about the author

Illinois Certified Concealed Carry Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Pistol and CCW Instructor, Firearms Legal Consultant, and Firearms Expert Witness - Fraternal Order of Police. Rare, private, advanced semiautomatic handgun education and training. Mainly serving law enforcement personnel, attorneys, judges, executives, private individuals with heightened security concerns, and licensed firearm dealers. Authority on firearms statutes, ordinances, regulations, related criminal laws and court rulings. Other services include firearm valuations, pistol conditioning and trigger/action enhancements. Service area encompasses northwest Indiana, southwest Michigan, and Chicago. Former Cook County Treasurer contractor and Illinois Board of Regents member.

EMAIL: BPETRIGGER@ATT.NET

Friday, June 7, 2024

PROFESSIONAL TESTIMONIALS

Unsolicited praise from clients, colleagues, etc. ...

Bruce is a unique handgun instructor who leaves all the BS at the door and focuses on making sure his students are fully prepared for the gamut of issues presented by a carry permit. He will also improve your shooting drastically over the course of the instruction. I found the educational experience with Bruce to be enormously rewarding, and I believe I live far more safely today than I did 2 years ago. -Real Estate Developer/CEO

Thank you so much for the referral for Bruce Edenson. He was outstanding! So well in fact that the opposing side attempted to strike his testimony and could not wait to get him off the stand. He was a true professional and had full command of the subject matter. -Defense Attorney, Fraternal Order of Police

I really learned a lot and enjoyed your training sessions … I can’t believe how much my shooting improved in just two range sessions … I am so glad I took your individual class and did not settle for a large class setting … There is no way I would have learned as much and improved my shooting performance. -Criminal Defense Attorney

Bruce is one of the coolest guys I have ever met. Seriously I love his intensity. He gives great instruction … doesn’t make you feel nervous at a range … This guy was awesome. -Chicago Police Officer

I spent the next hour and a half telling ... about your knowledge, expertise and common sense! I appreciate so much your help and advice. -former Cook County prosecutor and Illinois Assistant Attorney General

I'm thankful to have found you. Clearly, you are a subject matter expert on all things pertaining to firearm ownership and concealed carry in Illinois ... a wealth of knowledge, and incredibly responsive. You have brought clarity to what has been a very murky, confusing myriad of gun laws to navigate ... You leave no stone unturned. -former Police Crime Scene Investigator

Bruce … Having encountered a great deal of "instructors" out there who …could at best tie your laces … Your services … seem like the variety that ought to be a standard prerequisite for all those seeking the license. Best of luck and keep up the good work. -NRA Firearms Instructor

Great stuff, Bruce! Thanks again for your sound advice. -Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County

Once again you did a phenomenal job today Bruce. -Defense Attorney, Fraternal Order of Police

Thank you very much for your training yesterday. You are a wealth of knowledge and the time was definitely useful. -Firearms Dealer/FFL

Bruce, your treatise on justifiable use of deadly force is spot-on. -Illinois Professor of Criminal Justice

Impressive. -Illinois Appellate Court Justice

… will follow your instructions to the tee. Again, thank you for all your help and quick response time. -Criminal Defense Attorney

Thanks for the excellent work on the Xxxxxxxxx matter! -Civil Rights Attorney

Bruce, thank you for your prompt and informative response. Xxxxx has spoken very highly of you and I can see why. -former Michigan Assistant Attorney General

I had a great shoot the other night. Largely due to your training and expertise … something for which I will always be grateful. -Consumer Rights Litigator

This is a very well written defense of the 2nd amendment right … Thanks for sharing this paper. -Cook County Circuit Court Judge

Thanks again for everything. Greatly appreciated. -Chicago TV Anchorperson

Thank you and I trust you completely. -Criminal Defense Appellate Attorney

Excellent analysis. -Certified Public Accountant (re valuation of gun range/store)

Thanks again for all your help and wisdom. -Film Producer

Once again thank you for sharing all your years of valuable knowledge with me, I am truly grateful and honored. You're a good man. -Retiree

I took your class to learn and understand the respect that is needed to have and own a gun … Thank you for expertise and … Keep doing what you do best; make people understand the good bad and ugly of legally owning a handgun. -Doctor

A+ Absolutely the best I have dealt with... -Gunbroker Seller Review, 2022

A+ I have been a buyer/seller on GB since 2004, and I can say with certainty that bpetrigger is one of the most professional sellers I have ever come across. Buy from this guy with absolute confidence! -Gunbroker Seller Review, 2022

A+ Probably the best seller I have encountered. Great communication, helpful and honest. Thanks for a great gun and a great experience. -Gunbroker Seller Review, 2022

A+ Awesome gun, super fast shipping, fantastic communication. Couldn't ask for a better seller!!!! -Gunbroker Seller Review, 2022

A+ Top Notch from beginning to end. -Gunbroker Seller Review, 2022

A+ Excellent Seller. Fast Delivery of firearm, excellent communication. Firearm was as described, and everything was in order. Buy with Confidence. -Gunbroker Seller Review, 2014

Saturday, January 30, 2021

ILLINOIS CONCEALED CARRY FIREARM INSTRUCTION - ADVANCED & PRIVATE

"It’s better to have a gun and not need it, than to need a gun and not have it."

Course Overview
Firearm Concealed Carry is a very serious undertaking, involving the highest obligations and consequences. It requires fundamental changes in mindset and lifestyle. Life (especially yours!) could be jeopardized -- physically, criminally, financially, emotionally, professionally, and socially. 

