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Concealed Carry

Archive for the ‘Gun Sense’ Category

Reviews   Contact  Towns Served

Hello, I am no lawyer, I just try harder to keep up with the gun laws that effect people in Ma. than others do, so if you do not agree with something here by all means research the answer for yourself. In this series I have written some numbered articles, {47 and counting} entitled ‘Gun Sense’. Many of these come directly from my experience’s and touch on various aspects of firearm safety, (just scroll down and click any article #). ‘Gun Sense’ is a useful reference extension beyond my class. We talk about some of these things in our firearm safety classes, (please look them over) along with the laws, (GS #32 + 41) set down by the state of Massachusetts for the Basic Firearm Safety Course for those who would like to apply for a License to Carry (LTC) or Firearm Identification Card (FID).  

    If anyone who has already taken a safety class previously, and would like the Florida CCW good for 36*+ states and 7 years, please contact me by email for details.

With this class comes our  support long afterward, consider us your ‘safety net’, if you have questions in the future rest assured we will answer them through emails, GUARANTEED. If you have trouble with gaining your license we will point you in a direction to succeed, and if for some reason it is beyond our scope, (seldom) we can put you in touch with a group of lawyers that may take your case for free, *it rarely comes to this level of assistance.  This is a level of assistance I have offered all my clients since I started in 2000, it is not found anywhere else, a little research is all you need to confirm this. Please read the Reviews section. 

We take your success in gaining a LTC or FID VERY seriously. My son Mark  joined me with many, (26) years of firearm knowledge/experiance to his credit giving the same level of excellence and follow-through in every class that he will give.

In my opinion, gun owners who vote for any candidate(s) that are in favor of ‘gun control’, amounts to the same thing as  turkeys voting in favor of Thanksgiving……… get my meaning? Mark Shean  About Me

Reviews    Contact  FLORIDA CCW Info.

CONTENTS/your ‘notes’.

Gun Sense #2, How DO people get killed by ‘unloaded’ guns?

Gun Sense #3, About Those Children…and Your Guns

Gun Sense #4, No Such Thing As An Unloaded Firearm, Proper ‘Mindset’.

Gun Sense #5, What Is a Misfire, what is a Hang fire?

Gun Sense #6, What is a Squib load ? Understand the danger 

Gun Sense #7, Uncontrolled bullets anyone? Not on your life!

Gun Sense #8, Cease Fire!!! What you do, completely.

Gun Sense #9, Why might Dry Firing be used?

Gun Sense #10, Weapon Safeties, Understand them.

Gun Sense #11, Glazer Safety Slugs, and Home Defense.

GUN SENSE #12, The aftermath of defending your family/home.

Gun Sense #13, Specific to Ma. Petition for Judicial Review

Gun Sense #14, Ma.Change of Address Notification Forms-and a Renewal ‘tip’.

Gun Sense #15, Concealed or Not Concealed, That is the Question…

Gun Sense #16, Parents Guide to Gun Safety page 1

Gun Sense #17, Parents Guide To Gun Safety page 2   

Gun Sense #18, If you ‘misplace’ your Ma. LTC or FID

Gun Sense #19, ‘Reason’ Letter for Ma. class ‘A’ LTC

Gun Sense #20, Ma.’Misdemeanor’,Been Denied Your Gun Permit/License?

Gun Sense #21, Shooting not Mandated? Why I do not have you shoot

Gun Sense #22, Ma. ‘Stored & Kept’ and ‘Direct Control’

Gun Sense #23, Ten Cardinal Rules of Firearm Safety, with answers to #29 test.

Gun Sense #24, Hollywood Bullets vs. Real Bullets

Gun Sense #25, Can you keep a secret?

Gun Sense #26, Ma. Hunter Safety Class info.

Gun Sense #27, Gun Laws To ‘Understand’ in Ma. (with links)

Gun Sense #28, Is The Second Amendment Relevant? You Bet Your Life!

Gun Sense #29, Firearm Safety Test with relevance to Ma.

Gun Sense #30, Graduated Licenses,(D-A)under Ma. Law & “GREEN CARD” Info.

Gun Sense #31, Frequently Asked Questions

Gun Sense #32 Firearm Possession in Ma.

Gun Sense # 33, Ma.”Letters of Recommendation”,Gun License Help.

Gun Sense #34, Ma. CORI Report info.

Gun Sense # 35, Places you Cannot carry Firearms in Ma.

Gun Sense #36 Inheritance and Other Firearm Transactions, Form (E-FA10)

Gun Sense #37 Storage of Ammunition, Powder, Primers…

Gun Sense #38, Traffic stops in Ma.

Gun Sense #39, Ma. Application/’Interview’ Process & Steps/Tips.

Gun Sense #40, The Right to Remain Silent has Changed-Be Aware!

Gun Sense #41, Gun Law Changes in Ma. 8-13-2014

Gun Sense #42, Legal Resident Aliens (Federal Law)

Gun Sense #43, Ma. Gun Registration Misconception

Gun Sense #44, KSG 12ga. Shotgun Demonstration

Gun Sense #45, Gun Registration UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Gun Sense # 46, Firearms Confiscated in Ma.?

Gun Sense #47, 21 States that Honor Your Ma. LTC

Gun Sense #48, Nomenclature of Various Firearms-ATF

ZERO Gun Sense=Uzi submachine gun tragedy in Westfield Ma.

