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Family Feud Strangler's Vendetta The Borton Family Gang Showdown At Daylight The Man from Peculiar Ambush At Black Rock The Cleveland Connection The Brothel Inspector End of the Trail Dangerous Breed The Lynched Man Baron of Crime Dead Horse Canyon Justice in Rimfire Wanted, Clint Adams The Safetown The Sioux City War High Card Dies Pay Dirt The Posse Men Bullets for a Boy Train Full of Trouble Deadly Business Bayou Ghosts The Cherokee Strip The Killer Con The Spirit Box The High Road Stacked Deck Playing for Blood Dead and Buried Outlaw Luck The Shadow of the Gunsmith Ghost Squadron Dead Man's Eyes Random Gunfire A Man of the Gun Deadly Game The Doomsday Riders Next to Die The Making of a Bad Man Tangled Web A Day in the Sun The Treasure Hunt Just Reward Widow's Watch The Rat's Nest A Killer's Hands Faces of the Dead The Only Law The Devil's Spark Empty Hand The Love of Money The Long Way Down The Red Queen No Turning Back Big-Sky Bandits The Hanging Tree The Big Fork Game In for a Pound Dead End Pass Tricks of the Trade Guilty As Charged The Lucky Lady The Canadian Job Rolling Thunder Death in Denver The Reckoning Ring of Fire The Last Ride Riding the Whirlwind Scorpion's Tail Innocent Blood The Ghost of Goliad The Reapers The Deadly and the Divine Amazon Gold The Grand Prize Gunman's Crossing Alive Or Nothing The Road to Hell Farewell Mountain Kira's Bounty The Imposter Dangerous Cargo Loose Ends Snakebite Creek The Long Arm of the Law The Killing Blow The Friends of Wild Bill Hickok Two for Trouble Shadow Walker The Sapphire Gun One Man's Law Red River Showdown Clint Adams, Detective Outlaw's Reckoning Way with a Gun To Reap and to Sow Under a Turquoise Sky Wildfire Dying Wish The Madame of Silver Junction Ace in the Hole The Valley of the Wendigo Five Points Out of the Past Straw Men The Greater Evil Louisiana Shoot-out A Daughter's Revenge Ball and Chain Red Water The Two-Gun Kid The Golden Princess East of the River The Dublin Detective The Dead Town The Man with the Iron Badge The Town Council Meeting Virgil Earp, Private Detective Message on the Wind Crossing the Line Bad Business Pariah Pleasant Valley Shoot-Out The Lady Doctor's Alibi The Bisbee Massacre The Bandit Princess The Last Trail Drive The Hunt for Clint Adams Anatomy of a Lawman Someone Else's Trouble Lady Eight Ball Chicago Confidential Showdown in Cheyenne Riverboat Blaze With Deadly Intent The Trial of Bat Masterson Unbound by Law The Deadly Chest Cross Draw Bitterroot Valley Hunt for the White Wolf The Dead Ringer Fort Revenge Two Guns for Vengeance The Mad Scientist of the West The Letter of the Law Buffalo Soldiers The Death List The Vicar of St.

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James The Last Buffalo Hunt The Governor's Gun The Omaha Palace The University Showdown Forty Mile River Fraternity of the Gun The Town of Two Women The Missing Patriarch Ticket to Yuma Deadly Election The Thousand Mile Case Trail to Shasta The Legend of El Duque The Pinkerton Job The Devil's Collector Kentucky Showdown Blood Trail Standoff in Santa Fe Death in the Desert Louisiana Stalker The Silent Deputy Vengeance Ride Mexico Mayhem Magic Man The Salt City Scrape Copper Canyon Killers Showdown in Desperation The Clint Adams Special The Counterfeit Gunsmith The South Fork Showdown The Three Mercenaries A Different Trade Let It Bleed Deadly Fortune Death in the Family The Lincoln Ransom New Mexico Powder Keg Kidnap a Gunsmith Lawman's Sunset Blood Coast The Put Up Job The Dodge City Inheritance The Gold of Point Pinos Shot in the Back Silent Assassin Grizzly Hunt Dakota Kill Demon's Curse Death of a Gandy Dancer The Funeral of Doc Holliday The Tomb of Joaquin Ace High The Art of the Gun The Devil's Payload The Widow's Web Calamitytown Deadly Ambush Son of a Legend The Law and Miss Jones Branded Woman Hellcat in Chains A Place Called Exile The Deadly Monument The Show Girl The Science of Death The Bank Job Little Amsterdam The Butcher of the Bayou The Ghost of Butler's Gulch Deadly Feud The Reluctant Executioner The Treasure of Little Bighorn Blackbeard's Gun Lost Man The Last Wagon Train Beauty and the Gun Deadly Trouble The Curse of the Gold City Deadville Boots and Saddles The Fantastic Mr.

Verne The Girl Nobody Knew The Ambush of Belle Starr Just last month I asked a teenager to really examine a common locking blade folding knife to figure out what parts he needed to make to duplicate it. He couldn't properly analyze any aspect of how those two simple levers worked and where the spring had to be located but was hidden from his view. Think of what a rare occurrence it is to get twelve people on a jury that can learn what needs to be learned in about three hours of stilted, lawyer language questions.

If a controller tripped a relay that energized a cylinder that applied the force Wires are for pulling in my world, not for transmitting an invisible energy. Showing a talent for something will many times grease the skids in otherwise tough duty. In Korea I got lucky and missed the gun battery assignments and instead got into a job that got me in contact with the guy that had the key to the Arms Room, and through him and some serious politicking for an E-2 private, got assigned there.

Once in the arms room with hundreds of guns to study and maintain, I made contact with the Battalion officer that had the keys to the ammo dump. Accident Investigation readiness, cleanliness and proper inventories of all the small arms. Back in the states at Fort Benning in the Army Training Center there, the job of firearms study, use, maintenance and operation, and teaching it to others became a natural part of where ever I was assigned.

One of the duties most unit armorers hated was the four hours of classroom time spent teaching the M service rifle. I rather enjoyed it so was assigned to teach it to six training companies every two months. I've often thought of how much easier it would be to teach a jury about a gun if I could use the same techniques.

Benning at Sand Hill in the mid '60s was a newly reactivated batch of WW-II barracks that had coal heat and no air conditioning. Coats of paint and barrels of Johnson's Wax held them together. In summer time, the mess hall would be stifling hot while troops with their rifles learned what they were shooting, how it worked, how it came apart, what needed cleaning and how often, and how to get it all back together again and how to test it without shooting it.

In summer it was miserable. In wintertime the coal fumes and soldier sweat was sometimes worse. We resorted to firecrackers to keep troops awake in some places and the sound of a Zippo lighter was enough to wake up a bunch of them after just a few easy applications. Up to that point, their rifle had only been a handle for their bayonet.

The important lesson was in how the energy flowed in their rifle. With just a little leeway, I could make Federal Court more entertaining. Investigation of firearms incidents and accidents took a strange turn when I became a deputy sheriff in Leon County, Florida in The classes taught by the FBI, at that time in forensics investigations and preservation and marking of evidence not only came in handy as crime fighting tools but also in understanding how to explain things clearly to a jury much later.

As a deputy and a gunsmith that had set up his first shop on rented land way out in the country, I still had my 'civilian' friendships and customers, but suddenly a whole new group of lawmen and the cases they were called on to work came into play. I love a good mystery and to step into a crime scene and try to nearly instantaneously figure out what happened because the guy with the gun could be in a closet, or is that him dead on the bed, was considerably more interesting than anything I'd done before.

Knowing how guns operate solved quite a few 'mysteries' and I like to think maybe I also taught a few deputies something about what they depend on for their very lives. It seems common sense to think a cop would know how his duty gun operated and how to maintain it, but I'll guarantee it's not true and two short stories will prove it. I hear the unrest in the back row, but this is something important. In our sheriff's office of the early '70s, before bullet proof vests, SWAT teams, laser sights, stun guns, walkie-talkies and sap gloves were the costume of choice, a deputy could carry any gun he wanted as long as it was a double-action revolver of.

That sorted out a few guys with big flinches that wanted to carry a. The sheriff allowed no cowboys, but he insisted on a hat. He allowed deputies to continue in the job that couldn't shoot well because they had better attributes than shooting at people. In fact, we had a couple deputies that never did hit a target when I was looking. Accident Investigation them worked for five sheriffs and retired and probably had never qualified and never had to use his gun, anyway.

We never had an 'us against them' attitude because we always dealt with our boss' voters.

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That makes a difference. Many of the deputies shot quite a lot and hunted every chance they got innumerable chances when you have all night to prowl around looking for the feral among us. Some of our deputies shot fifty rounds twice a year and their service revolver got cleaned when somebody noticed green goo running from it. Many of the guys prided themselves on their side-arm and maintained fresh ammo and never used WD and were good to have behind you when a citizen went crazy.

Others not so much so, but every one of us expected our service revolver to work when we wanted it to. One of the shift captains had a Python he was really proud of. Four inch, nickeled with uncommonly dark grips on it.

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I can't help but mentally note and name every gun I see which causes strife around inaccurate movies and I'd noticed several times that the captain's Python grips had a big dent on the very back corner. He was overweight and long on the job and the grips were nearly smooth where his arm and uniform shirt had worn off the checkering, but the dent was something new. It took me a month to notice it at a time I could ask him about it.

He said he'd put the gun on the top shelf of a closet because a youngster was going to be in the house on his days off. He'd wrapped the gun belt around the holster and stuffed it in a spare space. When he went to get it, the whole wad of leather came unwrapped at once and the gun had smacked the hardwood floor hard enough to dent the walnut grips, but not to break them.

see I marveled at that and asked to see the gun for a minute in a closed office. Sometimes DA Colts are sensitive to grip impacts and the bind in the rebound lever makes them hard to cock. I'd seen an old New Service that way one time and bought it really cheap because it had to be refitted to work right. His first generation Python was locked up solid. It would not open or rotate. The trigger would not pull but about an eighth of an inch. It was a shiny club with the handle on the wrong end. The captain went pale. He'd carried that gun for about two months not knowing it couldn't shoot.

The old Colts have a rebound lever that is anchored deep down in the grip frame. If the grip frame bends it binds up the trigger, hammer and bolt. It takes judicious use of a lead hammer to fix them. I think we could use that as an example of a gun that is 'safe' because it won't shoot, but unsafe because it won't shoot on command, either. Some guns are safe and they do shoot on command, too.

One night about three in the morning when everything in the universe should be asleep instead of driving back roads, checking doors on rural businesses and answering the inevitable 'he's too drunk to sleep' calls, I got a call to go to the radio room of the Court House. That was the nerve center of an overcrowded half floor that never slept and was rarely swept unless we weren't busy when the maids showed up about eight at night.

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It was usually the civilian telephone operator that made sure nobody tripped on teletype paper the next morning. The coffee pot was never empty or washed. As soon as I stepped inside, the bits of white something was visible on the teletype machine and a table. I knew the three deputies but they were from another shift working a special duty. That of course accounted for the debris scattered around the room and the big hole in the acoustic tile ceiling, too.

My question was who shot what and why? The one that shot wanted to know how! It was in original condition and none of the side plate screws had been visibly touched. In a Smith and Wesson, the screws are important. If a guy hasn't got the skill to work on it without damage, he's not qualified to go inside it, either. We spread out a newspaper on the warrant counter and I took the grips off, then the sideplate and carefully rearranged the safety bar to its at-rest position on the safety slide peg.

Hammer is blocked by 2 parts, the safety bar and the rebound slide. Then I explained to Bill the bar is held in the slot in the sideplate, and that makes it run up and down as the safety slide goes back and forth as the trigger is pulled and released. Then I showed him the lump on top of the safety slide and the corresponding flat on the bottom of the hammer. I cocked the revolver, repositioned the safety bar and showed him how the hammer has to fall with two parts pulled out of the way by the trigger in order to hit the primer with its fixed firing pin.

I demonstrated how the parts clash and the gun cannot fire unless he pulled the trigger and held it back. He was duly convinced that he must have done it and the radio room got the best cleaning I saw in five years of working there. So what's the point?

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Why bring it up now? Trigger movement pushes rebound slide to the rear unblocking hammer. Safety bar has been removed for clarity.

The triggers that happen to be under trial are not certain in their operation, by design. What kind of gun cases did you work as a deputy? There were quite a few gun cases but every time it was a human that malfunctioned and not the gun. Gun function errors are not at all common.


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Human error or purpose is almost an everyday occurrence somewhere in every jurisdiction. It's always good to know how guns work, and I used my knowledge to disarm a guy with a revolver in his pocket. It was a small DA revolver and I could see the hammer was down as he jammed his hand in to get it, but I grabbed it and held on tight. Accident Investigation can't shoot unless it can revolve.