This is what my hands looked like the last time I went shooting. Not ok.

For the record, the nails were already that gun metal color.














This is a problem for a couple of reasons:

1) my gun was ridiculously dirty and was clearly screaming for a cleaning.

2) gun powder is bad for you. So is lead.

After reading Julie Golob’s Book SHOOT  a few weeks ago, I was reminded of the fact that the chemicals released when shooting can be toxic and can have lasting negative effects on your body.

Sure, we all know to wash our hands after we shoot, but it turns out that the reasons for doing so are far more important than keeping black stains off those cute new Sevens. After doing a little internet research, I learned that gunpowder is a blood toxin as well as a skin and eye irritant. It can potentially cause nerve damage and memory loss in the long term. This explains why I have the urge to rub my eyes every time I shoot. Know the feeling? Lead, too, is released when after you fire a round. Small doses can be metabolized by the body, but if you are an avid shooter (and I know you are) there are some safety precautions you should take.

A few tips you should consider are the following:

  • Try to shoot outdoors as often as possible.
  • Bring a rag or baby wipes in your range bag to use when you take a break or when you start feeling irritation on your hands or in your eyes.
  • Add a little nail salon nail brush to your list in order to get the gun powder residue out from under your nail beds and cuticles. Both of these areas allow the toxins easy access to your blood stream. Head them off at the pass.
  • Try shooting with gloves.
  • Julie suggests in her book that you should consider getting your blood levels checked by your doctor to make sure you are in a safe zone. She is right on about that.


  • Another excuse to go shopping


BTW- SHOOT is an amazing book with tons of helpful tips. Get a copy as soon as humanly possible.
A little info for you reloaders or those who might come in contact with gunpowder…



Found at:
Eyes – Immediately flush with water for at least 15 minutes lifting upper & lower eyelids, if your eyes keep bothering you see a Doctor.

Skin – Immediately flush for 15 minutes, call a DOCTOR, if you clothing has it on them make sure you wash them before you wear them next time.

Ingestion (eating) – Drink large quantities of water, induce vomiting, call a DOCTOR. Do not give anything by mouth if the person is unconscious or having convulsions.

Inhalation – If you’re dizzy or have a headache or are experiencing nausea, stop working immediately get into fresh air and call a Doctor.


Be safe out there! These safety tips are equally as important when cleaning your guns, so keep chemical safety in mind any time you are handling your firearm.