Callen’s Corner: Gun Safety

Have you ever wondered what is going on in G Callen’s mind before and after he draws his gun? Ever wondered how fast his heart is beating or how sweaty his palms are? Maybe not, simply because our Callen is the best of the best (keeps his cool in all situations), but surely you’ve wondered about his training. Especially in how he handles his gun, Hetty’s guns, and guns he gets off of bad guys.

Fear not, because it’s high time to take a look at how guns are safely handled by our hero.

Callen’s Corner: Gun Safety | NCISLA Magazine

There is so much training that goes into being able to handle a gun safely and effectively; everything from knowing how a gun is put together, to how the mechanisms work in one, to the safety protocols, to laws in different states and countries on guns, to maintenance. The list is more extensive than you might imagine (unless you’re in the military, a police officer, or have your CHL.) Since all of the above is second nature to Callen by now and he barely thinks on any of it and just does it, I will share what small training I’ve had so that us fans can get a glimpse of A FRACTION of the items going through his mind (and his Team’s) when they are drawing their weapon.

Callen’s Corner: Gun Safety | NCISLA Magazine

Safety protocols for using 9mm semiautomatics (and all guns, really) are taught in a small list, usually looking something like this:

  1. Finger off the trigger (until forced to fire)
  2. Keep gun pointed in Position SUL, or down range (obviously, NOT AT ANY PERSON)
  3. Know what the target is
  4. Be aware of what is to the sides and behind the target

One of the items my trainer harped on again and again was the seriousness of keeping your finger off the trigger. I didn’t really understand until my first time of shooting 150 rounds. My arm got tired, I got lazy and occasionally would rest my finger on the trigger while waiting for my target to be reset. This is dangerous because if I were startled, by a loud noise or the like, I might accidentally pull the trigger. Hence, why keeping the gun pointed in the SUL Position is so important. If a gun is fired while not aimed at the target, it needs to be pointing to where it can’t hurt anyone. One of the things I LOVE about Callen and his Team: their fingers are NEVER resting on a trigger. They do this even when they’ve been up all night, or chasing suspects for days–when they are dog tired! Their training, like all who have been in military or law enforcement, was thorough and bred good habits.

Callen’s Corner: Gun Safety | NCISLA Magazine
Two items that both military and law enforcement teaches in training have to do with the nature of bullets. Bullets themselves behave differently, dependent upon size and the type of weapon being shot. But these two things are pretty general when speaking of guns:

  1. Bullets ricochet bad
  2. Bullets go through bodies

Bullets have the potential to ricochet off of anything durable, such as metals and stone. When a bad guy is shooting in a warehouse filled with pipes and cement walls? Yeah, bad situation. Take cover. Those bullets will go in multiple directions when they start ricocheting. No one knows this better than the Team.

Then, remember the time Callen was in the nightclub, undercover as Ivan? He came face to face with a hostage situation, and needed to take a shot. What did he do first? Make sure that Deeks wasn’t in his line of fire. (Loved how Deeks handled a similar situation near the end of the case, in that home hallway, too!) Bullets always have the potential to go through the intended target and hit whatever is behind it.

Callen’s Corner: Gun Safety | NCISLA Magazine
Guns require a higher sense of alertness to use skillfully and properly. This can be seen in how intense Callen and the others get when they draw their weapon. They aren’t just about to shoot at the bad guy. They are figuring out what could move into their line of fire from the sides, what’s behind their target, and how to not let their weapon fall into the bad guy’s possession. It takes a lot of focus! Insert applause for the Team here.

Callen’s Corner: Gun Safety | NCISLA Magazine
Lastly, keeping the gun clean goes without saying. How many times have we seen Callen taking apart his gun and cleaning it? Basic reason? When a gun isn’t clean or cared for, there is a good chance it will jam and NOT FIRE when it’s most needed. That would make for a very sad moment. Just imagine that happening to Callen in the middle of a shoot-out situation. Ugh. I shudder at the thought. But, hey. Callen would never let that happen.

Why? Because Callen is the best of the best.

Callen’s Corner: Gun Safety | NCISLA Magazine

P.S. Many deep thanks to NCIS: Los Angeles Consultant Osama Shofani (USMC Ret.) for making sure protocol is followed by the Team. And, for keeping it real in the best ways when the guns come out on-screen. You make this Texan proud.

7 thoughts on “Callen’s Corner: Gun Safety

  1. Jericho Steele

    That was a pretty neat little article.

    I’m a former active-duty Marine and the extra effort that the producers go through to make the show feel ‘real’ are in the little details. Making sure the actors and actresses portraying the agents act, walk, talk, shoot, fight, etc. like a highly trained federal agent, can make or break a show. Watching a character who is presented as someone who knows how to shoot a weapon but they act like they’re scared of it takes away all credibility.

    I’ve always enjoyed all of the shows in the set (JAG, NCIS, NCIS:LA) for the attention to detail that they take with weapons handling and also with the way the U.S. military actually works. Sometimes, a little thing slips past them, but over all, they do an oustanding job of depicting the hard working men and women who defend and protect our country and our way of life.

    Thank you for presenting this analysis to us and for brealing it all down so well.

    Semper Fi

  2. mckenna

    Such an interesting article. Never realized exactly how much attention to detail and hard work it takes to correctly depict the procedures a real federal agent would follow. It only increases my admiration for how dedicated the actors and crew, like Osama, are to making the show credible. (Also reminded me of the scene in Blood Brothers where Callen so smoothly disarms and takes apart that gun 🙂 )

  3. Richtsje

    The little things most of us know…
    This CC explains it all, holding & using a gun is far more difficult than most of us know – and I know a tiny bit 🙂
    The explanation is so good, still I got a little distracted here&there when you use the pictures with the words – how odd is that?!

    Thank you Keviana for this post, well appreciated!

  4. justdreaming-83

    Interesting and FUN write-up about Callen and his firearms. It is amazing how natural our agents look handling and firing their weapons. I agree that this is a result of incredible actors, and awesome people in the background, such as Mr. Shofani. Shane Brennan sure knew what he was doing when he put this team together.

  5. BH72

    Great article Keviana. Thanks for sharing your own experience and all the things Callen and the rest of the team have to think about besides the danger they face out in the field.

  6. Bella

    GREAT article! I’m a forensic scientist and work specifically in firearms & analysis so I’m also watching the way the actors handle the weapons as their characters and I’m also impressed.
    One thing I’d like to ask Osama is why Sam, Callen, Kensi, Deeks don’t have holsters for their weapons? Why do they just tuck them into their naked waistband[s]? Does Osama have a twitter account b/c I’d really like for him to answer this.

  7. blue dogs rock!!!!!

    interesting insight i like all the behind scenes stuff on shows and why they do something. i agree with some of the stuff other people have written.awesome article

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