This is the official /k/ Sticky. It is suggested that you read all of the information here (as well as the Disclaimer) in full. This sticky is really a compilation of information; none of the information on this page is original content. The original author will not be cited, since it is too much work. However, if you want source, just google part of the passage and you'll probably find it.
Gun safety is a collection of rules and recommendations that can be applied when possessing, storing, or handling firearms. The purpose of gun safety is to eliminate or minimize the risks of unintentional death, injury or damage caused by improper possession, storage, or handling of firearms. Therefore, four major rules have been universally recognized.
Jeff Cooper, an influential figure in modern firearms training, who praises the CZ-75 as the pinnacle of handgun designs, formalized and popularized "Four Rules" of safe firearm handling:
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
If you have any questions about what a word means when pertaining to firearms, check these two links before posting a question!
Firearms Actions Explained
The Bolt Action Rifle is a manual-operation firearm. Specifically, this means that after each pull of the trigger, the operator has to pull back the bolt, which releases the spent casing, and push it forward again, loading a fresh cartridge into the breech. The rifle is once again ready to be fired. Bolt Action Rifles are usually seen storing their ammunition in either an internal, non removable magazine, or an external, detachable magazine.
The Break Action is another type of manual-operation firearm. It is usually seen in shotguns, with two barrels, either in a side-by-side or over-under configuration. To load the firearm, a latch is activated, which releases the barrel assembly to be swiveled away from the receiver, allowing the breech to be exposed. Shells are inserted into the breech and the mechanism is closed and latched. Then, the hammer is pulled back and the weapon is now ready to fire by squeezing the trigger. After firing, the break action is unlatched and the barrel and forearm are allowed to fall forward. This will cause a spring-loaded extractor to automatically remove the spent shell. The weapon is now ready for a new cycle.
Nearly all pump-actions use a back-and-forward motion of the forend to cycle the action. The forend is connected to the bolt by one or two bars. The motion of the bolt back and forth in a tubular magazine model will also operate the elevator, which lifts the shells from the level of the magazine to the level of the barrel.
Before firing a round, the bolt is unlocked and the forend is free to move. The shooter pulls back on the forend to begin the operating cycle. The bolt unlocks and begins to move to the rear, which extracts and ejects the empty shell from the chamber, cocks the hammer, and begins to load the new shell. In a tubular magazine design, as the bolt moves rearwards, a single shell is released from the magazine, and is pushed backwards to come to rest on the elevator.
As the forend reaches the rear and begins to move forward, the elevator lifts up the shell, lining it up with the barrel. As the bolt moves forward, the round slides into the chamber, and the final portion of the forend's travel locks the bolt into position. A pull of the trigger will fire the next round, where the cycle begins again.
Most pump-action firearms do not have any positive indication that they are out of ammunition, so it is possible to complete a cycle and have an empty chamber.
Lever actions are most often equipped with tubular magazines. They are either fitted with a spring-loaded plunger mechanism that holds the loaded cartridges in place, or a simple rotating shroud. To load cartridges into a tubular magazine, find the release mechanism that will either rotate a small shield, revealing a port in the tube to allow the insertion on new cartridges, or that will release the plunger which should be removed, similarly revealing a loading port. After loading the magazine, close the rotating shield or re-insert the plunger.
Cock the rifle by pulling down the lever and then pulling it back up. Be sure to move the lever through its full range of motion to ensure that the action is fully cycled.
Pull the trigger to fire the rifle. To fire again, you will have to cock it again, in between each shot. Once you pull it down, it ejects the last spent casing, and pulling the lever up prepares the next shot.
Semi-automatic rifles may be operated by a number of mechanisms, all of which derive their power from the explosion of the powder in the cartridge that fires the bullet. Widely used mechanisms include:
In "simple" blowback operation, the bolt isn’t mechanically locked at the moment of firing. The bolt is relatively massive and is kept forward by spring tension alone. At the point of ignition, expanding gases push the bullet forward through the barrel while at the same time pushing the case rearward against the bolt. The empty case is ejected as the bolt travels to the rear. The stored energy of the compressed action spring then drives the bolt forward. A new cartridge is stripped from the magazine and chambered as the bolt returns to its in-battery position. This simple design is mainly seen in firearms designed around relatively low-power cartridges, where spring tension and the mass of the bolt (or slide) are sufficient to keep the bolt forward until chamber pressures have receded to a safe level.
For more powerful rounds or for a lighter operating mechanism, some system of "delayed" or "retarded" blowback is often used, requiring the bolt to overcome some initial resistance while not fully locked. This allows more time for chamber pressures to subside. Once this resistance is overcome, these actions function identically to "simple" blowback action.
- Gas Piston
Gas piston operation uses the high pressure gas ported from the barrel to drive an enclosed piston back against an operating rod, which in turn unlocks the bolt and drives it rearward, ejecting the spent case and cocking the hammer or striker spring. The bolt moving rearward also compresses a recoil spring which returns the bolt forward, stripping a fresh round from the weapon's magazine and forcing it into the chamber.
