Search Site

California Proposition 65

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 4:08:30 PM America/Detroit

What is Proposition 65?

 The California Proposition 65 or “Prop 65” is regulation to include warning labels on items that the state believes contain chemicals that cause cancer or possible reproductive toxicity for expectant mothers. Currently no other states require such a warning label for similar products.

The types of chemicals on the list and the products they effect include a multitude of goods from diesel fuel and batteries to particle boards that may contain formaldehyde. In all over 900 chemicals have joined the list since its creation in 1987. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) administers the Proposition 65 program. OEHHA has the responsibility to alert the public and maintain the list that mandates which products consumers must be warned about by the manufacturer.

What does a warning mean to the firearms community?

Ammunition containing lead and other chemicals (propellants) were brought to light when added to the list on December 6, 2017. This change forced ammunition manufactures to include the warning labels on their products and opened them up to the risk of legal ramifications should their product arrive in California without the requisite label. As of August 30, new clarification to the 2017 mandate have included distributors and retailers, in addition to the manufactures, as responsible for product labels. The fines and penalties for failing to include the required level of information sharing are forcing many vendors, and firearms and ammunition distributors to simply stop shipping anything to California.

Well here’s where this newsletter is going to turn a bit into politics and somewhat personal topics for debate. Already Californian gun owners are met with an overwhelming amount of grief when trying to exercise their 2nd amendment right. They have magazine restrictions on both capacity and interchangeability and a really strange ban on rifles containing pistol grips. If you live in California and want to enjoy shooting sports or hunting of any kind, they make it harder than most other states in our Union. The most unfortunate facet of this type of regulation is that it’s aimed (no pun intended) at reducing gun violence. The truth is it does very little to stop gun violence at the root of the problem which starts with basic human mental health and respect for the lives of others. Back to the topic…

Ammunition is now on the Prop 65 list, probably for a very long time. That means lead ammunition sold in California must be accompanied by a warning that the product contains lead. If a Distributor in Missouri sells it and ships it to a retailer in California, there’s no guaranty that the product is sold to the customer with the label. Understandably the distributor in Missouri simply elects not to sell to any retailer in the state. Sorry Californians move to another state or write your congressman.

Does adding ammunition to Prop 65 serve a purpose?

A list of harmful products and a mandate to alert the consumers of them seems like a great idea, right? Yes, and for things like the above-mentioned particle board, it is. The overall feeling within the pro 2nd amendment community however is much more cynical. Because lead has been on the list of “naughty” things to have around for years, it seems very unlikely that these labels will alert anyone recently living on the surface of the Earth to its harmful nature. It seems to ammunition distributors and retailers that this is an example of something that passes into law with very good intentions but under the hood is just an attempt to diminish the rights granted to U.S. citizens by the constitution and its subsequent amendments (the first of which I’m greatly enjoying by sharing this message to you).

Where can I get more information on Proposition 65?

This is the OEHHA website with all the most recent info on Prop 65.

Read More
Posted By Robert Schmatjen


Thursday, August 23, 2018 1:01:48 PM America/Detroit

How to shoot a pistol

Shooting a pistol isn’t as easy as they make it look in Hollywood movies and old western television shows. Here in the real world, pistol shooting takes practice and a good amount of focus to be done properly. For this BLOG entry we’re going to focus on some simple techniques to help a new shooter get familiar with terminology and basic principles for shooting their pistol. Before getting too far, the obvious safety information can NEVER be overlooked. Shooting any firearm can be a great activity whether it’s for shooting sports like 3 Gun or Bullseye, hunting with a handgun, or self defense preparation. Always remember however that without the fundamental safety applied an otherwise day of fun can quickly turn to disaster.

Safety First

1) Handle all firearms as if they were loaded!

Never forget that a gun has the potential to produce severe injury or death in a single instant of carelessness. Make safe gun handling a habit to be followed at all times. After you determine that a gun is unloaded, continue to handle it as though it were loaded to the greatest extend possible. While many would argue common sense may not be as common as we’d hope, anyone that can read this BLOG certainly has the requisite amount of intellectual prowess to avoid shooting a firearm unintentionally in an unsafe direction.

2) Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction!

In selecting a safe direction, you must also take into consideration that a bullet can ricochet or glance off any object it strikes, and that bullets can penetrate walls, ceilings, floors, and windows.

3) Keep your finger out of the gun’s trigger guard and off the trigger until you have aligned the gun’s sights on a safe target and you have made the decision to fire!

By keeping your finger completely outside the trigger guard until you have aimed at the target, you help guarantee that any shots you fire will go safely in the direction of your intended target.

4) Always be certain that your target and the surrounding area are safe before firing!

Remember that a bullet can travel as much as several miles, so you should be certain of what your bullet could strike before you pull the trigger. Never fire at a movement, a noise, a flash of color, or a rustling bush without positively identifying your target.




Common Terms

The following terms and definitions are commonly used when discussing pistol operation. Each pistol will have different operations, always consult the owner’s manual for each pistol to familiarize yourself with the specifics on your particular firearm. These terms are here as a general introduction for new shooters:

Dry Fire:

The act of operating a firearm without ammunition. Dry firing allows a shooter to gain familiarity with the gun and its operational components in a safe environment without having live ammunition. Some firearms are not designed for repeated dry fire, always read the manufacture’s owner’s manual for more specific information on any particular firearm.

Dominant Hand/Eye:

Each shooter will have both a dominant hand and a dominant eye. Each of these can be on either side of the shooters body, many shooters find that while they may be right handed, their left eye is the most dominant in their vision. Knowing this before shooting can eliminate some confusion and discomfort on the shooting range.

