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Thursday, July 19, 2007

'Reality Check'*, Installment Number One-NO MORE LOCKS!!!

Note to manufacturers supplying the US firearms market-I will NOT buy ANY firearm with an Integral Locking System. I also won't deactivate a factory-installed lock, in order to have a gun without one. I simply don't need a new gun bad enough to put up with this nonsense anymore.

How we "got here"...

About mid-1993, the folks who manufacture firearms for the US market decided that not unlike Idi Amin, Bill Klinton was going to be President For Life, and that their only means of corporate survival was to add so-called 'safety devices' that do nothing toward correcting a real problem- the unsafe handling of firearms. We began to see idiot buttons on classic lever-action rifles, and eventually that wonderful invention we have come to know as the ‘integral lock’ (hereinafter referred to as “IL”) appeared. It manifested itself as a pimple on the port side of S&W revolvers, and soon after Taurus, Ruger and a few others began sprouting them.

Well, SO WHAT!

Now just WHY, you might ask, should we even be bothered by this? Well, how’s about I just tell you why?

Simple Logic...

There is absolutely no rational reason to have an IL on your gun. If you really want to lock up your gun, law enforcement agencies all over the country and GIVING AWAY cable locks that are 100% effective, adaptable to any gun, and do not require alteration to reliable and proven firearms design. Or you could just throw it in a safe.

Stupid and Dangerous Thinking...

The presence of IL’s also furthers the fallacy that a properly-handled gun is somehow safer WITH a lock, than without it. This is dangerous thinking in and of itself. Refer to the Four Rules.

The Cultural De-volution...

You have to be an adult to buy a handgun, and adults should not accept being treated like a child that needs training wheels. The presence of IL’s is just another step in the Oprah-fication of the American male. “We must make the world ‘safe’, don’cha know?” If this nonsense is allowed to continue it will eventually render our handguns worthless for their original purpose- Immediate, Unhindered DEFENSE in Times of Emergency! If this ‘original purpose’ requires further explanation, I’d suggest that you go read some Jeff Cooper.

Begging for Trouble...

Now here’s a MAJOR sticking point- IL’s CAN break, and render the gun useless. In fact, IL’s are simply 'one more thing to go wrong'- and as Mr. Murphy has taught me over the years, If it CAN go wrong, it WILL. Doubt it? Smith & Wesson Forum has a detailed thread on this topic, complete with excellent photos of the unnecessary crap being engineered into handguns today: Smith & Wesson Internal Lock Failures

These things are enough to convince me that IL’s are a bad idea. Thirty-three years of the continual carrying and use of handguns, often in harm’s way, have convinced me that they are worse than useless. Gun safety is BETWEEN YOUR EARS- not manifested in some key at the bottom of your sock drawer. To believe otherwise is insanity. Would having and extra ignition switch on automobiles reduce traffic fatalaties, or eliminate drunk driving? Geez, people- wake up! Turn off the damn television, put down the ipod, get off MSN and start thinking for yourselves!

"The Emperor's New Clothes"...

The Emperor never likes to be told that he's parading around bare-ass naked. You’ll catch some flak from folks who contend that we should be grateful, and buy whatever the gunmakers produce. Some of them get downright annoyed when those of us who refuse to be stump-broke, share our opinion on this subject. We become ‘Lockjaws’, ‘Whiners’, Turd-Suckers’ and the like. Well, too damn bad. Some of us won't be harangued into backing up to the stump.

Follow the Money...

It should come as no surprise, but most of those trying to shove these abominations down our throats- also happen to be folks who benefit commercially from increased sales of handguns, handgun training, handgun books & articles, etc. Certain contemporary gunwriters, training gurus and of course handgun accessory makers trnd to gravitate toward the ‘Buy ‘em anyway!’ Camp. Having grown up reading Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton, Jeff Cooper & Charles Askins, I find this a little hard to swallow. These entirely credible old-school gunwriters carried handguns for more serious purposes than a trip to the range, or a canned buffalo hunt. Those boys would have called these contraptions for what they are- simply one more thing to go wrong with your life preserver.

"Po' Lil' Gunmakers"...

You’ll also hear the excuse that the poor manufacturers are just installing IL’s because of, or in anticipation of, legislation requiring them on guns ‘approved’ for sale to the public. This is a local problem, and one that should be addressed by the folks living in those little cultural Utopias who are affected by it. None of this internal-lock nonsense has been legislated federally, or by the 40 or so free states that we have left. I have no intention of letting the political climate San Fran-Sicko dictate what I’m going to shove in my holster, or sling over my shoulder when I head off to the big piney.

Look- I hated it when Colt quit making Detective Specials, but that was Colt's choice and now they aren't selling any. So I've got a no-lock Ruger SP101 instead. When the realization sunk in that I'd never crack open a new S&W catalog with the excitement I once knew- it was a let-down for sure. I hated it when Winchester quit making lever-actions that looked & worked like the guns I grew up with. I hated it when Winchester quit making them at all- but it was a predictable result of re-making a product into something it wasn't. I treasure the pre-lock Winchester I have, and a pre-64 Model 94 is on the "GET one!" list. Heck, I could even buy an old Marlin if I didn't have any self respect. (That was a joke, Marlin-ites.)

"They Ain't Goin' Away-Might As Well Get Used to Them"...

The other argument you’ll hear from the IL-appeasement camp is that the locks are ‘Here to stay- now suck it up & buy a gun." Horse manure. The manufacturers chose this path, which means they can un-choose it, too. If we can keep Congress at bay on the topic of gun legislation (and we have for quite some time now) what makes you think we can’t influence the manufacturers of those guns? As long as people buy guns with locks in them, they will keep making them. If sales take a nose-dive when a product is changed, any manufacturer will rethink that change. That is the reality of a market-driven economy.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY AN IL-EQUIPPED FIREARM.

You can get all the ‘old stuff’ you need on the used market. Don't be surprised when you get a better gun for less money, by taking this approach. Personally, it won’t affect me in the least if Smith & Winfrey or Rug-ah decide to put locks in all their guns. I’ll have mine without them, and my sons & grandsons will have them when I’m done. It doesn’t disturb me in the least if you & everyone else buy them. It’s your money, to do with as you please- same as mine.

You DO however have an opportunity to influence the US firearms market. If enough potential buyers refuse to buy IL-equipped firearms- the IL will go away. How many of us will it take? I have inside skinny that Ruger based their addition of an IL to the ‘New Vaquero’ on the notion that it would cost about 17% of their market, if they ‘lost’ California sales. S&W is hoping that new customers, who don’t don't care about IL’s, replace us cranky old bastards in sufficient time frames and numbers to keep the company afloat. I for one think that's an exceptionally-crappy way to treat customers who have been buying and recommending their products for 30+ years. Luckily, it's not too late for me correct both of those errors.

Turning the Tide...

In any event, I figure diverting 20% of new-gun sales to the used-gun market would FLAT get their attention. ONE in five new handgun buyers opting for a classic used gun instead, is all it would take to make them feel the ground shake. If 40%, or TWO in five would do this for a year? The 'fine art' would rattle off the walls at Corporate Headquarters.

Stand By For Guilt Trip #12,788...

I can hear the howling already- "What? You're actually proposing that we withold our business from already-embattled gun-makers who are still suffering under under Clinton-era lawsuits, etc.? How will we sell gun magazines?" Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Money is the only bit we have in the horse's mouth, and it's going to take a hard pop on the reins to get it under control- and headed back in the direction we want to go.

Whether or not the gunmakers ever reverse this ridiculous trend, principle alone is reason enough for opposing them. There's also the matter of our obligation to pass at least as much FREEDOM on to the next generation, as we had for ourselves. I will personally NEVER buy an IL-equipped firearm. I’ll also not throw in with aftermarket companies or gun publications who support them. I’ll go out of my way to end the careers of politicians who attempt to legislate them.

That’s just my opinion and remember- I ain’t trying to sell you anything. If you agree, sign up in the ‘Comments’ section at the bottom of this page. Feel free to forward the URL to this blog around. If a good long list of responses result, we’ll forward it to the folks making the guns. There’s certainly no harm in being heard on the subject.

Comments, curse-words, death threats etc which, for whatever reason, you do not wish to post in the Comments section may be emailed to:

sarge@thesixgunjournal.net

*In 'Reality Checks' we will address some other articles of pure fertilizer that have been unloaded onto the gun-buying public by gun manufacturers in recent years. Unfortunately they have found strong allies in certain gun writers, gun magazines, and purveyors of "Internet Wisdom'. I'm going to try to turn out about one of these a week, for the next 4-5 weeks. Some old-school thinking is definitely called for here.

Most of you (I'm finding out) simply don't know any better, and if you believe what you read on most Internet Firearms Forums (and apparently you DO) you're never going to get a feel for what gun ownersip was was like under the tutelage of patriarchs like Keith, Skelton, Askins & Cooper. While I won't pretend to be worthy of changing their typewriter ribbons, I'm going to do my best to pass on the practical, reality-based thought processes they brought to bear on the firearms topics of their time. This is going to be fun.-Sarge

9 Comments:

Anonymous Rob Leahy said...

You are a man on fire Sarge, good job.

Sunday, July 22, 2007 12:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Frank McClelland aka fivegunner said...

Sir, I thought I was the only one to think this way! I only buy handgun's and rifle's that have no IL.

Sunday, July 22, 2007 6:52:00 AM  
Anonymous luckydog said...

Amen from an old gunner!

Monday, July 23, 2007 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous OwenB said...

Great article Sarge, keep up the good work!

Monday, July 23, 2007 11:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Harry Paget Flashman said...

Spot on. I pledge.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:44:00 PM  
Anonymous azsixshooter said...

Very well-said. I will certainly spread the word and pledge to NEVER buy a gun with an IL. NEVER!

Friday, June 05, 2009 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous J Miller said...

Sarge,

You and I are in complete agreement on the IL issue. I've been saying much of what you put in this article every since the Clinton Agreement was signed by S&W. And I've been called all the names you mentioned on several major shooting forums. Doesn't matter, I still will not buy a gun with an IL.
Good job.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 9:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Seminole1 said...

Great thinking and fantastic job getting those thoughts across, Sarge! You really opened my eyes, that's for sure! I only wish that you could get your message out even more.

Sunday, May 15, 2011 4:20:00 AM  
Blogger Sarge said...

Thanks, Seminole.

YOU can help get the word out. Post a link to this blog entry whenever the topic comes up.

Sunday, August 07, 2011 9:00:00 PM  

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