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SAFETY

 

GUN SAFETY

The attributes involved in properly handling a firearm are essentially the same as those involved in safely driving an automobile or operating industrial machinery.  These include knowing how the equipment or tool works, acquiring the skills to correctly handle it, and using caution during its operation.  There is no room for ignorance, inattention, aggression, or intoxication.

Essentially all gun accidents can be avoided.  The concept that "accidents will happen" has no place in the mind of the responsible gun owner.

Although true gun accidents involving the death of children are extremely rare, little comes to mind that would devastate a parent more.  Therefore, plan to "gun proof" your children and their friends by proper training and guidance.  Instill in them the following admonitions:  if they find any gun, don't touch or handle it, leave the area, and inform an adult.

It is wise to properly secure firearms in  gun safes or mini safes to virtually eliminate the potential for accidents.

Mini safes provide the security of a lockable enclosure with extremely quick accessibility.

When shooting or handling a firearm yourself, three fundamental rules apply.

  1. The primary, or golden rule, mandates that the gun always be pointed in a safe direction.  Never point the gun at yourself or others.  Although common sense will determine which direction is safest, upward or downward is usually best.

  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are actually ready to shoot the firearm.  Avoid the finger's natural tendency to rest on the trigger.  Rather, place your trigger finger on the side of the trigger guard.

  3. Always assume that any gun you pick up is loaded.  Immediately open the gun's action and visually verify that there is no chambered round.

Adherence to ten corollaries to the three fundamental rules will greatly minimize the chance for accident.

  1. Be sure of your target, and know what's behind it.  

  2. Don't shoot at a hard surface or at water due to the potential for ricochet.

  3. Make sure the firearm is safe to operate.

  4. Be sure the barrel is free of obstructions before using.

  5. Ensure that you know how the firearm functions and how to safely operate it.

  6. Be positive that the ammunition is compatible with the gun.

  7. Wear eye and ear protection.

  8. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and other intoxicants if you intend to go hunting or shooting.

  9. Never climb a tree or fence with a loaded firearm.

  10. Safely store or otherwise secure your guns.

 

 

SPEED LOADERS

An unsecured, loaded revolver is potentially an accident waiting to happen.  The need for safety, as well as the necessity to bring the revolver to bear quickly on an assailant, prompted the invention of the speed loader.  It facilitates rapid loading and reloading.  This small, simple device is sized to fit the cylinder of a specific make and model of revolver.  It holds a corresponding number of cartridges, held in an alignment which perfectly matches the cylinder chambers.  

The task of loading the empty revolver is accomplished quickly and easily by simultaneously inserting the preloaded cartridges within the speed loader into the chambers of the revolver cylinder.  Turning the retaining knob on the speed loader releases the cartridges.  The revolver cylinder is then pressed back into position and the gun is ready to fire. 

Extra speed loaders are carried as belt accessories by police officers and security personnel whose duty gun is a revolver.  Speed loaders also have a large following among the revolver shooting public.

Speed loaders are also available for autoloaders.  They discharge multiple rounds into a magazine, which in turn is inserted into the pistol.

A moon clip is a flat piece of circular, semi-circular or star shaped metal with cartridge-sized holes in it.  It is similar to a speed loader in its function of holding cartridges together for rapid insertion into a revolver cylinder.  It also has the added benefit of allowing rimless pistol ammunition to be fired from a revolver model specifically designed for the pistol caliber.    

As you know, when storing an empty revolver or autoloader in a location which provides ready access for self protection, it is wise to store ammunition (speed loader) in a separate, hidden, but still easily accessible location.  This measure of caution, together with the indispensable requirement to teach young children appropriate safety measures, may preclude the need for trigger locks.  This assessment, however, is a personal decision one must make based on unique individual circumstances.  If young people still live at home or visit the house, be sure to investigate how a mini safe might meet your needs for both safety and security.  

 

EYE And EAR PROTECTION

Proper ear and eye protection is a must when shooting.  It is interesting to note that the infamous silencers associated with mob hits, now illegal to possess without a federal permit, were originally devised to protect the hearing of everyday shooters.  Fortunately, relatively inexpensive hearing protectors are available which afford an appropriate level of gun shot sound attenuation. 

