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Technically, these are called "weapon carrying conditions", but I didn't want people to think this was an article about "under which circumstances" you would carry a firearm.

Not all firearms are capable of being in all of these conditions.  For example, if your firearm does not have a mechanical safety lever, the gun can be in Condition Zero, but not Condition One.


  • Condition Zero:  Magazine inserted, round in the chamber, bolt is forward, ejection port cover is closed, hammer is cocked, and the weapon is not on safe (or incapable).
  • Condition One:  Magazine inserted, round in the chamber, bolt is forward, ejection port cover is closed, and the weapon is on safe.
  • Condition Two:  Magazine inserted, round in the chamber, bolt is forward, ejection port cover is closed, hammer uncocked (forward), and the weapon is on safe.
  • Condition Three:  Magazine inserted, chamber is empty, bolt forward, ejection port cover is closed, hammer uncocked (forward), and the weapon is on safe.
  • Condition Four:  Magazine removed, chamber empty, bolt forward, ejection port cover closed, hammer uncocked (forward), and the weapon is on safe.

Zombies are a fantastic topic to help make your training and disaster preparedness efforts more fun.  In the firearms training industry, the attitude is usually very stoic and professional, and zombies are often considered a taboo or unprofessional topic to use.  Personally, I find that creative and novel ways to teach are precisely the hallmark of good instructors.

Many firearms training topics are highly technical and dry.  We can discuss for hours best magazine speed reload approach, for example.  This can become tedious and boring, especially for individuals that don't yet subscribe to the seriousness of using their technical shooting skills in competition or defensive situations.

Zombies are a popular culture phenomenon these days.  Zombie movies, video games, and TV shows are coming out regularly, and draw fantastic numbers of fans.  These topics are also very popular with teens and young adults, which are often an under-represented demographic in the shooting sports [and disaster preparation field].

Making "Zombie Apocalypse" plans, and disaster preparations, is a great tongue-in-cheek way to add some excitement to your efforts, for yourself, family, and friends:

  • A zombie outbreak would require responses such as home defense, medical treatment, off-grid food and water consumption, dealing with winter weather, and more.  All of these topics are also applicable to common occurrences such as home invasions, floods, and tornadoes.
  • Be aware not to use the zombie metaphor too literally, or in a way that would actually harm your training.  For example, training to make only "headshots", instead of shooting center mass, would be unwise for defensive shooting purposes.
  • Many zombie-related accessories are available to add to your training.  For example, bleeding zombie silhouette targets, and sights with biohazard-symbol reticles, provide very direct shooting fun.  Other goodies, like zombie-print gun cases and rifle handguards, just add to the theme.
  • Making a "zombie survival kit", with contents such as 72-hours of food and water, flashlights, fire starters, and other supplies, would be very useful in a natural disaster.  Be sure to train to use all of these items - don't just buy them and stick them in a box!
  • Develop readiness and training plans with friends, neighbors, and family members.  In the event of an actual emergency, you'll all be able to work together to overcome adversity.

I've heard some people, including other instructors, say that the whole zombie fad is "ridiculous".  They are absolutely right, it is ridiculous!  It's exactly the kind of ridiculousness we need to put a novel spin on our otherwise very-serious topics.

At this time, we're even looking into the possibility of providing zombie-themed versions of some of our family readiness and defensive shooting courses.  We love what we do, and want to embrace any opportunities to help spread responsible gun ownership and personal disaster preparedness.

* Banner image courtesy of the CDC. http://emergency.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies.asp

NOTE: This article is true for Colorado, and the majority of other states.  There are a few states (e.g. CA, NY) with very strong anti-gun laws on the books, where they may be required to request and store additional information, in more privacy-intrusive ways.

I have a lot of customers that are concerned, or have misinformation, about what the government is tracking related to their gun purchases.  The fact is that very little information is permanently tracked, or "registered", about your firearms transactions.

Let me take a moment to explain how the dealer's transaction paperwork happens.

  1. As a legal Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer, we are allowed to receive shipments of firearms (via USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.).  When we receive such a package, we record the manufacturer/importer, model number, caliber, type (e.g. pistol, rifle, shotgun), and the transferor (e.g. another dealer's name & FFL, a manufacturer's name and FFL, a private citizen's name and address), for each firearm.
  2. These records of transfer of firearms to us, are recorded in a physical, hardbound, paper book [here at Paladin Lead Delivery Systems].  Companies do have the option of using an electronic or online method of recording transactions, but it must be a complex application that records which specific users make entries and changes, so many FFLs stick to the simpler paper-book method.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) does not maintain these records, or provide any services to, physical or electronic.
  3. In order to sell or transfer a firearm to a non-FFL holder, we must perform a background check.  Nationally, that check is run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  Here in Colorado, we run the check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who also performs the NICS check for us, and returns results for both.  The only information provided in this check is personal identification information (e.g. name, address, race, etc.), optionally Social Security Number (SSN), and the type of firearm being transfered (e.g. "long gun", "handgun", "other").  The manufacturer, model, serial number, or any other specifically identifying information about the firearm are not provided to the government.
  4. The disposition of the background check is returned to us, typically within 30-60 minutes.  It only tells us that it was approved, denied, or delayed.  We are not provided any additional reasoning for the disposition.  For example, we are not told why it was denied.
    1. If the status was "delayed", the CBI has 3 days to respond with either an approval or denial.  If they do not respond in 3 days, we are allowed to consider it approved by default, and give you possession of the firearm.
    2. If the status was "denied", we can not give you possession of the firearm.  You are allowed, however, to file an appeal and have the denial overturned.  Colorado has one of the highest rates of denials being overturned.
  5. With an approved background check, we finish your paperwork.  We record on your background check sheet all the identifying information about the firearm (e.g. make, model, serial number, etc.).  We record in our master firearms disposition book that the firearm was transferred to you (e.g. name and address).  In order to comply with Federal destruction of records requirements, the CBI will destroy records of the background check within 24 hours, for checks that returned definitively as approved or denied.
  6. If you purchased (took possession) two or more handguns from us within one week, including on the same visit, we are required to file a special form with the BATFE.  In this case, we will provide the BATFE with the specific firearm information (e.g. make, model, serial number, etc.) for each pistol you purchased in that time frame.
  7. You take possession of your firearms.
  8. We are required to maintain our records, both the disposition book and the individual background check forms, for 20 years.  In the event we go out of business, we turn those records [newer than 20 years] over to the BATFE.

Now that you know the full process, you can see that the government has access to very little of your information, typically.  What information it does have (e.g. background check info), it is required to destroy within 24 hours.  The two major events that would trigger the BATFE having access to your firearms' specific information (e.g. make, model, serial number) is if you bought two or more pistols within a 7 day period [from the same dealer], or if the dealer goes out of business within 20 years of the sale/transfer.