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Old August 6, 2014, 11:44 AM   #1
Join Date: May 8, 2013
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What lessons have you learned "the hard way"?

My lesson came this past Saturday in the form of a rookie mistake. My wife and I took another couple to the range so we could all shoot each others' guns. I was particularly interested in my friends' Bersa .380, as I'm considering getting a pocket gun. Shot it, loved it. No problem. The problem came when I tried his wife's Glock. For some stupid reason, my thumb ended up where it's not supposed to be, and the slide took a good sized chunk of skin with it. It bled a lot, and I know it could have been much worse, so I got off lucky. I have no good reason or excuse why I had my thumb where it was. I'm a revolver guy, but my grip is essentially the same, so I'm at a loss as to why I did that. I know I won't do it again though.

Anyone else care to share?

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Old August 6, 2014, 11:59 AM   #2
Unlicensed Dremel
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Rule #2 - don't point a gun at anything you don't intend to kill or destroy. Shot by brother in the foot with a lead .177 pellet from a Crosman 760 pump airgun, thinking it was charged with air but no pellet. Age 13. Lesson learned.

That sucks. When teaching a newb on auto-pistols, I always warn them carefully to keep the shooting hand thumb DOWN on the far side - it's truly surprising how many people how a natural tendency to stick the thumb behind the slide. That can *really* turn off a newbie to guns, as it could actually (worst case scenario) dislocate, tear flesh, and hurt pretty badly for weeks.
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Old August 6, 2014, 01:41 PM   #3
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Be HYPER VIGILANT about your eye and ear protection!

Took a friend to the range and in between firing sessions I had my eye protection parked on top of my head. We had already been shooting for several hours and they had been ON ALL DAY. Keeping them on at all times is something which I am damn near religeous about (all except ONE moment on THIS day of course). Buddy and I were conversing about some characteristic of the pistol and in one, single, forgetful moment, I picked up my Beretta 92 and fired a shot to demonstrate something related to our conversation (no recolection what we were discussing). I even thought to make sure my ears were on, but somehow my eye protection didn’t make the pre-flight checklist in that moment...

That shot, that ONE shot, the ONE time I DIDN’T have my eyes on… something came out the back of the pistol and peppered my eyes and face (gas or fouling of some kind I presume). I’d never expirienced anything like that before on any firearm (and to this day never have again). I reacted of course, but still managed to clear the pistol safely and set it down somehow. Afterwards my buddy looked me over. Everything seemed fine, no burns/cuts/marks, no lasting damage. All done, lesson learned, right?

A few hours later my buddy and I are having a late lunch. He’s sitting across the table from me and says, “Um, is your eye ok? It looks like it’s bleeding.” I excused myself for the bathroom and sure enough, there was a small but conspicuous red patch in the white of one of my eyes. No pain, no change in vision, nothing wrong otherwise, but it did take two or three weeks for the mark to go away. Had whatever it was hit me in the pupil instead, I don’t know what would have happened.

My friends have ribbed me for years (well prior to this incident) because I have always been the most saftey conscious of our lot, and I give apparently lengthy saftey chats (“diatribe" I’m told) to any new shooters that tag along. And still, here I myself made a serious, serious rookie mistake… I was very, very lucky.

That incident simply affirmed all my prior safety preaching. It will ALWAYS be THE ONE TIME you forget something...

NEVER, EVER think it can’t happen to you.
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Old August 6, 2014, 01:58 PM   #4
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Clean your black powder (or BP substitute) firearm thoroughly using plenty of water as soon as possible after shooting.
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Old August 6, 2014, 09:31 PM   #5
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Don't skimp on "budget" optics. After trying to find a "passable" scope for under $100 for my first rifle ten years ago (with higher magnification none the less), I quickly learned there is a reason good scopes are more expensive. Ended up putting that scope on a 22lr so it was not a total loss.

Not saying every rifle needs a NightForce or anything, but the bottom of the barrel scopes are not even close to good. A low price does not equal value.
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Old August 7, 2014, 01:59 PM   #6
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Can't remember when it was, but shortly after buying my XD9 I took a chunk out of the are around my thumb. Learned about slide bite.
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Old August 7, 2014, 02:40 PM   #7
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Once I was shooting a single action .44mag at an indoor range. As I shot the gun I was sort of riding the recoil up and re-cocking the gun on the way back down. However, I lost focus and apparently pulled the trigger while the gun was pointing up at the ceiling. Anyway, never lose focus on the trigger even while on the line at a range, also sorry to that range owner if he/she is reading this.
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Old August 7, 2014, 02:40 PM   #8
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That incident simply affirmed all my prior safety preaching. It will ALWAYS be THE ONE TIME you forget something...

NEVER, EVER think it can’t happen to you.
Your post is a very well-written story to stress the importance of eye protection.

For me, it feels like I'm running around 100% naked if I'm anywhere on/near/around a place shooting guns if I don't have my eye protection on.

It's funny, because some of us of a particular age range may have occupied the expanse of time where few people wore eye protection to the time where everyone is basically required to wear it at just about any public-accessible facility. I began shooting in the late 1980's and in my recollection, it just wasn't all that common to see folks toting shooting glasses or specific safety-related glasses. I competed for two years on a traveling smallbore rifle team and never once wore glasses.

It seems to me these days that perhaps my most ridiculous memory is the (literally) tens of thousand of pellets and *gulp* BB's that I launched, mostly in the basement, without ever wearing any manner of eye protection.
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Old August 7, 2014, 03:12 PM   #9
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Have someone else teach my wife to shoot.

Many years ago, I showed my wife how to hold and shoot my Ruger .22 pistol. Just like the OP, her thumb ended up in the wrong position with predictable results.