Given the extreme magnitude and complexity of Concealed Carry, my unique curriculum is extraordinarily informative, comprehensive and rigorous. It far exceeds all Illinois statutory and State Police instruction/qualification requirements. This course is a virtual Ph.D. degree in both concealed carry and handgun ownership. You should settle for nothing less, since your life might well depend upon the caliber of the instructor and curriculum. Considering the profound criminal and financial vulnerabilities associated with firearm carrying, my program encompasses ... 
  • The utmost safety with pistols.
  • Advanced marksmanship and pistol handling abilities. You'll become "one with your gun." I train clients for functional effectiveness (accuracy + speed), typically 3” diameter groupings at center mass (bulls-eye) from about 21 feet. I’ll develop your marksmanship to equal or surpass professional law enforcement proficiency standards in order to 1) better assure defensive shooting prowess, and 2) help shield you from potential civil liability stemming from a justifiable use of force incident.
  • Clear and complete discussion of laws, legal rights, responsibilities, risks, and ramifications. Whereas the Illinois Concealed Carry Act requires explanation of only certain state and federal laws/regulations, I extensively cover all relevant firearms and related criminal laws, regulations, and ordinances (federal, state, county and municipal). It's important to understand that many of these statutes/ordinances are nuanced and obscure, but violation of even a minor one can lead to your incarceration, monetary fine and/or forfeiture of gun rights. The curriculum has been vetted by expert criminal defense attorneys, former county and federal prosecutors, a Cook County judge, an Illinois Professor of Criminal Justice, and civil litigators. My guidance is often sought by legal and law enforcement professionals.  
  • Practical competencies including: advanced shooting drills; enhanced tactical skills; use of deadly force; ballistics and ammunition; holster protocols; concealment techniques; pistol readiness modes; handgun malfunctions; legal defense strategy; out-of-state recognition and reciprocity; other personal safety measures 
  • Superb handgun operation, cleaning and maintenance.
  • "Concierge" service ... complete outfitting and sourcing help including pistol and holster selection, ammunition, supplies and accessories.

Course Qualification
Enrollment is limited to very serious and well-qualified persons; instruction is one-to-one to assure clients' optimal comprehension and proficiency. This course has absolute integrity … no dumbing-down, no shortcuts.

Location, Scheduling, Etc.
Service area includes Chicago and suburbs, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan.  Scheduling can usually be arranged per client convenience. Contact me to discuss particulars.

Professional Background
  • Illinois State Police Approved Concealed Carry Firearms Instructor (among the first) since September, 2013
  • NRA Certified Pistol and CCW Instructor
  • Firearms Expert Witness - Fraternal Order of Police
  • Murder trial witness experience
  • 1000+ hours as a RSO and range consultant
  • Have owned and effectively serviced 40+ firearms over 45+ years 
I’m highly professional, dedicated, and a straight shooter. No phony SWAT persona, no hyperbole, no dogma. I staunchly support 2nd Amendment rights; I even more vigorously espouse the inherent duties (safety, lawfulness, morality, gravitas) accompanying our gun rights.

Afterword
Think of Concealed Carry as the ultimate life insurance; my curriculum provides the ultimate preparation and protection. The accompanying articles exemplify the course's character and caliber. 

Contact emailbpetrigger@att.net


Originally published March 13, 2015. Issue update 6/19/24.
©2015-2024 Bruce Edenson. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

ARMED AND DANGEROUS?

This post is especially intended for novice and/or infrequent shooters, and particularly those who recently bought guns for protection in the wake of burgeoning violent crime, Covid, political/governmental instability, etc.

The “Dunning–Kruger Effect” is a bias in which people mistakenly over-assess their cognitive ability. It's related to “illusory superiority,” in which people overestimate their own qualities and abilities in relation to those of other people. Lacking sufficient self-awareness or gravitas, people fail to accurately evaluate their relative knowledge or expertise. Therefore, they assume they’re competent although they’re really not. In essence, they don’t know that they don’t know! The bias can become especially dangerous in connection with firearms ownership, carry and use of force. Simply because someone has a license to possess or carry a handgun, doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she is functionally capable. Think carefully about this and the following realities …

Be self-examining … your abilities and judgement aren’t bulletproof.

A gun is not bling or a panacea.

Extreme safety and efficient gun handling are basic prerequisites.  

Shooting at static paper targets is not akin to real life self-defense shooting.

Your marksmanship proficiency should be at least on par with local law enforcement qualification standards. If below that, you’re probably below functional adequacy. 

"Micro-pistols" have inherent limitations and hazards. While they may offer good concealability, you’re likely to have “micro” effectiveness with one in a real life, dynamic, self-defense incident.

Don’t assume you actually know what you’re doing after having taken a 2-hour gun intro course or watched a few YouTube videos narrated by some “tacticool” dude posing as a Navy SEAL or Jason Bourne.

Your Walmart-like or large group “Concealed Carry for Dummies” course didn’t realistically or functionally prepare you for the true perils of gun use. You have no idea what you’re doing! And what’s worse, you probably don’t realize it or are in denial. And because you’re now handling and carrying a deadly weapon, you’re especially dangerous.

Even though you might have rudimentary or even significant marksmanship and gun handling skills, that doesn’t mean you’re “good enough.” Unless you fully understand all relevant criminal and firearms-related laws, especially those relating to justifiable use of deadly force, you could easily wind up in jail. That would be awfully bad in normal times, but in today’s COVID-19 environment it could be a veritable death sentence.

Even if you’re solid in terms of safety, handling, marksmanship, and legal knowledge, you’re almost certainly lacking adequate strategic and tactical prowess.

You better get very serious, professional instruction and training. Incidentally, unless proof of significant proficiency can be clearly shown, it’s likely that a prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney will shred you in a potential criminal or civil proceeding.  

Have I wounded your fragile ego? Too friggin’ bad. Or think this article doesn’t apply to you? 90% probability it does. 

You’re armed, and dangerous! Let … That … Sink … In.

©2019-2024 Bruce Edenson. All rights reserved. Issue update 6/19/24.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

JUSTIFIABLE USE OF DEADLY FORCE - LEGAL AND PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

June 27, 2024 Update

The right to defend oneself and others is a fundamental United States legal principle, derived from English Common Law. In fact, the precept dates to The Roman Empire. Under Illinois law its basis is statute 720 ILCS 5/7-1, Use of force in defense of person. It states that a person “is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.” It's especially important to understand and remember that the statute specifically uses the conditions “reasonably believes” and "necessary to prevent" the offense!

