For the incessant tinkerer a firearm can be a wealth of fun projects. There’s a number of small modifications that can be made to improve the performance or aesthetics of your personal firearm. However, this is not exactly a project for the uninformed or careless. As always when you’re working with a deadly weapon you need to be careful and make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing. Here we’ll look at some fun projects that you can do to modify your firearm in a safe and fun way.
One of the easiest and most common ways to modify your handgun is to change the grip. This is a simple project that shouldn’t require more than some basic tools. Check with your manual for the specifics on assembly. The tricky part will be finding a grip that you like and suits you and your style well. Spend some time at the range trying similar models with different grips if you’re looking for a performance grip. You may find that some grips help absorb the shock better while others are less likely to lose traction from sweat. It’s all about knowing what you want out of your firearm. If you are a casual gun owner it might be fun to modify your gun with aesthetics in mind over performance. Some common materials available include wood, imitation pearl or ivory, polymer, rubber, plastic, and metal.
Another common modification for your firearm that can be easily and safely managed on your own is the installation or modification of sights. For rifles especially there are a number of different models and variations available. These can range from simple ‘iron’ sights that require you to line up notches on the front and back of your firearm to more complex telescopic or reflector sights. Additionally you can get all sorts of cool gadgets and add ons to augment your sights like laser dots or night vision. Installation should be easy but it’s important to make sure that the model is compatible with your firearm. More difficult may be finding exactly what you want out of your sight. Spend some time trying out different models and makes to find one right for you.
A very popular modification, especially among competitive shooters, is a lighter trigger pull. This can increase accuracy as well as your rate of fire for semi-automatics. In general a lighter pull can be dangerous in the hands of a novice because of accidental discharge but for an experienced marksman it’s a great option to take your shot to the next level. While this can be done by yourself it’s not quite as easy a task as installing a new sight or grip. The process may vary between guns and is generally delicate enough to warrant professional precision in most cases. Talk with your local gunsmith for some pointers if you’re interested in trying your hand at this modification.
While a solid safe is always going to be the best option for safety and security, sometimes you’ve got something special enough that you just need to show it off. Gun display cases can offer a nice compromise between safety, security, and visibility. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind when planning to display your firearms. Here we’ll look at some of the basic precautions you can take to make sure that your items on display will remain secure and in prime condition as well as some simple guidelines to keep in mind when shopping for or building your own gun display case.
The first that that you need to keep in mind when displaying your firearms is that they still need to be locked up. This is a basic safety precaution as well as a way to prevent theft. Though it will never be as secure as your rifle safe it should still pose some difficulty for potential burglars or curious children. This is usually best accomplished with a simple padlock though alternative solutions do exist. Additionally it is a good idea to make sure that your encasement is well built with solid materials and reinforced hinges.
The most common option and a near necessity for gun display cases is the use of acrylic sheeting in place of glass. This will increase security due to its resistance to shattering. Additionally acrylic can provide additional UV protection which will help maintain the quality of your firearms on display.
While there are many options available for the aesthetics of your display case the most popular are based on a wooden frame with a velvet or felt backing. Additionally important to note is the number of different variations available for gun display cases. Wardrobes converted into long gun display cases are a common and great do-it-yourself option. Additionally there are a number of ‘framed’ wall mounted displays that can accomplish the same task. Lastly there are counter boxes that can also make for an interesting way to display your firearms though these are usually best suited to pistols.
It’s important to take good care of your firearms that are going to be on display. This is especially true of antique guns with high value. Some important things to keep in mind include: humidity control, UV regulation, and a scratch free interior. Additionally it’s important to wax and clean your guns thoroughly before putting them on display for extended periods of time. This will ensure that they don’t deteriorate over long periods of display.
Owning a firearm for self defense is one of the most common purposes for gun ownership in America. However, the use of your firearm for self defense may have some additional legal and financial consequences you wouldn’t expect. While ‘technically’ a lawful endeavor, the use of your firearm for self defense will almost always invariably lead to a criminal investigation as well as a number of legal fees for the process. Here we’ll look at some of the finer details of self defense law as well how you can be prepared to avoid financial disaster at the hands of the American legal system.
