larry’s writing about is this one. You can click the link if you like (and it’s a good tale of real-world first aid), but for most of you, the illustration will remind you what can go wrong with appendix carry.

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That cat was danger close to living to collect the usually posthumous Darwin Award, but apparently the projectile did not connect with anything vital in his junk. Good luck, though, explaining that scar to dates. (“Go ahead and kiss it. It’s just a chancre!” probably won’t fly).

Instructor (and aidman) Stan Lee’s conclusions:

Briefing of the four firearms safety rules is of course a given, after that the first aid/gun shot wound treatment and medical evacuation plan should be thoroughly briefed as if an emergency incident had already happened to you.

He then runs through an emergency kit and emergency plan. It’s a good idea, for reasons we’ll cover in half a moment.

Someone should be able to brief all of the above in detail. That someone should be with the party from the beginning to the end. I think it’s acceptable to have the GSW kit centralized but extra credit points for wearing it.

Stan learned his first aid in the Navy. All the services teach much better and more effective first aid than they did when old dinosaurs like Tom Kratman and I went in, and even better than my old unit had on our first Afghan tour. Didn’t happen to our battalion, but in and around our time, other SF units lost guys because they exsanguinated, or developed tension pneumothorax, and the non-medics on site weren’t skilled enough to treat them. (Well, that, and medevac was weak until 2004 or so — too few frames and crews, and it’s a big country). That would never happen now; even support units get pretty decent combat life saver training.

Still, it’s a lot better to use your superior weapons handling skills so as not to have to demonstrate your superior first aid skills.

Stan makes another point (and another reason to Read The Whole Thing™ on Miguel’s site) in that simply briefing safety rules and plans at the start of a class is a Real Good Thing. In aviation, we found that when aircrews began briefing an instrument approach procedure-by-procedure, the number of errors (and mishaps) declined. In airborne operations, we found that when airborne units started doing a formal, stylized prejump briefing that everybody (especially devil-may-care skydivers) laughs at, the number of errors (and jump injuries) declined. It’s great that an American paratroop officer can command his battalion, regiment or division from a wheelbarrow pushed by one of his privates, but he’d probably rather not go down in history for that. 

IWB and particularly Appendix Carry holsters introduce risk factors that are not present in an old-fashioned outside-the-waistband holster. (We also think that schools’ focus on quick-draw engagements is usually misplaced). You can have an accident with any holster, but unless you’ve got a lot of experience, choose one that adds minimal risks.

As Larry notes, if you use a safetyless (“trigger safety”, “safe action”, anything that would have scared the horse out from under a 1909 cavalryman who had the grip safety added to the 1911) firearm you need to be extra careful about holstering and reholstering. Or, well, look at the picture.

Now, you can choose any firearm, and every one has its own risk factors. You can operate any handgun safely (we do not believe Larry has ever had an ND in God-knows how many Glock rounds), but you have to know it and its properties and operate it either with your mind on it 100%, or with skills drilled and drilled until you’re always, instinctively safe with it.

ND-shot-in-footAs the graphic we usually use with safety posts says, if you shoot yourself in a training class,  “Your [sic] Doing It Wrong.” Like this fellow in the ‘burbs of Orlando, Florida:

23-year-old man accidentally shot himself during a gun safety class at a pawn shop, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened at Instant Replay Pawn Shop and Shooting Range on Colonial Drive between Dean and Rouse roads, said Lt. Paul Hopkins.

The gun went off accidentally and the bullet grazed his leg, Hopkins said.

Amazing how this guns just “went off.” No wonder newspaper guys all want to ban guns, they think of them as malevolent presences, stalking training classes and firing ranges, bent on bringing their primordial evil to bear on their hapless bearers.

Of course, that’s all bosh and nonsense. They’re simply machines, slavishly obeying the laws of physics and the input human operators apply to their user interfaces. In all history, the gun that “went off accidentally” is rarer that a comet sighting. He should admit he “set it off accidentally.”  He, too, is going to live.

He’ll probably never make that mistake again. But you know, we’re supposed to be able to learn from his mistake, rather than only learn from our own.

Thinking About Safety

Women & the .45-Part 2

By Catherine Lindsay


At MAGS Indoor Shooting, Moriarty, NM, I teach a 6-hour Ladies Intro to Shooting class. This is a ladies-only class, for both novices and semi-experienced, teaching the basics: safety, basic parts of semi-auto/revolver & how they work, components of a round, loading magazines, proper grip & stance, and finding your sights. After the classroom time, we go to the range, where the ladies are able to shoot a .22 pistol, a .22 rifle, a .38 large-frame revolver, and any gun they have brought with them (usually a small-frame .38 revolver, a .380 semi-auto, or 9mm).

I use my Ruger SR1911 for classroom demonstration, mainly becuase it is large enough that the ladies can see all the moving parts from their seats and because it is my favorite! The “dummy” guns are based on full-size Glock & S & W M & P. Throughout the class, the ladies get to handle all the guns and they find that the full-size guns, both real & “dummy”, are more comfortable in their hands then the smaller guns they either own or have had suggested to them by SO’s/salepersons.

