Ammo For Sale

« « Go team, fight, fight, fight | Home | Photography is not a crime » »

Slaughtering sacred cows

Alan on the four rules of firearms safety. A sample:

They’re semi-sacred because Saint Cooper delivered them unto us and they’ve been drilled into the heads of shooters in one form or another for decades.

The problem with Rule 1 is that guns ARE unloaded and we all know it.

And he has charts!

21 Responses to “Slaughtering sacred cows”

  1. Jim W Says:

    You’re only allowed to disregard the rules once you’ve mastered them. Assuming that guns are always loaded is a safe rule for beginners. Remembering to check your backstop is a good rule for beginners as well.

  2. nk Says:

    I’ll go with Cooper’s rules.

    The fact is, that a gun is worthless if it’s not loaded. So anybody who wants a gun around keeps it loaded. (Except those few minutes of the year when you spray a little bit of brake cleaner and drop one drop of CLP into it.)

    Not pointing it at anything you don’t want to kill is a no-brainer. Keep it holstered or point it at your balls.

    Backdrop. You want to kill a baby a mile away?

    Finger off the trigger? Sometimes that’s how how you bring the gun into target. But the other three rules control.

  3. Rustmeister Says:

    The only time a gun is unloaded is when I unload it and have it in my immediate control.

    Once it leaves my control, it becomes “loaded” until I clear it again.

  4. HardCorps Says:

    He doesn’t have a very compelling argument. Look at outcome #16, which apparently can’t result in a ND, but then #13 can?

    These rules aren’t just regarding the physical operation of the gun, they are designed for human safety which only a proper, responsible mindset can achieve. There should be no difference in how we treat a weapon, I don’t even check to see if a weapon is loaded if it’s handed to me. CCW holders should understand this concept and those in the military that spent a lot of time at condition 1, that loaded guns are the norm, but respecting the rules will help handling a dangerous tool safer.

  5. Wolfwood Says:

    Jim W nailed it. By the time you’ve mastered the rules, you’ll have enough perspective and maturity to understand the necessary fiction in Rule One.

  6. Gunmart Says:

    Damn you Uncle! I do not have enough popcorn for this thread! 😀

  7. ben Says:

    I like Uncle’s rule #5: don’t try to catch a dropped/falling firearm.

  8. alan Says:

    16 can’t be an ND because the gun isn’t loaded. 13 is a ND because it is loaded. How is that hard to understand?

    The point of all this is to show the logical fallacies inherent in the traditional 4 rules.

    The question to ask is how are any of these rules tested to see if they’re actually effective? Lots of things sound good but fail in practice. Unless we subject the rules to logical analysis and real world testing all they are is magical thinking.

  9. Freiheit Says:

    Part of the four rules is forcing you to *THINK*. Rather than following the rules by rote, you have to consider “is this safe, am I violating any rules”.

    Think of them as a generic “driving distracted” law rather than a “no texting while driving” law. The former, like the four rules, is broad and requires you to think about your actions. The latter is merely a “no-no”.

    Compare the four rules to the 10 foot tall rules list on the wall at Knob Creek. Which one is easier to follow, harder to argue with the RO about, and will actually be understood and implemented by shooters?

  10. trackerk Says:

    “The fact is, that a gun is worthless if it’s not loaded. So anybody who wants a gun around keeps it loaded.”

    That’s just not true. Guns are used as training aids in classes all the time. They most certainly aren’t loaded at the time. I still won’t break rule 2 with them except under very specific circumstances. Guns in my safe are not usually loaded. Guns I am cleaning or working on are not loaded.

    The 4 rules are much like the laws of robotics. A good starting point, but not 100% in every situation.

  11. Shootin' Buddy Says:

    Ummm, yeah, couple of points:

    1. It was actually Crazy Uncle Clint that brought us the Four Rules. API had one rule “all guns are always loaded”. After discussions with Jeff and their common USMC background the Four Rules came to be.

