A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Making Things Better

"Xavier, why are you opposed to gun locks in the gun, loaded chamber indicators and the like?"
Less is often more. Sometimes "upgraded" items are really not improved at all. Let's take the Ruger autoloading pistol as an example. The changes made to the Ruger MKII when it became the MKIII do not really enhance the firearm. Click to enlargeThey diminish it. The additional features of the MKIII add complexity, and promote apathy towards common gun handling/safety skills.

Guns are tools, and tools are useful things. Tools are the essence of form following function. A claw hammer can injure one's thumb if a person is not proficient at hammering nails. Yet nobody mounts a scope on a claw hammer. Nor do lawyers deem it necessary to add engraved warnings on hammers.

I do not understand why guns are different. Firearms safety is inherent in the shooter. Integrated locks, loaded chamber indicators and magazine safeties and especially engraved warnings will not make an ignorant person safer. Only proper education of safe gun handling skills will make him safer.



Blogger JAFO said...

I agree for the most part, though I don't mind the loaded chamber indicator or the integrated lock. In the case of my Taurii, it's nice to be able to lock them down, functionally, when they're in the safe and not "on duty".

Of course, an argument can be made that those locks are likely to be left engaged when the pistol is taken out of the safe and brought on duty. I disagree- for one thing, I always carry Condition 1, and to rack the slide you have to disengage the lock, on these particular weapons. For another, when I am handling a weapon my full attention is on handling the weapon, not whether or not I have my badge, did I pay the electric, what am I going to do about lunch. But that was pretty much part of your point.

Also: I've seen hammers with engraved warnings on them. I think you'd be hard pressed to find them without, currently. Sign of the times. We're messing up Darwin's fine work!

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to California. (Ugh.)

1:40 PM  
Anonymous eric shelton said...

I have a pal whose integrated lock S&W engaged while shooting. Boom, Boom, doorstop. Would've sucked if that would have happened to him while on duty...

The magazine safety Ruger added to the MkIII also adds steps in the take-down and reassembly, since trigger pulls are required to swing the hammer around to position.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but early MkIII chamber loaded indicators actually indexed off the rim of the ammo! Hit that indicator on accident and BOOM!

My MkIII is beautiful, accurate, and I love it. But it has enough legalese printed on it to serve as light reading in the restroom. Xavier's right- less is more.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Sevesteen said...

The first generation of the Ruger Mk III loaded chamber indicator was worse than useless. You had a chunk of metal that was sticking out of the gun on one side, and contacting the rim of the rimfire cartridge on the other. No problem in a centerfire gun, not good for rimfire-- Under some conditions bumping the indicator could unexpectedly fire the gun. They modified the indicator to put a spring between the two halves so the indicator was decoupled from the part touching the rim.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but early MkIII chamber loaded indicators actually indexed off the rim of the ammo! Hit that indicator on accident and BOOM!

I remember that! I believe it was a guy named Bullseye on the Ruger MKII/MKIII forum that first publicized the problem.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous shortbus said...

You nailed it with the less is more. The more crap you have on your weapon, the more Mr. Murphy can screw with you. If you need a loaded chamber indicator switch to a revolver.
While I personally have no experience with integrated locks, it just seems like a nightmare waiting to happen.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Joe Carpenter said...

I own a Phoenix Arms P22, a little 22 cal pop gun. I showcase it as the pinnacle of "lawyer firearm design", and how less really is more. There are 2 different 'safeties', as well as some rigamaroll with the mag being in or out that locks or unlocks one safety to move into or out of position. :P

I deem it UNSAFE with these factory features; so unwieldy to use that I highly UN-recommend them for any use than separating 22 lead from 22 brass. There are some things you can do to alleviate these issues, and make the gun act more like a traditional gun- and thus more familiar, but I opted to leave it in its current condition.

10:43 PM  
Blogger zeeke42 said...

There are two upsides to the MkIII over the MkII. They moved the mag release where it belongs, and they all come drilled and tapped for scope bases from the factory. Disabling the lock and the mag disconnect is much easier than moving the mag release and tapping the top of the receiver.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Bunnyman said...

The MkI was beautifully minimalistic. 'Cept for the lack of a last-round slidelock. Too nerve-racking on a rimfire.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Doug in colorado said...

Actually, take a look at construction clawhammers these days...there generally are engraved warnings or at least decals saying, wear eye protection, keep thumbs out from under, do not strike on hard objects as may cause splintering, and do not strike on user's head or that of nearby workers...

Okay, I lied about a couple of things, but there really are warnings on hammers. Effing lawyers.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I haven't needed a new hammer in 30 years. I had no idea. Go figure...

12:47 PM  

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