Posts Tagged ‘shooting’

By Ruth Goodman

umpire safe

I am declaring it official. The gun-buying panic is over. The mad rush to arms following the Sandy Hook tragedy (and the politicians’ attempts to exploit it) has finally come to an end. In case you were out of the country or otherwise occupied during the last two years, let me bring you up to speed. The gun industry was already experiencing high activity thanks to the reelection of our current president when tragedy struck in Newtown, Connecticut. Immediately following the reports of a school shooting AR’s began flying off the shelves.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

Most of our inventory of Modern Sporting Rifles was gone within a week, all of it was gone within a few weeks. (On our busiest day, we went from a regular staff of 5 to 9 and still had customers lined up to the door.) Once all the AR’s were gone, attention turned to handguns. Self-defense purposed handguns became impossible to keep in stock. The rapid rise in handgun purchasing led to ammo shortages in nearly all the popular calibers. For most calibers, the supply quickly caught up with demand and the shortage ceased to be a problem many months, if not a year, ago. The notable exception to that is .22 ammo. In our store, the .22 ammo shortage began around the same time the rest of the calibers were catching up with demand and has continued on from that time. The most bizarre thing to many of us in the industry, is how long it has taken .22 ammo to catch up. A full year later and we still have a very limited supply of .22 and impose strict limits on how many boxes a customer can purchase. 

However, as we entered Spring we noted a marked slow-down in our store. As we talk with others from around the country, we are hearing of the return of the normal “summer slow season.” Gun stores and industry reps for national companies are reporting an industry-wide slow-down of purchases and firearms activity (with the exception of states that recently enacted increasingly infringing gun laws). I believe this slow season feels much slower to many, because it stands in stark contrast to the record making sales of the last two years. We have been so busy for so long, that record busy became the new normal. Stores increased staffing and ordered more product, producers ramped up production, etc… 

out of breath

Now that pre-chaos norms have reinstated themselves, this is the perfect opportunity for us all to rest and catch our breath. It’s a chance to look up from the daily activities and see the bigger picture. How many of the recent gun-buyers were first time buyers that now need training, supplies, and support? How can we as an industry meet those needs? Women are steadily increasing their presence in the firearms world. What can we do to encourage and support that growth? Have the local demographics changed in the last two years? Should a store focus more on building their online presence or on their brick-and-mortar functionality? There are countless questions we, as an industry, can ask ourselves at this time. Now is the chance for each of us to really sit down and evaluate ourselves as a store, an industry member, a service provider, and a member of the community. 

Let us all make the most of this time and catch our breath. 


By Tommy Harper

So you ask “why do we need a blog about how to clean an AR-15 style rifle?” Well, my answer is that due to the panic buying that began before the last national election and continued up until recently many of these rifles have found their way into the hands of people who have little or no experience with them. More than a few of these rifles are in safes for “just in case” and have not been shot. Some rifles have been shot and may be waiting on some advice on the proper way to clean them. While the instruction manual that comes with all firearms these days goes a long way toward explaining how to clean and maintain our firearms I think a picture is worth a thousand words!


imageTo begin, you will of course need the proper equipment and cleaning supplies. A ten-dollar rifle cleaning kit is all that is really needed to complete the task but there are a few extra items that will make the task much easier. The first is the hinge pin link that will hold the separated halves open and keep them from closing while you clean the rifle. Next is a bore guide that will allow you to add solvent to a cloth patch and guide your cleaning rod from the chamber end of the rifle. The chamber is the preferred end to clean from so as not to nick the crown of the rifle muzzle. Next is a specialized chamber brush. This brush is only used to clean the chamber area of the rifle. It helps to use the chamber brush on a pistol rod instead of a long rifle rod. The last special item is a gas tube pipe cleaner. These are extra long pipe cleaners made for AR15 rifles and can be found at most gun and gear web sites or at local gun shows. You can also find them in the craft section at Wal-Mart.

CLEANING THE RIFLE (see below for pictures)

Now to get started. First thing is make sure that your rifle is unloaded!

Then locate the rear hinge pin(1) and push it out from the left side of the rifle and open the halves. Then if you have a hinge pin link(2) add this to hold open the rifle.

