Tag Archives: GUN SAFETY

3D Printed Guns Should Be Legal, But Are They Safe?

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There’s a lot being said about this new technology-trend, but let’s keep it simple. Safety first! Read more about what’s wrong with 3D printed guns HERE

3d gun

Jason Hanson

There is an ongoing debate in the news related to 3D printed guns. This argument started years ago — when Cody Wilson first shot his 3D printed gun in 2013. Once Wilson had developed the plans for his gun, he wanted to share them with the world. He planned to do this through his company called Defense Distributed.

His goal was to create a website where people could download and share blueprints for do-it-yourself gun manufacturing. Once the federal government caught wind of this, they immediately shut down the website based on export regulations to censor technical information. (Yes, that sounds like a load of crap to me too.)

Over the last few years, Defense Distributed and the U.S. State Department have battled back and forth over the legality of 3D printed guns. However, in July, the U.S. State Department settled a legal case and allowed Defense Distributed to go ahead and release the 3D printing plans online.

The problem is once this issue was settled, 19 states sued the State Department and Defense Distributed in an attempt to stop the release of the blueprints. At this time, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the publication of the blueprints.

What’s All the Fuss?

As the name implies, a 3D printed gun is a gun made mostly of plastic from a 3D printer. Now, the key word is “mostly” because the gun still requires a firing pin and a piece of metal. The purpose of the piece of metal is to ensure the gun complies with the U.S. Undetectable Firearms Act.

Essentially, it is a federal offense to “manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer or receive” a firearm capable of defeating airport metal detection. However, I realize most criminals probably don’t care about following the law.

Now, you may be wondering what the big deal is about 3D printed guns and why some people are so against them. Well, even though the gun requires a firing pin, you could technically hide the firing pin and the small piece of steel separately. Then you could carry the gun and walk right through security checkpoints.

And since these guns are homemade, they don’t have a serial number. They are basically “ghost guns.” Also, people wouldn’t have to go through a background check to get a 3D printed gun like they would if they were buying a regular firearm from a retail location. Anyone could simply print one in the privacy of their own home.

The reality is a 3D printed firearm is definitely not the easiest way to get a gun. Plus, the majority of criminal lowlifes aren’t going to have the means (or the patience) to 3D print a gun.

What I mean is if a responsible gun owner wanted to build a firearm, they could simply go the 80% receiver route (commonly offered for AR15-style firearms). In other words, simply buy a receiver that is about 80% of a working receiver. You only need to use a drill press or hand tool to finish the remaining 20%.

Finally, 3D printed guns aren’t dependable and can easily fail. The plastic simply isn’t strong enough to withstand the explosion caused by a firing cartridge.

In fact, many people have tried to develop plastic guns only to have them explode upon firing. So while I love guns and fully support 3D printed guns, they’re just not quality or sophisticated enough at this time.

I have no doubt they will be in the future. But right now, I wouldn’t trust one with my life if someone was kicking down my front door at 3 a.m.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit www.SpyEscape.com.

Hit The Range: a new shooters guide to etiquette and safety

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New to shooting? Whether you’re going with a friend to the range or taking a class, there are a few things you should understand before you take your first shots. KEEP READING…

kippi leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield Armory, by Kippi Leatham

Here are first-timer tips and best practices for firearm safety and range procedures.

SAFETY FIRST — SAFETY ALWAYS
The first and most important thing to learn as a first-time shooter is safety. There are four basic rules of firearm safety. Read them, understand them and always follow them. You don’t want to end up getting the “attention” of the range safety officers – or worse yet, booted off the range for not following the fundamental, universal safety rules.

1. THE GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED
Always treat your gun as if it’s loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction (more on that in rule number 2). Check — and double check — the condition of the gun BEFORE you continue with the task at hand.

Check that the chamber is empty and there is no magazine inserted BEFORE you clean, disassemble, store, dry fire, or put the gun on a table to walk down range, etc. This important rule applies also when you are getting a gun out of storage, whether from a safe, range bag, gun case, etc.

Even if you’re positive the gun is not loaded, check again. You never want to have a negligent discharge and potentially injure someone because you “thought” the gun was unloaded.

2. NEVER POINT THE GUN AT ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY
Muzzle direction is especially important, regardless of whether or not the gun is loaded or unloaded (and it’s ALWAYS loaded, see rule #1). The muzzle must never point at any part of your own body, another person, family pet, or in any unsafe direction.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — AT THE RANGE
Most ranges are designed with a common firing line. That means all shooters are standing in a line next to each other, parallel to the backstop, shooting at targets downrange. You are allowed very little muzzle movement right and left (laterally) because of the shooters next to you.

From the moment you pick up your gun or draw it from your holster, the muzzle should point straight downrange, parallel to the ground. The muzzle should never point up (toward the roof, light fixtures, or sky) and it should never point down (toward your feet, shooting table, or the ground/floor).

When you finish shooting, keep the muzzle pointed downrange when UNLOADING the gun. Many right-handed shooters rotate the gun and muzzle to the left — pointing it at the person to their left — when unloading. Lefties do the opposite. Teach yourself to keep the muzzle STRAIGHT downrange. Rotate your body 90 degrees if you need additional leverage to unload the gun and/or lock the slide open.

