Are Rules Rules?


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Loosedhorse
March 3, 2012, 09:37 AM
In another thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=643600), we were discussing whether the 4 Rules are always applicable; or whether there are always exceptions, and an expert knows when to disregard the rules.

My position is that the Rules always apply. If I may argue for my position:

It is true that the Rules require interpretation--go to any appeals court, and you'll find out just how much arguing there is about what rules actually mean.

Since we were talking about Rule 2, let's use that as the example. What does "Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy" mean? A barrel detached from your gun has a muzzle--should we apply Rule 2 to that detached barrel? How about the imaginary gun I make with my fingers--POW! Would its "muzzle" be unsafe to point at something I'm not willing to destroy? How about a cased or holtered gun?

I have decided (for me) that the Rule applies to handled, functional, assembled guns that have their actions closed. And we already know (Rule 1) that all such guns are always loaded.

Once we (each of us) have decided what the Rule means, IT SHOULD BE INVIOLABLE. Otherwise, it is NOT a rule, and then it is worthless, IMHO.

Say another person were to decide that Rule 2 applies to all guns with their barrels in place; then he might decide only to check the barrel of a revolver with a mirror, or a scope of some kind. He might decide that he can't use (clean) revolvers without violating Rule 2, and therefore decline to use them. And that would be fine.

What he should NOT decide (IMHO) that Rule 2 applies only sometimes. And if you're an "expert", you know when those times are. And what I shouldn't do is tell him that there are in fact exceptions to the Rule, because it is impossible to examine the bore of a revolver or clean it without violating his Rule 2 (as it is in fact possible to do both), but lots of people use revolvers anyway.

What I might do is explain that if he gets an ultrasonic cleaner, or fashions himself a U-shaped cleaning rod, he can clean the barrel without pointing it at himself. Or ask him, if he gets a revolver from which the cylinder is easily removed (like a SAA), would that make a difference.

But whatever you decide Rule 2 to be, YOU SHOULD STICK TO IT. ALWAYS. IT IS A RULE. We have all heard of (and a few of us have seen) the results of not obeying the rules. And we are all tired of various "experts" (whether they are impeached presidents, disgraced priests, or incarcerated Wall Street tycoons) who "knew" the rules didn't apply to them, because they were experts.

There. If that seems too rigid, well, I'm just going to have to live with it. But I'd rather do that than break firearm safety rules or teach my kids and students that it's alright to break them, too.

So--what do you all think?

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The Lone Haranguer
March 3, 2012, 09:54 AM
:scrutiny: :confused:

So--what do you all think?
I think you're ridiculously overthinking this.

Salmoneye
March 3, 2012, 09:59 AM
Without taking a revolver to a smith with gauges and paying, there is no way to check chamber to bore alignment without looking down the barrel with the gun in full lockup...

gdesloge
March 3, 2012, 10:09 AM
Did you know that there are actually 10 Commandments of gun safety?


10 COMMANDMENTS

The Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety should be etched in your memory forever. Let them govern your actions wherever and whenever you're involved with firearms. In the woods. On the range. Or in your home. Please take time to review and understand these rules.

Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.

Don't rely on your gun's safety.

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

Use proper ammunition.

If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.

Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.

Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.

Don't alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly.

Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.


http://www.remington.com/~/link.aspx?_id=5B6EB408A13E4DE5960FD674D7459CAC&_z=z


Or:
http://www.nashwauk.net/10CommandmentsofFirearmSafety.html

Or:
http://www.nrahq.org/education/guide.asp


And here's one that was apparently taken from an old Remington publication (I like this one):

http://www.thegunzone.com/ten-rules.html

gd

bowman1962
March 3, 2012, 10:22 AM
There has to be a level of common sense involved in everything we do in life, i.e common sense would dictate that a barrel removed from a firearm or a pointed index finger has 0 chance of discharging and causing damage or death! It's just that simple and should be taught that way!


Somebody needs to lay off the caffine!:what:
GOD Bless

Loosedhorse
March 3, 2012, 10:37 AM
I think you're ridiculously overthinking this.Somebody needs to lay off the caffine!Ah--perhaps I forgot the option: "Safety doesn't matter to me, so it shouldn't matter to you."

;):Dthere is no way to check chamber to bore alignment without looking down the barrel with the gun in full lockupI thought that's what range rods were for. Not to mention mirrors, videocameras and flexible fiberoptic scopes.

But, you've hit on the nub of the matter: are you willing to point a cocked gun at your head because you "know it's unloaded"? I'm not, and never have.There has to be a level of common senseSure--but what if my common sense tells me not to point guns at my head, and yours says it's fine to do that?

Remember "common sense gun laws"? Everyone's common sense is different. If we could depend on everyone's common sense, why would ranges post rules or hire ROs?

:D

Hey guys: let's try to keep it civil and relevant. Explaining your position is fine. Saying that my position (or anyone else's) is the product of overthinking, or too much caffeine, or lack of common sense is ad hominem--and admission that you have nothing thoughtful or on-point to say.

EddieNFL
March 3, 2012, 11:01 AM
Strict adherence to rule two eliminates many concealed carry options.

EddieNFL
March 3, 2012, 11:03 AM
Hey guys: let's try to keep it civil and relevant.

So, you'll edit the following?

Ah--perhaps I forgot the option: "Safety doesn't matter to me, so it shouldn't matter to you."

Tomcat47
March 3, 2012, 11:05 AM
:scrutiny:..............

After following safety procedures.....

