3 Things Every Gun Owner Should Do in 2020

gun cleaning

SIG SAUER P320 (courtesy Nick Leghorn for TTAG)

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

gun cleaning

Matt Sandy for TTAG

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

guns save life teacher course

Image by J. Schwarm courtesy GSL Defense Training / Guns Save Life

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.

comments

  1. avatar PTM says:

    I agree with the training course suggestion, but the photo used to illustrate it. Stay far away from any place that has that many students in a class. Unless they have at least one instructor for every four or five people…run, don’t walk away.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Clean Your Carry and Home Defense Guns

      I clean mine after every use at the range or in a class. I imagine most of us do…

      Change The Batteries In Your Gun Safe

      I will never have a battery-operated or electronic safe. To each his own, but I never want to depend upon something that can fail due to lack of power.

      Pick One Training Course and Book It

      Absolutely. I myself am going to another four-day class in a few weeks. Train, and train.

    2. avatar John Boch says:

      Thank you for the comment, PTM.

      That photo was the GSL Defense Training Free Educator class from earlier this year. There were about 35-40 teachers there.

      There were also over a dozen instructors. At times on the firing line, especially for the first shots, there was close to 1:1 instructor:student ratio. Seldom does it fall below 1 instructor for every 3 students firing at any point.

      Most of the big name classes will have a dozen to two dozen participants and one or two instructors. Then again, those aren’t for beginners typically.

      However, I concur that for beginner classes (and even some intermediate classes), a lack of instructors to watch over the students, safety can (and probably will) suffer.

      1. avatar PTM says:

        Good to know.

      2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        At Front Sight in Nevada, they attempt to schedule classes so that there are never more than 8 students per instructor. For example, the very first class I took (Defensive Handgun) had 34 students and 4 students. But that’s only because it’s their most popular course. The most recent one I took (Nighttime Tactical) had 3 instructors and 9 students. One of the people I spoke with there said some of the top-tier classes are closer to 1:1.

        I agree that there should always be a low ratio whenever possible. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          “…34 students and 4 instructors…”

          I really need to slow down with the typing…

        2. avatar LasVegasBret says:

          Front Sight also runs 2 relays — 1/2 of students on the line, other 1/2 right behind them as ‘student coaches’. Safety is paramount, instruction is top-notch. I can’t recommend Front Sight enough.

  2. avatar PTM says:

    I’d add to the mix here:

    Train regularly and make the training meaningful.

    That means, don’t think that standing still on a static line blasting through 500 rounds from the same position at a paper target is adequate. You have to embrace a training regimen that includes, moving and shooting, drawing, use a timer, push yourself to your fail point and then pick it up from there. Training is about quality shooting, not quantity shooting. I see way too many people at the gun club who consider a training session “good enough” when all they are doing is standing 10 yards away from a paper target slowing squeezing off shots and blowing through way more ammo than is needed for a good training session.

    1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      +100

      Mag dumps do NOT equate to realistic, proper training (unless, of course, you are a member of the New York PD).

      For those many people who have never tried moving while engaging a stationary photo-realistic target…it is much harder than it looks. Photo-realistic targets…because when was the last time a 10″ Dixie plate threatened you (other than with BBQ and potato salad).

      Speaking of Dixie plates, I watched a very short lady at my indoor range blasting away at a plate target that was set at at face level for a 6’2″ person. The target was at 3 yards. Simple geometry explained why she was blowing he!! out of the ceiling downrange. She responded well to my comment that she should always be aware of what was behind / downrange her intended target. Apparently her PAID one-on-one instructor never covered the geometry of the angle of the dangle with her when he breezed through her lesson several weeks earlier.

    2. I would add, enter shooting competitions.
      Wife and I started doing a local three gun last spring. We suck but everyone is so nice and for the price of two one hour range visits plus ammo, you get to run around and shoot fast, shoot steel, shoot shotguns, ARs and pistol. WAAAAAY better than a static range.
      Plus, your wife let’s you buy ammo in bulk and a spanking new Q5Match!

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        Thanks. I always thought you had to be good to join a match. I think shooting at paper is boring. I’ll look into a match around here. It may motivate me to do more paper target practicing.

        1. At the pre match briefing, they will ask who are the first time shooters and they will have someone help you through the match. They have a lot of ladies only matches too.
          My goal was to not finish last and not get disqualified. It worked out.
          Go on practiscore com and enter your town in the search. There you will get a list of upcoming matches and events.

        2. avatar Scott C. says:

          You really should. I joined my local IDPA a year ago thanks to buddy from work and it’s awesome. I did past military experience but it was so rusty, now a year later my proficiency and confidence is way up and starting from the bottom 10 in score, I’m usually in the top 10 (usually 60ish shooters). It also motivated me to get back in shape and I’m loving it.

    3. avatar Howdy1 says:

      Training is great, but the vast majority of self defense uses with firearms are by those with no training.

      1. avatar PTM says:

        Spoken like another guy who has never taken a top-tier professional training class in his life.

  3. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Seems like my gun safe sucks batteries dry just sitting there. Should be more like quarterly IMO least with the one I’ve got.

    Guns are probably in bad need of cleaning; Should do that.

  4. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    Clean Your Carry and Home Defense Guns

    Yep. I should put the Glocks in the dishwasher today 😉

    1. avatar Echo5Bravo says:

      That’s not the best way to clean it??

    2. avatar Jon in CO says:

      I hope this is completely in jest, because lead poisoning will occur and you’ll be eating off of those plates and bowls will lead fowling.

      Otherwise, I did laugh.

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        The lead rinses off just fine…..just like the blood. Just use Rinse-Aid every time. (We’re talking beef steak blood, right?)

      2. avatar Echo5Bravo says:

        Well I guess that explains the TOO_MAH.

        1. avatar Ing says:

          It’s not a toomah!

      3. avatar Deep in Miami Beach says:

        That is why I have two dishwashers, one for dishes and one for the Glock.

    3. Right along side your dildos.

      1. avatar Dan W says:

        One is for fighting the other for fun?

  5. avatar Bernard says:

    4. Vote.

    1. avatar Rick3 says:

      ^^^^^^Yes!

    2. avatar Someone says:

      That was the one I expected on first place.

  6. avatar DB Cooper says:

    I wouldn’t ever use a safe. That 5 second delay in making it to your weapon could be deadly..

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      If you live alone that’s your business. Some people have small children or others who shouldn’t have unfettered access to a gun

      1. avatar Dude says:

        True. Your kids, and even more so their friends since you don’t know what they’ve been taught, should always be a concern.

    2. avatar former water walker says:

      Agree! Pistols loaded within easy reach. Rifle loaded sometimes chambered. Behind the bedroom door. When me & the missus leave they are locked up-except carry gun taken. No little kids in the house.

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        One pistol on body, or within easy reach, all the rest, plus the long guns in safe.

        That is my approach

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Same here.

          One main “nightstand” gun equipped for home defense.

          One smaller “EDC” gun.

          One additional “trunk gun” (AR) that goes with me when I travel on the road, as I’ve been unexpectedly stuck overnight in bad areas more than once in my lifetime, for reasons such as a highway closure due to major accident. On two separate occasions at remote campsites, someone in a nearby site (on drugs or intoxicated) wigged out and started threatening others, once with an axe being swung around.

          Otherwise, all other guns stay in the safe.

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          I Haz a Question,

          On two separate occasions at remote campsites, someone in a nearby site (on drugs or intoxicated) wigged out and started threatening others, once with an axe being swung around.

          That mirrors my experience almost to a T.

          The first time I had that experience, I had nothing available for self-defense and it really sucked. I actually called relatives to report a detailed description and vehicle license plate number of the aggressor in case the aggressor rendered me incapable of sharing those details.

          The second time that happened, I had a camp-ax available for self-defense AND I rallied other campers to be ready to bum-rush the aggressor if necessary — which seemed adequate until I heard the aggressor start shooting at something when he was a quarter mile away. That second time was the clincher and I have been armed at every camping trip ever since.

          On my most recent camping trip, I had the “pleasure” of going to “condition red” when a camper started screaming, swearing, issuing vague threats, and wandering around the campground at 2:45 a.m. It took police (from three different jurisdictions) 22 minutes to arrive and begin searching for said lunatic. My family was extremely thankful and relieved that I had a full-size semi-auto handgun (chambered in .40 S&W) immediately available as well as a long-gun in the cargo area of my vehicle.

          Note on my last camping trip: not only did it take 22 minutes for police to arrive after that lunatic wigged out, it took them an addition 5 to 10 minutes to find that lunatic in the absolute darkness of a remote campground in the forest. That means a lunatic was wandering among our campground for somewhere between 27 to 32 minutes.

        3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          @uncommon,

          One of the rare glimpses of legal sanity we still have here in CA is our rental law. Any location you rent to act as a place to temporarily reside (apartment, hotel room, even a campsite) is legally considered to be your “domicile” during the term of the agreement. That means you may possess a gun for your own defense within the physical boundaries of that location. After the first incident many years ago, in which a crazed man threatened others and started brandishing an axe over the head of a nearby woman, I learned the importance of always having a gun everywhere I go. The second incident involved a regional power outage due to a semi truck hitting a major power pole, blacking out literally one-half the entire town I was in for two day.

          First rule of self defense is “Survive”. I’ll attempt to always conduct myself within the confines of local laws, but at the end of the day, my wife is counting on me to come home to her whole and hale. I’ll ensure that happens, and answer a LEO’s questions later.

        4. avatar strych9 says:

          Question:

          Are these unhappy camper incidents happening at altitude?

          I just ask because I’ve seen them and it’s almost always (in the cases I’ve witnessed) someone drinking when new to being at altitude. The lack of hemoglobin makes them susceptible to the booze and… something else too that you don’t get in restaurants usually with tourists… a touch of altitude sickness maybe?

        5. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Both of my incidents were at 2000 and 6000 feet. So, no. I believe the first one was likely on meth or something. The second (group of people) were definitely drunk.

      2. avatar Jon in CO says:

        I don’t understand…loaded means chambered. Why are you just throwing mags in? It’s either ready to use, or it’s not.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          What? “Loaded” is not synonymous with “chambered”. Otherwise we wouldn’t use the term “loaded magazine”.

    3. avatar Mr G says:

      I have an idea: put the kid(s) or suspicious friends in the safe instead, and keep all the guns loaded and out! You’re welcome!

    4. avatar Dan W says:

      KiLt In DeM StREeTZ!

    5. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

      Sometimes I am not home to guard my castle, and unless headed to the range, I rarely carry more than one firearm on me. So, that is why I have several safes. Unless you only have one firearm and always carry it with you, or unless you never leave your home, you need not worry about owning a safe. Back in grade school we had some really, really progressive nuns (my mom had a fit when she noticed they wore pantyhose, jeans and makeup). One preached that we should always love and trust our fellow humans. At that point a classmate asked her why she always locked her car doors. “Of course,” she replied, I do not want to be guilty of providing someone a temptation.”

  7. avatar S.Crock says:

    Get basic medical training and supplies. Stop going to the range without at least a tourniquet and some combat gauze. Now I should go change those batteries.

    1. avatar Mr G says:

      And some KY gel too. You never know when you’re going to make new friends at the range, been there done that, and gun lube is not good for you.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Huh?

      2. avatar Xavier says:

        Well now you know the “G” in Mr G stands for Greek.

      3. avatar PTM says:

        @Mr. G

        And thank you for sharing and for the warning.

    2. avatar SoCalJack says:

      In addition to medical emergency training, I’d add learning/practicing situational awareness, espcially in transitional spaces. Apply John Cooper’s color chart and/or play out scenarios in your head when in public situations. There’s a lot of free info out there. Make it habit and teach it to love ones and friends.

  8. avatar Hankus says:

    Learn handloading.

    1. avatar Kapeltam says:

      Especially with the election coming up. In the chance there is more panic buying, being able to make your own goes a long away. Even longer if you learn how to cast bullets.

    2. avatar Someone says:

      Too late.

  9. avatar Dude says:

    I feel like once you get the basics down, you don’t have to constantly pay for overpriced assembly line McDojo tactical training. Just practice.

    1. avatar PTM says:

      Spoken like a guy who has never had any professional firearms training. But, as the old saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” The best thing I ever have done is get involved in a very top tier training facility and I spent several years taking classes at least twice a weekend. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I’ve also taken classes from nationally well known trainers to mix things up. Again, worth every penny.

      1. avatar Dude says:

        Spoken like a condescending person that doesn’t read and assumes quite a bit.

        “I feel like once you get the basics down…”

        1. avatar former water walker says:

          THIS dude is the “reverend” Paul T. McCain. He left a few years ago and I see he’s back lecturing us on why he’s superior to us peaons. He has a YouTube channel and does have proficiency with firearms. He’s also described as “a festering boil on Lutherism” online. FYI…

        2. avatar Dude says:

          “I’ve also taken classes from nationally well known trainers”

          Everyone doesn’t have access to that or can afford that but a down the nose elitist just doesn’t understand that. I’m sure my comment was a bit harsh, it was actually said in a halfway kidding manner, but when I see the above photo, “overpriced assembly line McDojo tactical training” is what comes to mind.

        3. avatar PTM says:

          @WalterWalker

          It is spelled “peons” … you’re welcome. Always nice to hear from a fan.

          Cheers!

        4. avatar Ralph says:

          “THIS dude is the “reverend” Paul T. McCain. He left a few years ago”

          Yup. fww. And I’m not sure that he left voluntarily. I think that Farago finally had enough of the fat [email protected]’s BS.

        5. avatar PTM says:

          @Ralph said: “Ralph says: Yup. fww. And I’m not sure that he left voluntarily. I think that Farago finally had enough of the fat [email protected]’s BS.”

          No, sorry, Ralphy….best thing that ever happened to TTAG was Farago leaving. Nice to have him gone. He had turned TTAG into little more than a forum to bash Law Enforcement and the guy loved to talk about issues concerning firearms and training about which he was so painfully ignorant. He was way, way out of his lane, kind of like you, I guess.

          But it’s always great to hear from a fan!

      2. avatar Dude says:

        “…you don’t have to CONSTANTLY pay…”

        It always pays to think before speaking.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Lifelong shooter here. I myself am going to another training course in a few weeks at a nationally recognized facility. There will be about 20 students, and there are typically 3 to 4 instructors on hand.

          I can afford to attend such courses only twice per year, but continue my training by going to my local gun range every few weeks. Unless I’m a millionaire (and I’m not), I don’t think it’s necessary to pay for weekly courses. But I do think it’s necessary to regularly train.

          The McDojo courses are good for beginners. I remember the first one I attended, and I thought I already knew everything because I had been shooting for 20+ years and built my own guns. But it was good to be brought back to the basics, and to receive instruction from a POV that was different than what I had previously been taught.

          That being said, I admit that I would probably only take professional courses only three times per year even if I had the money. I’ve met with some individuals who regularly train in advanced courses, and I wasn’t impressed with their “I’m a tactical operator and I’m better than you are” attitude. But to each his own.

          Take a course if you can. Take two if you can, even if they’re McDojo types, and listen to the instructors. But augment your training with your own range time.

          Regardless, we’re all POTG and should always train to be ready to have each other’s backs.

        2. avatar Dude says:

          Haz, I get what you’re saying. I’m not saying you can’t learn anything, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. I feel like the training thing is pushed as sort of a groupthink that you have to have this or you’re just wasting your time. I work in a profession that requires continuing education. It sounds good on paper, but 90% of it is a joke. There’s an entire industry built around it to make money. The fundamentals are always the most important. Practicing that, along with interacting with other like minded people is the best way to improve in my opinion. If you have the resources, then sure go learn from the pros.

        3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Totally agree on the professional training. Every single corporate training class I’ve ever attended (usually required by my employer) has been a 90% waste of time. Eight hours of blabber to communicate one hour of solid instruction. And they charge enormous rates for the torture.

    2. Good trainers teach you how to practice. You just have to have a range where you can do so.
      I would return for weapon specific training or force on force, or low light.
      Other than that, you’re right. No need to pay someone to tell you what you already paid for.

    3. avatar Dan W says:

      I’ve been through a few classes and you do have a point. There is a significant diminishing return, especially if you do not have high end training.
      Regular range days are good for to keep the skills fresh. But a class is a great environment to learn new things and push your self. I have a carbine class with friends scheduled this year for that reason.

  10. avatar A Cody says:

    The author makes a good point about cleaning your firearms. When I was growing up my father would clean each gun we shot after every range (or hunting) session. Right away, not later on. I picked up this good habit and now do the same, always. In fact, many would call me “anal” but I also do this with my car. It takes 10 minutes and my guns and car are ready when I need them. Unless you are the type of person that doesn’t shower after physical exercise or hard work, then you will get my drift. Exceptions are granted for those living in snowy areas regarding their vehicles.

    1. avatar Alpha says:

      Same here. Regarding the “anal” stuff, as long as there is consent and it’s safe…whatever makes you all happy I don’t judge it’s 2020 and we are not communist China or Iran.

      1. avatar Rad Man says:

        Like shooting a .45 bullet through a .380 barrel.

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I’ve always cleaned my guns upon coming home after shooting. My entire life. I once met a “professional” shooter who said his personal sidearm was so reliable, he only needed to clean it once every several thousand rounds, or about once a month.

      No way. Mine get the treatment each time.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        Same here, it’s a part of the going shooting experience…

    3. avatar Dan W says:

      I used to be like that. I spray some stuff into the carrier on my AR every now and then. It’s been a couple thousand rounds suppressed and the thing is painfully filthy but keeps running fine.

  11. avatar GS650G says:

    Once a year go over your legal defense plans and liability insurance for a DGU. What happens after an incident is as important as preparation before. If you don’t have carry insurance or know an attorney you can call at a moment’s notice you are unprepared to go out there armed. Make sure you have bail money on hand and review the ever changing legal landscape gun owners have to traverse.

    1. avatar PTM says:

      Very wise advice, should be added to the list.

    2. avatar George WashingtonGl says:

      Lol…. yeah ok…. I’ll take my chances, thanks….
      There’s no way in hell I’ll risk going out in this world unarmed because I don’t have insurance, an attorney and bail money….
      I understand your point, but I can tell you’re one of these people who have COMPLETELY lost touch with most people’s reality….
      We won’t be buying insurance or retaining an attorney, but we will be armed when leaving the house…
      You almost sound like someone who is LOOKING to get into a DGU….

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        You don’t know a thing about me and your assumptions are wrong.
        If you doing even have a basic plan for a DGU aftermath you’re liable to regret it,

  12. avatar Rad Man says:

    Good to hear from you, Foghorn! Sage words.

  13. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Change The Batteries In Your Gun Safe

    I have a close friend who is now in need of a new safe due to not changing batteries frequently, that or make sure to purchase a tumbler model safe.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      This just made the top of my do list for today. New batteries.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Safes, scopes, gun lights, laser, rangefinders…so many batteries!!

        1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

          …and each device requires a different sized battery…AAA, AA, CR123A, CR2016, CR2032 , CR2450, 9v and even a couple of older devices that require 357 and “N” batteries. It’s a pain maintaining an inventory and properly rotating batteries through while they’re still fresh.

          Found out the hard way NOT to use Lithium 9v batteries in my safe locks. When one of them dies it is quick! One day it opens and the next day it won’t. High quality alkaline 9v only for this Old Guy…changed on 1 January every year along with my smoke detector batteries.

    2. avatar Dan W says:

      I still can’t believe battery powered safes exist for this reason. There is a retirement fund in some that is one watch battery away from being a huge pain to get to.

      1. avatar PTM says:

        @Dan W

        If a gun safe is used to provide ready access to a weapon in an emergency, I would never use an electronic model. And I don’t. I leave my safe set so I have only to turn to one place to pop it open.

  14. avatar Tony Hayeck says:

    Got an other thing to add; GET POLITICALLY ACTIVE!!!

    1. avatar Alpha says:

      No thanks, I value my personal time and mental health. All politicians are crook, both the DNC and GOP. Of course the GOP more often than b out is the lesser of two evils but they still stink. I have no shame to say I want nothing to do with the NRA as well, as they are completely useless and corrupt. Unless putting an NRA sticker on your truck makes you feel you’re doing something useful.

      1. avatar Xavier says:

        Al,

        He means to at least VOTE for your rights (BoR).

        Once a year in November, for an hour or two, get out there and be a citizen, so later you don’t become a slave.

      2. avatar Accur81 says:

        You may not be active, but enemies of gun rights are. They have something that you lack – the fortitude to make their beliefs heard.

      3. avatar Someone says:

        You do you, but then don’t complain when (not if) gun grabbers get to your neck of the woods.
        The NRA is far from being the only game in town.

  15. avatar ChoseDeath says:

    My new goals for the year.
    1) Go squirrel hunting with some relatives that need it.
    2) Learn to can
    3) Finish my reloading bench and learn to reload

    Well, the gun related ones anyway, lol.

    1. avatar ChoseDeath says:

      Let me rephrase that. Those are the goals pertinent to this website.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Canning, like reloading, can be very rewarding.
        Pay attention to what you’re doing and things go great!

  16. avatar ESMDHokie77 says:

    Buy and finish an 80%
    Take a newbie shooting
    Stack deep

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      * Done that
      * Done that, too
      * Done that, big time

      Highly recommend doing all three.

    2. avatar Someone says:

      All worthy goals. Not just for this year.

  17. avatar Alpha says:

    No hangover, I don’t drink. I run, I lift, and I swim. I shoot once, sometimes twice per week. I am ready, if you’re not then we will call your fat butt to take care of the chickens and water supply when stuff hits the fan, try not to die from diabetes or cardiovascular issues before.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Good point. I myself have nothing against having a drink, but I prefer to do so seldom, and usually opt for a glass of water, even when out with friends for dinner.

      Why? Because if something ever goes down and you need to act, you want your faculties to be sharp. That, and a D.A. will want to know if you had any alcohol or prescription drugs in your system when you pulled the trigger. Best to CYA.

      1. avatar Prndll says:

        Yep
        I hadn’t had a single drink in 19. Seems like it was nothing in 18. Very little in the house and just generally collects dust. I kinda think I’ve lost interest.

        It’s mainly just water, tea, lemonaid, and coffee at this point.

        When 2019 began, I wanted a license. I have one now and I carry as often as possible.

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      This is one of those issues that gets people heated.

      Personally, I quit drinking a few years ago. Just lost interest and realized that the money was better spent elsewhere.

      The thing with drinking is that yes, it does affect your motor skills, coordination etc. For that reason, if you’re going to drink then you should do something that most gun owners say is a big “no no”. You should drink while shooting. (And…. a bunch of people just got a case of the vapors.)

      Now, for the umpteenth million time here: I’m not talking about getting trashed while shooting. I’m talking about finding the right place to do this, being careful and going slow. You start shooting like normal and as you do it you have a drink. Rinse and repeat until you’re 1) done or 2) have become uncomfortable with this.

      Why? Because that’s how you learn what it’s like to handle a gun while imbibing. Done right you learn quite a bit about how your gun handling and senses change with your preferred intoxicant. You also learn very, very well what your cutoff point is where you don’t feel you can handle a gun safely anymore or where your pattern goes to shit, where you start missing the safety catch or whatever it is that happens to you personally.

      Now you know when to say “Nah, I don’t need another” which for some people is well before they’ve had too much to drive because we’re using a lot more fine motor skill here than we are while driving.

      Why do this? Because if someone’s going to jump you or break into your house, you know what they’re not going to do? Look through your window/across a parking lot and say “Oh, he’s having a cocktail so he’s put his gun away. That’s not fair for us to attack him now. We’ll come back tomorrow when he’s sober and armed”. That’s literally never happened and probably never will.

      If you’re going to drink the responsible thing to do is learn how it affects you in a safe manner so that you can make proper judgments later on and, if necessary, handle your shit after a cocktail or two. If you cannot do this then you should probably either quit drinking or put up the guns until you can be a responsible individual. If you know you become a raging asshole who can’t be trusted with a gun after a single drink then… quit drinking maybe?

      No one has to listen to that advice and clearly it’s your right to have the gun regardless and it’s your right to put it away as soon as you crack your first drink. That doesn’t make it a smart thing to do. Most people can handle a gun just fine after a drink or two or three provided that they’ve practiced it before. Some people are just naturals at it. Other people find that their skills deteriorate very quickly with drinking or with drinking certain things. Probably data you should have in the back of your head and you can only get it through experience.

      1. avatar PTM says:

        “You start shooting like normal and as you do it you have a drink. Rinse and repeat until you’re 1) done or 2) have become uncomfortable with this.”

        Wow, it’s early in 2019, but this may well be awarded “The Most Idiotic Piece of Advice of 2019.”

        I’ll be rooting for you.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          He’s safe from that reward as long as you’re here.

        2. avatar George WashingtonGl says:

          Who do you think you are?…..
          Oh, let me guess … you’re Mr. Super Operator… gotcha….
          I think your advice sucks, btw….js

        3. avatar strych9 says:

          ‘Wow, it’s early in 2019, but this may well be awarded “The Most Idiotic Piece of Advice of 2019.”’

          Yet you cannot articulate a reason why I’m wrong. Funny that.

          It’s really a shame you can’t trust yourself after a drink. Maybe you should examine why that is.

        4. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          Strych, meet Paul.

          RF ran his ass off years back because of his mouth…

        5. avatar strych9 says:

          Geoff:

          I remember him. I just generally ignored him in the past because he had literally nothing useful to say.

          This has, apparently, not changed. Figured I’d give him a shot at making a valid point though.

          I’m like a church. Redemption is possible (though probably out of reach for some but hey, we’ll keep trying!).

        6. avatar PTM says:

          I do truly hate to break it to you Internet tough guys, but RF never banned me from this site. I stopped commenting because I was sick of RF’s obsession with bashing law enforcement and because the site just got totally boring thanks to him.

          I love to hear from my fans though.

          Now as for the idiot here recommending people should practice drinking and shooting….and for those supporting his idiocy….you people are poster-children for everything wrong about idiots and firearms. It is a bad combination.

    3. avatar Dan W says:

      Good, I see too many people at the range where 100 isn’t just a long shot it’s a long hike.
      Find fitness based events to compete in as well as shooting. Trust me, any run n gun event, most will be better served by losing 50lbs than 50k rounds in training.

    4. avatar George Washington says:

      Idiot

  18. avatar CCDWGUY says:

    Nick: Happy New Year and good to see a post with your name on it. Hope to see more and good suggestions on things to do in 2020.

  19. avatar Tim says:

    Don’t buy a safe that needs batteries. Ask me how I know.

    1. avatar Prndll says:

      They both have their plus’s and minus’s. They can both be hacked. But I lean toward old style mechanical.

  20. avatar jimmy james says:

    “sign up for a class — any class, really — and get some proper training”…two different things “really”. Too many mall ninjas and jackasses offering “training” classes with no verifiable CV to back it up. You’d be better off shooting some IDPA matches and I hate IDPA matches.

    1. avatar Dan W says:

      It’s been hard to find a class not instructed by Buttermilk Bob the mall ninja.

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        “Buttermilk Bob the mall ninja”

        One of the local faux instructors is a Robert (don’t call me “Bob”)…thanks to you he has a new descriptive title for the rest of the local POTG to refer to him by.

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      The real question there is what CV do you want to see?

      OFWG with an NRA Instructor cert? Younger high-speed dude with a badass beard and experience in “the teams”? Dude who shoots really fast but bases everything off of competition setups? A cop with tons of arrests? A cop with tons of gunfights?

      I don’t really think it’s about CV. It’s about if they teach something useful to you which you’re not really gonna know unless you either go or find a good review of the class.

      Which is why I’ve suggested such a database here before but like two people were actually interested in doing that and one of them works for TTAG.

      1. avatar jimmy james says:

        Yep. There used to be a TV show on 1 of the outdoor channels with a dude who was a certified “operator”. The kind of guy who you would want to be in a fire fight with you. But, all he taught was gaming stages in USPSA and IDPA. How to negotiate barrels and barricades, start positions and so forth. Not bad info but not street or 3rd world info either. I am reminded of a guy who wrote an article that was published in a gun mag. He was paralyzed from a gun shot received overseas in 1 of those sandbox wars the US is always fighting these days. He was lamenting not his forever life changing injury but the totally inadequate training he received before being deployed. By his account he was never even instructed in shooting from cover, just qualify at the range shooting prone and sent to stop a bullet in ShitholeIstan.

  21. avatar strych9 says:

    A safe that runs on batteries for it’s primary mode of entry? No thanks. I’ll stick with my roller-combo lock for the guns that aren’t out.

    As for training, probably best for most people to take a medical class before scheduling a gun class (Do both! You’ve got a year!). You can get most of your FA/CPR done in a day or that plus TCCC in two. Even if you’ve taken one before best practices change. At least take a Stop The Bleed course.

    Old grannies using their dead husband’s handgun, a handgun which said granny hasn’t seen in 10 years, are successful in DGUs. Guns are actually pretty easy if you’re not going for high-speed type stuff. Medical isn’t quite so intuitive for most people.

    1. avatar PM in Fl. says:

      I think that “old grannies” should at least make a running dive through a window and complete a fast roll under an old pick-up truck to execute any defensive FIREARMS actions. Maybe attend a class at a nationally acclaimed facility, or just go to Az to buy ammo. Happy New Year to all ,don’t be so serious.

      1. avatar Dan W says:

        There’s a bit of snow here. I executed a very cool, possibly planned, slide into cover during a course of fire. Goddamn did it feel good. Useful training? I like to think so in my mall ninja fantasy.

    2. avatar Dan W says:

      Air goes in and out, blood goes round n round. Any deviation from this is bad. First aid 101.

      The skills needed for the average DGU are in fact quite basic.

  22. avatar California Richard says:

    I thought you were going to tell me to go and buy a P320….. I’m on board for that 2020 resolution.

  23. avatar Chief Censor says:

    Invest in airsoft so you can practice at home to get consistent. Training can teach you new things, but a lot of practice is what creates consistency. There is no way the average person can train as much as a special operations soldier to acquire the necessary consistency to win a gunfight.

    There is no excuses because airsoft is cheaper and can be done at home. You can practice doing things you wouldn’t be allowed to do at a range.

    Trainers want you to take a class often because that keeps them in business. Yes, most people will need to take some classes to get the basic understandings. However, it’s overstated on how important training is once you have learned the fundamentals. You need more practice than you do training once you reach a level of competency.

    While you are in class the math teacher makes sure you understand how to solve the math problems. Then they give you homework to make sure you drill the teachings into your long term memory. An instructor can teach you how to draw and hold a gun properly, but it means nothing if you don’t practice it. Because shooting is a physical thing you need to maintain your physical condition through repetition.

    There is no way Americans are going to spend thousands a year to practice the teaching of their firearms instructor by going to many classes every year. Cops don’t even do that. The firearms industry needs to put a lot more focus on creating durable airsoft training versions of their guns so the owners of their firearms can practice to proficiency at home. It’s arguable that an airsoft version of a firearm is more important than a .22LR version.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      I’ve always found that video suspicious.

      Liku is a world-class airsofter. World-class. That actually means something.

      I’m not saying that his anecdotal experience means it’s worthless for most people but you have to keep in mind who and what he is. He might be some sort of prodigy, in fact I’m fairly confident that he is, meaning that other people may derive nowhere near the benefit from this that he did. He certainly has a certain innate talent for understanding recoil management in a way many shooters don’t. He didn’t get that from airsoft, he just “gets” it right off the bat.

      There’s nothing wrong with suggesting that working out and learning some martial arts is a good idea but that video subtly suggests that a prodigy is some sort of baseline standard. It’s like saying that joining your local BJJ gym is going to put you on par with Royce Gracie and for most folks that’s just not true.

      1. avatar Chief Censor says:

        I know a bunch of people that started out with airsoft before buying real guns. They practiced a lot with airsoft and got good at handling guns from it. Then they went to the range to learn the other parts of shooting.

        I too started out with airsoft. I was too young to own a handgun. So I bought airsoft to practice until I could legally buy and carry one. I did the same for driving a car — I used video games and a steering wheel to learn to drive before getting behind the wheel of a real car.

        My generation usually gets interested in guns from video games and airsoft. We learn most things from online videos, games and simulations.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          Yes, I know. I used to write the video game reviews for this site. I agreed to it for exactly that reason.

          The point remains that while airsoft isn’t totally useless that video is misleading. Dude’s got a serious natural talent and homie from T.Rex is trying to sell it like he’s just your normal person off the street with some practice in airsoft which is bullshit.

          I mean, it’s like me suggesting that this is “the norm” for airsoft, undisciplined hyper macho assholes at every turn:

        2. avatar PTM says:

          We always loved watching guys who “learned most things from online videos, games and simulations” come out thinking they had any idea how to handle a firearm unloaded, let alone begin to shoot live rounds. The “I had no idea” moments were priceless.

      2. avatar PTM says:

        @Strychnine You should stay in your lane and have your fun with your video games.

    2. avatar PTM says:

      Airsoft can be helpful for teaching CQB and squad level tactics, etc. As for teaching the proper use of firearms, not so much.

      Best yet, for as close as you can get to the real thing, is Simunition based force on force training.

      Plinking plastic BBs off kitted up gamers is a fun game though. I prefer paintball though.

  24. avatar Nanook says:

    Do realistic training. If you are hunting, practice in the woods. Defensive action, take a course or I like old gravel pits with derelict cars. I live in an area where this is easy to do. You folks down in the urban areas are stuck with classes or courses. That picture with all the novice gun owners lined up is pretty scary looking…

  25. avatar Alan says:

    Sounds like a strong argument AGAINST gun safes/lock ups, at least while the owner is preset

  26. avatar Charlie the Bear says:

    Ha! Finally beat you to it. Spent all afternoon cleaning guns. Several of mine that saw use in the last couple weeks for range time, then the better half wandered in to the workshop and casually mentioned that her pistols hadn’t been cleaned in a long while.

    I responded that sounded like a personal problem.

    She replied that cleaning her guns would take the time she was going to use to make cookies.

    After cleaning her guns I was treated to fresh, warm, delicious dark chocolate and macadamia nuts cookies. I got the best of that trade for sure!

    Change the batteries – did that after Christmas, every year during that down time.

    Book a course. Hmmm. Any suggestions in the San Antonio/Austin area? Particularly if it does NOT require driving *in/thru* Austin. That place has become hell.

  27. avatar Michael Bane says:

    Hey Nick!

    Glad to see you writing!

    Michael B

  28. avatar possum, and the "Coons of Doom" says:

    I polish my Gunn as much as I can, Safes are for people with shiny jewels, and if I got anymore training I might kill somebody.

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