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Old October 18, 2000, 01:37 AM   #1
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Recently I had a terrible nightmare that got me to thinking. I have a Beretta 96 that is just as sweet as molasses. It is accurate, and very dependable. What bothered me is that I like to keep a round chambered (safety on), and ready to go.
Before that was the most sensible policy. Now we have a one year old son who has shown himself to be curious with switches and buttons, and part of the nightmare is that he'll manipulate the safety and do something terrible. I realize that I'm paranoid, but paranoia is a good thing when it comes to safety. I realize that the double action trigger would be hard to manipulate and the chances of him doing the safety and the trigger are slim, but I worry about it.
Do you pistol buffs consider a 1911 to be safer with its single action and its grip safety? My way of thinking is that he couldn't work the slide, nor could he manipulate the trigger with a grip safety. Should I trade in the Beretta?
As far as I'm concerned, their both excellent firearms. I would like to keep away from the biased comments about the beretta or the 1911. I'm just considering safety here. I want to feel confident in my gun, and the Beretta, 1911, and the Glock seem to have a good reputation for reliablility. Now I just have to know that what I own is going to be nearly impossible for a child to get to go bang.
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Old October 18, 2000, 02:24 AM   #2
Bill Daniel
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kjm: While your child could not pull the trigger on your 96 on double action nor could he rack the slide on a 1911 now he will be able to later. My three children 17,14,12 all know how to handle and respect our firearms but I keep our defensive pistols in a "Gun Vault" with touch pad entry at bed side because of nightmares like yours.
All the best,
Bill Daniel

Prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law and their weapons will become harmless.
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Old October 18, 2000, 03:55 AM   #3
Art Eatman
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Part of dealing with the little guys is making life difficult for them, to climb up and get into places they shouldn't. This means you take a close look where you put stools and chairs, that a two- or three-year old might be able to use to reach the top of a chest or up onto a high shelf...

For now, up high and out of sight will work. If you leave the gun at home while you're at work, and the youngun gets home before you do, a trigger lock could be effective. After you get home, you make unlocking it a part of your daily routine. In the morning, you lock it--part of the routine, like shaving and tooth-brushing...

Or, add a lock to a top drawer and always keep the key on your key ring, not "somewhere around the house"--another possibility.

Somewhere around age four, let the kid help clean the pistol. Feel and fondle, with the instruction, "When you're big enough to shoot it, let me know and we'll go shoot." Removing the mystique, any lure of the illicit, will somewhat reduce any interest in "forbidden things". Having his own cap pistol will give a sense of "my gun" and lessen interest in yours.

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Old October 18, 2000, 07:56 AM   #4
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I'm a little bit confused why you are talking about racking the slide on a 1911 and taking off the safety on the 96. If you're not going to chamber a round in the 1911 (the need to then rack the slide), then why not just not chamber a round in the 96 as well? That part has me a little bit confused.

A 1-year old, or a 2-year old or even a 3-year old will not be able to rack the slide of either a 1911 or a 96. However, I don't blame you for being concerned when it comes to the little ones. I have a 2-year old and when she started crawling, I quickly changed my method of firearm storage.

In addition to my CCW, I like to have a couple of guns strategically hidden throughout the house JUST IN CASE. If everyone is in the family room watching TV and somebody comes through the front door, I would have to get past him to get to my bedroom to reach my home defense weapon -- NOT GOOD! So, as I said, I have a few home defense weapons strategically placed around the house.

When my daughter started getting around, I purchased a few of those strongboxes with a simplex lock on them from V-Line (do a search in some of my past posts for photos and a web address). The strong box is bolted down to either the floor (out of sight, of course), or under a heavy piece of furniture and it provides two functions -- it addes a little bit of security against the gun being stolen (not as much as a safe but more than just having it hidden) and it will prevent not only my daughter but other unauthorized users from gaining access to a firearm.

I would strongly recommened it. I have a loaded firearm nearby and I don't have to worry about the little one trying to get into it.

Go luck with your son and get as much rest as you can before the "terrible two's" set in.

FUD Share what you know & learn what you don't
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Old October 18, 2000, 09:30 AM   #5
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I agree with the others here. DO NOT DEPEND on the gun's safeties to keep your child (and any other children who visit your home) safe. Get a lock box.