Tragic Events with
common denominators.

Why Carrying A Gun Is A Civilized Act


Common Sense? The meaning has ‘flip flopped’

Children,Their Future Rights,Are We Overlooking Them?

Reviews    Contact

[Firearm Safety Test] at Gun Sense # 29, with answers at Gun Sense # 23, (dont cheat).  A good phone number to call if you`re interested in the Ma. Hunter Safety course is 978-772-0693, or see; Gun Sense #26, Ma. Hunter Safety Class info. 

Remember, The American Revolution would never have happened had government “gun control’  already been in place, watch very closely all who want it. Ignorance of history can cost you your Freedoms.

Remember; {Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives.}

Sincerely, Mark Shean   About Me   Contact   KB1WSV

Arms discourage and keep the plunderer in awe, they preserve order in the world as well as property…horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding citizen be deprived of the use of them”. THOMAS PAINE

All comments/insights are welcomed throughout this series. Please Pass This Safety Info On To Those You Care About. You have my permission to pass along my ‘Gun Sense’  information. Reviews

  A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week”GENERAL PATTON-

 “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

    -Thomas Jefferson-  
“A Nation of Sheep will beget a Government of Wolves.”  -Edward R. Murrow-

Reviews   Towns Served

How do people get killed by so called unloaded guns? Have you ever thought that this was possible? It is possible and happens, sadly, on a fairly frequent basis, it is in the news from time to time, but it does not have to happen. People are quite often killed by ‘unloaded’ guns. The reoccurring  theme is, “I thought it was unloaded”! Foolish and sad.

It can go something like this….. One day Jon buys a .38 caliber revolver at the local gun shop, he has always wanted to buy a handgun, and this one just feels right in his hand, the price is right also, so what the heck. Next Jon brings it out to a dirt pit in the woods behind his house with a friend, they run quite a few rounds through it, they have a good time. Jon puts it away in the house and forgets about it for awhile……. A couple of months go by and Jon has invited a group of friends over for a house party, no special occasion, just a get together.

When people get together like this, oftentimes the ‘toys’ will come out of the woodwork. We may want to show something off that is kind of unusual, that is simple human nature. Guns easily fall into this category. People are particularly drawn to firearms, they appear to be excellent “show and tell” material. Jon gets the .38 caliber revolver out of his bedroom and takes it into the backyard where the grill and music are in full swing, the beer is flowing, and the party is underway. Hey, he says, anyone want to check out my new handgun? Hey Scott, check it out, its unloaded…..and the safety is on, here take it Scott, take it! Everyone in the backyard heard this, as Jon had to speak loudly over the music, and now they are all looking directly at Scott, some egging him on to take the gun. The peer pressure is real, and starting to effect the situation. Scott thinks, what the heck, I will take a look at it, Ive never held a real gun before, this could be cool. Then Scott thinks, Jon said it was unloaded, even said the safety is on, what could be the harm? So he takes it from Jon.

Now, it is inevitable, that once a gun is in the hands of someone that has never had any sort of  firearm training, the first thing they seem overwhelmingly, inexplicably, inclined to do, is to put their finger on the trigger, next they want to test the ‘theory’ that the safety is on, and that the gun is unloaded, simultaneously. Scott  points the gun playfully at someone in the group to test these two ‘theorys’. Susan sees Scott pointing it at her and says to Scott not to do that! Scott laughs, “its not even loaded, watch” he says, and pulls the trigger, BANG! Susan drops to the ground with a hole in her chest, the gun hits the floor immediately afterward, dropped by a stunned and confused Scott! The first thing out of Scott’s mouth is, I thought it was unloaded! Jon says, oh my God! I thought it was unloaded! All this combined wisdom from Jon and Scott will never change the fact that Susan is now tragically dead, killed by an “unloaded” gun,  she will be dead for a very long time. Jon evidently did not even understand the fact that a common revolver has no external safety. Jon and Scott will now have to pay the heavy legal consequences for this ‘accident’. Susan’s family and friends will never fully recover emotionally from the loss of Susan, ever.

How do you avoid a terrible scene like this? Firearm education is the first critical step. Common sense plays a huge roll, I like to think that we all have common sense, the key is to engage it before you act, that is the key, think about what your doing before you do anything with a firearm. Take your common sense for a walk around the block once in awhile, exercise it! You NEVER take anyone’s word that a firearm is unloaded, EVER!     THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN UNLOADED GUN!!  Treat them all as LOADED!! THAT IS THE ‘MINDSET’ EVERYONE NEEDS TO EMPLOY for firearm safety! The only time your finger should EVER connect with the trigger of any firearm is when you intend to shoot the firearm, for no other reason, it is not a ‘resting’ place for your finger!! There is a ‘trigger guard’ around the trigger, (that little circle of steel) I don’t call it a trigger guard, I do not think that is a serious enough description, I call it THE CIRCLE OF DEATH, when a finger enters that circle someone could die due to foolish actions, keep your finger OUT of that circle of death if your not going to actually shoot the firearm!!! If your not going to actually shoot the gun you never just ‘ride’ the trigger with your finger, EVER!

Think about it this way; pretend that your very own mother comes home one day with a handgun, a revolver for instance. Now we all know that our mothers love us dearly and would never want to see any of their children ever get hurt, they would do anything in their power for their kids, most mothers are ‘hard wired’ that way. With that in mind, your mother comes home with that handgun and wants you to see it, she is quite proud of it. Look what I bought she says, check it out , as she tries to hand it to you. (I’m sure we can all picture our mothers doing something like this right?….) Well for the sake of making my point we will all pretend that she comes home and says exactly that. Should you take the gun from her and look at it?  No, you should not. You should say to your very own dear mother, whom you know loves you, look ma, could you please just show to me that the gun is technically unloaded first? And because she is your mother, she will not have any problem with that very simple request. She will quickly reach over and push forward the cylinder release button with the thumb of her right hand, and at the same time she will deftly push the cylinder open from right to left with the middle finger of same right hand, openly exposing the now obviously, (technically) empty cylinder for your inspection. Now that you are satisfied that the gun is indeed technically unloaded you may take it from your mother to ‘check it out’, observing muzzle discipline, (pointed in a safe direction) and treating it just as if it were loaded…..(proper mindset).

The point that I am trying to make by using ‘dear ole ma’ in the example is this; If you are going to make your very own dear mother, whom you love, show you that the gun is unloaded before you will accept it from her,  you will NEVER give anyone else privilege’s that you would not give your own mother! Not Joe Blow who you hardly even know, or the head of the NRA, nor anyone else in this entire world would you ever give that privilege! Understand? If someone is not willing to show you that a gun is unloaded, then you are not willing to take it from that person, period!

Remember, there is no such thing as an unloaded gun! Have I mentioned that yet? That is the mindset you must ALWAYS have to handle them safely! I know that there will be ‘wise guys’ who will say, ‘how can I clean it if it is always loaded?’ to them I say I am talking about developing a mindset for a fully INTACT firearm, if it is broken down into parts for cleaning then clean it, if you pretend not to know the difference, why are you pretending? Grow up.

People who handle firearms the most can actually become more susceptible to accidents as they become lackadaisical around them, they become ripe for an accident. Always give firearms the respect they demand, your first mistake could be someone else’s last breath on earth. Guns do not give fools a second chance very often.

Sometimes people with a high level of firearm experience can get ‘lazy’, over confident, are even more susceptible to accidents, when that happens they become ripe for an accident. And I will go so far as to say they don’t take firearms as seriously as they once did, they need to pause and ‘regroup’. They have become a distinct danger to themselves and others with that lackadaisical mindset. To make the point, even police can accidentally shoot themselves, for stats see these links:

{Note: I will continue with some more ‘Gun Sense’ in my next few blogs for your awareness, please pass this information on to those you know and/or love. Remember: Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives. Sincerely,

Mark Shean, About Me

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor-

Reviews   Towns Served  Gun Sense #44, KSG 12ga. Shotgun Demonstration  written 7-1-2009

Your comments/insight are welcomed.


How many of you have children? How many of you know someone with children? They are everywhere, and because they are everywhere they can get into mischief just about anyplace. Where guns are concerned there can be no room for mischief.

I am originally from the state of Maine where the gun culture was quite a bit different from where I live now, in Massachusetts. People seem more savvy about firearms and firearm safety generally in Maine, this is what I have observed in my experiences within both states. Growing up I had a lot of supervised exposure to firearms, that was the key, and I learned early-on how to safely handle and use firearms, it was encouraged. Knowledge kept me safer than someone without firearm knowledge. If that makes sense to you, as I hope it should, than I will share a bit of advice designed to keep your little ones safer than they were moments before you started reading this. Children, we all want them safe.

When it comes to firearms I believe there is a wrong way, (based on wishful thinking) and a right way, based initially, on very simple, rudimentary education. You may think you are able to insulate your child from harm and from knowledge of firearms in your home, but what about when your child is old enough to visit and play with the next door neighbors children, in their home? How things are done in the house next door may be quite different than how you prefer to do things in respect to firearms. You cannot insulate your child from the world. Do you think it may be wiser to impart to your child the danger that can be, and is, associated with firearms?

Education, it is like a form of preventive maintenance. If you own a firearm and believe that by keeping the gun well hidden and a secret, that the child will be safer, that line of thought is only good to a point….until the child, caught up in the spirit of exploration, inadvertently finds the gun while you are mowing the lawn or taking a nap, etc. I like to call this the Easter egg syndrome, children are very curious about everything around them, their whole mission in life at a young age is to dig around looking for/at things. If you have kids you know exactly what I am talking about. If you don’t yet have kids, when you do, you will see soon enough that I do not speak with forked tongue. Would you rather the child find a gun while you are busy? I hope not.

I feel that the very best way is to take the mystery out of firearms where children, (or adults) are concerned, is to show the child the unloaded firearm. Explain the danger, let the child hold and look at it, let him know he will be in big trouble if he ever touches it without your permission or supervision, but the main thing is to take the mystery out of it. Once you do that, you will have taken the right step towards a child that will be safer around firearms. That is the first correct step on a long trail of steps where firearm safety is concerned. You do not have to show the child where you keep the firearm.  Let the child know that you are accessible, if he/she wants to see the gun in the future to come to you, and that you will drop what you`re doing to look at the firearm together, this accessibility is very important and should keep your child from going behind your back to look at the gun(s). But, you must keep your word about this at all times.

The ammo should always be kept separate from guns, and the unattended guns should, at a minimum, have trigger locks on them. Firearms should never be left laying around loaded. You`re probably are saying; that is just plain common sense! Do you think we are all idiots!? Well folks, if it is such plain common sense, why are children involved in accidental and tragic shootings in the home? That is not common sense at work, that is irresponsible gun ownership and parenting. I am not talking about gang bangers who burglarize homes, steal guns, and go out into the street intentionally and idiotically trying to murder one another, no.  I am referring to young children finding a parents loaded gun in a night stand, etc, and through curiosity, they accidentally shoot themselves or a sibling. Not only tragic, unacceptable!!

You can begin teaching a child at the tender age of 3 or 4, a very simple message; if they ever see a gun they…1. Stop,…2. Don’t Touch,…3. Go Tell An Adult. Children are very smart, don’t short change them, they can easily learn this with gentle reinforcement and incentive, make a big deal out of it when they repeat those words to you when they find the toy gun you use as a training aid, because it is a big deal, it could save a life one day. You should not take toy guns away, they are part of a healthy upbringing, set one aside as the training aid for the child to learn the lesson by.

If you own guns, or want to own guns, you owe it to yourself and your entire family to be proactively responsible in the safety of that ownership. For everybody’s safety, and for years of  family enjoyment, being involved in a great American heritage and birthright.

{Note; Please feel free to comment on the content of any of these articles.} Remember, Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives.

Sincerely, Mark Shean

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor,  written 7-2-2009

Reviews  Towns Served


NOTE: If you read this page, also read about Squib loads: Gun Sense #6, Squib Load? It would make sense too…..

Some of you may already know what a misfire is, it is caused by a faulty primer at the back of a bullet casing, that when struck by the gun’s firing pin will not detonate, thus failing to send a spark into the main powder charge of the casing, that would have, in turn, sent the bullet on it’s way down the gun’s barrel.

So here is a little scenario: Let’s say that you load 6 rounds into your revolver at the gun range, take careful aim at your target, BANG!, BANG!, BANG!, click! You know you have taken three shots of the six you loaded, so you don’t necessarily have to be a NASA rocket scientist to realize that there should be at least three shots left. So what just happened is known as a misfire.

What should you do? Do not try to squeeze off another shot.  When you hear that ‘click’ instead of the usual BANG, keep the barrel of your gun pointing DOWN RANGE, that will be your safest direction. Start a slow count to 10. When you reach 10 the danger will be over, unload the gun. You will notice that there will be an unfired round that falls from the cylinder, on closer inspection of the round you should notice a dent in the primer where it had been struck by the gun’s firing pin. The primer was a dud, faulty from the factory, it happens from time to time, the main thing is to handle the situation properly and safely when it does happen.

You can now throw it away and resume your shooting practice. Your next question will probably be; why did I have to count to 10 while pointing the gun down range? It is a wise precaution that can protect you and others from what is known as a hang fire. A hang fire starts out as a misfire but can actually go off after a few seconds, the primer is faulty but not quite a dud, the spark gets ‘hung up’ that is where the danger lays. If while you are pointing the gun down range counting , the gun fires, it will startle you, but will do no harm because you handled it the correct/safe way.

Hang fires are rare, but they do exist, and now you know how to safely guard against them. Misfires are far more common and should always be treated as if they could become a hang fire. A misfire and a hang fire are not the same thing, a hang fire cannot become a misfire.

If you want to see a misfire that becomes a hangfire then google:  ‘Stupid people with guns’   and look at the video of the guy wearing the orange hunting vest shooting the pump shotgun at bottles ten feet away, (a real Davy Crocket). Only God will ever know why he looked down the barrel, and it was only God that saved the fool.

This is a very serious suggestion, when you go to the range with your family/friends, before you all start shooting, take 5 minutes out of your lives and discuss misfires, hang fires and squib loads. Make sure that you are ALL on the same page about this information, don’t assume people somehow automatically, magically, know this stuff, you will be surprised at how many do not fully understand it. Now, do you think this will give you some piece of mind as your standing next to them shooting? it should. Read Gun Sense #6 about squib loads, and pass GS #5 and GS#6 around to your family and friends. Thank You.

Remember, Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives. Be safe.

Sincerely, Mark Shean,   Knowledge through Experience

Please read Gun Sense #6, Squib Load?  It would make sense to read it.

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor,  written 7-8-2009, updated 2015. Your comments/insights are welcomed.

Reviews  Gun Sense #44, KSG 12ga. Shotgun Demonstration

Reviews   Gun Sense #5, Misfire? Hang fire? What they mean to you.

The word ‘squib’ is used in other applications, but for the purpose of this article the term is known and used in relation to firearms. A typical round of ammunition is made up of four components, the outer casing or shell, the primer, the gun powder, and the projectile or bullet. This will only be a general outline of production; When these components are assembled at the factory in mass production, the primer goes into the casing, the casing moves to the next step where a measured charge of gun powder is funneled into the casing, then the casing is moved to the next position where the bullet is seated. Next they are all boxed and sent to the store for you , the consumer.

In the event of a squib load, the casing goes through the same steps mentioned above, but when it gets to the position where the gun powder is supposed to be funneled into the casing, there is a glitch or malfunction, the automated powder drop does not work properly and very little, or no gun powder is put into the casing. (This is more apt to happen to people that reload their own bullets at home by not paying proper attention to detail). But for the purpose of this example we are at the ammunition factory. So now, with no gunpowder in the casing it is automatically moved to the next position where a bullet is seated. The ammunition is boxed up and sent to various locations for sale.

