Shooting Essentials



Gun Safety and Protection:

Firearm Essentials:

Ballistics and Components of Gunshot Wounds:


Firearm and Ammunition Malfunctions:

Firearm Magazines:

Marksmanship Fundamentals:

Firearm Training and Practice:

Gun Store and Gun Range Etiquette:

Gun Cleaning and Maintenance:

Concealed Carry:

Open Carry:

Female Shooters:

Children and Firearms:


Firearms Safety Rules:


  1. Always treat all guns as though they are loaded.

  2. Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.

  3. Keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

  4. Always know your target and what is beyond.



deltaforceHey, Chuck Norris! We all know that you are a bad-ass, but keep your finger off of the trigger! It’s obvious that the actor doesn’t have any real firearms experience.



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Eye Protection (“Eye Pro”):


Always wear ballistic protective eye wear. Occasional hot, painful gunshot residue can fly into your eyes. On very rare occasions there can be catastrophic failures of the firearm, known as a “kaboom”, as shown pictured above. You will wish that you had eye protection on.

Don’t depend on prescription eye wear or sunglasses that are not specifically designed for ballistic protection.


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Ear Protection (“Ear Pro”):

Hearing Protection Fundamentals:


Ear Plugs:





  • Coming soon.


Noise Canceling:

  • Concept:
  • Advantages:


Noise Canceling / Communications:

  • Bluetooth:
  • Tactical Radio:

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“One man with a gun can control one-hundred without one.”

– V.I. Lenin-

Firearms Parts:


Firearms Parts Glossary:

Action: The group of moving parts that load, fire, and unload the rifle. Loading involves opening the action, placing a cartridge in the chamber, and then closing the action with the cartridge in place. In most rifles, opening and closing the action cocks the firing pin, making the rifle ready to be fired. Some rifles must be cocked separately. Firing takes place when the trigger is pulled to the rear. This action allows the firing pin to strike the cartridge and fir the gun. When the action is opening after firing, the used cartridge is ejected so that a new one can be loaded.

Barrel: The metal tube through which the projectile passes when the rifle is fired.

Bolt handle: The lever that the shooter pulls back to open the action on a bolt-action rifle and pushes forward to chamber a round and close the action.

Bore: The hole in the barrel through which the projectile passes. The diameter is measured in fractions of an inch (caliber) or millimeters.

Breech: The rear of the barrel.

Butt: The rear portion of the stock.

Chamber: Located at the breech end of the barrel and is the portion into which one round of ammunition is placed for firing.

Clip: A device to hold cartridges for charging the magazine of some rifles. Not to be confused with “magazine”. (See Magazine vs. Clip.)

Fore-end: the part of gun’s stock forward of the action, extending under the barrel and providing a grip for one hand below the barrel.

Grip: The part of the stock gripped by the firing-hand.

Hammer: The part the firearm that strikes the primer. In some firearm designs the hammer directly strike the primer, while other strike a separate firing pin.

Lands: The flat, raised ridges of metal standing between the rifled grooves inside the barrel.

Magazine: A container with a spring into which several cartridges can be placed. The two most common types are non-detachable box types located inside the bottom portion of the action, a tube type located under the barrel or in the stock, or detachable types that can be loaded and then slipped into place into the gun. The magazine uses a spring to push the unfired cartridges into the path of the bolt for loading. Not to be confused with “Clip”. (See Magazine vs. Clip.)

Muzzle: The forward end (mouth) of the barrel, through which the projectile exits.

Rifling: The grooves and lands inside the barrel. When a projectile passes through the barrel, the lands cut into the bullet to make it spin. This spinning action makes the projectile more stable and accurate in flight toward the target, similar to a well-thrown football.

Safety: Mechanical device designed to prevent a gun from being fired accidentally. When the safety is “on” it should block the operation of the trigger, thus preventing the firearm from firing. Always remember that the safety is only a mechanical device. Never depend on it as a substitute for following the safety rules. You are the ultimate safety.

Sights: The metallic or optical devices attached to rifles that enable them to be aimed.

Stock: The handle by which the rifle is held and which holds the other groups together.

Trigger: The lever that activates a firearm when moved, usually pulled by one finger.

Trigger guard: A protective shield around the trigger that keeps the trigger from being pulled accidentally.

Trigger pull: The amount of pressure needed to fully release a trigger to fire a gun.

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Ballistics and Bullet Trajectories:

Bullet Trajectory

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Ammunition Fundamentals:


“Ammo — Buy it cheap! Stack it deep!”

-Savannah Arsenal-


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Ammunition Parts:

Bullet: The projectile that is shot by the rifle at the target. It is normally made of lead and may also have a jacket of hard metal such as copper. The bullet must match the chamber and bore of the rifle.

Cartridge: Fully assembled round of ammunition consisting of the case, primer, powder charge, and bullet (projectile).

Case: The container in which the ammunition parts are assemble. Usually made of brass or steel.

Powder: A chemical compound that when ignited serves as the propellant. When ignited by the primer, the power’s gases expand rapidly and produce a high pressure, providing the force needed to propel the bullet through the barrel and to the target.

Primer: Impact-sensitive chemical mixture that ignites when hit by the firing pin.

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How Ammunition Works:

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Steel Case Ammunition: Will It Damage Your Guns?:

Below are some YouTube videos that I’ve collected on the subject of whether steel case ammunition will damage the extractor in your AR-15:

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Will Bi-Metal Bullets Damage Your Barrel?

Below are some YouTube videos that I’ve collected on the subject of whether bi-metal bullets found in some of the Russian and Ukrainian ammunition will damage your barrel.

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Lucky Gunner Lab’s Epic Torture Test:

While these YouTube videos are insightful with just enough information to help you form your own opinion, I highly recommend that you check out:

8357889187_a011a00177_zThese guys use four identical AR-15 rifles and fire 10,000 rounds of Federal brass case ammo, 10,000 rounds of Wolf steel case ammo, 10,000 of Tula steel case ammo, and 10,000 rounds of Brown Bear steel case ammo. Throughout the 10,000 rounds of each type of ammo they test for accuracy, velocity, throat erosion, and chamber pressure. Their results may further challenge your opinions.

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Firearm Malfunctions Causes:

Failure to Fire:

Firearm malfunction caused by a bad primer, light firing-pin strike, bolt not fully in battery, improper seated magazine.


