Sad Reminder on Gun Safety

We have all seen those YouTube videos where some poor, unprepared, inexperienced shooter is handed a firearm they are not prepared for, and the jackass with the camera catches the ensuing “hilarity”on video. While I will admit, I have found a few of those clips entertaining on occasion, that is the rare occasion. I usually find them frustrating to say the least. Not only is doing something like that very unsafe, both for the shooter and for those around them, but it also is likely to traumatize the victim of the joke. Stunts like that, at the minimum will leave a “training scar” in the way of a huge anticipation/flinching problem, and at the worst, will scare the new shooter away from guns for life.


Even worse than any fear of guns, is the very real possibility of serious injury or death. As every gun owner with a speck of common sense knows, guns can be dangerous, which is why we treat them with a healthy amount of respect. I absolutely love shooting, but always present in my mind is the very real possibility that complacency when shooting can get someone injured. Handing an unprepared shooter a gun far too powerful for them goes way beyond complacency, it is reckless.

Sadly, on Sunday November 3rd, a perfect example of that reckless behavior occurred. At a range in New London, Missouri, a South American woman was handed a S&W 500 pistol to shoot. I have no idea what her firearms experience was, but based on the results, she was far under-prepared for the power of that handgun. She fired the gun and the resulting recoil caused the gun to flip in her hands, ending with the barrel pointing back at her, and then, likely while trying to maintain control of the gun, the trigger was pulled a second time, and she shot herself in the head killing her, hopefully instantly.

The resulting scene was likely a traumatic one for everyone at that range. Having seen firsthand on many occasions, the absolute mess created by a close range head shot from a powerful firearm, the devastation is catastrophic. Fortunately for most of the people there, they will live to see another day, but unfortunately the female shooter paid for someone’s huge lapse in good judgment with her life.

This is another situation where we (gun owners) become our own worst enemy. Situations like this only serve to fuel the fire of the gun grabbers. The actions of one or two irresponsible gun owners give them valid ammunition to use against us, because the non-gun owning people out there view the gun owners as a group, not as individuals.

It should never ever take an incident like this to remind us that guns can be dangerous, and that safety is paramount when operating them, but apparently it does. Please, please do not do stupid stuff like this with your friends. If you see some yokel at the range doing something like this, either bring it to their attention or the attention of the rangemaster. We need to police ourselves, otherwise the gun grabbing politicians are going to be successful in doing that for us.

As always, your questions and comments are welcome.
Be safe out there,


Matt is a full time Deputy Sheriff that has been on the job since 1996. During his time as a LEO he's attended countless training classes and is a court recognized firearms expert. Matt brings a unique perspective to TBS given his LEO experience and life time appreciation of firearms and our 2nd Amendment rights.

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  • Drew

    When ever I am taking a friend to the range that has never fired a gun before I always load only one round in the gun so that once they fire the gun it is “safe” and they won’t have a ND after the first round has been fired.

    • Eric Weiss

      I’m enjoy taking my friends and family out for their first time shooting. I always try to start someone off on a smaller caliber, like a .22LR or a 9mm, just to teach them the basics. Just like you @Drew, for their first shot, I only load 1 round in the gun before advancing them to 3, 5, 10, etc.

      • Mike Hasel

        A first time shooter will have my entire attention and instruction. I prefer to use a rifle, as it doesn’t turn as fast as a pistol.(whether by recoil or with the shooters change of focus) Safety is paramount, and firearms are serious business with consequences, so the instructor needs to insure that proper handling and safety are taught and enforced. You are correct, It should not take a tragedy to focus our gun safety protocol… We have a proven set of rules and procedures, teach them and enforce them; when people ask why, we have another unfortunate example… No more examples! Follow the rules and respect the power of your firearm and those around you. Require that others occupying your range act responsibly and safely. Shooting is fun, lets be responsible and keep it that way!

    • Murdock

      This, always this.

    • Kainoa Kaku

      Exactly. That’s just poor preparation.

    • Isaac

      This is a great idea! I am taking a friend for his first time in a few weeks. We have already discussed safety and to always assume the gun is loaded (even when you can see it isnt), and I will do this idea as well just for extra protection.

    • mike

      thanks i like that i will try that my self.

    • Matt Kaufmann

      Whenever I take first time shooters to the range, I make sure they can demonstrate gun safety and the function of a firearm before I step onto the range with them. And, loading only one round for the first few shots is a really great point.

  • RPM509

    We really are our own worst enemies when it comes to gun rights.
    I am at a loss for words concerning this incident. Stupidity and reckless
    endangerment come to mind though.

  • D. Hide

    Like some previous posters, I too am nearly at a loss for words. The small silver lining is the realization that the great many of us do not need to be reminded or told not to do this because we already know that this and other bad things can happen as a result.

    In my home state of VA, both the Gov. and Lt. Gov positions have been filled with Bloomberg-backed anti-gun politicians. Thankfully, the AG position is a different matter. However, we’ll need to move an even bigger mountain from now on and we need all the help we can get. Things like this incident help nobody but the blood-seeking anti-gunners who pounce on every tragedy, sowing a chaotic platform by which to ram through their wrong, otherwise unsuccessful policies. Please, take your friends out shooting with you and do so responsibly – It’s the best way to help if done properly!

    • D. Hide

      Whoops, double post. Well, I like this one better.

      • Matt

        No worries, killed the first one. Been there, done that.

    • Rational Skeptic

      Dude, what scares people away from guns and gives libtard gun-grabbers ammo is when d-bags rant about things like “the blood-seeking anti-gunners who pounce on every tragedy, sowing a chaotic platform by which to ram through their wrong, otherwise unsuccessful policies.”
      Really? Are you covering ALL “anti-gunners”? Are there some people who are anti-gun because they’ve typically heard pro-gun people rail and whine and talk s#!t about how the UN or Socialist Republic Of Obama is coming for them? Try not saying anything if you’ve got nothing nice to say, and maybe those of us who love shooting will stop being labeled as crazy because of some ignorant fat-a$$ smack-talking bozos.

      • Bob Fairlane

        The UN is open about their attack on firearms owners and their plans to use “treaties” to steal guns from Americans.

      • Matt

        Why is every single comment you post here negative? (Don’t answer that, it is a rhetorical question) Nothing you said is remotely related to the topic at hand, it is just your irrational bitching at me about something I said.

        Go troll elsewhere guy. I’m done with you.

        • Warthog1776

          While I agree his comment is off topic I think he was trying to reply to D.Hide not you Matt.

          That being said I am going to have to agree with him. We need to stop with the high school name calling just because someone does not share of views. Rational debate is the best way to get our point across.

  • christopher

    I don’t find those videos funny, at all. I find it cruel to intentionally hand an inexperienced shooter a powerful firearm just for laughs.

    • MAC

      That’s why I put “funny” in quotes, I don’t see anything amusing about them either. All I see are people being horribly irresponsible. It was only a matter of time before someone got seriously hurt or killed, and sadly this probably isn’t the first time it’s happened. This just happens to be the first time I caught it in the news.

      • TJ

        Even worse is the fact that its unlikely to be the last time we see such a tragedy either. Even if this story was to get out to everyone, you’ll still have those morons who think “well, she got killed because THAT guy f’d up. ‘I’ can play this prank because i’m better than that other guy so it would NEVER happen to anyone ‘I’ played this prank on”

        Sadly, these morons are even more likely to get someone hurt or killed than the idiots i used to see out at the crags when i was still teaching rock climbing and rappelling. There was a reason i always carried a trauma kit, and why I still do going to the range. (though in this incident, its unlikely that i’d have been able to help.)

        Its like the man said: if common sense is so common, why does it so often need to be explained?

  • Nathan

    I load one bullet at a time as well. Especially with my larger calibers like .50AE. Why take chances, take your time and teach them safely. Sad story.

  • Austin

    Very unfortunate. I personally wouldnt hand someone whos never shot one with more than one round in it, and only then having fired it so they could see the power.

  • Dave Holmes

    This is why I only put one round in a gun when I let a new person shoot it… For everyone’s safety in case they drop it or swing it around or something.

  • Kenneth Westby

    These videos aren’t funny … they’re fucking stupid as hell. Beyond that they turn people off of guns and potentially seriously hurt someone. If you put a powerful gun in the hands of an unsuspecting woman and she winds up getting hit in the face with it and breaking a facial bone what are the chances they will have a positive impression of a gun? If you’re a gun owner and you allow this to happen you’re worse than the anti-gun crowd because you are actively turning potential gun rights supporters away from guns.

    • gloomhound


    • TJ


  • Juan Fonseca Godoy

    Which gun was that appears at 1:10?, I mean those guys aren’t regular shooters or that gun has a huge recoil

    • BillC

      It’s the .577 T-Rex

    • Hacob

      .577 Tyrannosaur, or some other ungodly large hunting round.

  • Rich

    This kinda makes me sick to my stomach. I am relativly new to shooting and have taken it very seriously. Not being decades experienced or a Tactical guy does not mean being careful doesnt apply.
    I treat my weapons as that. Yes, I have taken pople less experienced than I to the range. I start everyone with a Bolt ACtion .22 with only one round. I have seen to many accidentally droped guns on YT. We work that way up to the bigger guns until they have a good feel and know what to expect. I find their comfort zone in size and then we can enjoy some plinking together. The reason I video tape….. Nothing like that smile after someone has shot a firearm for the very first time. Prayers to the family and friends. I can not imagine the horror that will haunt those who were involved.

  • Jake

    If some wants to try out a large caliber weapon, fine.
    If they understand the risks, then have at it.
    But put only 1 round in the gun, So an unintentional double fire cannot happen!
    It does not matter if it is a shotgun, handgun or rifle, only 1 round.

  • Drmaudio

    The most important things we can do to secure our long term rights is to get more people into shooting, and to set a good example as gun owners. These videos do just the opposite.

  • Jason W

    If / when you EVER see something obviously unsafe at the range call a cease fire LOUDLY several times. Now I know many people will say only the range officer should call a cease fire BUT just like police, when seconds count, the range officer is usually way down on the other end of the line.

    I have called a cease fire at the range before due to a couple of guys shooting their rented Glock using the urban isosceles stance (one handed, holding it sideways, up above their head, and “throwing” the pistol forward with each shot) and they were putting rounds into the concrete floor. This was at an indoor range where the range officer sat in a nice sound proofed booth with video monitors and wasn’t paying attention. Granted the RSO got upset with me for calling a cease fire until I explained WHY I called it. Those two guys presented a clear danger to everyone else on the range because of their reckless behavior.

    As responsible gun owners we have a DUTY to not only practice the basic safety rules for ourselves, but to watch out for our fellow shooters and to immediately correct them if they do something dangerous. Some people might get upset but they have to be alive to be upset.

  • hatandspecs

    Even when I shoot a large caliber handgun for the first time after not having done so in a while I only load one round until I am comfortable with it. S&W 500 bump fires are way too common:

    If I was going to buy a hunting revolver that powerful it is only going to be a SA.

  • John Mustafa

    I have taught many of my friends and family how to shoot many different rifles and handguns.
    Every time they pull that trigger my hand is next to theirs until they feel comfortable handling the handgun.
    I believe safety comes first. Never have I handed a large caliber handgun without demonstrating how it functions, loads, shoots and to clear it. I am aways next to them until they have shown me they can handle any firearm safely.

  • Nate

    A range I went to in SoCal that rents out a 500S&W has a 2 round in the cylinder policy. They tell you to only load 2 rounds with an empty space between them because of the high risk of bump firing the gun accidentally. After my first shot, the moment I had the recoil under control I realized I was about 75% into a 2nd trigger squeeze. It’s extremely easy with those big caliber guns to bump fire unintentionally, even for an avid shooter. It was sadly only a matter of time before someone gave a gun like this to someone who couldn’t handle it and they got hurt. It’s a sad day in the shooting community anytime stuff like this happens.

  • Gee William
  • Roger D.


    This is a tragic example the anti gun crowd will run down our throats. We can’t be out there scaring off new shooters, new pro gun voters and shooting partners. To hand someone a pistol that powerful is just asinine.


  • charles s.

    i actually love the video segment of the girl in the bikini top and BDU pants – on youtube all the people were commenting on how foolish she was…i was impressed with her taking a desert eagle in the head and STILL keeping the pistol pointed downrange in a safe direction with her finger OFF the trigger.

  • Rafael Paulino

    I’ve always wanted a 12 gauge shotgun & haven’t bought one because of videos like this. Are these people shooting a higher caliber that makes the shotgun fly out their hands like that or is it that these people were not properly trained & don’t know how to hold the weapon so mistakes like these happen? I know people might laugh at this because it may seem funny but it’s not. What if an accident happens where someone gets shot or you shoot yourself? I don’t wanna be the person to make that mistake. I could be wrong but I imagine shotguns don’t really shoot like this unless they are shooting a higher caliber to make it kick like that. Before I buy the 12 gauge I want I am for sure going to take lessons on how to fire this weapon correctly…

    • Josh

      It depends what kind of load you put in it.

      A 3″ magnum slug will leave you with a bruise for a while if you don’t know what you’re doing. A 2.5″ birdshot/target load would be a good way to start out.

      Semi-auto 12 guage shotguns will absorb even more recoil than a pump action (think Revolver vs. Semi-Auto handgun — the spring will absorb/slow down the recoil).

  • Isaac Johnson

    Is it bad that I’m glad whoever handed her that gun will be severely emotionally scarred for the rest of their life? (Assuming this was meant as another ‘hey let’s give a little chick a big gun and see what happens’ stunt.) Even if it wasn’t that kind of stunt someone should have had the sense to only load one round. I don’t think I would even fire a 500 for the first time with more than one round loaded and I’ve shot a lot.

  • Josh

    Everyone should learn on a .22. Period.

    I bought my wife a .22 so that she could learn to shoot on something she could easily handle. There’s no reason not to. They cost less than $150, and ammo is cheap.

    Her favorite gun now is a Glock 23 in .40 S&W. She has no problem handling the recoil, but to have handed her that as her first gun would have not ended well.

    • Chaotic Good

      I agree with you completely. A .22 lets you teach the fundamentals of shooting better than any other cartridge. Recoil and muzzle blast are huge turnoffs for new shooters.

  • Rlrork

    I have seen stupid men to this to women and kids. It is total “dumbassity”! First off it is obviously dangerous to the shooter and bystanders. Secondly it will forever turn that person against shooting.

  • Trevor Nisja

    Someone is going to pay out a lot of money in a civil suit if they are lucky, prison time if they aren’t, and with good reason.

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  • George

    I always think those videos are funny in kind of a depressing way. Some people are just too damn stupid.

    I could never imagine doing that to anyone i brought shooting.

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  • TJ

    IMO this incident also illustrates another thing people tend to forget. Before you actually take someone new to the range, I find its a good idea to spend time with them back at home teaching them the basics; how to hold it, how to stand, how to aim, how to handle it safely (keeping the muzzle pointed downrange etc) how to squeeze the trigger, keeping your finger off the trigger until youre ready to shoot, and so on and so forth.

    The firing line at the range is NOT the place to be teaching these things for the first time. Would this have changed the outcome of this situation? Its hard to say, but it certainly wouldnt have made it any worse.


    I have used a technique that involves an “EMPTY”/unloaded firearm first. As they pull the trigger for the first time, slap the weapon or their hand up. Then get them to tighten grip and do it again. After the second time then load.

    TJ – I think the range is the best place, where you are not just overseen by your friends who may not know everything, but also by regulars and a range officer.

  • Kevin Days

    Sadly, the emotional scars left by this on the people who were there will be much worse than the physical scar left on that poor woman’s head had she survived. Jokes like that don’t belong within the realm of firearms. So sad to hear of this. Another black mark against otherwise sane, responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

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  • Geoff

    Couldn’t agree with the opening paragraphs at all, it’s actually a disgrace.

  • Jimmy CZechSix

    I’ll be the first to admit to slipping a 3″ slug as the last round into a shotgun when teaching my friends/nieces/younger cousins how to shoot. Though I only do this after they’ve fired lots of rounds and have become comfortable with the shotgun. The look on their face, after expecting the mild kick of bird shot and getting a thumping, is quite funny. 9 times out of 10 they ask to shoot a few more of the “big ones” with a huge grin on their face.

  • CrunkleRoss

    If your insecurity is at a level that you need to put the safety of an unsuspecting new (or even experienced) shooter at risk just to feel less impotent …please find another hobby and get the hell away from firearms.

  • Joseph

    The idiot who let her shoot a weapon that powerful, knowing she was obviously not prepared to do it, will have to live with the outcome for the rest of their life. I wonder if they still think it’s funny.

  • Michael Smith

    I always start at home after the weapon is checked for clear and safe with dry firing and a bit of backround on the weapon of choice. I’ve been shooting for years now and safety has always been step one through ten. An as Drew said at the range one shot at a time. I live in Baltimore and every time I blink it seems as if out 2nd amendment is being stripped of words blink after blink. my condolences goes out to that young lady and her family.

  • http://bangswitch bigbuck

    lmao thats hilarious that is what stupuid gets she should have took a course in gun safety roflmao do you have any pics.

  • ezkl2230

    I’m sure this will be as readily available as the model 36.