Now you enter the store, looking to buy a box of ammo, you buy a box of .38 caliber ammo for your revolver and off you go to the range. The round without the gunpowder just happens to be in that box, but you don’t know that, how could you, you just want to do a little target practice. All the rounds look the same from the outside to you. You set up your targets load the gun with six rounds, (unknown to you one of them is the squib load) you start shooting, BANG!, BANG!, pop! What the heck was that you think? What you just heard was an audible ‘pop’, it was the primer detonating, but with no gun powder in the casing you do not hear the loud bang that you would normally hear. DO NOT TAKE ANOTHER SHOT!!

The primer, (that ‘pop’) can generate just enough pressure within the shell casing to ‘push’ the bullet into the barrel of your gun, this creates a blockage in the barrel, this can be a very dangerous situation if you attempt another shot. With such a blockage in the barrel, the next bullet you might fire, with all of the pressure generated going down the barrel, (for a .38 caliber around 52,000 psi, or 26 tons!) you could easily kill yourself and others around you. The firearm is not rated to contain that kind of pressure and will violently come apart at the seams like a grenade. All that pressure needs to escape ‘yesterday’ and it will take the path of least resistance, back at you, not good. All that energy will be transferred to the shrapnel going in every direction at 900 + feet per second in the case of a .38,,,,much higher pressures and velocities with rifle cartridges!

     NOTE: You may hear a ‘pop’ sound, but not in all cases, a gun range can be a noisy place, your wearing hearing protection, (initially you may think it is a misfire, so treat it like one) but if you hear it you know that ‘pop‘ sound is not typical, or now you should know, in all cases stop what you are doing , if you think its a misfire count to ten anyway, unload the gun, check it twice, if a shell comes out minus the projectile you know it is a squib.

Now you can put a cleaning rod down the barrel, chances are that you will not be able to push it through to the other side due to the bullet lodged in the barrel. Take the cleaning rod and tap the bullet gently out of the barrel, once that this is done you now have a rare, but also now harmless squib load souvenir, set it aside, reload , and resume shooting. You may have just saved your own life and the lives of those nearby. It is the follow-up shot that makes this situation so dangerous, and is what we must all avoid!

We must all be alert for abnormalities while shooting, it is all part of staying safe. My reason for telling you about squib loads, misfires, and hang fires is not to make you paranoid, it is simply to give you the knowledge that will help keep you safe.

I have been shooting on formal range settings since the age of 8, I have been a member of many gun clubs, rifle and pistol teams, I also like to hunt. In my work as a Nuclear Security Officer since 1987 I have been required to qualify at the gun range many times with different types of weapons/ammo. My point is this, I personally, with all that shooting, have only encountered a squib load once, no hangfires yet, but I know that they do exist, and now you will know how to handle one with confidence if it occurs.

     NOTICE: This is a very serious suggestion, when you go to the range with your family/friends, before you all start shooting, take 5 minutes out of your lives and discuss misfires, hang fires and squib loads. Make sure that you are ALL on the same page about this information, don’t assume people somehow automatically, magically, know this stuff, you will be surprised at how many do not fully understand it. Now, do you think this will give you some piece of mind as your standing next to them shooting? it should. Read Gun Sense #5 about misfire and hangfires, and pass GS #5 and GS#6 around to your family and friends. Thank You.

Remember, Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives. Please shoot safe, firearm safety is no accident, sincerely,

Mark Shean, Knowledge through Experience

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor,

Reviews  Gun Sense #5, Misfire? Hang fire? What they mean to you.  written 7-8-2009, revised 2015.   Gun Sense #44, KSG 12ga. Shotgun Demonstration

Your comments/insights are welcomed.


If you are not some kind of control freak in your day to day personal life, that is probably a good thing, I mean, no one likes a control freak. They are overbearing, domineering, insensitive, rude, crude, socially unacceptable, (probably your boss) and usually end up in divorce court. But when it comes to firearms we all have to be control freaks where bullets are concerned.

I have mentioned common sense before and I will bring it up again, engage your common sense every time you handle a firearm, take common sense for a walk around the block, give it a bit of exercise. You do not need to be a ballistics or trajectory expert to know that bullets can go far and do damage beyond your field of vision if you are not careful. If you are setting up targets, think of your backstop, be it dirt, tires, wood, whatever, be aware of what is behind those targets. If there are stones, (for instance) large enough to cause a ricochet, move them out of the way, if you can not move them, find another safe spot for your targets.

A short definition of a ricochet is; ‘an uncontrolled bullet’. Gun clubs have been closed down due to ricochets, pending investigations as to what may have caused it and how it will be avoided in the future before reopening, that is no fun for the membership. Another form of uncontrolled bullet is to indiscriminately shoot a bullet up into the air, this is very irresponsible, and dangerous. If done at a ‘rainbow pitch’ a bullet as small as a .22 caliber rim fire can carry a mile or more before coming back to earth, you have no idea where it will land,  (you will be held responsible for what it may do, you own it),  that certainly fits the ‘uncontrolled’ category.

Bullets are not meant to be shot at water, the speed of a bullet will cause it to ‘glance’ off , and it will carry clear across that pond, and if your unlucky, into someones camp ground. Again,you are responsible, and will be held responsible for your negligence, weather it be known or unknown to you as to the damage the bullet has done. So make a point to at least understand the caliber(s) you own, and the capabilities of those calibers, that is the responsible and right thing to do, when you own firearms. The only firearm that is meant for over the water shooting is a shotgun. The bird shot from a shotgun does not carry very far. A shotgun shell with bird shot, once fired, will lose its energy rapidly, the pellets will fall and sink at around 150 yards give or take. The utmost effective range is about a third of that distance.

If you intend to hunt you must always be diligent as to what is beyond your intended game. It is not as controlled as a shooting range. If you are deer hunting you may be carrying a rifle or shotgun , both with the capability of shooting a long distance with large game loads. If you see a deer, look beyond it for the color orange, that will be another hunter, (he/she is on your side) that means you do not take the shot. If your really hungry go to McDonald’s and get a burger, that deer will never be worth risking someones life. You may say; gee that’s just common sense! Well, if it is such damned common sense, why are hunters shooting each other out in the woods most years all across this country? Because they are not taking their common sense around the block and giving it a little exercise now and then, that is why. Common sense is simply thinking something through before acting.

Once you squeeze off that shot you can not suddenly say ‘oops’ that was a mistake, gee whizz, come back here little bullet and let me do that differently, it is far to late for that, you will have to live with the consequences. Firearms are very unforgiving, the mistake you make could be someone else’s last breath.  My point here is to think  BEFORE  you shoot. If everyone did that we would all be much safer. Avoid uncontrolled bullets at ALL costs! Please Pass This On.

Remember, Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives. Please, always err on the side of caution.

Sincerely, Mark Shean,    Knowledge through Experience

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor

Reviews  written 7-9-2009

Your comments/insights are welcomed.


I know, I know, your going to say that when you hear a command like ‘cease fire’ at a gun range, you stop shooting, of course you are correct, to a point. But what else do you do, and should you do? Well that is what I am here to let you in on, there are those of you that may already know, so please be patient. For safeties sake I can not take for granted that everyone knows this information, that would be irresponsible on my part.

When we are at a gun range we naturally will be inundated with loud gun fire, especially if there are more than just a couple of people there. We need to protect our hearing under this barrage of noise. If we ever damage part of our hearing it can never repair itself, we lose it forever, so we must protect our ear drums. In the course of doing this we don various forms of hearing protection, not only do we muffle the sharp sound of gunfire we mostly block the lower sounds of human voices. Lets say there are 7 people shooting at the same time on the range today, they are all concentrating on their targets when suddenly a ten year old kid,(or anyone) that has been watching his parent screams CEASE FIRE!!! At that point in time you will not immediately know why he yelled cease fire, but you must obey the command instantly, it can be a life and death command.

The second you hear the command you must loudly repeat the command so that the people to the right and left of you hear it, they in turn loudly repeat the command, while all are repeating the cease fire command they should also be simultaneously unloading their firearms and placing them on their shooting benches, with the actions open. The reason that it is so important to repeat the command down the line is so that everyone on a loud firing line will hear it.

That little ten year old kid,(or anyone else) is the ‘boss’ at the second he yelled cease fire, and everyone had better comply. He may have seen someone coming out of the woods down range chasing a dog, who knows, but never second guess a cease fire command! When the issue is resolved, what ever it was, then an all clear will be called and the shooting may resume. Anyone has the right to call a cease fire on a gun range if they feel there is an unsafe situation, and everyone must repeat that command, for safeties sake.

Remember, {Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives}. Ignorance of History could cost us our freedoms.

Mark Shean,  Knowledge through Experiance

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor,

Reviews  written 7-9-2009

Your comments/insights are welcomed.


Dry firing, there are two camps on whether or not dry firing can or cannot do damage to a firearm. I lean to the side that says damage can be done to the internal workings of a firearm. I am not going to chance doing damage to any of my investments, and that is exactly what firearms are, investments. The firing pins in firearms are designed to to strike the primers of the ammunition being used in the chamber. If there is nothing for the firing pin to strike it can over extend, it was not designed to take that kind of punishment from the viewpoint of my camp.

There is a solution to this dilemma though, the solution is called snap-caps. Snap caps are nothing more than artificial, or ‘fake’ bullets. They do not fire, they do not make noise, they come in most common caliber sizes, usually 5 or 6 to a pack, and can be used over and over again, they are of a color that can not be confused with real bullets so you can tell immediately that they are not real ammunition. They can be manually functioned through semi-auto’s and are easily used in revolvers. They are specifically designed to give the firing pin something to strike to avoid any possible damage to the firearm. Whom ever invented snap-caps must be in my camp on this issue. Remember that when you practice dry firing in the home, NEVER have any live ammo in the same room.

Why would you want to dry fire you might ask? Dry firing is a tool to practice the mechanics/fundamentals of shooting, mainly at home, prior to going to a range, without putting holes in your walls. The idea is that by practicing the ‘elements’ of shooting while dry firing you will produce better results on targets when you actually shoot at the range. The ‘elements’ that we strive to become proficient with are, 1. Concentration, we can not shoot well if our minds are wandering, we must stay focused. 2. Breath Control, we must know how to regulate our breathing so that we are not all over the target, this takes additional coaching and practice, as does every aspect of shooting. 3. Good Positioning, whether this will be standing, kneeling, sitting, or prone, you will need to find what is most comfortable and effective for you in each position, and practice it, muscle memory will develop over time. 4. Proper Grip, again, this can simply mean what is most comfortable and effective for you, depending on the size of your hands, the length of your arms, the type of firearm, be it handgun, rifle or shotgun. How to ‘mount’ a rifle or shotgun to your shoulder consistently for consistent results, these are all consideration’s to be looked at and figured out. 5. Proper Trigger Squeeze, learning where best to place your finger on the trigger, learning not to ‘slap’ the trigger, your trigger ‘work’ along with every other element of shooting will begin to blend together becoming ‘second nature’ eventually. They all boil down to this, the holy grail,# 6. Proper Sight Alignment, without every other element coming together correctly, your target will not look as good as it would when everything does come together correctly. The main theme throughout the entire breakdown of these mechanics/fundamentals of shooting is simply this, practice, practice, practice, and some more practice.