Yes....I can competently look down the bore of a unloaded Revolver to check the bore alignment and timing, and feel certain that it will not load itself during the process!

I suppose if one were super paranoid you could remove firing pin then check timing....

I think safety rules always apply.........when handling firearms!

I also think that there are rules for handling a firearm and doing maintenance on a firearm!............. And they are different!

Just for example: A car has safety rules to drive it! They also have safety rules to work on it.....they are safety rules not to be bent ... but are not the same rules! The rules to work on the car are to be followed by someone that has knowledge of auto maintenance and safety!

Firearms are no different....if one is not comfortable doing maintenance and repair, such as checking timing etc. on a firearm....A gunsmith should be considered...he will have the knowledge to do it safely.

Maybe over thinking the subject somewhat, but that is not always a bad thing.....my 2 cents

TJ AK-74
March 3, 2012, 12:16 PM
If a person doesn't want to look down a gun barrel, that is fine. I however feel perfectly fine looking down a gun barrel (once I have double-or-triple-checked that it is unloaded). I do not believe that you should always treat a gun as if it is loaded :what: because that is just silly. If one is not smart enough to be able to make sure a gun is actually unloaded before handling it, he probably shouldn't be inspecting it. The problem is that people get lazy or forgetful, and accidents happen. A better rule would be to always assume that a firearm is loaded until you can prove 100% that it is NOT loaded.

JohnBT
March 3, 2012, 12:41 PM
"I have decided (for me) that the Rule applies to handled, functional, assembled guns that have their actions closed. And we already know (Rule 1) that all such guns are always loaded."

Loaded guns are loaded. Empty guns aren't. Always maintain muzzle control and awareness and keep your finger off the trigger except when you are ready to actually shoot.

Ever tried to shoot an empty gun? Wasn't loaded, was it?

The Lone Haranguer
March 3, 2012, 12:42 PM
I saw this coming.
Saying that my position (or anyone else's) is the product of overthinking, or too much caffeine, or lack of common sense is ad hominem--and admission that you have nothing thoughtful or on-point to say.
Wrong on both counts, but I will give you that an explanation is in order.

I can think of no circumstance where violation of Two, by itself , is going to cause a ND. I have written many times that it takes a violation of at least one other rule in concert with it. Moreover, you should look not just at the mere letter of the rule, but at its spirit. For example, a horizontal shoulder holster points the muzzle at everyone behind you, a technical violation of both Two and Four, but this isn't IMO what Cooper meant. The rules come into play the moment you touch the gun. Only if you violate Three - and to a lesser extent - Four are you going to shoot someone you didn't intend to. Now let us look at the revolver barrel example.

Say another person were to decide that Rule 2 applies to all guns with their barrels in place; then he might decide only to check the barrel of a revolver with a mirror, or a scope of some kind. He might decide that he can't use (clean) revolvers without violating Rule 2, and therefore decline to use them. And that would be fine.
Aren't you going to have the cylinder open for that? Where is the problem?

there is no way to check chamber to bore alignment without looking down the barrel with the gun in full lockup

I thought that's what range rods were for. Not to mention mirrors, videocameras and flexible fiberoptic scopes.


I am in somewhat more agreement here, because to do this you have to not only have the cylinder closed, but the hammer cocked. Also, some sort of gage would be more accurate than the naked eye. But, going back to my first statement, nothing will happen if you observe Three.

Really, you were doing OK, with thoughtful points raised, until you got to this part:
We have all heard of (and a few of us have seen) the results of not obeying the rules. And we are all tired of various "experts" (whether they are impeached presidents, disgraced priests, or incarcerated Wall Street tycoons) who "knew" the rules didn't apply to them, because they were experts.

I don't understand the relevance of these people's actions to simple firearms safety. :confused:

But whatever you decide Rule 2 to be, YOU SHOULD STICK TO IT. ALWAYS. IT IS A RULE.
At the risk of doing a little overthinking myself :D, I take issue with the bolded part. With every rule, there must be "wiggle room" for interpretation (such as I gave with the shoulder holster example), and even outright exceptions. Overadherence to rigid rules, when carried to extremes, gets us people like Draco (for whom the word "draconian" is named), or in modern times, "zero tolerance" policies.

walker944
March 3, 2012, 12:51 PM
Overadherence to rigid rules, when carried to extremes, gets us people like Draco (for whom the word "draconian" is named), or in modern times, "zero tolerance" policies.

Well stated!!!

19-3Ben
March 3, 2012, 12:55 PM
I never believe in absolutes.

Yeah, that's right. Figure that one out!

The Lone Haranguer
March 3, 2012, 12:56 PM
More examples of interpretations of, and exceptions to, the Rules: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=646737

browningguy
March 3, 2012, 12:59 PM
I think anything can be taken to ridiculous lengths by people. Some people are smart enough to figure out that if you have an empty chamber indicator/flag in you firearm it is actually empty, some people aren't.

The Lone Haranguer
March 3, 2012, 01:00 PM
I voted for the second option in the poll.

I never believe in absolutes.

Yeah, that's right. Figure that one out!

Everything I tell you is a lie. I am lying to you now.
;)

CZguy
March 3, 2012, 01:18 PM
I look at it like two bare electrical wires. If there is electricity going through them, they can hurt or kill you. If there isn't electricity present then they are safe to handle.

Some other examples off the top of my head, hydraulics, high pressure air, guns, chain saws, but I'm sure that by now you get the point. A gun without the ability to have a controlled explosion is just a piece of metal. The same with an electrical wire, without electricity going through it.

In life there are many things that can hurt you. Survivors learn to tell the difference. ;)

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 3, 2012, 01:20 PM
Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.

"Hold on Bad guy, let me load my carry gun because I wasn't "using" it" :rolleyes:

Don't alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly

How about you do what you want to with your firearms and I'll modify mine if I so choose. That rule right there would kick about 50% to 60% of us to the curb! AR owners, 1911 owners, hell too many firearms to choose from that we all like to modify in one way or another.

Now as to the OP, there are many exceptions where simple common sense should be used in conjunction with the 4 rules. If your IQ is not sufficient to know when these instances occur, then you shouldn't be handling firearms in the first place. Pretty plain and simple.

murf
March 3, 2012, 01:50 PM
these rules always apply all the time.

even while "breaking" the rules, the rules always apply.

even when you are sleeping the rules always apply.

even when the gun is in someone else's hand, the rules always apply.

even after you spill a cup of hot coffee on your crotch, the rules always apply.

even after the bad guy sees your gun and runs off, the rules always apply.

your mind will not always be focused on the safety of the loaded weapon in your hand. you must follow these rules especially when it is not focused. therefore, practice these rules until you can follow them without thinking about them. automatic

murf

beatledog7
March 3, 2012, 02:01 PM
For me, the first rule in life is that there are THE rules and then there are MY rules.

When they conflict, circumstances will dictate.

jcwit
March 3, 2012, 02:04 PM
Regarding Rule 2, ever go to a gun show and see where the guns are pointing while lying on the table, let alone after someone picks one up.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 3, 2012, 02:08 PM
If you want to be totalitarian about it, anyone that carries a loaded, holstered handgun is breaking rule #2. Doesn't matter what type of holster it is in, it is either pointed at someone else (horizontal shoulder rig) or it is pointed at some part of your body! All rules have to be assessed to a degree of application.

Manson
March 3, 2012, 02:11 PM
Rules are rules. And I try hard to never break them. I have looked down the muzzle end of a barrel. So long as it is no longer part of the gun.

Trunk Monkey
March 3, 2012, 02:13 PM
Let the buyer beware.

Rules are rules within the realm of common sense.

I treat all guns as loaded because that is a good habit to get into but If the gun is disassembled and I am literally only holding a barrel in my hand muzzle discipline is clearly not going to be an issue.

I do, however, keep my finger off the trigger even when all I’m holding is the lower receiver

jcwit
March 3, 2012, 02:22 PM
Rules are rules. And I try hard to never break them. I have looked down the muzzle end of a barrel. So long as it is no longer part of the gun.

Please explain how you would inspect the bore of a semi/auto rifle, lever action rifle, or a pump rifle.

Certaindeaf
March 3, 2012, 02:31 PM
Rules. There is an exception to every rule. It would be impossible/folly to delineate/enumerate all potentialities.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 3, 2012, 02:32 PM
Please explain how you would inspect the bore of a semi/auto rifle, lever action rifle, or a pump rifle.

Bore scope :D They are getting fairly cheap nowadays. I have one that has some really good magnification to it as well and can get a really good look at my rifling and chamber.

jcwit
March 3, 2012, 02:41 PM
Bore scope They are getting fairly cheap nowadays. I have one that has some really good magnification to it as well and can get a really good look at my rifling and chamber.


You're going to take a bore scope to a gun show or gun auction?

What is "cheap"?

AZ_Rebel
March 3, 2012, 03:49 PM
Many don't seem to understand that the 4 Rules were presented by Col. Jeff Cooper for gun handling. Where the muzzle is pointed when the gun is (safely) in a (proper) holster is not relevant to the 4 Rules. It may be one of your concerns but not in relation to the 4 Rules.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 3, 2012, 03:52 PM
I have an el cheapo one that I take to shows and such. No magnification but has a fairly crisp, clean viewer that will allow me to do a cursory inspection. It's small, battery operated, and has a small case. Cost around $180 a couple of years ago. I also have a much more expensive one that I use to to a really thorough inspection for pitting. Has up to 10x magnification and a fairly long flex tube "snake". That one, used, set me back close to $1200 but it works really well and allows me a VERY good look at chambers, throat condition, as well as rifling condition. That one I don't take to shows but I do take it to auctions so I can really inspect possible items I wish to bid on for condition.

Manson
March 3, 2012, 04:22 PM
jc. I don't own rifles of any kind. Just dozens of pistols.:D I can certainly understand that being an issue for many. I can and do field strip my Glocks and others without my hand passing the muzzle.

Trunk Monkey
March 3, 2012, 04:45 PM
You're going to take a bore scope to a gun show or gun auction?

When you think about it that's probably not a bad idea

hermannr
March 3, 2012, 09:10 PM
My first rule is 1: "any gun that is in operating condition is loaded at all times"

2: Because you know it is loaded, handle it as such.

3: If you think the gun is unloaded, refer to rule one.

Loosedhorse
March 3, 2012, 09:12 PM
So, you'll edit the following?Ah--perhaps I forgot the option: "Safety doesn't matter to me, so it shouldn't matter to you."
Sure--as soon as the folks I was responding to edit their posts.

The proper response to argument (my first post) is argument. The proper response to their posts (ad hominem) is ad hominem. And besides: I'm human, and it's fun (in small amounts).I can think of no circumstance where violation of Two, by itself , is going to cause a NDPerhaps a Rule 5 then: You may break any ONE of these Rules, but not TWO AT THE SAME TIME! :eek:

Well, it is part of a thoughtful post. Let me think about that one. But at first blush, I'd say that Rule 2 is not supposed to prevent NDs--just supposed to minimize the damage if one occurs.you have managed to evoke some passions,stir some argument and generate discussion.Success! Thanks.