Pull back on the charging handle and remove the bolt carrier and handle(3). Lay aside for cleaning(4). Insert the bore guide in place of the bolt carrier and handle and clean the bore using solvent, patches, and bronze bore brush until clean(5).

Now you need to disassemble, clean, lubricate, and reassemble the bolt and bolt carrier assembly. Pull out the cotter pin on the side of the bolt carrier(6&7). That will allow the firing pin to be removed from the back of the bolt carrier(8&9). With your finger push the bolt back into the carrier(10&11)). Then turn the rectangular bolt retaining pin so that it aligns with the carrier(12). You may now pull this pin out, which will allow you to pull the bolt forward and out of the carrier(13,14,15). Following that, you must clean all carbon build-up from all the parts. Once clean, a small dot of a good lubricant on all parts is needed. Before reassembly, note that the rear of the bolt has three silver metal rings that serve as gas seals(16). These rings are not solid but have a gap so they can be replaced. You must make sure that the gaps are not aligned with each other to prevent gas loss. Leaving the gaps aligned will cause malfunctions. Take a pointed tool and space the gaps apart by rotating them around the bolt. To prevent you from putting the bolt back in the wrong way, the hole in the bolt that the rectangular retaining pin goes through is larger on one side than the other. After getting the correct side toward you reassemble the bolt and carrier by simply reversing the disassembly process. Before you can replace the bolt carrier back into the rifle you must extend the bolt out to the front by pulling on it until it stops.

hinge pin pulled out to open halves

(1) hinge pin pulled out to open halves


At this point, I recommend that you remove the link and bore guide and push out the forward hinge pin and separate the upper from the lower. This will allow you to clean the trigger group inside the lower much easier. Clean it with solvent and a brush. Remove any solvent with a dry rag and lubricate the trigger group. Now depress the buffer spring retaining pin and remove the buffer and spring from the buffer tube(17,18,19).

After that, clean inside the buffer tube and wipe dry with a rag. Wipe down the spring and buffer and lightly oil with a rag. Replace the assembly back into the buffer tube. At this point, you should be finished with the lower. Wipe out the mag well area and dry. Lube the mag release button and the bolt locking lever.

Now turn your attention back to the upper. Clean inside and around the chamber, gas tube, and upper where the bolt carrier rides. Here is where you want to use the gas tube pipe cleaners. Place a small amount of solvent on a pipe cleaner and insert it into the gas tube. Needle nose pliers are a great help! Push all the way in and out a few times to remove all carbon build up inside the tube and run a dry one in and out to remove any solvent(20).

clean inside upper and inside gas tube

(20) clean inside upper and inside gas tube

Finish Up..

Now all that remains is to put the halves back together using the forward hinge pin. Reinstall the charging handle and bolt carrier. Close the two halves and push the rear hinge pin back into place to lock the halves together.

Always do a function check at this point! Charge the rifle by pulling back on the handle and let go. Place the rifle safety on. With the rifle pointed in a safe direction try pressing the trigger. It should not release the hammer. Now take the safety off. Again in a safe direction press the trigger. It should allow the hammer to release. Check to make sure a magazine will insert into the mag well and that it locks up and releases. If all is good, then you can wipe down the rifle’s outside with a rag and store away. You are finished!

I hope this helps! Know that this my way and not the only way do accomplish this task. It works for me and has for many years. If I have missed a step I am sure that those of you out there who are accomplished at this will add to this basic instruction to aid the beginners! Thanks in advance!


Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 8.40.03 PM

It gives ya a wallop of a headache, let me tell ya…. While that is not me in the picture I certainly feel for her. Thankfully, there were no cameras around to document my hammer kiss.

Inspired by a close encounter of the forehead kind with a .500 Wyoming, I recently embarked on a search for a better way. Other people of similar (or less) size to myself are capable of shooting large calibers, so there must be something they know that I need to learn. Come to find out, there is much more to recoil management than just leaning forward. Being of small frame and shooting a .40 S&W, I learned that particular lesson early on. To my consternation, I now realize by halting my recoil management education on that one technique I lost years of potential development to poor control and frustration. I essentially learned addition and remained ignorant of subtraction, multiplication and division. Leaning forward is good, but it’s only the first step. There are many other skills one will benefit from learning.


*Disclaimer: What follows is a description of new techniques that I have found to benefit me and improve my shooting and recoil management. Every person is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all method of shooting. I encourage you to explore all the well-known techniques and experiment with modifications and find the method that works well for you. 

Isosceles Stance


Over the years, I developed an aggressive stance similar to a Modified Weaver. I stand with my feet apart, the strong-side leg back, support shoulder angled toward the target and strong-arm straight. Basically, I’d take a boxing stance. This stance fully depends on maintaining isometric tension between arms to keep the firearm steady. I frequently defended this stance (to those kindly suggesting I try the Isosceles stance) by claiming it was the most comfortable for me. In this stance, I feel stable, aggressive and confident. It invokes feelings akin to a boxer entering the ring. However, after researching and testing other stances (and giving them an honest go) I realized my favorite stance gave me the least recoil control. I simply do not have the upper body strength to make the Weaver effective for me. So while the stance feels good to me, it actually has a negative effect on my accuracy, time, and felt recoil.


Previously, I had noticed many competitive and highly trained shooters utilizing the Isosceles stance but I had dismissed it as a personal choice and irrelevant to me. The Isosceles is identified by the shooter facing the target square on, bending the knees, extending the arms straight out and locking the elbows, forming an isosceles triangle. Once I gave it an honest attempt though, I quickly realized why so many shooters use it. The Isosceles utilizes the strengths of my body (the skeletal structure) while minimizing a dependence on the weak points of my body (my upper body muscles). The perceived recoil was dramatically less when I tried this stance and the firearm jumped significantly less as well. The Isosceles is a strong, simple stance.

Strong Grip

Right gripWhen it comes to grip strength, I need to make a confession. I am guilty of playing the “I’m too weak” card. In my own mind, I excused my weak grip by saying I “just don’t have the strength.” Well, like so many things in life, once you stop the excuses and actually try it, you find you can do it. I discovered I have more strength than I thought and I gained a lot of recoil control. However, as was pointed out on multiple forums and videos, it is possible to grip too much. If you squeeze too hard with your shooting hand you can pull the gun off target. I had to concentrate to make sure I maintained a higher pressure with the support hand and less with the strong hand (many recommend a 70: 30 ratio). Consciously gripping the firearm tighter most certainly improved my recoil control.

Angled Support Hand or Fist-Fire Grip

Another trick I found works well for me is to utilize a downward 45 degree angle on my support hand. This locks your wrist and stabilizes your shooting frame which provides a much more stable foundation and greatly enhances recoil management. While it feels awkward at first, I am quickly getting accustomed to it and find it helps me greatly. This video by Grand Master and World Champion Shannon Smith is a great demonstration.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 8.32.39 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 8.32.16 PM

Elbows out


This next technique I picked up from watching YouTube videos, as well as observing multiple shooters I highly respect. I noticed they all directed their elbows out instead of down as they shoot. I found I handled the recoil much better by mimicking this style. Directing the elbows out allowed the gun to recoil straight back instead of up, which in turn kept the sights closer to the target. Instead of losing the sight picture completely, the sights looked like they were dancing on target.

Push Out

pushoutTo bring all of this together and truly make it all work, I found I needed to do one last thing: push the gun out. Whereas, I naturally just hold the gun in front of me with my arms extended, making an effort to push the gun out in front takes up the slack in my arms, rolls the shoulders forward, and firms up the isosceles triangle. Pushing forward tightens up the whole frame and brings all the techniques listed above into one cohesive whole. Not only did I notice a dramatic difference once I applied this technique, but I also found I had to consciously push forward after each shot as my body wanted to return to the relaxed, natural state of rest.

Lessons Learned…

A new stance, a polished grip and an updated mental checklist and suddenly shooting a .45 ACP is fun. I’m not sure I want a repeat attempt at that .500 Wyoming quite yet (It took 50+ plus rounds to work out the flinch from the last time) but I’m definitely warming up to the larger calibers. However, next time I try any caliber larger than standard handgun calibers, I’m definitely locking my elbows… Lesson learned on that one. In fact, many lessons learned. I suppose I should be grateful for the new scar on my forehead. It pushed me to step outside familiar territory, correct poor habits and adopt better ones. Not only that, but polishing up my shooting technique also made a day at the range much more enjoyable.




