Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction - Handguns and Ammunition Forums
Forum Home    ::    Active Topics    ::    Hi-Powers and Handguns    ::    Stephen Camp's Blog    ::    Contact Us
Go Back   Handguns and Ammunition Forums > Handguns > General Firearm Questions & Discussions
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-21-2007, 11:40 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Seguin TX
Posts: 525
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction

One of the areas John Farnam addresses in his defensive handgun courses is, of course, safe administrative handling, including loading/unloading, chamber checks, and the like. Of course one of the biggie rules is to point your gun in a safe direction just in case you have big goof. If you are on the range, this is not such a big deal, but if you are at home, or in a motel room (especially if it is not the ground floor), the issue becomes more complex.

John recommended a product that I thought was a good idea and bought myself. Occurred to me tonight that I have not seen this issue or product mentioned on this board, thought I would pass it on. I certainly don't have any financial interest in the product, and I don't think John does either, but even if he did I would still go with this.

The product line goes by the name Safe Direction Ballistic Containment Systems. Basically it is a bullet proof (within limits) pad that you can take with you anywhere so you have a safe place to point your gun while administratively handling it.

The basic procedure is to put it on a (preferably) soft surface, put the muzzle in contact with the Safe Direction logo in the center of the pad, then start fiddling with the pistol. If you goof and have an ND, the product contains the bullet. One of John's other students emailed that he in fact had an ND using one of the Safe Direction products-- but he had put it on a glass table instead of the bed, and the table top was shattered. However, the pad contained the bullet.

John emailed another note about this tonight (which is what prompted this post) where he tested one of these during a recent class. The proprietor of the Safe Direction company (whose name is, interestingly, Steve Camp) had brought some pads for demonstration. John fired his .45 ACP Detonics loaded with 185gr DPX into the pad -- twice. Altho the product is warranted for one shot only, John says his experience is that your most probably time to have an ND is within two seconds of your last ND -- so he wanted to see what would happen. The pad did in fact contain both bullets.

I personally have the Handgun Rated Composite Armor Board. This is a tougher version intended for dryfire practice that may inadvertently go "wet." I actually wish I had gotten the Academy Pad version, which is smaller (7" x 10") and grommeted to fit in a standard three ring binder - would be easer for me to take on trips. The Composite Armor Board is heavier and larger (12" x 12"), and where I live now, I do all my dry fire outside in my backyard range. I keep the Armor Board by my bed, cuz when I get up in the morning and take my pistol out, first thing I do is chamber check it.

Safe Direction also makes range bags and handgun cases that incorporate the bullet trap, and they now make a rifle-rated Composite Armor Board (as well as steel reactive targets). Their website is at


I recommend you check this out. While I am sure everyone does their damndest to absolutely follow procedure and not trigger off an inadvertent round, having a portable known backstop is just too handy to pass up. Much better than a hole in the window and the tree outside (don't ask me how I know that)-- or worse.

elb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2007, 02:04 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Brooklyn, Mississippi
Posts: 1,442
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction

Personally, I think this is a product devised by someone who wants to create a market by convincing people they don't have to be "quite" as careful as they should be.

I won't be buying this one and suggest that others avoid it as well. What they're telling us is that we can buy a tool which will relieve us of personal responsibility. One of the things I value about my relationship with firearms is that ownership requires a great amount of attention to detail and personal discipline.

In my not-so-humble opinion, this is a product which is not only totally useless but potentially dangerous.
lelandray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2007, 08:56 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Seguin TX
Posts: 525
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction

Hmmm, Leland, I been thinking about your comments this afternoon, and reconsidering my rationale for endorsement of the ballistic pad, but I have to respectfully, humbly -- but strongly -- disagree. I believe you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope on this one.

There is no getting around the fact that one must have an adequate backstop when administratively handling a gun, whether loading, unloading, dryfiring, function checking or whathaveyou. No matter how practiced anyone is, there is at least a small, but non-zero chance of an unwanted discharge. The gun is going to be pointing SOMEPLACE while you are handling it, and that is a place you must be willing to destroy. That's one of the cardinal rules of gunhandling, and it is there because no one, no matter how proficient, is perfect.

I know people have used the floors of their houses, gunsafes, brickwalls, book cases, and the like. But I believe people do this because they don't really think it can happen to them. An actual discharge in those circumstances can result in richochets, pieces of lead/brick/concrete flying around, and damage to property one probably really didn't want to have destroyed. God forbid you are actually using a gypsum board wall as a backstop.

The situation is worse if you are a traveler and carry a gun everywhere, as I do. For example, motel rooms do not provide adequate ballistic protection. One can endanger his neighbors on both sides, across the hall, out in the parking lot, overhead, and down below in the case of rooms on the second floor and above. The toilet or the A/C unit can be used as backstops, but they are poor substitutes.

I carry a gun for self-defense nearly everywhere, all the time, because I believe that if I have to use it, I will not get to choose the time or place. This means I need to be able to tactically AND administratively operate the gun anytime, not just when I it is convenient and I am rested. When I hop off the plane, I take my checked bag into the restroom, close the stall door, make my pistol ready with the muzzle against the pad I put in the same bag, and holster it. At the motel, at the end of a long and tiresome day, I need to inspect the gun, tighten any loose parts, even give it a quick cleaning (I am amazed at the lint and crud that collects in my holster over a day) -- not much use in having a non-operable or questionable pistol on the nightstand overnight. In the morning, mag check, chamber check. No matter how good I think I am, there is always a small but finite chance I will either goof, or have the relatively rare mechanical failure that results in a discharge. Personal responsibility and personal discipline demands I ALWAYS ensure I have an adequate backstop, and not just trust to procedure.

That's why I find these ballistic pads handy. I can take the pad anywhere, and if the worst happens, it contains the discharged bullet, no richochets or particles flying around, human injury is avoided, and property damage is limited to the pad (assuming I put it on the correct surface, as I note above). Far from being useless (never mind dangeroust) the pads are made for people who are truly careful.

elb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2007, 09:15 PM   #4
Posts: n/a
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction

It doesn't even matter how carefull you are, there is always the chance of a mechanical failure that may result in an accidental discharge. I personally think that this is a fantastic idea and will be looking into getting one of these in the near future. Good spot, ELB. ~Pistolero
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2007, 10:27 PM   #5
pff's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 2,617
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction

Last year I had a slamfire with a .45Auto. Mechanical failure. Hole in the chipboard floor.

Those suckers are LOUD in a small room.

I usually wait til I'm outside to chamber an auto. Was raining or something; I forget why I changed proceedure.

Resolvers are less of a concern since they don't slam-bam the round into the chambers with the firing pin right behind.

At home a bucket of sand would serve nicely. Could even plant something in it. A ballistic pad would be handy on the road, plus it armours your briefcase.

Food for thought.


pff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2007, 10:59 AM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,053
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction

The name associated with Safe Direction is Steve Camp, but I dont think it is our Steve Camp, the one on the website does not look nearly as...ah....wisened or, "venerable" .

Anyway, John Farnam is good company to hang out with, I am sure he is OK and the product is OK too.

While I appreciate the attitude of relying on what is between one's ears as the safety, I dont guess this could hurt.

I am reminded of my first trip to Gunsite and the first night in the motel starting to dry fire and as soon as I picked out a spot on a wall painting I noticed, for the first time, there was a .45 caliber bullet hole. I called the front desk to inform them of it, so they would not blame me, and they said: "Yep we have several...dry fire you know." They were very good humored on the topic, moreso than I would have been.

jimhigginbotham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2007, 07:27 PM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,442
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction


This sounds like a good way to "re-cycle" some of those old ballistic vests we have...

weshowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2007, 02:13 PM   #8
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,642
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction


This sounds like a good way to "re-cycle" some of those old ballistic vests we have...


I was just about to mention something similar.

An instructor once suggested to me using old vests for loading/unloading and to use as a "backstop" for dry firing.

Not as a reason to get slack, but another layer of insurance after quadruple checking the gun, making sure you are pointed in a safe direction, etc.

He was a deputy at the time, so had access to expired vests that nobody knew what to do with anyway.

If he had one handy, he might as well use it for that.

But the Safe Direction would be easier to transport, if the need arose.
BarryinIN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2007, 03:33 PM   #9
oberstlt's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 3,430
Pointing a Gun in a Safe Direction

SD tain't cheap but you can substitute a slightly used vest as recommended. Or you can simply do it over a stack of phone books taped together. Now that is cheap and it does work!
oberstlt is offline   Reply With Quote

Search tags for this page
safe direction academy pad
safe direction ballistic pad
safe direction pistol transport case
safest direction to point a firearm
what is a safe direction to point a firearm
what is a safe direction to point a firearm in a classroom
what is a safe shoting direction
what is the safest direction to point a gun
where is the safest direction to point a gun when loadimg
which way should hand gun be pointed
you are loading your firearm. you start by making sure it is not loaded and pointing the muzzle in a safe direction. wha

you are loading your firearm. you start by pointing the muzzle in a safe direction. what is the next step you should tak

you are unloading your firearm you start by pointing the muzzle in a safe direction what is the next step

you are unloading your firearm. you start by pointing the muzzle in a safe direction. what is the next step you should t

you start by pointing the muzzle in a safe direction. what is the next step you should take?
Click on a term to search for related topics.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New FP .45 Mold; Is This Load Safe? Josh Smith Reloading 8 06-23-2010 08:08 PM
Replacing Firing Pin Spring - Which Direction? zebrajeb Pistol, Revolver & Long Gun Smithing 3 01-02-2009 08:01 PM
Best Natural Pointing Semi-Auto's? weshowe General Semiautos 33 02-07-2008 02:48 PM
MAG SAFE ammo whiffelball Ammo Discussion 3 04-07-2006 09:18 PM
Car Safe sgphoto General Firearm Questions & Discussions 0 04-07-2006 03:55 PM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.