Over time, I have this amassed a collection of basic info that some new folks may find useful.
I don't know what's required in the way of mandated training in other states, but to get a CCW where I live(d), the requisite first step was to attend a State Police approved firearms course.
Well, I now realize how cursory that course really was. Basically, we discussed the "4 rules", we learned what the various parts are called and what thier functions are. We were strongly "encouraged" to join the NRA. We went fired 6 rounds from a .32 wheelie, and 5 from a .22 autoloader. That's it. Everyone passes. I think we've all met a few folks that this kind of "Guns 101" info could help.
Day One Stuff:
Holsters & Clothes
- Get some quality training. You'll learn how to handle misfires, hangfires, squib loads etc.
- Always observe good muzzle discipline, and know what's downrange.
- Always observe good trigger discipline, no touchee 'til shootee.
- Always use appropriate hearing & eye protection. A brimmed hat is good, too (Keeps hot casings from getting behind the glasses).
- All guns that you have not personally just cleared and checked are loaded. Point in safe direction, remove the mag, rack to eject, inspect chamber and breech. If you leave and come back 2 seconds later; it's loaded.
- Never use drugs or alcohol before or while handling weapons.
- Never allow unsuitable persons, pets or kids access to your guns or ammo.
- If you drop the gun, DO NOT attempt to catch it, let it go (bad catch can=ND if your finger gets inside trigger guard).
- Do not allow yourself to become complacent as your skill set increases. The best shooters are never done learning.
- Learn all about your guns, they may save your life one day. Know the mechanism inside and out. Perform your safety checks often.
- Use only jacketed ammo in your Glock. Be very cautious of reloads.
- Clean and maintain your weapon in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.
- Shooting is big fun, but guns are NOT TOYS. No horseplay, ever.
; I also have a "standard spiel" for guns w/o extrernal safeties:
Be Conscious of Lead
- Get a holster that COMPLETELY covers the entire trigger area. Kydex or leather is good for a positive lock w/o any straps.
- Avoid holsters that have straps, thumbreaks or anything else that may get inside the trigger guard when reholstering. Even if the straps are too large to fit in the trigger guard, the strap might still push the trigger back as it "tries" to work into the guard. Early on I had one that did that, thankfully I had an epiphany before an ND.
- I would STRONGLY advise against purse carry. First, kids love purses, and even if you don't have kids yourself, you surely have friends and/or family that do. Second, if someone grabs your purse, now they have a gun and you don't. Much better for you to hand over a few bucks and some makeup than a loaded weapon. I don't want my wife giving a gun to some creep in a parking lot, that's not good.
- Also you need to be very aware of your clothing while CCW; does your clothing have any cords, zippers, buckles, straps etc that could potentially get into the trigger guard while holstering? Evaluate this while seated, and while getting into and out of your car (with an unloaded gun, of course).
; particularly when shooting indoors.
- Always wash your hands, face and other exposed skin with COLD water immediately after shooting.
- Do not smoke or eat while shooting. I cover any drinks I have with a bandana.
- Do not touch your face, eyes or mouth with leaded-up hands.
- Wash well before using the toilet.
- Be aware that your range bag and accessories will likely become contaminated; keep your kids and pets away from these items.
- Wash range clothes separately and often.
It is important to realize that lead is released into an indoor range environment as fired rounds hit the backstop and/or the target (depending on how robust the target itself is). FMJ rounds may reduce this effect somewhat, but look at the debris that collects at a solid backstop, lead everywhere. If you follow some simple routines, you can reduce your exposure, and therefore better manage the associated risk. Most everything in life involves a degree of risk; its all about understanding and managing those risks.
I've also included some other stuff as well...I don't expect everyone will agree on all counts, but I'm puttin' it out there anyway.
PROs: Agrip is especially good for the cold and wet. Great in the heat, too. Won't scratch stuff up like skatebaord tape will. Adds only minimal thickness to the grip. Since it comes off when you want it to
, it will not impact resale value.
CONs: Not permanent (although it holds up well). Kinda pricey. Applying it can be frustrating, particularly the first time you try. The other kids may make fun of your "fuzzy" gun; personally, I don't have a problem it.
PROs: Cheap, cheap, cheap. Easy to apply. Works very well in most conditions. Found @ hardware stores. Easily modifiable by the user. Adds only minimal thickness to the grip. Since it comes off when you want it to
, it will not impact resale value. I've never heard any negative comments about appearance.
CONs: It scratches the hell out of everything it contacts, keep it away from your favorite jacket's lining, folks. Not permanent, but easy to replace as needed (did I mention it's cheap?)
(a la Butch)
PROs: Cheap, cheap, cheap. Easy to apply. Works very well in most conditions. Found in any punk kid's bike tire (kidding...easy to find, bike shops throw this stuff away). Easily modifiable. Won't scratch anything up. Adds only minimal thickness to the grip. Since it comes off when you want it to
, it will not impact resale value.
CONs: Not permanent, but it's easy to replace (did I mention it's cheap?). Some have reported that it smells funny (bad), although mine don't. I have heard some negative comments regarding cosmetics; I
think it looks OK...so there.
PROs: Permanent, this is a good thing if you're SURE you like it. Will never slip or come loose. Works well in all conditions. Can be done for free if you're handy and have a soldering iron (practice first on something else!). Most folks seem to like the look of stippling, but I'm undecided. For me, it's a "case by case" thing...some look really good, others look really amatuerish. Adds nothing to the thickness of the grip.
CONs: Permanent, this is awful if you decide you don't like it. Most likely will negatively impact resale value. Many shooting sports sanctioning bodies do not allow this modification. Can be very pricey if done professionally. Can look pretty crappy if done poorly.
Rubber Grip Sleeve
(a la Hogue Hand-all, Pachmayr, etc
PROs: Easy to find. Easy to apply. Easy to remove if you don’t like it. Can add finger grooves to a pistol grip without them. Can enhance existing finger grooves. They work well in all conditions (I'm told). Since it comes off when you want it to
, it will not impact resale value either way. I've never heard any negative comments regarding cosmetics.
CONs: Adds substantial width thickness to the grip, and I’ve never heard anybody pine for a wider
pistol grip. Fairly pricey for a chunk ‘o’ rubber. Virtually unmodifiable by the user. DISCLAIMER: I have never liked these things, and have never used one for any length of time…I also don’t trust ‘em to stay put. Completely subjective opinion…take it for what it’s worth.
I have never used Duct/Electrical/Sports grip tapes.
Try it if you like, and let us know how it worked out for you.
The Great Guiderod/Spring debate
Is it safe to carry a chambered Glock?
- Your stock guiderod will NOT melt. It is used in the G18 (full auto), it is effectively cooled every time the slide cycles. If it will hold up to the G18, you're OK. Information to the contrary cannot be verified; it's always "I heard...", "I know a guy...", "My RO says...." Unless you're testing the very limits of performance or some similar torture testing, you'll be OK with stock.
- Broken guiderods are almost invariably the result of improper installation (seating the assembly on the wrong lug on barrel). Yes, they are a mechanical component, and will therefore occasionally fail (the key word being "occasionally"), just keep a spare handy.
The "lateral strength" or "flexing" of the guide rod is a non-issue. There is simply inadequate space available inside the slide to allow for the amount of lateral distortion required to cause structural failure. The guide rod is more than adequate for the intended task; it is a guide rod, that's all it does. In fact, the gun will continue to operate without any guiderod at all.
- If you feel you must use a metal guide rod, save yourself some cash and go with stainless steel. As to tungsten and titanium rods, they cost a lot more, and add nothing (unless you sell them)...IMO they're a solution looking for a problem. SS is okay (and cheap) if you want to change out springs a lot for racing. And, yes, I have fired Glocks modified with these items, often.
- I have often heard folks say that guiderod "X" reduces recoil; this is just plain wrong. The rod itself does NOTHING that will affect recoil. It is true that a heavier rod will (may) reduce muzzle flip, thereby allowing for quicker follow-ups. However, muzzle-flip is not "equivalent" to "recoil".