Once we get onto the range, many of the ladies want to try the 1911, as they have never shot one before. What some have told me: “Bigger/heavier=harder to shoot”, and “I was told I was too small/frail to handle a .45”.

Once the ladies are shown the proper grip/stance and how to operate the external safety, the first shot is almost always a big surprise to them, as they are used to a longer/heavier trigger. Each subsequent shot is controlled & the resultant holes can be coverd by the hand. They are also surprised by the controllable recoil, as they are used to a small revolver. I explain to them that the weight & size of a gun aids in recoil control. The ladies are so pumped by the fact that they CAN shoot a big gun!

I think the ladies leave my class more open-minded as to what they may choose to shoot/carry in the future.

Women & the .45

We have a new Post from a new writer, Catherine Lindsay.  She will be helping out with more articles from the ladies perspective.

Catherine Lindsay


For many ladies, the idea of shooting anything other than a small .38 revolver (the gun most likey to be pushed on them by well-meaning SO’s & counter guys) is daunting. But, after what I witnessed over the weekend, their minds can be changed.
I regularly help out with CCW qualifications. In NM, the CCW license is caliber-specific, meaning one can carry any caliber below what is qualified with. Most CCWer’s qualify with a .45 semi-auto & a .38/.357 revolver.

Many ladies come into class with the idea of qualifying ONLY with the .38 revolver, and maybe a 9mm semi-auto, thinking that anything larger is just not controllable. They mistakenly believe that they are too small/too frail to handle a larger caliber. With gently coaxing by the instructors, they are willing to try.

After teaching them some basic fundamentals of good shooting (grip, stance, sight alignment), they soon find that the weight & shorter/lighter trigger pull of the .45, particularly the 1911, is MUCH easier to manage than a revolver. They are surprised by the ease of recoil control (again with proper stance & grip), and often do better than their male counterparts, as they have come to the .45 with no bad habits to correct. Ladies also find, especially on the 1911, the thumb safety to be comforting, as they are very safety-conscience.

As to whether this experience will gear them towards carrying a .45 is unknown, but I think that getting over the “big caliber” hurdle will help them to keep a more open mind as to carry options.

Cat Lindsay

Modern-Retro Hybrid Colt 1911 Project

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I have always liked the look of the pre series 70 commercial Colt 1911s just as much as the US military issue guns. There is no doubt that those older vintage guns have a huge amount of appeal.  I have been  looking for a near mint example of one for my own collection and uses for years but they are hard to come by at a price I am willing to pay.

So over the last year I got the idea to sort of create my own, at least in spirit.  The idea was to take a modern plain Colt government model and slowly put it together to resemble a gun one might have walked into a store and bought before WW2.

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The first thing I did was change out the main spring housing.  Colt was kind enough to send me a MSH from their no discontinued line or re-issue 1918  WWI pistols. It is beautifully blued and highly polished with the lanyard loop.  Looking at it shows the amount of polish and beautiful bluing that went into those early guns that went to the trenches in the Great War.  Like all colt made military parts for the 1911, it dropped right in.

The next thing I wanted was the early original pattern of the safety lock.  Unlike modern safeties, it has a smaller shelf for the thumb to hit. There is a reason it was made this way despite what some thing. It acts as a surface to tap against for when detail stripping some of the other pins and parts on the gun. You can read all about it at rangehot.com  in the posts by John Travis on the 1911 and  the genius and thought that went into it.   That aside, it is correct for that time period. And I personally love the way they look. It is not a bit hard to hit to take the safety on and off. Once again Colt came to the rescue for me when I could not source one any where else. Midway sales them, but are currently out of stock, so if you want one keep checking back under their listing of colt parts.

The safety came off the line and had yet to be fitted for 1911s so I had to do about 30 seconds worth of careful filing and fitting. With that very little bit of work I got it fitted correctly and after function checking it. I shot it to make sure.

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Lastly, I found a WW1 reproduction 7 round magazine to go with the gun. These original mags came with a lanyard loop as well. I have heard a variety of reasons why the mags had loops as well as the gun. One theory is that the  US issue lanyards at the time meant for revolvers would not fit through the loop on the new automatic pistols so the asked for a loop on the mag in the meant time while they sorted it out.  I am skeptical about that, but I have no idea. I think it is for cavalry being able to not lose the gun or the magazines during a reload while on horse back.  In those days magazines would not have been looked as as nearly disposable items like they are now. So it seems reasonable to me to think that the cavalry wanted a way to retain the mag without having to use both hands while riding a horse on a full gallop.

Eventually I will replace the hammer with the original style and I may or may not go to a shorter trigger,  I think it will be more of a hybrid of a 1911A1 and a 1911 than fully one or the other. Call it a 1911A0.5 for my purpose. Of course it will still have its colt SS forged barrel and bigger high profile government model sights that can actually be used just as effectively as any other modern sights.  So maybe I need to think up a better name.