- Direct Impingement
The tube carrying the high pressure gas ported from the barrel emerges inside the action of the rifle, where it hits the bolt directly and pushes it back, cycling the action. Note that the AR-15, despite often referred to as a direct-impingement rifle, doesn't qualify under this definition, because the gas is not impinging on the boltface. Instead, it mates up with a "gas key" which is integral to the bolt carrier. Thus, the AR is in fact uses a short-stroke piston system, but one in which the bolt carrier itself functions as a piston.
- Short-recoil Operation
Short-recoil operated arms operate by using the recoil of the bolt and barrel to cycle the firearm. The barrel is locked to the bolt and travels a short distance rearward with it until it unlocks, allowing the bolt to continue rearward in its cycle. The bolt moving rearward compresses a recoil spring which returns the bolt forward, stripping a fresh round from the weapon's magazine and forcing it into the chamber. As the bolt returns to it's original position, the barrel and the bolt once again lock together.
- Long-recoil Operation
Long-recoil operated arms operate similarly to short-recoil operated arms, except that the barrel is locked to the bolt until they reach their rearmost position. The bolt is then held in position until the barrel returns completely forward. The bolt is then released and forced closed by its recoil spring, chambering a fresh round.
History of Firearms
- 1364 - First recorded use of a firearm.
- 1380 - Hand guns are known and in liberal use across Europe.
At this time, guns were fired by holding a burning wick to a "touch hole" in the barrel igniting the powder inside. This design and usage philosophy was however extremely primitive, and accurately aiming projectiles was essentially impossible.
- 1440 - The matchlock gun appears in the form of the matchlock arquebus used by the Ottoman Empire's Janissaries.
With this innovation, a shooter uses one hand for firing, and a prop to steady the gun. The first device, or "lock," for mechanically firing a gun is the matchlock. Powder is held in a "flash pan," and ignited by a wick, or match, in a movable clamp. Both hands can remain on the gun, vastly improving aim. Early matchlock guns are extremely rare.
- 1498 - Rifling principle is discovered.
- 1509 - Invention of wheel lock (rose lock).
The next major advance, the wheel lock, generates a spark mechanically. With no wick to keep lit, the wheel lock is easier to use and more reliable than the matchlock. However, wheel locks are expensive to produce. Matchlocks, at half the cost, remain in common use. This is an early (ca. 1540) multi-shot, wheel-lock pistol, made for Emperor Charles V. In this weapon, two locks are combined in one mechanism, to give each barrel separate ignition.
- 1540 - Rifling appears in firearms.
Rifling is the process of making helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy.
- 1630 - The first true flintlock.
The flintlock solved a longstanding problem with firearm use. Some time in the late 1500s, a lid was added to the flash pan design. To expose or protect the powder, the lid had to be moved manually. The flintlock mechanism was designed to push back the lid and spark a flint at the same time. The flintlock ignition system reigned for two centuries with virtually no alteration due to their simplistic reliability and ease of ammunition production.
- 1825 - Percussion-cap guns are in general use.
The percussion cap was the crucial invention that enabled muzzleloading firearms to fire reliably in any weather. This was significant because a flintlock was prone to misfire and failure to ignite in wet weather. The percussion cap is a small cylinder of copper or brass with one closed end. Inside the closed end is a small amount of a shock-sensitive explosive material. Pulling the trigger releases a hammer which strikes the percussion cap and ignites the explosive primer. The flame travels into the gun to ignite the main powder charge.
- 1835 - The first Colt revolver.
Samuel Colt developed the first mass-produced, multi-shot, revolving firearms. Various revolving designs had been around for centuries, but precision parts couldn't be made with available technologies. Additionally, his design was the first to employ an indexing system, which automatically aligned the next chamber with the barrel as the hammer cocked. Colt was the first to apply Industrial Age machining tools to the idea. Mass production made the guns affordable. Reliability and accuracy made the Colt a favorite of soldiers and frontiersmen.
- 1840 - Guns begin to use pinfire cartridges.
A pinfire cartridge is an obsolete type of metallic firearm cartridge in which the priming compound is ignited by striking a small pin which protrudes radially from just above the base of the cartridge. Its history is closely associated with the development of the breechloader which replaced muzzle-loading weapons. Pinfire cartridges were convenient in that they could contain percussion cap, powder and shot in a neat pre-loaded package which was several times faster to fire and reload and was inherently safer.
- 1850 - True shotguns in common use.
In the second half of the 18th century, musket design branched out. This period produced a number of single-purpose firearms. The forerunner of modern shotguns was the fowling piece, developed specifically for hunting birds. Among the upper classes, fowling was a leisure sport. Fowling pieces for the very affluent were often lovely works of art, but impractical for hunting.
- 1851 - First effective double-action revolver.