It’s something of a modern myth that your homeowner’s insurance will protect you in a case of self defense in your home involving a firearm. However, this isn’t usually the case. Most policies include an ‘intentional injury exclusion’ clause in the fine print releasing your insurer from liability. The first step is going to be to check with your insurer on the details of your policy in relation to self defense in your home. Additionally, even if you are covered your insurance still will likely not be able to provide you the immediate funds necessary for your attorney retainer, bond money, lost wages, or criminal defense fees.
Similar to homeowner’s policies, many people think that generic liability coverage will be able to provide for them in cases of self defense. However, the fact is that it is illegal for insurance companies to insure you for illegal actions you may commit. This means that even with umbrella coverage you are going to be out of luck until the charges are dropped, meaning you’ll have to front the bulk of the funds for your legal defense and bail until you are acquitted (though it may be reimbursed later depending on your plan).
Self Defense Laws
One important thing to note about self defense laws in America is the clear distinction made between lethal and nonlethal force. The details differ a bit from state to state but the general gist of it is that you can use non-deadly force to prevent imminent injury and deadly-force if there is a reasonable fear of serious injury or death. Additionally, some states employ a ‘duty to retreat’ clause that states deadly force may only be used when you are unable to safely retreat. Additional amendments to American self defense law include the Castle Doctrine (duty to retreat doesn’t apply in your own home) and Stand Your Ground (refutes your duty to retreat in more situations than your home). While these laws make it easier to lawfully defend yourself with a handgun and prove your innocence you will still need to cough up the legal fees for the sometimes lengthy process.
With the above information in mind, it might be time to get covered with a specialty self defense insurance policy. There are a number of policies out there so take some time to find the right one for you before you find yourself under a pile of legal fees for no other reason than exercising your American right of self defense.
Shooting ranges are a great way to practice your marksmanship skills as well as enjoy your hobby in a social setting with like minded people. Above all, it’s important to be safe and practice proper firearm safety. Additionally, it’s a great opportunity to learn and demonstrate proper shooting range and firearm etiquette. While each range may have its own rules there are some basic guidelines that apply to any range for the basic purpose of safety. Here we’ll look at some ways that you can stay safe and demonstrate your knowledge and respect for firearms at the shooting range.
The very first and most important rule of the range is to maintain proper gun safety. This means following the basic golden rules of gun safety. To reiterate some of the basics: always point the muzzle of your firearm in a safe direction (down range), keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire, always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it, etc… Every rule that applies to gun safety while hunting or at home also applies to a gun range. If you can display proper gun safety you are a whole lot closer to earning the respect of the range master and the other range goers.
At the Range
Each range will likely have its own set of rules. Know the rules and abide by them. If there are rules you are unfamiliar with or don’t agree with feel free to discuss it with the range master. Do not pick and choose the rules you like. Abide by all of the rules regardless of your opinion on them. All range commands should be followed immediately. If the range master (or anyone) calls for a cease fire you should immediately stop shooting, remove any chambered ammunition, set the gun down, and take a step back (to be polite). During a ceasefire do not touch your firearm (not even to pack it up) until the rangemaster has yelled ‘commence firing’ or ‘range is hot.’
While at the range conduct yourself in a serious manner. Respect the fact that you and other people around you are operating highly lethal equipment. The shooting range is no place to horse around or play practical jokes. Avoid disturbing others while they are firing and save the small talk for the shop or the soda machine. Additionally, most people won’t appreciate unsolicited advice, crazy government rants, or crude stories about your ex-wife.
Lastly, make sure to clean up your area when you are finished shooting. This means pick up your casings, trash, and old targets. Leave the station as clean or cleaner than you found it. Some ranges like to recycle casings, it’s polite if you are new to a range to inquire if this is the case. Also don’t forget to have fun. There’s a unique satisfaction to be found in being a model range marksman.
