Gun Myths: Don’t Believe Everything You Hear…

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Far too often, new gun owners believe everything they read on the internet or hear from their friends about what guns are better or worse than others, simply because they don’t know any better.

As a part of the mission of the USCCA to educate gun owners so they can become responsibly armed citizens, we wanted to take some time to dispel some of the top myths about guns.

Myth: Revolvers do not jam.
Truth: Like any other machine, there is a chance a revolver will malfunction. Usually, a dud primer is the cause of a malfunctioning revolver, but it’s a situation that is easily remedied by pressing the trigger to bring a new round into place under the hammer.

Other mechanical issues can also cause a jam. For instance, general wear and tear can cause springs and screws to come loose. There are other maladies common with revolvers such as “pulled bullets.” Caleb Giddings described this issue in a previous edition of Concealed Carry Magazine as an issue that plagues very lightweight guns: “If the bullet crimp isn’t tight enough, the obscene recoil can actually cause the bullet to move forward in the case which will lock up the cylinder.”

Myth: Snubnose revolvers are best for newbies.
Truth: There isn’t one type of firearm that’s considered “best” for a new gun owner. Each person should take factors like their body size and type, hand strength, visual acuity, and reaction times into consideration when purchasing a gun. Snubnose revolvers in particular are often recommended because they are small and lightweight, but certain characteristics of snubnose revolvers can cause shooting difficulties for someone new to guns.

Myth: Spare magazines aren’t necessary
Truth: Spare magazines aren’t needed for the purpose of having extra ammunition on hand. They’re needed because many of the issues that cause a semi-automatic pistol to malfunction can be fixed by taking the current magazine out, running the slide, and putting a new magazine into place.

There are several other myths out there regarding guns, and while you can’t believe everything you see or hear, you can believe what the USCCA tells you. Our goal is to provide you with accurate information to help you become a self-reliant, educated and responsibly armed citizen. Check out our website today to read additional articles regarding guns, concealed carry, tips for protecting yourself and your family, and more.


65 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Good information but, I have never worked on any firearm that needed the trigger pushed! Pulled, yes!

    1. The term was pressed not pushed, might as well stay anal all the way through.

    2. Actually, they used the word “press,” and it is proper, though uncommon, to say someone “pressed the trigger.”

    3. Actually, the proper term is squeezed.

      1. I agree with Squeeze of the trigger. Press or pressed would be to push away it seems to me you would Squeeze something to contract it towards you.

      2. Firearms instructors (who are aware of “Neuro-linguistic programming”) do say “Press” rather than “Squeeze”. This is because we (instructors) want to relay a term that most conveys that actual action we want the student to perform. Which is to press the trigger with their finger; not squeeze the trigger, which implies an opposing force with the palm of your hand. You may laugh at this whole terminology crap, but it works.

      3. Ha, I love these conversations. Been a fireamrs instructor for 14 years – over the years I programmed myself to say “gradually increase pressure to the rear until the trigger stops” (as opposed to when it goes bang or click)

        Seems to work for me!

        Thanks and Be Safe!

      4. I prefer press the trigger which implies only using your finger not the whole hand. If the butt of your gun is firmly in the palm pressing will prevent the whole hand from reacting and causing the aim to veer a little therefore missing the target oh and don’t forget to take a breath and then breath it out slowly as you press your trigger with finger only. It does help.

    4. A single set trigger requires the trigger being pushed forward to set it.

    5. i did not see anything about pushing ,it said pressing

  2. I have seen a brand new revolver jam, and I mean jam. The cylinder would not rotate. Days later, it mysteriously unjammed. It can happen even in the case when there isn’t wear.

    1. True, all it needs to do is get some fouling in the cylinder or be out of time. It does happen. When I was a young warthog, I fouled up my dad’s old .38 special Smith and Wesson. Turned out that when I’d empty the chambers, unspent powder (reloads) would fall back into the gun. I was pointing the gun straight up into the air to empty the chambers and was getting the insides all gunk. A good cleaning straightened everything out.

  3. I feel you misunderstood the meaning of “jam.” A jam can in no way in any firearm be cleared by a possible pulling of the trigger for the next round. A jam is when the casing or the round itself is lodged making transition to the next shot impossible without the round being removed by someone. I believe you took that as just a dud where the round had not jammed the mechanics of the firearm.