Important Definitions
Since they’re intrinsic to the self-defense defense, these terms deserve clarification …

Aggressor: A person who: (a) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or (b) Initially provokes the use of force against himself, with the intent to use such force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant; or (c) Otherwise initially provokes the use of force against himself. (720 ILCS 5/7-4)

The party who first offers violence or offense. He who begins a quarrel or dispute, either by threatening or striking another. – Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.; 

acts in such a way as to provoke a reasonable person to use physical force for protection, unless the defendant in turn uses excessive force to repel the plaintiff. The aggressor doctrine is generally applied in cases where an injury results from an assault which is an intentional act. - definitions.uslegal.com 

Reasonable belief: is defined under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/2-19 as “the person concerned, acting as a reasonable man, believes that the described facts exist.” Unfortunately, that’s very nebulous in conceptual as well as practical terms.

A reasonable doubt [is] one based on reason which arises from the evidence or lack of evidence. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, U.S. Supreme Court 1979

Unfortunately, conceptually and literally, reasonable belief and reasonable doubt are nebulous.


Necessity: The legal doctrine of necessity is recognized under state laws across this nation. Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/7-13 defines it as: “Conduct which would otherwise be an offense is justifiable by reason of necessity if the accused was without blame in occasioning or developing the situation and reasonably believed such conduct was necessary to avoid a public or private injury greater than the injury which might reasonably result from his own conduct.”

Imminent: "certain, immediate and impending” (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)

Subjective: "related to or based on beliefs, attitudes and opinions instead of verifiable evidence" (Black's Law Dictionary)

Objective: "Neutral: An unbiased attitude or opinion that is based on factual evidence" (Black's Law Dictionary)

Legal Elements of Self Defense
According to prevailing Illinois case law, People v. Jeffries 646 N.E.2d 587 (Illinois Supreme Court 1995), in order to instruct the jury on self defense, the defendant must establish some evidence of each of the following elements:
  1. the force is threatened against a person
  2. the person threatened is not the aggressor
  3. the danger of harm was imminent
  4. the threatened force was unlawful
  5. he actually and subjectively believed a danger existed which required the use of the force applied
  6. his beliefs were objectively reasonable
Use of Deadly Force – Practical Framework
Unfortunately, circumstances could necessitate your use of force (perhaps lethal) to thwart an assailant. From myriad legal, moral and practical standpoints, potentially-deadly force should be the very last resort. Below is a model to more clearly ascertain the reasonableness and necessity warranting the use of deadly force. You might think of this as “rules of engagement” for civilians. Though not specified in Illinois law, three concurrent elements would more definitively justify such a grave response ...

Intent: The assailant’s actions and/or words clearly signal his/her intention to commit severe violence against another person. Obvious examples would be: someone deliberately pointing a gun, knife or other deadly weapon at you; threatening speech such as “I’m gonna kill”; an obviously-malicious intruder breaking down your bedroom door.

Capacity: The assailant possesses the power to kill, cripple or incapacitate, indicated by:
  • Deadly or incapacitating weapon: his/her brandishing a gun, knife, club, hammer, vehicle, bottle, taser, pepper spray, etc.
  • Disparity of force: his/her overwhelming size, strength, fighting skill; multiple attackers. People in greater inherent danger would include the elderly; physically handicapped; small women; children; someone with heart or respiratory problems, osteoporosis, etc.
  • Tactical advantage: victim is physically unable to effectively or safely evade, escape or deter; victim has no viable defensive weapon immediately available.
Opportunity: The assailant is capable of imminently inflicting severe injury, given conditions including:
  • Proximity – based upon law enforcement research, an attacker within 21 feet can potentially be upon a victim within 1.5 seconds ("Tueller Rule/Drill" - consider it a guideline)
  • No barriers or obstacles (e.g., door, wall) are available to prevent or slow the attack
  • Terrain – the ground (e.g., snow, ice), landscape (e.g., hills, waterways) or other conditions (e.g. darkness) decidedly favor the aggressor.

Other Justifiable Grounds, and Caveat
Under Illinois law, the use of deadly force is also justified to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. 720 ILCS 5/2-8 defines forcible felony as: “treason, first degree murder, second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.”

Certain of these forcible felonies (i.e., treason, burglary, residential burglary) may not necessarily or likely pose imminent death or great bodily harm. For example, you discover a burglar exiting your home with your personal property items. You might feel justified in using deadly force to prevent or stop the theft. But absent any reasonable danger of serious bodily harm to you, shooting the offender would likely be deemed unlawful. At the very least it would be immoral and unwise. A prosecutor would probably file criminal charges, claiming your extreme force wasn’t reasonable or necessary and instead constituted “willful and wanton misconduct.” You could also face other substantial legal and practical detriments including criminal defense and civil litigation costs, hassle, and time; forfeiture of gun rights; job/career jeopardy; public ridicule; family dissension; emotional problems; etc.

Presumption of Innocence and Affirmative Defense
It’s important to understand two critical and complex legal standards. Under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/3-1, “Every person is presumed innocent until proved guilty. No person shall be convicted of any offense unless his guilt thereof is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” The presumption of innocence is embedded in American jurisprudence.

But under Illinois statute when a person employs deadly or non-deadly force (even in self-defense), that action in and of itself can constitute a crime (e.g., battery). Accordingly, under 720 ILCS 5/3-2 Affirmative Defense, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant (ironically, the original victim) to prove innocence. He/she would stipulate that such force was necessary, and justified under 720 ILCS 5/7-1 (Use of force in defense of person); supporting evidence would need to be offered. Once self-defense is raised as a legal justification, “the State then has the burden of proving the Defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as to that issue, together with all the other elements of the offense. -People v. Woods, 410 N.E.2d 866 (IL Supreme Court 1980)

No Duty to Retreat
"... a person who has not initially provoked the use of force against himself has no duty to attempt to escape the danger before using force against the aggressor." - Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions - Criminal 24-25.09X

“There is no requirement that a person retreat before employing force in his defense.” - People v. Williams, 311 N.E.2d 681, Illinois Supreme Court 1974

Although a defendant has no duty to retreat when attacked with deadly force, a prosecutor may properly argue a defendant’s failure to easily extricate himself from a dangerous situation as a comment on the credibility of the defendant’s testimony that he was afraid and that the use of deadly force was necessary.” - People v. McGee, 679 N.E.2d 796 (IL Ct. App. 1997)

The “no duty to retreat” defense is not absolute. The prosecution might still argue that you (defendant) could have safely retreated and therefore the use of force was not really necessary or reasonable.