 

                                 EYE PROTECTION

Prescription eye glasses, especially when fitted with side shields, are generally considered to be suitable eye protection while shooting.  Plain glasses with polycarbonate lenses work well for those with naturally good vision.

 

EAR PROTECTION

From a physical perspective, sound, including noise, is a rapid alteration of air pressure above and below atmospheric pressure.  In air at approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the speed of sound is 1129 feet per second.  Excessive noise can cause permanent or temporary loss of hearing.  Continuous exposure to high-level noise is more harmful than intermittent or occasional exposure.

The decibel, dB, is the unit used to express physical intensity or pressure levels of sound.  It is dimensionless.  The decibel is one-tenth of the bel, a unit using common logarithms named for Alexander Graham Bell.  The starting or reference point for noise level measurement is 0 dB, which corresponds to the threshold of hearing for a young person with a very healthy ear.  The threshold of pain is 120 dB.  Because of the logarithmic nature of the decibel as a unit of measurement, 10 dB is 10 times more intense than 1 dB, 20 dB is 100 times (10 x 10) more intense, and 30 dB is 1000 times (10 x 10 x 10) more intense.

Noise levels, dB, associated with various activities are summarized as follows:
Noise Level Response Conversational Relationship
Rocket Launch 180
150
Carrier Deck/Jet Operation 140
Gun Shot 140 Painfully Load
130 Limit Amplified Speech
Jet Takeoff (200 ft) 120 Maximum Vocal Effect
Discotheque 120
Auto Horn (3 ft) 120
Riveting Machine 110
Jet Takeoff (2000 ft) 110
Garbage Truck 100 Shouting in Ear
Chain Saw 100
Snowmobile 100
New York Subway Station 100 Very Annoying
Heavy Truck (50 ft) 90 Hearing Damage (8 hr) Shouting at 2 ft
Lawn Mower 90
Shop Tools 90
Pneumatic Drill (50 ft) 80 Annoying Very Loud Conversation 2 ft
Alarm Clock 80
Rock Band 80
Freight Train (50 ft) 80
Freeway Traffic (50 ft) 70 Telephone Use Difficult Loud Conversation, 2 ft Possible contribution to hearing impairment begins
Air-Conditioning Unit (20 ft) 60 Intrusive Loud Conversation, 4 ft
Light Auto Traffic (100 ft) 50 Quiet Normal Conversation, 12 ft 
Average home 50
Bedroom 40 Quiet  
Soft Whisper  (15 ft) 30 Very Quiet
Quiet Library 30
Broadcasting Studio 20
10 Just Audible
0 Threshold of Hearing

 

The personal ear protector is a practical and economical means of reducing noise to acceptable levels.  This type of device consists of ear muffs which seal well around the ear,  joined by a head piece.  Good hearing protectors not only attenuate sound, they are also comfortable, durable and relatively simple.  Electronic ear protectors permit conversation at normal levels, but muffle loud sounds such as a gun shot.  Note that some earplugs may also provide significant sound attenuation.  Dry cotton plugs, however, offer little if any hearing protection.

Good hearing protectors will reduce the sound of a gunshot, 140 dB, to a level at which impairment to hearing will not occur.

 

KNIFE SAFETY

A dull knife is the most common cause of accidental cuts.  When a dull knife meets resistance, one's hand tends to be carried forward onto the blade, or the knife inadvertently jerks in an uncontrollable fashion due to excessive force exerted from a tensed-up hand and arm.

T he Armory is aware of one such "accident" in which an older sibling, cutting string, cost his younger brother an eye.

Good safety habits should focus on the following rules:

  1. Don't cut toward any body parts, including yours or those of people around you.  Keep the path of the knife clear.

  2. Properly maintain your knife.  Keep it sharp.

  3. Respect the purpose the knife was designed for and don't press it to perform beyond its limits.

Most knife accidents occur in the kitchen.  Adherence to the rules of knife safety would eliminate these accidents.

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