Or Why I Now Severely Dislike Non-Ruger Single Action Army Pistols
And Got a New-Found Respect For Shooting Gloves
So there I was, getting a customer ready last Wed (9 Aug) to shoot a Taurus SAA in .357 Mag. (We had another SAA, a Ruger Vaquero in .45LC.)
One feature of the Taurus is that unlike the Ruger, the cylinder does not unlock when you open the loading gate. Meaning you have to move the hammer to half-cock in order to load the gun.
Now, I'd been using the same gloves since the previous Sat (4 Aug). That Wed was going to be the last day for those gloves, as they were loaded with gun oil and other detrious that one accumulates when spending all day for 5 days around machine guns.
Gun is now loaded.
All 6 holes in the cylinder are full.
I've done this countless times all week.
Pull the hammer back, gently pull the trigger and ride the hammer down into the frame...
I felt something hit my right hand hard, like a ball bat or something. First instinct kicks in and I look down at my right hand expecting to see...nothing out of the ordinary. Look closer: No blood. Thank God. Rip the glove off...all 5 digits are still there. Index, middle, and ring fingers are numb; like right after you slap a flat surface hard. But no blood. Holy Crap, did that just happen?
The only casualty? The glove itself. Fortunately, I'd moved my hand far enough out of the way that what I felt was muzzle blast. Which is was split the middle finger of my right glove.
Whew! Replaced the round that damn near blew my middle finger off, got the guy through his shooting, and went and had me a moment. Grabbed a Gatorade (this was closer to noon than quitting time, or it would've been a beer) sat for a minute to collect my thoughts and composure, cleaned my shorts out, and went back to work.
So what happened? The best I figure it, with all the oil in my gloves, coupled with the fact the pistol was stainless and smooth as a baby's hind end; that, and one-quarter second of inattention equals a ND that could have had disastrous consequences.
At least they're not calling me Stubby. The best thing to come out of this was that everyone took safety a lot more serious afterwards.
My advice to you: Never skimp of safety gear. Whether it's shooting glasses, hearing protection, or gloves. Make sure you have replacements for everything. If it looks like it should be replaced, replace it. Sooner rather than later. Eyes, ears, fingers, and even your life cannot be replaced.
(P.S. From that point on, I took my sweet time loading that gun. I figured out how to load it WITHOUT putting the hammer in half-cock. So I now have a new-found respect for the non-Ruger SAA. But I still don't like them.)