In a double-action (DA) revolver, the stroke of the trigger pull generates three actions: (1) the hammer is pulled back to the cocked position (2) while the cylinder is being indexed to the next round, and then (3) the hammer is released to strike the firing pin. Thus DA means that a cocking action separate from the trigger pull is unnecessary; and every trigger pull will result in a complete cycle. This allows uncocked carry while also allowing draw-and-fire using only the trigger. A longer and harder trigger stroke is the trade-off, but this drawback can also be viewed as a safety feature, as the gun is safer against accidental discharges from being dropped.
- 1859 - The first full rim-fire cartridge.
A rimfire is a type of firearm cartridge where the firing pin strikes the base's rim. The rim of the rimfire cartridge is essentially an extended and widened percussion cap which contains the priming compound, while the cartridge case itself contains the propellant powder and the projectile. While many other different cartridge priming methods have been tried since the 19th century, only rimfire and centerfire technology survive today in significant use.
- 1860 - Spencer repeating carbine patented.
Introduced at the start of the Civil War, Spencer repeating guns were technically advanced, used cartridges, and could fire 7 shots in 15 seconds. But the Army didn't want a repeating gun, fearing that soldiers would fire more often, constantly need fresh ammunition, and overtax the supply system. But in 1863, President Lincoln test-fired a Spencer. His approval led to the purchase of 107,372 Spencer repeating carbines and rifles (of 144,500 made), and the Spencer became the principal repeating gun of the Civil War.
- 1860 - the Henry rifle, the first practical lever-action repeating rifle, was introduced, using a proprietary .44 rimfire cartridge. During the Civil War and after they were wildly popular and widely sought, despite the fact that they were very fragile compared to the Spencer carbine, and much less powerful. The Henry was based on the "Volcanic" lever action rifles and pistols designed in the 1840s and 1850s by Walter Hunt and Lewis Jennings.
- 1862 - The Gatling Gun is invented.
- 1866 - Winchester Model 1866 "Yellowboy" brass-framed lever-action repeating rifle introduced using the Henry's .44 rimfire cartridge. Steady improvements in metallurgy and mechanism would continue to take place for another thirty years, like the centerfire Model 1873 with the stronger iron frame using the .38-40 and .44-40 revolver cartridges, the 1886 long-action model that could handle long black powder rifle cartridges like .38-55 Winchester and .45-70 Government and even the big ol' .45-90 and .50-110, the steel framed 1892 model with the improved locking mechanism that was strong enough to handle .357 Magnum, and the 1894 long-action model that's still in production, usually but not always seen in .30-30 caliber.
Winchester rifles were affordable and produced in such great numbers that the Winchester became the generic rifle in midwest American culture and even in some military scenarios. The Winchester had such a powerful hold in some regions that it actually became colloquially known as "the gun that won the West." In 1887, Winchester came out with their first repeating shotguns. The next major milestone for Winchester came in 1903, when the company introduced the first automatic rifle that would become widely used. *
The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-firing weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun's operation centered on a cyclic multi-barrel design that facilitated cooling and synchronized the firing/reloading sequence. Each barrel fired a single shot when it reached a certain point of alignment in the cycle, after which it ejected the spent cartridge, loaded a new round, and in the process, allowed the previous barrel to cool. This configuration allowed higher rates of fire to be achieved without any of the barrels overheating.
- 1869 - Centerfire cartridge introduced.
A centerfire cartridge is a cartridge with a primer located in the center of the cartridge case head. Unlike rimfire cartridges, the primer is a separate and replaceable component, allowing these cartridges to be reloaded with new powder, bullet, and primer, and reused.
- 1873 - Colt Single Action Army revolver, called in some printed catalogs of the era the "Peacemaker," is introduced for US military service. With its gorgeous, graceful lines, it became an extremely common movie prop in the early to mid 20th Century, because, one, the US military sold them off as surplus at scrap-metal prices following the First World War, and movie production houses bought them up by the barrel full for cowboy movies. Two, it was much prettier and more photogenic than competing designs that were actually quite common and popular on the western frontier in the US and Canada prior to the turn of the century, like the Smith & Wesson Schoefield and Merwin & Hulbert, or the British Adams, Tranter, Enfield, and Webley revolvers, some of which were downright fugly. American movie audiences didn't see much else until the 1960s, when Clint Eastwood carried a pair of Colt 1851 Navy Model cap-and-ball revolvers in several "spaghetti Western" films. They were his personal property and the directors agreed to let him use them.
- 1879 - Lee box-magazine patented.
The most popular type of magazine in modern rifles and handguns, a box magazine stores cartridges in a column, either one above the other (single-stack) or staggered zigzag fashion (double-stacked). As the firearm cycles, cartridges are moved to the top of the magazine by a spring-compressed follower to either a single feed position or side-by-side feed positions. Box magazines may be integral to the firearm or removable, as is the case with handguns like the Steyr m1912 and Colt 1911, respectively.
- 1884 - smokeless powder invented in France, blackpowder becomes obsolete.
- 1884 - Hiram Maxim designs and builds the first practical belt-fed machine gun, variations of which can be found in service in some parts of the world today. It is the first modern automatic weapon. "Whatever happens / We have got / The Maxim Gun / And they have not!"
- 1889 - Colt M1889 New Army & Navy Model appears, the first double-action revolver a with cylinder that swings out on a crane for loading and unloading. This mechanism, much improved, is still in use today, over a hundred and thirty years later.
- 1892- Advent of automatic handguns.
- 1897 - John Moses Browning designs the Winchester 1897, the first practical slide-action shotgun.
- 1898 - Peter Paul Mauser perfects the bolt-action rifle. There were several prior iterations of the design, which tended to be prone to catastrophic failure, as in "why does that guy have his rifle's bolt sticking out of the back of his skull? Oh." The 1898 was good enough that Springfield Armory copied it in 1903, though they neglected to pay for the patent rights and got sued by Mauser after the First World War.
- 1898 - Smith & Wesson commercializes the .38 Special revolver cartridge, with 21 grains of FFFg blackpowder under a 158gr soft lead round-nosed bullet, for 700-ish feet per second from 4" barreled service revolvers. It is only about half as powerful as the blackpowder cartridges designed for the Single Action Army and lever action rifles a few years before with their 40gr powder charges and 180-255 grain bullets. The US Navy picks it up very briefly as a service cartridge, then drops it like a hot potato when it performs very poorly in the war in the Philippines. Law enforcement in the US in the early years of the 20th Century is much more impressed with it than the Juramentados were and adopt it widely despite the poor reports, and cling to it stubbornly until near the end of the 20th Century. The cartridge persists today, mainly used in target pistols and in very small frame double action revolvers intended for concealment--or as a light mouse-fart practice load in .357 Magnum revolvers.
The first automatic pistol was created by Joseph Laumann in 1892. But the Borchardt pistol of 1893 was the first automatic with a separate magazine in the grip, and this remains the defining feature of the breed. More automatics came in rapid succession, including Browning, Luger, Mauser, and Colt models. By the turn of the century, just 8 years after Laumann, self-loading automatics were firmly established in both military and civilian applications.
- 1899 - Historical firearms period concludes. The contemporary period begins in 1900 with the widespread use of repeating, automatic, or otherwise 'modern' firearm actions.
- 1903 - Colt M1903 Hammerless Model in .32 ACP appears, and is significantly more reliable than most previous semiauto designs, even with its weird semi-rimmed cartridge that is occasionally prone to rim-lock. The 1908 model in .380 ACP, with a true rimless cartridge, is even more reliable. The design very strongly influences later semiauto pistol designs, including the FN Browning M1910 and M1920 and the Tokarev TT33.
- 1908 - Georg Luger designs the toggle-locking pistol bearing his name, in a couple different calibers. The 9mm cartridge he designs for the Germans remains wildly popular today. The Luger pistol is the first to have its magazine release on the left side of the frame behind the trigger to be operated with the user's thumb. It isn't the last.
- 1911 - The M1911 in .45 ACP, the first semiauto pistol reliable under adverse conditions, even the muddy conditions of trench warfare, enters service, rendering revolvers obsolete. Revolvers continue to be issued for law enforcement use in the US well into the 1990s in order to maintain the public perception that the police are not an occupying army because they do not use military firearms. This is the same reason pistol-caliber submachineguns never supplanted riot shotguns for close-quarters work in law enforcement service, despite being vastly superior by every metric. The M1911 gets significant ergonomic improvements in 1927 and the new version is designated the M1911A1. Now widely regarded as obsolescent, if not obsolete, due to its smallish single-stack magazine capacity and spotty reliability with ammunition types other than plain vanilla roundnose FMJ, it was at the time an enormous advance and remained extremely popular with gunfighters until the 1990s. The design was admired enough that copies and near-copies were mass-produced almost immediately in Spain, then other countries, and it is noteworthy that even designs that had relatively little in common with it mechanically were made to resemble a M1911A1 externally as closely as possible, usually with the manufacturer's name and even caliber designation printed in nearly microscopic print. The Spanish arms industry were very enthusiastic copiers of Winchester rifles and Smith & Wesson revolvers between the World Wars also.
- 1918 - Theodor Bergmann invents the first practical pistol-caliber automatic weapon, making shotguns obsolete for military or self-defense purposes. Germany's collapsing economy does not allow them to mass-produce the MPi-18, at least not in numbers that make a difference militarily, but the world notices the concept and pistol-caliber "submachineguns" become wildly popular in military applications for the next fifty or so years before being fully supplanted by selective-fire intermediate-caliber "assault rifles."
- 1929 - Walther introduces the PP, a compact "police pistol" in .32 ACP and other small, low-pressure, pocket-pistol calibers. Then in 1931 they make an even smaller version, the PPK, made famous, or maybe infamous, in too many 1960s spy movies. The PP introduced double-action/single-action operation and decocking safety in semiauto pistols. That is, putting the manual safety (usually but not always a small lever very far up on the side of the slide, a bit awkward to reach or manipulate quickly) on decocks the hammer without firing the gun. Take the safety back off and you can fire, but it is a very long, very heavy double-action pull for the first shot similar to that for a double action revolver. This was advertised as a safety feature making it slightly harder for drunken illiterate peasant conscripts screwing around with the gun with their fingers on the triggers to shoot themselves in the foot. There was an enormous fad, even a mania, for the DA/SA system in the middle to late part of the 20th Century, at least for military applications. It is something of an acquired taste and since 1990 or so has become much less popular in the marketplace compared to striker-fired designs.
- 1935 - The Browning Hi-Power, designed by John Moses Browning (pbuh) and Dieudonne Saive, is the first pistol to have a detachable box magazine in the grip holding the cartridges in a staggered double column. This design feature is ubiquitous in service pistols today and has been since the early 1970s. The magazines held thirteen rounds of 9mm, plus one in the chamber, giving fourteen, double what a M1911 magazine in .45 held. The design is used by combatants on all sides during the Second World War and widely thereafter, earning high marks for reliability in deserts, jungles, swamps, and Arctic mountains. Prior to around 1990 the BHP was the single most common military service sidearm on the planet.
- 1935 - Smith & Wesson commercializes the .357 Magnum cartridge based on experiments with hot .38 Special handloads published by Elmer Keith in gun magazines in the 1920s. Prewar .357 Registered Magnums built on the big ol' N-frame command astonishing prices from collectors today. Between the 1950s and 1970s the .357 Magnum largely supplanted the .38 Special cartridge as the most common law enforcement issue handgun caliber.
- 1947 - Mikhail Kalashnikov, maybe with a little help from Hugo Schmeisser, designs the first version of the AK47 rifle, the first widely mass-produced practical intermediate-caliber selective-fire infantry rifle, in 7.62x39mm, borrowing concepts from the German StG44, the M1 Garand, and the old Remington M1908. A modernized version, mainly in the sense that it was a bit lighter and less expensive to manufacture, is introduced in 1960 and mass-produced and exported worldwide, earning an enviable reputation for simplicity and reliability. A 5.45x39mm version is introduced in 1974, and remain in service with Russia's military. Some parts of Africa and the Middle East are waist-deep in rusting Kalashnikov rifles to this day. And the rifles still work, despite the rust.
- 1970 - Heckler & Koch introduces the VP70 in 9mm. With its striker fired mechanism, no manual safety, polymer frame, eighteen-round detachable box magazine, and futuristic lines, it looked, at the time, like a ray gun. As they had horrible triggers and weird sights, they did not sell well and are now collectors' items. Nonetheless, it was the shape of things to come.
- 1975 - In Czechoslovakia, brothers Josef and František Koucký design an ergonomically excellent modern steel-framed DA/SA service pistol in 9mm using a double-column magazine holding 15 rounds. The CZ75 and designs based on it become popular and praised even by people like Jeff Cooper, who ordinarily had no time either for Commies or the 9mm cartridge. Notably, unlike most DA/SA designs, it had a frame-mounted safety similar to that of the M1911 and BHP that did not decock the safety, allowing the user the option to carry it in Condition One just as God and Colonel Cooper intended. Trolls come to /k/ and claim that the CZ75 is a "clone" or "copy" or "improved version" of the Browning Hi-Power but the two designs have nothing in common but the caliber and double-column magazines.
- 1980 - Glock GmbH of Austria, previously a manufacturer of precision machined steel tooling and injection molded plastic parts, introduces the Glock 17 in 9mm, called in Austrian military service the Pistole 80. 40+ years later the Glock 17, with its striker fired mechanism, no manual safety, polymer frame, and seventeen-round detachable box magazine remains wildly popular worldwide, despite a trigger and sights that are a bit of an acquired taste, if not nearly as bad as the VP70's.
- 1987 - after almost two decades and vast sums of money spent on development, Heckler & Koch unveils the G11 assault rifle. It uses a caseless 4.7mm cartridge and disposable plastic 50 round ammunition cassette. Mechanically massively complex with multiple selective full-auto fire rates, it is memorably ugly, externally resembling nothing so much as a stubby two-by-four with a hacksaw handle on the bottom and a telescopic sight on top. In all tests it is extremely impressive and all agree it is surely filled with Kraut Space Magic. The Bundeswehr is excited to have a rifle to replace the roller-delayed-blowback G3, which is by this time a design rather long in the tooth, and signs large and extremely generous contracts with H&K. Almost immediately the Berlin Wall is demolished and East and West Germany began the process of reunification. The contract is cancelled. H&K nearly goes bankrupt and takes two decades to recover.
- 1990 - Smith & Wesson introduces the .40 caliber cartridge, developed in the late 1980s by Winchester, based on the the experimental Centimeter cartridge designed in the 1970s by Whit Collins and Jeff Cooper. Despite vast sums spent on R&D and marketing, the Glock 22 in .40 caliber hits shelves before the S&W 4006, and Glock spends the next few decades eating S&W's lunch where US law enforcement contracts are concerned. The .40 is wildly popular for about two decades, then the 9mm starts to replace it in law enforcement service again. Hating the .40 cartridge is a popular /k/ meme.
Gun politics addresses safety issues and ideologies related to firearms through criminal and noncriminal use. Gun politics deals with rules, regulations, and restrictions on the use, ownership, as well as distribution of firearms. Gun control laws and policies vary greatly around the world. Some countries, such as North Korea, China, the United Kingdom or Germany, have very strict limitations or outright bans on gun possession while others, such as Yemen and the USA, have quite lenient limits.
Gun Laws in:
If your country is not listed, go here: http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/
USA Gun Laws at A Glance
- The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
A well written, unbiased look at Amendment II and the court cases which changed its meaning: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment
- What is this NFA thing I keep hearing about?
NFA refers to the National Firearms Act which is legislation passed back in 1934. It regulates the ownership of certain types of firearms and firearm accessories including machine guns, short barrel rifles, suppressors, short barreled shotguns, destructive devices and a group of items called "any other weapons". All these devices have therefore become referred to as NFA items.
These items have never been illegal at the federal level. However, states can (and do) have their own separate laws regulating ownership and use of NFA items. For example, some states prohibit the ownership of suppressors. Suppressors are legal in Georgia and the devices are legal to use for target shooting but are illegal for hunting. Thus, you should check with your local laws regarding possible ownership and use restrictions.
- What's the AWB?
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic/autoloading firearms, or so called "assault weapons". The 10-year ban was passed by Congress on September 13, 1994, and repealed in 2004. In the former U.S. law, the legal term assault weapon included certain specific semi-automatic firearm models by name (e.g., Colt AR-15, TEC-9, non-select-fire AK-47s produced by three manufacturers, and Uzis) and other semi-automatic firearms because they possess a minimum set of arbitrary cosmetic features, such as a semi-automatic rifle able to accept detachable magazines with a folding or telescoping stock and pistol grip. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban
- Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
The "Brady Act" instituted federal (NICS) background checks on firearm purchasers in the United States. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 30, 1993, and went into effect on February 28, 1994. The Act was named after James Brady, who was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981.
- The ATF
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (B-ATF) is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice. Its responsibilities include the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arson and bombings; and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates via licensing the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce.
- CCW laws
Concealed carry, or CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one's person or in proximity. In the USA, one would need a permit to CCW. To learn about CCW laws in the USA, (since they are state-regulated and not federally regulated), check out:
- FFL (Federal Firearms Licenses)
A Federal Firearms License (FFL) is a license that enables an individual or a company to engage in a business pertaining to the manufacture of firearms and ammunition or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms. There are different kinds, such as a type 1, type 3, etc. Check out the kinds here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Firearms_License
How to become an FFL: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/how-to/become-an-ffl.html
How to get guns when you are a baguette (French's law)
Okay, here we go, French draconian cuckoldry is really heavy, it's gonna be clear: You don't even have the right to carry pepper spray in your bag! That's not a joke!
So, if you don't want to desert during the ever-encroaching civil war, here is how to do so:
Cat. D : Free access for 18+ Individuals
The most powerful thing you can buy and carry (only at home) is a black powder weapon made before 1900. These are most often in .44 (for shooting horses...) or .36 (this one is better for penetration) caliber.
The "best" gun you can buy is a Remington 1858, I have a .36 caliber and ogival paper-made cartridge.
The worse issue is that black powder doesn't come with ammunition, you need to make it yourself. You take black powder, light paper for smoking and a fire-making component (amorçe).
You can have the lower price for 300€, do not buy the "laiton" case, it's too weak, buy the steel one!
REMEMBER YOU NEED A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE FOR GETTING A LICENSE !!
Cat. C & B : You need to try not to act autistic when visiting the medic...
If you want a "real" gun, here is what you need :
- 60€: Ball-trap license (cat. C)
- 50€+100€: Hunting license (cat. C)
- 200€: Shooting license (cat. C + B)
On category C you have the following calibers only in bolt-action: .22Lr, .222, .308 Win, 30-06 Springfield, and the most powerful is .338 Lapua. Do not forget that it's only bolt-action and a maximum 9-rounds + 1 cartridge holder!
The most interesting thing on category C: the shotgun! Actually it's not a real shotgun because the barrel is made like a carbine (it's rifled). Here are some good weapons: Remington 870 Express & Mossberg Maverick 88 & Fabarm STF12 (but it's really pricey ~1300€)
Edit: If you're French and live in French overseas territories, check your local prices for licenses and what kind of documents you need as it can vary (Hunting licenses can be free in some places)
Cat. B : It's the beginning of serious stuff here
Remember you need a shooting license (minimum 200€)
So here, you can get handguns in 9mm, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, and all that stuff.