Failure to Eject Spent Case:

stovepipeFirearm malfunction caused by a broken or weak extractor or ejector, bad ammo, dirty chamber. The empty shell casing may remain in the chamber, or may partially ejected and hang out of the ejection port. This is referred to as a “stovepipe”, as seen pictured right.


Failure to Properly Feed a Round Into Chamber:

Firearm malfunction caused by poorly seated or broken magazine.

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Firearm Malfunction Clearing:

Slam magazine into the magazine well. Tug to make sure it is seated. Tilt gun to the right so that any loose debris will fail out of the ejection port. Cycle Action rapidly. Pull back all the way and allow it to slam home. Hit forward assist (on AR’s).

If that does not work: Lock bolt or slide to rear. Remove magazine. Reach in and clear out chamber. Roll gun to right so ejection port is down. Cycle action three times. Insert new magazine (old one may be causing problem) Chamber round. Use forward assist (on AR’s).

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Ammunition Malfunctions:


If handled correctly this will be a non-event. The rare case of the priming compound not igniting immediately. It may ignite after a delay. Keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction for at least 30 seconds before unloading the firearm. If the round does fire while the weapon is pointed in a safe direction then there should not be any more problems unless you have a bad batch of ammunition.


If handled correctly this will be a non-event. Happens when a cartridge does not fire when the firing pin hits the primer. When this happens, the shooter must keep the gun pointed in a safe direction and wait for at least 30 seconds before opening the bot. The misfire normally happens because the strike by the firing pin was too weak to fire the priming compound or because there was no priming compound where the fining pin hit the cartridge’s primer.


If not handled correctly, this can result in a catastrophic event. The rare case where the primer ignites, but there are not enough gasses to force the bullet out of the barrel. If the round fired did not sound right, nor did it hit the target, stop and do not fire another round. A bullet may be lodged in the barrel and the firearm may burst if another round is fired as seen in the photos above. If possible, remove the bolt or open the action and inspect the barrel from the breech. If a bullet is in the breech, use a rod and push it out from the breech. Never push it back in from the muzzle. Clean the barrel before shooting again.


This will most likely result in a catastrophic event. It is the result of an accidental over-charging of propellant during the manufacturing of the ammunition cartridge.


A slang term for when a firearm explodes (see photos above). This is usually due to an obstruction in the barrel, such as firing another round into a squib, or a double-charge of propellant (as discussed above).

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How To Clear A Stuck Case:

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Magazine Parts:

Coming soon!

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Magazine Rotation:

If you are going to keep magazines loaded in your carry gun or home defense gun, I would suggest rotating magazines every six months in order to keep the magazine springs from loosing strength. Many believe that with modern metallurgy the magazine springs will not develop memory when compressed over long periods of time, however my equipment is expensive and my life is too important to take a chance. I have gotten into the habit of rotating loaded magazines every six months. For me, when we change the clocks in the Spring and Fall seasons, I rotate my magazines. I have the magazines numbered and simply download the magazine(s) that I’ve carried for the last six months and upload the next magazine(s) in sequence.

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Magazine Numbering:

Numbering your magazines will help you with loaded magazine rotation, and will help you keep up with malfunction trends and determine whether an individual magazine is faulty (example: if the gun malfunctions fairly often with magazine number 4, but fire fine with all the others, it is probably the fault of the magazine). Number your magazines with a Sharpie brand paint pen. These are readily available at Michael’s or any high-end arts & crafts store. I like the oil-based, extra fine point. They come in different colors, but I simply go with white. You can also number your magazines with an electric engraver, however this is permanent. Should you ever want to remove the painted numbers, simply use a dab of mineral spirits on an old rad with a little “elbow grease”. The paint comes right off.

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Magazine Color Coding:

Using colored electrical tape is a good way to mark rifle magazines so as to know which magazines are yours after a long day at the range or shooting class. Colored tape is also a good way to mark magazines if you choose to carry more than one type of ammunition type (example: red tape = tracer rounds, green tape = green tip armor piercing rounds, gold tape = frangible rounds, and no tape are plain old FMJ). Obviously using tape in this fashion only works on magazines that extend out of the weapon’s magazine well and only on the part that will be outside of the magazine well.

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“The great body of our citizens shoot less as time goes on. We should encourage rifle practice among schoolboys, and indeed among all classes, as well as in the military services by every means in our power. Thus, and not otherwise, may we be able to assist in preserving peace in the world. The first step in the direction of preparation to avert war if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come, is to teach men to shoot!”

– President Theodore Roosevelt’s last message to Congress –

Seven Principles of Marksmanship:

  1. Stance
  2. Grip
  3. Breath control
  4. Sight alignment
  5. Sight picture
  6. Trigger control
  7. Follow-through

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In the first photo our model is demonstrating an improper stance and grip. While normally standing you are balanced 50/50 forwards and backwards. When shooting your stance should be at least 60/40 (60% forward) like when playing tennis, racquet ball, or participating in martial arts. Our first model is at least 40/60 and looks as though she is scared of the gun and is trying to get as far away from it as possible. Also, she is demonstrating the classic “wrist supported by the weak hand” technique that is reminiscent of classic black & white gangster movies. This grip does nothing to stabilize the handgun.

The second photo demonstrates a proper stance (60/40) and a proper grip, including having her trigger finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot.

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Gripping A Semi-Automatic Pistol:


Ladies’ Guide To Gripping A Semi-Automatic:


Gripping A Revolver:

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Breath Control:

This simply refers to the technique to stop breathing before firing a shot. Breathing causes your body to move. Continuous breathing makes it difficult to maintain a steady sight picture. Before firing the shot, be sure you are comfortable and relaxed. Then exhale and stop breathing. This technique will help you in aiming by reducing the movement of your body and rifle in relation to the target. You should hold your breath no longer than about 8 to 10 seconds while aiming at the target. If you are not able to get your shot off within that time, stop, take a breath or two, and repeat the process.

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Sight Alignment:

Sight-Alignment-diagramThe alignment of the eye, rear sight, and front sight. Consistent and proper sight alignment is necessary for accurate aiming. When using open sights with a post or bead front sight, sight alignment is correct when the front sight is centered in the rear sight notch and the top edge of the front sight is even with the top of the rear sight. With aperture or peep sights, sight alignment is correct when the front sight ring or top edge of the front sight post is centered in the rear sight aperture. When using a telescopic sight, proper sight alignment is achieved by positioning the eye to clearly see the entire field of view when looking through the scope.