Just to be clear: I am planning on learning here, and thank you all.

I wonder if a big part of my OP has been missed. As I said, worrying about what the muzzle of an isolated (unattached to any firearm) barrel is covering makes no sense to me--to anyone?--and so I have had to decide when Rule 2 applies to a muzzle, and when it doesn't. Like, for instance, when the gun is holstered or cased. But then, once I've decided when it applies, I don't violate Rule 2 ever in those case.

Maybe some of you have decided that Rule 2 doesn't apply if you really, really, really check that the gun is unloaded? And you are consistent with that?

Again, I'm not sure why we'd call something a rule if you can break it "sometimes", with that "sometimes" remaining quite undefined. Unless we're implying it can ONLY be "broken" under certain, clearly defined conditions when (we can all agree?) it doesn't really apply.

Sort of like making an additional rule ("Rule 2 doesn't apply when...")--but then THAT additional rule always applies?

Ragnar Danneskjold
March 3, 2012, 09:19 PM
My first rule is 1: "any gun that is in operating condition is loaded at all times"

2: Because you know it is loaded, handle it as such.

3: If you think the gun is unloaded, refer to rule one.

So when I'm handling my Glock, in preparation to clean it, how do I avoid getting stuck in a recursive loop?

EddieNFL
March 3, 2012, 09:46 PM
Some pretty dangerous habits here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=fvwp&v=jfdRRDLQD9A

jcwit
March 3, 2012, 09:51 PM
jc. I don't own rifles of any kind. Just dozens of pistols. I can certainly understand that being an issue for many. I can and do field strip my Glocks and others without my hand passing the muzzle.

How bout inspecting a .22 semi auto pistol, most have non removeable barrels. Or better yet a revolver of any kind.

I have an el cheapo one that I take to shows and such. No magnification but has a fairly crisp, clean viewer that will allow me to do a cursory inspection. It's small, battery operated, and has a small case. Cost around $180 a couple of years ago.

How does that work for .22 calibers?

In my 50 some years of going to gun showes and gun auctions I have yet to see anyone using a bore scope to inspect a gun barrel of any kind, but then maybe I just missed it.

Walkalong
March 3, 2012, 09:56 PM
I think you're ridiculously overthinking this.
Yep. I voted rules are rules. Follow the rules.

Live long and prosper.

huntsman
March 3, 2012, 09:59 PM
Many don't seem to understand that the 4 Rules were presented by Col. Jeff Cooper for gun handling. Where the muzzle is pointed when the gun is (safely) in a (proper) holster is not relevant to the 4 Rules. It may be one of your concerns but not in relation to the 4 Rules.

+1

Lovejoy's Rules of Gun Safety
1 - You must have a gun.
2 - Your gun should always be loaded and ready to fire.
3 - The first hit counts more than the first shot


I vote for your rules ;)

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 3, 2012, 10:02 PM
How does that work for .22 calibers?

In my 50 some years of going to gun showes and gun auctions I have yet to see anyone using a bore scope to inspect a gun barrel of any kind, but then maybe I just missed it.

The el cheapo, the smallest bore I can check is .32cal. I have 2 snakes for the pricier one and can inspect .22 but the smaller snake doesn't have the magnifying chip in it. I actually just started using them a few years ago after a bad experience with a firearm I bought at auction. Once I got it home I found that the throat was pretty badly eroded and the bore was pitted. Basically was a ruined barrel which made the gun about 1/3 the value. Was near impossible to see this with just a bore light.

dmazur
March 3, 2012, 10:22 PM
There's this link on another forum -

http://thefiringline.com/Misc/safetyrules.html

which saved me the effort of looking up my copy of the book.

I won't discuss this at length, but the text explains things, and I don't encounter the explanations very often when I read about The Four Rules. I believe people are getting the rules alone, without explanation, then applying their own interpretation.

For example (Rule 1) -

RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

...This must be your mind-set. If someone hands you a firearm and says, "Don't worry, it's not loaded," you do not dare believe him. You need not be impolite, but check it yourself. Remember, there are no accidents, only negligent acts. Check it...

You will notice the discussion of checking to make sure the gun is unloaded. Before doing what, exactly? Unfortunately, the author does not continue his explanation, but I would imagine this would be appropriate before handing it to someone else, cleaning, etc.

Does everyone discussing Rule 1 automatically discuss checking the gun? No. Just the statement of the rule seems to be sufficient.

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

...A firearm holstered properly, lying on a table, or placed in a scabbard is of no danger to anyone. Only when handled is there a need for concern...

You will notice the clear exception for guns which are not being handled. Unfortunately, the author did not include guns with their actions locked open, but I believe it is clear that a gun so configured is also "inert", and this is why gun store salesman use this procedure when passing a gun to a customer, with the muzzle pointed at themselves. And, if the customer is allowed to run the action and dry fire, he should observe the Four Rules while he proceeds, then lock the action open before handing it back to the salesman.

Is this distinction noted in discussions? No. Instead, there is discussion of all the muzzles in the gun store being pointed at the customers.

Many don't seem to understand that the 4 Rules were presented by Col. Jeff Cooper for gun handling.

Absolutely true. He left out administrative chores, such as loading, unloading, cleaning and inspections. I'll bet he never imagined readers would try to apply the Four Rules to everything...

Walkalong
March 3, 2012, 11:04 PM
Here is what the 4 rules are not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBH8AySK9Fc&feature=related

Any intelligent person knows when they can look in a barrel and when they cannot. the rule does not need to be written for that.

The fellow in the video obviously is unaware that pointing a loaded gun at ones self is dangerous and stupid. These are the kinds of people who shoot them selves, not intelligent people who are cleaning unloaded weapons.

What I do not get, is all the people who shoot themselves cleaning "unloaded" guns.

Iramo94
March 3, 2012, 11:09 PM
I chose a third option, because I think of the four rules as safeguards that are surrounding the real rule. I find this similar to, for example, the laws of the Hebrews that were used as a "buffer zone" around the ten commandments.

Basically, the real rule is that you need common sense, you need to think into the future with the realization that every decision you make could possibly hurt someone. I suppose this borders on existentialism. Humans are inherently radically free and completely responsible. The four rules ensure that we control this free will so as to not make mistakes. However, they are not absolute, because there are some situations where you must carefully break a rule to accomplish a basic task like cleaning or holstering. They are made to stop negligent discharges during use, not to prevent useful actions that may or may not incur risk.

By the way, I have a tile floor that I am not willing to have bullet holes in. I of course also have neighbors here in suburbia, and the sky has proven to be quite dangerous (bullets fired up at an angle retain a ballistic trajectory and are still lethal on the way back down) on many occasions. Any ideas on where to point the muzzle? :neener:

Loosedhorse
March 3, 2012, 11:11 PM
Absolutely true. He left out administrative chores, such as loading, unloading, cleaning and inspections.Perhaps you can find the passage in his writings where he says his rules don't apply. Particularly odd to me that "All guns are always loaded" doesn't have anything to do with loading and unloading guns, but I'll believe he said it when I read it.Any ideas on where to point the muzzle?Sure. Buy a bullet snailtrap (http://www.snailtraps.com/bullettraps/), or take a barrel (container) and fill it with sand. Just because Nature or your contractor didn't give you a ready-made back stop, doesn't get you off the hook. You're aware of the problem, you can fix it...if you choose to. You're not helpless.

Ragnar Danneskjold
March 3, 2012, 11:12 PM
What I do not get, is all the people who shoot themselves cleaning "unloaded" guns.

I would bet that 9 out of 10 of those are people screwing around, and they just said they were "cleaning" their guns in order to cover their own arses.

mljdeckard
March 3, 2012, 11:19 PM
I was in a language class with a SEAL. I had recently seen some footage of some SEALs doing some kind of room clearing exercise, and they were crossing back and forth in front of each others' muzzles. So I asked this guy if that was a super-advanced tactic that teams sometimes use. He told me that if a team member repeatedly flagged another like that, he would give him remedial training as a pretense to finding a reason to drop him from the team.

No exceptions.

Now, there are some ways I see the rules that aren't explicitly spelled out in the rules. The main example that comes to mind is; "Isn't a pistol in a shoulder holster flagging everyone behind you?" and the answer would be no, because you aren't HANDLING that pistol. I look the other way for rifles dangling one-handed by the sling, although every possible precaution should still be taken both by the holder and everyone around.

dmazur
March 3, 2012, 11:55 PM
Perhaps you can find the passage in his writings where he says his rules don't apply.

First of all, the author's name is Morrison, who cited Cooper's Four Rules in his book. Excerpts from his book is what is available in the other forum, not Cooper's writings. Morrison offered his explanations of the Four Rules.

My statement was not that the Four Rules don't apply, but that 1) they were intended for gun handling, which does not include everything that someone might do with a gun, and 2) they are not explained in unambiguous terms.

Why can't Rule I just be explained as Morrison did? All Guns Are Always Loaded. So, every single time you pick one up, make sure it is unloaded before you proceed with some action that requires an unloaded gun. (Or, in the case of heading out with a gun in CCW status, make sure it is loaded.)

It is obvious that all guns can't always be loaded. What has to be done is to adopt an unfailing practice of inspection. Never, never assume. Assumption of a particular status is the danger. The obvious one, and the one that causes the most damage, is the assumption that a gun is unloaded when it is not. But, under rare circumstances, assumption that a gun is loaded when it is unloaded can also get you killed.

captain awesome
March 4, 2012, 12:15 AM
Because of rule number two which I always follow with rare exception to be explained in a moment, I still have a foot. I have been witness to more than one negligent discharges, which means someone already broke other rules, but because rule number two was followed, no one and nothing important got hurt. A gun went off pointed about 2 feet away from my foot inside a house. (this friend is no longer around firearms and me at the same time, but I am grateful he was at least as careful about rule 2 as I am) I am a strong believer in it.

That being said, I have had unloaded guns pointed at things I am not willing to destroy, such as a camera (on a tripod), the inside of my safe and gun cases, the trunk of my car, the bed of my truck, wall mounts and pictures of game, the list goes on and on. To me the definition of an unloaded gun is one that in the last few moments I personally have opened, visually inspected, and felt in the chamber(s) and magazines and been able to say undeniably that said firearm is indeed cleared and emptied and has not left my hands and sight. Then and only then is it unloaded and safe to point at the things I have mentioned above, and obviously only when there is no person behind them, and my finger stays of the trigger. This applies to every gun I pick up or am handed every time, and every time it is set down it must be done again when it is picked back up.