You can get a semi-automatic rifle, 7.62x39 and 5.56, all those "war calibers"...
REMEMBER YOU NEED A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE FOR GETTING A LICENSE !!
Choosing a Gun to Purchase
The first firearm purchase for a new gun owner should be a .22 rifle. Some reasons include:
1. The .22lr cartridge is low recoil. Low recoil allows you to shoot all day long without pain, discomfort, or generally wearing you out. With many things, practice makes perfect, and low recoil allows you to practice more. It also makes you more inclined to go to the range more often.
2. The .22lr cartridge is dirt cheap. Cheap means you can buy lots of ammo at once, instead of buying "a few boxes on the way to the range" thus hurting your wallet, and limiting your range time. Even the "good stuff" (CCI mini-mag) is currently $8.50 for a box of 100 rounds. If you have a bolt action, you can even use the "cheap stuff" with no worries ($15 for a brick).
3. The .22lr cartridge is plentiful. There is a low chance of the .22lr becoming obsolete,
hard to find, or banned.
4. The .22lr cartridge is "range-friendly". Even the most restrictive of indoor shooting ranges do not hesitate to allow the use of a .22.
5. The .22lr has a low report. If you live a few miles away from anyone, you can set up a range in your back yard and plink without paying any range fees. Research your local laws on this!
6. The five above items make the .22lr FUN! If you aren't having fun, its a chore. Chores are usually put off, forgotten, or abandoned. Fun means you do it more often.
All these reasons make the .22 rifle the best FIRST gun since only with practice, training, and more practice, can you learn MARKSMANSHIP. There are many sayings about this: You can't miss fast enough to hit your target, You can't miss enough times to get a hit. Only hits count.
The .22 rifle should not be the ONLY gun you own, just the FIRST. There is plenty of time and money to buy other specialized guns later, but this one is specialized for target shooting, small game, all day shooting, and fun.
Buying a handgun can be a dizzying ordeal. The popularity of them ensures that you have enough choices to make your head spin, with prices ranging from an expensive lunch to a used car. A good .22 LR target pistol is a very good choice for all the same reasons as a .22 rifle is a good first rifle. It is not optimum for fighting, but perfect for building proficiency. Front sight, press. Repeat as needed.
For as many handguns as there are, surprisingly few become truly popular. But they are popular for a reason, so start narrowing down your choices and preferences by examining popular models. Smith & Wessons, Glocks, HKs, Sigs, CZs, Berettas and Rugers. There are tons more, but don't get ahead of yourself.
Pick a frame size first. Full-size handguns generally offer longer grips, higher capacity magazines, and longer barrels. Semi-compacts usually still have long enough grips that fingers aren't left without purchase, they accommodate fewer rounds (usually 2-3 less) and have shorter barrels. Compacts usually have very short grips for easier concealment, even fewer rounds and even shorter barrels. Pocket guns are very small, very thin, nearly always single stack, with very short barrels. Grip diameter will almost never differ between different frame sizes of the same model.
Ergonomics are somewhat difficult to nail down because when you pick up a gun you "like," you're going to WANT to like it and you may overlook its flaws or uncomfortable features. Try some prospects out, use popular, readily available handguns as a springboard to decide what you do and don't like. Be critical. Does it hurt your hand someplace? Do all your fingers have a firm purchase? Can you reach the controls? Can you manipulate the slide? Does your resting thumb prevent the slide stop from working? Can you reach the magazine release?
After you've handled or at least researched some, take the list of features and requirements you like and narrow down your options further. Maybe one of those popular guns is your baby girl. Maybe one's very close but you'd prefer a parallel option. Maybe you're a hipster and want to carry a Dardick 1500 because I'm sure you've never heard of it before. Finding what you want is the easy part, it's knowing what you want that's hard.
Why no revolvers? Because we're lazy. And they're outdated. We sometimes say that the revolver, like the shotgun, is the missing link between the matchlock arquebus and modern firearms. We're only half joking. Shotguns only still exist because of hunting regulations that mandate them and the traditions that have grown up around them. Revolvers are only the most viable types of handgun for certain very narrow niche cases, like hunting medium game using revolvers in calibers that have "Magnum" in the name. This was even more the case a century ago, before handgun hunting, metallic silhouette competition, or SASS. For duty, home defense, or concealed carry, they can work, I guess, but more modern designs bring every advantage to the table with no downside. A flintlock blunderbuss COULD work for home defense too. Maybe you'll only need one shot, right? It's possible. And if there are multiple attackers, maybe when the first guy gets blown in half by the three ounces of broken glass, thumbtacks, scrap metal, and horseshoe nails coming out of that blunderbuss at Mach 1, and the muzzle flash sets the guy beside him on fire, if the third guy isn't running you can pull that tomahawk out of your belt and start swinging, right, Natty Bumppo? Right? What's your life worth? How about the lives of your woman and kids? Are you serious about fighting for your life and the lives of your family, or are you just LARPing?
