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Ask the Patch Pro: Local Experts Answer Your Gun Safety Questions

Our panel of experts are waiting in the comments to answer your questions about gun safety in the latest installment of Ask the Patch Pro.

It's time for another edition of Ask the Patch Pro, where each week we tackle a different topic and open up the comments section for questions. Our team of experts stop in to help you out and answer your questions.

This week we're talking about gun safety--cleaning, storing, proper gun use and any other questions readers have. Patch wants to help you get your answers, but we needed some help.

We've compiled a team of experts to help us out. Meet the experts:

  • Eric Bacon: U.S. Marine Veteran/Expert Marksman/Avid Sportsman/CCW Instructor
  • Monty Schrunk: Certified Rifle and Shotgun Instructor 
  • Keath Hausher: President and Lead Instructor of the Saint Louis Military Officer Support Foundation 
  • Nick Riggio: Family has operated a federally regulated firearms business for more than 30 years
  • Mike Dean: Recreational Target and Skeet Shooter/NRA Member
  • Matt Gumersell: Owner and Senior Fireaarms instructor International Executive Protection Agent with Sovereign Arms, LLC 
  • Guy Vogt: Missouri Department of Conservation at the Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center/Chief Range Safety Officer/NRA Instructor Certifications/USA Shooting Sports Shotgun Coach Boy Scouts of America 
  • Jeffrey Chosid: Federal Firearms Dealer/Competitive Shooter/Published Author/Army Contractor 
FedUpVet January 10, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Joseph you mentiond two things, tatget shooting and carrying concealed that can be very far apart. For target shooting, even informally, you would best be served by purchasing a .22 cal pistol or revolver with adjustable target sights. It would be easy to shoot, economical and fun which would all encourage more practice and would ultimately lead to better skills and confidence. A CCW weapon is an animal of a different kind. It must be concealiable during all monts of the year so it would have to be on the smaller side. It must also be powerful enough to be able to not only stop an assailant but to end the fight and to protect you and those under you're control. Thus, it would have to be of a more dependable caliber than a rimfire and be a centerfire of .380 caliber at a very minimum with a .357 Magnum, 40 S&W or a 45 ACP as a perferred choice. Each is more expensive to shoot, less comfortable to shoot due to noise and recoil and more diffucult to master as a recrational shooter. Thus I would recomment two handguns at this time. One a ..22 caliber revolver or pistol (there are several models by Ruger, S&W, Taurus and others) that you can practice with. Then a larger caliber similar type in a model that is similar to the practice gun.
FedUpVet January 10, 2013 at 06:57 PM
An example would be a S&W M&P model in .22 caliber to practice with and a S&W M&P in either 9mm or 40 S&W for self defense. Ruger and Taurus also make similar models that would serve the same purposes. If you would perfer a revolver, you could get similar models in .22 caliber and another in 38 special, 357 Magnum or a larger caliber from the same makers mentioned above. This way, you can practice with one very economically then carry the other similar weapon (although you still need to practice with it). The amount of ammunition savings in cost over a year or even a summer of shooting would easily pay for the other weapon. Just look at the price of ammunition (.22's for $20.00 for 550 rounds compared to centerfire ammunition at an average of $20.00 for 50 rounds of practice type). If you shot once a week, in about four or five months the ammunition savings would litterally pay for another weapon.
Keath Hausher January 10, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Joseph, Opinions about what type, model and caliber of firearms are the best options differ dramatically between shooters. "FedUpVet" makes a good point that target shooting and CC can be very far apart in several areas such as size, capacity and caliber. Personally, I am not a fan of revolvers and find that many will tire of the small capacity, reloading time when compared to a semi-auto, trigger pull and relatively small grip area when looking at small to medium size options. I have a few revolvers but only because some civilians insist on buying them and I demo models. My collection also includes many Sig Sauers, 1911's, Berettas and what I recommend to civilian shooters...Glock. If you are trying to buy one gun that will fill both roles (although it leans to the CC side of your question), consider a Glock 19 which is a compact 9mm. The simplicity of the design, reliability, capacity and acceptable accuracy makes it an excellent choice. Nine millimeter ammunition is reasonable (by todays standard when compared to .40S&W or .45ACP) in terms of cost making it a good choice for training which is a necessity in order to be considered a responsible gun owner.
