Averted disaster for a first time handgun owner

As I was packing up at my local range, a brand-new handgun owner arrived to get in a little practice with his new brace of self-defense handguns. It soon became clear that despite his experience as a hunter, he had very little experience with handguns. I had an instinctive sense I should delay my departure a little bit, just to make sure, and I was glad I did. After supplying him with earplugs he had not realized he would need, I stood by just to see how he would fare and found myself shouting STOP! before he fired his first shot. He had gripped the semiautomatic with the web of his left hand over top of the web of his firing hand and was about to send the slide of the handgun tearing into his hand, as it was directly in the path of the slide’s reward travel.

After that I spent an hour or two with him, educating him as much as I could, with the goal being primarily to get him to recognize the need for more training, I chose to steer him away from the semi-automatic, for the time being, and had him concentrate on the 5 shot snub nose revolver he had also purchased. He had no idea about ammunition, hearing protection, or even the fact that the revolver he purchased was in fact, a double action that he did not have to cock each time. He was entirely motivated by a desire to be able to protect himself and his family, and it was here at the range with a new shooter, that I really saw the value of the USCCA and all that it offers.

His revolver had come with one holster, but not likely the one he would first need while the semi-automatic had no holster at all. He had also had no idea of what brandishing was, its ramifications, or how important the holster was to have, indeed different kinds of ammunition or why it was important was also missing. Fortunately, I had enough time with the USCCA to know how much he needed a resource like we have here, and I could confidently recommend it for the many reasons we discussed as we talked over the legal considerations, responsibilities, and in particular that afternoon, training.

I hope he will take my recommendation, but if he can’t afford too right away, or should choose not too, I pointed him to the videos made by the USCCA that I knew he could see online and hoped that would help him identify the kinds of trainers and training to look for.

It was a lot to try to pack into an hour and a half, or two, but it came through clearly to me just how valuable the USCCA resources could be to all those brand-new gun owners out there who want to stay safe and learn what they need to know, and even, access help with the legalities and liabilities after the first fight is over, and the second fight begins once you have survived the initial incident.

My renewed compliments to the USCCA and what they have made available to people, I believe I will be recommending us a lot more often in the future. Because I’ve been a shooter for so long, I’ve forgotten all the things there are to learn when you’re starting out from scratch, and a couple of hours at a range is nowhere near enough time to cover it all, not by a long shot.


And it highlights clearly, just some of the problems with letting people buy a firearm adn ammo with zero training, even a few minutes at the counter from the seller.


Great job and patience ( with a stranger ) just realize most of their training comes from Xbox and Hollywood.

Have you ever seen anyone donn a headset prior to shooting in a movie?
Hollywood is very funny, at the beginning of an intense high speed chase, notice the bad guy has all the time in the world to put on his helmet or his seatbelt while escaping.

But a shooting inside a locker room and nobody’s ears are ringing? Or actors that shoot their directors?

When Hollywood starts to practice some “common sense” gun handling, maybe they get my respect back. Until then, they should stick to movies. But at the same time, hire a decent consultant! Say… anyone associated with the USCCA, NRA, SAF you pick the alphabet organization except for government organizations! That’s what got us here!


Every new purchase comes with an owners manual. They are even available on line. I’ve read the online manual for firearms I was considering purchasing.

I suspect the person about to draw blood with the back of the slide had never read the owners manual.

I feel like I’ve seen at least one handgun engraved with a paragraph warning to read the manual first…


I cant recall if I ever saw in a handgun manual a line on THIS will happen if you place your thumb over the back of the slide… Speaking of which there is a recent Paul Harrell video, he attached a piece of chicken over the cilinder gap of bigger and bigger caliber revolvers. It made me cringe many times.



This warning also mentions hearing protection.


Even the cheap HI-Point has a warning about it in their manual.


I have seen and stopped the bite several times. Also seen people try to cup the revolver cylinder. Go to a range where they rent guns and they get foreign tourists that have never even held a gun before.


‘Cringe many times’ because as the gap grew larger with the revolvers’ caliber of ammunition, blow-by damage upon firing increased. Very worthwhile video to share with new revolver users. (Well, Paul Harrell in general…)


My training began with a man who insisted I read the history of guns and the how too section of the reloading manual, and then I had to learn to load ammunition, complete with casting the bullets. Then he took me out with the ammunition I had made (closely supervised of course) and taught me how to shoot it. By then I had my first set of rules memorized, and to his credit, what I was taught has not let me down even around police and special forces.

I would not have a problem with mandatory education like we get before we are allowed to get behind the wheel, provided, it was equally respected and similarly treated. Sadly this is not the goal of most gun control advocates, they don’t want the safety, they want the elimination. But hold on to your hoods, because it appears they want your combustion engines now too, regardless of how ready the replacement strategy is.


The ultimate, all mighty importance of the “universal safety rules!”
May they always be followed and embraced!


I stand corrected.

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At your prompting I watched that Paul Harrell video. Even though I already knew, I did not know in such vivid detail. Thankfully the revolver will be loaded with .38 special with a proper grip, if, recommendations were remembered and adhered too. Hopefully he will have been convinced to acquire the additional training.

None the less, Recent events have reaffirmed the importance of the right to an effective self defense, without such a right, what rights of any meaning do we really have at all?


You are absolutely correct that wounds from the slide biting body parts aren’t shown.

Maybe the manuals should show a simple graphic like the sticker on a lawnmower with red blood droplets and then people might grasp the importance of a proper grip?


My greatest frustration in all of this is the stigma, vilification, and reduced availability, of training. It, to me, is analogous to discouraging people from learning to drive while at the same time you decry safety issues and try to use them to justify denying people cars. Never mind that there is no effective replacement for that which they seek to restrict or deny.

The gentleman in this example was not eager to be a gun owner of the defensive variety, he was only doing so when pressed to realize how vulnerable he was. The availability of training, education, and even proper ammunition have suffered such drastic declines in our area, that when pressed into action, he had very little in the way of access to the resources he needed. It does not help that one is reasonably reluctant to openly seek such resources, for fear of being singled out and identified for judgment.

As some in our legal system are now allowed to vilify and prosecute self-defense, I believe, they hope to foster more unfortunate incidents that were avoidable, in hopes of using them as further excuse, but this is a specially identified right, like freedom of speech, that was treated as such for the very fact of its great importance, and its unique vulnerability to emotionally charged false arguments.


In my personal experience trying to relay information to the general public, it is best to keep the message as short and simple as possible and use simple eye catching imagery whenever you can.


Good job! You saved him learning the hard way, however few ever make that mistake twice after 2 grooves are traced on their hand. Occasionally a revolver shooter will place a thumb next to the cylinder-barrel junction with considerably worse consequences.


Yes Sir, bit twice, so far not again. Hoping to keep it that way. Ouch.

I git bit on my web, between thumb and index finger in dominant hand using a semi, upon the last round slide back locking back.

However, for some odd reason, I fear a slide bite when that locked back slide - slides forward - I fear it’ll pinch me even more fierce, so I’m even more careful where I place my hand and fingers. Heard some stories of persons getting that bite at the ranges. No thanks.


No slide bite for my wife and I yet…

Somehow she cut her thumb pretty good shooting my Mossberg 500. Still have not figured out how that happened :thinking: