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How many times have you heard me say, “You don’t get to relax!” After you holster, you can at least take a breath, but I want that safety routine all the way through, every time. You’re not pointing guns at yourself; you’re not pointing guns at other people. We have no safe guns here. All guns here are always dangerous.

Now, one step forward in that regard, when we actually need to demonstrate careless gun handling, we now use blue guns. I can use a blue gun to deliberately be unsafe because it is not a gun, it is a piece of plastic molded into the shape of a gun so I can make the point. It would be a little hypocritical for me to take a functional gun and wave it around and say, “Don’t do this!”

People used to demonstrate what not to do with functional guns. They’d say, “See, the gun’s unloaded. Now, don’t do this!” That was then. Well, now we do not do that. Blue guns are available, they are not expensive, and why should we not use them?

eJournal: That’s a great example of improving safety protocols.

Farnam: The world is full of ignorance and the progress is glacial, but statistically, accidental shooting injuries are down measurably, due to hopefully some of what we are doing, but also due to gun technology. Today, guns really are about as safe as they can be made.

Back in the last century when the only guns were muzzleloaders, you couldn’t unload them. In fact, modern-day re-enactors who use muzzleloaders, use a device called a de-loader. It is a compressed gas that actually blows the powder charge out. I still wouldn’t stand in front of it, but at least it de-loads it. There was no such thing 100 years ago. You couldn’t unload a muzzleloader without shooting it.

Then, you wouldn’t have time to load it when you needed it, so it just stayed loaded. On the wagon trains, for example, there were terrible accidents! No one kept track of statistics on that, but I am convinced that it was terrible compared to today.

Today, the guns are much better. They are drop-safe and the triggers are safer–no one makes a utility gun with a one-pound trigger. For pistols, the industry standard now is six to seven pounds, and I think that is about right.

Back in the revolver days, which I am old enough to remember, our revolvers had 12 to 14 pound triggers and we thought nothing of it. On the other hand, we didn’t have women officers and we didn’t have any small-statured people in law enforcement. We had height and weight limits back in those days!

If we went back to revolvers today, that would be a problem. I have small-statured students–not just females–who would have to use two fingers to press the trigger. In fact, I have had students do that. There are drawbacks, but if that is what you have to do to shoot the gun, then you have to do it that way. For most consumers, the six to seven pound trigger is about right.

Except for 1911s, manual safeties are gone. If you manufacture a gun with a manual safety or a decocking lever, you are not going to give it away to a police department. They won’t even look at it. The system that Glock pioneered has been pretty much adopted by everybody now. The gun is self-decocking; the gun does everything for you. You do have to load it, of course, but you do not have to do anything with the hammer. There’s no button here; there is no lever there. You do not have to worry about any of that.

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