Shooter 1: 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha…

Shooter 2:  2 Alpha; 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha…

Shooter 3: 2 Alpha; 1 Alpha, 1 Bravo; 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha…

Shooter 4: 2 Charlie; 1 Charlie, 1 Mike; 1 Charlie, 1 Mike; 2 Charlie…

Shooter 5: 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha; 2 Alpha…

If this sounds like your idea of shooting at a competitive event (with you being Shooter 4), you owe it to yourself to go to a local competition. Unlike the perfect scores you imagine everyone else gets, you will find the “All Alpha” shooter is only slightly less rare than bricks of .22lr. At the local level, a large portion of the shooters are in the solid A and B category. A number of them even have the occasional Mike (otherwise known as a “Miss”). You will also probably find yourself shooting much better than you expect. After my first IPSC shoot, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Alpha called out a couple of times while my targets were scored. I think I was more surprised, however, to see one of the regulars put a hole in the roof of our indoor range. A negligent discharge while shooting a course is a disturbing experience for all (both witnesses and shooter). Watching the dust and debris settle to the floor I realized a very important life lesson: just because someone repeatedly participates in an activity does not make them competent at said activity. So don’t be intimidated. Unless your local competition is filled with sponsored, olympic hopefuls you will soon be shooting midrange of the pack. You will also soon discover that the competition is not really against the others but yourself.


I attended my first competitive shooting event nearly a year ago. That first event, I realized how rough my firearm handling skills were. The only kind of shooting I had done was standing still firing at a still target. I had never practiced tactical reloads, strong hand/weak hand shooting, or shooting and moving. I had also never practiced drawing with a loaded gun. Participating in the IPSC competitions helped me fine tune many of these skills. For this reason, I recommend other gun owners check out their local shooting competitions. The lessons you will learn not only benefit you in the competition, but will also benefit you in real-life lethal scenarios.

Skills Developed

Competitive events, such as IDPA and IPSC, are fun and challenging activities for those of us that enjoy the thrill of competition. However, even if you are not a competitive person I still recommend you try it out. You can learn and fine tune many weapon handling skills by engaging in competitive shooting.


~Shoot and Move: Unlike most ranges, here you are actually required to move. To see various targets you must change your position constantly and it is not uncommon to see a competitor running between stations. This movement not only reflects the realities of many lethal force confrontations but also helps mimic the physiological conditions (adrenaline, loss of fine motor control, etc…) inherent in those situations.

~Moving targets: I’m not sure how many of you have ever tried to hit a moving target but it is a lot harder than I expected (of course, trying to hit an eastern diamondback in tall grass at night may not have been the best introduction to moving targets). I would highly recommend first practicing with moving targets in a controlled environment, such as a competition, over waiting till you hear that “bump in the night.”

~Safety Awareness: Many shooters become much more aware of safety concerns once they begin to shoot competitively. I believe some of this is due to the constant reminders given by the range masters and fellow shooters, but it is also emphasized by point deductions for violations.

~Rapid target acquisition: The very nature of competitive shooting encourages a shooter to develop the skills necessary for quickly getting sights on target. The quicker you get on target, the quicker you can complete the course and the higher ranked you will be (assuming a constant degree of accuracy).

~Accuracy: while accuracy may also be practiced on a static range, there is a big difference between typical range practice and the stress of competition. At a competition you have the stress of the timer, other shooters, and the physical stress of movement. You will be surprised by how much one or all of those factors may affect your accuracy.

~Shooting Under Stress: By incorporating the stress of the clock, competition and the physical stress of that particular course, shooters can approximate real life encounters. We fight the way we train. It is vital to train as realistically as possible.


~Tactical Reloads: Many, if not all, of these competitions require you to reload your firearm at specific points. Again, this is to reflect the realities of lethal encounters. You do not want to be left holding an empty gun after dispatching the first threat… there may be a second or third threat.

