Unnecessary Gun-Handling

By John Farnam

Bullet Hole
Bullet Hole
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- An armed civilian in his 20s, on volunteer guard duty, unintentionally fired a shot from his AR in OH. Unnecessary Gun-Handling.

Fortunately, the muzzle was pointed downward at the time, and the single errant bullet hit the pavement.

It made a divot, but caused no additional damage nor injuries. The incident took place outside a military recruiting center.

Someone apparently had asked to look at his AR. The voluntary guard, while attempting to comply with the person’s request, was in the process of “unloading” his rifle when the negligent discharge (ND) occurred.

Openly armed citizens started showing up at this and other military recruiting centers, acting as voluntary armed guards, in the wake of last week’s massacre of unarmed USMC and USN personnel at another recruitment center in Chattanooga, TN.

The Pentagon’s “solution” to such recurring massacres of unarmed troops is to strip them of their uniforms and tell them to “pull the shades.” I only wish they weren’t so predictable!

The voluntary guard in this case will face misdemeanor charges.

Last week, a USN recruiter in Atlanta was responsible for a similar ND, this time with a personally-owned 1911 pistol. He was in the middle of a “safety lecture,” displaying to another sailor his “unloaded gun.” As he reholstered, he shot himself in the leg! His physical injuries, at least, were not serious. We understand the remainder of the “safety lecture” has been postponed indefinitely!

The foregoing are two examples are why we teach our students not to handle guns unnecessarily, regardless of their supposed “condition.”

When armed, we don’t “show” our gun(s), no matter their ostensible “condition,” to other people, particularly for trivial reasons. In addition, we don’t discuss our gun(s), their ostensible condition, nor related subjects, with people who don’t need to know.

Concealed guns stay concealed, out of sight and out of conversation.

In the former case, the correct response to casual questions about an openly-carried rifle, is:

“I’m sorry sir. I can’t help you. Please stay back.”

In the latter case, had the pistol in question simply remained in its holster and not touched, nor discussed, there would have been no incident, of any kind, and the media would have had nothing to talk about!

Our military’s love-affair with never-ending gun-handling, the vast majority of it serving no legitimate purpose, generates NDs on a regular basis.

These unnecessary and unsafe procedures are a direct result of:

  • (1) A universal, morbid fear of guns throughout our military services
  • (2) A universal fear and distrust among military personnel of each other
  • (3) The common knowledge that small-arms training within our military is outdated, inadequate, and hopelessly parochial!

Personnel thus “trained” may know something about how a gun operates, but won’t have a clue with regard to how to live with one on a continual basis, nor how to actually integrate it, boldly and fearlessly, into his daily, personal security routine.

Instead, we run sterile, boring, cold ranges, even then only rarely. All the time, troops (all ranks) are told they can’t be trusted with guns. Guns, even in active combat zones, are only rarely loaded (at least intentionally), endlessly “unloaded,” and almost never carried in so-called “safe” areas (which are arbitrarily declared in an effort to disarm troops).

The result of our current philosophy:

  • (1) Massacres of our unarmed troops, on a continual basis, both overseas and within CONUS.
  • (2) Nonstop NDs, invariably involving “unloaded” guns in the hands of inadequately/incorrectly trained troops.
  • (3) Vain, self-absorbed politicians, in and out of uniform, who stubbornly insist that nothing change.

“When you don’t know where you’re going, any path will take you there!” ~ Anon


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

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Clark Kent

Mr. Farnam makes some pretty broad brush comments about our military personnel, including this whopper: ‘A universal fear and distrust among military personnel of each other’. Of course, he does not bother with any facts supporting said statement. Makes me think Mr. Farnam owns a hat made by Reynolds Wrap…..


The guy made a serious mistake and he owned up to it.

He was going to show another person his rifle so he was clearing it.

I hope he knew who that person was, otherwise what would stop the guy
from slapping in his own magazine or just one round and using the rife on the owner?

Want to see my rifles, then go to the range or gun store.


I’ve got a few years behind me and have had 2 accidental misfires and both were due to a lapse in judgment. Fortunately no harm was done except to my ego .


To both John Farnam and vanns40: at what point do you consider it necessary, excluding the obvious point of intending to fire, to handle a firearm? I ask not to be inflammatory but because I want your input. I regularly (once a month) check and confirm the condition of my weapons. All magazine fed weapons remain loaded with an empty chamber. I have one empty magazine for each so I can dry fire test. Each weapon is field disassembled to check for rust and functionality (I live in a fairly wet area). Each weapon gets a wipe-down with a clean,… Read more »


I’ve had similar thoughts. Here is what I’ve concluded. On the range we NEED to load and unload. We do so under highly controlled conditions with the muzzle down-range and during the range-is-hot state. At home (and similar places) there are also occasions when we need to load/unload. These are times when the watchwords should be: slowly; and, deliberately. There is no need to rush. The range is not going cold in a moment. We aren’t in a timed exercise. There is no excuse to cut any corner to get to the next task. There is only the single task… Read more »


John, as an instructor who is, I believe, way older than you, I have no problem admitting you have just summed it up better than I ever could have. Thanks.