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Sight Picture:

The term sight picture describers the relationship between the eye, the aligned sights or scope, and the target. Sight picture will vary according to the type of sights and kind of target being used. A bead front sight should be aimed at the center of the target.


Center Mass Hold:

The top edge of a post front sight is centered on the bull’s-eye.

center mass


Center Mass Hold with Dot Sights:

I love dot sights, especially night sights that have Tridium inserts that glow in the dark. They ease making correct sight alignment in low-light conditions. During normal lighting condions you should ignore the dots and simply line up the top of the front sight post and the rear sight as seen in the picture on the left. In low-light conditions you may choose to line up the dots across the intended point-of-impact, as seen in the picture on the right. There are two reasons for this. The first is that when lining up the dots covers too much of the target and doesn’t lend itself to the shooter maintaining good situation awareness of the threat (more of them is hidden behind the sights). Second, with some sights when you have the dots aligned the front sight post might sit a little above the rear sight. This may not be the most accurate way of shooting, but in a low-light condition it will be close enough.

center mass with dots


6 O’clock Hold:

The top edge of the front post is held at the bottom of the bull’s-eye (called a “6 o’clock hold”). This hold is great for “bull’s-eye” shooting where you will be shooting at the same exact size target at the exact same distance. I don’t think that it is the best for shooting different size targets at different size targets at varying distances, or for combat shooting, although one of our members, who is a firearms instructor in federal law enforcement, swears by this technique.

6 oclock hold



Focal Point:

When you have obtained the correct sight picture, the front sight should be clearly defined while the target and rear sight remain slightly out of focus. A scope reticle (usually crosshairs) is simply centered on the target and everything is brought into clear focus. In the next picture you see a correct focal point with the front sight sharp and clear, while the target and rear sight are slightly out of focus.

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Trigger Control:

trigger finger placementTo fire a good shot, pull the trigger straight to the rear when your hold is best. Slowly squeezing the trigger while maintaining a good sight picture works much better than trying to quickly jerk the trigger to catch that instant when the sight picture looks just right.

There are two rules for good trigger control:

  1. Pull the trigger while holding steady.
  2. Pull the trigger straight to the rear smoothly and slowly, without disturbing your hold. Remember to concentrate on hold control with your focus on the front sight.

The photo to the right shows the proper placement of your trigger finger on the trigger, and how improper placement can cause you to pull or push the shot to the left or the right.

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It is maintaining position, aim, breath control, hold control, and trigger control before and immediately after firing the shot. Follow-through allows the rifle to recoil and return to its natural point of aim after the shot is fired. This will minimize the possibility of any sudden movement (just before the shot is fired) that will disturb the sight picture and radically change the bullet’s path. If you remember where the bull’s-eye was located in, or on, the front sight when the shot was fired and can tell your instructor where it was, then you have followed through. This is the process that shooters refer to as “calling the shot.”

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Handgun Carry Philosophies:


“An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.”

-Clint Smith-


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How to Apply for a Concealed Carry Permit:


What You Should Know:

County probate courts issue firearms licenses to state residents 21 and older.

When you arrive at probate court, you’ll need an official form of identification, your payment and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Submit your application at the court along with your fingerprints. Within five days, a county probate judge will request a criminal history records check and a background check on you. About 30 days later, law enforcement will finish its background check and determine whether you can receive a license.

County probate judges may restrict state residents with criminal records from getting licenses. Read more about these restrictions.

If you’ve been in a mental hospital or drug treatment center within the last five years, you must ask that your county probate court judge approve your license application. The judge will seek a recommendation from the superintendent of your hospital or treatment center, and then determine whether it’s safe for you to carry a gun.


How much does a license cost?

While $75 is an average fee for licensing and fingerprinting, costs vary by county. Contact your local probate court for details.


How long is my license valid, and when should I submit my license renewal?

Licenses are valid for five years. At least two months before your license expires, you should go to court to apply for renewal.


What states does Georgia share firearms license reciprocity with?

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming all recognize Georgia-issued firearms licenses. You should acquaint yourself with firearms restrictions in those states when possible.

Savannah Arsenal’s Note: Effective June 2016, Georgia and South Carolina now share reciprocity.

Savannah Arsenal’s Note: In Georgia it is suggested to call the Probate Court of the county where you reside to find out their exact application process. Other states that issue Concealed Weapons Permits will have their own process. Check out’s Concealed Carry Permit by State, or contact your county’s Probate Court.

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Dealing With The Police When Carrying Concealed:


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Aftermath Of A Shooting:

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Weapon Carrying Conditions:

Condition FOUR:

  • Magazine removed
  • Chamber empty
  • Bolt or slide forward
  • Ejection port cover closed (M16/AR-15/M4)
  • Weapon on SAFE

Condition THREE:

  • Magazine inserted
  • Chamber empty
  • Bolt or slide forward
  • Ejection port cover closed (M16/AR-15/M4)
  • Weapon on SAFE

Condition TWO:

  • Magazine inserted
  • Round in the chamber
  • Bolt or slide forward
  • Hammer down (1911 or other similar handgun)
  • Weapon on SAFE
  • Not applicable for the M16/AR-15/M4

Condition ONE:

  • Magazine inserted
  • Round in the chamber
  • Bolt or slide forward
  • Ejection port cover closed (M16/AR-15/M4)
  • Hammer Cocked (1911 or other similar handgun)
  • Weapon on SAFE

Condition ZERO:

  • Magazine inserted
  • Round in the chamber
  • Bolt or slide forward
  • Ejection port cover open or closed (M16/AR-15/M4)
  • Hammer Cocked (1911 or other similar handgun)
  • Weapon on FIRE

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Concealed Carry Tips:

Be sure to check out Savannah Arsenal’s Handgun Accessories page for discussions on belts, holsters, and other concealed carry gear.

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Concealed Carry Mistakes:


10 Common Carry Mistakes,

from Dieter Heren’s blog, Saltwater & Gunpowder:

“None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes from time to time, it’s how we learn. However, making mistakes when concealing a firearm can have serious implications. Instead of making you learn by trial and error, I’ve compiled a list of 10 common mistakes so you don’t have to find out the hard way. Most of the mistakes I’ve listed are made by those still new to carrying concealed, but even those with years of experience can be guilty of making a couple of these mistakes from time to time.

