Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Blue on blue...

The topic of blue guns came up elsewhere on the internet and spawned some interesting discussion. A couple of folks insisted that they treat them just like real firearms, which kinda seems to miss the point of having them in the first place. On the other hand, I get vaguely uncomfortable for reasons I can't precisely articulate when someone waves one around like the inert hunk of plastic that it actually and really is.

My relationship with blue guns is... complicated.

I mean, I still try and maintain "muzzle" awareness with the blue gun in that I only point it at things I mean to be pointing it at. Or, maybe a better way for me to put it is that I only point it at things for which I have a reason to be pointing my fake gun; I do not want to get in the habit of unconsciously waving my hand around when it has a gun or gun-like object in it.

This list of available things at which I will point a blue gun is longer than the list of things at which I would point a real firearm and includes things like:
  • exterior walls
  • this monitor you guys are hiding behind
  • willing human participants, such as when illustrating a firearms-handling point to a friend or my roommate
...but it still does not include things at which I don't want to get complacent about pointing gun-like objects, such as
  • my roommate suddenly walking through the hallway while I was drawing at a target on the far end
  • the cats
  • my own off-side paw
Especially note that last one: Everybody with an internet connection and a passing interest in firearms has seen, or will eventually see, a graphic photo of some dude who's put a bullet smack through the middle of his non-dominant hand because he had somehow acquired the habit of pressing the muzzle of an "empty" pistol square into the middle of his other palm. I don't want that to ever be a set of motions and sensations that feels natural to my hands.

Remember the video with the Hoosier police chief who busted a cap in his own ass a few weeks ago? Did you notice that, when he was handling the little Glock 42 from the showcase, he almost reflexively pressed the muzzle into his other palm? That wasn't the first time he did that; that's a well-ingrained handling tic that's bit him once already. I don't do it with real guns, I don't do it with blue guns...

I don't even do it with squirt guns because, folks, never point a squirt gun at anything you're not willing to get soaked.
.

47 comments:

Scott J said...

So, you use the blue gun for most "empty gun" type training?

I will draw and dry fire at exterior walls if there's nothing but woods beyond them for several hundred yards like with some of mine. However, I usually do that at the fully underground walls of my basement.

My only experience with blue guns was at my IDPA SO class where they were used to illustrate the absolute wrong way to allow a shooter to act. For example you might encounter someone you need to make sure is facing downrange before you tell them to load and make ready. You certainly hope not but you have to watch for it.

Tam said...

I do my dry-firing in the basement, yes.

mikee said...

I once handed my teen son a pneumatic nail gun, without any instruction other than "press it against the wood and pull the trigger" secure in the knowledge he would treat it like he did any gun.

He did. He followed the 4 rules with the nail gun, and when I asked him about it later he said, "Oh, yeah. That just seemed the right way to handle a tool like this."

When I saw him automatically indexing his index finger on a circular saw, I knew he had the concept of trigger safety down solidly.

It took me longer to learn that sort of stuff than it took him.

Scott J said...

This video of my boy makes me beam with pride when I watch his trigger finger

http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=tigim_A28b4

og said...

Completely agree. being in the habit of using blue guns like guns will prevent you from ever using a gun like a blue gun, in my opinion. Even a toy gun is still a toy gun, not a toy my pretty pony. is that a little OCD? Maybe. I would always rather be laughed at and ridiculed for being OCD than, say, dead, or holier than thou.

alanstorm said...

Complicated is OK. If it gets to kinky, seek help.

Matt said...

The rules for toy guns in our house were the same for the live guns, expect I didn't have to get permission to access the toy guns. Consitency in training pays off.

Scott J said...

Agree on the toy guns. I even enforce muzzle discipline when my kids are playing with the Nerf guns.

This means no fun Nerf battles but I figure that's a small price to pay for drilling safety in at an early age.

TJIC said...

Serious question: why would anyone ever push a palm against the muzzle of ANY gun loaded / unloaded / blue?

Is there some scenario (take-down for cleaning? Close combat weapons retention drill? Other?) where that makes sense?

Or is it a purely nervous habit?

I am the world's biggest scaredy cat when it comes to things like tablesaw blades, pistol muzzles, etc., so I can no more imagine palming a pistol than I can tapping my finger against the teeth of a the blade of a tablesaw that's off but still plugged into the wall.

TJIC said...

Followup: let the record show that I do get all sorts of minor dings and scrapes, but they come from behaving cavalierly around things that can do 1d4 damage, not 3d20. Busted knuckles with a socket set, toasted finger tip from picking up steel I welded too recently, etc.

perlhaqr said...

My blue gun is yellow, but yes.

And while I won't claim to follow all 4 rules with the cordless drill, I definitely index my finger alongside the trigger. It's gun shaped. That's just what one does with gun shaped objects until one is ready to actually make use of them.

heresolong said...

I enforce the four gun safety rules with toy guns as well and totally agree with your blue gun rule. The "only" exception for me (as someone commented above about nerf wars) is nerf wars. It is OK to point your gun at someone during war because your goal is to shoot them. This fits right into the rule about not pointing at anything you aren't planning on shooting. When you aren't actively engaged in a war, then you practice muzzle discipline even with a nerf or laser tag gun.