Dry firing does not prepare you for muzzle blast or felt recoil. Expolsions a few inches in front of our face is not a natural thing, it may cause us to flinch, recoil may hurt slightly which may cause us to anticipate recoil which also causes us to flinch, we must learn to ignore these , it can be tough to do, especially for larger calibers. I recommend you start with a .22 cal. if you are new to firearms.  With proper coaching you will learn to ‘work’ through these shooting distractions. As your skills improve, the satisfaction that you receive will be reflected in the scores you produce on your targets. Dry firing is an aid in developing all these aspects of shooting. These skills do not come over night, but they will come and become second nature.

Remember, {Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives}. Ignorance of History could cost us our freedoms.

Mark Shean,  Knowledge through Experience

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor,

Reviews  Towns Served   Gun Sense #44, KSG 12ga. Shotgun Demonstration  written 7-12-2009

Your comments/insights are welcomed.

Reviews   Towns Served  

Safeties, and where they are placed on firearms vary from one maker to another, and cover a huge variety of firearms. I am not going to go into each type of firearm, that would take far to much space and bore you, (and me) to tears. I am going to generalize the subject by giving you some good advice, and coupled with your own common sense, (that I know you have) this should suffice if taken as seriously as death itself.

When you go to the store to buy a new firearm it will come with a manual telling you all about it, please be sure to read the manual before you go shoot the firearm. Make sure you understand everything about the gun. If you buy a second hand firearm from someone and it does not come with the manual, you can find the address of the gun maker on the barrel. You can write them and ask for a copy of the manual for the model you bought, the model number will be on the gun also. That is what I did decades before computers, (showing my age) but now it is easier to go on-line to the gun maker and simply down load the manual, free in most cases.

Some firearms do not have external safeties, revolvers are prime examples, keep your finger off the trigger and it can not go bang! Glock semi-autos are another good example of no external safety, it has a series of internal safeties activated by the trigger, read the book. Some guns have only one safety, others have multiple safeties, some have none, internal or external, none what so ever, understand this. Now I am going to let you in on a secret; YOU are any firearms best safety,YOU are the ‘master’ safety, you can NEVER trust a man made safety on ANY firearm! Firearms are man made and anything man makes can fail, and does fail. Simply because a safety is on a firearm do not think for a second that it gives you license to carelessly handle that firearm! Remember that number 1 rule, TREAT EVERY FIREARM AS LOADED AT ALL TIMES!!  Because they are all loaded! That has to be our mindset. Weapons safety is everyone’s responsibility, especially yours.  Practice safe weapons handling until it becomes a habit.

There is a ’trigger guard’ around the trigger, (that little circle of steel) I don’t call it a trigger guard, I do not think that is a serious enough description, not nearly serious enough. I call it THE CIRCLE OF DEATH, I hope you call it this from now on, when a finger enters that circle someone could die, keep your finger OUT of that circle of death at all times if you are not going to actually shoot the firearm!!! Firearms will not give a fool a second chance. Please pass this information on to your family and friends.

Remember, {Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives}. Ignorance of History could cost us our freedoms.

Sincerely, Mark Shean,  Knowledge through Experience

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor

Reviews   Towns Served  written 7-12-2009

Your comments/insights are welcomed.


You may want to consider this information if you are looking to buy a hand gun for home defense or personal protection reasons, it is important to know. The study/science of Kinetics, (motion) is way over my head, but I understand the general properties of how a bullet works, and for this segment that is good enough for me. Glazer Safety Slugs are made by the Dakota Ammunition Co. , if you need to find a store that sells their ammo you can contact them. I do not own stock in this company or benefit in any way from their sales, I just want to pass on information that will help keep you safer concerning firearms.

For home defense you need to be concerned about “over penetration” if you were ever forced to fire shots in your home, and I hope that you never do, but if you did, in defense of your family and or yourself, you need to understand the danger of “over penetration”. Conventional bullets such as ‘ball’ ammo or lead cast ammo or jacketed hollow points, shotgun slugs or buckshot, all have their place in the world of firearms, I just do not think that ‘place’ is in the home for personal defense. A bullet, once fired, delivers energy known as kinetic energy. If the bullet strikes a mass, travels through that mass, and continues on, it has not yet delivered all of its kinetic energy and will need do so somewhere else. This is what you want to avoid happening, and keep over penetration to the utmost minimum, at all costs in your home.

The danger of over penetration is obvious, if you took a shot at an intruder, and missed, the bullet could easily pass through the walls of your home, leave your house, entering the house next door endangering your neighbors before its flight path ends. You do not want that sort of thing happening, it could as easily kill a person in that house next door. In protecting your family you would not feel very good about injuring/killing a neighbor. That scenario does not need to happen.

Glazer Safety Slugs have a very unique design, they are filled with tiny compressed ‘ lead shot’, the walls of the bullet that contains this ‘lead shot’ are very thin and designed to fragment on impact. This fragmentation immediately disperses all of its kinetic energy on the ‘target’, (intended or not), causing abrupt stopping power and a large cavity wound. If you miss your intended target, and this could easily happen under the stress of the situation, the bullet will then strike a wall and fragment, dumping its energy on the wall and not delivering any lethal fragments through to people that may be in another room, very important. Chances are good that even if you miss the criminal intruder that he will not hang around letting you take ‘pot shots’ at him.

The usefulness of these Glazer Safety Slugs should now be apparent, the down side to them (if any) would be their cost, they are about $4.00 per bullet, but there is only 5 or 6 in a pack, so it will not ‘break’ the bank, and you will not use them for shooting tin cans at the range, they are for defensive use only, hopefully you will never have to use them.

Another thing that you may want to consider for a great home defense firearm is a pump shotgun of any gauge. A pump shotgun has a very distinctive sound when it is ‘pumped’ to chamber a shotgun shell, this sound is universally known and carries with it an ‘intimidation factor’ for the intruder in your home. If someone is not willing to exit your home after you warn them that you have a shotgun and especially after you make the sound of pumping the shotgun, then in all probability that person is either insane or has a death wish. In either case it would then become a form of natural selection weeding out the idiots. He will be of no great loss to mankind.

A 20 gauge is the shotgun I recommend as it is easier for people of smaller stature to use, and just as effective as a 12 gauge at close range.

You still need to be aware of the problem of over penetration with the use of a shotgun. Do not use shotgun ‘slugs’ they carry with them far to much kinetic energy, a shotgun slug will pass through the criminal, through your house, through the next two houses, and kill someone in the third house down the lane, not good. Do not use ‘buck shot’ for the same reason, though it does not have as much over penetration as a shotgun slug it can still make it into a next door neighbors home, again, not good.

The best defensive load to use, in my opinion for a shotgun is #6 or #4 bird shot, with a ‘full choke’ smooth bore barrel. The average bedroom is around 15 feet wide, if an intruder were to enter that room and you let loose with a load of #6 or #4 bird shot you could put a hole the size of a silver dollar and two dimes in that criminal, the bird shot would deliver most all of its kinetic energy on impact, keeping the bird shot confined to your bedroom. It would make one heck of a debilitating wound, stopping the threat to you and your family. If you were to miss, the criminal probably would not stick around for you to try again, and the bird shot would loose its energy before leaving your home, it would not carry very far, and the chance of it killing someone in another room would be greatly minimized due to the way bird shot disperses as distance increases. If your going to deal with a ‘turkey’, you should use bird shot.

Again, I hope that you never find yourself in a situation were you have been forced to shoot at criminals invading your home, but if you are ever in that situation it is your first duty and responsibility to protect your family and yourself. The police have a very important and dangerous job to preform, but they are not assigned to sit at the foot of your bed and guard you all night long, you are on your own when criminal(s) enter your home, it is up to you to defend your family. {The Supreme Court has ruled that police have ‘no obligation’ to protect the individual and they have no responsibility to protect you from madmen or murderers.} That says it all in my book, we are on our own!

Someone just broke into your home? Be verbal, I HAVE A GUN!, (the criminal may not believe that) I HAVE CALLED THE POLICE! In this day and age of cell phones the criminal has no reason not to believe this, it may be your best tool to get him to leave much sooner than he wanted to. Keep a cell phone charging in your bedroom, not in the kitchen where it will do you no good.

We should all have a plan to follow in case of a fire, right? We should also have some idea as to what to do in case of a criminal(s) invading our home. Even if that plan is as simple as quickly going to the kids room with a gun a cell phone, house keys, a flashlight and staying there! If you can, start the ball rolling by calling the police direct phone number, NOT 911* on a cell phone, and telling them the situation, but be prepared to act in the interim. Do not go looking for the criminal, again, stay put! Let him steal everything in your house, so what, it is only stuff, you can replace stuff!  If your car keys and house keys are together and you can set off your car alarm, do it, it may help pressure the criminal(s) to leave.  This is not the movies where the good guy will go and catch the criminal(s), that is not your job, your job is to protect your familynot to catch the criminal(s) , let the police do that. This is not some phony Hollywood script, this can be life or death for real!

When the police do come, do not meet them at the door with a gun in your hand, they will be hyped up and do not know who you are so be careful. If your in contact with the police by cell phone and the intruder is still in your home, direct the police to a window were you can throw the house keys to them. The police, generally speaking, are the ‘clean up’ crew, they come after the fact in most instances. Make sure that if you had to act, then the scene they come to ‘clean up’ or sort out, does not include the body’s of any of your family members!

  • NOTE* Calling 911 on a cell phone can add an additional ten minutes to the police response time, a lot can happen in ten seconds, let alone ten minutes. Put your Fire department and Police department direct phone numbers in your cell phone under ‘Town’, as in Town Fire and Town Police so you have them together.  Please read Gun Sense #12 as a follow up, “The Aftermath of Home Defense”

Remember, Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives.

Sincerely, Mark Shean,  Knowledge through Experience

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor

Reviews  written 7-13-2009, revised 10-5-2015

Your comments/insights are welcomed.