Should rule two be revised or reworded?


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Owen Sparks
June 4, 2011, 06:06 PM
Let’s look objectively at the four basic rules of gun safety as codified by Jeff Cooper. They are brilliantly simple with built in redundancy yet I think a slight revision to the second rule might make a little more sense.

RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET.

RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHATS BEYOND IT.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Rule Two:

NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

NEVER is a strong word and If taken literally you could never bring a firearm indoors, put it in your car or even put it in a holster because the muzzle would cover lots of things that you are not willing to destroy. The muzzle is always pointed somewhere and we must compromise by pointing it at something fairly valuable like the new carpet or the big screen TV to avoid pointing it at something irreplaceable like our knees and other people.

Maybe this rule should be reworded any ideas?

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ColtPythonElite
June 4, 2011, 06:09 PM
You are looking too deep into Rule #2 and trying to make too much out it....IMO, he means "Don't point you gun as anything you aren't willing to shoot."

USAF_Vet
June 4, 2011, 06:10 PM
If we're going to reword rule 2, might as well reword rule 1 as well.

All guns are always loaded until you verify that they are not. Rules are a general guideline, and a little bit of common sense has to go along with them.

ColtPythonElite
June 4, 2011, 06:13 PM
I don't believe Rule #1. In my life, I have seen lots of unloaded guns. Where can I get one of these magic guns that you never have to reload, because it always stays loaded even when you shoot it?....LOL.

Six
June 4, 2011, 06:18 PM
What about Rule 3 and that guy who shoots with his feet?

I tend to think that there's some room for common sense while still following the spirit of the rules.

Owen Sparks
June 4, 2011, 06:18 PM
You are looking too deep into Rule #2 and trying to make too much out it....IMO, he means "Don't point you gun as anything you aren't willing to shoot."

I am not willing to shoot a hole in my new holster yet I must point the muzzle at it at some point in order to use it.

Owen Sparks
June 4, 2011, 06:20 PM
I don't believe Rule #1. In my life, I have seen lots of unloaded guns. Where can I get one of these magic guns that you never have to reload, because it always stays loaded even when you shoot it?....LOL.

I prefer:

ALWAYS TREAT GUNS AS IF THEY ARE LOADED.

USAF_Vet
June 4, 2011, 06:20 PM
I am not willing to shoot a hole in my new holster yet I must point the muzzle at it at some point in order to use it.

That's why I thought ahead and got a holster with an open end.

onfloat
June 4, 2011, 06:22 PM
Here's the USMC's version

Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.

Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire.

Never point your weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot.

Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire.

USAF_Vet
June 4, 2011, 06:24 PM
ALWAYS TREAT GUNS AS IF THEY ARE LOADED.

then how does one clean their gun? I'm not sticking anything down the barrel of a loaded gun, bore brush, patches, CLP, nothing.
Treat them as if they are loaded until you verify they are not. That is what I teach my kids. Pick it up as if it is loaded, drop the magazine (if there is one), open the chamber, and look. Now that you have verified it is not loaded, the gun is safe.

The next person who picks it up is expected to run through the same procedure.

Owen Sparks
June 4, 2011, 06:24 PM
You must still point it at the side when drawing from an open ended holster.

USAF_Vet
June 4, 2011, 06:25 PM
well there goes that idea.

ColtPythonElite
June 4, 2011, 06:26 PM
That's why I use a paddle holster. I just draw paddle and all and fire thru the hole. That way, I don't violate any of those rules.

Owen Sparks
June 4, 2011, 06:29 PM
How’s this?

ALWAYS TREAT GUNS AS IF THEY ARE LOADED. The ONLY exception is made for cleaning, maintenance or training is when I have personally checked that it is unloaded and it has not left my hand since.

Kliegl
June 4, 2011, 06:34 PM
This is why a man should make his own rules and not simply parrot others.

Loosedhorse
June 4, 2011, 06:38 PM
I'd revise Rule 1 first. All guns are NOT always loaded, and when teaching Rule 1 I have to do a lot of explaining of why an obviously false statement is an important safety rule. I understand that I am supposed to treat all (assembled, closed-action) firearms as loaded, and that dry-fire must be aimed at something that can absorb the most powerful round that can come out of that gun. Always.

I get your point about Rule 2. I would usually think of it as "Never (with the gun in your hand and the action closed) point the muzzle at something that, if a bullet hit it, you'd say something other than, 'Oh, well.'" Not willing to destroy, but accepting of damage.

But I think Rule 2 makes its point nicely, if with a little hyperbole.

Walkalong
June 4, 2011, 07:06 PM
They are fine like they are. :)

youngda9
June 4, 2011, 07:17 PM
If rule #1 is true then why do I have to spend so much money on ammo ? :)

Zoogster
June 4, 2011, 07:45 PM
They are fine, simple, and widespread.

It is politicians and others that see small things that could be added that turn them into the arbitrary 10 rules that nobody knows, instead of the 4 everyone remembers.



All guns should be treated like they are loaded. If you just manually verified the gun in your hand is unloaded then you can clean or disassemble it. If you set it down and go get a drink, maybe get a phone call before returning, you should once again manually inspect the gun to make sure it is unloaded.
Most accidents happen with "unloaded" guns.
The image of the gun in your mind that you absolutely remember unloading, something you have done many times in the exact same way, is a memory from the week before, the day before, earlier before you made sure it could feed but forgot, etc
There is also cases where someone leaves a gun briefly and has a spouse or someone else load it, something they never expected.

There is even a funny story on this forum of someone mistakenly using dragon's breath shells, and a bird bomb in home defense against home invaders because a spouse had loaded the gun with such rounds intending to try them out, but ended up not using them and going on a business trip. The wife then had a home invasion, had ammo that would not reliably force any threat to stop, but got lucky when they fled after being shot with the oddities.



Any time a gun leaves your hand it should be presumed to be loaded again.
Also it should be treated as loaded even when unloaded when around other people out of respect and that they do not know it is unloaded. Like in a gun store or at a gun show, muzzle sweeping is typical of the immature customers checking out the 'unloaded' guns, while there is many stories you can find where such a gun turned out to have actually been loaded by accident earlier.
You may know it is unloaded having just checked it 5 seconds before, but treating it as an unloaded gun is still disrespectful and inconsiderate to all those people that didn't just check the chamber with you and don't know that you did.


Rule number 2 is also pretty straight forward.
You don't point the gun at things that are irreplaceable, or even sweep the barrel from one side of a person to another. You arch around people.
In a life and death situation you may need to sweep from one side of a person to another to engage a threat, but in recreation convenience is no excuse for the added danger to someone's life when you could just arch the gun up in the sky or down at the ground around people and never let the barrel come close to pointing at another human being.
Things are replaceable, feel free to point it at your expensive items if you are comfortable it won't go off, but such a risk with people is irresponsible.

red-demon652
June 4, 2011, 08:07 PM
I got me a closed in holster so if my gun goes of it wont shoot my foot!!! Tehehe

Owen Sparks
June 4, 2011, 09:32 PM
Good explaination Zoogster. I especially like the part where you said:

Any time a gun leaves your hand it should be presumed to be loaded again.
Also it should be treated as loaded even when unloaded when around other people out of respect and that they do not know it is unloaded. Like in a gun store or at a gun show, muzzle sweeping is typical of the immature customers checking out the 'unloaded' guns, while there is many stories you can find where such a gun turned out to have actually been loaded by accident earlier.
You may know it is unloaded having just checked it 5 seconds before, but treating it as an unloaded gun is still disrespectful and inconsiderate to all those people that didn't just check the chamber with you and don't know that you did.

Carelessly pointing an unloaded gun at someone is still a potentially deadly threat because they have no way to know if it is loaded or not.

THE DARK KNIGHT
June 4, 2011, 09:48 PM
I take it to mean that Rule #2 becomes void if the gun is holstered, in a case, gun safe, etc.

You guys are seriously worrying about this crap way too much.

Owen Sparks
June 4, 2011, 09:53 PM
The rules should be worded so that they are not open to interpritation. How many times have you seen some fud carelessly handeling a firearm and when warned to watch the muzzle he says "It's not loaded" knowing full well that he did not check.

kimbernut
June 4, 2011, 09:58 PM
You know what they are. You know the meaning of each. You can start dumbing down another regimin that has worked well for an awful long time in areas of your control. Thanks but no thanks. I'll stay with what works.

Dreamcast270mhz
June 5, 2011, 12:13 AM
Heres my rules:

All functional guns should be treated as loaded, unless:

Action is open
Magazine is open/detached

Any loaded weapon should be carried one of two ways:

Chambered with safety on
Unchambered with safety off

Any loaded weapon should be pointed, until ready to fire:

Up
Down

crossrhodes
June 5, 2011, 01:27 AM
We're really picking fly crap out of pepper on this one boys. Let's leave them alone and not fix what's not broken.

MistWolf
June 5, 2011, 03:10 AM
I started to read this thread but the responses started to get absolutely ridiculous. The rules as written by Cooper are right, do not need to be re-written and should not. If you think they should be re-written or ignored under special circumstances, you either need to study them until you understand what they imply or should quit handling firearms.

ALWAYS LOADED. Yes, even when the ammunition has been removed and the firearm disassembled. Anytime you start thinking a firearm is in a condition to aim at another person safely is the time you start programming your brain there are times when it is safe to point a firearm at another person. When your brain makes a mistake and thinks the conditions are safe to do so when they are not, you are one step closer to disaster.

MUZZLE DISCIPLINE. Always always be aware of what your muzzle is aimed at. Never point it at something you're unwilling to destroy. You forget for even a split second, the consequences of what the bullet will strike, you will eventually shoot something or someone. You cannot unshoot somebody.

FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER. If the finger is off the trigger, the trigger cannot be pulled. Period. If you should violate the first two rules and haqve your finger on the trigger, you will shoot somebody by mistake.

TARGET & BEYOND. If you don't identify your target, how can you know it's what you're supposed to shoot? If you don't make sure what's beyond it, you are not paying attention and lack situational awareness.

POSSIBLE EXCEPTIONS?
-Holstering a handgun. Must cover something I don't want to shoot. Exception? No. If you think it's ok to point the muzzle at something or someone you're not willing to destroy, you'll start getting sloppy. Muzzle discipline will heighten your awareness of the potential for disaster and will ensure you re-holster in a disciplined, efficient, safe manner with your finger OFF the trigger to prevent unintentional discharges.
-Cleaning. It's unloaded, so it's safe. Exception? No. Anything that teaches your brain a firearm is safe and it's ok to ignore safe handling is setting you up for failure. Someday, you will find yourself thinking a firearm is unloaded and is safe and you'll forget to keep your finger off the trigger and forget muzzle discipline. Firearms are ALWAYS LOADED even when the ammunition has been removed! Keep that in mind and I guarantee you'll be more aware of where you point the muzzle and where you place your finger.

I have made a couple of mistakes that haunt me to this day. Not because anyone was hurt or killed, but because if someone else had been involved, they could have been. Each mistake involved a violation of two rules. It was steadfast obedience to the others that prevented disaster.

This is real life. You cannot unshoot a bullet, you cannot unkill. We are human and make mistakes. Understand why we obey those four rules and you'll at least have a chance to limit the consequences when you screw up

Loosedhorse
June 5, 2011, 08:57 AM
you either need to study them until you understand what they imply or...re-write them so they actually say what they mean. That way, no studying to figure out what's "implied" would be needed.

Of course, YMMV--and apparently does. :DAlways always be aware of what your muzzle is aimed at.BTW, I like your re-write of Rule 2. Well done! ...;)

Walkalong
June 5, 2011, 09:44 AM
If one cannot interpolate and understand the rules as written, perhaps they should not be using guns in the first place. :)

Ala Tom
June 5, 2011, 10:30 AM
Rules should make sense as written and should not present a dichotomy. One is tempted to say: 1. All guns are loaded unless they are not.

But it makes a heck of a lot of sense to say:
1. All guns are loaded until you determine they are not.

Certainly in a class people should be taught that guns do not stay empty very long.

45_auto
June 5, 2011, 11:28 AM
+1 for Walkalong.

If you want to lawyer the rules, why start on #2?

#1 ALL guns are always loaded.

ALL is pretty strong wording. Does this mean that every gun is shipped loaded?

#2 Never let the muzzle cover anything you're not willing to destroy.

Pretty well beat to death already above.

#3 Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.

This means that no hip-shooting is permitted. All those law enforcement drills keeping the gun close to your body to prevent a close-in attacker from gaining control of it are obviously wrong.

#4 Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.

This one should effectively outlaw hunting. A miss at a deer with a 30-06 fired at a 5 degree angle (shooting from kneeling, for example) will travel about 2 miles. How many people check the woods for 2 miles behind a deer before they shoot?

The 4 Rules Of Gun Safety we're talking about were developed by Jeff Cooper. He had very little tolerance for anyone with the lack of common sense to apply the rules appropriately. Too bad he's not around to "discuss" this with you guys .... :)

hso
June 5, 2011, 11:33 AM
Dude,

You'll have to take that up with Col. Cooper, but, me, I always phrased it "Don't point the gun at anything you don't want to shoot". That's as easily pick-apart-able, but parsing the sentence isn't the point.