Owning a gun, as you should already know, comes with both a lot of power and responsibility. A large part of that responsibility is the basic set of safety guidelines one should adhere to when using or possessing a gun (especially in the presence of others). Gun etiquette in its essence is gun safety and possibly one of the most important parts of gun ownership. Having a good knowledge of gun etiquette is a great way to show others that you are safe and responsible as well as identify when others are not. Additionally, demonstrating proper gun etiquette is a great way to earn respect from other gun enthusiasts. Here we’ll look at some basic gun etiquette and various methods to be safe in the presence of firearms.
The basic idea behind trigger discipline, and a big part of gun etiquette, is simply to keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to fire. It’s an easy concept that is often forgotten among new or irresponsible gun owners. While the trigger may seem like a natural resting place for your index finger when holding a gun it can be a simple setup for a fatal mistake. Instead, extend your finger parallel with the barrel and rest it on the side of the gun well away from the trigger. One fun activity to keep trigger discipline on your mind is to keep an eye on it during action movies or TV shows. You’d be surprised how often you can find the supposed Delta Squad top dog forgetting the basics of gun safety.
When you are inspecting someone else’s firearm or handing over your own piece to a friend or acquaintance, there is some simple protocol to follow for a safe and proper exchange. Firstly, remove the magazine if it has one. If you are dealing with a revolver, open the cylinder and remove any ammunition. Next, lock open the action (or keep the cylinder open) and make sure that there is no bullet in the chamber and the gun is not loaded. Then, hand the gun to your acquaintance with the muzzle pointed away from them. The recipient of the firearm should then double check to make sure that the gun is not loaded before inspecting it. Even if a single firearm is being passed between 4 or 5 people each person should in turn perform the same routine before inspecting the gun and passing it on. Though perhaps slightly exhaustive that is gun etiquette.
Lastly, never pick up or accept a gun from someone if you do not know how it works. Do not be embarrassed to ask. More than likely someone will be thrilled to enlighten you to the details and you never want to be uncertain when holding a lethal weapon.
While these are just a few of the basics to get you started on gun etiquette there is a whole world of minor nuances that can demonstrate your respect for firearms and earn you the respect of other firearm enthusiasts. Next time we’ll go into greater detail about how to treat someone else’s gun with care and the basic guidelines of range etiquette.
When it comes to sharpening your skills with a firearm there really is no better option than target shooting. Fortunately, there are a lot of different drills you can do to hone both your speed and accuracy with a firearm. It’s important to be focused and set goals for yourself rather than mindlessly unloading clips at your local range. Here we’ll look at some different methods you can use to increase your proficiency with a firearm during range practice.
Goals and Quotas
The reality is that marksmanship has no real secret besides practice. There may be tips and tricks you can find along the way but there’s nothing better than regular practice to hone your skills with a firearm. One great way to make sure that your shot is steadily improving is to set a regime and follow it. Choose a number of rounds you want to fire every week and stick to your number. Additionally, you can set goals to help you keep track of your practice. Use a point system with your target, set a goal, and practice until you can regularly reach your point goal. Once you have reached your goal, raise the number of points or extend the distance and repeat. If you can stick with your regime you will eventually meet your goals and over time you’ll develop a strong proficiency with your weapon.
Dry Fire Drills
Dry fire drills are a great way to really practice your fundamentals when you don’t have access to a shooting range. There are a lot of different techniques that you can perfect with an unloaded weapon. While it might not be as much fun as shooting live ammunition, it’s no coincidence that every law enforcement agency regularly uses dry fire drills for training. Some examples of things that you can work on without live ammunition include: trigger control, stance and grip, sight alignment, shooting with both eyes open, draw stroke, first shot, safety manipulations, target transitions, etc. You get the idea. However, it’s important to note that you need practice proper form, even for dry fire exercises. Sloppy practice will just ingrain bad habits and poor technique, so take your time and take it seriously even if there is no live ammunition.