I can't see why a condition 1 M1911 would be any more or less safe than Beretta 96 on safe. I don't think the presence of a grip safety will make much of a difference at all. If your child gets hold of the gun while unsupervised, you've already lost the war. What you need to do is to prevent the child from getting hold of the gun in the first place.

A curious child will eventually figure out how to make ANY gun go bang. If the gun isn't on your hip, it should be secured. A lock box will give you quick access to a loaded firearm. Note that a trigger lock cannot be used on a loaded gun.

There are many lock boxes around, including the GunVault, which you can order from a variety of places, including Dillons:

Regarding storing guns up high, children learn at an early age to drag chairs around and climb up on a chair. That may protect you for a year or two, but that's it. There's no reason not to choose a more secure solution right now.

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Old October 18, 2000, 10:12 AM   #6
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DO NOT sell the beretta, if you like the gun, and it fits you, keep it. leave it without a round chambered if needed. the safe's are an excellent idea, if you are given warning. they make picture, and clock wall safes than hold your gun, and can give you quick access.

i also participate in haveing various guns through out the house, not the safest thing by any means, but i am 20 and live with my parents, there are no small children in our house. when my niece and nephew visit (few times a year) all guns are locked except my carry gun, which stays ON ME.

keep your beretta, if you want a 1911, get it too, but don't sell the other gun. i dont feel that its any safer if a round is chambered.
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Old October 18, 2000, 05:02 PM   #7
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Don't forget to start "gun proofing" your child early and often.

Teach, indoctrinate and demonstrate. Do not let the firearm become a dark mysterious item. That makes it more tempting to fiddle with when you're gone.

It's too easy, IMO, for a kid to get the grip safety depressed when fiddling with the trigger. Sadly, the younger ones can most easily trip the trigger with their thumbs. You can guess where the muzzle is pointed then. Their fingers will almost certainly be around the grip safety.

All of my kids could pull double-action triggers by age three. Their reasoning and impulse control, even for the best kids, is not yet reliable at that age. DO NOT DEPEND ON DIFFICULTY OF GUN OPERATION TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD! It *may* be part of a multi-layered defense against tragedy, but as they said in ROTC, "any idiot can pull a trigger."

Locks and lockboxes can provide major protection for your little ones, but not for your ten-year olds. They learn how to defeat locks. I did. No one got shot because of two things: I knew the rules, and I respected LIFE enough to not get careless or reckless.

For the future:
If your child turns out to have little impluse control, lots of initiative and cleverness and ingenuity, determination and a strong will, you may NEVER be able to prevent him or her from getting to your guns. The heavy safe with combo lock, bolted to the floor, may provide enough protection, but only if you safeguard the combination and your kid does not learn how to "solve" the combo.

Remember, your kid will have *years* to figure it out.

Mind you, this is the worst-case scenario, but it's also the type of circumstance which will be used to try to outlaw the last vestiges of private arms ownership.

Anyway, a simpler measure (which will also allow reasonably swift access in an emergency) may be for you to always keep the firearm unloaded, but pack a magazine on your person. At night, secure the pistol and mag in such a way that it's most unlikely for your kid to get to it without waking you up.

Several lockboxed guns which all take the same magazine may be stored in your strategic locations. One advantage of this is that a clever crook will never find a loaded gun in your house to use on your family. Unless that kid loads one.

Keep all ammo well-secured and regularly check your kid's hiding places...that may not totally prevent the most determined kids, but it makes it more likely that if they put gun and ammo together, they won't be yours.

All this may sound extreme, but if your child eventually decides to be a crook, it should be easier for him or her to make bombs than to swipe your guns.

Because you show MANY signs of being a good parent, you should know early on whether such extreme measures will be needed later.

In the meantime, consider the unloaded gun/magazine on your person option for any times when you are not personally wearing a carry piece. And be very careful about what happens at the end of the day when you unholster that thing.
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Old October 18, 2000, 05:17 PM   #8
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I second Bill Daniel's comments.

P.S. My beretta stayes in a MiniVault, , by my bed. It has enough room for the gun, cash, and phone number to Selm Heyek’s house that I keep in there.

