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Who will train them?

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Last week, the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation…they put on the SHOT Show) sent out a notice that said the number of new shooters is on the increase. That’s hardly news, except for the implications. Where are these new shooters getting their training?

For years, I’ve railed about the author Agatha Christie talking about putting the safety catch on a revolver in her novels. Any shooter can tell you that the number of revolvers that have safeties (not safety catches, but that’s another rant for another time) is extremely low. Revolvers do not have safeties, as a general rule, and the few that do are true oddities in the world of guns.

But that’s just the tip of the fiction writers’ iceberg of ignorance about guns. As I was reading a mystery novel last week, the detective/hero found the murder weapon in the grass, near a pond. One cartridge had been fired — presumably the one that killed the victim. So, the hero got the police to start a search for the cartridge case that had fired it! That’s correct, they started a search for the single cartridge case that had been fired by this revolver!

revolver cylinder out
When a cartridge is fired in a revolver it remains in the cylinder until the shooter extracts it. This is one reason revolvers are selected for murders — because they leave nothing hehind.

I would have thought they might have found it still in the cylinder since the cases remain there until the shooter manually ejects them. Instead, they called in divers to search the pond!

As you ponder that incongruity, here’s another one. In another book, a female private investigator working in the Chicago area didn’t carry a gun because, to use her own words, she didn’t need a gun to do her job. The female author went on to say that once the female PI had her life threatened, she decided to get a gun and was able to buy one without being subjected to the “normal waiting period” because she had her private investigator’s license. Not a word about what gun she bought or whether she knew how to use it. The reader was supposed to believe that, because she had her PI license, she was automatically able to use any gun she might acquire. Perhaps she had played a gangsta video game a time or two?

When I read things like this, I wonder if this what people think. Do they really think a person can pick up a gun and, because they’re in a certain field, they’ll automatically know how to use it? Writing things like this lays open a person’s soul, because it displays all the misconceptions they have concerning the field of firearms. First, firearms are not needed in a city like Chicago — presumably because of their fine police force, and next, that a piece of paper and a job title are all you need to know how to properly handle a gun. I don’t think its a huge leap for me to guess the writer’s politics when they write stuff like this.

In another mystery novel, I read that an Army military policeman who was a major was investigating a murder scene and found a single cartridge case laying on the ground. He picked it up and thought that it resembled a 5.56mm case, though he wasn’t sure. He also knew that a .223 Remington cartridge case would look the same. But he knew the brass in the 5.56mm case was thicker and therefore the case was heavier than a .223 Remington case. So, he felt the weight of the case to determine if it felt heavy enough to him to be a 5.56mm case.

two cartridge cases
Two cartridge cases — one a .223 Remington and the other a 5.56mm Nato round. Their external dimensions are the same. Nobody can tell the difference just by holding them in their hand.

Then, he handed the case to the local sheriff, who did the same thing — felt the weight of the case and tried to guess whether it was heavy or light. A conversation followed about the construction of 5.56mm cases and .223 Remington cases.

Now, Wikipedia is a marvelous resource for those who already know a lot about their subject. But for those who are ignorant of the facts and cannot be bothered to do much beyond rewriting the Wiki entries to fit them into a murder mystery novel, it is sadly lacking.

By this time, I imagine most readers have already wondered why these two “experts” didn’t just look at the cartridge case headstamps that would positively identify beyond all doubt which type of case it was — 5.56mm or .223 Remington. Any cop in the world would know enough to do that as would most people who served in the Army — especially in the rank of major!

two cartridge case headstamps
Cartridge on the left is a .223 Remington caliber made by Winchester. On the right is a 5.56mm cartridge made by the Lake City Arsenal in 2005. Duh!

I think it’s quite clear what’s wrong here. I read too many murder mysteries!

Seriously, what this reveals is the general public’s utter lack of comprehension about how firearms work. And yet, they’re coming into the shooting sports in increasing numbers. Who is going to train these people?

I welcome the influx of potential new shooters, but it also gives me cause to shudder. I have seen numerous groups of young men at the range shooting their 9mm pistols as fast as their trigger fingers can move. They stand 10 feet from full-sized silhouette targets, holding their guns in what they think is a Weaver stance, though I doubt any of them ever heard of Jack Weaver. I even saw one of them hold his pistol sideways with the ejection port pointed up toward the sky — a perfect Hollywood gangsta move.

Airguns are the ideal way for these new shooters to learn, but not if they think that a 2013 pellet rifle will just sting the same as a BB gun from 1900. There are so many things for these new people to learn, yet, because of their upbringing, they still view the NRA as a couple points to the right of Adolph Hitler. They haven’t been trained by the military, and so many families lack the gun-savvy fathers that were common in the 1950s.

So, who is going to train them? I simply do not know.

164 thoughts on “Who will train them?”

  1. It is obvious that there needs to be universal background checks, mandatory training, registration, and a license required to write. The written word is just too dangerous to be allowed without proper credentials. If it is too dangerous to exercise 2nd amendment rights without requiring such things, they should be required to exercise 1st amendment rights as well.

    Seriously, training used to be quite universal. High schools and colleges used to have rifle teams, and although many were part of ROTC, not all were. I went to San Jose State University, like someone else who frequents here, and I remember there was an indoor range in the basement of the Science building on campus, and they had an annual ‘turkey shoot’ there.

    • Your post wasn’t up yet when I did mine.When I said wow scary it was about the thought of people getting into guns and not having the correct training.That’s cool that they had the shooting range down there in the basement also.My oldest Daughter shoots bow and arrow at school since she was in middle school(7th. grade and now in 10th.grade).They talk about the program going away all the time though.I hope not because she enjoys it.

      • When I was in high school archery was part of gym class. We’d all go into the equipment storage area, grab a bow which there were several different weights since not all kids are big muscular bruisers. We’d go out to an area just beyond the football field where there was plenty of earth and a concrete wall to stop wide shots and learn to shoot a bow. When my kids were in school they stopped everything that remotely looked like marksmanship. My ex wife was totally anti-gun. I suspect it was because I enjoyed them. I would have loved to teach my daughters to shoot. But she wouldn’t have it. Now that I no longer have any daughters and happily have no abusive wife, I can enjoy the things I enjoy as much as I can enjoy them. I even commandeer a boy from a family member and teach him to shoot. One day since I no longer have an heir that boy will inherit my entire gun collection since I named him my sole heir.

        • John,

          Your daughters have both passed on? That is terrible. Our neighbors three doors down just lost their son before Christmas. He was only 18 years old, just starting college. A child should never, ever precede a parent in death.

          I’m so sorry for your loss.


          • It was quite a few years ago now. They were murdered by a psycho screaming “Aliakbar!” The muslim community never coughed up their killer and I hold a serious grudge for a very long time. It’s my russian genetics. But that left me with no heirs and the very last of my line. But thanks for the sympathy. Sometimes things happen especially now with many brave young men and women that give their lives in the military. (no, mine were not military, just killed. I was the military one.)

            • You’re joking, I now see. I, on the other hand, was sincere. Somehow I doubt my neighbors would find your mirth about the death of one’s children very funny given they buried their son so recently.

              Get some help.


              • No, I was not joking. They have died at the hands of a muslim and I have buried both of my children. And I have never forgiven that and that murderer has not been caught. And yes, I am now the last of my line with no heir. But I simply do not choose to run around the rest of my life grieving openly about it, or blaming anything but the monster that did the crime and hides among fellow muslims. Instead I concentrate my energy on passing on what I have to someone that will appreciate it. Too bad you cannot deal with the fact that years later I do not act like they just died yesterday but a person can mourn a lost child only so long. I’m not the only one in my family that has lost children, but I am the only one that theirs were murdered. I have attended funerals for 3 cousins now. All accidental deaths. Our family grieve for a bit, then we move on with our lives. That’s just how we are.

    • DryCreekRob,

      I was trained in Hunter Safety, and competitive marksmanship in a range that sat at the bottom floor of a recreation building. Directly above us was a basketball court, a weight room, and a shower room. Never an issue.


  2. Wow you know that is scary when you think about it.But I have seen the same scenario in other things that I have been involved with.Take the simple R/C airplane and put it in the hands of somebody that never flew one.Most everything is electric now days( but the old days was nothing to have a 10 inch prop with a fuel engine turning at 15,000 rpm and a plane that weighed 4 or 5 lbs.)Imagine what that would be like coming straight at you around 50 or 60 mph or so.Still dangerous in the wrong hands.And on the other hand I have been a machinist for 30yrs.and made everything from Ammo to Auto parts.And the last 15 years I have been a Leadman/Tech.if you will.Probably the most important job I do is to train the people.First thing is safety.Just think of the consequences if something was to happen if they didn’t get taught correctly.And let me tell you every machine is not the same.So yes.Good question.Who will train the new firearm owners?I think I was around 5 or 6yrs old.when I got my first pellet gun.But first thing I got taught was safety.And there was no second chance if something went wrong.Here is a example my Dad used.I had a German Sheppard named Rocky that we got when I was just one yr.old.My Dad asked me what it would be like if I accidentally shot the dog and killed it and it wouldn’t be there to run around with me anymore.It was a pellet gun(but still could of hurt the dog) but still point well taken.Of course that dog was my best buddy and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be with out him.So yes there is always a price to pay if something gets left out.Some that may not be that important and others that could be devastating.I remember when I got my first rimfire .22 Winchester 190 when I was a kid.My Dad wouldn’t let me shoot it till I read the gun safety pamphlet that came with it(I still have it and both of my girls have read it)and we went over the different features of the gun.And he made me take it down and put it back together naming the parts.Still remember him saying…most important when you think the gun has fired all of its shots to open the action and look for the bright orange plunger form the tube magazine and make sure there is no bullet in the chamber.And yes I agree that airguns is a great way to train.But anything can be dangerous.

    • Good point. Today I was shooting my dad’s old Remington 514 which I inherited on saturday. I had a great time then brought it home to clean it and do some maintenance that hasn’t been done on the old gun. I clear every gun before I leave the range as a natural thing to do. When I popped the bolt open to begin taking the gun apart a spent .22 casing flew out. So it happenes even to the best of us. Every now and then a bullet magically appears in the gun even one you know you cleared. This time it was a spent casing. So I learned today to pay stricter attention to the chamber of this gun.

  3. Why in the heck would anyone need a gun in Chicago of all places? It’s not like they have any murders there, or crime for that matter. Everyone knows Mayor Emmanuel nipped all that in the bud.

    “Seriously, what this reveals is the general public’s utter lack of comprehension about how firearms work.” Seriously, the people writing the current crop of gun control legislation are completely ignorant about how firearms work. They don’t know the difference between auto and semi-auto, or a clip from a magazine. They think an AR-15 is a high powered rifle. The last assault weapons ban was based on the relative scariness of a rifle’s appearance, not so much the damage it could do.

    On another subject, “Here, weigh these tires, and tell me if there is a car attached to them.” Novices masquerading as seasoned experts. Its just dumb. Almost as dumb as holding your pistol sideways when shooting it. Don’t they know the hot brass can fly up and fall down the back of their underwear that is sticking out a foot above their pants?

    My answer to “who will train them?” Hopefully, people like you, Mr. BB

  4. B.B.,

    The point you make here is precisely the point that I still make to city hall, who still have a range that is the envy of all of California. They still plan on destroying it, and getting rid of all of it’s equipment, and I still keep telling them that it’s more necessary now than ever.

    Maybe if I hadn’t been so well trained in firearm usage, I might not have known better, but I’ve personally witnessed, or known about some horrific and just plain stupid accidents on the part of “macho-men”.

    Knowing the fundamentals of gun safety expose bad practices on the part of just about every “gun enthusiast” that I know who has never been properly trained. I can’t tell you how many times a host has brought out a gun from his bedroom to show to his guest without first demonstrating that it was NOT loaded. Sadly, it was usually loaded and just handed over to a guest. I personally know someone who almost shot their daughter while starting to clean their gun because “they didn’t know it was loaded”. Then there are the numbskulls who have fired their guns in celebration.