Observe and Seek Help
If you’re a regular at the gun range but still a terrible shot, take a little bit of time to figure out what’s wrong with your shot before you burn through some more ammunition. Spend some time observing the more successful marksmen and don’t be afraid to ask for tips. Most gun enthusiasts will be delighted to share their methods and help you out. Also consider hiring a coach or taking some classes. There is no shame in admitting you’re not the fastest gun in the west. Progress is all about using the resources available to better meet your goals, and there are a lot of resources available.
If you are a true gun enthusiast you probably spend a fair amount of time at the range honing your skills. Imagine if you could set up your own range, in the privacy of your own home, and practice at your leisure whenever you please. While this might not be for everyone, as it requires certain property characteristics to do so, it can be a fun venture that will only further improve your skills with more regular practice. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to target practice on your property so check out this quick guide on setting up a personal gun range on your own property.
The Garage / Basement Gun Range
Having a small single or double lane range in your own basement or garage may be surprisingly feasible for many Americans. The first step is going to check the local laws in your area. For the most part this should be a permissible construction if you can keep the noise level down but it’s always best to check out local regulations before you start construction.
There are a number of obstacles to keep in mind before you start construction on your range. Firstly, do you have the space required? Plan on about 10 meters as a minimum for range length. This will ensure that you have adequate range to practice as well as help you deal with airflow and soundproofing. Additionally you’ll need to make sure that your range is ballistically secure and you have bullet traps, a proper method for lead disposal, and a target system.
Ventilation is an often overlooked necessity in a home range. Using a firearm releases harmful airborne lead particles with negative effects on one’s health. Most ranges use positive air pressure and channel air from the shooting stations down range. The basic idea is you pump air into the shooting side of your range and have it carry the harmful lead particles downrange until they can be safely removed through the ventilation on the other side.
There are a number of different materials available for soundproofing from acoustic panels, and sound insulation to hanging carpets. The basic idea is to line the walls and ceiling of your gun range with a soundproofing material that will diffuse the noise of gunfire. While it may not seem important, firing a gun in an enclosed place with hard walls can be damaging for your ears over time and might not put you on good terms with the neighbor.
Of course, the most important part of your home range is always going to be safety. Make sure that the walls are solid and cannot be pierced by the ammunition you will be using. Reduce the chance of dangerous ricochets with baffles and make sure that the backstop is secure and strong enough to withstand your ammunition. Additionally, concrete surfaces can cause your bullets to fragment so it’s a good idea to cover exposed concrete.
While ‘stun guns’ may not be as popular as the lethal alternatives they can still serve a valuable purpose for home security. There are a number of different varieties but the basic idea is a projectile taser that will deliver a non-lethal shock that is capable of incapacitating an intruder. While these are non-lethal they can still be quite dangerous and should still warrant the same safety precautions that you would use for a regular firearm. Here we’ll look at some of the different kinds of stun guns as well as the pros and cons of ownership versus a regular firearm.
How it Works
The first thing to do in order to assess the value of an electroshock weapon is to look at how exactly it works. This technology uses a temporary high voltage and low current electrical discharge to override the body’s muscle triggering mechanism. What this means is that when used properly this will render the victim unable to control their muscles and quite helpless. Since these guns use a low current there is a very low likelihood of death (though it will still be painful).
The basic perks of a projectile electroshock weapon include its ability to incapacitate a target, non-lethality, and ease of use. These can even be more effective than a low caliber handgun in terms of stopping power. The projectiles are able to pierce through multiple layers of regular clothing and has a range around fifteen feet depending on the model. Additionally, most models can be used by touch in close quarters should the projectile miss. These tools are easy to manage and make for a great addition to home security.
Unfortunately, there are some cons when it comes to stun guns. You do only have one feasible shot available and it is necessary that both pins make contact for it to work effectively. If these pins do not make contact you will be unable to incapacitate the target. Additionally (not sure if this is a pro or con) it is required to pass a background check before you can legally obtain a projectile electroshock weapon. These can be more expensive as well and may not be very useful if there is more than one person threatening you.