Keath Hausher January 10, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Glocks, like all striker fire handguns, offer a consistent trigger pull at around 5-6 pounds out of the box and can easily be tuned to 3-4 pounds by those familiar with the design like myself. I prefer the Glock to similar options like the Smith & Wesson M&P, Springfield XD, etc. Retail cost of a Glock is $540 or so at Mid America Arms where I buy most of the weapons used for our military training. Law Enforcement and Military can get one for about $440. If you want a plinking (.22 caliber) pistol which you can shoot all day for a fraction of the cost, look at semi-auto options from Berretta, Browning, Ruger or Colt.
Adam Hackbarth January 10, 2013 at 08:51 PM
My brother (who is from Kentucky) wants to drive to MO and give me his handgun as a gift. Some MO dealers tell me that I can do this with him privately without a third party and other MO dealers tell me that I have to have him transfer ownership with him at a dealer. Who is right and why do I keep getting different answers?
Mike Dean January 10, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Hi Adam, transporting the firearm across state lines, before the sale/gifting, is where it gets sticky. That situation requires transfer through the dealer in MO to be proper and lawful. If you went to KY, bought it as a private buyer, and returned home to MO, it is all yours. Make sure to make up a bill of sale to protect both parties. I am still not a lawyer.
ReverePaul January 10, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Despite all the responsible gun owners, there was another school shooting in California today albeit a small one. No answer for those
Mike Dean January 10, 2013 at 10:44 PM
There are irresponsible owners of cars everywhere too. I'm more of an expert on cars since I have a CDL and ASE certifications, but maybe that is why I don't run around in circles with my hair on fire wanting to outlaw all cars every time there is a DWI or an accident. Law abiding gun owners know the value of a firearm when it comes to putting dinner on the table, or protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your property. People that go out with the intent to harm others, will do that regardless of the tool in their hand.
Michael Rhodes January 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Despite all the responsible adult beverage drinkers, there were multiple DUI arrests today with a daily average rate of 28 deaths from DUI. No answer for those.
ReverePaul January 10, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Last time I checked, when someone gets into a car they aren't trying to hurt or kill anymore. That's why they call them accidents. It's not an accident when someone walks into a school and shoots people. Also, what "tool" do people use when they go out to hurt people in these rampages. Look at the last couple mass killings and you'll find your answer. And Michael, people have been working on answers for DUI's. There are now stricter blood alcohol limits, the drinking age has been raised, there are more enforcement penalties, bartenders are charged with a crime when serving drunks, and we have huge public awareness campaigns about drunk driving. All of these things are done with the hopes of less drunk driving. Do you see any of that with guns? Nope.
Keath Hausher January 10, 2013 at 11:31 PM
California is yet another example of a soft target to a mentally imbalanced individual. CA laws are very prohibitive in regards to personal protection. Since 1950, only one mass shooting has taken place (the AZ incident involving Congresswomen Giffords) in an area outside a "gun free" zone. Schools, liberal states and other areas that ban one's means of protecting themselves are an easy target to the deranged. According to FBI statistics, one is 8 times more likely to be murdered with blunt instruments, knives and fists than rifles. Restricitve gun regulations only strip the law abiding citizens from protecting themselves. Criminals traditionally don't adhere to local policy.
ReverePaul January 11, 2013 at 12:50 AM
How can you believe that more guns will lead to less crime? Take a look at this article and this particular quote. "Scientific studies have consistently found that places with more guns have more violent deaths, both homicides and suicides." http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/sunday-review/more-guns-more-killing.html?_r=0 Are you just going to say the science is wrong?
Michael Rhodes January 11, 2013 at 01:00 AM
You do see those with guns. Background checks, registration requirements, liablity for injury resulting from the gun, free gun lock give aways, possible crimal charges for negligence, licensing, etc... I am not willing to excuse a drunk driver from killing or injuring someone just because they didn't mean to. I am of the opinion when an impaired person gets behind the wheel they are intentionally putting other lives (theirs as well) at highly increased risk. Crashes involving DUI are not accidents. My high school driving instructor said there are no car accidents as accidents are out of your control. You should always have control of your car.
Michael Rhodes January 11, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Intersting article. I would rather see data from a comparable country not a third world countries. The arrticle states : "Distinctive factors contribute to the high rates of violent crime in Latin America. Many countries in the region had recent civil wars, resulting in a large number of weapons in circulation. Drug- and gang-related violence is widespread. “It’s dangerous to make too tight a link between the availability of weapons and homicide rates,” said Jeremy McDermott, a co-director of InSight Crime who is based in Medellín, Colombia. “There are lots of other variables.” " All I know is Chicago and DC has the tighest gun restrictions in the country and every year they seem to vie for the most murders.