- For standard loads the stock spring set-up is the best and most reliable choice, especially for CCW. Be careful with aftermarket springs (spring inner diameters are crucial). Keep it stock, friend.
- Replacement recoil springs come in various strengths, and swapping them will have a direct influence on felt recoil. However, many knowledgeable GTers advise against this, as it may or may not also result in reduced reliability. If you feel you must change springs, go with a SS guide rod that has a removable retainer, this will allow you to change springs very quickly.
- As I said, you must also be aware of aftermarket spring inner diameters, it is crucial that the spring movement is not impeded due to insufficient rod/spring clearance. FWIW, I have never heard a bad word about IMSI springs. For standard loads, the stock set-up is the best and most reliable choice, especially for CCW.
The functional design of the Glock is extremely fool-resistant (I never use the term "fool-proof
", because they keep coming up with better fools
Seriously, the Glock is a very safe design; when your training is sufficient, there is no problem carrying with a round chambered.
The Bullet Set-Back Issue
- Personally, if the gun is for home or personal protection, I can't imagine NOT having a round chambered.
- A properly maintained and undamaged Glock simply will not fire unless the trigger is pulled.
- Exercise and train your primary safety device (brain) to maintain unwavering muzzle control and keep your finger off the trigger until you want something downrange to "go away". But of course, you already know this.
- You will, however need to learn that if you drop your Glock , it is critical that you LET IT GO! DO NOT make any attempt to catch the weapon, you may catch it "wrong" and cause an ND.
Here's what I do with my carry rounds.
Should I Leave the Copper "lube" on, or Remove it?
- Each time I unchamber a round from my carry gun, I mark the case with a black Sharpie. That round then gets put back to the bottom of the magazine. I repeat this until all the rounds have a black mark.
- I'll go through this process twice, until each carry round has one, then two Sharpie marks. This tells me that each carry round has been chambered twice; at that point, I'll fire 'em off next time I'm at the range, and start the entire process over.
I know I could probably get away with chambering carry rounds more than twice, but that's the way I've always done it (and it gives me the opportunity to "validate" my carry ammo fairly frequently).
It's anti-sieze. Glock Inc. cannot control under what conditions the gun will be stored and for how long. They use the copper "lube" (copper/grease compound) simply to ensure that the slide mechanism is protected from harsh and/or extended storage conditions. It has nothing to do with "break-in", which is a myth. Alot of equipment designed for use in the arctic is similarly treated at the factory.
This "lube" may be removed whenever it suits you to do so. That being said, it is
mostly grease, and will function adequately as a lubricant for a time.
To plug or not to plug, that is the question.
I consider the unweighted plugs to be primarilly a cosmetic item. Many folks don't like 'em because "if Gaston wanted that covered, HE would've done it." or some other silly reasoning. I have also heard some pretty outlandish "backpressure" and "flex" explanations to back up that position. It's BS. Undoubtably, some will say that it could/would impair your ability to remove a stuck magazine. I have both "plugged" and "unplugged" versions, and I've never had a problem with that. If you want a more "finished" look, go for it, it won't hurt a thing.
Now, the weighted plugs are another matter, they will affect the balance of the gun significantly. This is by definition a user preference issue, and only you can decide what's right for you.
Unintended Slide Release.
Just about any autoloader will do it if you SLAM the mag home hard enough, especially if the slide stop lever or mating surface is worn. It is also true that most designs are more prone to this when the muzzle is pointed skyward. Basically, if you apply enough force (in the "right" direction) to the gun to overcome the resistance in the slide stop mechanism, you will see this happen. The "sharper" the blow, the more likely it will happen, as well. I know of one fool that actually took a dremel to the contact surfaces in a misguided effort to decrease the inherent resistance between them in order to encourage the effect. Bad idea; too much fooling with the slide left him with a gun that slammed closed if you looked at it too hard.
At any rate; yes, it happens. No, it's not quite "normal". Though it may be kinda cool, don't count on it to happen because (as Mr. Murphy has taught us) it won't when you NEED it to. Train as though it can't happen, and just enjoy it as a bonus when it does, and keep that muzzle pointed downrange in case of a slamfire.
Have fun, be safe.