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The biggest danger when handing someone a gun: they’ll pull the trigger, straight away, before the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. Time and time again, I see people taking hold of a handgun and immediately placing their finger into the trigger. Preparing for the Texas Firearms Festival, a taciturn GLOCK rep brought out some of Gaston’s gun for jobbing journos. He handed the firearm to the scribes in the manner pictured above. Genius! There’s no way for the recipient to grab the trigger (it’s facing inwards) and it forces them to think. Not to mention bring their weak hand into play. Obviously . . .

it’s always best to hand someone a gun when it’s unloaded with the action locked back. If I hand someone a loaded gun, I always point the gun downrange and always say “it’s loaded.” Anyway, I reckon this technique is the best way to transfer a handgun from one person to the other: grip facing my own body, action open. That’s the ways I do it now. You should too. Or am I missing something?

46 Responses to Guns For Beginners: How to Hand Someone a Gun

  1. “Anyway, I reckon this is the best way…; grip facing my own body, action open.” Your narrative misses nothing, but your picture??? Appears to me that the action is NOT open. Am I missing something? Meanwhile, action blocked/locked open, this method is likely best. However, may I submit that ANY presentation to another with the action blocked/locked open is infinitely safer than ANY presentation with the action closed. Why, you ask? It is really quite elementary. Action blocked/locked open = no rounds ready to fire, none in the chamber, gun is not loaded.

    • The photo represents the Glock rep’s method of passing a handgun to another person. “Grip facing my own body, action open” is Farago’s preferred method.

      • I’d say, preferably hand the beginner an unloaded bolt action .22 rifle. Start there, and get to the Glock a little later on.

        • I field strip the pistol, and then hand the pieces to the other person. If they don’t know how to reassemble the firearm, I don’t want them holding it.

        • I detail strip it and place all the parts in a bag. I then hand the recipient a blindfold. Hey, if they can’t reassemble it while blindfolded then they don’t need to be handling it 🙂

  2. I always hand a handgun over with the action open and the barrel perpendicular (side-to-side).

    But I do think I like Glock’s version better…

  3. Stop!
    Quit handing guns to people, especially beginners. It’s a recipe for disaster.

    Set the gun down on the table, pointed downrange, and let him/her pick it up. Instruct him/her to do the same.

    • I just happen to have a large conference table right here in my pocket… How handy!

      Not everyone is such a princess that they spend lots of money to shoot at a fancy gun range. I have this thing called “5 acres in the middle of nowhere.” Fancy tables, lighting, and target frames not included.

      • Dustin, most of my shooting is done on 10 acres in the middle of nowhere. Not sure why you assumed otherwise. Anyway, a $20 folding camp table is easy to carry and quick to set up.

        Truck tailgates are handy for your ammo and such, but it’s hard to get them between you and the target without a truck getting in the way.

        • Indeed–even shooting on private land, you need a table of some sort to keep your ammo on, at least. Even at my uncle’s farm, where I do most of my shooting [160 acres], there’s an old office table out by the “range” area that we use to set up guns and ammo. It’s not as if it’s unheard of.

    • @Curtis: Agree completely. OTOH, the guy at the show is probably trying to sell guns. They are not at a range and the gun is likely not loaded. However, as we all treat an unloaded gun like it is loaded your point is well taken. He should also recite “finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard” when he hands the gun over and make sure that is followed by any potential client. I recently took my youngest daughter, who just turned 40 to a range to shoot for the first time. Taught her the safety rules and had her recite them back to me before the gun came out. Placed it on the flat surface at the range with the muzzle pointed downrange. Reminded her to keep her finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot. She is a small person so I stood close and ready just in case the recoil was too much for her. Not likely as it was a 9mm but why take chances? One round to start with. After she demonstrated she could handle that I put 3 rounds in the magazine and let her try that, one at a time. After that I filled up the magazine and we took turns at the target. Each time we stopped the gun went back on the flat surface with the muzzle pointed downrange. Watched her trigger finger and safety procedures during the whole process as well as my own procedures. When we were done I took control of the pistol, cleared it and put it away. Then we left. We both had fun and it was a learning experience for both of us.

  4. I avoid it mostly. As a non-occupational, low-performance, recreational shooter this is an option for me. One person looked to me for gun advice (I tried to steer them in a better direction, but you know, one feels more comfortable with a buddy) I said my thing is I don’t recommend handing them person-to-person, rather to transfer by setting it down and having the other pick it up.

  5. Double action revolvers are easy. No ammo, cylinder open, gripped around the top strap so the cylinder can’t close.

  6. If i’m handing someone a firearm, I open and show clear first. I look inside, show the other person an empty chamber and say “the gun is unloaded”. Then I reverse the grip and hand it to them butt first while pointing the gun away from anything I don’t want to destroy. Every time, without fail. If the person handles my weapon inappropriately, I mention it. If they don’t stop, I take it back. I never hand anyone a loaded gun. Is this really a problem for some of ya’all?

    • That’s pretty much standard practice when I go shooting with formal groups, such as the Pink Pistols or the Time Killers (so called because they like to round up broken or cheap clocks to use as targets).