1. Having the minimum required training:

In many states, a hunter safety course is enough to qualify you for a concealed weapons license. However, these courses often focus solely on being safe with a rifle in the woods. Although it’s great to know you’re not allowed to shoot over a road the next time you go hunting, it doesn’t exactly prepare you to go out into the regular world and interact with others now that you all of a sudden have a gun on your hip.

Even some classes that are specifically designed around qualifying you for a concealed weapons permit don’t do much in the way of preparing you. Do your research before choosing a class and find a reputable one that is more concerned with proper training rather than getting you out of the course as quickly as possible. The course concerned most about money will often go through some of the basics, have you shoot a few rounds, and send you on your way. You want a course that has instructors who are going to help you in every way possible to make sure you leave their class prepared.

Finally, don’t think that just because you met the minimum requirements for a license you’re now ready to navigate every situation you find yourself in. A responsible person who carries concealed is constantly learning, both mentally and physically. As legendary football coach Bo Schembechler often said, “Every day you’re getting better or worse…you never stay the same”.

2. Printing/Exposing:

Printing, where the outline of your gun appears from pushing against your clothing and exposing a part of the gun are mistakes that often arise from complacency. When you first start carrying, often you’re so concerned about your gun showing in public you’ll do anything and everything to make sure it never happens. After carrying every day for years, it’s still a thought but you’re nowhere near as scared of it happening. Just take that extra second to make sure you’re not printing or going to expose your gun at some point.

Honestly, most people are pretty ignorant to their surroundings anyways, but it certainly isn’t worth the trouble of someone freaking out if they do notice because you didn’t want to bother changing your 2 sizes too small shirt. Although some people are extremely concerned about printing, it’s not the end of the world if it happens at some point (although it may be illegal in some localities). It’s certainly not something to get into the habit of doing, but compared to exposing your gun, printing is nowhere near as big a concern. If your gun is exposed, you could find yourself in some serious hot water. The last thing you want to deal with is half the police station closing in on you with guns drawn because you bent over to pick something up and the lady behind you happened to notice your gun.

Trust me, if someone sees your gun and they’re scared, the 911 call won’t be a rational explanation of what happened. Take your time to make sure you’re not printing or in danger of exposing your gun before you leave the house.

3. Using a cheap holster:

This mistake is made not from purchasing an inexpensive holster, but a poorly made one. That nylon holster you got on special for $2.99 probably isn’t going to become your go to holster. There are some great holsters that aren’t overly expensive and some pretty awful holsters that are way too expensive. Whatever material you prefer for your holster, it needs to be able to retain your gun properly and be comfortable enough to wear day in and day out.

There’s a reason those who have been carrying for years have a drawer full of holsters in their house, the holsters didn’t perform the way they needed to. Don’t be afraid to experiment with several different holsters to find the one fits your lifestyle and your body properly. The benefits of a quality holster far outweigh the true cost of buying a holster solely based on price.

4. Wearing improper clothing:

There are two different aspects to this mistake. The first goes back to the mistake of allowing your gun to print or become exposed. Just because you carry a gun doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of Hawaiian shirts and baggy pants. You can still have a sense of personal style while carrying, you just need to be sure that the clothes you’re wearing accommodate the gun you carry. With a little bit of experimentation you should be able to find the best way to do this that fits your own personal style.

The second aspect of this mistake comes with wearing tacti-cool clothing. Walking around in head to toe BLACKHAWK and 5.11 Tactical clothing just screams gun. The idea is to conceal the fact you have a gun on you, not announce it to the world.

5. Fingering/Checking the gun:

This is a bad habit often seen by those just starting to carry concealed. As they go about their routine, they’ll casually reach back and touch the gun with their fingers or sometimes blatantly just check to see if it’s still there. Don’t worry, if you’ve gotten a proper holster it’s still there. If you catch yourself doing this when you carry, suppress the urges and leave it alone! All you’re doing is giving people another chance to see that you have a gun on you. With a bit of experience and self control this urge will go away.

6. Not practicing with SD ammo:

A self defense situation is not the time to find out that your gun doesn’t like to feed your chosen self defense ammo. Take the time to practice with several different brands of SD ammo and find the one that your gun likes best. Yes, it’s more expensive than strictly shooting white box Winchester, but the extra expense is worth knowing that if the time comes to defend yourself or your family, you’re actually going to be able to do so.

7. Adjusting in public:

Unlike checking to see if the gun is still there, this mistake comes when the holster has slid to an uncomfortable position or something has happened that you now need to re-adjust your holster. Doing this in public is a very bad idea. The movement of re-adjusting will draw quite a bit of attention to yourself, much more so than just touching the gun. If you do need to make an adjustment and you’re in a public area, the best places to do so are in a locked bathroom stall, your car, or a dressing room without security cameras. Just find a private place where you’re able to fix whatever needs to be fixed without worrying about someone figuring out what you’re doing.

8. Carrying on occasion:

If you’re going to carry, do your best to carry all the time. You wear your seat belt every time you drive (at least I hope you do) but you likely won’t end up in a car accident. The same concept applies to carrying your gun. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation where you need it, whether you’re away from home the whole day or just making a quick run to the gas station. Incidents happen when you least expect them, it pays to always be prepared.

9. Not understanding firearm laws:

It’s your responsibility when you decide to carry to know all the laws that can effect you, whether local, state, or federal. Every state and area is different. Find out what the exact law says for every area you find yourself in. Know whether you’re in a stand your ground or a duty to retreat state. Know where you’re allowed to carry and where you’re not. These laws are typically very easy to find with a quick Google search so you have absolutely no excuse not to know.

Luckily, the vast majority of people who carry are extremely responsible and have studied the laws so much they could pass as a lawyer. If you’re not one of these people and haven’t taken the time to know the ins and outs of firearm laws in your area, take the time to do so now.