Other Relevant Case Law
"Self defense may not be used by an aggressor.” - People v. Young, 807 N.E.2d 1124 (Illinois Court of Appeals 2004)

“Where it is clear that the aggressor is capable of inflicting serious bodily harm on the defendant without the use of a deadly weapon, and it appears he intends to do so, then it is not necessary that the aggressor be armed for the defendant to employ deadly force in self defense.” - People v. Evans, 631 N.E.2d 281 (Illinois Court of Appeals 1994)

“If the belief that danger was present was a product of the defendant’s mind and not based on a reasonable belief, the use of force was not justified.” - People v. Lee, 821 N.E.2d 307 (Illinois Supreme Court 2004)

“The law does not charge an individual, when he has reasonable grounds to believe himself in apparent danger of losing his life or suffering great bodily injury, to use infallible judgment. It would be unreasonable to require such an exercise of careful judgment in the space of a few seconds while one [is] under great stress and excitement.” - People v. Motuzas, 352 Ill. 340, 346, 185 N.E. 614, 617.

“the concept of self-defense does not permit the use of force, much less deadly force, against an antagonist after the antagonist has been subdued or is lying helpless on the ground. -Balfour, 148 Ill. App.3d 215, 498 N.E.2d 547.

“When it has been found that a defendant was initially firing in self-defense, courts have been reluctant to find that a span of only a few seconds was a sufficient time for the defendant to realize that further shooting was unnecessary.” - People v. Bailey, 326 N.E.2d 550 (Illinois Court of Appeals 1975)

Deadly Force Alternatives
Apart from statute and case law, it’s likely the judge and jury will consider options that might have been available to the defendant instead of shooting, e.g., less lethal weapon, retreat, take cover, or await police. Illinois courts recognize that violent encounters often occur quickly. As such, the defendant’s decisions aren’t expected to be perfect, but they are expected to be reasonable. Each juror may wonder what they would have done in the same situation. The defendant ought to have a plausible explanation as to why nonlethal alternatives weren’t or couldn’t be used.

The Best Response
Despite there being no duty to retreat, given the moral ambiguity, along with the legal, financial, emotional and other consequences, I strongly recommend that deadly force not be used except for circumstances in which imminent death or great bodily harm to you or other persons is clearly probable. Deadly force should not be employed to protect mere property (vehicle, pet, or even unoccupied home).

It’s always best to maintain good situational awareness and try to avoid or escape any attack. Stay safe. Understand the law. Use your head before you pull the trigger.

Further information and enhanced guidance available to clients. 

Legal Disclaimer/Hold Harmless: Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the treatise's contents. However, the information and recommendations are provided "as is," and without warranty of any kind. The author disavows any responsibility or liability for accuracy, timeliness, completeness, legality or reliability and shall not be responsible for any injury, liability, loss, or damage of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential) which may result from its use or non-use.

Originally published March 3, 2015; Rev. 6/27/24

Copyright 2015-2024 Bruce Edenson. All rights reserved.

GUN RANGE SAFETY AND BEST PRACTICES

Most veteran shooters know and exercise safe gun handling. But with the influx of so many novices over the past few years, and their often inattention or indifference to safety fundamentals, there’s been a troubling decline in proper gun range conduct. The following treatise is intended to introduce or emphasize gun range rules, etiquette and best practices. Hopefully everyone will remain injury-free and enjoy themselves. It’s certainly in our best interest - individually and collectively - to constantly foster safety. Bear in mind that we’re also “ambassadors” of the firearms community. Behave responsibly -- don’t give good gun owners a bad name (we have a tough public relations problem already).

Please read and adopt the following practices. Too lazy, don’t have time, or think you know it all? Learning just one of these tips might save your life … a limb or organ … weeks in a hospital … months of agonizing pain … big bucks in medical and legal bills … a jail stint … forfeiture of gun rights ... your reputation and self-respect.

Fundamental Safety Rules
  • Always treat firearms as if they're loaded!
  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, i.e., never at any person or animal you're not willing to kill or injure, or at any object you're not willing to destroy or damage!
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and don't press the trigger unless and until you intend to shoot!
  • Always know your target, including what's beyond and nearby!
  • Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use!
  • Always maintain firm control of your gun, including during recoil!
  • Never use alcohol or drugs while handling, shooting, carrying or transporting firearms!

Get Your Gun?!
Know how to operate the gun safely (including safety/decocker and field-stripping).

Be sure gun and accessories are safely and correctly functioning.

Know how to properly handle malfunctions including Failure to Load, Failure to Fire, and Failure to Eject.

Use only correct and reliable ammo (make, caliber, pressure rating, grain weight).

Health Matters
Always wear good safety glasses and hearing protection (NRR 27 min. recommended rating).

Wear proper clothing: flat shoes with sturdy soles for solid footing (no flip-flops or high heels); cap with visor to protect head and face from ejected casings; closed-top shirt to protect neck and chest from casings.

Keep “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contact names & phone numbers and health insurance card in your wallet and/or smartphone.

Stay Arranged at the Range
Before going to the range, check to be sure you have all needed gear (i.e., gun, permit, ammo, magazines, eye & ear protection, targets, speedloader). Inspect guns to be sure they’re lubricated and in good working order. Preload magazines to save time at the range.

Carefully read, understand, remember and obey all range rules! Many ranges post the rules on their websites; review them before your visit.

Some ranges disapprove of persons entering their facilities with loaded and/or uncased guns. Be sure to comply with all such restrictions.

A gun range is an inherently dangerous place. Observe the range before entering to avoid any potentially unsafe activity or condition. Take notice of all exits and possible places of cover. Shooters (and others) should maintain a serious demeanor and responsible conduct at all times. Your undivided attention should be upon safety and proficient shooting. Remain vigilant for hazardous behavior or conditions nearby and throughout the range. Immediately report any concerns to range personnel.

Promptly and fully obey instructions of safety officers or other range personnel.

Keep guns cased until inside your booth; no uncased guns outside your booth. 

Please don't take photos or videotape (allow other shooters their privacy and anonymity). Your attention should be upon proficient shooting, good handling, and safety. A gun range isn't the place for phone chatting, texting, emailing, Internet surfing, or camera posing. 