The entire objective was to provide something easy to remember with enough impact that it was easily remembered instead of being a whole dry training session on firearms safety.

KISS

Toaster
June 5, 2011, 11:39 AM
Some of you High Roaders would make brilliant politicians. Revise the Four Rules into a list of 2800 rules with the foregone conclusion that guns are just too darn dangerous for anyone to own for any reason....:banghead:

MartinS
June 5, 2011, 12:26 PM
I couldn't say how many times I've rephrased these rules for kids and this wording, for kids, is absurd:
"NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY."
The rules themselves are simple, Cooper's writing style is willfully obscure.

Loosedhorse
June 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
If one cannot interpolate and understand the rules as written, perhaps they should not be using guns in the first place.Or, if one cannot come up with rules that are actually true as written--all guns are demonstrably NOT always loaded--perhaps one shouldn't be using English in the first place. ;) Too bad he's not around to "discuss" this with you guys .... Yes, too bad for all of us that he's gone. R.I.P. But if you're implying he would have "persuaded" those who disagree with him by insulting them, well, then I'm not sure you're honoring his memory.

And make sure you direct some of that righteous fury at the NRA, and all its certified instructors. The NRA doesn't even list Cooper's Rule 1. I guess they don't know anything about safety, either--funny that Cooper didn't set them straight, isn't it?

Cooper was a great teacher, but there are many paths. Rule 1 has its strong points and its weaknesses. Back on topic: as I said earleir, I have little complaint about Rule 2. But every once in a while I come across some guy who opines that Rule 2 forbids the use of a horizontal-carry shoulder holster, so, again, its meaning is not immediately clear to everyone.

ZeSpectre
June 5, 2011, 12:45 PM
Basically I use these four simple to memorize items....

1) Assume all firearms are loaded
2) Keep your finger off the trigger
3) Muzzle discipline
4) Know your target and what is beyond.

Each of them can and should be covered in more detail but the "memory trigger" part needs to stay simple.

dirtykid
June 5, 2011, 01:06 PM
For kids espically, ya gotta keep it simple, so i made my our familys the rule of "ANNA"
1) A lways treat every gun as if it's loaded
2) N ever point the barrell at anything you dont want to kill
3) N ever put your finger on the trigger until your sight-picture is on target
4) A lways know your target and what lies beyond,
Then as i was training them in proper weapon-handling, whenever a potential violation of said rules was occuring or was about to occur i would just simply start chanting "Anna",Anna,Anna,, (The volume and intensity would increase as did the potential violation,, I sometimes throw out the question randomly during supper, or while their playing x-box, Tell me about ANNA, All 3 of them know it now

Old krow
June 5, 2011, 01:34 PM
If one cannot interpolate and understand the rules as written, perhaps they should not be using guns in the first place.

Well said.

The rules themselves are simple, Cooper's writing style is willfully obscure.

Again, well said.

You guys do realize that they are General Rules to follow? They apply in most cases, when they do not, you stop to consider why they do not apply. Most of you obviously have thought about it. That was the intent. Did it not work properly?

Frank Ettin
June 5, 2011, 09:42 PM
http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l142/fiddletown_2006/Random%20for%20boards/IMG_0944.jpg

The Four Rules don't have to prove themselves. Their utility has been well established. They have been in use for a lot or years, and they seem to work just fine. They have the great benefit, for teaching purposes, that they are short, direct, to the point, and easy to remember. Every so often someone wants to come along and change them, but nothing else really has anything like the successful track record of The Four Rules.

Remember that they are first and foremost rules for safe gun handling. If a gun is in a holster, it's not being handled. If it's in your safe, it's not being handled. If it's in a case, it's not being handled.

Those of us who have trained with the Rules, and teach with them, understand them as safe handling rules. We know and teach their proper application and context. So --

If you hand me a gun, don't bother telling me it's not loaded. Because I follow Rule One, I won't believe you and will personally verify/clear the gun.

If I criticize you for pointing a gun at me, my spouse, my cat, or anyone/anything else I value, don't bother trying to excuse yourself by telling me that it's not loaded.

If your gun fires when you didn't intend it to, don't bother trying to explain yourself by saying anything like, "I didn't think it was loaded." You should have understood that under Rule One since it is a gun it is loaded, and you should have conducted yourself accordingly.

And wherever you are, if your gun is in your hand, you jolly well need to find a safe direction for your muzzle until you've actually got something to shoot at, and you're about to be shooting at it.

And if you're not actually shooting, your finger needs to be off the trigger, whether you're using your sights or not.

And you need to know your target and what's behind it even in a self defense situation. No one is going to pat you on the back and tell you what a splendid fellow you are for wasting poor old Mrs. Smith when trying to avoid getting mugged yourself. (If you ever have a chance to train with Louis Awerbuck, he will have you engaging targets with "non-combatants" in front of behind the "BG" target. It will be up to you to move or place your shots (or in his moving target class, time your shot) to avoid hitting a non-combatant.)

Jeff Cooper insisted, and the way Rule One is stated at Gunsite and most other schools and by the many instructors who were influenced by Cooper and Gunsite, it is simply, "All guns are always loaded." When one merely treats a gun as if it were loaded, or pretends that the gun is loaded, one mentally admits the possibility that it is not actually loaded. That invites sloppiness and carelessness.

People complain about Rule One. They say that they know there are unloaded guns. But the The Four Rules are rules of gun handling and intended to avoid injury. So as far as I'm concerned, when I pick up a gun, there is no such thing as an unloaded gun, and I conduct myself accordingly.

So what do you do if you have a gun in your hand and you don't want it to be loaded? Well you clear it, of course. So that's what you would do if, for example, you wanted to dissemble if for cleaning or enclose/lock it in a case for legal transportation if the law requires that the gun be unloaded. But while the gun is in your hand you still follow Rules Two, Three and Four. And if the gun is out of your control, Rule One again applies -- so you conduct yourself accordingly and personally verify/clear it if you don't want it to be loaded. (And of course anyone one who uses a gun for practical applications, such as hunting or self defense, in any case needs to be able to handle a loaded gun properly.)

One may choose to quibble with the Four Rule, but they have still been around for a long time, are ubiquitous and have been shown to be very effective for teaching and promoting gun safety.

1911Tuner
June 5, 2011, 10:20 PM
I've reworded all of them.

Yes. It's loaded. If you tell me that it's not loaded, I won't believe you. If I tell you that it's not loaded...don't believe me, either. Verify.

Don't point it at anything that can't be replaced with money. Especially, don't point it at me. I don't care if it's not loaded and the safety is on. If you point it at me, I won't be kind.

Don't pull the trigger unless you want to shoot a hole in something.

Know what is behind your target so you won't shoot something that you don't want a hole in while making a hole in something that you do.

Win1892
June 5, 2011, 10:30 PM
Reading this thread is like watching C-Span

Carl N. Brown
June 5, 2011, 10:46 PM
Cooper's 4 Rules are Cooper's rules they way he expressed them and work for a lot of folks. Rewording Cooper's rules for yourself helps you exercise your understanding. I've done myself.
Danger awareness: Treat all guns with the respect due loaded lethal weapons.
Muzzle discipline: Never let the muzzle sweep anyone or anything you would not want destroyed.
Trigger discipline: Finger off the trigger unless the sights are on an intended target.
Situational awareness: Clearly identify the target and surroundings in line of fire.

MistWolf
June 6, 2011, 07:51 AM
...re-write them so they actually say what they mean. That way, no studying to figure out what's "implied" would be needed.

Of course, YMMV--and apparently does. :DBTW, I like your re-write of Rule 2. Well done! ...;)
Actually, I was just paraphrasing the Four Rules, not re-writing them. I wrote the post as if the Four Rules were in a quote, but I didn't check off the quote box

kingcheese
June 6, 2011, 10:47 AM
reward it to say, dont be a moron, i think that pretty well covers it

gbw
June 6, 2011, 11:13 AM
To me the 4 Rules are fine as written, and if re-wording helps then whatever works.

Gun shows are a problem - in that case it is the intent of the exhibitors and the patrons that many many guns get handled, unholstered, in very crowded circumstances, by the general public. It's almost a guaranteed accident.

I don't know the complete answer - I try hard to follow the 4 rules, but I know perfectly well the dufus next to me either never heard of them or believes they apply to everyone else.

This year at a show, at a table an old man had back in a corner, I picked up a nice old .22 auto, a small DA type. Removed magazine - full. Owner saw it and nearly had stroke. He retracted the slide - out jumped cartridge. (This show required 'strapping' all actions. For whatever reason this gun was not, I don't recall about his others.)

I almost felt sorry for the idiot. Some sob story about his son must have had it out shooting recently. Suggested he check the rest of his guns and got away from him.

J-Bar
June 6, 2011, 11:47 AM
There is a very old .45 caliber hole in my workbench to remind me about rule #1. Fortunately I don't violate Rule #2. The multiple layers of safety are there for a reason.

Nothing needs to change.

Talin342
June 6, 2011, 12:24 PM
Rule #1 - Cardio
Rule #2 - Double Tap

...sorry I had to.

youngda9
June 6, 2011, 12:34 PM
It't the SPIRIT of the rules people. It amazes me how much hand wringing goes on over such things(and I didn't make it through all the posts). Do your best to follow them and you'll be safe. Understand what they are trying to convey. That's all that's needed.

hermannr
June 6, 2011, 01:43 PM
The Rules are very useful as they are. They were designed to be simple and easy to remember. Extra explainations came be made, but the rules should be memorized as written.

I think there are a lot of people on this board that have had malfunctions that just reinforce this. I know I have, especially with older used weapons.

When I was in Vietnam; in front of every building was a 105mm canister filled with sand. Procedure was, remove magazine, rack two times, point into the canister, pull trigger, then enter the building. You would be surprised how many weapons went "bang" into those canisters.

GEM
June 6, 2011, 01:53 PM
They are simply strongly worded mnemoic devices to point out realms of difficulty. Obviously, it is physically impossible for some of them to be true in all cases.

Most of us realize that and don't have a tizzy about it. Yes, there are other wordings but these get the ideas across. Big whoop to point out that guns aren't always loaded, etc.

Shawn Dodson
June 6, 2011, 01:56 PM
I teach - "Always point the muzzle in the direction of least danger and risk."

Why? Because, with few exceptions, whenever you handle a firearm you cannot help to point it at something you do not intend to destroy or damage, therefore you point it in the safest direction given your immediate circumstances.

Searcher4851
June 6, 2011, 01:57 PM
Seems like there are a lot of budding lawyers and politicians posting on this one with all the nit pickin over every single word. The rules seem pretty clear, and perhaps anyone that can't understand the meaning of them shouldn't be handling a weapon in the first place. Seems like they're reading "the rules" the same way some of the politicos read the second amendment. Clear and simple just ain't good enough for some folks. (too much 'book readin knowledge' and not enough common sense)
But pay no attention to me, I have no opinion. lol

gbw
June 6, 2011, 02:27 PM
Rifleman used to run this, or perhaps it was in an ad by one of the mfg's. Anyhow, this fellow pretty well nailed it - in 1902. Not a stretch to get from this to the 4-Rules. (Apologies if someone posted it earlier).

----------------------------------------------

If a sportsman true you'd be
Listen carefully to me. . .

Never, never let your gun
Pointed be at anyone.
That it may unloaded be
Matters not the least to me.

When a hedge or fence you cross
Though of time it cause a loss
From your gun the cartridge take
For the greater safety's sake.

If twixt you and neighbouring gun
Bird shall fly or beast may run
Let this maxim ere be thine
"Follow not across the line."

Stops and beaters oft unseen
Lurk behind some leafy screen.
Calm and steady always be
"Never shoot where you can't see."


You may kill or you may miss
But at all times think this:
"All the pheasants ever bred
Won't repay for one man dead."

Mark Beaufoy - 1902

Justin
June 6, 2011, 07:23 PM
It's very easy to get overly pedantic about literally interpreting the rules of safe gun handling.

The bottom line is this:

The four rules are written as they are in order to be short, succinct, and indelible in your mind.

Do you have to bend or violate those rules in order to do things like holster a gun, dry fire, or clean it?

Yes.

But if those rules are in the forefront of your brain while engaging in those activities, you are going to be much more mindful of what you're doing, and ensure that you are indeed doing the correct thing.

If you're going to find a way to improve the four rules, do it by finding a way to make them even shorter and more memorable while imbuing them with even more meaning rather than going "I have to points ma gun at the wall and I don't want to shoot that HURRRRRRR."

Walkalong
June 6, 2011, 08:52 PM
Best reply yet.

JerryM
June 6, 2011, 09:11 PM
I don't think rule 2 is worded very well. Everyone who does dry firing, and practices drawing at home points the muzzle at a lot of things we are not willing to destroy.

Regards,
Jerry

Legionnaire
June 6, 2011, 09:15 PM
I liked Cooper. I liked the way he pontificated. His four rules are great. I didn't find them "user friendly" enough when teaching kids in hunter safety classes. For that application and for my own kids, I modified the rules thusly:

1. Treat every gun as if it's loaded.
2. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
3. Keep your finger off the triger until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.

