Back to Basics Pistol Handling

Today’s lesson comes from an ad by Colt in the American Rifleman of June 1984.  It featured noted pistol-shooting champion Bill Blankenship, whose summary of pistol carry safety was “Always be sure the hammer rests on an empty chamber.”

 Unless you are in a life and death situation hunting or being hunted by wounded dangerous game or by unfriendlies in the most dangerous game of all called war, forget all about the expression lock and load as used by our American cousins, or at least the ones in Hollywood.  Perhaps they mean load and lock, ie load a round into the chamber and apply the safety catch.  But then again, maybe they mean action locked up with one loaded in the chamber and who knows about the safety.  Will someone better informed than I please explain? 

Forget, too, about Condition 1, Condition 2 and so on, and listen to world champion Bill Blankenship.  “Think back about one-hundred and fifty years of handgun history.  From the Walker to the famous Single Action Army, to today’s MK IV Series 80, good shooters have always known the basics of handgun safety.  No safe shooter would point his gun at anything he did not intend to shoot.  Nor would he ever carry his sidearm with a chambered round under the hammer unless his situation required this state of readiness.  Handgunners have known for years that that was dangerous.  We must remember today what has been common knowledge for over 150 years.

 Shooting is a sport of responsibility, a sport where the equipment absolutely cannot be taken for granted.  No matter how classic or modern the firearm, no matter who made it, safety is the byword of our sport.  For example, if you drop almost any fully loaded gun, even a Colt Government Model pistol made prior to the MK IV Series 80 pistols, it can go off if it has a round in the chamber.  Also the ‘half cock’ notch is not a carrying safety, because if the hammer is not securely engaged in its notch, the gun can accidentally discharge. 

Does this mean that handguns, even Colts, are dangerous?  No!  But when people don’t abide by 150 years of established safety requirements, they can make them dangerous for all of us.  And honestly, in this day and age, we should know a lot more about the safe use of our handguns than our forefathers.

Never carry your revolver or automatic with a chambered round.  Always read carefully all the literature on gun safety supplied by the manufacturer – and abide by it.  Colt, with all of us, loves the sport of shooting.  But it is a sport of responsibility;  a sport where safety is paramount.  Being a good shooter means being a safe shooter.”

 All I can add to the above is: 

1.  Refer to the title of this article, and

2.  When devising a shooting safety regime, KISS, KISS, KISS.  (Keep it simple etc)