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American Handgunner March/April 2012 Digital Edition - Page 20
REALITYCHECK TM first-Person thoughts on surviving in the real world clint smith Photos: Heidi Smith Clicks And Booms ’m intrigued with the general aspect of safe gun handling; and since I do it every day, it’s important to me. What I call the “click and boom” versions of gun handling are of particular interest to me. There are two things in life very loud in the overall audio spectrum — a gun that goes click when it’s supposed to go boom, and a gun that goes boom when it’s supposed to go click. Heidi and I were teaching an Urban Rifle class some time ago and had a student who was overweight. He said he couldn’t go prone or kneel because his “knee was bad.” Yeah, his knee was bad because of the buncha’ pounds “we” were overweight. Heidi and I do this drill where students do a back-and-forth sort of movement to make or break contact. We’ve done it safely in our teaching environment, without incident, for 28 years. For a day and a half, Heidi has repeatedly told this guy to get his stinking finger off the trigger while he is not on the target. I think that’s a basic rule? You guessed it, while moving forward, out of breath, overweight and damn finger on the trigger, he takes the safety off — and his sights are not on a target — and torches one into the ground. By the grace of a higher being, no one is forward, and it’s basically a “wet spot in our shorts” drill. Heidi went forward and reprimanded him firmly; and he had it coming. So a suggestion for the go to school, shoot in a match, 3-gun wanna’ be cool tactical operators and such folks — lose some weight. And keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target. And before everyone launches on the editor, eat what you want and be what you want, but try to be what you are, not what you imagine you are. My Mom had a saying as we grew up: “Act your age.” Solid advice from an 84-year-old sage. I A steel-toe boot vs. a 12-ga shotgun. no te: no toes were harmed in the staging of this ph oto. etically put A broad spectrum of things you can theor the others — boom goes one only ber. cham a into ct order. all go click. the test is to get it in the corre Snappy-Cappy A t a recent rifle school we had a father and son show up. Nice folks, shooting hunting-type rifles, and apparently well disciplined to their world, sort of. At the first day’s end, the students move their rifles to a safe area so they can clean. Shortly, the boy asks, “Can I put my snap cap in my .270 bolt action to let the striker down?” I say “Yeah, but why don’t you just check the chamber, check the mag well, check the chamber, check the mag well again, point it in a safe direction, safety off, and gently close the bolt on the empty chamber while your finger is on the trigger; then the pressure is off the striker.” “Cool, you can do that?” says he. “Yes, and then you are not messing around with stuff in the chamber, which is a very bad idea,” I remind him, rather pointedly. He does his Winchester .270 empty chamber check thing. He and Dad leave and go to the fiddle table near the classroom. After a bit I drive by and the Dad comes forward, long in the face. He says, “I had a fubar. I put my snap cap that wasn’t [he mixed the snap with live rounds in his pocket] in my rifle, pointed it at the bullet trap and pressed the trigger.” Thereby getting a resounding BOOM with his .30-06 into my $400 550 armor plate. The projectile struck at the very edge of the plate, zapped the edge, and the secondary frag sprayed the building behind the trap. At this point there is not actually much for me to say. I leaned forward, looked around him at the younger guy and said, “That’s why I don’t use snap caps.” Really? I n retrospect, in my golden years, all the people who blow off safety rules and on occasion their own fingers and toes, well, they sort of offend me. If you read what I wrote, there are two versions of the finger-trigger thing, and they need to be done correctly, at the right time and place, and they all need to have a muzzle in a safe direction. Imagine that. * 20 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MARCH/APRIL2012