10. Having the wrong mindset:

As I previously mentioned, most people who carry concealed are extremely responsible and have the mindset that they’ll do everything in their power to avoid a conflict, but if violence comes their way, they’re prepared to do what it takes to protect themselves and their family. This is a great mindset to have. A big mistake that some less responsible people make is having an invincible or escalation mindset. These people will go out of their way to go down that sketchy alleyway or will intentionally escalate a fight. Just because you carry a gun it doesn’t mean it’s time to start looking for trouble or trying to start a fight. In fact, it means the exact opposite. By carrying a gun, you must do everything in your power to avoid trouble.

Go out there every day as a respectful and responsible person just going about your daily business and you likely will never have to use your gun in a self-defense scenario. Should the absolute worst happen, you and the police will know you had no hand in bringing the situation upon yourself. Don’t leave any room for doubt.”

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Carry With A Loaded Chamber vs. Unloaded Chamber:


Why You Should Carry With A Round In The Chamber:

“Well, a gun that’s unloaded… ain’t good for nothin”.

– Rooster Cogburn –

As long as I have carried a handgun I’ve run across people with different opinions regarding carrying their firearm with a round in the chamber. Most want to carry with a round chamber in order to facilitate a quick draw and shoot, but some want to carry with the chamber empty to ensure against an accidental discharge.

In my humble opinion, planning to draw and chamber a round after the SHTF is like planning to fasten your seatbelt after you see the other guy run a stop sign.

Below are some blogs and videos that discuss whether or not you should carry your semi-automatic pistol with a round in the chamber. It is recommended that you carry your firearm chambered so that you can quickly engage a threat. You may find that you can’t draw and chamber a round with one hand if you are having to fight or hold back an attacker with the other. One arm may be injured making it more problematic to chamber a round. Law enforcement always carries with a round in the chamber for this very reason, and you should too.

Won’t I Accidentally Shoot Myself?:

If you are carrying with a round in the chamber of a modern, well maintained, quality pistol in a rigid Kydex or quality leather holster that covers the trigger and trigger guard, then there isn’t a way for your pistol to accidentally discharge. The linked blogs and attached videos will discuss safety issues and procedures related to carrying a chambered firearm, but some quick pointers include:

Follow the four golden rules of firearms safety:

  1. Treat all guns as though they are always loaded and always perform a clearance check every time you pick one up.
  2. Never point a gun at anything that you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you are on target and have made the decision to shoot.
  4. Always be sure of your target and beyond.

Seek out professional training for concealed carry.

Practice. Practice. Practice: After triple-checking that there is no live ammunition inside and in the vicinity of the firearm, load the magazines with dummy ammunition. Practice drawing and presenting the pistol on target, being careful not to touch the trigger until on the sights are on target and you are ready to shoot. Practice dry-firing at a spot on a far wall. Be careful that the pistol does not move when the firing mechanism clicks. When the gun clicks, practice clearing a malfunction, and then carefully holster.

Use extreme care when holstering your pistol. Holstering may be the most dangerous part of carrying a round in the chamber. This is a task that is not to be taken lightly. Be very careful that your finger is not touching the trigger. Be EXTREMELY careful that your jacket, shirt, gear, drawstring, etc. do not get into the trigger area as you insert the pistol into the holster. People have accidentally been shot this way. Don’t be fearful, but do be respectful, and this won’t happen to you. As a practice, when first putting on your gun for the day, first insert the pistol into the holster, and then put on the holster with the gun already in it.

Dangerous Leather HolsterUse a modern, quality holster that completely covers the handgun’s trigger and trigger guard. Kydex plastic is best material, especially with IWB holsters (inside the waistband), but if you choose real or synthetic leather, make sure that it has inserts to keep it from getting worn and droopy, especially around the trigger area (as seen in the photo to the right). Throw away old and worn out holsters. There isn’t any reason to keep them.

Don’t carry a chambered semi-automatic pistol in a soft pocket holster. Most pocket-size semi-autos have long or stiff trigger pulls for added safety value when pocket carrying, however some don’t and require any more trigger effort to fire than their bigger brothers. Desantis NemesisRegardless of the make and model, I find it disconcerting to carry a chambered semi-auto that is pointing at my reproductive gear while in a soft pocket holster. Ironically I have carried a S&W 642 hammerless revolver (stiff trigger) in a pocket holster for over 20 years without any fear or problems (as seen in the photo to the right), but when I carried a Glock 26 in a similar holster I chose not to carry with a round in the chamber as the Glock has a much lighter trigger pull than the revolver. The choice is going to be a personal call for you.

Please feel free to comment at the bottom of the page with your questions, concerns, and experiences.

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Retention Holsters vs. Non-retention Holsters:

Coming soon!

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Carrying Extra Ammunition:

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Concealed Carry Organizations:

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Open Carry Is Dangerous:


When you openly carry a firearm everyone knows that you have it. Like it or not your firearm will be the elephant in the room. It will get noticed. This is bad for several reasons:

You Lose The Initiative:

A bad guy is going to blend in until it is time not to blend in. They will attack at a time and place of their choosing. You won’t have much time to see them coming, if any at all. They know what they are going to do before you know what they are going to do. When you are openly carrying a firearm in plain sight you have given away any tactical advantage that you might have had if you were carrying concealed. The crook knows that you have a gun, but you don’t know that they do. Who is more dangerous? It ain’t you! You have lost the initiative before the fight has even begun.

An openly carried firearm screams “SHOOT ME”. Scenario: a violent bank robber attempts to rob a bank where inside a uniformed police officer and two civilians are conducting business. Who is going to get shot at first? Look at the photo at the top of this post. If you were a bad guy committing a felony in that grocery store then that woman would be the first one that you would shoot. If she had the same firearm concealed, then you would see her as just another middle aged woman shopping at the grocery store and probably wouldn’t even give her consideration. If she were carrying concealed then she would pose a legitimate threat to you as a criminal, but when she openly carries she helps prioritize who gets shot first. Her.

If I Can See It, Then I Can Take It From You:

Holsters that are employed by uniformed law enforcement have some level of retention. This means that they are designed to make it harder for a perpetrator to snatch the cop’s firearm from their holster and use it on them. There is usually some type of special technique or a button or lever to operate to remove the firearm, rather than simply pull it straight out. Police officers wear their firearms out in the open. Everyone knows that they have it. That makes the weapon a target for bad guys that don’t want to go to jail. The officer’s first defense against a gun snatch should be vigilance, but the mechanical retention of the holster is a close second place defense should they cop lose situation awareness, or end up in a physical altercation that exceeds their technical and physical capabilities (getting their asses kicked).