I could introduce you to a lot of young people who can recite this version of the four rules. Same content as Cooper's; just not as polemical.

Frank Ettin
June 6, 2011, 09:34 PM
...Everyone who does dry firing, and practices drawing at home points the muzzle at a lot of things we are not willing to destroy.Nope, I don't. I'm very careful where at home I do my dry practice and avoid violating Rule Two. The people I know handle it the same way.

Owen Sparks
June 6, 2011, 09:38 PM
1. Treat every gun as if it's loaded.
2. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
3. Keep your finger off the triger until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.

PERFECT!

I started this thread and I hope this ends it.

murf
June 6, 2011, 09:47 PM
no. the rule is good as is. it makes you decide what you are willing and not willing to destroy. remember, the weapon is always loaded. since the weapon can discharge at any time, and usually destroys anything in front of it, you are bound by this rule of safety (and common sense) to cover only those things you are willing to destroy.

these four rules are really basic principals of firearm safety. they should be memorized and repeated every day, like we used to repeat the pledge of allegiance in school. we need to have these principals branded into our subconscious so we don't have to think about them, we will already know them when dealing with firearms.

i'll get off my soapbox now!

murf

Mainsail
June 6, 2011, 09:53 PM
Do you have to bend or violate those rules in order to do things like holster a gun, dry fire, or clean it?

Yes.

You aren't defining a rule but a suggestion. If you have a rule you knowingly and willingly violate then it isn't a rule at all, but merely a strong suggestion. That's why Rule 1 is "Treat all guns as though they are loaded until you have positively verified it is not. You still don't point it at anyone because of Rule 2. If you have half an ounce of common sense you re-verify it every time the gun leaves your hand and you pick it back up.

But to answer the OP's question, the "four rules" are actually "the four rules for handling firearms". Like Rule 1, it was shortened so that people of weak intellect could remember it.

There are a lot of paradigms when it comes to safely handling a firearm, unfortunately those paradigms have slipped to the point that nobody is willing to think for themselves. All anyone knows anymore are sound bites. "All guns are always loaded." "But what about the time you were dry firing it dad?" "Well son, daddy doesn't have to follow the rules, but you do." :rolleyes:

Mainsail
June 6, 2011, 09:57 PM
since the weapon can discharge at any time...

If this were actually true, or even possible, I wouldn't own a gun at all.

bigalexe
June 6, 2011, 10:42 PM
Here is the only change I would make:

1. Treat every gun as if it's loaded.
2. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
3. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.

The reason I suggest this is because I feel to new shooters is a much more clear way of saying "off the trigger". I came to this conclusion after spending a weekend being RSO for cub scouts (BB Guns), many of whom had never shot before. I decided that in the trigger guard behind the trigger, and any other variations of "off-trigger" didn't qualify as far as I was concerned.

Oh and on the topic of rule 2, I usually use my Television for dry-fire practice because it has a tiny LED on it that makes for a good target. I am not willing to destroy it because it costs too much but then I guess it's not too much harm done if it doesn't happen to become inoperable.

Owen Sparks
June 6, 2011, 10:43 PM
no. the rule is good as is. it makes you decide what you are willing and not willing to destroy. remember, the weapon is always loaded. since the weapon can discharge at any time, and usually destroys anything in front of it, you are bound by this rule of safety (and common sense) to cover only those things you are willing to destroy.

There is nothing in my home or vehicle that I am willing to "distroy" or even put a hole in.

I will take the lesser of two evils and point my pistol at the wall or floor before I point it at my foot or my wife. All guns are always pointed somewhere and usually it is a place where you do not want a hole. Just make sure that it is something that you can fix or replace and not a person or a dog.

Loosedhorse
June 6, 2011, 10:53 PM
3. Keep your finger off the triger until your sights are on the target.But what about when I point shoot? ;)I started this thread and I hope this ends it. The Mods may hear you soon.

Frank Ettin
June 6, 2011, 10:56 PM
...But what about when I point shoot?...Your sights are on target (or at least whatever the bullet is going to hit) whether you're looking at them or not.

Shawn Dodson
June 7, 2011, 12:41 PM
since the weapon can discharge at any time, and usually destroys anything in front of it, you are bound by this rule of safety (and common sense) to cover only those things you are willing to destroy.

How about those gun owners that live in apartment buildings or condos, where they're literally surrounded by neighbors upstairs, downstairs, next door, and across the hall? Which neighbor or neighbor's property should a gun owner be "willing to destroy" in the event of an ND or AD whenever he/she handles a firearm?

Frank Ettin
June 7, 2011, 01:18 PM
How about those gun owners that live in apartment buildings or condos, where they're literally surrounded by neighbors upstairs, downstairs, next door, and across the hall? Which neighbor or neighbor's property should a gun owner be "willing to destroy" in the event of an ND or AD whenever he/she handles a firearm? The short answer, of course, is 'none of them."

And that of course will call for a special, and perhaps creative, effort and heightened muzzle awareness. One place we lived had a brick facing on one exterior wall, so that would have been a "safe direction." Heavy furniture might also work. One might need to look carefully around his place and try to identify objects that would contain a bullet.

One might also have to consider one of the contraptions offered by these folks (http://www.safedirection.com/home.html).

But the bottom line is that if your gun fires unintentionally and you thus send a bullet flying through your neighbor's apartment, you will not get a "free pass" because you couldn't think of a safe direction to point your gun.

Justin
June 7, 2011, 01:34 PM
There is nothing in my home or vehicle that I am willing to "distroy" or even put a hole in.

If you dry fire, you have made a purposeful decision about what you're willing to destroy in the event of a negligent discharge.

Dry fire at the TV?

You have made a choice to destroy that television in case you ever ND. I rather like my 50 inch plasma, and couldn't afford to replace it, so I don't dry fire at it.

For this reason, I prefer to dry fire in my basement, facing a wall that doesn't have anything hanging on it. In the event that I screw up and have an ND, that wall will get a hole, but the round will be safely contained.

The four rules are all about indelibly instilling proper behavior, not splitting semantic hairs.

If this were actually true, or even possible, I wouldn't own a gun at all.

It is true, insofar as a tremendous number of negligent discharges with tragic outcomes are the result of someone screwing around with a gun that, after the event, they swear up and down was not loaded. If you assume the weapon is loaded at all times, you have prepped yourself for the worst case, and hopefully engaged in behavior that will help to mitigate that worst case if it ever comes to pass.

3. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.

This is probably a good suggestion, actually. Rather than telling the shooter what not to do, which can lead them to fixating on "trigger" you're telling them what the actual proper behavior should be.

One of the things that has always stuck with me from reading Lanny Basham's book is that the mind doesn't see a negative, and will tend to fixate on the x when told "don't engage in x behavior." His suggestion is that you should always phrase things so that you are told what the proper behavior is, which gives your mind something positive to fixate on.

How about those gun owners that live in apartment buildings or condos, where they're literally surrounded by neighbors upstairs, downstairs, next door, and across the hall? Which neighbor or neighbor's property should a gun owner be "willing to destroy" in the event of an ND or AD whenever he/she handles a firearm?

That's a choice that a person in that situation has to make, and it would behoove them to put some serious thought into just exactly what they're willing to do to mitigate tragedy in the event of an ND.

Ultravox
June 7, 2011, 01:41 PM
How about those gun owners that live in apartment buildings or condos, where they're literally surrounded by neighbors upstairs, downstairs, next door, and across the hall? Which neighbor or neighbor's property should a gun owner be "willing to destroy" in the event of an ND or AD whenever he/she handles a firearm?

The Cornered Cat (http://www.corneredcat.com/Practice/backstop.aspx) has some good advice about that. The end of a bookshelf full of books, a bucket of sand, a stack of phone books or magazines, etc.

You should be able to think something up that would work. There is no excuse not to.

Andrew Wyatt
June 7, 2011, 02:10 PM
I add a rule five.

"Go be a pedant somewhere else."

Pingy
June 7, 2011, 02:22 PM
I think the 4 rules we used in the Marines were simple and effective. We recited them every day when we went to the range before we were given our ammunition.

NAVMC 42 (Rev. 11-06)


Safety Rules

1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
2. Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.
3. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
4. Keep weapon on safe until you intend to fire.


I'm not going to address all "what if" scenarios. I'll just state this to cover them all. The 4 rules are written so that as long as any 1 rule is followed there is a very low probability of having an accident even if the other 3 are broken simultaneously. Not saying it isn't possible, too many creative "what if" scenarios people can think of to say that, but if you try your best to follow all 4 and you are physically unable to follow one of them. For example in the apartment building scenario, rule number 2 is very hard to follow, but the other 3 are still a very good defense against accidents reducing them to a very low possibility of happening. I'd go as far as to say you would be more likely to cause an accident on the interstate than have an incident in that scenario. That's just conjecture though.

Mainsail
June 7, 2011, 02:33 PM
since the weapon can discharge at any time...

If this were actually true, or even possible, I wouldn't own a gun at all.

Justin, the point I was responding to is the idea that cartridges can spontaneously combust and a weapon can ‘discharge at any time’. That is nonsense. The rules apply to the handling of firearms, not storage or holstered carry.

Old krow
June 7, 2011, 08:02 PM
Like Rule 1, it was shortened so that people of weak intellect could remember it.

Are there a lot of cases in which somebody who was abiding by the 4 rules as they stand today, followed all 4 and still had a negligent discharge that resulted in the life or injury of another human being? If not, we're arguing the semantics of a system that is achieving its objective. Is this something that we want to do to protect our rights? Protect human life? It seems to work as is.


I will take the lesser of two evils and point my pistol at the wall or floor before I point it at my foot or my wife.

That's a reasonable interpretation of that rule. If you aren't comfortable shooting at it, don't point at it. Whether it be a 50" plasma screen TV or your wife, or your foot, simply don't take a chance with it. If me putting a hole in my sheet rock, or risking shooting and hitting a neighbor in a surrounding townhouse are things that I cannot live with, then perhaps I shouldn't point a gun at it.

That's why Rule 1 is "Treat all guns as though they are loaded until you have positively verified it is not.

If you are on the range and you verify that your weapon is "unloaded" you are still the only person that can or has verified that. If you approach someone in the woods coming back from a hunting trip with an "unloaded" weapon it is still loaded to them. To anyone else, it IS a loaded weapon because they have not verified it. Would you trust me if I pointed a weapon at you telling you that the gun is unloaded? There's absolutely nothing wrong with rule 1. We're using precautions that are there to assume the highest level of danger or threat.

How many NDs were there last year? How many were with an "unloaded gun?" No offense to anyone that lost someone, but from the casualties that I personally know of, the "unloaded gun" accounted for more than a small percentage. If we had reworded the first, second, or any rule, would it have saved them or would it have still been disregarded?

Shawn Dodson
June 7, 2011, 11:45 PM
The most dangerous gun is an "unloaded gun."

Single Action Six
June 8, 2011, 12:33 AM
Ever since the 4 rules came out years ago, I've always disagreed with the word "DESTROY" being used.. but NOT what rule two was trying to portray. My thought was, why give the Anti's any more ammunition than what they have already.

Anti: "So, I understand you own firearms?"
Gunner: "Yes."
Anti: "I understand there are four rules you follow?"
Gunner: Yes we do."
Anti: Rule two says something about shooting and DESTROYING things?"
Gunner: "Right. Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to DESTROY!"
Anti: "So you vile gun owners just don't want to shoot at a target, but to DESTROY it!!"

Yep.. let's give the Anti's just that much more ammunition to shoot us in our foot with.

Single Action Six

Owen Sparks
June 8, 2011, 12:57 AM
Just say "Always keep the muzzel pointed in a safe direction." and leave it at that.

Justin
June 8, 2011, 12:59 AM
Ever since the 4 rules came out years ago, I've always disagreed with the word "DESTROY" being used.. but NOT what rule two was trying to portray. My thought was, why give the Anti's any more ammunition than what they have already.

Anti: "So, I understand you own firearms?"
Gunner: "Yes."
Anti: "I understand there are four rules you follow?"
Gunner: Yes we do."
Anti: Rule two says something about shooting and DESTROYING things?"
Gunner: "Right. Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to DESTROY!"
Anti: "So you vile gun owners just don't want to shoot at a target, but to DESTROY it!!"

Yep.. let's give the Anti's just that much more ammunition to shoot us in our foot with.


In my experience, anti-gun activists are too busy making things up out of thin air to actually take the time to research the gun culture and the various underpinnings that allow it to function safely. I really don't think this would be worth worrying about.

Frank Ettin
June 8, 2011, 01:18 AM
Single Action Six,

The Four Rules have been around for a long time, and I've never heard any anti come up with anything close. Have you? How about some evidence?

Flopsweat
June 8, 2011, 06:19 AM
With due respect to those with more time on this board than I (which would be almost all of you) let’s remember the purpose of the four rules. They do not stand by themselves. You would not hand a new shooter a sheet of paper with the four rules and a gun and then expect him/her to be safe. The four rules are intended to be a part of your training that you commit to memory. A lot of great points have been brought up here and that is exactly the kind of discussion that should happen during a proper training session, be it a formal or informal one. You can reword them to your heart’s content but they will still mean different things to different people. Heck, the NRA’s three rules mean the same thing and are just as effective. I will now dive for cover while the new (old) battle over Cooper vs. NRA rules ensues. ;-)

Single Action Six
June 8, 2011, 08:30 PM
Single Action Six,

The Four Rules have been around for a long time, and I've never heard any anti come up with anything close. Have you? How about some evidence?