    I personally would rather see the NRA make a name for itself by promoting gun safety, than waste millions of highly questionable propaganda commercials. They really aren’t doing themselves any favors.


    • Victor

      I disagree with the last statement. The NRA has a very long history of promoting safety. Reference the Eddie Eagle program. I don’t see their most recent efforts as propaganda, but a response to the onslaught of recent knee jerk reactions from all sides. What good are gun safety suggestions, if we aren’t allowed to own guns anymore? The most questionable thing the NRA has ever done is to endorse Harry Reid.

      • The NRA has always been an advocate and provider of gun safety programs. That is well-documented fact.

        Another fact is the NRA is adamantly against background checks for gun buyers at gun shows, which in almost every state is unregulated cash-and-carry. Roughly 40 percent of guns are purchased this way, with no background check. A mental patient, a violent-crime convict, or person on the Terrorist Watch List (who cannot even get on an airplane!) may purchase guns legally without a background check at most gun shows. A wanted criminal may purchase a gun at a show without undergoing a background check.

        Is THAT gun safety?


        • Michael…

          You need to watch what the ENTIRE proposed law includes.
          Those pushing the law do so on their main “selling point”, but don’t like to mention all the other things that they plan to sneak through with it. This is not limited to just gun control laws.

          It’s just the same old game…tell the people what you WANT them to know, and don’t mention the things that you DON’T want them to know….until it’s too late.


            • Robert…

              Speaking of sneaky…
              There was some stink a while back about the feds keeping a record of background checks for longer than they were supposed to. Have not heard anything about it lately.

              All it takes is a word from the right person to secretly keep a list indefinitely. The word will not be in writing though. That protects those at the top. Nothing can be proven. If someone has to take the fall….

              So easy to database (almost as good as registration in preperation for future confiscation) .
              And if a hacker gets in, it can be better than a Sears catalog for the wrong “shoppers”.


          • I have read the entire proposed law as rewritten by Manchin-Toomey. It took me the better part of a weekend.

            It makes it a felony for anyone or any government agancy to compile a registry of gun owners or gun purchasers. Furthermore, “The Manchin-Toomey plan would have expanded background checks to include private sales at gun shows and all Internet sales, WHILE CONTINUING TO EXEMPT MOST SALES BETWEEN FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS.” [Emphasis added.] “Senate rejects expanded gun background checks” By Ted Barrett and Tom Cohen, CNN, updated 11:02 AM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013.

            The Manchin-Toomey (then both NRA A+ lawmakers) compromise was criticized by liberals for being too weak. 2nd Amendment advocates criticized it for being. It didn’t get to the floor because the NRA won this battle.

            However, and if this is where you first read it, remember the moment. Gun control folks lost this battle but in so doing will win the war. Sometime soon another mass shooting will happen, and the legislation that will be proposed following it will not be a compromise. It will be strict gun control. And it will pass.


            • Michael…

              Sure, we will lose eventually. Some nut job will figure a way to top the latest body count. Or the right people will be appointed to the supreme court, and re-interpret the second amendment.

              One of our senators caught a bunch of crap for voting down the senate bill. What he wants is a law that does something directly against criminals and nut jobs.
              You can take a bite out of some of the ordinary criminals, but nut jobs fear nothing other than being stopped before they can do anything. Anyone who is determined will find a way.

              Gun control will open bigger opportunities to the criminal elements too. Just like dope….if there is a demand, then there is money to be made….


              • “What he wants is a law that does something directly against criminals and nut jobs.”

                The NRA has no problem with criminals and nut jobs buying guns at gun shows. The law would have prevented them from doing so. Will an especially determined nut job or criminal still find a way? Of course. But it can be made MUCH more difficult than it currently is.

                If we can’t have a perfect solution, we shouldn’t even try?


                • Michael, if this law was such a good idea, and had a reasonable chance to be effective, its proponents simply would not have constantly trotted out that ABSOLUTELY BASELESS 40% figure that you quote. If one has to resort to falsehoods to make a point, then the point itself is false.

                  • Vince,

                    Tell that to Wayne “La Liar” Pierre, LOL. The way to tell if he is trying to mislead is to see if his lips are moving.

                    The gun lobby lies no less than any pro-background check group does. The problem is that lies work. Repeat a lie enough, and folks will believe it.

                    The study was something like 20 years ago and involved a small sample, something like 300, just as, hmmm, TwoTalon wrote. I found that out on Factcheck.org as I looked up just a few of the many lies spread by the gun lobby. You might go there and simply enter Wayne La Pierre. Quite an eyeful of hits. Some (SOME) actually defend his statements, most, well . . .

                    The gun lobby lies no less than any pro-background check group. The problem is that lies work. Repeat a lie enough, and folks will believe it.


                    • Regardless… the entire premise upon which the law was based is false. It did not address a significant part of the problem, it was nothing more than political grandstanding.

                      If a felon tries to buy a gun from a dealer he is committing a felony… and has less than a 1 in 1000 chance of even being investigated (let alone prosecuted). With enforcement rates like that it’s hard to argue the effectiveness of existing law, let alone new ones.

                      Currently, in NJ, the “instant” background check now takes 16 days. Requiring more transactions to go through the NICS is a perfect excuse to institute a de-facto waiting period extending to whatever they want.

                  • “If one has to resort to falsehoods to make a point, then the point itself is false.”

                    Not true; that is a logical fallacy. Can a lie later turn out to be true just by chance, without the liar’s knowledge? Of course. Can a paranoid still be a stalking victim? Of course. Can a despicable and dishonest person save a baby from a burning building? Of course. Can a boy who cries wolf later actually be attacked by a wolf?

                    Sorry for inserting this above my previous post, which is below.


                  • “If a felon tries to buy a gun from a dealer he is committing a felony.”

                    But if a felon buys a gun from a private seller at a gun show, he is not committing a felony.

                    I think it should be a felony.

                    Yes, many crimes go unpunished. Does that mean we should just give up? That is a fatalistic, not logical argument. Most people drive above the speed limit. Should we just do away with speed limits? Most murders in the U.S. go unsolved. Should we just stop trying to bring murderers to justice?

                    Why does it not bother you that people who should not be able to buy guns are still allowed to do so? Have YOU given up?

                    Vince, I hope not.


                    • By definition, a felon is NOT PERMITTED TO POSSESS A FIREARM…

                      So even attempting to purchase one, anywhere, is a violation of existing law.

        • Michael,

          I don’t want this to turn into a debate about the NRA (there are other places for that) but you may be falling for the anti’s propaganda on gun show sales.

          First off, there is no “gun show loophole”. Commercial sellers at a gun show still must conduct a background check just as if the sale took place in their own store. Failure to do so is illegal.

          What the anti’s are pushing for is background checks for private sales; some of these do take place at gun shows. There are a whole host of privacy/legal issues regarding this that the gun grabbers like to ignore. These checks on private sales is what the NRA is against.

          Finally, the “40%” figure is bogus. It came from a survey 20+ years ago; the sample was too small to be sufficiently accurate and the market has changed much over that time. No one has a good number on private sales – the studies just have not been done.

          Paul in Liberty County

          • Paul, to borrow a phrase, you may be falling for the NRA’s propaganda on Manchin-Toomey:

            According to FactCheck.org, which ticks off liberals and conservatives equally, “The bill — the “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” which Manchin introduced with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — would have prohibited unlicensed persons from selling guns at gun shows or over the Internet. Such sellers could complete such transactions, but they would have to visit a licensed dealer and have that dealer run a background check before the sale could be finalized. Transfers between family members are specifically exempt from the requirement. (See page 21 of the full bill, or page 4 of this breakdown of the bill by Manchin.) The bill goes into detail about which family members would be exempt, including spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, spouses of all of the above, and first cousins “if the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law.”

            At every single gun show I’ve ever attended, and I’ve been to them in IL, WI, IA, IN, MI, MO, SC, and NC, I saw sellers large (some VERY large, with hundreds of guns for sale on the table, and new and boxed under the table) and small exchange a gun for cash without even knowing the buyer’s name. At every gun show I’ve ever attended, there might have been many dealers who did require ID and did file paperwork, but I saw the opposite again and again.

            Should a private seller at a gun show be able to legally sell a gun to a convicted felon? A mental patient? A wanted criminal? Someone on the Terrorist Watch List? Seriously, Paul, TwoTalon, and others, is that OK with you? We shouldn’t even TRY to prevent such sales?


            • I have to admit that where I live, the checking system is not bad. Full disclosure, I’m a Brit currently living in France (Yes, the French thank you for your help kicking the Germans out during WWI/II and would like sometimes for you to remember of their help kicking the Brits out in 1775 😉 )

              Over here you have 3 conditions for owning bolt action or a low capacity semi-auto hunting and target rifles: Being a member of a hunting or target shooting club, and having a medical certificat signed by your doctor saying you are fit to shoot, and signing a register with your gunshop owner when you purchase a weapon. A copy of that registration is sent to the state’s firearm bureau and get’s lost in the bureaucracy (I’m still waiting for the reciept for 2 rifles I purchased 3 years ago…).

              If you want high-cap magazine semi auto rifles and handguns, then you will have to get state approval beforehand, and this does entail a (extensive) background check, but for 100% of hunters and 70% of long rifled target shooters this is not needed.

              This way, most legal shooters are members of a recognised gun club, know how to shoot, and are very aware of gun safety, I say most, as there are some loopholes (single shot and double barreled shotguns are exempt for registration – though you need a club membership to buy the ammo now), and black powder weapons are freely available for anyone over 18 (Strangely enough, I have never heard someone doing a bank job with a pair of .44 Army revolvers, in the US or over here!).

              I really do think that a law saying that a buyer must be a card carrying member in good standing of a valid club who has an NRA-certified instructor and that annual membership to this club is subject to a – fully confidential – medical exam judging your mental and physcal state would really go far in promoting reasonable and sensible use of guns without involving the state, and would also provide an environment where a certified instructor can assist newcomers to our sport and bring up the next generation of passionate – and safe shooters, all with minimal state intervention.

              • Daniel,

                The United States and France have bailed each other out more than just that. The French also aided us during the War of 1812 against the British, and the U.S. of course helped Western Europe in The Great War.

                What you describe sounds innocuous, but I suspect much of it would violate our Second Amendment of the Constitution. The government registry of gun owners, let alone one that specifies what weapons they own, is absolutely unconstitutional. I would be against that. The recent legislation that was blocked, Manchin-Toomey, stipulated a heavy prison sentence for anyone in or out of the government who compiled such a registry.

                I very simply, strongly feel that unless the seller / giver is your neighbor, father, brother-in-law, wife, co-worker, or fishing buddy, the buyer should prove that he isn’t a convicted felon, mental patient, wanted suspect in a crime, or a probable terrorist.

                Why do some people want to protect the ability of a convict, nut job, or terrorist to legally get their hands on guns?


              • Daniel,

                Welcome to the blog. Today’s topic is the type usually reserved for Fridays, when the comments can pile up over the weekend.

                We here in the US sometimes need to be reminded of the kindness shown us by the French. The outcome of the Revolution was greatly helped by the French.

                The solutions for gun control in France you described would not wok here, for a couple reasons. At least presently, the anathema between the current Administration and the NRA is so great that any official co-operation between the two would be rejected by both groups’ members. Neither group trusts the motives of the other.

                The other “problem” is that the legal basis for gun ownership in our respective countries is different.
                Owning a gun in the US is not the same as owning an auto, a boat, or an airplane. While these are also registered and regulated by the Government, no one has an inherent right to own these things.
                Or to use them. They all must be registered and official licensing is required to use them (certain exceptions are made for use on private property).