Most ranges ban beverages, food and tobacco.

It's smart to request an end lane whenever available. It lessens your exposure and vulnerability.

Respect other shooters! Don’t touch their guns, ammo, supplies, etc., without permission.

Keep unnecessary talking to a minimum. Don’t use profanities, insults or other antagonistic speech.

Don’t post targets or wear apparel that may offend other shooters.

If you want to speak with another shooter, wait for a pause in their shooting (e.g., during reloading) and approach them cautiously, non-threateningly and politely.

Check your ego at the door. Pomposity and braggadocio are marks of an amateur. Really good gun-handlers are quiet, humble and secure in their abilities. (Like “Hickok45” on YouTube.)

Unless kids fully understand gun safety, functionality, and range rules, they don’t belong at a range.

Truth in the Booth
Stay behind the bench or firing line at all times.

Always keep the gun pointed downrange, including while benched or reloading.


Load magazines inside - not outside - of your booth.

Familiarize yourself with booth lighting and target control apparatus.

Before setting a loaded gun on the bench, engage the safety or decocker (if equipped).

Safe footing is important. Keep supplies (targets, pistol cases, range bag, etc.) away from feet and occasionally sweep casings from your booth floor to the designated areas/receptacles. Ranges usually prefer the casings be swept forward of the bench/firing line. Sweep only your casings (other shooters may intend to reload theirs).

It’s best to keep your supplies neat and orderly on the shooting bench, and cartridges in their boxes (loose ones can easily roll off the bench).

Keep your range bag and supplies away from other occupied lanes.

It’s advisable to use only one gun at a time. Keep other guns, corresponding magazines and ammo in your range bag until ready to be used.

If something falls off your bench and lands forward of the booth/firing line, do not retrieve it. Ask range personnel for assistance.

Shoot at your targets only – not others’ targets, the floor, walls, ceiling, fixtures, carriers, hardware, etc. Don’t aim your gun, laser or tactical lights anywhere other than your target.

When a cease-fire is called:
  1. immediately take finger off and away from trigger
  2. keep gun pointed downrange
  3. remove the magazine
  4. eject any chambered round
  5. lock slide back
  6. check and recheck to be sure gun is clear
  7. set the gun on the shooting bench, muzzle pointed downrange, and ejection port facing up
  8. step back from the bench
  9. await further instructions from the range officer
No rapid-firing unless expressly permitted by range.

No holster drawing unless expressly permitted by range.

If you and another shooter want to try one another’s guns, first unload and carefully check guns to be sure they’re unloaded. Then either:
  1. leave guns benched and pointed downrange in their original lanes while shooters trade places, or
  2. unload and case the guns before exchanging them.
In the event of a malfunction you’re unable to safely fix, promptly bench the gun with muzzle pointed downrange and inform range personnel.

If you want to take a brief intermission (restroom, buy ammo or targets, etc.): remove the magazine, eject any chambered cartridge, lock the slide back so action is open, check and recheck to be sure gun is clear, bench the gun with muzzle pointing downrange and ejection port facing up. As a further precaution, ask a trusted nearby shooter to watch your gear.

Once in a great while an ejected casing may hit, burn, singe and even stick to your skin. It can sting. Your instant, reflex reaction will probably be to look at and touch or swipe the affected area. Don’t … remember that you’re holding a gun! Instead, remain calm. Take your finger off and away from the trigger, engage the decocker or safety if equipped, and bench the gun with muzzle pointed down-range. Now you can safely brush away the casing and inspect the affected skin. Very seldom is there any serious burn or scarring. If needed, apply some cold water to the site and ask range personnel for disinfectant, salve, etc.

Don’t linger beyond your allowed shooting time. You wouldn’t want previous shooters to dawdle when you’re waiting for a lane.

Done With Your Gun
When done shooting, empty your gun, check it carefully, and encase it. Be sure to pack up all guns and gear (magazines, ammo, speedloader, etc).

Before finally exiting the booth, clean off the bench and sweep up within and around your lane. Properly dispose of your casings, used targets, empty ammo boxes, etc.

When leaving the range, notify the range manager that you’ve vacated the lane. Be sure to have any ID (driver’s license, gun card, etc.) and deposit returned to you.

Thoroughly rinse hands, wrists, and face with cleansing solution (e.g., “D-Lead”) to remove lead and other heavy metal contamination.

Be alert while entering and exiting a range/gun store, including the parking lot. Someone carrying a range bag might pose a tempting target for criminals looking to steal a gun.

When traveling to and from the range, know and obey all laws pertaining to transporting firearms.

Legal Disclaimer/Hold Harmless: Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the treatise's contents. However, the information and recommendations are provided "as is," and without warranty of any kind. The author disavows any responsibility or liability for accuracy, timeliness, completeness, legality or reliability and shall not be responsible for any injury, liability, loss, or damage of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential) which may result from its use or non-use.

Originally published July 26, 2013; rev. 6/19/24
Copyright 2013-2024 Bruce Edenson. All rights reserved.

LARGE CAPACITY MAGAZINE LIMITS - COOK COUNTY AND CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Updated June 19, 2024 ...

Executive Summary
There's considerable uncertainty and confusion regarding handgun magazine capacity restriction in Cook County and other areas in Illinois. Many people mistakenly believe that the preemption clause of the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act (FCCA) is the exclusive or ultimate legal authority, and that it prohibits any limitation upon magazine capacity. In fact, there exists a valid and enforceable Cook County ordinance prohibiting "large capacity magazines" (LCMs) - defined as more than 10 rounds. Except for active law enforcement and peace officers, the ban extends to all persons in Cook County -- not merely its residents. Neither the Cook County ordinance, nor any related court rulings, exempt Illinois Concealed Carry Firearms Licensees. This treatise presents the relevant laws, court cases, and salient issues.

Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act, 430 ILCS 66/ (“FCCA”)
A December 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decision (Moore v. Madigan) struck down a longstanding prohibition on concealed carry of firearms in Illinois. On July 9, 2014, to comply with the federal court's ruling, the Illinois legislature enacted the FCCA. It granted eligible, qualified persons the right to carry concealed handguns under certain conditions and with specific exceptions. The following statute excerpts are particularly germane:

Section 5. Definitions. "Handgun" means any device which is designed to expel a projectile of projectiles by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas, or escape of gas that is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.