For now I am in love with this pistol. The new gun  is a plain model as it comes, but it has a very attractive highly blued finish. Not as mirror like as a TALO model, but not flat black. It is basically the modern day government model from the past, Before it was the MK IV series 80 and before that the series 70.  It is very close to the plain USGI 1911 of the past 100 years but with a bit of improvements for modern shooters. Example being a SS barrel, taller sights that are very easy to use but still can pass as GI sights for those who want that look, a slightly beveled mag well on the inside that helps with faster reloads but does not change the outward looks and a slightly enlarged ejection port.  It is the last pistol in the lineage of the GI issue pistols and it is fully capable of going out of the box and right into a fight but with no frills. No ambi-s safety or forward slide serration. But thats OK.  It is meant to be a throw back to an earlier gun but still be  capable as if if you need it.

I carry this pistol often, for special events, I guess it is essentially a BBQ for me., though I shoot it a lot. I enjoy shooting it for pleasure and for formal target or bulls eye type marksmanship. I do train with it just to stay on top of using a 1911 without a ambi safety, but not like I do with my more modernized every day CCW 1911.  My EDC is a Colt 1911XSE in stainless steel. I do love carrying this pistol that is my loving tribute to an earlier time.

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Thoughts On The 1911… Again

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The amount of people on the web ready to tell you how unreliable the 1911 is,  may approach the population of China or India. Even some bigger name instructors wishing to get more attention by saying things controversial  blather on about it even when they really do not know as much about it as they would have you think.  One thing to keep in mind is that  just because you can teach people to shoot, does not mean you are always a good judge of the tools themselves. Then again, they got  guns with their names on them they have to sell for the companies that handed them a check.

Among all this babble I noticed  Bravo company has a joint 1911 project with Wilson combat. Obviously the gun is only made by Wilson,but the idea is you get a very expensive high end 1911 with all the things the “BCM Gunfighter instructors” say a 1911 needs.  I am skeptical to say the least.  I am going to make an assumption and say the Bravo boys are most likely hard core Glock, M&P and other striker fired and DA/SA shooters.  Not the guys I really think need to tell me what a 1911 needs. In addition, I highly doubt Wilson needs anyone to tell them how to make a 1911.

Now, if you read this website you know how I feel about 1911s made to hard/tight fit with all the other custom gunsmith alchemy added with the price reaching ever high levels.  To sum up. I am not a fan.  I think a proper made Milspec 1911 with a few touches is really all you need if you really want a serious use 1911. Not for target or competition work more than things that will abuse it.  My rule of thumb with 1911s are , over 800 but under 1800.   Its a good bet with a few exception over or under that price range is counter productive if you want a 1911 made the way it was meant to be.  I have talked about this at great length before.

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The 1911 pictured is for lack of a better term, my training 1911.  It is a Colt XSE Government model. It is, with two exception, as Colt sold it  from the box.  I took off the ambi safety, not because I do not like them, but because I wanted something closer to what plain GI and what I may run across if I am forced to pick up and use a 1911 that is not mine and it forces me to deal with a single safety in drills to make it harder.  The other change is I added a 1911A1 WW2 main spring housing arched and with a lanyard loop. I did this because I like it, and because it goes along with a certain idea I had in mind for the gun that I will go into at a later time.

I have been very rude to this gun. In the winter, it was thrown into muddy, icy water and frozen in sub freezing temps . I pulled it out and fired it with no problems. I fished it out of the water,  broke the gun from battery to drain the water and fired it.

I have used this gun very hard over the years and I never clean it.  I only oil it.  Over the weekend while shooting, I tossed it on the ground and kicked dirt all over it and in it and shot it.

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While I did get a face full of dirt on the first few shots every time I threw it down and kicked it around int the dirt, it never stopped.  Fellow looseorunds  writer Adam was with me taking pictures. He has been seeing me abuse 1911s for a few years and has started to have a major change of opinion on them after seeing my torture. The simple fact is, 1911s made right , work. Cheap 1911s will not work.  The guns rep suffers because everyone and their mentally challenged brother in law make them. Some better than others. When some new trainer sees one of these lesser guns fail in a class, the run all over the net proclaiming it as junk.  Indeed some are. But not the ones made correctly to the proper specs. Not a hard fit gun. Not a MIM filled piece of garbage  like a currently popular brand who fools many with custom features. Not some cast made piece that falls apart as you shoot it. External extractors, MIM parts. Cast guns.  JMB, Colt nor the army every mentioned any of that when making the military’s longest serving combat pistol still being used today when made correctly.

It does not have to be super tight. It does not need cost over 2 grand. It can be loose and rattle a little.  None of that hurts a proper 1911.

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A proper 1911 will last a very long time. The myth of 5,000 round barrels is also a common one.  It is simply untrue. This guns has close to 24,000 rounds through it and I can still hit thrown skeet.And that is while is is caked in dirt and mud and filth

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John Travis. gunsmith and writer for Rangehot speaks more eloquently on the 1911 than I can.  His posts are informative and technical as he dis spells many of the tired old myths and  just plain bullshit running out of the mouths of some of the younger generation of firearms instructors.   If you really like the 1911 or want to learn more, Go check these links out. You will learn something you did not know.

No Tool Detail Strip of the 1911

The 1911: Then and Now

The Obsolete 1911

http://rangehot.com/author/1911tuner/page/2/

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