Happy new year. Now that the hangover has fully cleared and the calendars have been replaced around the house, it’s probably a good opportunity to do some of those tasks that you’ve been putting off or forgetting about. The little things that might seem slightly annoying, but might just save your life.
Clean Your Carry and Home Defense Guns
Some of us manage to regularly get in some range time with our home defense guns. But it seems that’s increasingly rarely for me — my range time has been severely limited recently, in case you couldn’t tell from my posting history.
For those who similarly don’t get out to the range as often as they’d like, the new year is a perfect time to pull the guns out and make sure that they are clean and in good working order.
Some things to put on your checklist:
- Check the barrel for obstructions (spiders? ants? whatever may have crawled in)
- Cycle the action and make sure it’s smooth
- Rotate the ammunition in your magazines for some fresh ammo, and consider rotating the magazines in your guns as well
- Check all of the batteries for your lights, lasers, optics, coffee makers, chainsaw bayonets … everything.
Oh, and of course, give everything a good scrub down and lube when you’re done. Next . . .
Change The Batteries In Your Gun Safe
This one was inspired by true events.
I have a GunVault MiniVault in my bedroom where I store my SIG SAUER Mk25 P226 as my “bump in the night” gun. The other day I wanted to give the handgun a once-over so I entered the combination, heard the click of the lock, and…nothing. The door didn’t budge.
A couple of further futile attempts later and I had to grab the spare emergency key to finally get it open.
What had happened was, unbeknownst to me, the battery had run down to the point where the electronics would still work, but there wasn’t enough juice left to actually pop the door open. So while it sounded like it was working, the reality was that it wouldn’t open without the key.
That’s annoying for “normal” use, but potentially deadly if I needed to rely on that handgun in an emergency.
For those of us who rely on electronic access control mechanisms, the turn of the calendar is a good time to go ahead and rotate those batteries, whether they need changing or not. It’ll set you back a few dollars, but the peace of mind is more than worth the price.
Pick One Training Course and Book It
The tool is only as good as the person wielding it. Most gun owners hit the range every so often and call it good for their recurring “training,” but having your skills tested and sharpened by a professional is a great reality check and can give you some concrete things to work on in the coming year.
Point in case: I used to be a pretty competent competition shooter. Well, best on staff here at TTAG anyway (an admittedly low bar).
I went to a local match not too long ago after about a year’s hiatus and marveled at how much I was absolutely sucking at every stage. I could feel myself being more far sluggish than I ever remembered, missing shots that once were child’s play.
I was off my game, and I knew it was because I hadn’t been practicing as hard as I once was.
The same goes for self defense shooting. Going to the range and popping a paper target just isn’t enough; you need to be training as often as you can. And no, the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare doesn’t count.
The best way to knock off the rust is to sign up for a class — any class, really — and get some proper training. Make it your gun-related new year’s resolution to pick a course, book it, and attend sometime, preferably in the early part of the year.
You’ll be thanking yourself if you’re ever in a position where those skills become a matter of life and death.