~Malfunction Clearing: Same goes for malfunction clearing. It is better to be fumbling through clearing your first malfunction during a competition than in a real firefight.

~Holster Draw: Many ranges will not allow you to draw from a holster, for safety concerns, yet most real life encounters begin with a holster draw. The ability to quickly access and draw your firearm from a holster is a perishable skill and must be practiced continuously.

~Muzzle Control: Muzzle control is rigorously enforced at competitive events. The majority of people who come through our store on a regular basis would benefit from such continuous reinforcement.

~Recoil Control: At my first competition, I quickly realized that my biggest challenge was managing the recoil. The ability to keep sights on target (and not loose your sight picture as the gun flips up) greatly reduces your time between shots and improves your overall score.


~Weak/Strong Hand Shooting: While many of us acknowledge the importance of practicing one-handed shooting, how many of us honestly do it? I never did. I was intimidated by it. By participating in IPSC competitions I was forced to practice a skill I didn’t practice otherwise. (To offer a word of encouragement: I found shooting one-handed is nothing to be intimidated by. I actually tend to be more accurate with my weak hand than my strong hand.)

Gear Needed


A Race Gun

What you will need to bring with you depends on which competition you decide to participate in. Before rushing out to buy a whole bunch of supplies, contact the organizer of the event or one of the participants and ask them. As a general rule, you will need 2-5 extra magazines, a way to quickly access them (they should not be in pockets), and an OWB holster. IPSC competitions are focused on time and accuracy whereas IDPA was developed to facilitate the practice of realistic lethal force encounters. You will see a lot of “race guns” at IPSC but IDPA bans “competition only” equipment. Either way, you will probably need 50-100+ rounds of ammo. Again, it is a good idea to ask beforehand.

General Advice

In the long run, you really are not competing against others. You are competing against yourself. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t move up the scoreboard. The others may be improving at the same rate you are. Focus on improving one or two techniques at a time, and don’t let the others bother you. For your first event, take it slow. Don’t try to match the speed of the others around you. Focus on accuracy and forget about the clock for the first couple of times. I often am told, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” Focus on the mechanics: draw, aim, shoot, move, aim, shoot, move/reload, aim, shoot, etc… Once you get all of these down, your speed will naturally increase.


shootingpreggers2Recently, a highly controversial issue was brought to my attention: shooting while pregnant. In the last few weeks, several pregnant women have approached our range desiring to get some practice. As I informed them of the potential risks, they were surprised and one even said that their doctor had never mentioned shooting on the list of “forbidden” activities. I had assumed that the risks were well-known to gun enthusiasts, if not doctors, and was surprised by the reactions of the women. I began exploring both pregnancy and shooting blogs and sites and was very surprised to see that most of the advice given is dismissive of the risks and encouraging of the activity. Lead is such a well-known danger to children and babies that my initial reaction was incredulity. I was very surprised to see so many people encouraging pregnant women to expose their babies to such peril. However, I soon found well-researched and documented sites that offered practical advice on the measures a woman may take to mitigate or eliminate her exposure to lead. With my skepticism still firmly in place, I would prefer a scientific study measuring the amounts of lead detected in subjects who take such precautions and in subjects that do not. While the scientist in me bemoans the lack of conclusions such a study would provide, I do realize we are speaking of pregnant women (who are highly cherished and protected in our society) and that such a study is likely to never be approved (and rightly so). The same goes for studying the effects on the developing baby of the sound of a defensive caliber handgun firing. Keeping all this in mind, I have searched for studies that may shed some light on this issue while recognizing concrete answers may never be found. And ultimately it is a personal decision between you, your spouse and God.