                In sharp contrast, every US citizen has a right to posses a gun. This is not a right that is granted by the Government. It is a right that was granted by God, and the Government guarantees and protects that right. It is a Civil Right, like Free Speech and the Right to Assemble. The Government can curtail that right, but only in individual cases and for reasons that can stand up in court. They cannot engage in blanket refusal to certain groups. A separate case must be brought, subject to appeal, for each individual. The Constitution is very specific that the Right to Bear Arms shall not be infringed upon.

                This fact is very frustrating to would-be gun grabbers. Much legislation has been written in attempts to circumvent this right.

                The problem our society faces when dealing with this is the confusion of violence caused by guns with violence caused by people. I have yet to see a gun commit a violent act. But modern weapons can do a lot of damage in a short time. So we really have a “people problem”. The problem is dealing with this in a way that will not punish law-abiding people, who will not commit crimes in the first place. The only way I can see to do this is by increasing the punishment for those who use guns to commit crime, and by encouraging the law-abiding people to arm themselves.


              • Daniel,

                Welcome to the blog! I appreciate your level-headed and responsible understanding of gun ownership.

                Regarding a check-up, I don’t know of any sport at the high school level that doesn’t require a physical check-up, including a groin inspection. I don’t know that anyone has objected to that, and that’s pretty personal.


        • How many of the shootings in the, say, last decade, involve people who would NOT have been permitted to purchase had they gone through the NCIS system?

          In contrast, how many purchases did the government APPROVE even when dealers were suspicious, under the guise of the government trying to track sales to drug cartels.

      • Slinging Lead,

        I watched the NRA propaganda video’s (several times), and was very disappointed with them. Having been a member of the NRA, and a subscriber of the American Rifleman, I’ve watched the NRA transform itself into something that I no longer recognize. My observation is that the NRA propaganda videos were utterly stupid and at least as bad as anything that’s ever come out of the likes of Diane Feinstein. I just don’t understand why one would choose to fight idiocy with idiocy. Both are equally as guilty of knee-jerk reactions, and they seem to be in a race to prove who’s the bigger idiot.

        I’d be impressed if the NRA aired public videos regarding the cause for gun safety and responsibility, and I don’t mean what is usually only be seen behind closed doors of gun ranges. I mean, instead of making a propaganda video public that only preached to the choir while alienating millions, they would have been better served to have demonstrated a greater cause. They failed miserably, because in doing what they did, they painted themselves as a political entity, rather than a service with a positive purpose. Politics requires good judgement, because in the end it’s all about selling yourself to the masses. Only simpletons believe that shooting is purely a Democratic or Republican interest. It is not, never has been, and never will be. The NRA is acting like a simpleton. I don’t buy into cults of any form, and I don’t care for simpletons.

        Thankfully there we have USA Shooting to represent my favorite sport.


        • I am not a simpleton, do not belong to any cults, nor do I believe that shooting is a Democratic or Republican interest. I have never stated or implied such a view. You stated that you wished that the NRA would make a name for itself by promoting gun safety. They have done so on every level, from children to adult education programs. That is the point I was responding to. I also do not care for simpletons.

          However, the current thrust of gun control legislation has nothing to do with using a gun safely. As such, gun safety ads will not effectively combat the concerted effort by some to remove guns from the hands of lawful citizens. Perhaps the NRA’s ads were stupid. Perhaps not. Referencing the specific ads would put us all on the same page. Nonetheless, one sides’ efforts are attempting to erode or remove our constitutional rights, the other sides’ efforts are trying to preserve them. As a shooting enthusiast, I cannot see them as equally bad regardless of their relative stupidity.

          Incidently, it is the simpletons that the gun control measures are designed for. The measures do not increase public safety, only make the simpletons feel safer, because, ‘we did something about it.’ This has been proven time and again. The city of Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country and consequently some of the worst gun violence and murder rates.

          At any rate, I believe reasonable adults can disagree amicably without turning on one another.

          • Slinging Lead,

            What I’m saying is that it almost doesn’t matter what the NRA had done to promote gun safety and shooting sports. My point is that hardly anyone outside of the NRA is aware of the NRA’s positive contributions, so when all they see is the more recent propaganda and stances, they definitely see a negative organization. I certainly would never have known about them had I not signed up for a junior marksmanship program. It’s now almost 40 years since I joined, and outside of our program I still haven’t heard or seen anything by the NRA that promotes what I experienced. Then suddenly only months ago I see these propaganda adds and the backlash to them. It matters what they do, and they didn’t win any converts.

            I have the luxury of seeing things objectively, and I believe that the NRA did itself a huge disservice. I believe that the NRA could have, and still can, do a heck of a lot more to further it’s cause, instead of alienating millions who would have otherwise been on the fence. Again, they are now a political entity, and they’ve played their politics very foolishly.

            As for simpletons, there are plenty of them on either side of almost any issue, including at the top, like Feinstein and the NRA leadership. Both our drowning out reasonable dialogue with noise. Both are playing a losing hand.

            I personally don’t feel that I’ve turned on anyone, certainly not you, and I haven’t felt that anyone has turned on me. Some of us just have a different perspective on things. I loved working in defense, and yet I am very critical of much that I’ve seen. Having worked with different defense contractors, I know that there are huge differences.

            I guess I was born a nonconformist, and tend not to get so entrenched in things to the point that I can’t be critical of them. I love my kids, but I’ve also probably been the most honest with them, good or bad, than anyone else. If there is one thing that I’ve learned through my granddaughter and my own kids, it’s that we are born with certain personality traits. Both of my kids are entirely different from each other (starting at birth), and my granddaughter is yet wildly different from them. As an adult, I not only do not believe in Santa Clause, I also know not to be surprised by foolishness on the part of leaders, regardless of title or level. I can’t help but question authority.


            • Most of the NaySayers would object to the Eddie Eagle program just because it comes from the NRA… “They’re trying to push gun ownership on our kids” EVEN THOUGH the core teaching is “see a gun — don’t touch, find an adult to put it away”

              • Wulfraed,

                I know this better than anyone. I’m still fighting this issue with a city that I moved out of 17 years ago. Our junior marksmanship program took years to happen, starting in the 60’s. By the early 70’s, we not only had a program, we had our own range. But the fight remained constant. At least half of the community believed that our program would create “terrorist”, or violent criminals. I’ve argued to the city council and mayor (several, actually), that competitive marksmanship is the exact opposite of what many think.

                That’s why our coaches and the mayor watched us like a hawk, even in our private lives. They didn’t even want us around firecrackers. More than anything, the issue is ignorance. I know at least as well as anyone else how great shooting sports can be, including long lasting positive effects. The reason that the city still listens to me is because they are fully aware that it had a truly profound effect on me.

                But again, what the public sees regarding the NRA is a pure gun lobby, that only cares about gun sales, and NOT safety. The NRA has never, to my knowledge at least, made their beneficial purpose known to anyone outside of the NRA itself (i.e., it’s membership). In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d say the same thing about the NRA only caring about gun sales (to anyone, including terrorist and criminals). My personal opinion of the current NRA leadership is that it doesn’t even know what they have to offer. If they did, they’d know that they could have easily taken a more intelligent and compelling path towards promoting their cause. Instead, they foolishly decided to alienate every American that might have been on the fence. I have a very low opinion of the current NRA leadership, and I can easily see why they have forced a division among Americans. Any backlash will only be their own fault.


    • The only reason the NRA is running those commercials is to counter worse much more dangerous commercials from the anti-gun crowd that thinks all guns are evil and should be taken away from us “gun nuts”. They endlessly blame us for things like Sandy Hook and try to punish us for it even though we had nothing to do with it. If the anti-gun crowd had anything to do with it, I wouldn’t have been able to inherit my dad’s old gun. Instead it would have been given to the government and destroyed.

      • I hesitate to paraphrase from American Handgunner, but per the latest issue, some of these knee-jerk actually affect law-enforcement!

        Apparently one of the magazine limit bans didn’t exclude police department pistols.

        And Feinstein’s ban would have had an effect on Florida troops. Many departments don’t have the funds to purchase AR-15s for cruisers — but allow officers to carry their private purchase AR-15s. Under Feinstein, the officers would be permitted to purchase “with department approval” — but as soon as they leave the department, the gun would be confiscated. So who is going to pay $500-1500 for a gun that is going to be taken from them later.

        • Wulfraed,

          I learned the other week that officers who volunteer for a SWAT team for their PD and are selected must also buy their own M-4’s or whatever rifle that team and PD decide to use, here in the Peoples Democratik Republik of New Jersey. So they would have faced the same situation under the Diane Bill.

          Fred DPRoNJ

        • Let’s be glad Feinstein’s wants were shot down. This gun grabber mania is truly a dangerous thing to everybody since all they are doing is regulating honest people into helplessness and leaving criminals to run unchecked. All this gun regulation is in fact pretty senseless due to gun related crime being down 49% and gun ownership has skyrocketed.

  5. “When a cartridge is fired in a revolver it remains in the cylinder until the shooter extracts it. This is one reason revolvers are selected for murders — because they leave nothing hehind.”

    Just like you are correcting fiction writers, I need to correct you. A revolver still leaves something equally important behind, and that is the bullet.

    Nice article sir.

    • Yes, the bullet is left behind , assuming that it remained in the victim’s body,or was embedded in something in the vicinity of the murder scene and recovered. In this case the weapon was left behind and recovered ,and was a revolver. So we have a weapon ,and evidence of ammunition used. The searching for the empty cartridge was the stupid part, as the revolver retains the cartridges after they are fired. The bullet if found ,could be then used to positively identify the revolver as the murder weapon in this case. Dumb ass fiction writer ignorant of firearms, who was making an attempt at drama to fill up more pages. That’s what I get out of BB’s anology.

      • I agree… If the murderer had half a brain, he would have dumped the gun , and it’s cases in a river a few miles away, one bullet, no gun, no cases… Plus even if the guy did dump the cylinder’s contents, and tossed them into a lake, would their be anything useful after immersion for forensics to idenfity except that they – may – have come from that gun? The bullet may be of more use in IDing the gun than the cases, and if you are going to dump the cases in the water, dump a few dozen other types of cases and really annoy the specialists!

        • Looking at it from a forensic point of view the shell casing is also useful in identifying a gun. The firing pin makes a distinctive indentation in the primer which you cannot see but under a microscope it can be as distinctive as a fingerprint. But in order to confirm the gun is the murder weapon they need the gun and the spent slug from the gun that did the killing. The rifling marks on the spent slug are also as distinctive as a fingerprint So without the gun you can’t positively match anything to link a gun to a killing. Instead of dumping the gun the best way to get rid of it is melt it with thermite. Turn it to melted slag and there is no way anybody can tell it was that gun used.

      • Cartridges-shmartridges. I like revolvers because they are just plain more cool than automatics. Yes, a Colt 1911A1 is pretty darned cool, but it’s no .357 Python, is it!

        .357 Python, Colt .45 Peacemaker, Remington New Army, Colt Army, S&W .44 magnum, .38 Police Bulldog. THESE are handguns for John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart, Charles Bronson, Lee Van Cleef, Steve McQueen, and Clint Eastwood, by golly!

        Could you have seen The Duke with a Glock or Sig Sauer? He’d have looked at it and asked, “Hey, who brought the squirt gun? Better be careful with that, pilgrim, ya drop it, and all that sissy little plastic might crack!”

        Just my 2 cents,


        • Dirty Harry was seen with a .44 AutoMag in one movie… And if the movies were made 15-20 years later, would probably have carried a .50AE Desert Eagle.

          Remember, up until the mid-80s, practically all police departments (except Illinois which carried S&W39) mandated revolvers (I vaguely recall one episode of Ironsides where he chastised one of the crew for carrying a .357Mag revolver rather than the approved .38 Special loading!).