Sight Alignment:

Positioning the gun so that the sights are aimed at the target with the shooters dominant eye focused on the front sight.

Sight Picture:

The shooter’s view of the sights with a focus on the front site. A good sight picture for almost all shooters is a sharp clear view of the front site (the one closest to the end of the barrel) and the rear sight (closest to the shooter) slightly blurry.



Recoil is the movement of the gun once fired that typically pushes the gun rearward into the shooter’s hand. The amount of felt recoil depends on many factors from the frame size of the handgun to the caliber and type of ammunition. Semi-automatic pistols often use the force of the recoil to actuate the slide that both re-cocks and replaces the spent ammunition with a fresh load. It’s important to understand the recoil of your pistol and to use a grip that allows it to take place with as little negative movement of the gun as possible.



As a beginning shooter it is important to select a stance that can be comfortable and repeatable while providing the most stable platform for your shooting fundamentals. There are many common stances that shooters and instructors have a wide array of opinions on. We’re going to save that for a more in depth and advanced entry and simply state here that a solid stance that you can practice during your dry fire sessions will be enough to get you started without a barrage of information that may not apply to your shooting needs.

Pistol Grip

If there is a single element that can reduce a lot of training time and ammunition expense, it would be to develop a good grip for your pistol that you can do consistently and safely every time. Remember that each pistol will have a different hold for each shooter. What works for one may not for another due to hand size, grip strength and other factors. The only piece of your body touching the firearm for all support, aim, and trigger control is your hands. This is often overlooked but very important in developing a shooting technique that works for you. Remember that a revolver may or may not have a hammer but if it does you don’t want any part of your hand to come into contact with it. For any semi-automatic pistol that has a slide action, the slide will move back once the gun is fired just as it does when being cocked by hand. Placing either hand in the glide path of the rear moving slide is obviously not a good idea, I can assure you there’s no need to experiment to figure this out on your own.

There are two major considerations when it comes to grip:

1.   High bore alignment

The perfect grip for any hand gun would have the shooters hand placed high enough to be inline with the barrel. For almost all handguns however this is impossible because the barrel is usually a little higher than the frame and the pistol grip. To find the best placement, start with your gun unloaded (without a magazine for semi-autos) and push the gun with your support hand into your dominant hand as as you try to have the web of your hand as high as possible without interfering with the above mentioned mechanical motion of the gun and keeping your finger off the trigger. Practice placing your hand into this position as many times as necessary until it feels both natural and safe. You can do this step as often as possible in a safe place to develop the muscle memory before going to the range. It’s worth the effort!

2.   Support Hand (Weak Hand)

For the most part, handguns were originally intended to be used with just one hand. Images of cowboys firing their six shooters while riding a horse might come to mind but the modern-day handgun has changed from the original muzzle loading and cap and ball pistols to much more powerful ammunition and handgun performance.

Today’s handguns used in shooting sports, training, and self-defense are almost always fired with two hands whenever possible. Keep in mind revolver pistols should not be fired with any part of your hand anywhere near the front of the cylinder. Having a firm grip using the dominant hand that operates the trigger allows the support hand to assist in stabilizing the pistol and balancing whatever side-to-side and up-down movement caused by recoil once fired. Each pistol and shooter will be different so the statements in this BLOG are generalized and meant to touch on basic principles. The most important take away is that both hands allow safe and smooth operation of the pistol. Beyond that, it is up to the shooter to learn the specific aspects of their handgun and how it is to be operated.



Sight Alignment

To shoot the intended target, the shooter’s challenge is to align the sites where the bullet needs to go and then to slowly squeeze the trigger without disrupting this alignment. The image below illustrates the concept where the front sight is in sharp focus but the rear sight and target are somewhat blurry. This is the site picture to strive for in order to hit the bullseye of this particular target. Although this is simple in concept, it can take a lot of practice to develop the coordination to quickly get a sight picture and then to execute the shot without disrupting it.


Practice Tips:

The best practice is to go to the range and shoot as often as possible. This of course can be very expensive and time consuming. One way to practice the basic principles of sight picture and trigger control is to dry fire at home in a safe way. This can develop the skill and muscle memory without the expense. Obviously with live ammunition and the introduction of recoil, shooting the gun will be much different, but dry firing is a terrific way to practice.

Find a safe room in your home to set up a target similar to one that you would use on a shooting range. Try to position yourself so that you can consistently stand at the same distance from th

e target each time you practice. With an uploaded pistol, practice the following steps, in order, as often as possible to develop quick and consistent shooting technique:

  • Ensure your gun is unloaded and that no ammunition is anywhere near you or the gun
  • Cock the gun and grip the pistol using the guidelines above
  • If the gun has a safety selector, put the gun into the firing mode
  • Point the gun at the target and gain a sight picture
  • Hold the gun steady and maintain the sight picture and place your trigger finger on the trigger
  • Draw a breath and slowly begin to exhale
  • As you exhale, slowly start to squeeze the trigger back with a steady even pull
  • Let the trigger break and maintain the focus on the front sight through the final movement of the trigger squeeze


Repeat these steps as many times as possible until either your eyes or hand(s) reach fatigue. With daily practice, you’ll notice an increase in your grip strength and sight picture speed. You’ll also develop a familiarity with your gun and its operations. On the firing range use the same techniques in the same order and try to make each shot hit the target as consistently as possible. Over time your shots should get closer together and your confidence with the safe and effective operation of your pistol will increase.



Read More
Posted in How To By Robert Schmatjen