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and this is why you wear eye protection at the range

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No, thankfully, that is not mine, but there is a story. 

I was at Coal Creek Armory sighting in Better Half’s new Magnum Lite rifle (more on that tomorrow) when Gunsmith Shannon emerged from their shop to test-fire another Saiga-12 short-barrel shotgun* (I wonder if I helped with that sale…).  He cranked off a few appropriately noisy rounds next to me, and then disappeared again, only to re-emerge as I was wrapping up. 

It turns out the muzzle attachment had decided to detach from the firearm in the process of test firing.  He had no idea why it had parted ways, given that the threading was accomplished by means of a tap, and if the attachment was fabricated anywhere near to proper specifications, it should have been snug enough to remove finish from one or the other as it threaded on. 

He was right – it did thread on and lock properly, but that does not help when the entire device suffers a rather catastrophic structural integrity failure. 

The best everyone could figure is that either the brake/flash suppressor was just of crappy quality (no one was sure of the brand, but it resembles this one), or it was designed for the pressures inherent in an 18” barrel, and the blast from an 8” barrel was enough to cause spontaneous disassembly. 

In either case, that chunk flew about 20 feet down the firing line and one of the other shooters found it; what became of the other chunk – about a third of the brake – no one knows. 

Now, imagine that three-ish inch chunk of metal massing somewhere around an ounce or two full of sharp edges and pointy bits smacking you straight in the eye, and imagine what kind of damage that could yield without proper polycarbonate between you and it.  The little piece would arguably be flying even faster, given equal energies and given that it peeled off first, and judging from its shape, it could easily penetrate soft and squishy things. 

So do not be stupid like I was in my Saiga videowear your eye protection.  Your gun may be just fine and never have a structural failure of any kind, but you never know about the other guns around you. 

(* – I feel certain the gun was post-prepping and pre-finishing, but the “heavily worn” look seems like it was specifically designed for the AK-pattern platform; the irregular finish highlights the purely functional aesthetic of the firearm in a way that cannot help but to be attractive.) 

10 comments to and this is why you wear eye protection at the range

  • Amen. Eye protection is such a low marginal cost that it’s well worth it.

  • MAJ Mike

    Yup. I’ve got shooting glasses that fit over my bi-focals. I also wear sonic earplugs under my ear “muffs”.

  • Heck, I was wearing eye protection and your Saiga bit me in the face.

    Of course, I was shooting from the hip, so that was probably just God telling me to stop acting like an idiot :D

  • @ The Jack: Seriously. $10 gets you ANSI-compliant eye protection, which can make the difference between “having eyes” and “being blind for the rest of your life”. Fairly simple decision, that.

    @ MAJ Mike: I do not double up on hearing protection, simply because then I could not hear a damned thing, but eye pro is a definite must. Except when I am an idiot :).

    @ wizardpc: Yeah, that whole “having the muzzle of the gun almost parallel with your face” thing is a surefire way to get splattered. The Saiga is not exactly the cleanest of eaters on a good day; tends to spray all over the place.

  • […] Why it’s a good idea […]

  • Yep, E&E protection IS a requirement, and well worth it, too bad I didn’t learn that for about 20 years… I’m 40dB down in both ears now. :-(

  • I am betting the Navy did not help with that either. Thankfully, by the time I got in, they were doing hearing test every four years, and stressing protection as hard as they could… still had the old GMCs out there without anything, though. I guess at their point, it was pointless ;).

  • […] we have had a few reminders of why wearing your eye protection is important and others doing reviews of eye protection themselves.  Well I’m going to do […]

  • Linoge, get a pair of amplifying electronic muffs and double plug. That’s what I do, I can still hear everyone just fine. It just means when things get loud I’m that much happier.

  • I have amplifying ear muffs – never going back after trying them for the first time – but I generally do not like things in my ears, and do not find that the double-plugging thing works well for me. And according to my hearing tests, nothing is really changing any faster than age would indicate, so it must be working ;).