The Risks



As most of you probably know, much of the ammunition in circulation today contains lead in the projectile (bullet) portion of the cartridge. As the gun is fired, the primer ignites the powder and the powder exploding forces the bullet out of the cartridge, down the barrel and hopefully down range. During this process, some debris from this explosion escapes the firearm and travels out into the air. This debris may contain unburnt powder from the primer and propellent, and likely also contains lead dust. This gun shot residue is adept at finding its way to the shooter’s hands, arms, face, clothes and hair. At this point, the lead dust may be aspirated into the shooter’s lungs, and from there pass into the bloodstream. The lead may also be absorbed through the skin if the shooter neglects to wash off afterwards. Proper ventilation will help reduce the amount of GSR that blows back on the shooter. Once lead is in the body, the majority is stored in the bones while the remaining is stored in the blood and soft tissue. The concern with pregnancy is that lead easily passes through the placenta into the baby and the effects of lead exposure are much worse for infants and children than adults. A fetus is more susceptible to lead toxicity than adults because of the more permeable blood-brain barrier, the significantly lower amount of bone mass for lead sequestration, and the vulnerability of the developing central nervous system. Cord blood tests typically reveal the fetus to have very close Blood Lead Levels to the mother’s BLL. Many people feel they are safe with a blood lead level of <10 μg/dL. However, expectant mothers need to take note that a growing number of studies are finding fetus’ are effected well below the old 10 μg/dL benchmark. Writing for the National Institute of Health, Gilbert and Weiss put it this way,pregnant_1450316c

“Now, not only is there overwhelming evidence of effects at low levels, but it is increasingly apparent that the rate of decline in intellectual impairment is greater at BLLs below 10 μg/dL than above. Overall, every 1 μg/dL increase in blood lead results in a decrease of 0.87 IQ points. For BLLs below 10 μg/dL, a 1 μg/dL increase results in a 1.37 IQ decrease (Canfield et al., 2003).”

In May of 2012, the CDC revised the 10 μg/dL Level of Concern to 5 μg/dL while acknowledging 0 μg/dL is the ultimate goal. So what are these effects that researchers are so concerned about?

Adverse Health Effects of Blood Lead Levels <10 μg/dL

  1. Decreased IQ
  2. Decreased cognitive function
  3. Decreased neurologic function
  4. Slower development
  5. Greater odds of having Dental Caries
  6. Later onset of puberty
  7. Decreased renal function,%202004%20-%20single%20spaced.pdf


Another cause for concern I discovered in my research is that during pregnancy your body may pull lead out of your bones (thereby increasing your Blood Lead Level) in place of calcium. Structurally, lead and calcium are very similar and your body may pull lead out of your bones instead of the calcium it needs. While I was not able to find any scientific studies to back me up, my instincts tell me this means that simply foregoing any shooting while pregnant does not guarantee BLLs will not rise during pregnancy and thus endanger the baby. Translating that into daily life means (though I am a long way from any pregnancy) I will be much more careful to take steps to minimize my lead exposure today to protect any future children I may have.


While there are steps you can take to protect yourself from lead exposure (which might possibly nullify all the dangers of lead listed above), I don’t know of any way possible to shoot a defensive caliber handgun and still protect the baby from the sound of gunfire. We wear hearing protection to protect our ears, but there aren’t any muffs available to protect a baby in the womb. Some argue that the baby’s ears have not developed until 24 weeks and the fetus is not able to hear loud noises until then. However, consider this, the military has long invested time and money developing weapons that use electromagnetic (sound) waves outside of our natural hearing range. These weapons are designed to affect people (make them extremely hot, dizzy, nauseous, etc…), even though the people cannot hear a thing. The baby may not “hear” the noise by way of the ears but loud noises are related to adverse health effects in the fetus. The threshold of pain for most adults is typically around 140 decibels and 120 dB for children. The average defensive handgun is between 153 dB and 164 dB. The shock and stress the baby may feel from such an onslaught of vibrations may be why loud noises are “associated with several disorders, including miscarriage, intrauterine growth retardation, preterm delivery, hearing loss in babies and children, altered immune response in the fetus, and hypertension. A combined exposure to noise and lead seems to have an increased toxicity, causing heart lesions, which are not observed for those agents alone.”

There are also new reports indicating babies react negatively to ultrasounds. They may be far more sensitive to electromagnetic waves than we knew.

The Benefits

woman_with_gunSo what are the benefits of shooting while pregnant? Maintaining your skill with a firearm is the foremost benefit. Others have offered the following reasons to continue shooting: relieve some pregnancy-induced stress, spend quality time with loved ones, and continue to qualify for work or sport.