The Raving Prophet said...

Like TJIC, I have no idea why anybody would press the muzzle against one's off hand. Is this some idiotic method of press-checking?

I just can't fathom what one might possibly hope to achieve by doing that... I would think there would HAVE to be a rather safer way of accomplishing that task.

Unless the ultimate goal is stigmata by installments, but using a pistol for that is unnecessarily messy.

Heather said...

I was always taught to treat a blue gun like a real gun safety-wise. The only exception would be in a class if the set-up required something else, and in that case we were to specifically state "This is a blue gun, I am about to violate rule #whatever, do not do this with a real firearm." or something like that.

KM said...

TJIC, the only reason I can think of to palm a handgun is to do that "look through the hole" scene that Brandon Lee did in The Crow.

Andrew said...

Start `em young, start `em right:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1149903312574&set=a.1149902192546.22939.1377332401&type=3

Sidheshooter said...

Blue guns are ok, but that grey one has a pinned grip safety, fer Pete's sake...

NotClauswitz said...

I put a yellow Blade-Tech "training barrel" in my P245 and 1911 commander but still use safe-handling protocol. It's there more to practice my newbie carry (how well does this fit, how well does it conceal, should I try something else...) in a safe and unloaded manner.
The worst thing IMO about NerfWarz - especially in Cubicle FarmLand - is the weird and contorted faces people make, and win-win-winner attitudes that get spawned - it turned me off as wholly inappropriate behavior, and creepy.

David said...

When my kids were little nerf wars were common in our house and back yard. By the time he was 9 my son was playing airsoft wars with his friends. The father who started this provided full face shields, and made sure every part of their body was covered. (which was pretty uncomfortable when it is 110 outside). All this time both son and older daughter were learning to shoot paper and steel. But it was always with Dad standing right behind them and four rules mantra constantly drilled into their heads.

Then when they were 16 and 12 we started shooting competitions where they were moving with loaded guns, and aquiring targets and making decisions on what to shoot and not shoot. And where Dad couldn't stand right behind them, and where mistakes had severe consequences.

Both kids understood that the first time I ever saw them handle a firearm at the range the same way they handled their "toy" guns it would be the last time they went to the range shooting.

They both quickly grasped the differences in their new shooting hobby and our old ways.

On their own they stopped participating in nerf wars and airsoft wars. All it took from me was asking, one time, "is that the kind of habits you want to be practicing?"

They set up their own tactical airsoft competitions in the back yard and ran them just like real shooting matches including yelling at their other sister (who is not into guns) everytime she broke a rule with a "toy" gun.

Since they aren't shooting nerf guns at each other, and they aren't much good for anything else my son has started taking them apart, modfiying them to see how far or how fast he can get them to shoot...

Tam said...

Y'know, the rules for handling Nerf, water, or airsoft guns are the same as those for handling real guns, you just substitute "boffed with a dart/soaked/whacked with a plastic pellet" for "destroyed" in Rule Two. ;)

Anonymous said...

My wife got our son a bubble-blowing toy gun while on vacation last week. I came back in the house and found her explaining why you don't aim it random people, and how you don't pull the trigger until you want to make bubbles.

He is two years old.

His question, "Why Not?"

Her answer, "because I will take away your 'bow bow' and put you in a time out."

It took some time to find a safe backstop for his bubbles. His older sister (five) has been through this drill already - even with [horror face] AR-15s. So she helps her little brother learn the four rules.

I went into basic training with people who knew less than my kids. And when they left basic, they were worse!

Eric said...

Tam,

Can you recommend a source for blue guns?

Tam said...

Brownells and Amazon both carry Ring's.

Cowboy Blob said...

If I may be so bold: www.blueguns.com I bought two of their painted 1873s as "stunt guns." They make 'em as their ordered so try not to send them a rush order.

Sport Pilot said...

Next time you plan to be near Nashville let me know, I'll provide some weapons retention and disarming training.

Paul said...

I think I would rather drill to unload anytime you are handed a gun and the four rules.

I know I learned this one from the police, but I do agree that train like you fight, fight like you train is a good mantra.

Blue guns have a place, I just don't know that it is mine.

Tam said...

Paul,

"I know I learned this one from the police..."

Allow me to be blunt, here:
I don't give a fuck if you learned it from Santa Claus, you're not pointing a gun at me unless you want it fed to you. I don't care how "unloaded" you promise, honest Injun!, it is.

Tam said...

"Stop pointing that gun at me."

"It's not loaded!"

"Yeah? Well, this one is. And you're making me very nervous."

tailwind said...

One of these days (maybe happened already) someone will paint a real gun the same shade of blue and then there will be trouble.

Tam said...

tailwind,

"One of these days (maybe happened already) someone will paint a real gun the same shade of blue and then there will be trouble."

That doesn't even make sense.

Sure, I suppose someone could go hold up a bank with a real gun painted blue, or with fluorescent orange paint on the muzzle, or whatever, but that has EXACTLY DICK-ALL to do with me or you having inert dummy guns to use for certain types of training.

Although you know what actually HAS caused trouble? Somebody painting an inert "blue gun" black like the real thing. That'll get your ass shot. Come to think of it, so will painting a real gun blue, because most people who carry guns don't care what color the gun you're pointing at them is, unless you've let them in on the joke ahead of time.

Weer'd Beard said...

Blue guns are no fun except training.

Given that I'm one of those heretics who carries cross-draw it allows me to repeatedly practice my draw with no risk.

Also it lets me teach new shooters how to handle a real gun without the real gun. Once they prove that they know how to do that bit its safer to move up to the unloaded real gun, then we can hit the range and actually get ammo involved.

Paul said...

I would never hand a gun to anyone by pointing it at them.

Daniel in Brookline said...

What WB said.

For me, the purpose of having a blue gun is to allow newbies to handle something, just like a real gun, and PRACTICE the Four Rules -- with 100% certainty of no danger whatsoever to anyone.

I have another purpose for my Amazon.com yellow rubber Beretta, and the revolver-looking cap guns (also from Amazon). In addition to using them to instruct newbies, I can hide them around the house... and see if my boys (4 and 5.5) remember Eddie Eagle.

One day I'll get around to explaining to the boys that, no, these are not real guns. To THEM, for now, they ARE real guns, and must be treated appropriately.

DowneySoft said...

So a case I would point a blue gun at someone or allow it to be pointed at me. Martial arts training, either disarming or gun retention.

Other than that I don't see a whole lot of use for them.

Tam said...

Paul,

I might be mistaken.

I had read your comment as saying that the things some people use a blue gun for, you would do with a real gun, but only after unloading it?

Anonymous said...

I can hardly stand going to the fun shows anymore. Too many people pick up a heater and start coon fingering the trigger. I want to walk up to them and ask them if they understand what they're teaching their brain stems to do.

Too many ijits. Too little time.

Anonymous said...

Our department uses red guns only to teach weapons retention and disarming someone holding a gun on you (AKA the Hail Mary technique).

Tam said...

"Our department uses red guns only..."

No offense meant, but institutional weapons training tends to be pretty LCD.

Anonymous said...

Okay i know why people push the mussel into their palm. As far as I am aware it only works on the M1911 & M1911A1. If you push back on the barrel it will not fire. I know of no other handgun that has this safety(?)

Kevin ST Texas

Tam said...

Um, if you push pretty much any short-recoil operated pistol out of battery, it won't fire.

Sport Pilot said...

Yes, pushing a pistols slide out of battery will stop it from shooting. Its also a good way to ruin your hand. Grabbing hold of a revolvers cylinder stops its rotation but if it was already cocked it'll still shoot.
Train, practice, stay aware of surroundings and how your carrying your weapon. Red or Blue guns are useful tools.

Old NFO said...

Good habits carry over, and that INCLUDES with Blue Guns... :-)

Anonymous said...

Who ever would have thought that the idea of using a blue gun for training purposes where using a teal gun would make the baby Jeff Cooper cry would be contoversial.

When I was in high school I left a movie theater one night to find half the sheriff's department and ambulance and assorted paraphernalia in the parking lot. Apparently there had been a field training excercise where the used unloaded service weapons instead of blue guns and the training officer who was playing the bad guy executed a deputy for realz. This left an impression on teenage gun nut me and in the ensuing 30 years this same thing seems to happen to cops several times a year and occasionally in CCW classes as well. Proof that some people adamantly refuse to learn anything from the mistakes of others no matter how serious the consequences.

Corey

grendel said...

I know of more than one person who made a hole in their left hand dissassembling their Glock unsafely. That's why I never point the gun at something I'm not willing to shoot when I pull the trigger to break down a Glock. And even then, you don't have to muzzle yourself to pull down on the tabs, so why would you?

Will said...

I'm not sure where this comes from, but the idea just popped into my mind that, subconsciously, people think of Glocks as squirt guns. Possibly the plastic frames trigger this buried thought. I would never point my Officers Model at my hand, but a couple times I recall my similar sized G27 wandering toward the palm of my offhand while working on it. I always caught it with a WTF am I doing! reaction, but made note of it, since it seemed so unusual.

It's the only plastic framed gun I have, so no idea if it transfers to other brands. Bit disquieting, though.

I watched that video of the Sheriff doing it, and was struck by how familiar the action looked.

I think some of the squirt guns I had as a kid required you to block the muzzle and pump the trigger to prime the system. BINGO!!! That's where the memory comes from!
We would just bury the muzzle into the center of the off hand and pump until you would feel the water pressure.

Welshman said...

If I misconstrue things you say just come on over and correct me. I miss things in my haste sometimes, and I don't see very well anymore. So, I could probably use your help when I pop off about something that may have nothing to do with the subject matter of a post.

I post roughly 80 links to gunbloggers each week, and I am sure I get some things wrong. Most don't say anything. But that doesn't help much. Your willingness to speak up is most helpful.
Anthony

Tam said...

It's no biggie; most people don't use dummy "blue guns" anyway. It turned out to be something of an esoteric topic. (embarrassed smilie here)

I sometimes forget that other people don't hear the train of thought that led up to whatever random tangent I go rambling off on...