If you are going to openly carry then you should use some type of holster with retention. The problem is that most “civilian” holsters are made for concealed carry and don’t feature any type of retention other than friction or maybe a thumb snap. Without a retention device it is just too damn easy to take someone’s gun from them. If anyone has pursued post-graduate education in any of our nation’s fine penal institutions, or has taken some Krav Maga classes at their local dojo then they are plenty capable of taking your gun away from you. If you think that they can’t then you are foolish.

There are a number of times in my 10 years as a citizen of Savannah that I have witnessed SCMPD plain clothes detectives out at lunch, in the mall, or on the street with their badges hanging around their neck or on their belt, and their Glock hanging on their belt in a cheesy Fobus or Blackhawk holster. I’ve seen them with their backs to the door, bent over a basket full of sandwich and fries, with $500 worth Austrian built, Chatham County hardware sticking out for anyone to grab. I have been amazed at the lack of situational awareness, lack of technique, and poor choice of equipment employed for open carry by our local police. I have been amazed that upper level management would allow the practice. I suspect that they don’t know any better themselves. If a detective in NYC, Chicago, or Los Angeles openly carried without a retention holster they would get themselves hurt. I’m not being judgmental; I’m just making an observation.

Open Carrying A Firearm Draws Negative Attention:

Open carry draws a lot of attention. Like I said earlier, that magnum on your hip is the elephant in the room. No one will miss it.

“Is she a cop? Is he about to rob the joint? Why do they need a gun anyway? I hate guns. What a redneck. Buffy, call the police.”

I assume that because you are reading this that you are not scared of firearms, are pro 2nd Amendment, and value your right to carry. Like it or not, a great percentage of the population does not like guns, doesn’t think that you should have a gun, and would like nothing more than for Glorious Leader to over-exercise his executive privilege and turn you into a felon by the stroke of his pen. If you open carry then you make the average anti-gun sheeple nervous and give them fuel for their anti-gun agenda. Don’t give the pricks the satisfaction. You don’t want the local cops to be unnecessarily dispatched to deal with the confusion regarding your lawfully carried gun when they are needed elsewhere to deal with real criminals. If you keep your weapon concealed then the anti-gun “sheeple”, the “sheepdog” cops, and most importantly the wolves will never know that you are carrying.

So What Is The Lesson?

If you are going to use a holster without retention, then be sure to cover it with your t-shirt or jacket. If they don’t know that you have it, they can’t take it. If they don’t know that you have it then they can’t get pissed off about it. If you insist on open carry, use some type of retention holster, maintain situational awareness at all times, be ready to fight to keep your gun should the poop hit the fan, and expect to be the first one shot.

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Female Shooters — Getting Started:

“I would like to see every woman know how to handle [firearms] as naturally as they know how to handle babies.”

– Annie Oakley –


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How To Introduce A Female To Shooting:

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What Kind Of Gun(s) Should My Girl Shoot?:

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Females At The Gun Range:

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Firearms Carry Options For Women:

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Introducing Children To Firearms:

Real Range Time

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Firearms Training Philosophies:


“The best form of troop welfare is first class training.”

-Field Marshal Erwin Rommel-


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Practice Drills:

Hammer: 2 hits, center mass, 1 sight picture, normally 8-10 yards, possible 25 yards.

Jack-Hammer: 3 hits, 1 sight picture.

El Diablo: 18 yards; 18 rounds; 18 seconds, 3 magazines; 6 rounds each; 6 shots standing, kneeling, prone.

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Target Shooting Diagnosis:

Target Shooting Diagnosis

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Dry Fire Practice:

Dry fire is the practice of “firing” a firearm without ammunition. That is, to pull the trigger and allow the hammer or striker to drop on an empty chamber. Dry fire practice will help refine your trigger control. It will pay off with huge dividends when you go back to the gun range. Dry fire techniques are discussed further below.

Most modern firearms are mechanically safe to dry fire, however certain firearms can easily be damaged if the firearm’s trigger mechanism is fired on an empty chamber. Damage can be prevented by using simulated ammunition generally referred to as “Snap Caps”, discussed further below.


What Guns Are Safe To Dry Fire?

Firearms that can be damaged by dry firing include, but are not limited to:

  • Hammerless double barrel shotgun.
  • Any rimfire (.22LR, 17 HMR, .22WMR, etc.), although it is probably okay with a modern Ruger 10/22.
  • Hammerless revolvers (Smith & Wesson 642/442)
  • Any older or antique firearm.

Guns that are safe to dry fire include:

  • Glock
  • Springfield XD
  • Modern revolvers with a transfer bar rather than an exposed firing pin on the hammer.
  • All modern Smith & Wesson handguns, except for rimfire (although I have had a hammerless model 642 .38 Special that suffered internal damage that a gunsmith blamed on dry firing).


Use Snap-Caps To Protect Your Firearm While Dry Firing:


How To Dry Fire:

Before discussing how to dry fire practice, it is absolutely important to follow theses safety rules:

  • Triple check your firearm to be sure that it is unloaded.
  • No ammunition in your practice area.
  • Your practice area should allow you to point the gun in a safe direction.
  • When your dry fire routine is over, IT’S OVER.

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Practice Results:

If you are getting 100% of your hits where you want them to be then you are not pushing yourself hard enough.

If you are getting only 70% of your hits where you want them you are pushing yourself too hard.

You should be getting 90%.

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Distance Conversions:

Meters to Yards:

  • 100 meters = 109 yards
  • 200 meters = 218 yards
  • 300 meters = 327 yards

Yards to Meters:

  • 100 yards = 91 meters
  • 200 yards = 183 meters
  • 300 yards = 274 meters

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.22LR Conversion Kits For Training:

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“One is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully.”

-Lt. COL. Jeff Cooper, U.S.M.C.-

Range Safety and Etiquette:

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Characters At The Gun Range:


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Gun Range Box / Bag Checklist:

This is a list of items that will make your trip to the gun range much more enjoyable and productive:

  • Set of small and medium size screw-drivers
  • Set of Allen wrenches
  • Tube of “blue” Loctite Threadlocker (non-permanent)
  • Spotting scope (if shooting distances to far to see where the rounds are hitting)
  • Heavy duty staple gun plus extra staples
  • Sharpie marker (to mark targets)
  • Baby butt-wipes (To clean the gun-shot residue off your hands after shooting. Remove them from their plastic box and place in a big Zip-Lock bag so that they do not dry out.)
  • Wide masking tape (To tape paper targets to cardboard. Don’t buy cheap tape. It will not tear well and will become a thorn in your side when trying to tape up targets.)

