Thursday, August 11, 2016

Oh, the Vapors

Some folks tend to get the vapors about gun safety, and while gun safety is extremely important, it is also important to know how a rule is applied and what that rule really means.  Jeff Cooper promulgated the Four Rules, but meant to keep them simple, easy to remember, and applied with common sense.  As I recall, he continued to explain his rules up until the end of his life.

For example, his rule 2, which stated: Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.  Obviously, this meant guns in use, or guns that you have not verified the condition.  For example, it is impossible for me to not point the muzzle of my gun at the inside top of my gun safe, or the ceiling of my gun room, or even the cushion of the chair in which I'm sitting right now with a holstered pistol.  Sometimes the muzzle of the gun will cover things that you're not willing to destroy.  Use common sense.

Which brings us to this little artifact, a shoe top barrel rest made by the Allen Company.

The Firearm Blog is up in the vapors about this little device.
So shooters get complacent and rest the barrel of the gun on their shoe. This accessory will help keep your shoe from getting dirty. Since the guns are single shot and typically left open they are rationalized as being safe to flag oneself. However this does violate one of the firearm safety rules. Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction. Your foot is not a safe direction.
I admit I used to see these used quite a bit at high-end trap and skeet clubs.  Allen has sold thousands, if not tens of thousands of these over the years.  A high-end trap or skeet gun is normally either a double barrel or single barrel, and the gun is loaded only when the shooter steps to the line.  Now, a shotgun barrel is only a high-tech piece of pipe and you can see all the way down it.  If you can look into the breech of the gun and see grass out the other end, then we can be pretty certain that it's not loaded.

I first saw these things used at the McBride Rod and Gun Club back in the '60s and if Allen is still making them, I'm sure that someone is using them.

While we should all be safety conscious, we should also be sensible.  When people get the vapors about something like this, I ask them where they store their guns, and what they do about muzzle discipline?  Or, do they just leave their guns in a rack, outside, exposed to the clear blue sky?


Anonymous said...

The thing that would bother me about this would be forming habits, it you stick the muzzle of an unloaded shotgun on your toe while skeet shooting, will that make you more likely to do so with a loaded shotgun while hunting, but from force of habit?

Back when I was a Civil War reenactor we had a guy (who thankfully didn't last long) who had nasty habit of resting his hands on the muzzle of his musket (with the butt on the ground), then his chin on his hands. Even when it was loaded (blanks, but 50 gr of black power going off under your chin would still ruin your day). He apparently got into the habit of doing that when it wasn't loaded, and he'd forget when it was and do it anyway. We tried (gently, and not so gently) to point out that the lock is a mechanical device, which CAN fail, and if it does and the hammer falls on a cap over a loaded chamber he's going to be in a world of hurt if his hands and chin are over the muzzle. Even after we demonstrated what a blank load could do by shredding a coke can with one.

He decided reenacting wasn't for him.

Mark D

Tam said...

I would not use the people with the double-barrel ballistic golf clubs as models of firearms safety.

Yeah, they've made shoe buttons for a long time. Almost as long as they've made heroin. Both assist in forming bad habits. ;)

Old NFO said...

Never seen one used, but then I don't do trap... I suck with shotguns! :-(

Dorsal Spine said...

I understand the idea but I've also seen pictures of what a 12 gage does to your foot when you forget the gun is loaded. I'll pass on putting the muzzle on my shoe.

Anonymous said...

What I never understood was every trap range I've been on has little disks of rubber at the firing point to rest your gun barrel on, if this is needed. Only thing I can figure is some people are more willing to shoot their foot then I am.


Flugelman said...

Usta shoot a lot of skeet. Never rested the gun on my foot, always put the broke open over/under over my shoulder. Had a cousin shoot a toe off with a .22 way back when...

Lantry said...

I knew a guy back in high school that used to rest his shotgun on top of his foot. He blew that foot to bits one summer. The doctors managed to piece enough of it back together to make him a sort of flipper. He was a drummer in the band and it was always painful to watch him march with that flipper instead of a whole foot.

Those shoe buttons have always made me wonder why some people think the first rule of safe gun handling doesn't apply to them. I mean, the last person that never made a mistake in his life died over 2,000 years ago and they seem to think that they are all somehow incapable of making a mistake. They probably won't but if they do it will be permanent and, at best, extremely painful and expensive.

The Police Department in Punta Gorda decided it was fine for their highly trained special snowflake officer to ignore rule #1. A poor lady that went to their class thinking that they actually knew more about firearms than she did got killed because they thought that they were too something (I don't know what) to have to follow Rule 1. To me, the basic thought process of "well, that doesn't really apply to me because whatever" is the same.

Sorry to rant like that. Its just that Rule #1 only works when everybody follows it.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

A classmate (Class of '69) blew a hole through his foot with a shotgun. He was one of the first classmates on the deceased roster. He was an alright guy, but that was a habit that was accepted back then, and it got him.

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