I was just pointing out that the word DESTROY is, in my opinion, too strong of a word/term to use.. and gave a example of how the Anti's "could" use it against us.

Why not just say (as some here have said), "Never point a loaded firearm at anything you don't intend to shoot/fire at." It's simple, gets the point across and does it in a more gentle manner.

Also.. most targets one shoots at and hits aren't DESTROYED. Far from it. When you shoot steel plate, SASS, IPSC, etc., etc competition and you hit poppers, knockdowns, etc., have you DESTROYED them. Of course NOT. So why use a word that not only overly exaggerates what happens, but is not really truthful in itself?

As I said before.. I don't disagree with the point being made.. but how it's being done.

Thank You for your comment.

Single Action Six

rogertc1
June 8, 2011, 08:38 PM
Rule 2 used to be never point a gun at anything you don't want to kill.

Frank Ettin
June 8, 2011, 08:52 PM
...I was just pointing out that the word DESTROY is, in my opinion, too strong of a word/term to use.. and gave a example of how the Anti's "could" use it against us.

Why not just say (as some here have said), "Never point a loaded firearm at anything you don't intend to shoot/fire at." It's simple, gets the point across and does it in a more gentle manner.

Also.. most targets one shoots at and hits aren't DESTROYED. Far from it. When you shoot steel plate, SASS, IPSC, etc., etc competition and you hit poppers, knockdowns, etc., have you DESTROYED them....Yes, "destroy" is a very strong word. That's the point. If you point a gun at something, you might shoot it, and shooting something is not a trivial thing. The damage that can be caused can be profound. Shooting something is highly destructive.

To be sure, some things exist to be shot at -- like paper targets, poppers, etc. Shooting them might indeed not destroy them immediately, but if they are destroyed (and targets, poppers, etc., that get shot a lot are ultimately destroyed), it is of no consequence. That is the expected conclusion of their useful life.

But if you shoot at me, my cat or my wife, there is a real possibility that you will destroy me, my cat or my wife. Yes, we might survive, but we might not. And even if we do survive, there's a good chance we'll never be quite the same again. Getting shot certainly isn't going to do us any good.

So pointing a gun at something is indeed a very serious matter. If you're not willing to destroy that thing, you have no business pointing a gun at it.

I'm willing to destroy the target I set up at the range, or the popper at the IPSC match. The target will ultimately go into the trash, and the popper will become scrap.

But shooting my neighbors kid is highly likely to destroy her, and therefore I have no business pointing my gun at her.

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2011, 01:35 AM
...Why not just say (as some here have said), "Never point a loaded firearm at anything you don't intend to shoot/fire at." It's simple, gets the point across and does it in a more gentle manner....I just took another look at this, and must comment further.

You refer to a loaded gun. That is entirely inappropriate. We should not be pointing any gun at something we are not willing to destroy. One reason Rule One is formulated, "All guns are always loaded." is to avoid this sort of useless tautology. Among other things, if you point a gun at me, I don't know whether you've properly cleared or not.

And there's really no reason that the basic rules of safe gun handling should be "gentle." Guns are serious business. The damage they can do is substantial. Safe gun handling is nonnegotiable. Once a gun fires, the bullet will strike whatever the gun was pointed at, whether a bullseye on a target or the neighbor's kid; and once the gun fires, nothing will prevent that.

If you are handling a gun, you are absolutely responsible for assuring that gun does not go off unless it is your intention that it does and it is proper to shoot whatever you are pointing the gun at. If you are handling a gun, you are absolutely responsible for assuring that if the gun fires, the bullet doesn't hit anything that should not be shot.

Owen Sparks
June 9, 2011, 02:17 AM
Again, there are plenty of things that we must point loaded guns at that do not need to be shot. Holsters, floors, walls and just about anything in the interior of our homes and vehicles. The rule is relitive based on value. We avoid people and pets but sometimes let the muzzel cover things that we would rather not have a hole in like our cars dashboard to avoid pointing it at the things that can not be replaced like our feet. "Safe Direction" is a relitive term. "Anything that you are not willing to distroy" is not.

HorseSoldier
June 9, 2011, 02:24 AM
I was just pointing out that the word DESTROY is, in my opinion, too strong of a word/term to use.. and gave a example of how the Anti's "could" use it against us.

I think "destroy" is just barely extreme enough a word to convey the idea that you don't flag people and things with your muzzle. It barely captures the aversion people need to take away from the lesson -- and is more appropriate than "kill" because dead is pretty easy compared to losing a body part and living a long life afterwards because some idiot had a lapse of common sense and professionalism.

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2011, 02:32 AM
...The rule is relitive based on value. We avoid people and pets but sometimes let the muzzel cover things that we would rather not have a hole in like our cars dashboard to avoid pointing it at the things that can not be replaced like our feet. "Safe Direction" is a relitive term. "Anything that you are not willing to distroy" is not. I simply don't buy your rationale. Essentially, if you're going to point a gun at something, be sure you don't mind if it's destroyed, because if you wind up shooting unintentionally whatever you're pointing the gun at, that's the likely consequence. At least shooting it isn't going to do it any good.

So if you want to point the gun at the car's dashboard or floor or back seat, think about how happy you'd be if there were a bullet hole there. If you wouldn't be content to have a bullet hole there, maybe you need to try thinking of alternate ways in which to handle your gun.

We find that Rule Two as currently taught by us ("Never let the muzzle cover anything you're not willing to destroy) helps our students be very, very careful about where they point their guns. And that's the point of the Rule.

ZeroJunk
June 9, 2011, 05:01 AM
I have been shooting for 50 years and I missed the four rule deal until I started reading these forums. Logic and common sense worked fine.

I never allow the muzzle to point at another human, dog, my foot, and such.

But, if you took that rule litterally you couldn't even take a gun in your house.

45_auto
June 9, 2011, 07:57 AM
But, if you took that rule litterally you couldn't even take a gun in your house.

Why not?

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
June 9, 2011, 10:31 AM
Hey may be refering to living beings, not inanimate objects. My two cents.

The Bushmaster
June 9, 2011, 10:41 AM
"Over thinking" can be or is dangerous.

CajunBass
June 9, 2011, 11:11 AM
I suppose you can make any rules you want to. It's ok with me.

But, if you took that rule litterally you couldn't even take a gun in your house.

Why not?

Because anywhere you put the gun it's pointing at SOMETHING. Probably something you don't want to destroy (or shoot). The floor, the wall, the ceiling...and so on.

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2011, 11:24 AM
Because anywhere you put the gun it's pointing at SOMETHING....As mentioned earlier. These are rules for gun handling (i. e., when the gun is in your hand).

Justin
June 9, 2011, 01:10 PM
Again, there are plenty of things that we must point loaded guns at that do not need to be shot. Holsters, floors, walls and just about anything in the interior of our homes and vehicles. The rule is relitive based on value. We avoid people and pets but sometimes let the muzzel cover things that we would rather not have a hole in like our cars dashboard to avoid pointing it at the things that can not be replaced like our feet. "Safe Direction" is a relitive term. "Anything that you are not willing to distroy" is not.

If you allow your muzzle to cover it, you should be cognizant of the fact that the potentiality exists that you could put a hole in it. The clear implication is that, while handling a firearm, you must make the choice of what you're willing to put a hole in.

If the fact that Rule 2 makes you reconsider pointing a gun at, say, your tv, or the dashboard of your car, or whatever, then it has worked.

Why not just say (as some here have said), "Never point a loaded firearm at anything you don't intend to shoot/fire at." It's simple, gets the point across and does it in a more gentle manner.

Also.. most targets one shoots at and hits aren't DESTROYED. Far from it. When you shoot steel plate, SASS, IPSC, etc., etc competition and you hit poppers, knockdowns, etc., have you DESTROYED them. Of course NOT. So why use a word that not only overly exaggerates what happens, but is not really truthful in itself?

I see no reason to make the rules more gentle. Firearms are tools capable of immediate and irreversible dramatic action. No, a steel IPSC popper doesn't explode into a shower of fragments as if hit by a rocket launcher, but to criticize the rule for something like that is ridiculous, especially when you consider that the consequences of a negligent discharge can indeed destroy things, maybe not in a physical sense, but in a larger one. After all, it can be quite clearly argued that NDs have destroyed lives and families.

Just because your handgun doesn't cause things to explode like in a Hollywood movie doesn't mean it can't destroy something. A loved one with a bullet hole between their eyes is just as dead as if they were hit by an explosion.

Owen Sparks
June 9, 2011, 02:30 PM
My concern is that the "anything you don't want to destroy" version is so stringent that it is practically impossible to follow anywhere except on firing line at the range if taken literally. It worked fine in the Arizona desert where Cooper taught. At his school the other students stood behind you and there was nothing except targets and desert in front of you. This changes when it is time to get back in the car and go home as things are no longer as black and white.

This impossibly strict wording of this rule may lead some people to rationalize that the other 3 rules should not be followed to the letter either.

That is the part that bothers me.

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2011, 03:45 PM
My concern is that the "anything you don't want to destroy" version is so stringent that it is practically impossible to follow...

This impossibly strict wording of this rule may lead some people to rationalize that the other 3 rules should not be followed to the letter either. .. .[1] It's "willing to destroy" not "want to destroy." And that's correct. If you point a gun at something, you need to be willing to see that thing destroyed; because that's what is likely to happen to it if the gun fires. If you're not willing to see it ruined, don't point your gun there.

[2] As for people rationalizing it, or the other Rules, that hasn't been a problem IME.

HorseSoldier
June 9, 2011, 06:19 PM
My concern is that the "anything you don't want to destroy" version is so stringent that it is practically impossible to follow anywhere except on firing line at the range if taken literally.

It should be taken literally when you have a weapon in your hand. Anything you are flagging can potentially be destroyed, killed, or irreparably damaged. The rule means you have to first have the situational awareness to keep your muzzle pointed somewhere safe, or in some cases pick the least bad option available to you. And it means you have to accept responsibility for having an instrument with potentially life changing/ruining consequences in your hand.

If you're not able to work through the responsibility inherent to the carry and use of arms the answer is not to rewrite the rules to reduce the burden of responsibility. The answer is to take a harder look at whether you are mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with the consequences of possessing and carrying a tool with the potential to kill, maim, and destroy through both intentional and unintentional/accidental actions.

ZeroJunk
June 9, 2011, 06:42 PM
It's hard to carry a pistol without it being pointed at some part of you some time.

GLOOB
June 9, 2011, 06:46 PM
The only time my CCW is pointed at any part of my body is when I put my hand in my front pocket. I personally try to avoid carrying in a way that leaves the muzzle pointing at myself or other people. This is mostly dangerous when holstering/unholstering.

It's not that hard to do. You can even do crossdraw without sweeping. It just depends on your muzzle cant and presentation/holstering technique.

But I agree that rule 2 is meant for whenever you have a gun in your hand, not in a holster. Nothing wrong with the way it's written.

For instance, if you were living in a glass bubble in space, then you shouldn't be handling a firearm, period. Most of us can live by that rule and still be able to handle a firearm.

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2011, 06:51 PM
It's hard to carry a pistol without it being pointed at some part of you some time.Again, the Four Rules are for gun handling. A gun in the holster not being handled is another matter. See post 39.

Taurus 66
June 9, 2011, 07:18 PM
IMHO, the rule should continue to stand how it is stated. The word "destroy" covers the potential destruction of life or property. If you use the sentence, "Don't point your muzzle at anything you do not intend to kill." implies it's okay to point it towards someone's $120,000 Corvette ZR1 or something, or point it towards their even cheaper house (while currently occupied of course).

Don't fix something that isn't broke! This cycle of always trying to make better of something which currently exists is what got us all in trouble in the first place! Those who were before us were no dummies!

There are lawyers and politicians out there who think they can rewrite the 2nd Amendment to make it sound better (more snappier) than it already is ... imagine that ... but beware.

Four Knives
June 9, 2011, 07:24 PM
IMO Rule 3 needs to be changed:

Keep your finger OUT OF THE TRIGGER GUARD, until your sights are on target and you intend to fire.

ZeroJunk
June 9, 2011, 09:20 PM
I doubt anybody misses the point of any of these rules.

Loosedhorse
June 10, 2011, 01:14 PM
Are there a lot of cases in which somebody who was abiding by the 4 rules as they stand today, followed all 4 and still had a negligent discharge that resulted in the life or injury of another human being? If not, we're arguing the semantics of a system that is achieving its objective.I think an alternative question is, "How many people who had NDs were aware of the 4 Rules?" That really goes to their effectiveness.

Some of us are saying the the 4 Rules are intuitive, simple, easy to remember, etc. Others are saying things like the Rules don't really apply to this activity, or that activity. So, how intuitive are they, if they give many people the impression that they don't apply in some situations? How effective are they if people who know them still have NDs?

A repeated theme in this thread goes something like, "Every time you pick up a gun--unless you need to shoot it NOW--check to see if it is loaded. If you put it down and pick it up again 10 seconds later, check it again." I personally think that's a VERY important rule, but it isn't stated anywhere in the 4 Rules. I'm being told that it's "implied" by Rule 1.

How obvious is that?

45_auto
June 10, 2011, 01:43 PM
How obvious is that?

Seems pretty obvious to me.

If all guns are always loaded, why wouldn't you check it every time you pick it up?

It doesn't say "All guns are always loaded unless you think they aren't or are pretty sure that they might not be".

Frank Ettin
June 10, 2011, 01:47 PM
...I personally think that's a VERY important rule, but it isn't stated anywhere in the 4 Rules. I'm being told that it's "implied" by Rule 1.

How obvious is that? One of the goals in formulating the Four Rules as they have been was to have a small group of short, easily remembered rules for safe gun handling. The Rules are most often in basic classes taught through an expanded discussion of safety, but as short, easily remembered statements, the Rule can help people recall the more extended discussion.

Now you might think the Four Rules are deficient and leave too much out. So here's a challenge:

Rewrite the Rules of Safe Gun Handling to avoid and eliminate the various deficiencies identified.
The revision should be no fewer than three rules nor more than five.
The rules should be simple, direct, straight forward, actionable and unequivocal.
Each of the new rules should contain no more than 20 words (that over 50% more words than the longest of the Four Rules in the formulation now posted at Gunsite. (see post 39)).

Let's see what you can come up with.

Loosedhorse
June 10, 2011, 05:02 PM
Let's see what you can come up with.Well, several here have talked about the modifications they use. Changing Rule 2 to a positive, for example: "Always point the muzzle of a handled, closed-action gun at a safe backstop." This modification makes clear that guns in a holster or case, and guns with the action locked open can be pointed differently. I have, for example, looked down the barrel of a revolver to check its bore with the action open, and this wording makes clear I haven't violated the rule by doing so.

As to our "missing rule" about checking if a handled gun is loaded, I might say, "Unless you must shoot immediately, always check the loaded status of any gun as soon as you pick it up." (Thanks for the 20 words!) Of course if I wanted to emulate Cooper's enigmatic style, I might say:

"All guns can load or unload themselves." That (to me) is "no more untrue" than the current Rule 1, and more clearly implies you'd better check what that rascal's been up to lately! :D

HorseSoldier
June 10, 2011, 05:24 PM
Changing Rule 2 to a positive, for example: "Always point the muzzle of a handled, closed-action gun at a safe backstop."

That's not always possible if you're talking about rules that apply to using firearms in the real world. Sometimes the thing or person you're willing to destroy is the only backstop you get. Sometimes you have to take the least poor option and accept the potential consequences of mistakes on your part.

And it absolutely misses the point of attaching responsibility for the consequences of poor handling to the individual.

Cooper wasn't writing rules for range practices. He was writing rules for the safe and professional use of arms by soldiers, cops, hunters, etc.

Frank Ettin
June 10, 2011, 05:34 PM
...Changing Rule 2 to a positive, for example: "Always point the muzzle of a handled, closed-action gun at a safe backstop."...What does "closed action" mean for a revolver? What is a safe backstop? Perhaps your TV or your grandmother's favorite hutch will stop a bullet.

..."Unless you must shoot immediately, always check the loaded status of any gun as soon as you pick it up."...If you must shoot immediately, are you sure there really is a round chambered.

And I'm afraid that your rules fail the "simple, direct, straight forward, actionable and unequivocal" test. They have internal qualifications and conditions.

...Cooper's enigmatic style,...Nothing enigmatic about Cooper's writing. It's succinct and to the point.

All guns are always loaded.

That's a gun, so it's loaded. Handle it accordingly.


Never let the muzzle cover something you're not willing to destroy.

If you aren't willing to see a hole in it, don't point your gun there.


Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.

Don't touch the trigger until you're on target.


Always be sure of your target.

If you don't know what it is, don't be shooting it.

All short and to the point -- saying what needs to be said and no more.

Justin
June 10, 2011, 05:50 PM
This modification makes clear that guns in a holster or case, and guns with the action locked open can be pointed differently.

EPIC FAIL.

If you imply that it's ok to point a gun with an action that is locked open anywhere at all (including people, pets, or expensive property) you are creating an inbuilt bad habit where people end up pointing guns where they shouldn't be.

If you get used to pointing a gun with an opened action at other people, it's a much smaller step to pointing one with a closed action, rather than firmly and directly stating that a gun should not be pointed at such things ever, no matter the condition.

I don't care if the action is locked open or not. If you point a gun at me, I'm going to get bent out of shape about it.

Buzzard
June 10, 2011, 06:20 PM
The version that I've been using for about a decade....


It is loaded until you prove otherwise

If you don't want a hole in it, don't point the weapon at it

Your finger stays clear of the trigger until the moment you want to fire

Beware of your target and what is beyond it, not merely behind it

Loosedhorse
June 10, 2011, 09:00 PM
What does "closed action" mean for a revolver? It means "closed action." (The cylinder is part of the action, big guy! :D)If you must shoot immediately, are you sure there really is a round chambered.Oh, you'll find out soon enough when you pull the trigger--it's actually a pretty good way of checking if a gun is loaded. ;) If you've got a guy with a knife coming at you, and you want to do a chamber-check, be my guest. Me, I'd go with draw/aim/press.All guns are always loaded.It's a false statement, and it's a fundamental safety rule! Not an enigma to you, but to some, it is puzzling.:D If you imply that it's ok to point a gun with an action that is locked open anywhere at allSo, it's okay to point that barrel at my eye--just not anywhere dangerous...
I don't care if the action is locked open or not. If you point a gun at me, I'm going to get bent out of shape about it.EPIC MAD! Hey, that's fine. You'd fit right in at some gun stores, where they never cross anyone. :rolleyes:

If it's just a disassembled frame, can I point it at you then? ;)

Cosmoline
June 10, 2011, 09:06 PM
then how does one clean their gun?

Because when you clean it, you should have it broken down sufficiently to safely do so. In that condition it is NO LONGER a "firearm" in the sense of the rule. If you just casually start cleaning you may be breaking the rule, and this has been a problem before. That's why each firearm type has a standard cleaning regime that includes making it safe and often breaking it partly down. So for a bolt action, you unload it and pull the bolt. With a levergun at least the lever should be fully opened, and I prefer to disassemble it enough to run a patch from the receiver end. For handguns (where the real threat is) you must remove the mag or cartridges and for autos pop the slide and barrel off before you clean.

-Cleaning. It's unloaded, so it's safe. Exception? No. Anything that teaches your brain a firearm is safe and it's ok to ignore safe handling is setting you up for failure.

Then you'd never be able to clean any firearm. Let alone do smithing work on them. I think the answer is to follow the accepted protocols for the firearm in question to render it safe for cleaning.

And you have to remember the rules were dealing with modern firearms. Different rules apply to muzzleloaders, since parts of your body must cover the barrel in order to load the things and clean them. But those predate Cooper and predate modern firearms. They have different safety protocols and procedures which you must learn.

Also, if a firearm is secured in a holster it can "sweep" any number of things without violating the rules. You don't have it in hand, and it's secured.

Frank Ettin
June 10, 2011, 09:46 PM
What does "closed action" mean for a revolver?
It means "closed action." (The cylinder is part of the action, big guy! )And when is the last time you referred to a DA revolver with the cylinder swung open as having an open action? And when is the last time you referred to a single action revolver with the loading gate open as having an open action?

In general, it's very rare to use this terminology with respect to revolvers, so relying on such uncommon terminology in a safety rule is confusing and thus ludicrous.

Furthermore, how is a single action revolver with its loading gate open safe to point at other than a safe backstop (or safe to point at things you're unwilling to destroy)? You may not be able to fire a stock Ruger with its loading gate open.But you can sure fire a Colt SAA (or clone) with its loading gate open.


If you must shoot immediately, are you sure there really is a round chambered.
Oh, you'll find out soon enough when you pull the trigger--it's actually a pretty good way of checking if a gun is loaded. If you've got a guy with a knife coming at you, and you want to do a chamber-check, be my guest. Me, I'd go with draw/aim/press.Further confusion. In the Gunsite formulation, the safety rule has nothing to do with whether you're going to shoot right now. Indeed it has nothing to do with what you're planning to do.

It's simple. That's a gun. You therefore are expected to know that it's loaded and handle it accordingly.

Now, we also train that if you're preparing to shoot an exercise or course of fire in competition, or if you're gearing up for a day in the outside world, SOP is to do a chamber check -- just to make absolutely sure.


All guns are always loaded.
It's a false statement, and it's a fundamental safety rule! Not an enigma to you, but to some, it is puzzling.It's a rule of safe gun handling. It's purpose is to help assure that you don't go and shoot things that ought not be shot, especially with a gun you thought wasn't loaded but actually was. As long as you know the gun is loaded and you deal with it accordingly, you should not wind up shooting things with it by mistake.

Loosedhorse
June 10, 2011, 10:09 PM
And when is the last time you referred to a DA revolver with the cylinder swung open as having an open action?Every time I handle one. Obviously, your words are different. And that's a problem for the rule. Freely admitted.it's very rare to use this terminology with respect to revolversIf you say so, I believe it. But to me, it is common, accurate and clear.

It would be less clear with regard to SA revolvers--a true problem.SOP is to do a chamber check -- just to make absolutely sure.But not if you're doing an emergency draw to shoot immediately. Further confusion.It's a rule of safe gun handling. Yes, it is, as I said. And a false statement.It's purpose is to help assureI know what its purpose is. I'm not sure that's always its effect. Its effect is often to confuse, or worse to convince the student that the 4 Rules aren't really rules.Because when you clean it, you should have it broken down sufficiently to safely do so.I take it, then, I am supposed to remove the front sideplate screw and cylinder from my DA revolvers before I clean them, so they're "broken down enough?" It is a pity that neither the SW manual nor the NRA basic pistol course informed me of that.

Or does Rule 2 not apply to revolver cleaning?

robMaine
June 10, 2011, 10:10 PM
Everyone who says "If you don't want a hole in it, don't point a gun at it, it is that simple" is lying to us and themselves. It is impossible to handle guns without pointing them at something you don't explicitly want a hole in. I don't want a hole in my floor, but guess where I point my EDC when I am handling it in my home.

I am fine with the Rules as guidelines but don't state them as these super serious rules when there are obviously exceptions. A rule implies it should never be broken, if there are times it is ok to break, guess what, it isn't a rule.

Frank Ettin
June 10, 2011, 10:34 PM
And when is the last time you referred to a DA revolver with the cylinder swung open as having an open action?
Every time I handle one. Obviously, your words are different. And that's a problem for the rule. Freely admitted.And I don't recall ever doing so. Nor do I recall anyone else. Common terminology with a DA revolver is "open the cylinder."

It would be less clear with regard to SA revolvers--a true problem.And a pretty significant problem it is too. So that pretty much blows away the universality of your proposed revised rule two.


SOP is to do a chamber check -- just to make absolutely sure.
But not if you're doing an emergency draw to shoot immediately. Further confusion.
But you left out what I wrote about, "...if you're gearing up for a day in the outside world...". If you're out and about and need to draw your gun in an emergency, you had already done your chamber check when you started your day.


It's [Rule One} a rule of safe gun handling.
Yes, it is, as I said. And a false statement.It's purpose is to promote safe gun handling not deal with questions of existential reality.

It's purpose is to help assure
I know what its purpose is. I'm not sure that's always its effect.It will always have its effect as long as one conducts himself in accordance with it. It has also been around for a long time, and you haven't come up with anything that is likely to accomplish its purpose better.

Everyone who says "If you don't want a hole in it, don't point a gun at it, it is that simple" is lying to us and themselves. It is impossible to handle guns without pointing them at something you don't explicitly want a hole in....As pointed out earlier, the word is not "want." Rule Two as properly formulated is, "Never let the muzzle cover something you're not willing to destroy." (emphasis added)

And that is indeed accurate. Anything you point a gun at may be destroyed, and will certainly have a hole in it, if the gun fires. So you better make some choices. If you're not willing to see a hole one place, you better find some place where you'd be more willing to see a hole.

Destroying something is a risk you take when you point a gun at it. If you're not willing to see a particular thing destroyed, you need to find some place else, preferably someplace you care less about, to point the gun.

Loosedhorse
June 10, 2011, 10:49 PM
If you're out and about and need to draw your gun in an emergency, you had already done your chamber check when you started your day.So, you are saying that if I need to draw my gun and I do have time for a chamber check, I shouldn't do it because I did it this morning? Disagree.It's purpose is to promote safe gun handling not deal with questions of existential realityFixed it. ;)you haven't come up with anything that is likely to accomplish its purpose better.Well, if what I use is easier to understand, I actually think that will accomplish the purpose better. YMV.

Frank Ettin
June 10, 2011, 10:53 PM
It's purpose is to promote safe gun handling not deal with questions of existential reality
Fixed it.You may disagree, but you are not authorized to change my copy. Don't do it.

ElvinWarrior
June 10, 2011, 10:58 PM
It seems that words are our greatest enemies at times.

I am reminded of Bill Clinton's statement during his presidential sex scandal.

"I did not have sex with that woman."

Well, by common intrepretation he did, but by his modified intrepration of the word "sex", he didn't, according to him.

Sincerely

ElvinWarrior... aka.. David, "EW"

Bonesinium
June 10, 2011, 11:14 PM
The version that I've been using for about a decade....
Perfect. I like that.

HorseSoldier
June 11, 2011, 12:25 AM
So, you are saying that if I need to draw my gun and I do have time for a chamber check, I shouldn't do it because I did it this morning? Disagree.

I press check my weapon before going on shift, before going on patrol, before leaving the house CCW'ing or whatever. If I maintain possession of my weapon and have not altered its condition, what possible reason would I have to worry that it's condition had changed from what I had put it at when I made it ready?

Weapon goes out of my possession (which would almost always mean cleared and locked anyway), it gets put back how I want it or status verified before I recommence carrying, etc.

Press checking unnecessarily is pointless and a waste of time if you have faith in your own competence.

Loosedhorse
June 11, 2011, 08:55 AM
Don't do it.Or what? Geez, put a smiley on it, or sue me. You made a silly comment, and I riposted. Using a strike face so it would be clear what you had said, and what I had changed. Politely. On a discussion forum.

Well guys, I guess when someone resorts to "ordering" discussants about what they can and can't do--including vague implied threats from a lawyer about the consequences of "unauthorized actions"--honestly fiddle, that's beneath you--the good-natured discussion is over (at least for that poster).

Let me just say that, other than that, I've enjoyed the discussion. I've brought this topic up before, and it has devolved into "you're an idiot" and "you're unsafe--your goinng to get someone killed." That didn't happen here, and I thank you all.

After sleeping on it, this thread can be sumarized below, IMHO:

I think Rule 2 and the 4 Rules could be improved.

What do you mean?

Well, they're not worded idealy, they have to be explained, I think we can do better if we try.

Give me an example.

Well, try this one here.

That'll never work. It's got this problem and this problem.

True. But the 4 Rules have problems.

No, they don't.

OR

So what? They've been around a long time. Even though other rules have been around longer.

OR

They were written by Col. Cooper. [Llyoyd Bentsen arrives.] I met Col. Cooper, and, member, you're no Col. Cooper.

OR

I disagree.

That last one, I respect--and it even puts this on the plane where it belongs, individual opinion. The other responses give absolute authority to "oldness"--but a very specific oldness--or to a great teacher, who's style is not for everyone; or simply claim perfection.

(Perhaps I should apologize to Mr. Bentsen's memory. I don't think I was authorized to change his quote. :rolleyes:)

Meanwhile, there's been a side discussion of folks sharing their (very good to excellent) variations.

In any case, thanks, everyone. I've enjoyed the suggestions and the critiques. Just not the orders and veiled threats.
Press checking unnecessarily is pointless and a waste of time if you have faith in your own competence.I would have phrased it "...if the gun is always actually loaded when you think it is." But of course, I'm not authorized to change that. ;)

Keeping your phrase as is: Yes, I do not have enough faith in my competence to assume a gun is loaded when I need it to be (unless, in a shoot-it-now emergency, I'm forced to), or to assume it is unloaded when I need it to be (and I know of no emergency need of an unloaded gun). You may suppose my humility on these points is a fault.

AZ Hawkeye
June 11, 2011, 09:24 AM
You will really like this post by Gabe Suarez. He wrote it back in 2004.

Control Your Muzzle - The Firing Line (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148014)

"Don't Let the Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy".

Let's keep an open mind boys and girls. Is this a ALWAYS viable tactical safety principle? Now before you raise your voices and fists and get the heretic-burning-kit open, hear me out.

First of all, I am not in the business of teaching lowest common denominator shooters, police academy conscripts, or low dedication folks. I have nothing against training them and think they should be taught sound basics. But I also believe that limiting high end shooters to white-belt techniques because that is all a particular trainer has the knowledge to teach is not only a disservice to everyone, but holds the art back in the dark ages.

Thus the focus of Suarez International courses is to teach everyone to their level. Advanced shooters (such as those who attend our Close Range Gunfighting and Interactive Gunfight Tactics) need more than what the grandma with the S&W Ladysmith gets.

Now about the muzzle. Do innocent people get covered with gun muzzles in gunfights? Certainly they do. Its a fact of life and those who say "no" haven't been in too many gunfights. Gunfights are not safe clinical events like we see in a classic shooting class "shoot house" drill. Rather, they are loud, dangerous, confused affairs where you may not be able to tell good guy from bad guy.

Who is the most important player in the gunfight? If you answered anything but "ME"!! , you need to revisit the mind set lecture. Unless there are rules of engagement that mitigate pointing in with the muzzle (in which case - adapt, overcome, and do what you must) point at the perceived source of the threat, not at the floor. Yes Virginia, its OK to point your gun at a man who is threatening you.

If a man has caused you enough stress that you grabbed your gun to begin with, you are probably justified in shooting him. If you are not justified in shooting, leave the gun in the holster. But if you do go to guns, make sure you are sending the right message. Point in!!

Now there are other situations relating to muzzles. Specifically covering yourself with the muzzle. Good Heavens Batman!

Certainly to be avoided, but let's not go to extremes. I'll bet most of us cover ourselves with our muzzles every single time we draw! Right now. Stand up with your holstered pistol, take your special approved stance and draw. Notice how your muzzle covers part of your leg on an angle as you exit the holster??

Now go sit in your car and pretend an adversary was coming to kill you and you had to do a surprise "stress draw" right toward him. How would you do it??? You would draw right to the threat as is human nature to do. Do you think you would do some roundabout draw "over-the-steering-wheel" draw? Be honest, you'd "skin that smokewagon" and point right in, giving no thought to the fact you just swept your legs on the way out. Again, covering yourself with the muzzle.

Look, the bottom line is that I'm not trying to sink anyone's boat. However, reality is reality and we must take it into consideration when we train. Its probably going to happen so instead of getting "goosy" about muzzles, educate your trigger finger to rest on the Index Point until you make a conscious decission to shoot.

So -

Control Your Muzzle And Do Not Allow It To Cover Anything or Anyone..... Unintentionally.


Cheers,


Gabe Suarez
Suarez International USA
http://www.suarezinternational.com

Frank Ettin
June 11, 2011, 11:55 AM
Or what? Geez, put a smiley on it, or sue me. You made a silly comment, and I riposted. Using a strike face so it would be clear what you had said, and what I had changed. Politely. On a discussion forum.

...--honestly fiddle, that's beneath you--the good-natured discussion is over (at least for that poster). ..Whatever. The fact is that if you want to disagree with something I wrote, do so. But I consider this tactic of changing someone's words to be sloppy, insulting and improper. I resent it and never do it myself. I've been disputing for a living for more than thirty years. Surely you can find a better way in which to express yourself.

In any case, as far as I'm concerned, your proposed changes to various of the Four Rules have not been helpful.

Justin
June 11, 2011, 12:32 PM
EPIC MAD! Hey, that's fine. You'd fit right in at some gun stores, where they never cross anyone.

I don't cover people with the muzzle of a weapon in a gun store. I pick a blank spot on the wall, or a target, and aim at that if I need to acquire a sight picture. That other people are so inconsiderate as to blithely point guns at the people behind the counter doesn't change the fact that every one of them is wrong.

And when is the last time you referred to a DA revolver with the cylinder swung open as having an open action?

I've been an acting Range Safety Officer at many USPSA matches. When going through the "make the gun safe" checklist after a revolver shooter has finished a course of fire, I've used both the commands "cylinder open" and "action open" with revolver shooters and never once has the competitor been confused as to what I meant.

If you're the sort of person who would be confused by such a simple command, perhaps you ought not be handling guns.

Lots of bits of semantic nitpicking about the four rules with no suggestions for actually improving them.

Oh, look, an attempt to look clever by nit-picking the semantics of the four rules!

If you get down to it, yes, there are valid criticisms of the four rules, but you've yet to actually hit upon them. Furthermore, I seriously doubt you've got the experience to have valid insights into the situations where the four rules may not necessarily apply.

Furthermore, the four rules cover practically every situation in which someone may be handling a firearm. There may be a need for further context-specific safety rules, but at no time have I ever been in a situation where those added bits of safety activity contradicted the four rules.

Old krow
June 11, 2011, 02:56 PM
I think an alternative question is, "How many people who had NDs were aware of the 4 Rules?" That really goes to their effectiveness.

I'd be interested in seeing a study done on it, but I haven't. All I really have to go by is my own personal experiences and localized statistics. In my own personal experiences it has happened only once that someone was unfamiliar with the 4 rules completely. Making the 4 rules read differently would not have helped because the person had little interest in guns, it was a joke to them. If anything I might advocate a 5th rule that read "maintain positive control of your weapon at all times."

In two cases the rules were disregarded completely. They were specifically rules #2 and #4 because both were aware that their guns were loaded and intended to shoot. One resulted in the loss of an infant's life, the other in the injury of the shooter. Had the rules been followed, no matter how they were written, neither of those would have happened. "Destroy" was appropriate in those cases.

If you are dry-firing your weapon, or cleaning it, or whatever the case may be and you have a ND and blow a hole in your sheet rock, it is bad. However, it is not nearly as bad as some of the alternatives. The rules are intended to prevent the loss of life, or injury, and every consequence of a lesser weight at the same time by stating the worst possible scenario. All you have to do is remember a couple simple rules to be safe.

If the question of "how many people knew the 4 rules" is an issue, then we'd be far better off by redirecting our efforts and trying to ensure that everyone that handles a gun is aware of them.

Loosedhorse
June 11, 2011, 07:35 PM
[redacted, upon advice of Lh's counsel]
[To be clear: the above is not a quote by fiddletown; Loosedhorse was going to quote fiddletown, but has been advised against it. He has also been advised against part of the response he was going to make to that quote, so:]

[redacted, on advice of Lh's counsel] ;):neener:

If you want to force everyone to conform to your standards, fiddle, start your own forum. Otherwise, live by this one's rules. You want someone to follow special rules that you yourself have decided upon? Ask for it, nicely. Don't try to order people around with your imperious "Don't do it"s. Please?

You are a lawyer. You know the effects of words, and use them to help or injure. You know about threats. Your "you are not authorized, don't do it" bullying has hurt this discussion, and any credibility you had with me.I've been disputing for a living for more than thirty years.So, what? That makes you special enough to tell others what they must do on a forum? And allowed to bully others? Get over yourself, dude. Here, you're just another poster--just like any of us.

I won't also say, as you have to me, "Surely you can find a better way in which to express yourself." Because you use words for a living, so I expect you chose yours carefully, and meant the threat you implied. Politeness was possible, but you chose the low road.
I don't cover people with the muzzle of a weapon in a gun store.Never meant to imply that you do. I just have my hands full usually getting gun store clerks to avoid covering me with anything except the muzzles of action-open guns.
And when is the last time you referred to a DA revolver with the cylinder swung open as having an open action?Hey, Justin, I understand that you're just tripping over yourself trying to insult me. But if you'd taken the time to be a little more careful, you would have discovered that the guy who was confused by the term actions-open as it applies to revolvers was fiddletown. You took his quote, and attributed it TO ME in error. Let me save fiddletown the trouble: "YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO DO THAT!" :DIf you're the sort of person who would be confused by such a simple command, perhaps you ought not be handling gunsHey, fiddle, this is Justin's insult, directed at me. He meant to direct it at you. Just trying to clear things up!Lots of bits of semantic nitpicking about the four rules with no suggestions for actually improving them.
Oh, look, an attempt to look clever by nit-picking the semantics of the four rules!Again, Justin. Attributing a quotation to me that I never said, and as far as I can tell, no one in this thread has said. And then insulting me for it, even though I never said it.

Your'e a moderator, right? Great example to set. Shame on you. No wonder fiddletown is allowed to bully here.I seriously doubt you've got the experience to have valid insights into the situations where the four rules may not necessarily apply.Ah. Please specify what meets your criteria for "the experience" necessary to have "valid insights;" and explain how you arrived at your criteria. Then I can tell you if I meet them.

It's nice to know that there are criteria for vaild opinions--perhaps you should post them at the top of the forum, to keep the ignorant away? Or just to inform them they may listen to their betters, but not interrupt?

Oh, just to correct another inaccuracy of yours: as far as I'm concerned, the Four Rules ALWAYS apply. (If we differ as to our opinion of what the Four Rules mean--isn't that a problem of the rules' lack of clarity? Or perhaps my teachers were not of the right stripe? Perhaps we need also a list of acceptable teachers?)I'd be interested in seeing a study done on it, but I haven't.May I just say, sincerely, Old krow, THANK YOU for responding nicely to something I said? Quite a relief!

Besides that, I have read your comment, and I appreciate your sharing your experience. And I take it to heart.

murf
June 11, 2011, 08:38 PM
this three-way shouting match is going nowhere.

murf

1911Tuner
June 11, 2011, 08:59 PM
Ditto, murf.

I guess it boils down to just this:

If we handle guns on a daily basis, it's difficult if not impossible to cross something with the muzzle that we don't want shot. Thus the redundant Rule 3 that tells us to keep our finger off the trigger until we intend to shoot...implying that if we do pull the trigger, that we must not only be prepared for the gun to fire, we must expect the gun to fire...and that we are responsible for firing it if it does.

The two rules compliment each other and each one serves as a backup system for the other, much like a manual safety serves as a backup.

So...If we assume that as per Rule 1 that all guns are loaded and we should treat them as such...and we're careful about where the muzzle is pointed as per Rule 2...and we keep our fingers off the triggers as per Rule 3...we can proceed safely during the times that we're handling the gun but not actually firing it. Rule 4 is in effect when we're firing...or preparing to fire.

Redundancy is a good thing.

230RN
June 11, 2011, 09:36 PM
Thank you, murf and 1911Tuner.

<whew!>

benEzra
June 12, 2011, 05:38 PM
I have always understood Rule Two as "never allow the muzzle to point in an unsafe direction".

I don't particularly want a hole in my carpet or wall, but a hole in the carpet and a serious injury to a human being are in vastly different categories.

Owen Sparks
June 12, 2011, 06:23 PM
A buddy went to a basic firearms seminar and early in the class room portion the instructor dimmed the lights and handed one of the students a pistol with a lazer on it. He told the student remove the magazine, pull the slide back and show the guy next to him that the chamber was empty, then replace the magazine and hand it to the next student all while not letting the red dot cross any part of any other person. Everybody in the room was watching that red dot. This is good training that gets the point across.

Cosmoline
June 12, 2011, 10:05 PM
I take it, then, I am supposed to remove the front sideplate screw and cylinder from my DA revolvers before I clean them, so they're "broken down enough?" It is a pity that neither the SW manual nor the NRA basic pistol course informed me of that.

DA revolvers are disassembled automatically everytime you swing the cylinder out. They are no longer able to fire anything, and have a huge gap between the hammer and the barrel. If you're following the standard protocols for cleaning of the weapon in question, you can and will put your hand in front of that barrel. Technically "breaking the rule," but only if you allow for no exceptions.

In order for these rules to truly function, they have to be utilized with common sense, in conjunction with each other, and in conjunction with standard practices for cleaning and inspecting. So there is a time and place to stick your eyeball at the end of a bore.

Carl N. Brown
June 13, 2011, 08:55 AM
Edgar Poe once wrote that the plots of God are perfect; the universe is a plot of God.

While I won't go that far with the words of Jeff Cooper, I would like to apply the sign-off of the radio editorialist I used to listen to after "Sleepy Joe" told us kids Uncle Remus style stories: I ask not that you agree with me, only that you think about it.

Jeff Cooper's four rules may not be word perfect, but they do make us think about gun safety and discuss gun safety. Don't change a word.

Loosedhorse
June 13, 2011, 09:43 AM
DA revolvers are disassembled automatically everytime you swing the cylinder out.Well, I don't usually use the term "disassembled" to mean that--perhaps it is common.with common senseCommon sense: bad when associated with gun control, good when associated with gun safety?

I thought that the problem with "common sense" is that people do have different ideas about what that is. I would worry that leaving gun safety (or interpretation of rules) to common sense would therefore lead to different ideas about what gun safety is, at least in the details.

But maybe that's inevitable, and the best we can do?

ZeroJunk
June 13, 2011, 02:57 PM
Yep. I have a hard time finding anything complicated about it either.

Paul Gomez
September 14, 2011, 10:59 AM
I just stumbled across this discussion but I have had an issue with the classic wording for a long time. I think the more explicitly you express an idea the easier it is for people to understand and follow it.

I uploaded a video last night on this very topic. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iah1QOxLkY)

we are not amused
September 14, 2011, 02:22 PM
I just watched your video on YouTube.

To be honest, I think you were splitting hairs on some of your distinctions, but you did explain why you thought the differences were important.

Mostly, I like the original wordings and their obvious meanings. The only change I would make is to change the wording in #2 from the words "to destroy", to the phrase "to shoot", simply because with some objects, shooting them will not destroy them. Obviously that is nit picking. And I have seen so many variations on the precise wording of the rules, without changing their meaning in any way, see post #9, that I tend to find this whole discussion to be rather silly nit picking.

#1 Obviously, not all guns are loaded, but if we treat them as if they are, we less likely to have an accident. Obviously looking down the barrel of a gun is not considered smart. Yet we do it all the time when we are cleaning or inspecting guns. We do it with the gun disabled so it can't possibly fire.

#2 Again, pretty self explanatory, but we make certain exceptions, such as in rule #1 Even when bringing a gun into a vehicle or house, it is a good idea to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, away from people.

#3 Again, pretty self explanatory, even when dry firing or just handling a gun, don't point it at something you aren't willing to shoot, with your finger on the trigger.

#4 Unspoken, is the concept you might miss, or shoot through your target, so make sure, that things or people in the immediate vicinity or behind your target are objects you are willing to risk hitting.

If one started using legalistic terms to define the 4 rules, one would end up with a hundred pages of rules, definitions, exemptions, special cases, footnotes, and addenda, and would probably be far less safe, because who could remember all of the rules.

The rules were meant to be used by half-way intelligent people, who were responsible enough to be trusted with a gun. If you fail to meet those standards, then no amount of rules or wording of the rules, will be effective.

Reading some of the postings, the nit picking, and the bickering, I question the fitness of some on this forum, to handle a firearm.

Warp
September 14, 2011, 03:30 PM
Common sense: bad when associated with gun control, good when associated with gun safety?



Common sense: Bad/misleading when used as a label where it does not belong.

Common sense: For appropriate uses of the phrase it would be more appropriate to say "good sense".

Single Action Six
September 14, 2011, 08:00 PM
"We Are Not Amused" said in part..

The only change I would make is to change the wording in #2 from the words "to destroy", to the phrase "to shoot", simply because with some objects, shooting them will not destroy them.

I'm glad to see that after 141 posts on this subject, I finally find someone who agrees with me.

Single Action Six

thorazine
September 14, 2011, 09:54 PM
Should rule two be revised or reworded?

RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

No, rule one should be revised or reworded.


Because if all guns are always loaded...

I can only field strip my glock for cleaning at the shooting range. :cuss:

Warp
September 14, 2011, 10:06 PM
I can only field strip my glock for cleaning at the shooting range

Really? You can't find or create a place at home where a handgun would be safe to fire? Is a 5 gallon bucket full of sand appropriately located withi your home impossible?

oneounceload
September 14, 2011, 10:14 PM
Really? You can't find or create a place at home where a handgun would be safe to fire? Is a 5 gallon bucket full of sand appropriately located withi your home impossible?

Guess you don't live in any form of a town or subdivision where "discharging" a firearm gets you a nice jail stay

taliv
September 14, 2011, 10:42 PM
i find this thread extraordinarily hypocritical.

specifically, that you as a group find the US Constitution and specifically the 2A, to be profound in it's simplicity and unambiguity, and reject as galactically stupid the attempts by others to turn it into thousands of pages of laws and regulations and codes to cover every possible scenario that might exist...

and yet when confronted by a simple, elegant and obvious statement like "All guns are always loaded", you utterly fail to see the value and truth in the language and intent, and feel the need to turn it into something more literally correct, but far less valuable or true

you know, this is exactly what the world needs right here and right now: a giant friggin legal debate over the four rules.

what is wrong with you people?

Strykervet
September 14, 2011, 10:48 PM
Nothing wrong with the language of those rules. The beauty is in the simplicity, and the fact that they will work and be understood by those with no experience and those with infinite experience.

Strykervet
September 14, 2011, 10:56 PM
I have always understood Rule Two as "never allow the muzzle to point in an unsafe direction".

I don't particularly want a hole in my carpet or wall, but a hole in the carpet and a serious injury to a human being are in vastly different categories.
Yeah, there are variations on them all, but they all say the same thing in essence.

The best version would be the one that works for children, adults, firearms enthusiasts and anti's alike. Everyone should know them, whether or not you plan on handling them or owning them. They should be taught to children. Less chance of an accident occuring if they come across one.

Now complicate it into pages of text, and you get confusing drivel that can be debated even more.

Warp
September 14, 2011, 11:32 PM
Guess you don't live in any form of a town or subdivision where "discharging" a firearm gets you a nice jail stay

Your local laws are part of the 4 rules? Interesting.

Loosedhorse
September 15, 2011, 03:12 AM
what is wrong with you people?Nothing.

Rule 1 is demonstrably false. That it can be "operationalized" to an important safety idea (that is: the rules following this one apply even if you think or know the gun is unloaded) doesn't change the fact that it is a false statement.

And some find it a bit odd to have a primary rule that's false. But no big deal.

Bravo Sierra
September 15, 2011, 03:27 AM
It is a good rule, to treat every gun as if it is loaded. Even if you just unloaded it yourself.

Really, what is the point of talking about this. Don't fix what isn't broken.

we are not amused
September 15, 2011, 07:33 AM
"We Are Not Amused" said in part..



I'm glad to see that after 141 posts on this subject, I finally find someone who agrees with me.

Single Action Six

And as I said, "It is nit-picking silliness!":banghead:

we are not amused
September 15, 2011, 07:46 AM
No, rule one should be revised or reworded.


Because if all guns are always loaded...

I can only field strip my glock for cleaning at the shooting range. :cuss:

I also pointed out that the four rules were intended to be used by HALF-WAY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE, THAT WERE RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO BE TRUSTED WITH FIRE-ARMS!:fire::banghead::cuss:

I also pointed out that the rules are general guide lines, with exceptions and special conditions, not to be taken in some sort of literal legalistic way. The Four rules would be a hundred pages long!

If you can't figure out a safe way to field strip your Glock, within the general guide lines of the Four Rules, you shouldn't own one, because you are not intelligent enough to be trusted with it!:fire:

scythefwd
September 15, 2011, 07:54 AM
loosed - then teach rule one as "Treat all guns as if they are loaded" instead of "All guns are loaded".

we are not amused
September 15, 2011, 07:59 AM
And some find it a bit odd to have a primary rule that's false. But no big deal.

Then why make it one?

Are you arguing just to cause strife?

Or do you really not understand the concept behind Rule 1?

As`I pointed out, the Four Rules assume that you are half-way intelligent and responsible. If not, you have no business owning a gun.

Loosedhorse
September 15, 2011, 05:54 PM
Then why make it one?I'm not; I'm certainly not the one asking "what's wrong with you people?" But as long as we're on the subject, why are you making a fuss?Are you arguing just to cause strife?Perhaps you should answer your own question.Or do you really not understand the concept behind Rule 1?I understand the concept fine, as I thought I indicated; do you not understand that it is literally false?

(Please take care in your response, lest you cause strife...:uhoh:;))

valnar
September 15, 2011, 08:48 PM
Disclaimer: I just jumped on this thread for the first time and only read the first post. I have not read all 7 pages of replies.

I have no problem with rules 3 and 4. Good solid rules. If everyone including bad guys followed rule 4, there would less accidental deaths in the world.

I have a problem with rules 1 and 2. It's being a bit paranoid and may even cause OCD. Once you verified its an unloaded weapon, its a brick. Why is that important for me to say? Well, I'll tell you.

The OMG-it's-loaded attitude is what turns my wife off of guns. The way they handle guns in gun stores by the constant opening, closing, racking and pointing the muzzle down just reinforces to my wife that they are indeed very dangerous and not to be messed with (not even by me!!). Intellectually we know they cannot go off, but emotionally they are still making you fear them. I had to give my wife my first handgun (unloaded of course) and let her feel it to get comfortable with it, all while I was telling her its "just a paperweight" without ammunition. Well, it is. I banged it on the table a couple times and showed it her it was nothing more than a hunk of metal....until it is loaded. That helped a lot.

It's ammunition that is dangerous. Guns are not. Knives are far more dangerous since they are always 'loaded'. ;)

Now, I know my rant breaks some cardinal gun rules, but it was a way I could calm the fears of my wife. These rules were made by a man, not handed down from God. Sure, it is always a best practice to see if a gun is loaded first, but forcing...hell, expecting people to have a bad memory that the gun is unloaded even after we just checked it 5 seconds ago does not help our cause. IMO of course.

bobmcd
September 15, 2011, 08:54 PM
If all guns are always loaded, why do I have to buy ammunition? :-}

Frank Ettin
September 15, 2011, 10:40 PM
...I just jumped on this thread for the first time and only read the first post. I have not read all 7 pages of replies....Then I guess you don't really know all that we've been talking about.

...expecting people to have a bad memory that the gun is unloaded even after we just checked it 5 seconds ago does not help our cause....Let's see, did I just check my gun? Was it five seconds ago? Didn't I just check it a couple of minutes ago? Didn't I check it just before I put it on the table to go answer the phone?

Maybe we are expecting people to have a bad memory about when they checked their gun and whether or not it was loaded then. But often people do have bad memories or get distracted. It seems that sometimes guns fire, and sometimes hurt someone, when the guy handling the gun thought it was unloaded (or forgot that it wasn't or forgot when he last checked it). It seems that a gun you thought you knew was unloaded is the most dangerous.

