I was off hunting in the mountains when CNBC aired its program on the Remington 700 in an attempt to discredit the safety of the iconic rifle and its trigger. Because the premise of the story itself is so silly and because I know a thing or two about Remington 700 triggers, I initially dismissed the whole thing as a non-story–an empty-calories effort to manufacture “news” for ratings.
And, indeed, there is no substance to CNBC’s show. But it did get people talking and wondering in gun shops around the country–to say nothing of the non-shooting public who happened to view the show–so by that measure it deserves some comment and rebuttal.
As my colleague Dave Petzal over at Field and Stream and others have aptly pointed out, the first thing to note is that everyone who was injured or killed by the negligent discharge of a Remington 700 failed to follow the most basic and hallowed tenet of gun safety, which is never to point the muzzle at something you are not willing to destroy. Had this guideline been followed, the tragedy and heartbreak documented in the show never would have occurred.
But what about the meat of the accusation, that the design of the trigger system, which dates to the 1940s and was initially built for the 700’s predecessor, the Model 721, is somehow fundamentally unsafe? (In case you didn’t know, the 700s being built right now use a different trigger, called the X-Mark Pro.)
The answer is simple. The trigger itself is safe, and if it weren’t, Remington would never have been able to build and sell 5 million of them over the decades. But because it has three screws on it that can be adjusted with a small screwdriver, it can be made unsafe if the person wielding the screwdriver doesn’t know what he is doing.
So the Remington 700 trigger is “unsafe” the way that a bulldozer is “unsafe” if the person sitting behind the controls doesn’t know what the levers do. The same principal applies to minivans, chainsaws and blenders.
End of story.
For Remington’s response to CNBC please visit: remington700.tv