Ultimately, it’s a great option for certain people. If you or your significant other is uncomfortable with a firearm but still desires additional protection this might be the right tool for the job. Projectile electroshock weapons are something of a middle man between pepper spray and a firearm. It does its job well and so long as you use it properly. In situations that warrant its use it is always going to be a great addition for home or self security.
Among firearm owners there are certain rules pertaining to safety that are treated as gospel that should be recognized and respected by new gun owners and veterans alike. The reason these rules have become so well known and respected is because they are the simplest way to minimize the possibility of unintended harm by firearm. Different groups of gun owners and different shooting ranges may have additional rules but every gun responsible gun owner abides by the twelve golden rules of gun safety. These are:
- Always treat the gun as loaded.
- Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
- Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
- Never point the gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
- Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
- Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the gun you are using.
- Always use proper ammunition.
- Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before loading and shooting.
- If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds; then with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.
- Don’t rely on the gun’s safety to keep it from firing.
- Be aware of your surroundings when handling a firearm so you don’t trip or lose your balance and accidentally point and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything.
Abiding by these simple rules will ensure that no unintentional harm comes from the misuse of a firearm. These rules will ensure your safety and the safety of those around you when using a firearm.
Shooting ranges may have their own rules on top of the golden twelve. Some common rules for shooting ranges include:
- Follow the twelve golden rules.
- Know and follow all of the rules of the shooting range.
- Listen to what the range master tells you at all times.
- Always uncase and recase your gun at the shooting bench and never behind the safety line.
- Always keep the barrel pointed down range.
- Always keep the safety on until you intend to shoot.
- Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
- Never shoot at water or hard surfaces.
The rules may vary from range to range but the above guidelines will always be applicable. If you follow the golden rules and the above guidelines for shooting at a range you will not only ensure the safety of yourself and those around you but you will earn respect as a responsible and knowledgeable gun owner. With all this in mind enjoy your gun and practice in a safe manner.
We talk a lot about gun safety on this blog – we are, after all, trying to keep all gun owners safe and sound with the best gun safes around. We’ve rounded up some very simple, straight-forward, and essential tips to consider where around guns or while handling guns.
- Always Point a Gun in a Safe Direction. This is a no-brainer. Basically, never point your gun at anything that you don’t want to actively shoot.
- Assume That Any Gun, at Any Time, is Loaded. This tip is largely the same as the first. So long as you always assume that your gun is ready and loaded, you’ll be prepared if it even ends up accidently going off.
- Keep Your Finger off the Trigger. If you don’t have your finger on the trigger, it is less likely to go off…so unless you are planning to shoot something keep your finger off.
- Know What You’re Shooting at. When you decide to shoot something, make sure it is something that you know and understand—never shoot anything blind.
- Be Familiar With Your Gun. Taking the time to learn about and understand your gun—the grip, the trigger, the shooting positions. An informed gun owner will be a prepared gun owner and will see fewer accidents.
- Don’t Shoot at Hard Surfaces (Including Water). This one should be a no-brainer. Shoot at targets don’t shoot at metal, rocks, hard wood or water. You never know what will happen to the bullet with this sort of impact.
- Don’t Rely on a Safety Mechanism. This goes back to pointing your gun and assuming it is always loaded. Don’t trust your gun to protect you; trust yourself and assume nothing. Even if there is a safety, assume it’s broken or doesn’t work. Don’t make assumptions and take safety shortcuts.
- Load Your Gun When You Need to. Without bullets, guns are harmless thus by keeping your gun unloaded you are avoiding harm.
- Use the Right Ammo. Duh! A gun is a complicated mechanical device and as such requires the right equipment.
- Pay Attention! This is the cardinal rule of gun-ownership – be smart, be cautious, pay attention.
Do you have any other tips we should add about gun safety?