The folks I teach with, and the folks I've competed with and trained with, tend to be pretty compulsive about checking. Every time one picks up a gun, goes to handle a gun, pretty much does anything with a gun, he or she would check. And in my circle of NRA certified instructors, USPSA competitors, Gunsite graduates and folks with training at other well known schools or with well known instructors, doing so is considered the sign of a pro.

So --

If you hand me a gun, don't bother telling me it's not loaded. Because I follow Rule One, I won't believe you and will personally verify/clear the gun.


If I criticize you for pointing a gun at me, my spouse, my cat, or anyone/anything else I value, don't bother trying to excuse yourself by telling me that it's not loaded.


If your gun fires when you didn't intend it to, don't bother trying to explain yourself by saying anything like, "I didn't think it was loaded." You should have understood that under Rule One since it is a gun it is loaded, and you should have conducted yourself accordingly.


Never take for granted the status of a gun. If you think it's unloaded, but you still verify, no harm has been done if you were right. But if you think it's unloaded, don't verify, and you were wrong, someone could get hurt or die.

If all guns are always loaded, why do I have to buy ammunition?...Your problem is that you don't really believe. If you really and truly believed, you wouldn't have to buy ammunition.

valnar
September 15, 2011, 10:52 PM
fiddletown,
Nothing you said contradicts what I said. Of course I check a gun when it is handed to me, as well as my own the first time I pick it up. If you feel the need to keep re-checking the same gun over and over within a span of 2 minutes (like I see people at the gun stores do), then more power to you. But that doesn't make me any less safe.

My point is, if you are overly anal about the rules, then how can you dry fire? How can you check the sights and aim at something like a wall? How can you clean your gun? That's all Im saying.

valnar
September 15, 2011, 11:12 PM
loosed - then teach rule one as "Treat all guns as if they are loaded" instead of "All guns are loaded".

I just got to this post. Yes! Exactly. This is what I was saying, but you said it more concise.

kludge
September 16, 2011, 12:36 AM
Treat them as if they are loaded until you verify they are not.

So after you verify it's unloaded it's OK to point a gun at someone/something to don't wish to shoot? :evil:

It's always the people with "unloaded" guns that accidently shoot people.

kludge
September 16, 2011, 12:42 AM
Do you have to bend or violate those rules in order to do things like holster a gun, dry fire, or clean it?

Yes.



No. When cleaning you disassemble it until it's no longer a "gun". Dry fire is not an exception to rule #2; you find something that will stop bullet that you don't care about to point your gun at. When holstering/drawing you don't cross your own body or anyone elses.

Frank Ettin
September 16, 2011, 12:58 AM
then teach rule one as "Treat all guns as if they are loaded" instead of "All guns are loaded".
I just got to this post. Yes! Exactly. This is what I was saying, but you said it more concise.Well, for what it's worth, here's Jeff Cooper on that point:

Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, vol.9 (2001), No. 6, pg. 29:...We think that "treat all guns as if they were loaded" implies with the "as if" qualification a dangerous choice of assumptions...


Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, vol.11 (2003), No. 13, pg. 64:...A major point of issue is Rule 1, "All guns are always loaded." There are people who insist that we cannot use this because it is not precisely true. Some guns are sometimes unloaded. These folks maintain that the rule should read that one should always treat all guns as if they were loaded. The trouble here is the "as if," which leads to the notion that the instrument at hand may actually not be loaded....

Personally, I like that perspective. If I'm handling a gun, I'm not going to pretend it's loaded. As far as I'm concerned, it is loaded, and I will conduct myself accordingly. Of course that means if I'm going to clean it or put it in a case for transportation, for example, I will need to clear it. And somehow I've managed to shoot guns, carry them for protection, clean them and transport them without any problem or confusion.

we are not amused
September 16, 2011, 11:55 AM
I'm not; I'm certainly not the one asking "what's wrong with you people?" But as long as we're on the subject, why are you making a fuss?Perhaps you should answer your own question.I understand the concept fine, as I thought I indicated; do you not understand that it is literally false?

(Please take care in your response, lest you cause strife...:uhoh:;))

"Sigh" The concept behind "Treat every gun as if it were loaded", is that if you do, then you are less likely to have an accident. As I pointed out earlier, there are many variations on the wording of the Four Rules, none of which change the overall importance, meaning, or utility of them.

The Rules were designed for half-way intelligent people who were responsible enough to be trusted with firearms. I suggest you look back at what I wrote earlier, about some of the obvious exemptions to the Four Rules, as I don't feel like repeating all of it.

Trying to treat the "Four Rules" as some sort of legalistic terminology with precise definitions would result in a set of rules, definitions, exemptions, notes and addenda, that would be a hundred pages long or more. This serves nobody's purpose, and would be counterproductive.

I have seen the Four Rules stated in many different forms, all meaning the same, and I think it is stupid and counterproductive to get all "wee weed up" about precise definitions of the "Four Rules".

Your insistence that in one variation of the wording, that it is literally false, seems to ignore the reasoning behind the statement.

If we treat all guns as if they are loaded, then we are less likely to do something stupid with them. The version of the Four Rules you take exception to, is merely a more direct and shorter, therefore easier to remember, version of the one I was taught long ago, which was, "Treat all guns as if they were loaded". It also makes a somewhat stronger impression, which for a beginner with guns may not be a bad thing.

My objection to you with "it is an obvious falsehood" is that you are ignoring concept behind the phrase, in favor of some overly precise definition of the phrase. In other words, You are Nit-picking!

Feel free to restate the Rules anyway you like, as long as they convey the meaning behind them. I don't object to variations on the wording, I object to the idea, that the wording must be literally (and legalistically) correct. I don't believe that one could come up with a set of rules, that would cover every situation, but the Four Rules come close. But not if we insist that they be literally true and be bound to them in some legalistic way.

I also object to the notion, that there is a precise phrasing of the rules. The variations I have seen are all within the general meaning of each other, and the Four Rules as stated in the original post.

The variation I was taught was,
1; Treat all guns as if they were loaded.

2; Never point a gun at something you are not willing to shoot.

3; Don't touch the trigger till you are ready to shoot.

4; Don't shoot your target, if you are not sure it is safe.

Obviously, those rules were taught to me by someone who was cognizant of Jeff Coopers rules, but worded them differently. I see no fundamental difference in the meaning between the two.

There is an article on the Gun Zone web site which leads me to believe that you get around. I agree with Dean Speir.

I strongly recommend that people read the article in the Gun Zone site.

http:///www.thegunzone.com/therules.html

we are not amused
September 16, 2011, 12:05 PM
No. When cleaning you disassemble it until it's no longer a "gun". Dry fire is not an exception to rule #2; you find something that will stop bullet that you don't care about to point your gun at. When holstering/drawing you don't cross your own body or anyone elses.

How hard is it for any one to figure that out? Is kludge a genius? Or is he just surrounded by Morons?:banghead:

Lubricant
September 16, 2011, 12:12 PM
Carefull there Sparks,Lotta people reeaaallll sensitive about the "R" word around these parts. Resistance is futile,We are the Borg..

thorazine
September 16, 2011, 04:26 PM
Really? You can't find or create a place at home where a handgun would be safe to fire? Is a 5 gallon bucket full of sand appropriately located withi your home impossible?

A five gallon bucket filled with sand will not match the interior decor. =/



I also pointed out that the rules are general guide lines, with exceptions and special conditions, not to be taken in some sort of literal legalistic way. The Four rules would be a hundred pages long!

A lot of people do take them literal -- word for word.



RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

Does this mean that I need to crawl on my stomach in to and around most gun stores?

For it seems every time you walk by a handgun display case you walk in front of a dozen or more muzzles.

Or does this suggest that the owner / operator of the gun store is willing to destroy me?

Especially since all guns are ALWAYS loaded according to rule one. :D

Owen Sparks
September 16, 2011, 04:44 PM
I am the original poster (June 4th) and since this thread has been revised after a long dormancy I would like to repeat what started all this controversy. All I asked was:

Should rule two be revised or reworded?

Let’s look objectively at the four basic rules of gun safety as codified by Jeff Cooper. They are brilliantly simple with built in redundancy yet I think a slight revision to the second rule might make a little more sense.

RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET.

RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHATS BEYOND IT.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Rule Two:

NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

NEVER is a strong word and If taken literally you could never bring a firearm indoors, put it in your car or even put it in a holster because the muzzle would cover lots of things that you are not willing to destroy. The muzzle is always pointed somewhere and we must compromise by pointing it at something fairly valuable like the new carpet or the big screen TV to avoid pointing it at something irreplaceable like our knees and other people.

Maybe this rule should be reworded any ideas?


My personal choice is:

Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

“Safe” being relative of course.

Loosedhorse
September 16, 2011, 04:53 PM
Trying to treat the "Four Rules" as some sort of legalistic terminology with precise definitionsThis is sad, really.

I'm only trying to treat it as an English sentence, not as "legalistic terminology." Words mean something.I think it is stupid and counterproductive to get all "wee weed up" about precise definitions of the "Four Rules". The only person who seems to insist that we all adopt his concept of what the rules should be, and who is all "wee weed up," is you. That would make your activities stupid and counterproductive, according to you.

we are not amused
September 16, 2011, 10:56 PM
This is sad, really.

I'm only trying to treat it as an English sentence, not as "legalistic terminology." Words mean something.The only person who seems to insist that we all adopt his concept of what the rules should be, and who is all "wee weed up," is you. That would make your activities stupid and counterproductive, according to you.

I have never argued that any one wording is correct, only the intent behind the rules. I have stated that I consider a literal reading of the rules as stupid, I stand by that.
As I have repeatedly said, the rules were intended for "half-way intelligent people, responsible enough to handle firearms".

It appears that some on this site fail in the above stipulation.

By the way, are you the person that Dean Spier referred to in Gun Zone?

we are not amused
September 16, 2011, 11:04 PM
A five gallon bucket filled with sand will not match the interior decor. =/
Your problem, work it out.




A lot of people do take them literal -- word for word.

I never said that I thought a lot of people were intelligent.





Does this mean that I need to crawl on my stomach in to and around most gun stores?

For it seems every time you walk by a handgun display case you walk in front of a dozen or more muzzles.

Or does this suggest that the owner / operator of the gun store is willing to destroy me?

Especially since all guns are ALWAYS loaded according to rule one. :D

Suit yourself!
While I have a certain fondness for smart asses, (it beats being a dumb ass) I do understand why some people get annoyed with them.

Loosedhorse
September 17, 2011, 12:16 AM
As I have repeatedly said, the rules were intended for "half-way intelligent people, responsible enough to handle firearms".

It appears that some on this site fail in the above stipulation.Ah yes: the standard "if you don't agree with me, you are not intelligent or responsible enough to handle guns" ad hominem attack.

With which you admit you have no logical argument for your position...so you substitute insult. And with which you also admit an elitist attitude toward gun ownership: only those who pass an intelligence standard (that you are so gracious to define for us) should handle guns.

You do not seek to discuss or convince: you just bully.

Might as well send your membership money into the Brady Campaign right now: you've got their hypocritical attitude perfectly: "Guns for me are fine, guns for those less worthy than me are not."

Warp
September 17, 2011, 01:04 AM
Loosedhorse...you just don't get it.

Loosedhorse
September 17, 2011, 01:26 AM
"Just don't get it"? That's another favorite of the antigun crowd.Like flat earth fanatics, Second Amendment fanatics just don't get it. Facts are facts. The earth is not flat. And Constitutional law is Constitutional law. The Second Amendment is not absolute. It does not guarantee the mythical individual right to bear arms we will hear argued for today.

Charles Schumer, April 5 1995
Yep, the elistist, dismissive "you just don't get it." Puts you in good company there, Warp. Kinda of makes me proud that you and I see things differently.

Owen Sparks
September 17, 2011, 01:44 AM
I started this thread and it would suit me if it were closed.

Warp
September 17, 2011, 01:50 AM
Anybody with a reasonable level of intelligence and firearm experience that reads this thread along ago decided that you don't get it. I am not trying nor do I need to try to explain it to you. Others have done so already.

Loosedhorse
September 17, 2011, 01:58 AM
No, Warp.

I do not presume, as you do, that posters at The High Road who disagree do not have "a reasonable level of intelligence and firearm experience"--I just assume they hold a different opinion, and I respect that. That's the High Road thing to do.

Many posters here have said they prefer the rules as is, and that's fine. I see no need to respond to their reasonable comments; only to read and consider them.

It is the folks like you and we are not amused who have decided to insult people who express a different opinion. It is an antigunner's tactic, as I have shown, and very low road. And now, you've even decided to insult the High Road membership generally by presuming to speak for them, saying that they join in your assumptions regarding the inexperience and lack of intelligence of others here.I started this thread and it would suit me if it were closed.Here, here. I second the motion.

Warp
September 17, 2011, 02:33 AM
Actually you have it backwards as I was joining their statements...not the other way around. ;)

Loosedhorse
September 17, 2011, 02:52 AM
Actually you have it backwards as I was joining their statements...not the other way aroundVery few posters here have made insults. You wear the fact that you have joined those few as a badge? Fine; it marks you for who you are.

Kleanbore
September 17, 2011, 09:57 AM
Enough.

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