My Conclusion

Why risk it? Pregnancy is for 9 months, but the life developing within you has a lifetime ahead of him or her. Why risk making that life more challenging for that precious child when you have a choice? You have wisely chosen not to drink alcohol or smoke for the sake of your child (along with a myriad of other things). Why not include shooting on that list? And add an airsoft pistol to your gun cabinet.



National Institute of Health,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lead Exposure from Indoor Firing Ranges Among Students on Shooting Teams,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, A Review of Evidence of Adverse Health Effects Associated with Blood Lead Levels <10 μg/dL in Children,%202004%20-%20single%20spaced.pdf

Other Great Resources:

Lead first trimester most dangerous?  Sex-specific effects


Non-lethal sonic weapons

police-interview and interrogationDue to recent events, I recently began researching Stand Your Ground laws. This study indirectly led to countless articles and videos on what an armed citizen should do in the event they use their firearm to defend themselves or others. As I delved into this hotly contested arena, I discovered two main ideologies: 1. tell the responding officers nothing until you talk with your attorney and 2. Cooperate with the responding officers, tell them the key details and then ask for your attorney. The first ideology seems to have the most fervent evangelists (composed largely of lawyers and litigation-wary commentators). The second position has Massad Ayoob, the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network and other well-respected and experienced commentators.


The premise of the first group is that familiar phrase: “anything you say can, and will be, used against you in a court of law.” The argument boils down to this: if you don’t say anything then law enforcement can’t use your words against you. The typical advice given is to tell the 911 operator there was a shooting at your address, describe what you are wearing, and not much else. Variants of this belief include stating “I was in fear of my life” and then shutting up.

While keeping silent will certainly prevent your words from being used against you, keeping silent may also get you arrested and put in jail. Now depending on where you live, getting arrested and jailed may be guaranteed just by the use of a firearm,self-defense or not. If you live in an anti-gun state (or city) not talking with law enforcement may just be your best bet.


However, for most of the USA, not talking with the responding officer will probably cause undue suspicion to fall on you. In a defensive gun use scenario there are two roles that are played: victim and perpetrator. The guy laying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk is doing a wonderful job playing the part of a victim. If you do not talk with the police, they will likely assign you the role of perpetrator and then it will all have to be worked out in court. Remember, the responding officers set the tone for the investigation of the shooting. If they suspect you of murder, they will look at the situation with a very different view than if they are pretty sure you acted in self-defense. As an experienced Police Officer and an expert witness in self-defense shootings, Massad Ayoob advocates following a 5 step plan.

  1. Point out Perpetrator to Police: “Officer, this man laying here threatened me with a knife and said he was going to kill me.”law-enforcement
  2. Tell Police you will “Sign the Complaint”: In cop language, this is affirming your role as the victim.
  3. Point out Evidence to Police: Evidence will disappear if not immediately marked and documented.
  4. Point out Witnesses to Police: Many people in our society prefer not to get involved and will simply walk away. These witness will probably provide great supporting testimony for your case and it is very important the police interview them.
  5. Give full cooperation in 24 hours: “Officer, you know how important this is. You will have my full cooperation in 24 hours after I speak with my Attorney.” People need time for the physiological effects of a traumatic event, such as a shooting, to wear off before they can make accurate statements. In fact, many first responders aren’t allowed to make a report until a certain time period has elapsed (typically 24 to 48 hours). Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police actually fought against the city to ensure the Independent Police Review Authority wait at least 24 hours before interviewing the officer involved in a shooting.

After much reading and analyzing, I personally have decided to go with Massad’s five point plan. It strikes the balance of giving the responding officers enough information for them to know I’m a good guy yet also lets me know when to stop talking so I don’t say something that will later come back to haunt me. I hope you too will carefully research and decide the approach you will use if you ever have to use your firearm for self-defense. Prepare for it now, so you can limit the risks of doing something stupid if the situation ever arises. Also, find a local attorney, experienced in justified shootings (the lawyer the local cops use would be a good one), and keep his number on hand or programmed into your phone.

On duty

For Further Research: Wrong way and Right Way Shooting