      Last time out with the PP, there were several noobs in the outing, and every gun handed to a noob was inspected by a third person as well as those exchanging it — good reinforcement, I thought.

  7. Where I shoot if there is someone sharing the same firing slot with me or anyone else, the rules are you put the gun on the table, action open with no mag and either instruct or make sure they know how to load and then shoot. This is an indoor range and I think this is an ok method of people sharing a firearm.

  8. I just use it as a chance to teach them how to pick up a gun in condition 3 from a table safely and quickly, load it and fire

  9. I am an action open kind of guy. In that configuration the gun is just a hunk of material. I also do not grip the gun in such a way that depresses the grip safety with the action open or closed during administrative handling. The only time that I use a firing grip is when I intend to fire the gun or in the case of an XD when I rack the slide. It’s the only safety issue I have with a Springfield.

  10. I work at a public shooting range as an RSO, have taught fellow soldiers about weapons safety and marksmanship as well as civilians, I correct those who hand a loaded weapon to someone, I tell them to hand them the open and safe firearm then the ammo and show them how to load, only time I will hand a loaded weapon to another person is when the fights on and I am incapacitated.

  11. I’m not too worried about how I hand a weapon to another person because I’m going to clear the weapon first. Granted, it’s still generally considered rude to muzzle people with an unloaded weapon, but I can lecture etiquette at my leisure.

  12. 30 years ago, long before I joined the gun community, my gun-toten girlfriend from Florida taught me that the “proper” way to hand a gun to somebody is to not actually hand it to them. You drop the mag, lock the action back with the chamber empty, and lay it down on a table (or whatever) for them to pick up. She said you never hand the gun to someone, you set it down and let them pick it up when they’re ready.

    Now that I’m part of the gun community, I rarely see it done that way, but I do see it.

  13. Crazy thought, but why not stand next to the other person, so that both of you are facing the same direction, and then hand the gun to the other person in an orientation, and facing a direction, that is safe for both of you?

    • What amazes me is how salesman transfer the weapon. In every case they pull it out of the case and place it on the mat on the counter while the barrel is pointed directly at them. Crazy.

  14. For me, turn the gun around from what is shown. Your hand still covers the trigger guard and it allows the person to properly hold the grip and forces them to index their trigger finger. EVERY transfer of a weapon in my presence is as follows:
    Check and declare: Mag (well) clear
    Check and declare: Breech clear
    Check and declare: Chamber clear
    Declare: This weapon is clear
    Repeat every time the weapon is transferred.
    I require two person integrity to clear all weapons followed by a safe dry fire prior to placing them on the cleaning table. All ammo is sequestered.

  15. More importantly, if there was a Glock rep in town “preparing for TFF,” why the #¥£%* wasn’t Glock *actually* there? C’mon, are they afraid to demo at an event where thousands of potential customers might actually get to shoot and compare their wares next to similar products from Sig, H&K, FN, Walther, IWI, etc.? What’s the story here?

    (Of course, the same criticism could be leveled at S&W and Ruger.)

  16. The only correct way is with no magazine, properly cleared and preferably with the slide locked back. And you NEVER hand someone a loaded gun. You put it down and let them pick it up.

  17. Whenever I hand somebody a gun I follow these simple steps. First I check the weather forecast and make sure there isn’t any thundersnow. Then I vaccum, mop and disinfect at least a 15 ft radius around the area of the prosed transfer. I remove any mags firing pins and ammunition from the equation by hiding them around town and leaving a detailed treasure map to locate the mentioned parts. I then insert a large banana into the mag well and through the top of the handgun. If unable to fit a banana a hot dog can be used in a pinch. Once the person to receive the gun has initiated the request I make them recite the gun safety rules in at least 3 different languages along with the pledge of alligience. Then and only then do I allow them to open their portable safe for which I will place the handgun into and promptly lock. They may only open the safe and remove the gun once I have left the area and entered my panic room and employed my tin foil hat. This is the ONLY and I mean ONLY way to safely hand someone a gun. Everyone is just asking for trouble if you miss any of the aforementioned steps.

  18. Drop mag, lock action back, pocket mag & loose round. If no flat stable surface available hand firearm to other w/barrel pointed down or in safe downrange direction if available. When I take custody back I handle by grasping the slide without touching the bang switch. ALWAYS this procedure. Many years back at my first civilian job another tech handed me a cheap .25 he had just bought 2nd hand. I asked him if it was loaded, answered no. I pointed it at the ceiling of the shop and paused. I pulled the gun back down & racked the slide back, a round popped out. Racked again 2nd round popped out. Dropped the mag & racked again, nothing. We both looked @ each other, faces drained of color, a much harder feat for him, and both breathed a sigh of relief that we were not on the way to the unemployment office at that point. Lesson learned about safe firearm handling that I have carried with me until this very day.

  19. Semi, mag out, slide locked back and laid on the bench or table. Revolver, cylnder open, laid on the table. Always in the direction of downrange. Let them pick it up with reminder to keep their finger out of the triggerguard until they are sighted on target. Seems to be the safest to me.

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