Michael Rhodes January 11, 2013 at 01:18 AM
I should add that I also don't think more guns is the anwser. I also do not think less guns is the answer (unless there are no guns at all).
Monty Schrunk January 11, 2013 at 01:26 AM
The article uses anecdotal evidence from countries where gun ownership by citizens is severely restricted; "illegal guns far outnumber legal weapons in Central America." The article also argues against its own conclusion: "Distinctive factors contribute to the high rates of violent crime in Latin America. Many countries in the region had recent civil wars, resulting in a large number of weapons in circulation. Drug- and gang-related violence is widespread. “It’s dangerous to make too tight a link between the availability of weapons and homicide rates,” said Jeremy McDermott, a co-director of InSight Crime who is based in Medellín, Colombia. “There are lots of other variables.”" Regarding Australia, the article includes hand-picked statistics, cited by a lobbyist for their gun ban legislation. The murder rate did decrease, but by almost the same rate as in the U.S. where no such gun ban exists. Other crime rates increased - including a 42.2% increase in violent crime. http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17847 In Great Britain violent crime and gun crime have increased dramatically since their ban. They now have a violent crime rate 4-5 times higher than the U.S. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html The article you cite, and a complete look at statistics, argue that removing and/or restricting the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns is counter-productive for reducing crime.
Bacon January 11, 2013 at 01:44 AM
Tis is a forum intended to answer questions and educate about firearms safety. I would ask that we attempt to remain on topic. I am sure that there will be another forum at another time for the debate of what's more dangerous; cars, firearms, or boards with nails in them.
FedUpVet January 11, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Bacon is absolutely correct. This article is about safety, storage and use for the benefit of the readers. It is not about politics and had been improperly hijacked. If we can stick to and stay with use and safety and storrage issues, we might even be able to prevent a possible future accident from happening.
GrandmaBunny January 11, 2013 at 12:05 PM
in Switzerland EVERY responsible adult family member is given a weapon issued by the government, the correct training to use that weapon and the responsibility of maintaining both the weapon and practice for its use. The result is a standing virtual citizen army that can be and is ready to defend themselves, their children and their country in a matter of minutes, not hours or days. You don't often hear about gun violence in that country because the penalty for abuse is very severe- death.
GrandmaBunny January 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM
We now have two very reputable weapons dealers in the Ballwin-Ellsiville area. Both are family run businesses, and both are very capable of teaching responsible gun ownership principles, guidelines for use and have the availability of every safety device on the market. Gun ownership is a responsibility not for the faint of heart or fools with more money than brains, that is why there are extenssive background checks and registration procedures that are then transmitted to the local and federal law enforcement agencies, both statewide, nationally, and internationationally. Again both of these dealers are scrupulously honest and law abiding and are exremely good resources for any information one would find necessary.
Mike K January 11, 2013 at 01:45 PM
@GrandmaBunny: Gun ownership and regulation regimes aren't the only factors impacting gun violence. The Swiss also treat drug use as a social and treatment issues, not criminalized ones. I don't want to get too far off topic/political, but I think our 'war on drugs' has been a bigger contributing factor to gun violence than lack of or overabundance of gun regulation.
PaulRevere January 11, 2013 at 08:44 PM
What is an "accident"? Is a DUI or DWI "killler" excused from mis-handling his auto into a pedestrian or other vehicle kiling 2 children occupants.? Did he intend to kill those people? Well , I say YES! Shooting a gun in the air could come down and kill a person. Driving a car while drinking or already Drunk IS USING A WEAPON that kills like firing a gun in the air. ReverePaul calls DWI killings an "accident". Let me say that accidents happen through "no Fault" of the "victim". ALL Dui Killings are the result of the "automoblile" being driven by a "mentally Ill" person. That is not an accident in any twisted definition. Firing a gun and driving an automobile are the same vehicle to "KILL". A drunk driver recklessly aims his vehicle at unsuspecting "pedestrians and oncoming vehicle" as TARGETS. LET's Ban all Alcohol drinking after 9PM. That will stop thousands of Liberally defined "accidents". When will society realize that "PEOPLE KILL". No police or any other stupid 24 hour security will stop "PEOPLE from killing" I label a constant Drunk or Pothead a "sick person" dangerous to society. Either Automoblies are banned as the biggest killers to society, or we ban the drinking. Many ask--Who needs AK47's? I ask--Who needs more than 1 drink?