    2. It is not necessary to despress the trigger in order for a firearm to discharge. E.g., anytime one loads or unloads a firearm, especially those with inertia firing pins, the weapon may discharge.

  12. alan Says:

    Shootin’ Buddy, I specifically mentioned problems with loading semi-auto firearms as a special case.

    Did you not read the post?

  13. Shootin' Buddy Says:

    Alan, yes, but the problem is deeper than you state. ADs upon loading or unloading can transpire in all types of manual or self-loading repeaters.

    My AD upon loading was with a slide-action shotgun, 870, which, of course, has an inertia firing pin. Fortunately I was following the Four Rules and no one was injured.

  14. Pol Mordreth Says:

    Well, I have to disagree a little. Rule #1 is absoultely fundamental to training yourself in good weapons handling. However, I have always heard it as “treat all weapons as if they are loaded”. If you have one way of handling your weapon when you believe it to be loaded and a different way of handling it when you believe it to be unloaded, eventually you will make an error of fact regarding the condition of the weapon and that could result in a hole in something you’ld rather not have a hole in.

    Regards,
    Pol

  15. mariner Says:

    I teach that Rule 1 is “A firearm is always loaded, until you prove to yourself that it’s not.”

    Once you’ve proven to yourself that the firearm in your hand is not loaded, then it’s safe to do things with it that you’d never do otherwise — dry fire, for example.

    I further teach that once I have put a firearm down, when I pick it up again it’s loaded … until I again prove to myself that it’s not.

    The idea is to develop a habit of safety.

  16. Tam Says:

    Once you’ve proven to yourself that the firearm in your hand is not loaded, then it’s safe to do things with it that you’d never do otherwise — dry fire, for example.

    So, once you’ve “proven” it was “unloaded”, you would dry fire it at your child’s head?

  17. Standard Mischief Says:

    >You’re only allowed to disregard the rules once you’ve mastered them.

    The truth is that people violate the four rules all the time. You’ve got to keep them simple, they would not survive as memorable with a thousand exceptions written in.

    You keep the them in mind, and more importantly in muscle memory because you never want to violate a rule in condition white. Every violation is a calculated risk.

    So you latch open the action of your Garand, check the chamber, check the chamber with your finger, use your the pink flesh of your finger to bounce light from the overhead lamp into the chamber, and check the rifling of the barrel while doing a rule 2 violation.

    You walk into your house after a bit of shooting into your private berm at the back forty. You are not willing to destroy the ceiling or the floor, but you don’t want to leave a rifle uncased outside unsupervised. Since there’s someone sleeping in the upstairs bedroom and nothing but canned peaches in the basement, you decide to carry your rifle muzzle down until you can put it in the strongbox.

    You want to clean you rifle first so you take it down into the basement. You put it in the cleaning fixture and keep the muzzle pointed at a wall where you know there is three feet of dirt beyond the cinderblock. You are not suppose to clean a loaded gun so you check that it’s unloaded. You remove the bolt and leave it on the bench. You are ready to run a patch down the bore, but guns are always loaded. You check that it’s unloaded again and get ready to start cleaning, but guns are always loaded. You check that it’s unloaded again and get ready to start cleaning, but guns are always loaded. You check that it’s unloaded again and get ready to start cleaning, but guns are always loaded. Finally you decide that guns are always loaded, but you checked 6 times and it’s OK to shove the patch down the barrel.

  18. junyo Says:

    I’ve always taken Rule #1 to not literally mean “A firearm is always loaded” but more along the lines of “Never assume/take anyone’s word/guess that it’s unloaded”, and thus as Rustmeister said one would always verify the status of a gun that’s not been in your immediate control.

  19. Tam Says:

    What Standard Mischief said.

  20. dave Says:

    lol well-said, SM.

  21. mariner Says:

    Tam,

    I admire your considerable rhetorical gifts and generally agree with you.

    But sometimes you write things as mind-bogglingly stupid as those you ridicule. This is one of those times.