I would much rather someone other than me be the target of my wife's wrath.
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Old August 7, 2014, 03:36 PM   #10
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1st real lesson I learned I was 16.
Never, ever run down rail road tracks with a loaded 357 mag with the hammer back on a live round.
Sure was hard to explain to mom why my new tennis shoes had a cut and burn down the side of them.
The 2nd real lesson I learn I was 17 and that was don't stand 10 feet away from a dead bloated goat and shoot it.
Since then I have wised up considerably!!!!
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Old August 7, 2014, 04:24 PM   #11
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Never listen to your Dad's crazy brother,,,

"You're afraid the shotgun will knock you over?"

"Just put your back against this tree."


Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old August 7, 2014, 05:04 PM   #12
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aarondhgraham opened my eyes when he said

Never listen to your Dad's crazy brother,,,
"You're afraid the shotgun will knock you over?"

"Just put your back against this tree."

Holy (Excretement!!!!) and thank you Aaron! I thought I was the only one that had that happened to them at a young age, after being given a 12 GA that was taller than me.

I feel relieved, and don't feel like it's not just me and that it's not my fault any more!
أنا لست ارهابيا

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Old August 7, 2014, 06:09 PM   #13
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That sounds truly unfortunate, Aarond.

I've learned a lot from my experiences. That's a nice way of saying I've made a lot of mistakes.

1. Use the right tool for the job lest you royally screw up the finish on your gun.

2. Don't buy crappy parts/equipment. It may feel like a value, but you'll just end up buying something better to quell your frustration.

3. Don't assume that just because they say they know how to treat a gun that they actually do. That poor, poor gun.

4. Ricochets can and do happen from quite a bit further than you might normally think. They still hurt...a lot.

5. Try as hard as you can not to be on the business end of...anything. It isn't fun.

I like to think I'm more well informed now.
Semper Fi

Marine, NRA member, SAF Defender's Club member, and constitutionally protected keeper and bearer of firearms
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Old August 7, 2014, 06:51 PM   #14
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I learned about getting hosed at the pawn shop, but it was a Taurus I traded in towards a glock, so getting 250.00 credit on a 350.00 pistol may not have been so bad. Learned the hard way if you want to trade up on anything YOURS=bad.....MINE......good.
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Old August 7, 2014, 07:46 PM   #15
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A couple of years ago I went bird hunting with a buddy and his friend. I had a new soft case for my 870, and it fell out of a new case and hit the road in my rush to hit the field. No damage done, but I felt like an idiot.
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Old August 7, 2014, 07:57 PM   #16
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I learned at a young age not to shoot a pine cone with a bb gun. It might ricochet back and put a hole in the picture window behind you. Don't shoot at an object that is in front of a cinderblock wall with a BB gun. If you miss, it might ricochet back, hit the building behind you, ricochet off of it and hit you in the back. Oh, there's more, but I'll stop before I get kicked off of this site.
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Old August 8, 2014, 01:06 AM   #17
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My first lesson came about when I was about 12, and decided to check out my father's Browning light 12 when no one was home. after slamming my finger in the action, I learned I should keep my hands clear of automatic actions. when my parents noticed the bruised, nearly broken finger on my right hand, I told them it was from playing football with the boys across the way...Got out of that one. Another time, shooting a Ruger MK II, I learned the reason why beavertails exist. I learned that forgetting to "put your ears on" is bad, when I shot my first bought handgun, a Dan Wesson .357, without hearing protection.

However, a most important lesson learned is that when while shooting or hunting, a situation where LEOs "check you out" can vary to extremes. I have been summoned to court for "shooting where birds or mammals might be found on public lands, not during a specified hunting season (exact charge)" To an EPO helping to pull a car out of a mud bog, while offering advice on how to hunt aquatic rodents.My point is, don't mess with the law and lawmen won't mess with you, but sometimes, a LEO gets a bit too eager.
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Old August 8, 2014, 06:49 AM   #18
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It may not be empty even when you counted the shells.
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Old August 8, 2014, 07:21 AM   #19
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hard lesson learned...

After 2 stuck cases, I learned to use enough lube when sizing cases!

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Old August 8, 2014, 07:44 AM   #20
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I learned the hard way not to trust anyone when going downrange to change targets.
Too many times I did, and then felt bullets whizzing past while I was still down range.
A couple of times they were way too close for comfort.
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
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Old August 12, 2014, 07:51 AM   #21
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I learned yesterday.... maybe let your revolver cool a bit before loading and holstering after 80 rounds at the range. Especially if you carry SOB.
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Old August 12, 2014, 08:58 AM   #22
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If you find something you've been wanting, buy it. It'll be gone tomorrow.

That's how I snagged a 4" 22 LR Diamondback for $299 plus tax. Ditto with a flatside C-96 for $600 (when the dealer found out it was an early one, he would have charged more), M-1 Carbine for $100.
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Old August 12, 2014, 09:50 AM   #23
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Those are great prices.
What decade was this?
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
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Old August 12, 2014, 10:04 AM   #24
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Don't ever buy a Bersa product. My Bersa Thunder 380 broke on the 5th round out of a new pistol. Bersa does not have a factory repair facility in the USA, and you have to rely on one of their subcontracted gunsmiths. You have to pay shipping of pistol to their subcontractor. Then it takes over 30 days to receive your pistol back for a minor repair.

Go with a Beretta, Sig or even an SCCY prior to a BERSA. Also you will be buying a USA made product.
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Old August 12, 2014, 12:17 PM   #25
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Don't wear a loose shirt while shooting 10mm.
Join the NRA/ILA
I am the weapon; my gun is a tool. It's regrettable that with some people those descriptors are reversed.
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