    1. I see your point on a technicality but from a practical situation on the topic, I consider it to be anything that causes a sudden malfunction of the cycling that could cost you your life in an emergency situation. The case I saw, the cylinder would not rotate and it would not open either to allow ejection of casings and or cartridges.

      1. It is not a technicality. The article clearly stated jam and that it can usually be cleared/fixed by pressing (assuming they meant squeezed…) the trigger.

        That is in NO WAY a jam.

        There are words for a reason. We teach specific words to use for safety and clarity.

        That is how proper handling is performed. For the author to make so many ‘mistakes’ shows a lack of experience, lack of training, or a lackadaisical attitude from the editorial staff. ALL of which should be shunned by the owners of this page as it goes against everything they are trying to do with it!

        If you say you are an expert then show it. If you say you are knowledgeable then show it.

        This person looks like a kid fresh out of college with no experience with guns or journalism trying to leap in without doing any BASIC research on a topic they know nothing of!

      2. I would say, however, that a mis-loaded round (one with a primer and little to no powder) could jam a revolver by propelling the round into the breech but no further, thus locking the cylinder. Though exceedingly rare (I’ve never heard of it happening), it is conceivable that such a situation could occur.

      3. You mean it could force the BULLET into the FORCING CONE and thereby prevent the gun from firing. The ROUND is the complete cartridge and it was already in the BREECH.

    2. I believe if you reread the story, you will see he was talking about a failure to fire, not a jam.

      1. I was speaking about the Myth labeled, “Revolvers do not jam”. My comment was just to add my experiences that revolver mechanisms can jam up such that you cannot operate them.

      2. No, the myth said revolvers do not jam. It did not say will not misfire. I’m a novice. I have a snubbed nose revolver. I have already experienced a misfire. I am reading this article to determine if I have already experienced the worst that can happen, or can my revolver actually jam. This is pretty important information to me, so terminology is crucial. I’m not experienced enough to be able to determined that the author really means one thing when he says another. I appreciate the information and I’m not trying to put too fine a point on it, but its so important to me as I try and learn about shooting.

      3. The article did fail to mention what I have seen in 26 years of firearms instruction (back in the day when cops only had revolvers) is two “jams”, most common was the extractor rod coming unscrewed and locking up (jamming) the cylinder. The second most common was bits of lead shavings that would wedge between the forcing cone and cylinder. There were a myriad of other ways revolvers “jammed”, usually when reloading; stuck casings preventing the extractor from moving, cases getting stuck under the extractor during reloading etc…

    3. Exactly! (For the jam comment.)

    4. If you will read the mith again when he was talking about pressing the trigger he was talking about a malfunction not a jam

    5. Mark, I agree totally. A bad primer is called a misfire. A jam is just that, something mechanical has caused the weapon to stop working properly. 2/1 Cav. “Blackhawk” veteran.

  4. I’ve seen a “high primer” jam a revolver and it was not possible to (push or) pull the trigger again to “clear”

    1. I actually had the primer back out of a case and jam my Ruger Security Six. Was a pain to clear the jam. Learned to be much more careful of the ammo I selected for my .357.

  5. I think we all can get carried away with the one gun fits all theory. Any machine can malfunction, some cars are lemons,
    Etc. but for reliability, my EDC is a ruger sp 101 in 38. If I ever. Need to draw a gun, I want to point it and have it go bang. As for being in a gun fight (trading shots) I guess I would want to have my Barette 40 in hand with the extra rounds it provides.

  6. I fired a reload that turned out to be primer only, bullet lodged between cylinder and barrel, a total jam.

    1. I did that one time. If a round doesn’t sound or feel right, always check your gun in a safe manner before continuing to fire.

  7. Learn to safely and efficiently shoot them all. You might, one day, be forced to fight with a gun that’s not yours.

  8. Myth 1…. an unfired round is not a jam. It is a misfire.
    Myth 2 …Never in 35 years of being a trainer/shooter have I ever heard that or been asked that.
    Myth 3 …See my response to 2….

    I get that at this point you are trying to keep the momentum going with awareness. And the points you brought up are great to get out. But the ‘myths’ you listed are crap. You do a disservice to yourself, the concealed carry page, and to me by attempting to dress up the info in this [false] way.

    QUIT PANDERING TO SENSATIONALISM!

  9. This is what I post to my friends that are unfamiliar with firearms.
    Take it for what it’s worth.

    “I’ve been shooting guns since I was 5, I’m 34, went through ROTC marksmanship training, and been through 2 CCW classes.
    So I’ve got a little bit of experience under my belt.

    Now obviously there are lots of great guns out there, and many have been mentioned by others.
    IMHO for a first time handgun, I always recommend a revolver.
    I know the semi-auto people will flame me on this, but I have my reasons.

    The best starter gun I think is a .357 magnum revolver.
    Here’s why.
    They’re very safe, they rarely jam, they’re slightly heavier than an ultralight revolver making it kick less, and there’s a ton less to clean compared to a semi auto.
    Also, with a semi auto, the firearm has to be racked once to chamber a round.
    For people new to firearms, they may not always be able to, or remember to do this in an emergency situation.
    With a revolver you just point and pull the trigger.
    For a beginner, I feel this is why a revolver is a good idea.

    Now the next thing is some people have said they’ve never shot anything bigger than a .22, if anything at all.
    Well some might argue that a .357 magnum revolver might be too big of a jump from .22 or never shooting before.
    This is another reason where a .357 magnum revolver is a good idea, because you can also shoot .38 special rounds in the same handgun.
    They’re a lighter round, cheaper, and make it easier to get acquainted with shooting higher caliber rounds.
    It makes for great practice and target shooting too.

    And since many people also mention the possible use as home protection, you can use some .357 magnum rounds or .38 special rounds that are a type of jacketed hollow point (JHP).
    That kind of round is less likely to go through too many walls if needing to be shot indoors.
    And if you do have to shoot someone, it will stop them, and shouldn’t do much damage to your home and/or anyone else in it.

    Just my 2¢.”

    1. Have you ever shot a 45/70 contender..? Brutal!!!

      1. Yes ,I love it for plinkin, a 410 gr lead bullet is a real blast. :)

    2. I don’t have to rack my autos; flip off the safety & squeeze.

      1. I assume that’s because you’re an avid shooter and understand that a semi auto needs to be chambered and then put on safe to carry and be ready. Like I said, my brief informative is what I tell people I know that are not familiar with firearms. Those kind of people might not know to do that until they get more accustomed to firearms like we are.

      2. My newest sidearm (and by no means the only model configured this way) does NOT have a manual safety. The only safety is the trigger. S&W MP .40. I can draw from my CCW holster, rack the slide, aim and fire in LESS than 2 seconds.
        My 1911s (.45 cal) however, I DO carry “locked and cocked.” My MP I do not carry “in battery.”

    3. Thanks for the detailed descriptions of the revolver vs semi-auto. I don’t know who to ask, so I’ll ask here:

      I have a .38 Special and I do love it. It was my first gun (besides my grandpa’s .22 pistol). I’m a female. I’ve taken several classes with NRA certified instructors (high 5). I practice at the range regularly. I conceal-carry.

      I wanted a smaller gun to carry. I got a Kel-Tec .32… It’s OK. Nice and small but the ammo costs more. My accuracy is OK. Then I got a Kahr CW9. I liked the grip and loved the cost of ammo. But….I can’t pull back the slide without a LOT of effort. I went to our local gun shop and tried out more 9mm’s. It’s not the Kahr… It’s ME! I just don’t have the strength to pull back the slide on a 9mm. The gun shop owner had me try different techniques and I still could not easily pull.

      Then I tried a Ruger 380…. Slide was easy! I liked the feel of it too. I’m considering selling the Kahr and maybe getting a 380 for my “big gun” to carry. I want to shoot a few of them at the range…they do have rentals.

      Any thoughts from you all for women and concealed carry considering some of us just don’t have the strength for some of these larger caliber semi-autos? I still love my S&W .38, but it is hard to carry… Thanks!

      1. Connie, three thoughts — 1) a gunsmith can improve your slide to make it easier to grip, if that’s part of the issue. 2) When it comes to carry, you should not be drawing and then chambering a round in a time sensitive situation, so I recommend carrying with a round in the chamber. 3) If you are ever in a situation where you NEED your gun, adrenaline will be more than sufficient to improve your grip and strength.

      2. I have the ruger lcp 380 and can usually rack it. Lately my jobs been doing a real number on my hands arms and shoulders, I work in a bindery, I can barely rack my pistol currently. You might want to consider if you are going to be doing anything that could diminish your hand strength on a routine basis before deciding what pistol to carry.

    4. i agree i’m 65 been shooting since i was old enough to hold my own hand gun started shooting a 357 when i was around 8 and been using one every since , it is not just for beginners ,it is a great al
      lround handgun

    5. Best 2 cents I read on here–agreed 100%

  10. Here’s another one: a short barreled shotgun will clear a room when fired. In fact, in an average sized room of less than 30 feet the pattern remains fairly tight and you STILL need to be able to accurately direct your fire. I love my shotgun but it’s not a guaranteed fight winner. My 45 is easier to maneuver, quicker to get into action, and with good, modern 200 grain HP ammo is a bad guy stopper. Inside my house, I will not miss what I’m shooting at.

    1. That’s another common misconception they might mention in a future article… people see movies where a shotgun is fired, and the pattern is wider than a Buick at ten feet. Obviously those kind of things are possible with illegal length barrels, but not the result you get with a 16″ of even the widest choke.

      1. When you talk of “illegal short barreled shotguns” you forget about “The JUDGE” and shotshells. Between the .410 and the Colt .45 of “The Judge”, I can not think of anything that combination will not at least slow down!

      2. I have “The Judge” as well and love it.. and you’re correct. That combination Will pretty much stop what ever it is that you poiint it at.

  11. While revolvers are by no means perfect, their inherent design overcomes one big problem with auto pistols: limp-wrist jams. Without sufficient opposing force by the shooter’s body an auto is likely to FTF, and with a wheelgun that’s simply not the case.
    I am a veteran and avid gun enthusiast, so imagine my surprise when I went to a qualifying range and limp-jammed ten consecutive rounds with my Sig 226. The cause was obvious: it was fourteen degrees on an open field with a 20-mph wind, coming off Lake Erie. I had to be on the firing line for three hours to satisfy my Ohio state requirement for range time… by the time we loaded our pistols to qualify, I was cold as I’d ever been in my life.
    Obviously, the cold stressed me. If being cold is any indicator of how I’d perform in a life-or-death situation at room temperature, the revolver should be my choice in concealed weapons.

    1. In agreement with AJ. I love all my hand guns however there is nothing worse than those thoughts In a Self defense
      Situation such as Do I have one in the chamber? Is the safety off?

  12. To all you technical minded firearm afficianados who like to bicker all the fine little points of proper terminallogy. The point of the artical is to foster newcomers into a way of life that many of us already enjoy, living with the knowledge and power to protect ourselves and our loved ones (and have a lot of fun practicing our rights). So as you target a discussion that obviously may be frequiented by newcomers maybe you could stop and think for a minuite that its not that atractive to newcomers for super duper gun guys to cary on with their onmipitent projectile knowledge in this particular arena. I say save the tech talk for another time and lets show America we dont have to be dorks and know it alls to have some good wholesome gun fun and discover a great way to be self reliant. People walking through a new and interesting idea of this kind and see that the only group representing a new hobby are a bunch of eggheads that they cant relate to is just not condusive to bringing new people into the fold. Notice how I didnt need to anounce my gun experience or lack of, I promote gun use/carry on a personal basis all the time with friends and acuantances that only see me as a regular guy introducing them to something new, fun and with great rewards in the field of protection. They are always more open minded to hear a non technical common sence aproach and if they want deeper discussion we can cross that bridge then. Sorry if I had some bad spelling.

  13. I have to agree with Michael Sanborn, and a little dictionary work bears us out. Press means to push (among other things) and a trigger is pulled toward the shooter. (Unless, of course it’s a suicide attempt or an M2 .50 cal machine gun.) “Press the trigger” is not common because it is incorrect in this application.

  14. Wow, are you guys anal about semantics, when we all knew perfectly well within the context of the story what the writer meant. Can we stay on task here discussing myths and other gun related issues? Just sayin’.