Section 15. Violations. (f) ... Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, nothing in this subsection prohibits the licensee from being subjected to penalties for violations other than those specified in this Act.

Section 90. Preemption. The regulation, licensing, possession, registration, and transportation of handguns and ammunition for handguns by licensees are exclusive powers and functions of the State. Any ordinance or regulation, or portion thereof, enacted on or before the effective date of this Act that purports to impose regulations or restrictions on licensees or handguns and ammunition for handguns in a manner inconsistent with this Act shall be invalid ... This section is a denial and limitation of home rule powers and functions under subsection (h) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution.

Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Act430 ILCS 65/ ("FOID") 
Is the statutory understructure for the FCCA and Illinois firearm-related criminal laws. Concurrent with the FCCA's enactment, the FOID Act was necessarily amended to incorporate the FCCA preemption clause and other provisions, most importantly Sec. 13.1. Preemption:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in the Firearm Concealed Carry Act and subsections (b) and (c) of this Section, the provisions of any ordinance enacted by any municipality which requires registration or imposes greater restrictions or limitations on the acquisition, possession and transfer of firearms than are imposed by this Act, are not invalidated or affected by this Act.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this Section, the regulation, licensing, possession, and registration of handguns and ammunition for a handgun, and the transportation of any firearm and ammunition ... are exclusive powers and functions of this State.


(c) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this Section, the regulation of the possession or ownership of assault weapons are exclusive powers and functions of this State. Any ordinance or regulation, or portion of that ordinance or regulation, that purports to regulate the possession or ownership of assault weapons in a manner that is inconsistent with this Act, shall be invalid unless the ordinance or regulation is enacted on, before, or within 10 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act ... For the purposes of this subsection, "assault weapons" means firearms designated by either make or model or by a test or list of cosmetic features that cumulatively would place the firearm into a definition of "assault weapon" under the ordinance.


(d) For the purposes of this Section, "handgun" has the meaning ascribed to it in Section 5 of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.


(e) This Section is a denial and limitation of home rule powers and functions under subsection (h) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution.

State of Illinois Constitution, Article VII. Section 6
Grants certain powers to home rule units (counties and most municipalities) that transcend state law, including: (a) ... a home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including ... the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare. (c) If a home rule county ordinance conflicts with an ordinance of a municipality, the municipal ordinance shall prevail within its jurisdiction. (h) "The General Assembly may provide specifically by law for the exclusive exercise by the State of any power or function of a home rule unit. (m) Powers and functions of home rule units shall be construed liberally.

Cook County "Blair Holt Assault Weapons Ban"
 and similar other bans in Illinois
Ignoring or contravening the Illinois legislature's clear intent, the FOID/FCCA definition of "handgun," and these Acts' preemption clauses pertaining to handguns and assault weapons, the Cook County Board (within the 10 day window granted under the FCCA) capitalized upon its home rule powers by strengthening its earlier-adopted "Blair Holt" ordinance (Chapter 54, Article III, Division 4, Ord. 13-O-32, enacted 7-17-2013). The especially relevant elements of the ordinance are:

Sec. 54-210. - Applicability. (a) The provisions included in this division apply to all persons in Cook County including, but not limited to, persons licensed under this article.


Sec. 54-211. - Definitions. 

"Assault weapon" does not include any firearm that has been made permanently inoperable, or satisfies the definition of "antique firearm" ...

Large-capacity magazine means any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds, but shall not be construed to include the following: 1) A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than ten rounds. 2) A 22-caliber tube ammunition feeding device.


Sec. 54-212. - Assault weapons, and large-capacity magazines; sale prohibited; exceptions. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, sell, offer or display for sale, give, lend, transfer ownership of, acquire, carry or possess any assault weapon or large capacity magazine in Cook County. This subsection shall not apply to ... Transportation of assault weapons or large capacity magazine if such weapons are broken down and in a nonfunctioning state and are not immediately accessible to any person.


Sec. 54-214. - Violation; penalty. (a) Any person found in violation of this division shall be fined not less than $5,000.00 and not more than $10,000.00 and may be sentenced for a term not to exceed more than six months imprisonment. Any subsequent violation of this division shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $10,000.00 and not more than $15,000.00 and may be sentenced for a term not to exceed more than six months imprisonment. (Ord. No. 15-4167, 9-9-2015.)

To circumvent the Concealed Carry and FOID Acts, Cook County employed a disingenuous, convoluted, and incorrect characterization and categorization of "large capacity magazines" (LCMs) as assault weapons. Consider the following facts:

  • A magazine is merely the cartridge feeding mechanism for a semiautomatic firearm. A magazine, per se, doesn't and can't cause an explosion or projectile (bullet) expulsion.
  • A magazine alone doesn't meet the State's definitions of either firearm or handgun.
  • A magazine isn't listed as a weapon under the Illinois Unlawful Use of Weapons statute.
  • The county's apparent regard of magazines as "assault weapons" is incompatible with the State's ascribed definition: "firearms designated by either make or model or by a test or list of cosmetic features that cumulatively would place the firearm into a definition of assault weapon." A magazine is neither a make, model, test, list nor cosmetic feature.

As such, based upon state law (and common sense), magazines shouldn't be subject to county power.  

In addition to Cook County, Highland Park, Deerfield, Highwood, Markham, Oak Park, Orland Park, Rosemont and several other communities also imposed ten-round magazine capacity limitations and “assault weapons” bans within the FOID's 10-day grace period.

Under the Illinois Constitution, where county and municipal ordinances conflict, municipal law prevails. To the best of my knowledge, no city or village has officially preempted Cook County's LCM ban.

Court Rulings
Context: The U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Appeals courts have ultimate authority in determining the legality of statutes and ordinances.

In Dec. 2013, plaintiffs Dr. Arie S. Friedman and the Illinois State Rifle Association brought an action in the U.S. District Court to enjoin the city of Highland Park, Illinois from enforcing an ordinance nearly identical to Cook County’s AWB ordinance. In Sept. 2014, the U.S. District Court rejected the plaintiffs' argument.