MUZZLE DIRECTION — NOT AT THE RANGE
Want to show your best friend the new Range Officer® Elite you just purchased? You can easily do this when not at a live firing range. Here is the etiquette to follow:

Create a dry-fire line — facing in a safe direction — perhaps behind a table, counter, or workbench, pointed into a corner.

Make sure none of your family members — or the dog and cat — will be walking in front of your dry-fire line (downrange).

Take the gun out of the case, with the muzzle pointed downrange and your finger out of the trigger guard.

Ensure the gun is unloaded (no magazine and an empty chamber).

Lock the slide open so the empty chamber and empty mag well are visible to everyone.

Hand the gun to your friend, keeping the muzzle pointed downrange with your finger out of the trigger guard.

Continue to handle the gun as if it were loaded.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
This is an extremely important safety rule to follow, but even many experienced gun owners put their finger on the trigger at the wrong time. This can unfortunately cause accidents.

Remember, your finger should be on the trigger ONLY when you have fulfilled the following criteria:

You are pointing the gun at the target.

You have made the decision to shoot the target.

At all other times, there is absolutely no reason to have your finger on the trigger. Train yourself to keep your finger off the trigger (and out of the trigger guard) during ALL other times that you handle the gun, including:

When taking the gun out of a case, bag or safe.
When picking the gun up from a table.
When drawing the gun from a holster.
When checking the status of the gun (loaded or unloaded).
When loading or unloading the gun.
When reloading the gun or changing a magazine
When locking the slide back.
When putting the gun down on a table or bench.
When holstering the gun.
When clearing a malfunction.
When placing a gun back into its case, bag or safe
When disassembling the gun.
When handing the gun to another.

If you develop a good trigger finger habit, you will hopefully never have a negligent discharge, firing the gun when you are not ready to shoot. That’s a club you should want to belong to. #LifeMember

Being aware of your finger position is one of the best “safeties” on your gun. If your finger is not on the trigger, the gun won’t, can’t, or shouldn’t discharge.

4. ALWAYS BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT’S BEHIND IT
It is our responsibility as shooters to know what we are shooting at, what is beyond our target and what is between our gun and the target. We call that “the line of sight.”

TARGET — Always shoot at targets that are approved for the shooting range layout, and your gun and type of ammunition, i.e. paper, steel, clays, etc. Never shoot at glass or anything that could ricochet or leave dangerous remains on the ground.

BEYOND TARGET — Make sure you know what is beyond your target also, as the bullet doesn’t typically remain in the target. At indoor ranges or outdoor ranges with berms and backstops, this is usually not a problem. But if you’re not at one of these types of ranges, it’s your responsibility to know what is in the area behind your target (for several miles possibly), as bullets can and do travel a long distance.

LINE OF SIGHT — It’s imperative that there is nothing obstructing your line of sight. That means there shouldn’t be any objects between your sight picture and your target.

Follow these first-timer shooting tips to stay safe and have fun — whether you’re at home or at the range.

5 Things to Watch Out For in the Dark Woods

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Paying attention and keeping your cool when out hunting before sunup is key to anyone’s success, and safety. Here are a few thoughts on a few things to avoid…

hunting in darkness
Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

by Jeff Johnston

ONE: Sticks and Pitfalls
The most dangerous thing you can do in the woods is to become so nervous that you get tunnel vision and begin “crashing through the woods.” If you do this, you may not notice a rock, a hole, or a steep ravine in your path. One of the common dangers while walking to your stand is to get a stick in your eye. Use a flashlight or wear a headlamp.

TWO: Your Gun or Bow
Make sure your rifle is unloaded and your broadheads are secured and covered while you walk in the dark. The chances of having to use your gun or bow in the dark are not nearly as high as the dangers of tripping with a loaded gun or exposed broadheads. Do not load your gun until you are safely in your stand with your safety belt affixed.

THREE: Tree Stands
Always make sure your tree stand is in good condition before using it. If you notice a loose step or something weird, wait until it gets light to climb and fix the problem, if you can. Never climb if the tree is icy. Always keep your gun unloaded and use a rope to pull your gun or bow up into the tree after you are seated safely with a safety harness attached.

FOUR: Streams
Never take a chance on crossing a deep or iced-over stream in the dark. If it is deep or swift-moving, find a new way to get to your stand in the daytime.

FIVE: Wild Animals
Most people who have been lost in the woods report “wild animals” as their biggest fear. Most of these people, however, never see these animals or come into contact with them because the real problem is their imagination. Sure, animals are in the woods, but they almost always avoid humans. If you are in known bear country, you should be aware of that fact, but coyotes, deer, bobcats, pigs and other animals are not to be feared. If you are in snake country, like South Texas, always use a flashlight to walk to your stand, and consider getting snakeproof boots for peace of mind. Realize that snakes can sense large predators and almost always slither off before hunters see them.

To control fear of animals, adjust your attitude. Instead of hustling to your stand, assure yourself that you, with your gun and your wits, are by far the scariest thing in the woods. You are the top of the food chain, the ultimate predator, and you should act like one. Slip quietly to your stand like you are hunting it. You will be less fearful, and you will see more animals once you get there. If you do see an animal, your best bet is to keep walking to your stand. If you have to, speak out loud. It will almost certainly run off.