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Reader Brian J. writes:

“Now that the drought has broken here in lovely Indianapolis we are experiencing our fair share of late summer storms. Last night we decided to talk a walk and though it wasn’t raining, a thunderstorm was parked right over heads. As we don’t live in the best neighborhood, it goes without saying my trusty Springfield XD was on my hip. Here’s my dumb question: Do you increase your likelihood of being struck by lightning by carrying a gun?” That would probably depend on the gun. We’d guess Brian’s XD would conduct juice less efficiently than, say, a 1911. Both of which being less dangerous than waiving a 10/22 over your head in a thunderstorm. But lacking meteorological skills (contradiction in terms, though that may be) we’re throwing this one open to the Armed Intelligentsia. Would packing a heater increase your chances of drawing a charge?

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  1. Ummm… no. Not unless you re-enact the scene from Caddyshack with a 10-22, as you mentioned.

    And, if you carry a 10-mm, the lightning will go around you. If you OPEN-CARRY a 10-mm, the storm will retreat and go to a more liberal town.

    Love the artwork, though! 😉

  2. It might make you minutely more likely to be struck than the person standing next to you, but it’s still a very, very low chance, and IMO Lichtenberg scars are a lot cooler than tattoos.

  3. I wouldn’t walk around an open field with my mosin nagant balanced on my nose in a lightning storm but a gun on you hip is not a problem…….that tinfoil hat is another story though.

  4. No. I won’t bore people with the science and math behind the electrical issues involved in lightening strikes, but no, carrying a small mass of metal won’t make you a bigger/better target for a strike.

    If you were hiking with a rifle over your shoulder, muzzle up, that could make you a better target for lightening tho.

  5. Pentagon’s Lightning Gun Sold for Scraps on eBay

    “All of which would make for a funny little story, if that buyer didn’t discover that the multimillion dollar “Joint Improvised Explosive Device Neutralizers,” or JINs, were kluged together from third-rate commercial electronics, and controlled by open Wi-Fi signals. In other words, the Pentagon didn’t just overpay for a flawed weapon. On the off-chance the JIN ever worked, the insurgents could control it, too.”

  6. Not any more than your tactical folder, or your prince albert. You should be ok with a tupperware gun like an XD if carried in a kydex holster to insulate the metal from you and the ground. Mythbusters did something on piercings and lighting.

  7. Another no. Metal doesn’t attract lightning like some people think, it just conducts electricity well. If you were waiving your 10/22 over your head and there was a tree next to you, the lightning would strike the taller tree. Lightning should not decide “weather” (wink wink) you carry.

  8. I don’t see a handgun being a significant conductor. Lightning strikes overcome the insulation resistance of several thousands of feet of air — which is an incredibly good insulator by the way. So if the path for the lightning is 40,000 feet versus 39,999.3 feet, it isn’t going to matter. (That last number is 40,000 feet minus the 0.67 foot — 8 inch — length of your pistol.)

  9. You know that you’re paranoid when you’re worried about being struck by lightning or eaten by a shark because you’re packing.

    • Awesome Ralph! I thought I was the only one who goes scuba diving packing a gun for extra protection. Have you tried out magnum rounds on Great Whites and snake shot for Moray Eels?

      • magnum rounds? if you’re a good shot regular old 38 works fine on great whites. remember, it’s all about shot placement. as for morays i find a fly swatter works just fine.

  10. LIGHTNING has been known to strike the end of a house that is protected by a lightning rod in the middle. It mostly strikes where it wants with little regard for local conditions.

  11. I don’t think it would be a problem. I’m carrying an 8″ barreled S&W Model 19 in a thunderstorm right now and


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