In Aug. 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Wilson v. Cook County, Case No. 17 CV 7002), essentially reaffirming the 2015 federal appeals court ruling in Friedman v. City of Highland Park, upheld Cook County's Assault Weapon Ban. 


In Aug. 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, affirmed the Aug. 2018 decision of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Wilson v. Cook County, Case No. 17 CV 7002), upholding Cook County's Assault Weapon Ban. 
 

In January 2023, Herrera v. Raoul was filed in U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois challenging the constitutionality of, and requesting an injunction against, the Cook County and Chicago bans on magazine capacity and AR-15 style rifles. The District Court denied plaintiff’s requests. The Herrera case was joined with another similar, Barnett v. Raoul, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. On Nov. 3, 2023, that Court also upheld the bans on magazine capacity and AR-15 style rifles. 

In August 2021, another challenge to the Cook County assault weapons ban, Viramontes v. Cook County Illinois was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. On March 1, 2024, the Court ruled in favor of the Defendants, upholding the Cook County ordinance. On March 15, 2024, Plaintiffs filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit; the case is pending. 

Unfortunately, prevailing court rulings support the bans in Cook County, Highland Park, and similar others elsewhere in Illinois. And it’s important to note that no court rulings have exempted Illinois Concealed Carry Licensees from Cook County’s or other communities' “large-capacity magazine” bans. 

Ordinance Enforcement
Somewhat surprisingly, there's been no noteworthy, standalone LCM or assault weapon prosecution by Cook County. (The State's Attorney certainly has bigger fish to fry.) However, in June 2018, the Cook County Sheriff's Office acknowledged their responsibility to enforce the ordinance, and intention to more vigorously do so. And Chicago Police officers have been directed to indicate magazine capacity on arrest reports.

It's unlikely you'd be caught with or arrested for a LCM (many police officers are unaware of or ignore the county ordinance). However, if found with a LCM or assault weapon, you might be charged with an ordinance violation and have to defend against prosecution. A first offense conviction could cost as much as six months' incarceration and a $10,000 fine. You'd also likely incur substantial attorney's fees, bail bond costs, along with other serious hardships. Given the prospective penalty, do you really want to risk noncompliance?

Chicago Restrictions
On July 17, 2013, within the 10-day municipal preemption authority granted under the Illinois Concealed Carry and FOID Acts, Chicago similarly enacted bans on assault weapons. Section 8-20-010 of the Municipal Code enumerates certain firearm makes and models as "assault weapons." Later in the same section, but not included in the assault weapon category, "high capacity magazine" is defined as having an "overall capacity of more than 15 rounds." 

Section 8-20-075 declares the sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of assault weapons to be unlawful. Section 8-20-085 (b) specifically prohibits the sale or possession of "any high capacity magazine or tubular magazine extension for a shotgun carried, possessed, displayed, sold or otherwise transferred in violation of this section is hereby declared to be contraband and shall be seized by and forfeited to the city." The ordinance formatting and language are unclear and quite confusing. High capacity magazine is defined, but it could reasonably be construed that the city's ban seems to be specifically and solely related to shotguns.

Section 8-20-300 (a) provides that any person who violates Sections 8-20-075 or 8-20-085 "shall be fined not less than $1000.00 nor more than $5000.00 and be incarcerated for a term not less than 90 days nor more than 180 days." In addition to ARs, the ordinance bans laser light accessories, threaded barrels, silencers (mufflers), and flash suppressors.

Chicago Police Department directives pertaining to the IL Firearm Concealed Carry Act make no mention of the county's magazine capacity restriction. Thus far, very few related arrests or prosecutions have occurred and it's highly unlikely you'd be caught or charged. But bear in mind that firearm crimes occurring in Chicago are usually handled by the Cook County State's Attorney. Their office (especially in the current anti-gun climate) could begin aggressively prosecuting LCM offenders. And bear in mind that beyond city limits you'd be subject to arrest and prosecution for the county's 10-round magazine capacity restriction. 
 

State of Illinois Restrictions
On January 10, 2023, Illinois enacted the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” (House Bill 5471 with Senate Amendment 3). Among other provisions, the Act bans the purchase, possession, delivery, and sale of any “large capacity ammunition feeding device.” Included in its definitions is “1) a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition for long guns and more than 15 rounds of ammunition for handguns; or (2) any combination of parts from which a device described in paragraph (1) can be assembled.” The magazine ban becomes effective April 10, 2023.
 

The Act includes these exemptions: does not apply to a person's possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device if the person lawfully possessed that large capacity ammunition feeding device before the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, provided that the person shall possess such device only: on  private property owned or immediately controlled by the person; on private property that is not open to the public with the express permission of the person who owns or immediately controls such property; while on the premises of a licensed firearms dealer or gunsmith for the purpose of lawful repair; while engaged in the legal use of the large capacity ammunition feeding device at a properly licensed firing range or sport shooting competition venue; or (5) while traveling to or from these locations, provided that the large capacity ammunition feeding device is stored unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container. A person authorized under this Section to possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device may transfer the large capacity ammunition feeding device only to an heir, an individual residing in another state maintaining it in another state, or a dealer licensed as a federal firearms dealer under Section 923 of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968.  

Other exceptions are made for qualified law enforcement officers, private security contractors, and certain other duly authorized personnel. A person who knowingly violates a provision of the Act commits a petty offense with a fine of $1000 for each violation. 

While PICA is state law, it does not exempt Illinois Concealed Carry Licensees or regular FOID cardholders. Nor does it exclude or nullify applicable existing home rule unit restrictions. The ten-round magazine capacity limitations previously imposed by Cook County, Deerfield, Highland Park, Highwood, Markham, Oak Park, Orland Park, Rosemont and several other communities remain in effect. These local ordinances have seldom been enforced; given PICA, future enforcement is even more unlikely. Nevertheless, consider the risks and penalties of noncompliance.  

Status - June 2024
The Blair Holt ban prevails throughout Cook County, unless and until any of three conditions occur: the County Board modifies or repeals it; 2) a municipal ordinance, declaration or other official provision expressly allows LCMs and AR-15 style firearms within its jurisdiction; 3) The U.S. Appeals Court or U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Blair Holt ordinance (and/or similar laws in other jurisdictions).  