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Old October 18, 2000, 05:45 PM   #9
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There was actually even a simpler solution from a while back. I liked it and will use it when I have children. It looked like one of the old suction darts with a big wide rubber band attached to it. The rubber band would wrap around the the hammer and go around the slide. The dart part would go about 3 inches into the barrel. A kid could not pull it out, and it goes in too deep to be pushed out side ways. The rubber band is too strong to allow the hammer to be cocked either by pulling the trigger, or trying to force it back by hand, thus making it impossible to shoot in this condition.
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Old October 18, 2000, 06:09 PM   #10
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I wouldn't rely on any safety to deter a child from firing a gun. I also don't rely on trigger locks or other fabled accessories pushed by outsiders (from the gun industry). Keep the gun out of the child's hand and teach them firearm safety ASAP. Eddie Eagle's advice of Don't touch! Tell an adult! works well here.
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Old October 18, 2000, 09:14 PM   #11
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My question is,

"Why do you EVER detach your primary weapon from your body?!?"

Because of the child issue the only loaded guns in the house are the ones strapped to my or my wife's person. These guns only come off when we are asleep or in the shower.

If you're not comfortable watching the game while wearing your gun, how can you be comfortable with it while at work/play?

Remember what (almost) happened to Christian Slater in the movie "Kuffs"... I do NOT want to be running around the house, dodging bullets from an MP5 muttering "gun, gun, where'd I leave the gun!"


Honor Before All
Doing Least Harm Always

[This message has been edited by MrMisanthrope (edited October 18, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by MrMisanthrope (edited October 18, 2000).]
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Old October 19, 2000, 12:10 AM   #12
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The 1911 would definately be safer isn't really the word. When you have a child, all of the rules change. Consider a locking box that you can bolt to your bedframe.
Old October 19, 2000, 01:43 AM   #13
Join Date: May 16, 2000
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What Mr. Misanthrope said.

I wear my gun almost 24/7. When I go to bed, I lock my bedroom door and place the gun in an opened, unlocked lockbox next to my side of the bed, furthest from the bedroom door.

If I so much as get up to go pee in the middle of the night, I close and lock the box, then open it again upon my return after the bedroom door is locked. Same process in the morning for shower.

The rest of the time the gun is on my hip, readily accessible to me and inaccessible to my children.

Trust a trigger lock? Or a heavy trigger pull? He** no! I remember watching my first born figure out cabinet locks -- he was ten months old and it took him about ten minutes. The second one didn't bother figuring the locks out, he just yanked on the cabinets and the locks broke. Safety devices only slow kids down; they aren't secure enough to bet your child's life on them.

Btw, that's one more reason to oppose trigger-lock laws. The false sense of security is a killer.


"Is there anything wrong with a woman preferring the dignity of an armed citizen? I don't like to be coddled and I don't like to be treated like a minor child. So I waive immunity and claim my right -- I go armed." -- Longcourt Phyllis in Beyond This Horizon by Robert Heinlein
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Old October 19, 2000, 12:56 PM   #14
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Your kid is always growing and will someday be old enough to defeat a simple lock or operate any gun he can grab. No alarm will go off to tell you when that magical day arrives, so I believe you must take full precautionary measures from the start.
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Old October 19, 2000, 01:14 PM   #15
Country Boy
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I echo what others have said. I believe in either having the gun under my immediate control or locked up. I simply have my carry gun on my person, and then I don't need to leave other guns loaded around the house. I would not rely on any safety feature of the gun, because it gives a false sense of security. As another has said, that point will come when a little one is stong enough to defeat a safety mechanism, such as racking a slide or flicking a safety. Those little shavers are curious, so I would keep it out of reach and TEACH them about guns. fruits look tasty, but the familiar looses some of its appeal.
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Old October 19, 2000, 02:01 PM   #16
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I don't have kids, but I do keep a gun in my glovebox, nightstand, and desk drawer. Whenever kids are around, the guns get locked up. Safeties will not satisfy protecting a kid from shooting himself or a friend (or you). Nor will leaving the chamber empty or even putting on a trigger lock. Lock the gun up, or carry it on you. End of story.
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Old October 19, 2000, 02:04 PM   #17
Shawn Dodson
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Put your Beretta in a GunVault. End of problem.

/s/ Shawn Dodson
Firearms Tactical Institute
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