Checking optics and lining up sights, and doing drawing drills and quickly finding a target are things that I feel must be done, since I don't make it to the range or desert to shoot nearly as often as I would like to maintain the level of proficiency I feel necessary. I also realize that a firearm sitting there undisturbed is not going to fire by itself. These are my personal guide lines yours probably vary, but the definition of "never" is absolute, and by nature impossible to follow completely, because aside from targets, game and bad guys, there is nothing I am willing to destroy, the inside of my house included.

exavid
March 4, 2012, 12:16 AM
If one was to get on a bus carrying a range back with two pistols (or revolvers, we don't want to get into that right now) pointing in opposite directions in the bag what do we do? Carry the bag vertically so one gun points up and one down? If you happen to be on the second story of a three story building with other buildings on every side where to you point the gun you may be carrying? Rules in this case are guides. Not immutable law. Common sense figures in this situation as it should in most.

jcwit
March 4, 2012, 12:20 AM
Common sense figures in this situation as it should in most.

Common sense? Now thats a new idea!

dmazur
March 4, 2012, 01:03 AM
OK, from Cooper's writings -

It would seem that while a great many shooters understand the four basic rules of safe gunhandling, they seem to think that the rules only apply on the range when under supervision. I have tried for decades to impress upon people the fact that the four rules are immutable and ever present. They apply at all times and in all circumstances. Somebody asked me what they were the other day (somewhat to my dismay), so for the purposes of those who came in late let me put them forth again now.

RULE 1 ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
The only exception to this occurs when one has a weapon in his hands and he has personally unloaded it for checking. As soon as he puts it down, Rule 1 applies again.
RULE 2 NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY
You may not wish to destroy it, but you must be clear in your mind that you are quite ready to if you let that muzzle cover the target. To allow a firearm to point at another human being is a deadly threat, and should always be treated as such.
RULE 3 KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER TIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
This we call the Golden Rule because its violation is responsible for about 80 percent of the firearms disasters we read about.
RULE 4 BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it.

From this link - http://molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff6_2.html

I find it strange that this exception, as written by Cooper himself, is conveniently omitted in most arguments regarding "No Exceptions" for Rule 1. I certainly didn't find it until now.

Morrison's book is a good one, but IMO he "glossed over" this critical exception. He cautions not to assume a gun is unloaded, but to check it yourself. Cooper flat-out states the only exception, and further defines when it ends. (When you put it down.)

I'm somewhat pleased that I came to this conclusion as the only practical way of dealing with things, before I read this. :)

Loosedhorse
March 4, 2012, 09:33 AM
I find it strange that this exception, as written by Cooper himself, is conveniently omitted in most arguments regarding "No Exceptions" for Rule 1.And how do you extrapolate this single, specified exception? Do you feel, for example, that Cooper would have been fine with--after checking that the gun is unloaded personally, and without putting the gun down--putting the muzzle to his eye and pulling the trigger?

Gosh, that would make a great picture: if anyone has a picture of the Colonel doing so, PLEASE POST! :D

If so, it would seem that even though he only mentioned an exception for Rule 1 (and only mentioned one exception, and specified that there was only one), he actually meant that all the Rules have exceptions.

EddieNFL
March 4, 2012, 10:18 AM
Common sense? Now thats a new idea!
Common sense ain't very common, JC.

CZguy
March 4, 2012, 10:37 AM
Common sense ain't very common, JC.

And by golly, if this thread don't prove that, I don't know what does. ;)

GEM
March 4, 2012, 12:03 PM
It's very simple. They are vivid mnemonic devices to avoid the common ways of shooting the wrong thing.

Anyone who thinks they are absolute laws such as mathematics or physics is not understanding their purpose.

Common scents - we don't need no common cents?

ilbob
March 4, 2012, 12:13 PM
I think you need to read the rules carefully to see just how they apply, and think about the application of those rules before deciding just what they really mean.

I am more of a 3 rule guy, but that is personal preference and NRA training.

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Some would argue that a holster of any kind violates rule 1, yet hundreds of years of firearm handling experience contradicts that POV.

Every once in a while in a class someone asks about a gun that is left loaded in a nightstand drawer or something wondering if that violates rule 3. My answer is that gun is in use, just as a holstered and loaded gun is in use. It does not need to be fired to be "in use".

Rule 2 does not require that you actually pull the trigger. Just that you be ready to do so.

Loosedhorse
March 4, 2012, 01:25 PM
Anyone who thinks they are absolute laws such as mathematics or physics is not understanding their purpose.Odd: if I were to re-phrase this as "Anyone who doesn't think they are absolute laws such as mathematics or physics is not understanding their purpose"...then suddenly it makes sense to me!

:D

TurtlePhish
March 4, 2012, 01:34 PM
I voted number two. I believe that adherence to the Four Rules is necessary to safe firearms handling, but I also believe that if you remove the bolt from a bolt action rifle or lock the action open on a semi-auto, both having magazines unloaded or removed, that it is okay to look at or down the muzzle for cleaning or inspection. And when checking the bore of a used gun, in some cases it's impossible to look down the bore from the chamber end, in which case an open action and bore light make it both safe and easy to see what the bore looks like.

Loosedhorse
March 4, 2012, 01:40 PM
I voted number two. I believe that adherence to the Four Rules is necessary to safe firearms handling, but I also believe that if you remove the bolt from a bolt action rifle or lock the action open on a semi-auto, both having magazines unloaded or removed, that it is okay to look at or down the muzzle for cleaning or inspection.I see I have failed to make my poll options unambiguous: I believe the exact same things that you said--and yet I voted for #1!

Oh, well, maybe it was the best I could do with the poll. :o And I do appreciate your explanation.

dmazur
March 4, 2012, 02:10 PM
I'm happy enough knowing Col. Cooper wasn't crazy. He had a rather simple exception in mind to deal with what I called "administrative tasks", such as unloading, cleaning, inspections, etc.

At this point the purists can yell "No Exceptions" all they want. It isn't common sense, and Cooper knew it.

There has to be an exception to Rule 1, or you can't transistion to the inert pile of parts that is a disassembled gun.

If so, it would seem that even though he only mentioned an exception for Rule 1 (and only mentioned one exception, and specified that there was only one), he actually meant that all the Rules have exceptions.

Morrison explained exceptions to Rule 2, with the list of guns on tables, cased, etc. These were not being handled, and were incapable of firing. A gun with its action locked open is also incapable of firing, and most would consider this a valid exception to Rule 2.

For example, the salesmen in the gun store point the muzzle of the pistol at themselves as they hand it across for inspection, violating Rule 2. Except, the action is locked back so it's no longer a functional gun. No violation.

So, IMO, the Four Rules are an exercise in thinking. You have to think, what am I doing and have I taken care of the Four Rules. It's only by ignoring them, not by exercising proper "exceptions", that a dangerous situation is created.

The individual that put a hole in his workbench and believes he was following the Four Rules isn't quite there yet. I believe he said something about "Rule 1 doesn't say you have to inspect the gun." Maybe not, but if you do anything with it and a discharge occurs that you didn't intend, you were not following Rule 1. You assumed it was unloaded. That is the fundamental error.

Rule 1 means, IMO, "...so you'd better make darn sure it's unloaded before you proceed."

But nobody likes this interpretation.

CZguy
March 4, 2012, 02:10 PM
Common scents - we don't need no common cents?

Hey not fair.....some of us went to public schools.

GEM
March 4, 2012, 02:14 PM
I did too, I went to college and didn't become a snob. After all, I hang out with stinky old guys with guns. Scents?

Just some memory hints as I said before. Take them for what they are worth as a set of simple principles. Can they be phrased better, perhaps? But they serve the purpose.

Loosedhorse
March 4, 2012, 02:34 PM
Morrison explained exceptions to Rule 2Most of what you are referring to as "exceptions" I think of as simply cases where Rule 2 is clearly inapplicable--like my examples of a detached barrel or imaginary gun.

Maybe it's just a semantic difference, and an imaginary gun also represents an "exception" to Rule 2, rather than a case which Rule 2 was never intended to cover. But I tend to think (especially as he didn't mention such obvious "exceptions" as Morrison does) Cooper would have felt that, for example, asking a UPS driver to be careful where he drives so the cased pistols he's transporting to an FFL don't point at anything he's not "willing to destroy" would be ridiculous: an example that Rule 2 was never intended for, not an "exception."

People claiming that an action can be closed, and that gun pointed at someone and the trigger then pulled? That's pretty clearly asking for an exception in a case where Rule 2 clearly applies.

JRH6856
March 4, 2012, 02:35 PM
Rules are rarely useful as absolutes and function best when they are applied conditionally. That is why we have courts of law with judges and juries.

The four rules are fine but will be interpreted and applied differently by different people under different condtions. I generally interpret and apply rules 1 and 2 as follows.

1. Always consider a gun to be loaded until verified otherwise. (assume that there are others who will follow this rule or who will consider it to be absolute, so just because you have verified a gun to be unloaded doesn't mean they have or will care that you have. This is important when applying rule 2.)

2. Never let the muzzle of a loaded gun cover anything you are not willing to kill or destroy. (This applies to loaded gun i.e, any gun not verified to be unloaded. If you are alone, It only matters that you know the gun to be unloaded. If you are not alone, it doesn't matter if you know the gun to be unloaed if anyone else does not know.)

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire

4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Now if I am at my LGS and someone is looking at a gun and point it in my direction, I don't know the gun is unloaded so by rule, the person is pointing a loaded gun at me. And since they are pointing a loaded gun at me, they must be willing to kill me. If I go further, and apply rule 4, I must assume they are sure of their target (me) so I must assume they are willing to kill me since they are pointing a loaded gun (rule 1) at me (rule 4) with willingness to kill (rule 2). If they place their finger on the trigger, then that is (by rule 3) intent.

If a person is pointing loaded gun at me with willingness to kill and intent to fire. Am I justified in shooting them in self defense? An absolute application of the rules would seem to say that I am. Which is why abolutes are rarely useful.

Loosedhorse
March 4, 2012, 02:48 PM
Am I justified in shooting them in self defense? An absolute application of the rules would seem to say that I am.What? :confused:

The 4 Rules are meant as governing the actions of someone handling a gun, not as determining legal justification for a SD shooting (which is reasonable belief that you are about to be illegally killed or mained, and you have no safe alternative to shooting). Giving such an confused example doesn't at all say that the 4 Rules aren't absolute when handling guns.

The question is: whether we all agree that that guy in the gunshop was wrong (certainly) and unsafe (more arguable) to point that unloaded gun at you.Rules are rarely useful as absolutes and function best when they are applied conditionallyAgain, this seems confused. If you are saying, "There are specified conditions when the rules apply and when they don't", then please specify those conditions for us.

If instead you mean, "The Rules might or might not apply to any given situation. It has to be decided on a case by case basis, by a judge and jury, just like our criminal laws"...well, that would seem odd to me.