Recommendation
Remember, the preemption clauses of 430 ILCS 65/13.1 and 430 ILCS 66/90 do not exempt Illinois Concealed Carry Licensees from Cook County or other home rule unit ordinances.

I urge clients, colleagues and others (especially concealed carry licensees) to comply with home rule restrictions. Bear in mind there's currently no federal, state or Cook County limitation on the number of magazines you can own or carry.

Legal Disclaimer/Hold Harmless: Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the treatise's contents. However, the information and recommendations are provided "as is," and without warranty of any kind. The author disavows any responsibility or liability for accuracy, timeliness, completeness, legality or reliability and shall not be responsible for any injury, liability, loss, or damage of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential) which may result from its use or non-use.

Originally published Feb. 14, 2016. Issue update June 19, 2024.

Copyright 2016-2024 Bruce Edenson. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

PROPER BREAK-IN OF SEMIAUTOMATIC HANDGUNS

Guns are deadly weapons! Always think, be alert, and obey all firearms safety rules! 

While the vast majority of new handguns are very reliable, any mechanical object - especially if neglected - is susceptible to malfunction. So it’s smart to have a good understanding of the pistol. Proper break-in and maintenance will optimize its reliability, your performance and enjoyment.

Inspection 
When purchasing a pistol, inspect it thoroughly (scratches, nicks, sights properly staked, etc.). Check the controls/components (trigger, hammer, decocker, safety, magazine release, slide lock/release, extractor, magazines) to be sure they’re looking and working properly. Ask the seller to field-strip the gun so you can examine the internal parts. Confirm the make, model, caliber, new or preowned, and serial number; specify all such information on the transaction receipt.

Fully-Equipped
Be sure the gun comes with all accessories and supplies such as magazines, operator’s manual, extra grips, case, gun lock, etc. Some pistols come with a factory test-fire casing enclosed in an envelope. If so, from a prospective gun resale standpoint, it’s usually best not to break the seal on the envelope.

Legal
Verify and obey all applicable laws and regulations (state, federal, county and municipal) relating to firearm transactions, registration, transportation, storage, magazine capacity, etc. Retain gun purchase/sale records (including photos showing serial number) for at least 10 years.

Operator's Manual
Before or when taking possession of the gun, carefully read the operator’s manual and familiarize yourself with safety protocols, major parts and nomenclature, recommended maintenance, etc. Most manufacturers’ websites have digital manuals available for download. A gun schematic diagram and parts list are handy to have. Submit any available warranty to the manufacturer and/or dealer.

Initial Cleaning & Preparation
New guns often contain manufacturing grime and/or rust-retardant substance (rather than lubricant). Unless guns are adequately cleaned and oiled before initial use, they’re more susceptible to malfunction. Disassembly, cleaning, lubrication and reassembly will also better acquaint you with the gun. Consult the operator’s manual for specific, ongoing maintenance recommendations. Be sure to always perform a thorough function check after reassembly. Inspect the magazines (and clean if preowned). Load and unload magazines at least eight times, and then leave the magazines fully loaded before initial use. Preliminarily working magazine springs will reduce the likelihood of feeding malfunctions.

Racking the Slide
Rack the slide back and forth, hard and fast, at least 100 times. (Ease - don't slingshot - the slide forward when you're not chambering a round). Racking the slide will:
  • exercise the recoil spring and foster more reliable cartridge feeding and casing ejection during initial use.
  • smooth out the gun's rails and other slide-to-frame mating surfaces
  • strengthen your grip, wrists and forearms
  • better familiarize you with the gun's feel
  • make racking the slide more natural (intuitive and "automatic")

Dry-Fire
Dry-firing with snap caps (no live ammo anywhere nearby!) as much as possible is an excellent practice. It will:
  • accustom you to the trigger pull (pressure and travel)
  • strengthen your trigger finger, grip, wrists and forearms
  • acclimate you to the gun's ergonomics, sights and controls, engendering better shooting proficiency (accuracy + speed)
  • smooth out and lighten the trigger pull somewhat
The ultimate objective of the racking and dry-fire exercises is to make you "one with the gun." Your motions should become certain, fluid, fast and efficient. You'll be a more competent target shooter. And if the pistol is being used for carry/duty, you'll be better able to respond with maximum speed and effectiveness.

Magazines, Supplies
It’s smart to have at least three magazines for each pistol, and know of reliable sources for parts and accessories. But until certain you’re completely satisfied with the gun, don’t buy unnecessary merchandise for it.

Ammunition
During initial break-in period (first 500 rounds approx.), handguns usually function more dependably with quality ammunition, factory-made, brass cased, full metal jacket (FMJ), standard pressure, round nose (RN). It’s ordinarily better to start 9mm guns with a 124 grain bullet weight. Once the gun consistently “digests” 124 grain, confirm the reliability of 115 and 147 grain rounds. In .45 ACP ammo, 230 grain bullets are normally best for initial use. Consult the operator’s manual for specific ammunition recommendations and prohibitions. 

Don’t use hollow-points or high-pressured (+P or +P+) cartridges, even if approved by the gun manufacturer, until you’re sure the gun has been successfully broken in. If feeding problems arise with hollow-points, closely examine the pistol’s feedramp, barrel chamber and throat for gunpowder buildup, nicks, deformity, etc. 

Malfunctions
If there’s any malfunction you’re unable to safely, readily and successfully fix, promptly stop handling the gun! Hopefully you’ll be able to release the magazine and eject any chambered round; examine the gun to be certain it’s unloaded. If you’re at a gun range, follow proper rules and ask their staff for assistance. Assuming they’re unable, seek the services of a gunsmith, armorer, some other highly-experienced person, or contact the manufacturer.

Afterword
Take good care of the gun and it’s more likely to take good care of you. After all, your life may depend upon it.

Legal Disclaimer/Hold Harmless: Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the treatise's contents. However, the information and recommendations are provided "as is," and without warranty of any kind. The author disavows any responsibility or liability for accuracy, timeliness, completeness, legality or reliability and shall not be responsible for any injury, liability, loss, or damage of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential) which may result from its use or non-use.
copyright 2014-2024 Bruce Edenson. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED