26 Oct 23
“It all looks great in the showroom!”
Salesman’s expression
Test your gear!
It is not uncommon, during our Urban Rifle Courses, for students (including LEOs) to bring M4s, XCRs, CETMEs, PTR 91s, VHS2s, M1As, M1 Carbines, et al (upon which they have been naively relying for personal protection) that are not zeroed to any legitimate standard.
Many times both iron sights and optics are way off, nowhere near where bullets are impacting!
An unzeored rifle is all but useless, yet many own and keep them around in a “high state of readiness,” yet amazingly have no confidence in sight settings.
On other occasions, student rifles don’t run at all!
A student recently brought an M4 in such a condition. It would chamber rounds, but extracted cases remained in the receiver and did not eject.
Close inspection revealed that the rifle’s bolt was set-up for left-hand ejection, but the rifle’s only ejection port was on the right side, so ejected cases tried to go left, but of course there was no place for them to go!
M4 bolts usually cannot be assembled incorrectly causing such a condition, as the camming key only fits-in one way and thus cannot be inserted into the bolt from the wrong side.
In this case however, the bolt was manufactured so that it would go in either a right-hand-ejecting receiver, or a left-handed-ejecting receiver, and thus could be set-up either way!
A gunsmith had cleaned the rifle, and then naively re-assembled it the wrong way, not paying adequate attention to the task.
The rifle’s owner had no idea!
Fortunate that we discovered (and corrected) this gaffe during a training course, and the only negative consequence was thus some personal embarrassment and maybe hurt feelings!
Conversely, when a faux-pas like this is “discovered” during a life-threatening emergency, “negative outcomes” will be far more severe, and permanent!
Your emergency guns (pistols, rifles, shotguns) need to be “tested” (ie: shot) on a routine basis, so you can have solid faith in them.
Rifle zeros need to be re-verified regularly.
Accessories (sights, slings, attached flashlights) need to be regularly checked to be sure they’re functional and tight.
Emergencies don’t make appointments, and “second chances” are pretty rare these days, as so many astonished homicide victims are (belatedly) discovering!
“The time to fix your roof is when the sun is shining”