Bad Advice: Firearms Edition

I’m not sure which topic on the Internet presents more possibilities for finding really lousy information and advice: interpersonal relationships or firearms stuff. Granted, there’s lots of bad advice one can get in the real world as well, some of which has left me head-scratching with awe and wonder at the uselessness (or dangerousness) of it. Which may be why I avoid both topics on the ‘Net, aside from a few pretty trustworthy blogs or manufacturers’ sites. Because some of the things I’ve been told . . .1) “Since you have small hands, you should use a small pistol. Especially a light-weight one.” Ah, no, because unless I am just poking holes in paper, I am shooting to stop something, probably something that will shrug off that .22 round unless my aim is far, far better than Murphy allows for. And the last thing I want to deal with is nasty recoil (large round, small/light pistol).

2) “Here, how about this one in pink [or with pearlized grips, or in lavender]?” No, thank you. I am looking for a firearm, not a fashion accessory. The feral dog that is trying to bite me doesn’t give a **** about the color of my firearm.

3) “Just hold it loosely so the recoil won’t be as bad.” Obviously said by someone with large hands who has never handled a shotgun or a pistol larger than .22. If I want to end up with one or more of the following: spectacular bruises, sitting on the ground, broken wrists, or missing teeth (or worse), I will limp-wrist the firearm. I know about seating a shotgun. Even I only needed to be sloppy once before I learned.

4) “If you think you hear someone breaking in or the alarm goes off, call [name of prominent lawyer]. He lives up the road and will come over to see what’s going on. We told him you’d be housesitting for us.”  Um, if someone busts the door or window in at 0300, I’m pretty sure yelling, “Stop and get out or I’ll call a lawyer” is not going to be that strong of a burglar repellant. Although things may be different in your part of the world.

5) “If you think someone is breaking in, or won’t leave your yard,  fire a shotgun into the air to warn them off.” Sorry, Mr. Vice President, that is really bad legal advice. Although the sound of a shotgun being pumped has been known to remind people that they have urgent appointments elsewhere, most jurisdictions have laws about reckless discharge of firearms.

6) “Don’t worry. I know it’s not loaded.” Rule #1 – the firearm is ALWAYS loaded. Unless it is in multiple pieces on the table, it is assumed to be loaded and will be treated with the respect a loaded firearm deserves.

7) “Just point it anywhere. It’s not loaded.” Rule #1, plus never, ever point the weapon at something you are not planning to/ willing to shoot a hole in (Rule #3).

8) “Don’t worry about the trigger, the safety’s on and I’m sure it’s not loaded.” Rule #2 – keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. (Aka keep your booger hook off the bang switch.)

9) “Just aim at that brush-pile over there.” Rule #4 – If you are not absolutely sure of your target and what might be behind it, don’t fire, don’t cover it with the muzzle, and keep your finger well away from the trigger.

10) “You don’t need a holster, just tuck it into your pocket and you are good to go.” Good to go to the ER, assuming you didn’t bleed out after shooting a hole in your femoral artery or some other big pipe.

I am not a lawyer, these cautionary comments are not intended to provide any sort of legal advice or training. They are just examples of some of the bad info that I’ve been offered over the past 25 years or so. The majority of firearm owners and users that I know are careful, contentious, and cringe just as much as I do when they hear this sort of stuff. And BTW, if you want to get me to part with my hard-earned $$$ for a firearm? Don’t offer me anything in a pastel shade normally found in Easter toys or spring dresses. Show me what I’m asking about, not what you think a “girl like you” needs. (Happened twice, two different places. Second time the manager caught the dude and apologized to me. He did not lose the sale.)

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