There is also the pernicious meme that 87-year-old, 87-pound Meemaw, who hates and fears guns, will be better able to defend herself in the event of one of those vicious broad-daylight home invasions that are becoming more common in her neighborhood, if you just buy the smallest, lightest J-frame .38 snubby you can find and put it into her palsied hands, despite the fact that she may very well lack the hand strength to pull a twelve-pound double action trigger or even to yank the hammer back with both thumbs. Meemaw isn't going to train, isn't going to build proficiency, doesn't enjoy shooting, isn't, frankly, willing to use deadly force in defense either of her own life or anyone else's, and regards the gun as an evil symbol of all that is wrong with the world and finds the idea that she might have to use it to save her own life terrifying and repugnant, and is likely to put it into the back of the sock drawer, probably unloaded, and never think of it again. A century ago, when extended families lived together in a single dwelling, there would have been several hard guys with guns present, who would have been up to the task of shooting a motherfucker in the face if circumstances required it. Meemaw needs plane tickets out of the ghetto and a room with you, not a gun. She can cook and help take care of the kids.
Tiny snub-nose revolvers are utterly unforgiving of the tiniest errors in hand placement, grip, trigger control, and sight picture, and are the single most difficult category of firearm to learn to shoot fast and accurately under stress, with much slower reloads than semiauto pistols too. They aren't the be-all and end-all of "guns for women." There are people out there, not all of them female, who are genuinely unwilling to use lethal force, emotionally and psychologically incapable of it, even in the gravest extreme. This is not a moral or mental flaw. They aren't evil, crazy, or bad, though these are certainly maladaptive traits in a crumbling civilization like our own. Giving them tools they won't learn to employ and won't be willing to use is, at best, unproductive.
Gun Buying Graphics
How to Buy Firearms online in the USA
Each website has its own policies when selling you firearms, but long story short:
- You buy it online
- You submit the info of a local FFL (usually a gun store/pawnshop/etc) of your choice to them
- They ship it to the FFL
- You pay FFL handling fee
- You get gun
Some good places to buy (probably forgot a few):
- odcmp.com (Civilian Marksmanship Program; can sell M1 Garands and other US surplus rifles straight to your doorstep)
eBay/craigslist-type websites for firearms:
Choosing A Knife To Purchase.
A Multitool is Kind Of A Knife... Right?
A multi tool is basically a pair of pliers with other useful tools that can be accessed from the handles. The concept was invented by Tim Leatherman while he was traveling through Europe. He found Swiss Army Knives lacking for his heavier duty work and developed a tool that included a good pair of pliers, as well as other things you would expect to find in a Swiss Army Knife: screwdrivers, a knife, and a can opener. Other companies before him had made similar tools on a much smaller scale, but Leatherman brought multi-tools to the masses. 25 years later, Leatherman is still the market leader. The biggest difference between multi-tools and Swiss Army Knives is still the pair of pliers. Some Swiss Army Knives have pliers, but they are only useful for small jobs.
Survival Inna Woods
- SAS Survival Handbook
- FM 21-76, AKA Army Survival Manual
- FM 4-25.11 AKA Military First Aid
- Army Ranger Handbook
- USDA Home Canning Guide
Many people buy a gas mask to keep around, either for aesthetic reasons or to prepare for possible gas attacks. However, there's a lot of misinformation about gas masks, and purchasing and wearing a surplus gas mask without doing your research can result in serious medical issues like lung cancer.
Old gas masks were made with carcinogenic materials like asbestos. Don't just buy any old surplus mask that looks cool and breathe through it--you could be putting yourself at risk of lung cancer from inhaling unseen debris. Instead, research the specific model of mask before you put it on. The older the gas mask, the more likely this will be a problem.
That's all you need to know if you're just purchasing one for the STALKER aesthetic. However, if you're looking for legitimate protection against a gas attack, you need to do further research.
First of all, old military surplus filters won't be good enough. The chemicals in gas mask filters degrade over time. Whatever mask you purchase, make sure it's compatible with 40 millimeter NATO standard filters. Many people will tell you that you must buy a modern, brand new mask for $200+, but a surplus mask should do the job as long as it accepts 40mm filters. If you're trying to seriously prepare, stock up on new filters and keep them in sealed packages.
If you're going to wear your mask to a protest or riot where tear gas is a threat, remember that tear gas is actually a very fine particulate, and a regular filter won't perform well against it. Make sure you purchase a filter with a P-100 rating--the highest for filtering out particulate. You can also purchase P-100 rated prefilters that clip over the actual filter.
Also remember that a gas mask alone is not enough to survive a chemical attack. The point of a gas mask is just an emergency lifesaving device to allow you to escape the gas. Many chemical weapons can either blister the skin or be absorbed through it. If you're intentionally or knowingly going to be exposed to a chemical threat, you need a full-on chemical suit and the training to use it correctly.