Glenn January 11, 2013 at 08:52 PM
To get back to gun questions, as opposed to arguments... I hope this doesn't get too technical, but since I don't have a proper "mentor" at the range to ask I thought I'd try here. I recently purchased a rifle for long-range target shooting. (300 to 600 yards Sharps .45-70 caliber) I am shooting with iron sights and a vernier type aperture on the tang. The question: How should I record the sight settings when changing the sights for the different distances? The marks on the sight ladder have about 10 hashmarks per 1/4". "1/4" + 5 at 100 yards" or "1/2" + 3 at 300 yards" WORKS, but is awkward. How do the pros do it? Sorry if I didn't explain that very well. If I understood the sight better I might not have this problem recording settings. Thanks.
PaulRevere's Mom January 11, 2013 at 10:21 PM
I could sure use more than 1 drink right now. So quit playing with your blunderbuss, Paulie. and get your breeches up here and make me some pina coladas.
FedUpVet January 12, 2013 at 01:09 AM
First of all, there are good vernier sights that work and there are ones that look good but don't really do the job. You need a good tight one with a good positive dial with solid clicks to be consistant. Sights that just slide up and down the ladder won't cut it. Next, get your load worked up that works and won't beat you to death after two rounds of shooting.. Get a good note pad and start recording your settings for each distance that you'll be shooting at. Sight in at 300, 400, 500 then 600 and record the settings. Then record the settings at 350, 450, and 550. You could even go so far as to vary 25 yards up and down, recording your settings at all times. If I didn't mention it, buy a good laser range finder so you know you're distances. Now go and have fun.
Glenn January 12, 2013 at 01:28 AM
FedUpVet, I've got a decent sight (~$150), but not a great one. No clicks, but adjusts with a screw knob(?) for windage and elevation. I've recorded settings for 100, 200 and 300 yards. Haven't shot it further, yet. The load is decent, recoil is not a problem at all. I'm not so advanced I need a laser range finder. I'm strictly a "known distance" range shooter now. First I'd get a better spotting scope and sights. At this point I'm curious how more experienced shooters record the sight settings using the hashmarks on my sights. i.e. "1/4" +5 at 100 yards" as I'm doing now seems awkward and not...professional. If I handed my log book to a regular iron sighted long range shooter would my notes make sense to him or would he just shake his head and wonder what I meant. Likewise, could I look at his notebook and properly adjust the sights on his rifle? I'd like to be consistant with the big boys in the game. Of course, pictures would help. :-/
Glenn January 12, 2013 at 01:32 AM
FedUp, Were you suggesting that the pros record settings by counting the clicks on the sight similar to a scope? Then why mark the ladder at all?
FedUpVet January 12, 2013 at 07:29 PM
The problem with sights without a positive click system is consistency, there is none. You can never return to an exact point of zero or place without a positive way of measurement. It may look like the same setting as before but a few thousands off at the sight means a couple of feet at 600 yards with a 45/70. I know one shooter that took his sight off, took a high resolution picture of it and printed out a index next to it with hash marks at his known sight in ranges. He even put it into a binder with pages for different ranges. It works for him and he loves it that way. What is or is not professional looking doesn't matter. What works for you is what is important. You need to develop you're own system that works for you. Don't forget that if you change you're load, it's necessary to start the process all over again. When you finally start shooting matches with silhouettes (if you haven't already), some matches have the targets at "unknown" ranges. You'll need that rangefinder (if allowed) or learn to estimate ranges on your own (you'll also need the rangefinder to check you're estimates). If all of your matches are at the same range, it would be far easier to learn all of this. If you travel to other matches, get there early, check ranges with the rangefinder and record distances to landmarks. You'll need that data later. You can bet the local shooters already did. Rangefinders may or may not be allowed in the matches at match time.
FedUpVet January 12, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Yes, counting the clicks is the only way to do it right in this or any type of competition, especially silhouette. I competed extensively in NRA Silhouette and IHMSA Silhouette matches in Missouri and Illinois for years as a teenager and young adult. Consistency and positive sight adjustments were drilled into my head by literally all of the Master's of the game. I'm assuming we're talking about Black Powder Silhouette from the equipment described above. The marks on the ladder are there for several reasons: First of all, it's traditional, looks good and that's the way it has always been done since the 1850's (approximation on my part); Second: Some matches may be more "primitive " and that's all that may be allowed by the rules; Third, it does provide a quick reference if needed as a reminder.
Bacon January 13, 2013 at 06:04 AM
Good choice

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