Clint Smith on the 4 rules


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1KPerDay
March 1, 2012, 01:14 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6Y7LIJm5gI&feature=g-u-u&context=G216f071FUAAAAAAAAAA


Excellent review IMO... he has a way of putting everything in the proper perspective.

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Ragnar Danneskjold
March 1, 2012, 01:34 PM
Great video. And he's mostly right. But I will ask this.

Could someone explain, step by step, how to disassemble a Glock pistol, with the 4 rules remaining true the entire time.

1KPerDay
March 1, 2012, 01:40 PM
Same rules as dry firing. You are WILLING to destroy whatever safe backstop you point your pistol at when you press the drigger to dry fire and/or disassemble your glock. You still treat the firearm as if it's loaded. You still have a safe backstop. You still don't point the weapon at anything you are not willing to destroy.

robMaine
March 1, 2012, 01:42 PM
Great video. And he's mostly right. But I will ask this.

Could someone explain, step by step, how to disassemble a Glock pistol, with the 4 rules remaining true the entire time.
That or draw from an IWB holster without flagging yourself at all(even just a graze). I think the 4 rules a great, the issue is when people say you can NEVER EVER EVER break them, and then they go and add a bunch of exceptions.

The Lone Haranguer
March 1, 2012, 01:56 PM
It usually takes a violation of two or more rules to come to grief. For example, you may "sweep" yourself or othere when unholstering, but if you keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target and intend to shoot, no harm is done. When dry-firing that Glock to strip it, even if you somehow managed to have a ND, if you had it pointed in a safe direction and at something expendable, no lasting harm is done.

robMaine
March 1, 2012, 02:05 PM
It usually takes a violation of two or more rules to come to grief. For example, you may "sweep" yourself or othere when unholstering, but if you keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target and intend to shoot, no harm is done. When dry-firing that Glock to strip it, even if you somehow managed to have a ND, if you had it pointed in a safe direction and at something expendable, no lasting harm is done.
This is how I have always treated them. But the "they can never be broken" crowd, drive me nuts.

zedsdead
March 1, 2012, 02:05 PM
The Lone Haranguer has it right. You have multiple layers of safety procedures. Being human, we are all likely to violate at least one, but by having the other rules to back them up, we can still avoid tragedy.

Ragnar Danneskjold
March 1, 2012, 02:08 PM
You still treat the firearm as if it's loaded.

Re-watch the video. He does not say "treat all guns as if they are loaded". He says "All guns are always loaded", which is how a lot of people around here say it as well.

I am perfectly fine with treating a gun that I don't know is unloaded as if it is still loaded. That's good safety. But I think in facts, not dogma. Reality cannot be subverted or denied. A is A. An unloaded gun is an unloaded gun.

I'm not attacking the idea of the 4 rules or gun safety. I am pointing out that stating the 4 rules are always true is factually incorrect.

1KPerDay
March 1, 2012, 02:23 PM
Do you really think he's claiming that all guns are factually loaded? It's a matter of semantics. Quite obviously he's not claiming that his solid plastic training guns are actually loaded. Nor his unloaded firearms. But they are always treated as if they are loaded... or in simpler terms, to reinforce the point, "all guns are always loaded." Is it the way it's phrased that bothers you? I really don't see why people get worked up about it. But whatever. :)

average_shooter
March 1, 2012, 02:50 PM
It isn't so much about whether or not they're loaded, or even real (i.e. RedGuns, etc) it IS about training. If you get sloppy and careless in training and practice, you will be sloppy and careless when the gun is hot. That's why he says he won't even point a fake gun at someone and won't allow it to happen to him. It's about repetitive training.

I once read somewhere it goes like this:

Amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals train until they can't get it wrong.

Ragnar Danneskjold
March 1, 2012, 02:57 PM
Yeah, to answer your question, it does bother me. Words mean things. I do get bothered when people deliberately state things that are not correct.

X-Rap
March 1, 2012, 03:19 PM
There is no doubt about the wisdom of the four rules but I also question how we reconcile that with the benefits of F on F training with airsoft or simunitions. It seems there are some benefits to that type of training same as that of fake knives and such.
Also agree on the point made that it almost always requires failure of two of the rules to become catastrophic.

Owen Sparks
March 1, 2012, 03:33 PM
I am not "willing" to destroy anything in my house. A safe direction is relitive.

Walkalong
March 1, 2012, 03:49 PM
He does not say "treat all guns as if they are loaded". He says "All guns are always loaded", which is how a lot of people around here say it as well.
You know what he means, and always treating guns as if they are loaded is the lesson. To argue the exact wording is silly and only detracts from the important point of the lesson.

I am as OCD as anyone, and really uptight about people repeating something exactly as I stated it if they quote me, but to argue this is counterproductive.

KISS

Guns are always loaded. Always treat guns as if they are loaded.

Take your pick, but get the point across. It is a very important one.

Yea, one is not literally correct. Get over it. It is a fine video. What does it do for you to nitpick and fuss about it. :)


.

Blackstone
March 1, 2012, 03:50 PM
Great video, he puts it perfectly. Hope to be able to visit Thunder Ranch some time

mljdeckard
March 1, 2012, 03:54 PM
They are redundant for a reason, and real life combat may well prove them difficult if not impossible to follow, but the idea is to make them the top priority. Clint Smith has also done demnstrations of how to do things like emergency one handed drawing from IWB while on your back and emergency one-handled racking and reloading all WITHOUT FLAGGING YOURSELF. If you feel that drawing from IWB is impossible without flagging yourself, I would recommend that you do it in a mirror to see how you are doing it. I can absolutely draw from my Crossbreed Supertuck without pointing at my butt.

pbearperry
March 1, 2012, 03:59 PM
Under stress you will do what you were trained to do.You cannot deviate.Safe direction and fingers off the trigger would stop all stupid discharges.Even though you know the gun is unloaded,treat it as if it is loaded.If you cannot live by these simple rules,you will fail at some point.

1KPerDay
March 1, 2012, 04:02 PM
Yeah, to answer your question, it does bother me. Words mean things. I do get bothered when people deliberately state things that are not correct.
fair enough

brickeyee
March 1, 2012, 04:04 PM
Could someone explain, step by step, how to disassemble a Glock pistol, with the 4 rules remaining true the entire time.

It is called making sure the gun is unloaded.

Then making sure again.

The 'four rules' are not intended to apply to every thing you have to do with a gun, like stripping it down.

They are simple rules when you are engaged in using the gun for what it was designed for.
Not for when you are forced to take it apart for maintenance.

And if you have to 'fire' the gun to take it down, you make sure it is unloaded, then point in in a safe direction.

Once it has been disassembled it is not longer functional.

You can even look down the barrel without danger.

Stevie-Ray
March 1, 2012, 05:33 PM
Do you really think he's claiming that all guns are factually loaded? It's a matter of semantics. Quite obviously he's not claiming that his solid plastic training guns are actually loaded. Nor his unloaded firearms. But they are always treated as if they are loaded... Oh no, they are always loaded according to Jeff Cooper. Cooper in his arrogance actually poo-pooed those of us that added until you have proven they are not, claiming that it watered down the original strength of the rule or some such nonsense. Well, OK Jeff, I guess you can never clean your guns, as you would never disassemble a loaded gun would you? You can't have it both ways. As was said, words mean things.

robMaine
March 1, 2012, 07:13 PM
They are redundant for a reason, and real life combat may well prove them difficult if not impossible to follow, but the idea is to make them the top priority. Clint Smith has also done demnstrations of how to do things like emergency one handed drawing from IWB while on your back and emergency one-handled racking and reloading all WITHOUT FLAGGING YOURSELF. If you feel that drawing from IWB is impossible without flagging yourself, I would recommend that you do it in a mirror to see how you are doing it. I can absolutely draw from my Crossbreed Supertuck without pointing at my butt.
I highly doubt that there isn't some point of your draw, where if your weapon discharged you wouldn't even graze yourself, I know it is a silly point to argue, but making rules with preplanned exceptions is silly.

Fu-man Shoe
March 1, 2012, 07:21 PM
I like this guy quite a bit.

I've heard the name, knew he was a shooting instructor, but that was it.

He's got a great speaking style. I'm gonna take most of that to heart and start preaching it as well. It's always the "unloaded" gun that you've got to watch out for.

JohnGault
March 1, 2012, 07:25 PM
That or draw from an IWB holster without flagging yourself at all(even just a graze). I think the 4 rules a great, the issue is when people say you can NEVER EVER EVER break them, and then they go and add a bunch of exceptions.
Never is a very long time, but it is just an instant in eternity!

mgmorden
March 1, 2012, 07:36 PM
Oh no, they are always loaded according to Jeff Cooper. Cooper in his arrogance actually poo-pooed those of us that added until you have proven they are not, claiming that it watered down the original strength of the rule or some such nonsense. Well, OK Jeff, I guess you can never clean your guns, as you would never disassemble a loaded gun would you? You can't have it both ways. As was said, words mean things.

Indeed. The four rules are a good starting place, but they really are just a framework from which to work based on common sense. You can't say "all guns are always loaded" and stick to it without violating that rule on many occasions.

Besides, as another person said - I like to deal in FACTS and reality. "Treat every gun as if it is loaded until you have personally verified otherwise." is good safe gun handling. "All guns are always loaded" is not only patently false, it also goes down a line of thinking that I find absolutely unacceptable: that it is ok to lie to people (or yourself) as long as the lie generates an outcome you want.

1KPerDay
March 1, 2012, 07:46 PM
I like this guy quite a bit.

I've heard the name, knew he was a shooting instructor, but that was it.

He's got a great speaking style. I'm gonna take most of that to heart and start preaching it as well. It's always the "unloaded" gun that you've got to watch out for.
This is one of my favorites from him. Malfunction clearances

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfyULpEhmug

J-Bar
March 1, 2012, 09:23 PM
If you live with and accept the "incorrect" idea that guns are always loaded, then it will prevent a tragedy that one time when you pull the trigger on that "empty" gun and shoot something you wish you had not shot.

It explains why there is a .45 caliber hole in my workbench rather than a .45 caliber hole in something else. I pointed my "empty" gun in a relatively safe direction and pulled the trigger. Surprise! Because I followed the rules I did not put a hole in something tragic. I just put a hole in something embarassing.

Methinks some folks need to view Clint's video again.

mgmorden
March 1, 2012, 09:33 PM
If you live with and accept the "incorrect" idea that guns are always loaded, then it will prevent a tragedy that one time when you pull the trigger on that "empty" gun and shoot something you wish you had not shot.

It explains why there is a .45 caliber hole in my workbench rather than a .45 caliber hole in something else. I pointed my "empty" gun in a relatively safe direction and pulled the trigger. Surprise! Because I followed the rules I did not put a hole in something tragic. I just put a hole in something embarassing.

Methinks some folks need to view Clint's video again.

Even you didn't follow the advice though, as if you truly were treating the gun as loaded, you never would have pointed it at your work bench and pulled the trigger (unless you truly intended to shoot the bench, in which case I'll concede).

If you want to get right down to the nitty gritty of following the rules religiously you violated the first and the third rules. You only got off the hook because you didn't violate rule 2. In that you've already basically admitted that you selectively ignore them when doing certain tasks that require that you do so.

If you had actually followed the rule that I posted "Treat all firearms as unloaded until you have personally verified otherwise.", then you would have discovered the round in the chamber and not had a hole ANYWHERE.

Fu-man Shoe
March 1, 2012, 09:33 PM
Reading the comments, I just don't see the point of splitting hairs.

Always *assume* it's loaded. Don't screw around with a potentially loaded gun, playing with it, that sort of thing. You know what I mean. Even if you *know* it's empty, don't point it at your head, your wife, the dog, the tv, etc.
It's a good concept. Like the man said, it's a "lifestyle change".

Even if you're drinking a beer or two and popping a few clays with some friends on a nice saturday, don't wave guns around with your finger on the trigger, you know?

It's easy. You guys with the semantics crack me up. The four rules are not a law brief that needs to have some kind of clever refutation. It's basic safety. Learn it, live it.

mgmorden
March 1, 2012, 09:49 PM
Reading the comments, I just don't see the point of splitting hairs.

Always *assume* it's loaded. Don't screw around with a potentially loaded gun, playing with it, that sort of thing. You know what I mean. Even if you *know* it's empty, don't point it at your head, your wife, the dog, the tv, etc.
It's a good concept. Like the man said, it's a "lifestyle change".

Even if you're drinking a beer or two and popping a few clays with some friends on a nice saturday, don't wave guns around with your finger on the trigger, you know?

It's easy. You guys with the semantics crack me up. The four rules are not a law brief that needs to have some kind of clever refutation. It's basic safety. Learn it, live it.

Trust me, we're on the same page. Like I said, its all about common sense. In over 20 years of firearms usage I've never had a ND. I just use common sense like you're saying. Treat the gun as if loaded until you verify otherwise. Even if you've verified - don't be stupid and just point it at things or people goofing off. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you have a valid reason for putting it there (firing the gun, disassembly, etc). At the same time, if I need to inspect the bore then I have no issues doing so with an open bolt/slide that I've thoroughly checked to be empty.

What you'll find though is that if you even HINT at not following the 4 rules religiously to the letter with no exceptions, some people will accuse you of being unsafe - to the point that if you say to "treat all guns as if they're loaded" often times you'll be corrected by someone stating that "all guns ARE ALWAYS loaded".

Nushif
March 1, 2012, 09:59 PM
"All guns are always loaded" is not only patently false, it also goes down a line of thinking that I find absolutely unacceptable: that it is ok to lie to people (or yourself) as long as the lie generates an outcome you want.

This!

A while ago when we were talking about this someone who claimed to be an instructor was telling us how he would clear a gun during a class, fastfinger a blank into it and then "eject" it again to show that all guns are always loaded.
To me all that does is make students afraid of their own inability to ever clear a gun and makes them scared of the things. Some guns really do load themselves, as this guy just patently proved.

If I pick up a gun ... clear it and it doesn't leave my hand the gun is clear.
When I pick it up again I will check it again, or when I am idle while holding it, but there is such a thing as slavish obedience to a rule.

The Lone Haranguer
March 1, 2012, 10:01 PM
Deleted, please disregard.

wrc
March 1, 2012, 10:03 PM
Col. Cooper wrote these years ago before the International Association of Pedantry had such a broad membership.

There was a lot more expected of the reader back then.

It's easy. You guys with the semantics crack me up. The four rules are not a law brief that needs to have some kind of clever refutation. It's basic safety. Learn it, live it.

thefamcnaj
March 1, 2012, 10:20 PM
I love that video. Straight foward and to the point. I found as a favorite on hickok45's page on YouTube.
So many unfortunate mishaps could be avoided, if these 4 simple rules will be followed.

J-Bar
March 1, 2012, 10:50 PM
Even you didn't follow the advice though, as if you truly were treating the gun as loaded, you never would have pointed it at your work bench and pulled the trigger (unless you truly intended to shoot the bench, in which case I'll concede).

If you want to get right down to the nitty gritty of following the rules religiously you violated the first and the third rules. You only got off the hook because you didn't violate rule 2. In that you've already basically admitted that you selectively ignore them when doing certain tasks that require that you do so.

If you had actually followed the rule that I posted "Treat all firearms as unloaded until you have personally verified otherwise.", then you would have discovered the round in the chamber and not had a hole ANYWHERE.
Actually, there was not a "round" in the chamber. Since so many on this thread are sensitive to semantics, it must be important to be 100% precise.

It was a cap and ball revolver that I was clearing the nipples on in preparation for loading for a match the next day. The charged chamber was a result of a mechanical problem at the last shoot. I was not able to clear the gun at the range and returned home with one chamber loaded. Which I never do of course. Except this one time when there was a mechanical problem.

This is not an excuse. It's not really much of an explanation. It just shows that stuff happens and that 4 rules provide redundant layers of security.

I honored the 4 rules. There is no rule that says check the chamber. I considered the gun loaded, so I pointed it away from me before pulling the trigger. I did not mean to "destroy" my workbench, true, but the hole was no consequence other than surprise and embarassment.

Yes, I made a mistake. Following the muzzle direction rule minimized the consequences of the mistake. That is precisely the point of the 4 rules. If you honor them it will minimize the effects of a mistake. If you never make a mistake the rules are unnecessary.

Did you ever make a mistake?

mljdeckard
March 1, 2012, 11:33 PM
I prefer the "All guns are always loaded" terminology. It's just more simple for more people.

mgmorden
March 2, 2012, 12:25 AM
Yes, I made a mistake. Following the muzzle direction rule minimized the consequences of the mistake. Did you ever make a mistake?

I wasn't BLAMING you for the mistake. Heck in your example its a clear cut situation in which rule #3 HAS to be broken to get the chore of clearing the nipples done (I've got a cap n' ball gun too - lots of fun but I wonder how they fired those things without shooting glasses way back when - spits stuff everywhere). Some thought has to be applied rather than a rigid robotic following of a dogma.

I was merely pointing out that you didn't follow rule 1 - in either the form you argued for or the form I stated. If you followed neither form of the rule, how does your example prove that either variation is superior over the other?

J-Bar
March 2, 2012, 12:29 AM
I was editing while you were responding.

Guess I am a slow thinker among my other faults.

beatledog7
March 2, 2012, 01:18 AM
I live by the four rules, so please don't flame me for what follows.

Good safety habits matter, but there are times when we simply cannot avoid bringing people into line with the muzzle. That's actually ok.

Muzzle control always matters while a gun is (1) mechanically capable of firing and is (2) being handled, but once you remove either of those things the muzzle can be anywhere without danger because the gun cannot fire.

(1) Open the action of a gun, it cannot fire. Remove the bolt, open the breech, lock back the slide, swing open the cylinder, lower the hammer...whatever renders it incapable of firing even if the trigger is pulled (or a pull is attempted). Putting it in "safe" doesn't count.

(2) Put a gun down and move hands away, it cannot fire. I make it a point to never set down a gun that's loaded unless it's intentionally left loaded for SD/HD use, but even if I did I know that a gun that's not being touched cannot fire. I also never put a loaded gun into a case, range bag, or safe, even though guns in those places cannot fire. (If you have a trick case with a trigger hole, please burn it.)

As long as either 1 or 2 is true, even a loaded gun cannot fire.

rodregier
March 2, 2012, 12:39 PM
Just a technical (as opposed to a linguistic point) on the theme.

Kevlar "pads" are sold commercially, which are a wonderful adjunct "safe direction" to the unloading/dry fire process that is necessary to clear certain autopistols.

Especially recommended when overnighting outside your own residence and attending training which will mandate firearm cleaning in the evening...

GCMkc
March 2, 2012, 02:02 PM
"If you're scared of the dark, turn on the lights". I thought that was hilarious.

SaxonPig
March 2, 2012, 03:23 PM
After reading comments made by Mr. Smith a couple years ago where he basically said everyone in the world except for him was a dumb-ass I have zero respect for him. Not really interested in what he has to say.

dmazur
March 2, 2012, 05:26 PM
(1) Open the action of a gun, it cannot fire...(2) Put a gun down and move hands away, it cannot fire.

Our range doesn't require empty chamber flags, but we do have a couple of rules that are similar to the above:

When the range is cold, all rifles have to have their actions open. This may vary according to action type, but the idea is levers down, bolts open, falling-blocks open, etc.

When the range is cold, rifles may be left in the rests, but noone is allowed to touch them. No adjusting scopes, no cleaning, no nothing. You can mess around with your range bag, but touching the rifle is prohibited.

Of course, while you are servicing targets, there are 12 high-power rifles aimed at your back. Except they are harmless.

While the Four Rules are part of the mandatory training required for membership, nobody has argued that the range procedures are a violation.

JohnBT
March 2, 2012, 06:24 PM
"Of course, while you are servicing targets, there are 12 high-power rifles aimed at your back."

Aren't all ranges run this way? All the ones I've ever visited were and there would be a couple dozen unloaded handguns with open actions on the benches pointed at my butt too while I was hanging targets.

OMG, THEY WERE ALL LOADED. I COULD HAVE DIED.

:)

What was that word, pedantry? In other news, claiming the reader is capable of understanding what a phrase really means is no excuse for sloppy, inexact writing.

gym
March 2, 2012, 07:28 PM
Glock unloading, without worrying about a discharge. Drop mag, pull slide back, round falls out, recheck 3 times, make sure you have the ejected round. Gun is empty, pulling the trigger is now harmless, I point at the carpeted floor. Unless there is a ghost in the house you have cleared the gun and rechecked it 3 times. There has to be point that you trust that the gun is empty.My guns are all loaded, if out of the safe, and two in the safe. I don't ever want to have to run in and barricade the door, then deal with an unloaded gun, which could happen with a home invasion.In such a case you may have screwed up and somehow "they" are in the house. There is always a chance while you are still breathing, that you could get to the other room, where another gun is waiting.The last thing you want to be doing is looking for a mag or rounds. It also depends on your living conditions, single, married, kids, grandkids, Dog? It's easy to set up secure systems in a bachlor pad, since you are living alone. But with wife or kids running in and out and kids friends, you can't leave your tactical shotgun in the closet, Or your 45 in the freezer, or any of that kind of stuff. They have to be secured thus making it difficult to prepare for situations. Night time you should have a routine. Flashlights and guns in the proper places in the bedroom. Lock the door to your room if you have kids. I would rather be woken up by a screaming kid, than a group of gangbangers.

JVaughn
March 2, 2012, 08:13 PM
I thought it was a well delivered and sensible discussion about the "way of life" philosophy of the 4 rules.
+1

Walkalong
March 2, 2012, 09:27 PM
Of course, while you are servicing targets, there are 12 high-power rifles aimed at your back.In Benchrest, all bolts are removed when time is called. No gun ever has a bolt in it except from "Commence firing" to "Cease firing". Period! No target crew is ever down range with a gun capable of firing pointed at them. Never.

At the local range, it is up to the individuals. Gotta be on your toes. One idiot started firing when I was still downrange once. He got a serious ear full, and left shortly afterwards. I reckin he thought it was OK because he was on the other end of the range. Dumb***

rskent
March 3, 2012, 06:55 AM
Clint Smith is fantastic. I love the way he explains things.
Steve

JohnBT
March 3, 2012, 12:27 PM
"In Benchrest, all bolts are removed when time is called."

That doesn't matter where The Rule is concerned - All Guns Are Loaded. :) Even the unloaded, empty, boltless ones.

Apuuli
March 3, 2012, 12:47 PM
I honored the 4 rules. There is no rule that says check the chamber.

Clearly there should be...

I kind of consider checking the chamber as a corollary to "A gun is always loaded unless otherwise verified."

But I guess if a gun is ALWAYS loaded, there's just no point in checking the chamber. It's just that kind of strict adherence to the rules that gave us the never empty Western movie gun.

Elkins45
March 3, 2012, 01:55 PM
Sometimes pedantry matters, sometimes it doesn't. I prefer the simpler "all guns are always loaded" terminology because it's just easy to remember...but being pedantic about the wording of the rules assumes the strict wording of the rules is all the shooter knows, and I can't imagine that's ever the case. When teaching that rule to someone who doesn't use a few (or even a lot) of extra sentences to explain the INTENT of this rule?

Yes, this rule (when interpreted strictly as written) has to be willfully violated to clean or disassemble guns, but so what? There are 'laws' against driving through an intersection on red, but fire, police and EMS routinely disregard that 'law' in relative safety to accomplish a necessary outcome. Heck, there are laws against shooting people but there are times when those laws are deemed not to apply for the greater goal of personal safety.

I do think someone in a previous post made a good point in that usually people die only when at least two of the rules are broken.

dmazur
March 3, 2012, 03:05 PM
There is a "protocol" (I'm not going to suggest it is a rule, lest I rile the True Believers) used at gun stores involving opening actions before handing the gun across the counter for inspection. The clerk does it every time, because of Rule 1. The range protocol of actions open / don't touch when range is cold is similarly reasoned. What is understood, except by the pedantic, is that All Guns Are Loaded, but you can disable a gun as an acceptible (temporary) way of handling it with less than normal caution. Further, this safety protocol is parallel to, and just as important as The Four Rules. Those who believe The Four Rules stand alone as the complete answer to gun safety are living in a fantasy of their own making.

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