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Gun Store Safety, Rules, and Etiquette:

Gun Store Rules:

Don’t walk into a gun store wearing or carrying a loaded firearm. If you need to carry a firearm into a gun store, make sure that it is unloaded and then put it in some type of carrying case. When someone walks in carrying a firearm, the employees have to do a split second assessment of whether you are robbing the joint, or are just a douche bag.

Don’t walk into a gun store wearing a hoodie with the hood on, a hat and sunglasses, etc. Remove your cover and walk in so that they can see your face. honest-gun-store-employeeWhen someone walks into a gun store dressed like that, the employees have to make a split second assessment of whether you are robbing the joint, or are just a douche bag.

Gun stores are like any other business in that they are there to make a profit. It’s okay to go in and take a look at the merchandise, but if you do not have a serious intent on buying anything, do not monopolize the store employee’s time looking at a bunch of different guns or asking a bunch of questions, especially if they have other customers that are waiting to be helped.

Gun stores do not care what you read on the internet or what your cousin that just got back from Afghanistan said to buy. They only want you to spend money. If they have what you want then they will gladly sell you that. If they don’t, then they will try to convince you that something else that they do have in stock will be better for you. If you don’t spend money, then they can’t keep their doors open. Like with any business transaction, do your due diligence, and if they can’t produce what you really want or need, move on to the next store.


Watch These Videos So That You Aren’t A Gun Store Douchebag:


Gun Store Employee Rant:

This is a little off topic venting and does not present any useful information, but visit enough gun stores and I think that you will find it true. The same characters work at every gun store/range that I’ve ever been to.

The Best Gun Builder…Ever:

Don’t buy a Colt, DD, or LMT AR-15. All you are doing is paying for their namesake. This guy can build you a better rifle than the factory can. Just don’t ask where he hammer forges his barrels. He use to build sniper rifles for the CIA. Remington wants to buy his designs, but he turned them down because he is an artist and he isn’t into it for the money. How do you know this? He will tell you.

The Operator:

There is always the ubiquitous toolbox working behind the counter that was an uber-elite Ranger Danger Recon Operative that trained SEALs and made long-range hits for the CIA deep behind enemy lines. How do you know that he did all that stuff? He will be sure to tell you. He has the sleeve tattoos, shaved head and bushy beard, operator ball cap with sunglasses on top, and paracord bracelet just like on the YouTube videos from 2008. He has the gut of Fat Albert holding a pair of man tits up high and proud that strippers and porn stars pay big money to acquire, covered by Under Armor shirt that probably fit correctly this time last year. He makes sure that you see his super custom Glock 19 for which he has single-handedly corrected all of Gaston’s design mistakes riding comfortable in custom Kydex, as true professionals only carry in Kydex holsters. (This is the same G-19 that he made all of the long-range CIA hits with).

The Ranked Three-Gun or IDPA Champion:

This guy only carries a highly customized 1911 that he paid more for than he did for his Associate’s degree from the local community college. It is fairly reliable as long as he uses the correct ammunition. Why does he carry a 45? Because they don’t make a 46. His implement of war and competition rides comfortably in a custom leather holster, as true professionals only carry in leather holsters. How do you know that he is a ranked three-gun competitor? Don’t be worried, for if you can’t automatically infer this from the smart-looking Smith & Wesson shooting team jersey that he is wearing, he will be sure to slip that factoid into the conversation to make sure that you know. Did the in-store “Gun Builder” “build” any of his competition guns that he blazes his way to glory with each weekend? No. Some guy in New Mexico that you have never heard of, but it’s implied that you are a tactical faggot if you haven’t, is the one that took 18 months to mine the ore from the earth to forge the finest shooting implements ever assembled with a barrel vice. (Queen Elizabeth is on the waiting list to get one of his guns.)

The “Dude, Eat A Sandwich!” Guy:

There is always the wormy 130 pound beanpole with wearing a GSSF t-shirt that’s way too big, 5.11 tactical pants barely held up with a rigger’s belt (you never know when you might have to rappel down the side of the Uncle Mike’s display case), Merrell mids (because the floor of a gun store is hell on your feet) and a Glock 21 on his belt that is bigger than he is. For some reason you question as to whether he is actually old enough to buy a handgun, and feel that he would look more natural in a college dorm or frat house.

Be sure to watch for these guys the next time that you are at a guns store.
They will be there.
I promise.


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Six Month Firearms Maintenance:


Shit I Gotta Get Fucking DoneWe just changed the clocks to daylight savings time. It’s time to do some chores with regards to our self-defense firearms.

There are a few chores in our lives that need to be done at regular intervals. Rotate tires, change oil, change batteries in smoke detectors, pay bills, pay taxes, etc. I use my birthday as a reminder to replace the batteries in my smoke detectors and to check the pressure in all of my fire extinguishers.

If you carry a firearm or have any firearms staged in your home for self-defense then there are a couple of other chores that you should do too. Several of these should be accomplished at least twice a year. To make it easy to remember I choose to do them when we change the clocks back and forth between standard time and daylight savings time (fall & spring).

Wipe Them Down And Lube Them:

Hopefully you are able to routinely practice with your defensive firearm(s) and are disciplined enough to properly maintain them after each practice session. You may not have had the chance to practice lately (shame on you…shame), or you may practice with one weapon, but others don’t make it to the range. On several occasions I have witnessed someone bring a firearm out to the range after it has spent an extended time in storage and it won’t function correctly. Many times I have seen empty casings that stuck and wouldn’t fall free from a revolver’s cylinder, and cartridges fail to feed or a casing fail to eject from a semi-auto. Usually I will let the shooter struggle for a few minutes before I ask if I can help (I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence or try to give advice to G.I. Joe who is just home from the war). I always ask when was the last time they shot it. “I dunno…a year or two ago. I cleaned it before I put it away. I can’t figure out what’s wrong.”

I know what’s wrong.

Many petroleum bases lubricants deteriorate into sticky varnish over an extended time period. Legos Gun CleaningA year or two ago the shooter cleaned his gun, and afterwards its action was slick as warm butter. Two years later the residual lubricant in the chamber and on the moving parts has turned into a thin, film of goo, similar to the consistency of maple syrup. Rounds may fail to completely charge into battery, or empty casing may get stuck in the chamber to a point that the extractor can’t pull them out. Slides may drag and move sluggishly on frames and not move as freely as they should. I have on several occasions helped a shooter break down their firearm, scrub its parts with an old toothbrush and some fresh gun oil, and then run a brush and patch through the chamber and barrel until they were clean. After a good cleaning their guns always run like a scalded dog (southern slang for really fast). It’s bad enough when a gun that was cleaned two years ago acts like that. Imagine if it was put away dirty and all of the gunshot residue (GSR) impregnated oil turned to varnish. It ain’t gonna shoot.

So what does this mean to you? If you have firearms that you intend for self-defense purposes (carry on your person, or staged at home) you should keep them cleaned and lubricated on a regular basis. Just because it was cleaned a long time ago and then put into storage does not mean that it is still a dependable self-defense tool. Twice a year I fully disassembly any firearms that I might stake my life on and give them thorough cleaning and detailing. Is this overkill? Maybe, but I’ve seen “clean guns” fail too many times, but every time that I shoot my recently maintained firearms they always go bang. Coincidence?

Rotate Your Magazines:

IMG_3392If you are going to keep magazines loaded in your carry gun or home defense gun, I would suggest rotating magazines every six months in order to keep the magazine springs from loosing strength. Many believe that with modern metallurgy the magazine springs will not develop memory when compressed over long periods of time, however my equipment is expensive and my life is too important to take a chance.

Regardless of you metallurgical beliefs, your carried magazines will accumulate dirt, lint, and salt from sweat. After six months of duty it will be a good time for you to disassemble and inspect your recently carried magazines for cracks or dents, and to clean out any dirt or lint that collected in it while it was loaded. You may choose to use a gun oil and rag to wipe off the magazine spring and wipe out the inside of the magazine body to help prevent corrosion, but be sure to wipe them completely dry inside and out before reassembly. Any buildup of oil can penetrate cartridge primers and diminish reliability.

When we change the clocks in the Spring and Fall seasons, I rotate my magazines. I have my magazines numbered with a paint pen and simply download the magazine(s) that I’ve carried for the last six months and then upload the next magazine(s) in sequence.

Battery Replacement:

Everyone knows that they should replace the batteries in the their smoke detectors each year. How about the batteries in the your EDC flashlight, weapons mounted light, and firearms optics? If it concerns a firearm that I might have to trust my life to then I will change out the batteries once a year when I change the batteries in the smoke detectors. Figure out a day of the year that you won’t forget (New Year’s, birthday, etc.).

If I use a light or optic frequently then I will replace the batteries every six months, whether they need it or not. I use the old batteries in other range guns or the kids’ toys.

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Coming soon.


Coming soon.

Cleaning Rods:

Coming soon.

Cotton Swabs:

Coming soon.


Save old, black or dark blue cotton t-shirts and cut them up into 8×8″ rags for gun cleaning. Avoid using old white t-shirts. Using white t-shirt rags on firearms with rough finishes, such as Parkerizing, will leave white lent all over your firearms. You will be much happier with black.

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Cleaning Supplies:


Gun Scrubber:


Break Free CLP:


Hoppe’s 9:

Hoppe's 9x


More soon!

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Loctite Threadlocker:

LoctiteOver the years I have witnessed shooters at the range suffer as their shot groups got bigger and bigger, and only after many expensive and frustrating rounds later realize that their optics was no longer firmly mounted on the weapon. Over time the weapon’s recoil had loosened the screws of the mounts to the point that the scope could no longer hold zero. I have also seen many accessories such as backup iron sights (BUIS), grips, rails, light, and lasers start to wiggle loose. There is a simple and inexpensive solution to this problem. Loctite Threadlocker.

Whenever you add accessories to a firearm that involve screws you should always be sure to use a dot of Loctite “Blue 242” threadlocker on the threads of the screws. If you don’t then the screws will eventually start to wiggle loose over time. Don’t even bother mounting an item on a firearm if you aren’t going to Loctite the threads. It won’t stay on.


“Blue” (242) is the semi-permanent kind. Even though it says “Blue” it comes in a red tube (as seen above in the photo of the packaging). This is what you want. A dot on the screw’s threads (like the photo on the packaging) will keep the screws from backing out of the attached item during the repeated abuse that a high-caliber firearm can dish out, but you will still be able to remove it when you want to.

“Red” (272) Loctite is the permanent kind. DO NOT BUY THIS. TO RELEASE IT YOU USUALLY HAVE TO HEAT THE SET SCREW WITH A TORCH. You are guaranteed to damage or destroy the part that you are trying to remove.

Loctite can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other home improvement stores.

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DOs and DON’Ts:

Coming soon.

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Do not attempt to remove the side plate.

The internal mechanisms of revolvers are intended to run dry. Do not spray oil inside of the pistol.

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tumblr_ltjshfBRrn1qgjma6o1_400Coming soon!

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Semi-Automatic Rifles:

aaab708469a9d70e1716a728ac6838ebComing soon!

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tumblr_n4l5yfaKtB1rrgl8wo2_250Coming soon!

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Coming soon!

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Corrosive Ammunition: How To Clean Your Guns:

There are many methods, but they all involve this:

  1. Rinse salts out with water.
  2. Dry.
  3. Clean/lubricate as normal.
  4. Inspect the rifle 2-5 days after to ensure there is no rust.

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Cleaning Recommendations:

When using bore brushes, rods and patches, or Bore Snakes, start in from the chamber and push (or pull, depending on the cleaning tool) out through the end of barrel. DO NOT ENTER THROUGH THE END OF THE BARREL. You will damage the crown of the barrel, which will effect accuracy.

Clean with firearm with some type gun oil or CLP to help break up old gunshot residue (GSR) and to protect the metal from rust and corrosion. Wipe dry, and lubricate the wear marks on moving parts with a thin film of Lithium Grease. Small guns need only a very thin film of grease while larger guns will need a thicker film of grease.


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