  15. Sounds like biased opinions by 1911 or similar fanatics. Lil bit of revolver bashing eh. Yes, I pack a S&W ultra light 5 shot. I also Hog hunt with a Ruger 22 WMR cowboy gun, but then agin, I aim !!!

  16. has no one heard of a set trigger for target pistols?
    you have to push the trigger forward to set it, then squeeze the trigger to fire.

  17. I hope everyone is getting as much of a chuckle out of reading these posts as me. It reminds me of the gun club, everyone sure has an opinion, nothing wrong with that so long as you all remember I am always right….. Kidding

  18. WOW! Hog hunting with a .22? That’s not even legal in most states. I’ve seen bore hogs take multiple hits with a .357 and keep on coming as the actual kill zone on a hog is very small, and a charging bore is very hard to hit that mark. Congratulations on your magnificent marksmanship.

  19. Practice, practice, and practice some more. There is no perfect handgun for every beginner. I carry a 1911, but if I were help someone new to firearms get a carry gun, I would do just as I did with my girlfriend. I took her to the local range that I attend, and had her handle many different firearms. She ended up getting a 38 special snub Taurus. Every firearm can fail, whether due to lack of cleaning, poor ammunition or improper grip. My suggestion for anyone new that is looking for a carry gun, go to the local range and talk to people there. You will make new friends and most likely they will let you try out their guns.

  20. What would you recommend for someone who never had a gun before?

    1. Training. Shoot lots of guns in training & see which one works the best for you.

      1. Best answer on this whole page.

  21. I do not mind the OP bringing up information about pistols for newbies. Although I have been hunting since I was 12 years old, I am fairly new to handguns. So any knowledge that I can glean about handguns is great with me. When I took my handgun course the instructor let me shoot his 9MM. It jammed almost immediately. I had no problem at all with my .357 revolver. Since that has stuck in my head, I prefer the revolver. Shotgun is better but that is not always practical in a home invasion scenario.

  22. Semantics are important. Word choice is absolutely crucial if everyone is to KNOW FOR SURE what the writer or speaked specifically means. However, there are some words that, although not often used, can still be a correct word choice.
    Press is simply the root of the word “depress” and is therefore an accurate although archaic use.

  23. I have fired ten thousand rounds through a S&W 686 and never experienced a jam, but have had a cheaper brand revolver jam.

  24. Thanks’ Uscca for another Great Blob , and this is so true about these Myth’s like you mentioned , { Revolvers do not jam } it is a mechanical device and they are subject to failure and that goes for any mechanical device , some Revolver guy’s carry 2 Revolvers for this reason , and you are also right about { Snubnose revolvers are best for newbies } there is know one who can tell you what gun is best for you , everyone hands are different and some people can not control the recoil of a large Caliber hand gun , so when I took my wife to get here carry gun I let her pick it out and she already knew what the recoil would feel like by shooing all different types of my hand gun’s that I own , and as far as the Myth about { Spare magazines aren’t necessary } well yes they are necessary I carry a 1911 and like any other mechanical device they are subject to failure so I carry 2 spare magazines with me at all time’s I have practice on jam’s and the first thing you do is drop the magazine and the last thing you want to do is take your eye off the problem to bend over and pick up your magazine you just Drop , by carrying a spare magazine all you have to do is reach for it on your belt I will always carry spare magazine’s thanks’ for sharing this –Jeff Hayden

  25. On #3 — Agreed — but drop the mag, insert the new one, and then rack the slide — not drop, rack, and insert as the article mentions.

  26. I have 3 22 pistols 1 25 cal. pistol 1 9mm Tarsus pistol and 1 133 year old 38 S&W. 60 years ago I shot expert in the army. still a good shot. I went to the range and shot 24 rounds at 35 foot. 12 were in a 5 inch center next 11 were in the 13 inch target and one missed completely (talking while shooting). I got the first 9 MM tarsus at the dealer. at 81 i have trouble with slides on large guns i can handle the 22 and 25 but the 9 MM and larger ot is to much for this old codger. Oh by the way I dont shoot the 38 with modern amo as it might get me. I do have some blank 38 shells we made but nothing strong. it is a top break and soft metal it has been in the amily since 1880 when it was new.

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