          • Wulfraed,

            If Dirty Harry were made today, Inspector Callahan would not carry a .50 Desert Eagle. He would carry a .500 S&W Magnum revolver. That way he could still utter the line, ” . . . seeing how this is a __________ magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world.” :^)


    • And more powder residue on the shooter, given that nice gap between barrel and cylinder…

      The classic “European” assassin (silenced small caliber semi-auto) is probably better off. Handle the cartridge with gloves, and all you leave behind (if you don’t pick it up) is a firing pin imprint (easy to deface a firing pin) and much less “GSR” (in CSI terms) on the shooter.

      Actually, for a formal assassination, fitting a T/C Contender with a silencer is probably ideal… high accuracy… not gaps for GSR exposure… no case lying on the ground… can be easily scoped…

  6. B.B.,

    The subject of proper training has prompted me to ask a question of you and all else here. How does one handle an airgun that is designed so poorly that one has to fight with it in order to use it?

    For a bit over a year I have wanted to purchase a TX 200 MK III. Every time Pyramyd AIR has had a left-handed, walnut, .177 in stock (3, I believe) over the past year or so, I have almost purchased it, despite its costing $70 more than the righty version.

    What has held me back each time is a serious and mind-numbingly dumb design flaw by Air Arms on lefty TX 200s. The small, one-sided loading port means a lefty must cock his TX 200 with his right arm and load the pellet with his left. So far, so good. I cock my Hakim the other way, but I cock break barrels with my right hand all the time.

    Once the pellet is loaded, what is the next step?

    A) Does the shooter LET GO of the cocking lever with his right hand, place his left hand on the lever, and release the anti-beartrap with his right hand? That seems to me to be unsafe.

    B) Or does the shooter continue to firmly hold the cocking lever and reach over the scope with his left hand to release the anti-bear trap button? No. That would be a near impossible maneuver and would invite pointing the muzzle God-knows-where.

    C) Or does the shooter thread his left hand between the cocking lever and the forearm, sliding his palm over the cocking lever’s linkage, feel around for the anti-beartrap release button, depress the button, and feel the cocking machinery work under his left palm as he closes the cocking lever with his right hand?

    D) Or does the shooter spend an extra $600+ dollars, buy two TX 200s, one a lefty in Walnut, the other a righty in beech. He then swaps actions after routing the Walnut lefty stock to put a cutout for the pellet loading chamber on the right side. Then, throw the beech stock in the fireplace. (Why buy a used beech stock for a TX 200? To replace one’s ugly Walnut one?) And then part out the lefty action (because it is unusable complete because of the release button location)? It would end up costing well over a grand, but at least I could figure out how to cock and load the hybrid TX200.

    Are any of you left-handed owners of a left-handed TX200? In addition to paying an extra $70 for your gun, have you also figured out a way to work around its stunningly stupid design flaw?

    Thank you in advance for any viable solutions you might be able to provide.


    • Michael,
      When I was in high school I learned to play soccer on the left wing because every one on the team was right footed. All my team mates felt that you had to be able to shoot the ball with your left foot to play that position. I took the position that no one else wanted and quickly learned to shoot the ball with my left foot and became the top goal scorer on the team. Why? Because all of the opposing defenders thought the same way as my team mates and expected me to go left to keep the ball on my left foot. Most times I would fake left and cut right setting up the shot on my right foot.
      It is unfortunate that you were born left handed in a right handed world but if you put your mind to it you can easily learn how to shoot right handed.
      I do not own a TX 200(i would love to own one) but I have a TF 87 underlever.TRy loading the TX200 this way:-
      a) Hold the pistol grip with your right hand and cock the gun using your left hand on the underlever.
      b) Place the butt lightly under your right arm pit.
      c) Take hold of the under lever with your right hand leaving your left hand free.
      d) Use your right hand(still holding the underlever) and twist the gun to the left, exposing the loading port.
      e) Use your left hand to load the pellet and then depress the anti beartrap button while your right hand resets the underlever closing the loading port.
      You are now good to go. Shoot and have fun.


      • Pete,

        Your procedure sounds like it will work. I have an underlever in my Hakim, and I’ll give it a shot (pun intended) later tonight. Thank you for the tip.

        That said, and please understand I do not mean to hurt your feelings, but, “You can easily learn how to shoot right handed.”

        I know you mean well, but have you learned to shoot left-handed? I have tried shooting right handed dozens and dozens of times, sometimes devoting an hour at a time. No way. I am so bad at it I have trouble pointing the muzzle in the direction of the target!

        Try to shoot a rifle left-handed. Seriously. I know two people who pulled it off, but both had never picked up a rifle in their lives, so there was nothing to unlearn. I learned to play guitar right-handed from the start, so no problem. But I’ve been shooting my whole life as a lefty.

        I learned to kick ambidextrously in seventh grade, yes, because of soccer. There is absolutely no comparison to being right-footed and being right handed / being left-footed and being left handed. Shooting well is much more demanding than kicking a soccer ball. I can still probably hit a goal with either foot more easily than I can put ten shots into the same hole, and I’m 50, grossly overweight, and an American! I haven’t played in 30 years.

        I can shoot a bow right handed (but I’ll never hit the bullseye that way), and I can golf right-handed, bat right handed, shoot a basketball right handed, hammer right-handed, and use scissors and eating utensils right-handed, all with great success. I have learned, as other Americans have, to drive on the right side of the road with a right-side drive car! But I cannot write right-handed. And there is no way I can shoot right-handed. Those two might be the only two things now that I think about it.

        It’s tough enough to shoot well the way I’m supposed to (left-handed) without having to complicate matters by trying to switch.

        Rather than force a person to contort himself to accommodate Air Arms’ design flaw, why doesn’t Air Arms simply make a better left-handed rifle? I mean, it’s not as if it’s a budget gun. The whole point of spending big dollars on an air rifle is to get something well-engineered and effective. If I were willing to put up with an air rifle I had to struggle with to shoot, I’d get a Marksman Laserhawk and save $650.


        • Pete,

          “Use your left hand to load the pellet and then depress the anti beartrap button . . .”

          The release button cannot be depressed by the left hand. That is the design flaw of the TX 200 left-hand model. Either the button should be on the left side, or the loading port should be accessable from either side, a la the HW97K and the HW77.

          MAYBE the shooter could thread his hand between the bottom of the forend and the fully cocked lever, but that puts the palm in contact with the linkage as it is moving.

          Besides, if it’s not safe to let go of the lever, isn’t it not safe to switch hands on the lever?


          • Michael,
            I will do as you suggested and try shooting left handed. Will let you know how that turns out.
            Out of curiousity, why can’t the left hand depress or move the anti beartrap mechanism???? It should only be able to move in two directions, either back and forward or up and down
            Switching the undelever from left to right hand is safe once the beartrap is engaged. I do it all the time with my TF87-just make sure that you have at least one hand on the underlever when you are loading the pellet.


            • Pete,

              If the TX200 LH is scoped (LOL), then the shooter can’t reach over the barrel and scope with his left hand to depress it. The shooter might be able to slide his left hand between the cocking lever and the forestock. It would involve touching the linkage as it moves, which might not be an issue — I just don’t know.

              I believe that if the cocking lever were not held, and it slapped up violently, even if the shooter were not loading a pellet, that would have to be catastrophic for the rifle. I could imagine a cracked stock, bent metal, all sorts of destruction.

              Of course a left-handed shooter could do a lot of involved, rube goldberg type nonsense to reset the cocking lever, but with a $670 springer, one shouldn’t have to. Everything about it is wonderful for righties, but for lefties it is user-unfriendly.

              A righty TX 200 in a left-hand stock would work VERY well, I think. I wonder if A.A. would do that as a custom order.


            • Pete,

              It did not occur to me until just now, but I should mention that I have always been able to shoot pistols ambidextrously. With a heavy pistol, I’d best stay with my left hand, but with lightweight pistols, I am only slightly more accurate (actually, less inaccurate!) with my left than with my right hand.


  7. B.B.

    You gotta stop reading that stuff….or take it for the comedy value.

    By the way, when are you going to do a test of the Flak 34 ? With solid shot, that is. Not in the house I hope. Might actually be good for hunting wild pigs. Can anyone make PBA for them ? (88mm)


  8. Here in NY we have just been put under the Inquisition of the NYSAFE Act which even further restricts are my rights. It is do to ignorance of firearms, and the apathy on the part of gun owners here. Many have similar views of the NRA much like Victor’s who believe that the NRA spends to much time defending gun rights and endorsing political candidates that favor gun rights. They only view the NRA as a political wing of the right. You know what? There are something like 8 or more million firearms owners in this state, and in the last election for Governor only about 4.5 million total voted in the election. Governor Andy who inflicted this on us, got about 2.5 million votes. Where were the rest of the fudds who are now whining about the new laws? They obviously refused to believe what the NRA has been saying about the political leaders they didn’t help to defeat by voting against them . As Slinging Lead said,you won’t need gun safety programs if there aren’t any guns. You won’t save shooting facilities in places where the politics lean far left. Given the dependency of the average gun owner on the public teat of left of center politicly generated public programs that have nothing to do with firearms training , I see little hope or change in the proliferation of ignorance on firearms in the media or common culture.

  9. You answered your own question, BB. Fathers must do the training (along with uncles, grandfathers, church elders and deacons). And when fathers don’t know the answers they need to humble themselves and ask. (And I speak from experience) It doesn’t matter what the subject is, be it firearms or framing a house or changing the car’s oil.

    • If you really want to get your blood going just hop on over to the Yellow Forum and read the post this past weekend from a fellow named Van who wanted help on how to adjust the “dangerous trigger” on his just received FX airgun. Seems he put a hole in the refrigerator freezer door after messing with the trigger adjustment. Yep, that’s right, the refrigerator!!! You just had to laugh until it struck you that this guy was not kidding. Here’s a link if you want to check out the thread…
      Regards, Jim H.

  10. B.B.
    How about an instruction manual for the new shooters Authored Tom Gaylord.
    Ask the NRA to underwrite it and the new shooters to donate a dollar for each copy to Breast Cancer or Diabetes research.


  11. Who will train them? Sadly, probably, no one. Far too many people think they can easily figure it out.
    After all, they see folks shooting on TV all the time……….how hard can it be? They sure aren’t going to PAY someone to teach them. That should be free since anyone can do it. There are exceptions but I see these folks all the time. Oh, they are really great at golf too!

    It is what it is. I think I’ll head for the range! 🙂


    • I’d be happy to train anybody to use a gun, gun safety, and I’ll do it all for free using my own guns and ammo. All somebody needs to do is politely ask me. I’m sure there are many more like me out there that will consider it a pleasure to pass on some free knowledge.

  12. Who is going to train them?

    We are. The elders in the village that have a firm grasp on gun safety. It’s also our responsibility to teach safety in handling fire, gasoline, toxic chemicals/pesticides, crossing the road, driving a car, etc. If you/we don’t have a firm grasp on gun safety it’s your/our responsibility to find someone that does. As mentioned the eddie eagle program through the NRA or a hunter safety program is a good place to start.

    How are we going to train them?

    This article is a good place to start:


    Where are we going to train them?

    I like airguns for teaching gun safety for many reasons. They can be used as training tools for new shooters in your backyard or even in your home. Taking a new shooter to the range where there are many loud bangs, multiple distractions and hearing protection that impairs verbal instruction is a mistake imho.

    When are we going to train them?

    The minute they show an interest in guns. They have to have expressed an interest or curiousity otherwise you’ll have a tough time force feeding the necessary lessons.

    What do we use to train them?

    An airgun rifle is an ideal training tool imho. Not a lot of noise. You can start the training in your/their backyard or home. You can easily find the right size, length of pull and weight to fit your student. Open sights for learning. No pistols for learning.


    • Kevin –

      Correct on every count.

      I try to get as many young shooters started as I can, using an IZH-61 w/ peep sights on the ten-meter range in my basement. Not too long ago, I was really concerned that a normal specimen of Teenager Americanus would only be able to use a gun in a fashion that they had seen in the movies or on TV. Surprisingly, the ones that I have encountered are actually teachable. They are able to make the distinction between the fantasy of video games and Hollywood productions, and the reality of a fast moving projectile. They also seem to pick up proper technique without much difficulty. It is of first importance, however, that they have a teacher. Being left to figure it out on your own is a poor way to learn anything.

      As a side benefit, I have also made several new good friends that are 40 years younger than me… and that’s not a bad thing.

      -Jim in KS

      • Hold the phone there! I have an IZH 61 and would never give it to my son, it does not have a safety! It is a fantastic rifle, but the lack of a safety is something that removes it from being a training rifle in my opinion. My son started on a Pumpmaster 760 with only 3 pumps at 7 years old, and the first thing I ingrained in him was the importance of that magical red stripe. He doesn’t load it until he checks to see it’s there, and pretends it doesn’t exist until he has it pointed the right way. He also has not shot anything he wasn’t trying to, with the exception of the dirt behind the target. I am not going to fool myself and think that he is just that good, I put not shooting anything accidentally down to having a safety on the rifle only.

        That is the only reason I have allowed him to fire actual firearms and not worry. He has tried a 30/30, .17HMR, and a Saiga 12g. And every time, he waited until the sharp end of his stick was pointed the right way to check his safety. He even chastised my brother for not checking his before loading. I was right next to him the entire time, of course, earplugs in and all. The only issue he had was the noise of the 30/30.

        • Relying on a safety is a false sense of security/safety. Best safety is between the ears. Understand the second level of protection that a safety should provide but if anyone’s finger is one the trigger before they’re ready to take a shot they get slapped.


          • Kevin,
            Yes! I’ve found that finger on the trigger is the one to watch with new shooters, young or old. Safety is at best a nuisance and at worst an accident waiting to happen in many cases (there are exceptions, such as the 1911). I’ve actually yet to see a gun go off without a finger on the trigger, although I know it can happen, which is why the muzzle is ALWAYS pointed in a safe direction.

            • Which is why many of the current crop of defensive pistols don’t have a distinct “manual” safety.

              They have decocking levers, and firing pin blocks, etc…. All of which reduce accidental discharge from impacts and dropping by butter-fingers… But the assumption is that a finger on the trigger is a deliberate action, and the gun must fire if one is taking that action.

        • It depends to a certain extent on context. For example, I took my daughter out to the range for the first time this weekend ( Yay! Story at http://www.gatewaytoairguns.org/GTA/index.php?topic=47352.0 ) with her brother’s IZH-61. She’s a tiny little thing, and even the 61 is realistically a little too big for her.

          But our range rules are extremely strict – the ONLY time a muzzle points anywhere higher than waist level or away from downrange is when it’s cased. ( Obviously tube-feeders and unloading revolvers are exceptions ). Violating the pointing rules is a sure-fire way to have an uncomfortable meeting in front of the board of directors who will be happy to discuss your dismal prospects of remaining in the club.

          So while a safety would be nice, it’s not critical when it’s combined with proper handling and behavior. I certainly went over the use of it while I was demonstrating my TX200, but we’re really focusing on the safety aspect of “Assume that there will come a day when you screw up. When that day comes, your muzzle will be pointed someplace safe.”

        • Sandy –

          I have to agree with Kevin on the issue of reliance on a mechanical safety. The only recognized way to make a gun safe on a firing line is to unload it and lay it down, pointed downrange with the action open. Other than that, I teach my students that the rifle is to be treated as though it were loaded and ready to fire. Only when they are lined up on the target and ready to send a shot do they put their finger inside the trigger guard. Yes, I know that the IZH-61 action can’t be opened. I remove the clip, retract the bolt and follow the rest of the procedure described above.

          As far as I am aware, most competitive target rifles do not feature a mechanical safety. If a shooter practices the drill that I described above, it’s redundant. I don’t recall ever hearing about an accidental shooting at a legitimately sanctioned event that utilizes rifles of this type. If it happens, it is very, very rare. More often than not, in the aftermath of an accidental shooting, you hear the words, “I thought it was unloaded”, or “I thought the safety was on.” Why take a chance? Treat every gun that you handle as if it were loaded, and don’t bet your life or someone else’s on a mechanical safety.

          I do own guns with mechanical safeties, by the way. And I use them when appropriate. The presence of a mechanical safety does not have any impact, however, on the way that I handle the guns. I see mechanical safeties as an added provision of safety, not the only provision. And that’s what I teach.

          – Jim in KS

          • I think you forgot my real intent on the comment. When I started my son shooting he was very young. In my opinion he needed to have one. I have known many adults that have never fired a firearm, in my opinion they need one too. And that is because they are not practiced enough for simple things to become muscle memory. As a -trainer- rifle I think it is a bad choice because I have seen a couple (not all, just a couple) of my friends fire my IZH before they intend to because they were not practised enough at proper finger placement, and one was a marine. Yes, I must know some bad marines, whatever. I asked them all after they fired in the sky what they were thinking and they all said they thought it was OK to put their finger there because it was a pellet gun, not a firearm. They don’t get to fire mine again because they do not yet have a proper respect for it.

            My point is accidents will happen, and with (and I feel the need to stress this) a -training- rifle I think a safety is a needed component. Without that buffer you are inviting something to go sideways. If you truly think that giving something without a safety to someone that has never picked up an air or powder arm is a good idea, then we have to agree to disagree.

            • Reminds me of my range day today. I was out with a friend of mine and he saw me pointing the gun at the sky and had no idea what I was doing. I had the bolt out of the gun and was inspecting the bore. He was thinking I was about to fire the gun in the air. I simply needed the light to see just how fowled the barrel was. It was bad enough that I stopped using the gun and started cleaning it. The gun is one I just inherited and I had not really inspected it in my excitement to see it fire. I doubt the thing had been cleaned literally in 3 decades. Maybe more. I’m still working on it right now.

              • What flavor rifle? Myself I just got a Fox model B that had that horrible nylon coating, but was clean as a hospital and looking forward to taking it out.

                I’m sick as a dog today, so I’ll be here a bit.

                • It’s a Remington 514. It was built before I was born, belonged to my dad. So even though it’s not the most expensive gun in my armory it’s definitely the most special to me. I’m trying to get all the surcace rust off the barrel now. It’s a bit pitted but considering this gun is around 50 years old maybe and spent quite a bit of that time decorating a workshop wall, it’s in fairly decent shape.

                  • Well take good care of it then. There are special things, special times, and special people. Combining those leads to quality time with all three, with one thing. Take care of the rifling the most. If you shoot it and it does badly, it will degrade the memories, I know from experience. I would suggest not refinishing the stock, but you can do otherwise if you see fit.

                    My way of thinking on inherited guns is if it shoots straight at 50 yards leave the rifling be. Clean it when shot, of course, but if it shoots decently don’t screw up memories and a gun at the same time trying to fix it. If you look at it and don’t see what you remember from your childhood it may not have the same meaning. On the flip side, if you see what it could be and want to see it shine again go for it. Sometimes that is the thing to do, after all it is yours now, and others down the line may appreciate it. This is just my opinion, you don’t have to follow it at all.

                    Take care, and have fun with it.

                    • The stock is in fine shape. It’s the finish on the barrel that I’m concerned with. It shoots straight and is very accurate for what it is. I bet it could give my Condor a run for it’s money. even with some of the most primitive sights I have ever seen.

            • Sandy –

              Sorry to hear that you are feeling sick. Hope you have better days soon.

              I haven’t forgotten your “real intent”. You have been very clear about your opinion that the IZH-61 is not a good choice as a training rifle because is doesn’t feature a mechanical safety. Your point is well made and noted. I’ve done the best job that I can in stating my own case, and I’m comfortable with agreeing to disagree.

              I hope that the exchanges about the mechanical safety feature don’t get in the way of B.B.’s point, and my own, and that is the question of who is going to train the next generation of shooters. You seem to be actively engaged in making that happen, and for that, I commend you.

              – Jim in KS

              • I think what confused me was the bringing up of comp rifles. These are nothing like what I was trained on, or anyone I know. When I thing trainer, I think Pumpmaster 760 or similar using pellets (it’s a shame they are no longer rifled) or a Ruger 10/22. For me, when you have the ability to use a comp rifle, a safety should be irrelevant.

          • One more thing. Please don’t think we are waving these thing about wildly before aiming, taking the safety off, and then firing. I will leave that to people that end up on Youtube.

            As a person that has been reading these pages almost from the start (although admittedly not contributing much), I would like to thank all that respond for the respect shown so far in that it has been a debate and not angry tirades. This is why I caome here.

              • Thank you, I am aware of that but have had precious little time until recently to comment. I tend to make a reply, wait a few minutes, and then wait to see if what I have typed still makes sense in case it there is a heat of the moment jab when I do, so it is time consuming. I don’t like to do things like that (the jab, not the comment). Most of my web traffic on a non-sick day is of certain sites compacted into too small a time frame. This is one of the few sites I frequent as much as possible.

                In fact, this site is the reason I got a Talon SS this last December. I don’t get to take it out as much as I’d like to, but I have about 300 or so down the pipe and have enjoyed every shot. It has fulfilled my needs more than adequately, and will be my main starling hunter at one of the local farms this summer after I learn the ranging better. Being able to go out only one day out of two weeks puts a damper on your ability to learn a piece, but that should get resolved here soon. But there are a lot of headless dandelions in my yard thanks to you.

                • If you cannot get out for whatever reason that Talon SS should do just fine indoors with the power set on low which will conserve air as well as keep it as quiet as possible. Part of marksmanship is learning how your gun feels, how to hold it properly and learning the trigger. Them repeat, repeat, repeat until it all becomes body memory. I go out as much as i can to my range/hunting area and target shoot more than I hunt just because practice helps even when you have decades behind the trigger. In winter I shoot in my apartment with a Crosman m-417 or any other rifle I might get my hands on that are fairly quiet. So when the time comes and I need to take that shot and dispatch that pest I rarely ever miss. For every pest I take out I will have fired around 500 practice shots. Not because I need the practice, but because it keeps me sharp for that money shot and it’s fun. Perhaps you might consider doing indoor practice if you cannot get out often. It will help when the time comes to take that money shot.

    • Kevin,

      When I signed up for a junior marksmanship program, the first several weeks were tied up with learning seemingly everything about safety through the NRA’s Hunter Safety program. We got booklets, watched video’s, and were even shown physical examples of the damage that guns could do in the wrong hands. It was both an eye-opener, but in general truly enlightening. I’m still impressed with the training I got.

      But a strong message that sunk into all of our brains was how easy it is to be reckless, irresponsible, and utterly stupid with guns. We were also shown many news clips detailing actual “accidents”. This training did not make us paranoid, just highly realistic about how too many aren’t smart enough to handle guns. For a very long time after my training, I refused to go shooting with anyone who wasn’t trained in Hunter Safety. On two occasions someone had gotten “accidentally” shot during an outing that I decline to participate in.

      On the other hand, within the various shooting leagues and organizations that I participated in heavily, Safety was always clearly the number one priority. I loved the professionalism, camaraderie, openness, and sportsmanship displayed at shooting events.

      I was a teenager, but often heard parents talk about how our junior rifle league was nothing like “Little League”. I think that if there was one thing that really sunk in with us, it was a strong sense of true responsibility.


  13. I love to catch gun mistakes in TV and movies. Many are doing a better job, but from time to time you still come across some whoppers.

    Gun stores employees often don’t help new shooters either. Instead of recommending a .22lr as a first gun or showing a new shooter a 9mm (great pick due to cheaper ammo in normal times anyway and lower recoil) they are pushing man stoppers. I often hear Taurus judges mentioned as good starter guns.

    More is needed than a gun and a couple boxes of ammo to make you a good shot and responsible gun owner.

    P.S. I like to shoot 500 rounds through a pistol when it’s new just for function check.

  14. About 20 years ago a few friends and I went to Texas Pistol Academy. At the time I think it cost about $500 for a two day class. We went to two of the two day classes. At that first class I learned more about shooting pistols than I had from plinking for years. I learned the Modified Weaver stance (I can’t seem to un-learn that), learned to draw, speed reload, quickly clear common jambs, shoot while holding a flashlight, etc. I wish everyone could attend a class like that.

    But, classes like that are a hard sale. I worked the table for Texas Pistol Academy at local gun shows several times. It was hard to convince anyone that spending the cost equivalent of a new pistol just to learn to shoot the gun they had was a better deal than buying another gun.

    David Enoch

  15. Michael,
    I am a lefty and also the proud owner of a TX200. This is the “technique” I use. I place my left thumb on the left side of the forearm and wrap my hand under the forearm without my hand touching anything until my fingers reach the release button which I then push. Fortunately it provides almost no resistance. As soon as the cocking lever begins to move I remove my left hand from the area.

    I am also a guitar player (right handed) and this is the exact same way I must finger the strings with my left hand. My thumb and fingers are the only part of my hand that touches the neck of the guitar. It will take some practice but you’ll get used to it.

    I don’t know if this helps but I hope so.
    G & G

  16. I can’t speak to who will train new shooters but I can speak for myself. I literally grew up around guns. But that doesn’t automatically qualify me to know how to use them. I started learning how to shoot at 8 years old with a crosman 760 a cheap target trap and an used pop can. My dad showed me how to pump up the gun, cock it and aim it. From there I did the rest with thousands of shots. From there I got my training in the military. I already knew how to shoot and I had a naturally very high mechanical aptitude so I was the fastest at field stripping and putting an m-16 back together again. My drill seargent thought it was a cool novelty to teach me to be able to do it blindfolded as well. This trick served me well on at least one occasion when I had to clean my m-16 in the dark in the field since it was having a jamming problem on a range. (We were under light and noise discipline rules so no lights allowed.) From there I earned an invite to J.F.K. Special Warfare School where I learned a number of special skills but rifle proficiency was the one I have used the most. I learned to use the ones I’d most commonly find on the battlefield, service them, and build guns out of scraps I found if I had to.

    I’d say I’m probably the most qualified gun guy you might find, but my specialty is rifles, not pistols. I do know enough of pistols that I can pick one up and use it to save my life, but I can’t field strip one blindfolded. But I know enough to laugh at this article. Not at the author, but at the murder mystery writers and their total lack of knowledge on what they are writing about. It seems to me that if someone is writing about a subject they should know about a subject or else they just show themselves for being stupid.

    I was talking to a guy that was trying to impress me. He was telling me how he had used an AK47 he had captured while in the military and how he uses it for mercenary work now. (OK. I believe him.) Of course I asked him about this gun. Specifically what caliber it was. Predictably he got it wrong. He told me it was a .50 caliber. (they only come on 5.14 or .514, 5.56 or .223, or 7.62 or .308) Yeah. I do know one is a AK47 the other is AK74 No need to call me on it. I build my own.

    If somebody did want training in marksmanship they need simply ask someone like me. I’d be happy to train them. So a lack of training is not a problem. The real problem is people buy guns and think because they own a gun they will be imparted mystical knowledge that makes them proficient with guns. Others don’t own guns but they just know they are evil things that only kill. That’s all they need to know to judge them.

      • Howdy Ms. Edith, damn girl, ya scare me somtimes, think we got that ESPN/PMS or whatever that thing is goin’ on. I wuz typin’ my comment below at the exact time you wrote this. At 30 minutes per word, I’m a little slower than you. Great minds…

      • In 43 years of life and most of it behind the trigger, I have seen it all, heard it all, and run into it all.

        I took my dad’s old Remington 514 to the range today. It is proving itself to be every bit as formidable of a .22 as anything I have ever seen as primitive as it is. I have it here today at home. I have it taken apart and I’m giving it a very thorough cleaning and blueing. I can’t let a gun this special to me slowly decay. When I got it, it was obvious that it has hardly been fired or touched in well over 43 years. I have quite a job sorting the gun out.

    • John,

      It’s the “Others” you referred to that “don’t own guns but they just know they are evil things that only kill” that are my number one target.

      Most have never held let alone shot a gun so there’s a fear of the unknown. My rationale for introducing them to pellet guns is that they are a perfect tool to learn about gun safety. My speech is, “I have no desire to convert you to a “gun loving, gun toting nut” but everyone should know how to handle a gun safely if and when you or a friend encounter one. There are many examples of folks that didn’t know about and/or didn’t practice gun safety that have been killed by a gun. Are you willing to learn about gun safety?”

      Some are. Many aren’t. It’s the “Some” that keep me motivated because sometimes they learn that guns aren’t evil it’s the people that don’t handle them properly that are to blame. Some also learn that guns can be fun even if you never intend to kill anything with them.


      • Yeah I take issue with both those that buy a gun and think they somehow have the mystical knowlege to be proficient with it. then they go to the range for the first time. No hearing protection. Gun isn’t sighted in they pull the trigger one time. Their ears are ringing, they feel like they just got kicked by a mule and they didn’t even hit the target. Then they get mad at the gun as if they got a faulty gun. Then I take a few shots, adjust sights take a few shots and adjust again. In a few minutes I can bust pennies with the gun and all of a sudden I look like some amazing magical creature like a unicorn because I took their “defective” gun and made it accurate. Then they try it again and still can’t hit anything because even though I offered to teach them, they have their mystical knowledge, so they refuse, then get mad at the gun.

        The others, and they are far more dangerous are the ones that never fired a gun, never held one, don’t want to try it or even learn the most basic things about them. I say they are the most dangerous because they get all behind any draconian gun control that people like Diane Feinstein, Joe Biden, And Barak Obama want thinking that is the only way to be safe….regulating guns out of honest hands. I’ve tried again and again to try and educate them. Offered to give them range time on my personal range/hunting area. All they do is call me crazy gun nut, idiot, and much worse.

  17. No one teached me, I learned by myself and thru reading this blog and the comments that alway follow.
    When I watched a video on youtube and saw the many comments on poor finger placement and the never aim at something you don’t want to shoot etc. you kinda get the idea quickly. The comments could have been written in a more polite way but I can still understand them.
    I think that the fact that no one teached me makes me more open to learning. I’m not one of those “I know everything” type of person.
    So keep the lessons on coming.

    And the books and movies featuring guns are as bad as the ones featuring cars. When they’re making a scenario/script it gets re-read and re-written so many times you figure they would caught the errors in them… red dots put on backwards, cars losing 6 hub caps, Mopar cars painted Ford colors or having the wrong engine in them.


  18. Geez guys, I’ve read ta this point & ain’t one of ya got it right. We need bigger gunz so they got more room ta put warnin’ labels on ’em. Went ta Home Depot yesterday & bought a Homer bucket. $1. fer the bucket & $4.+ fer all the warnin’ labels & stickers. Gonna cut a couple holes in it & wear it when I ride, cuz it’s gotta be safer than a helmet cuz it gotz more stickers…brilliant, huh? Trainin’? I don’t need no stinkin’ trainin’! I’m a red blooded (necked) 100% Amaricun Mail, I comed brand new outa the “box” with the T gene ability ta drive a stick shift, shoot gunz & ride an 800 lb Hog, w/my new bucket on of course…!?! Shoot/ride safe.

  19. It is up to people like us to teach the newcomers. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t plenty we can still learn.

    Tonight I am attending a mandatory Range Safety Officer training course at my gun range. I am the Rangemaster there, but still can use a yearly refresher course. I will be surprised and disappointed if I don’t come away with something new and helpful.

    The NRA deserves a lot of credit for protecting our gun rights. I belong to this organization, and also to the National Association for Gun Rights. I can recommend both of these organizations.

    The problem with trying to control access to guns by the public is lack of public trust of government organizations themselves. This distrust has been seriously earned. This spring, examples of government malfeasance have been popping up like mushrooms. The government officials involved have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. Part of that Constitution includes the promise that the public’s right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

    Two serious problems exist with the idea behind background checks and mental health issues. If there is a universal requirement for background checks, can we really believe the regulators will resist the temptation to save the information in a data base? What other examples of regulatory restraint in managing large amounts of personal information can anyone cite? If we were to go to universal concealed-carry permits that would be recognized by all states, there would have to be a central database for the program to even work.

    Mental health: no one wants deranged, dangerous people going around armed. But who would decide if a person were crazy? The Federal regulators, apparently. This was the classic method for suppressing political dissenters in the Soviet Union. Once a person is branded mentally defective, they can be forbidden to own guns, or even be incarcerated for an indefinite period. Not just in the USSR, but here, too.

    Is mental illness a disease or a condition? Does it matter? If a person has any other disease/condition, they can reasonable expect to be able to seek professional help without having to give up their civil rights to do so. Not so with mental issues. Government snoopers are encouraging health care providers (not just mental care providers) to ask patients if they have firearms at home.
    They then are being asked (required?) to pass this info on to the Government. That same Government sets the threshold for what treatments trigger action to disarm the patient. Notice the person involved has no input to the process, beyond incriminating themselves in what is supposed to be a confidential relationship.

    What is the upshot of that? People who should be seeking mental health help, for their own good and the safety of others, will be reluctant to do so because of the fear of becoming a branded person stripped of their rights. This can only make the problem worse. Mental instability is a progressive disability. Few people suddenly “go off the deep end”. Problems can often be controlled or eliminated by early treatment. But only if people will go. By the time it becomes a matter of intervention, it is often too late.

    We can help our fellow would-be gunners by teaching them how to handle and store guns safely, and by making them comfortable by teaching them to shoot well. And by de-mystifying guns. Guns should be seen as tools to do a job. Safe if handled properly, like a power saw.

    Success on the gun range breeds enthusiasm. And the learning curve can be steep. If we really believe in the value of guns, we have an obligation to other people and our country to educate others in safe shooting.


    • “We can help our fellow would-be gunners by teaching them how to handle and store guns safely, and by making them comfortable by teaching them to shoot well. And by de-mystifying guns. Guns should be seen as tools to do a job. Safe if handled properly, like a power saw.”

      Good one. I like your other points, also. I’m sure one party or the other, perhaps both, would find my views symptomatic of mental defect at some point :)!

  20. I was in the man-cave the other evening. I put an old radio on the coffee table, right in the way of the TV remote sensor. I could not change the TV channels because the radio was in the way. But if I kinda twisted the remote in my hand and hold it side ways it would work. No way was I going to lift myself up 2 inches from the couch to get it to work. lol It was then I noticed that when I did this with the remote, it looked like the gangsters holding their Glock side ways. Sooo, maybe that is why they hold their handguns sideways, they are used to doing it with their TV remote. Maybe not. lol

    • If any Gangsta shoots at me, I really hope he holds his “nine-milla-meter” sideways.

      Another point in our favor: most of these guys are too cheap/stupid to practice.


      • Les,

        I must upset you. I’ve seen recently come kits for Glocks that allow to install sights to the side of the gun to zero-in and aim correctly when holding gangsta-style. Well, fortunately those are above typical mugger’s money and intellect, but still…


        • This has to have been a response to customer demand. So, apparently, some Gangstas have approached the Glock Company with a request to offer sights to allow them to shoot their guns incorrectly.

          That sounds upsetting and scary to me. It says something about the criminal mind, but exactly what, I can’t say.

          Maybe the designers just gave in after having seen so many of their products used incorrectly. Too bad.

          Are the sights offered with options for left-handed shooting?


    • You need to be in a smaller room, with clean (?) apartment standard (?) white painted walls behind you.

      In California, I used to aim my remote over my shoulder at the wall/louvered shade, and the I/R would bounce to the TV receiver.

  21. B.B.

    Extremely nice blog 🙂 Movies and books are an infinite source of amusement to me, newspapers too. Sometimes before grabbing a pen some hands must hold a gun’s grip.
    I can add to that – 9 shots in a row from Nagant revolver, pistol with Gerlich barrel, 9×39 SP-5 Desert Eagle conversion and scoped Mauser M712 able to put a bullet into moving human eye @300 m.

    In 2 days I plan to run away from all my troubles – at least for a week. As usual – to The End Of the World, just 5400 km from New York.


  22. I’ve tried to stay out of this debate but can no longer keep quiet.

    The problem with making new gun laws, rather than enforcing the existing gun laws, is that only law abiding citizens will abide by them.

    The other problem with making new gun laws, rather than enforcing the existing gun laws, is the further erosion of our 2nd amendment rights.


  23. Completely off topic. Merely venting. I put off buying a PCP gun for quite awhile. Mostly due to price. Finally bought the Disco in .22. First one I rec’d couldn’t hold a charge, so returned to Pyramydair for a new one. No problem. Just unlucky. Second one was working great. So easy to fill/shoot. Wow, color me impressed. Now the replacement gun got a leak. Haven’t even put 500 shots through it. Still have the original tin of pellets. This time had to return directly to Crosman. Crosman sent a UPS label, but I had to buy a box for the gun along with bubble wrap and the gas to the UPS store, probably $25 and an hour’s worth of time. Funny, I bought an $80 Phantom once, still works. Bought a $150 Venom, it keeps knocking the zero out of whatever scope I put on it. Now a $375 PCP that is giving me fits. This recreation is about to lose a participant.

    • Glad you could vent. Sorry to hear your second disco is venting.

      You’ll find a lot of sympathy and suggested fixes (when you’re ready for them) here so please don’t go away!


    • se mn airgunner,

      I am so sorry you are having problems with your second Discovery! I would have suggested that you pul silicone oil into the fill nipple before sending it back to Crosman, to see whether than stopped the leak, as they sometimes get a particle of dirt on a seal that the oil will wash away. I fixed half of the leaking AirForce rifles that way. That was about 10 guns that came back in three years.


    • I noticed my disco leaks too. I’ve sealed it several times and it still develops leaks. Don’t give up. The disco in my opinion is not the best pcp gun there is. Spend the bucks on an airforce condor, accessorize it to your liking and I promise you’ll be happy. They are a rather noisy gun but they can be quieted down quite a bit. I just did an experiment on mine to see how quiet I could make it while still retaining power. It did not fail to impress me as per usual.

  24. Now this has been an interesting read today. To BB’s question, who will train them? I think the basic fundamentals should be started early, by parents or family members passing down their experience. My father taught me gun safety and proper handling, and then moved to the fundamentals of shooting, determining range, different holds, sight alignment, etc… I have since trained with a professional trainer, but the most basic fundamentals were passed down from Father to Son. I hope that tradition continues for many years to come.

  25. Bristolview,

    Oddly enough, in my case the fundamentals were passed from Son to Father. My boy is in the Navy and is qualified as an Expert on both pistol and rifle.

    Where I think we are really in trouble is with those who buy their guns illegally. They are really the source of our woes. I don’t know what we do about them that will not adversely affect us law abiding folk.

  26. I just remembered another type of person I have encountered. There are the armchair marksmen. They have never handled so much as a red ryder bb gun yet they are going to criticize me for having a 30 round magazine in my gun. They always say the same thing “All you need is one shot. If you need more you don’t know how to use a gun.” This is somewhat true if you are just firing at a paper target 10 meters out. But when you are hunting small animals like squirrels that all seem to be born with A.D.H.D., you don’t get a 100% kill rate. A squirrel will move about 100 different directions including up and down in 60 seconds. A muskrat can dive and stay underwater up to 5 minutes and pop up several yards away then dive again. A groundhog sees you move and he’s in his hole before you can let off a shot. same thing with prairie dogs and many other things. That first shot doesn’t always hit.

    When using a gun to defend yourself this is when these armchair marksmen get real annoying. They seem to think everybody will stand up nice and straight like the /British in 1776 and be an easy target and one shot is all you need. Truth is most of the time no shots are needed but if it does come down to shooting everybody is going to be diving for cover to avoid being shot. And if someone does get shot in one of those situations it usually takes more than one shot to put them on the ground. People don’t just fall down when you shoot them like in the movies. You tag someone in the arm they can still move and shoot. Tag them anywhere that isn’t a critical shot they will require more shooting to put them on the ground.

    But “one shot is all you need or you aren’t a very good shot.” O.k. armchair marksman. Show me how it’s done then.

  27. Different topic… What are people’s thoughts on the Crosman MTR77? I’ve held off getting a nitro piston hoping for a side or underlever as opposed to a break barrel. That just isn’t going to happen apparently (except for the Gamo CFX NP, but I had bad luck with Gamo and well… not going there). BB has assured us that the break barrel can and does return to zero and that accuracy can be maintained, doesn’t seem like it would/could – but I’ll trust BB and the many guys here who shoot them and just go with it. Up to now however, the range of break barrels just hasn’t had much appeal. The Benjamin Trail rifles are highly regarded, but just lacked personal appeal to me. The MTR77 brings a breath of fresh air, something different and unique in the airgun space. Yes, I like the styling – my inner child is asking for it – I admit it. I suspect it is mechanically no different than any other Crosman at a similar price. I’m not a break barrel guy, I shoot PCP and Pneumatics. I really don’t know what makes a great break barrel, what to look for, etc. So, what are your thoughts on the MTR77 as a field plinker? Would I be selling myself short to let my inner child get it’s juvenile wish and get it over other options? Is it going to be an inferior shooter (self contained field rifle, plinker)? Thoughts? I’m not looking for a “Get it” or “Don’t get it” – I’m really looking for your thoughts on the rifle itself, and general advice on getting my first break barrel. Thanks guys, I appreciate any and all help that you guys offer.

    • Bristolview,

      Do you live in the UK?

      I have not tested the MTR 77, but at that price there are a lot of breakbarrels that will do well. The Bronco is one that will, but there aren’t many others.

      I would so much rather see you get a nice used Diana 27 or perhaps a Weihrauch HW30.


      • B.B. – I’m in NY, not the UK. So far, we’re still allowed to have airguns here in the banhammer state. I’ll check out those rifles you mentioned, I’ve always been impressed with Weihrauch. My personal preference would be to stick with a Crosman or Benjamin product because Crosman is literally down the road, almost neighbors. So, if possible, I’d like to support the local guys. I know that limits some great options, but I feel it’s important to support our neighbors is and when possible.

        • Bristolvioew,

          Well, then, you are in for a treat. You can attend the airgun show at Baldwinsville (Syracuse) in July. They will have some wonderful old airguns there.

          If you want to stick with Crosman, try the Benjamin Titan Lower Powered rifle, if they still sell it. In .22 caliber that one was a keeper.


          • B.B. – I didn’t know about the show, thanks! I’ll see if I can find the model you recommend. I really appreciate the insight. If there is a short list of Crosman/Benjamin ‘keepers’ that would be good options, I’m all ears. Thank you.

            • Bristolview,

              Besides the Lower Powered Benjamin Trail there is the Benjamin Legacy — a very low-powered rifle with a Nitro Piston. That one is even nicer than the other one, but I don’t think many were made because people didn’t buy them.

              They were only sold direct by Crosman, as far as I know.


              • B.B. There is a guy (perhaps Crosman guy) at my local range that shoots a Legacy. Not many people at the range with an airgun usually, so he stood out, nice guy let me shoot it a couple of times. I have very good options at the lower power range in my airgun collection. The break barrels appeal to me for their fairly high power, so i could have a field gun that can reach out and touch a more distant target, like my PCP’s can, except self contained. I had thought the NP systems would offer the best options, reasonable power to reach out and touch distant targets (like my PCP), reasonable accuracy (not match shooting, just casual plinking and occasional small game like a squirrel), reduced hold sensitivity, cold weather handling and ability to stay cocked for extended periods while hunting. I don’t really need match level groupings, but I’d like to be able to consistently hit a target at 40 yards, which is a pretty easy task with my PCP (target bring a 2 or 3 inch spinner, that type of accuracy).

                The options you are showing me look like they’re at the low end of power, and probably best of breed for that range – which I AM interested in BTW, as if I need any more in that range! My wife is very forgiving! I’ll be sure to make a list of your recommendations and take it with me to the show in Syracuse! (Forgive me my wonderful wife! It’s B.B.’s fault, I had no choice.) Based on my needs above for a slightly more powerful rifle, do you have some recommended options? I’d like to keep it below $250 if possible, without sacrificing too much ability in the rifle – don’t need anything fancy, just reliable and reasonably accurate. Thanks for all your help, it is appreciated.

        • Bristolview,

          Isn’t the MTR77 a nitro piston wearing assault rifle (M16 style?) clothing? I don’t know anything about the MTR77 but there’s been a lot said on the forums about the nitro piston.

          Most if not all of the nitro piston offerings by crosman are made in China. Hit or miss quality especially with barrels. Triggers almost without exception are horrid. Some talented guys have made decent shooters out of their nitro piston guns but with great effort.

          I appreciate and admire your commitment to support a local company like crosman. I also get the sense you like the styling of the MTR77. Have you looked at the IZH 60 that has non traditional styling and legendary accuracy?

          In the end I’m with B.B. on his advice to you. If your experience with gamo has soured you don’t risk being turned off completely to break barrels with a chinese hit or miss whatever. I would also encourage you to consider a vintage break barrel that has a well proven track record of being a great all day, easy to cock, good trigger, plinking gun that has proven accuracy when needed.

          To B.B.’s list I would add a diana 25/winchester 425 and Walther LG53.


          • Kevin, thanks. I lack any history to know which preexisting break barrels are worth looking at, so I really value input from guys like you and B.B. Yes, the MTR77 is a Crosman break barrel dressed up like an AR style. I know it’s juvenile, but I kinda like that. It reminds me of the rifle I trained and spend a lot of time with. I know it’s just window dressing, but it makes me smile regardless. Juvenile I know, but it is what it is. I know Crosman does a lot overseas now, I had thought the nitro piston itself was made here though – no? I’m not too worried about the trigger, I know they’re pretty poor but there’s this retired local guy who can work wonders with them… I wonder where he used to work? Hmmmmm…. 😉

            Your tip about the IZH60 is well taken. I used to have an IZH-61 which I absolutely love, but I gave it to my daughter and she has taken to it and is shooting 1 and 2 inch spinners at 25 yards pretty consistently. She’s 11, and I’m pretty happy with her taking to it and how she handles it. That gun can shoot ragged hole groups all day if the shooter is up to it. It doesn’t have the power I want for a field gun, but I love it for what it is. You mentioned the IZH-60 having futuristic styling, my liking the MTR77 isn’t due to being futuristic or tactical per se, it’s due to it looking like a rifle I spent a lot of time with. I know it isn’t that, won’t shoot like that, and won’t feel like that… but I like the tribute to it. I can’t really explain the appeal of it, it just does. Still, I’m going to checkout the rifles that you and B.B. have recommended and see what I can learn and pickup at the show. Thanks Kevin.

            • Bristolview,

              I get it. Nostalgia.

              Buy the MTR77. Who cares if it just hits pop cans at 15 yards. Brings back memories that are more important. At the end of the day we’re shooting airguns for fun and if we aren’t we’ve lost our way. While you’re shooting the MTR77 I’ll be envious in one dimension since I don’t have an airgun that I can shoot that can dredge up similar memories. Have fun!


              • Argh! If it’s only out to 15 yards, I’ll get nostalgia from an old photograph! Are these lower end Crosman nitro pistons that bad? I didn’t expect them to compete with my PCP’s for distance accuracy, but I was hoping for a respectable showing at least. My current collection covers up to 30 yards respectably, I was hoping with the higher power from the NitroPiston that I could push out farther, closer to what my PCP’s can do. I love my PCP’s but they’re not self contained and don’t hold up for a full day in the casual field plinking, and certainly not on a multiple day trip (backpack) – so I was looking for a self contained higher power shooter. I know your comment is somewhat sarcasm about 15 yards, but it has the warning of “don’t expect much” from it. Hmmmmm…. I do like the nostalgia of the MTR77 clothing, but if it can’t shoot respectably out to 40 yards at least, it’s not bringing much to the table? (I’m not talking a ragged hole .5″ grouping in a bullseye, more like a 2-3 inch spinner, disc, apple, etc.). I was sort of thinking any of the nitro piston’s would be able to pull that off, but high power without accuracy (plinking, not target/match) isn’t that interesting. Argh. Thanks for the warning.

                • Bristolview,

                  I’m not trying to talk you out of a MTR77. I’ve never owned one or shot one. I’ve only shot one crosman nitro piston gun. One of the local shooters has a benjamin trail nitro piston something or other. Very tough gun to shoot accurately and shakes screws loose. Horrid trigger.

                  There’s a lot of information about nitro piston airguns on the yellow. I tried to boil down the information I’ve read for years. Bottom line is that it’s hit or miss on getting a good barrel and you’re guaranteed to get a so so trigger.

                  In my way of thinking “Plinking at 40 yards” means you need a proven barrel, above average power, good trigger and easy cocking to power ratio. This is an fwb 124.


                  • Kevin – Your recommendation is exactly what B.B. recommended. I have no idea what rifle that is, but I’ll check it out. Thanks. What’s the “Yellow” that you mentioned?

                    With regard to the MTR77, yes the trigger would be horrid, I know that. That part doesn’t phase me, as I can address that issue fairly easily. If the Crosman NP’s are overly difficult to squeeze some accuracy out of, then they’re losing the appeal factor quickly. I had thought they’d be easier, more consistent and less hold sensitive, thus easier to pull some accuracy out of – sounds like my assumptions aren’t quite like the reality of the situation. Thanks for you input! Now, to go find an FWB124, whatever that is. 😉

                    • Bristolview,

                      FWB 124 is a Feinwerkbau 124. Sporter rifle in .177 caliber that was discontinued many years ago but since they were made for a long time it’s not difficult to find a good used one. If the piston seal and/or breech seal is original it will need to be replaced but it’s not difficult and many different kits (depending on the power you want) are available.

                      The Yellow Forum is another airgun website that is filled mostly with sillyness and misinformation but if you learn who the guys are that you should pay attention to there are tidbits of good airgun info occasionally.


    • I have one of those. It’s a decent rifle with about average power for a .177. Only gripes I had was with the terrible trigger and lower end scope. I installed a GRT3 trigger which took about 5 minutes and that was cured, then I put on a better scope and it was a fairly decent springer (gas piston). I’m waiting to see the short barreled version then that one will likely go on my wall. I tend to collect innovative rifles or rifles that aren’t all coming from the same cookie cutter mold. I fire them a few times. Evaluate it then put it in a rack.

  28. Bristolview,

    I have to agree with B.B. regarding the HW30. Out to 30 yards it is nearly as if not as accurate as my TX200. Maybe I just got lucky with my particular rifle but it can still out shoot me. I love that gun.

    • I’ve learned to accept B.B’s recommendations! They’re tack on target and haven’t steered me wrong yet. I should give a nod to others here who have also helped me learn when I returned to airgun shooting, and continue to learn today. Thanks all.

  29. Regarding the case heads…

    I posit the 5.56 case is a reload… A raw mil-spec case would have a ring of sealant around the primer pocket.

    (When will THAT observation appear in a mystery novel?)

  30. B.B.,

    It would be nice if all airgun manufacturer’s joining efforts to provide a small, common, Gun Safety Manual with each product sold? Something that not only provides basic safety fundamentals, but that also points parents and older customers to a common organization that they can go to for further specific information, or how to join or even create their own chapter.

    We’ve talked about something something before, but that was regarding just the fundamentals of airguns. Maybe that and a companion Safety Manual are in order.

    Shooting is my favorite sport and activity, and I can say from experience that it’s much more rewarding and impactful when done through an organization with qualified people. For me, shooting had a truly profound impact that I wish more youngsters could experience.

    But the truth of the matter is that very few will ever get to know my experiences because of the cost. That’s why I’m so interested in seeing accurate guns made that are more affordable. But there’s more to this than just accurate guns. I think that if I sat down with an airgun manufacturer (or several), I could come up with some great idea’s that would allow for thousands, if not millions of kids to experience something similar to what I did. The key is in making competitive marksmanship accessible to almost anyone, and not just kids from more affluent backgrounds. Like the Army Marksmanship Training Unit, almost all of the civilians that I knew were rich and used nothing but the best equipment. We didn’t even see kids from ROTC programs in our league.

    I think that a lot of parents would spend the money on their kids, IF they felt that their kids were truly motivated. I can’t imagine too many middle class Americans forking out $3000.00 on a rifle alone, just to find out IF their kid has enough of a fire in their belly to push themselves to become a champion. By the time you’ve bought all of the peripheral equipment (e.g., spotting scope, mat, jacket(s), ammo, etc.), you’ve spent a pretty penny.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to go that extreme route. I think it’s possible to build something very similar that prepares kids for things like precision class competition, but at a fraction of the cost. The Crosman Challenger and Edge are a great start, but I suspect that something can be done with springer’s that may be even cheaper. I don’t know, but with some work, I think something can be worked out.


  31. Victor,
    I wish I could experience shooting with an organization. But I happen to live in a Florida city with 1.5 million people and despite my best efforts I can’t find a single air gun club anywhere. There are a couple of gun shops that have indoor ranges for air pistol only but no clubs. I would want to shoot rifle more anyway. This is really frustrating shooting by myself all the time.

    • G&G,

      It sounds like the facilities are there, so as John advised all you need is the organization. Maybe you can get group/league discounts. It could be a win-win situation for you and the ranges. But it has to be done right. You need to effectively institutionalize all facets of shooting organization including; Safety, Sportsmanship, Technical Marksmanship Training, Coaching (and related training), Officiating (and related training), League Rules and Standards (gun, targets, ethics), etc.. The NRA already does a lot of this, but is very narrow with regards to airguns. Much more can be done, and needs to be done, in order for this to be accessible enough to make it a popular hit.

      Should you decided to form your own club, or join an existing organization, please let me know. I think I’ve got some good ideas as to how you might do this so that it’s fun, rewarding, and have a real opportunity to get traction. I learned a lot from my own personal experiences as a competitive marksman, and overall shooting truly did have a profound affect on me.

      A buddy of mine who travels throughout the world as a coach tells me that in some countries airgun shooting is seemingly as popular as bowling is here in the US. In my dreams this would be true here. I really can imagine it, but it can’t require that you be rich to do it.

      It is generally true that just because something already appears to exist, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement, expansion, or an entirely new competing entity. Opportunities for success always exist, but evaporate simply because people make the wrong assumptions that a sufficient service is already being provided. Often times it isn’t, or is seriously deficient.


  32. I am thinking seriously about that but the time it will probably consume concerns me. I have a couple of disabilities that require that I rest more than most people. Most of my remaining time after shooting, which I do a lot of, is spent playing guitar in a band. Hence the name that I use in this blog.

    I haven’t abandoned the idea because I really want to shoot with others. We’ll see and thanks for your input. I appreciate it.

    • G&G,

      For now, start small. Build your group one person at a time. It’s sometimes better this way because no one does their best work in a vacuum. Once you get enough like-minded people on board, your ideas will grow wings of their own and take off with or without you. Sometimes you just need to plant the seeds.

      A few years ago I thought I was going to get back into competitive marksmanship, and even bought myself a high end target rifle and jacket. Then I found out that I have neurological issues and am losing my balance (eventually completely). I was recently told that I’m developing Parkinson’s disease. Very disappointing! I’m now seeing a neurologist, so hopefully something good will come out of it. The balance issue, however, is a certain thing. My issues make it hard for me to get out to shoot, but I try whenever I can.


  33. Victor,
    I wrote the last reply before I saw your reply. I really appreciate your offer to provide help forming a new club. That would make the job that much easier and perhaps less time consuming. Should I decide to pursue this avenue believe me I WILL seek your help. Again, Thanks so much.

    • G&G,

      Yeah, we were sort of cross-firing each other. Getting it done right is about education and a goal of achieving safety, peace and tranquility. You have to create a culture that people want to be a part of.

      One of the most amazing things about our shooting league was how everyone was willing to help each other. No one kept secrets. We were highly competitive without all the gamesmanship, backbiting, and animosity found in other activities. Our culture was about a “win-win” outcome, and not “win-lose”. If you wanted to win, then you worked to earn it. As an individual sport, you really were only competing against yourself. We discouraged “win at all cost”, “in your face” attitudes, and especially during a match. It just didn’t happen. If winning meant everything to you, then the place to channel your “motivation” was during practice.


  34. See this blog shows another good thing to the world.

    People that do have guns and enjoy having fun with them are knowledgeable people.

    They do have common sense about the use of their guns and have respect for the places they shoot.

    And as usual in any sport or activity. People are more than happy to help somebody new to the game and give out helpful hints.

    So as it goes when the tragedies happen and life is lost ( not only in the gun world but also in the other things of life….Car racing gone wrong….Kid bullying and so on ) it is sad.

    Everybody knows there is going to be the good with the bad. But maybe there needs to be other kind of training going on. Maybe the Teachers and Lawmen and so on down the line need some training of their own.

  35. Michael,

    Felons and guns.

    Felons acquiring guns are committing felonies regardless of where they acquire them, or from whom. They are forbidden by law to possess firearms, therefore if they purchase a firearm from a private citizen, that is a felony.


  36. I live in Puerto Rico where you have to pay a whole bunch of money to the government and fill out a stack of paperwork ,and wait months to get a license,oh you also have to take a shooting course given by a government official ,and I almost forgot you have a medical exam,and sworn affidavit that your not a nut case,and maybe then you can get a gun,that you also have to pay a annual fee to the government to keep the gun! And would you think people down here are safer because of all this ” background check” Ha! We have record murder rates with guns. Almost forgot the second amendment applies here also.The government can’t prohibit the right to bear arms,they just make it impossible. The law is freaking crazy,if you happen to get caught with a .22 rim fire bullet on your person,and don’t have the required license your looking at 3 year mandatory jail time. And to finish this nightmare,say you use a gun in honest self defense,you can beat the homicide charge,and still get forty years in the slammer if you don’t have a license for it,or the license expired. Don’t ever think you gun aficionados in the states have it bad,this place is worst on guns than,Russia under Stalin.

  37. Bristolview,

    What is a Feinwerkbau 124? I wrote a 15-part report on it that bored many people, but should answer most of your questions.

    It’s here:



  38. The real question is … whose buying these guns.
    Not whose training them.
    These new first-time gun buyers are …. most likely … persons like Greg Gutfeld.
    An intellectual that knew nothing about guns … probably has a disdain for the average gun-owner.
    But, when his property, his life and his family came under threat by rampaging Leftist-Mobs.
    He concluded … a gun was the only choice left-to-him in-order to defend himself and those he loved.
    Greg is a Libertarian … I suspect many new gun owners are Liberals that think-like Gutfeld.
    They have no alternative other-than, to defend themselves …. with of-all-things … a firearm.
    And most of them … probably … do.

    • [QUOTE].Fox News host of The Five Greg Gutfeld ranted about New York City’s descent into chaos which led him to announce that he was among the 2.5 million first-time gun buyers in recent months. Gutfeld explained to viewers he never thought he would buy a gun, but the lawlessness caused him to reassess his personal safety. Gutfeld noted that women on his staff are afraid to walk six blocks in New York City to Fox News’ headquarters for fear of criminal activity. “For the first time in my life I acted and I went and I bought a firearm like millions of other Americans because we saw visual evidence that we weren’t going to be protected anymore, that the calvary wasn’t going to come, that when we are going to call 9-1-1, the car wasn’t going to make it,” Gutfeld said. “So now it’s up to us as American citizens to practice our right of the Second Amendment.” [UNQUOTE]

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