Aim small, miss small

Local air gun manufacturer teaches community about firearm safety

Photos by Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune
A Mac 1 Air Gun store customer aims down the scope of a US FT No. 7 field target and bench rest competition air gun as Signal Hill store owner, Tim McMurray (right), displays a field target competition harness. The US FT No. 7 fires a 13.4-grain JSB RS pellet.

To Mac 1 Air Gun store owner Tim McMurray, passion and a clear mindset are key to hitting any target. However, he believes that a field target and bench rest-competition airgun can hit the target just as well.

What began as a passionate hobby for McMurray’s grandfather, Les McMurray, soon morphed into a full-fledged business for air gun assembly. Today, the company works out of Signal Hill at 1886 Freeman Ave.

McMurray followed in the footsteps of his grandfather. He grew to assemble and sell high-end air guns that are used to compete at both national and international levels.
“My grandfather started this company in 1932,” he said. “It was the Great Depression era, and everybody was trying to figure out how to get some work.”

At 5 years of age, Tim spent much of his time with his grandfather assembling air guns.
“He couldn’t see very good– he was kind of blind,” he said. “He’d lose stuff, and I would find it for him. He’d say, ‘Timmy, I need to borrow your eyes.’”

Following his grandfather’s death, McMurray now has over 30 years of company ownership under his belt and has worked on airguns for 45 years. The dedication to compete has also won him third place in an international competition.

He has built over 260 air guns and refurbished many others.

Tim’s passion for constructing air guns doesn’t just end in his workshop. The devotion to his craft and his experience as a range master have encouraged him to share his knowledge of gun safety with families.

“As a range master, I know what safe gun handling is,” he said. “I teach kids how to recognize unsafe behavior so they know when the risk level is high.”

Approximately seven years ago, Tim volunteered to teach a safety course on firearm use at the San Pedro Harbor Police Pistol Range.

McMurray acquired a $15,000-grant from the National Rifle Association to teach children how to react when they are in an unsafe environment and a firearm is present.

The Safe Gun Handling Lectures are 30-minute-long presentations that are designed to entertain and educate children.

Mac 1 Air Gun store owner Tim McMurray demonstrates firing his US FT No. 7 field target and bench rest competition air gun as he sits in the open class field target setup in Signal Hill. McMurray has built over 260 air guns and teaches citizens about gun safety at the Angeles Shooting Range in Lake View Terrace, California.

“The premise is, ‘Do you want the kid next door to teach your kids how to shoot?’” McMurray said. “If you don’t, they’re going to have an exposure to guns, eventually, and you want that exposure to be an educated exposure.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that by the end of 2014, 33,594 deaths were caused by a firearm in the United States.

McMurray said he believes there are many individuals that use firearms in unsafe manners and that gun-safety etiquette is something easy to learn.

“There are only three things in gun safety,” he said. “Don’t point it [at others], don’t touch the trigger and don’t leave it loaded. If you do two of those, you’re safe. If you do all three of those, you’re fail-safe. So, that was the concept.”

There is also a four-hour-long program available, called the Safe Gun Handling Practical Program, hosted at the Angeles Shooting Range in Lake View Terrace, California, on the first Sunday of each month.

The classes consist of hands-on firing of bolt-action pellet guns to educate on their function. Targets are placed down range and attendees are taught how to safely aim down the sights and fire at the targets.

McMurray’s classes teach those that attend the three steps in gun safety in hopes to prevent any more unwanted firearm-caused deaths.

“There’s an amazing amount of people, that have guns, that are ignorant of how to be safe with them,” he said.

For more information on gun safety classes, those interested may contact McMurray by calling (562) 961-6221.

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