Manson
March 4, 2012, 02:50 PM
Seems like a lot of debate over the rules. I try hard to always follow the rules. But it seems to me it often comes down to the situation. Common sense in the application of the rules. A gun at a gun show. If it's on a display table pointing at me I don't run away. When some goober picks it up and starts waving it around I do.

I never look down the muzzle end of an assembled weapon. But only because I don't have to. When I owned revolvers and if I ever do again I might.

The rules are important because as someone has already said they help us stay in the habit of safe practice's. But If someone breaks into my house I'm not going to ask him to wait while I put my hearing and eye protection on.

Rigidly follow the rules so you are acutely aware and very careful when you can not.

JRH6856
March 4, 2012, 03:01 PM
Loosed Horse,

And absolute rule applies absolutely with no exceptions or conditions. Otherwise it is not absolute. I gave an example of an absolute application of the rules. The rule says "All guns are always loaded" not "Only the gun you are handling is always loaded" So the customer in the LGS is handling a loaded gun. All else proceeds from that absolute application of rule 1.

The 4 Rules are meant as governing the actions of someone handling a gun, not as determining legal justification for a SD shooting

So are you saying that the actions of someone handling a gun are never a justification of a SD shooting? Is this an absolute? Or is it conditional?

Win1892
March 4, 2012, 03:01 PM
I find my Kubota tractor with a loader and backhoe to be a much greater threat to my safety than any firearm I've ever held. Once I've cleared and checked the firearm, it's safe as long as it remains in my sight and under my control. At that point I see it no differently than a hammer.

When I am cleaning guns at my bench, I may set one down, work on another, and coming back to the first I will always check status.

That said, to each his own...unless you are at my range. Then my rules apply.

Jim K
March 4, 2012, 03:04 PM
There are always folks who insist that in rule making every possible situtation must be covered in extreme detail. If God had been one of those, the original Ten Commandments would have been in 4,236,842 Sections, 22,456,897,922 Paragraphs. And that would have been just Part I.

But God didn't just give us Ten Commandments, He gave us common sense; that is why I know it is wrong to mess with someone else's wife even if they don't live next door.

Jim

JRH6856
March 4, 2012, 03:39 PM
There are always folks who insist that in rule making every possible situtation must be covered in extreme detail. If God had been one of those, the original Ten Commandments would have been in 4,236,842 Sections, 22,456,897,922 Paragraphs. And that would have been just Part I.

Ever read the rest of Exodus? Or Leviticus or Deuteronomy? There are a lot more than 10 Commandments covering a lot of situations and details.:D

SharkHat
March 4, 2012, 04:11 PM
Maybe some of the differences in opinion stem from a simple semantic argument over the word rule. Strict application or adherence to the rules suits some people well, while others feel that defined exceptions negate the all the time every time nature of how they would define a rule.

Maybe they should be called a set of protocols instead of rules.

For myself, I have confidence that my chosen safety protocols (very much based on the four rules that I was taught as a kid) are logical and sufficient to keep me and mine safe.

dmazur
March 4, 2012, 04:20 PM
In re: SD response to someone who isn't aware of the Four Rules at a gun store -

I watch the salesmen and see that they are doing the "action open" protocol, so I am annoyed that a customer sweeps me with the muzzle, but I am not in fear of my life.

Referring to Cooper again, it would probably depend on the condition "color". I'll admit to being in White at home. It's a quiet neighborhood, and we just don't have home invasions. When I'm out and about, I believe I'm in Yellow. More than likely, if someone took an uncased gun out of a truck and swept me with the muzzle, I'd be in Orange.

In the gun store? Still in Yellow. Context is everything.

Justin
March 4, 2012, 05:21 PM
In my experience, people who think there are or should be exceptions to the rules tend to think those exceptions happen constantly, and generally display a rather blasé attitude towards safety.

Are there certain narrow instances where one must violate the rules to engage in an activity?

Yes. For instance, I have no desire to drill a hole in my basement wall, but that's the risk I run every time I opt to engage in dry-fire practice. I freely acknowledge that by breaking the rules, I'm running the risk of shooting something I don't want to destroy, and as a result, engage in series of activities beforehand to ensure that things are as safe as possible.

JRH6856
March 4, 2012, 05:42 PM
In re: SD response to someone who isn't aware of the Four Rules at a gun store -

I watch the salesmen and see that they are doing the "action open" protocol, so I am annoyed that a customer sweeps me with the muzzle, but I am not in fear of my life.

I understand what you are saying but that also means that "Every gun is always loaded" is not absolute...which is my point.

FWIW "action open" does not equal "unloaded". It just makes it easier to verify whether it is or not. When I see a salesman open an action I assume he is verifying the gun is unloaded and allowing the customer to do so as well. But since I have not verified the gun to be unloaded, to assume that it is would violate the absolute rule that every gun is always loaded even if I allowed for Cooper's exception.

I agree with SharkHat that protocols would be a better word than rules for most people, but I also understand that some people actually need hard and fast rules with no exceptions because they appear to have no sense, common or otherwise (this is not a reference to anyone in this thread but rather to people I have known personally).

whalerman
March 4, 2012, 05:43 PM
Are you arguing with someone over nothing, again?

CZguy
March 4, 2012, 05:52 PM
Yes. For instance, I have no desire to drill a hole in my basement wall, but that's the risk I run every time I opt to engage in dry-fire practice. I freely acknowledge that by breaking the rules, I'm running the risk of shooting something I don't want to destroy, and as a result, engage in series of activities beforehand to ensure that things are as safe as possible.

Perhaps we should consider this in the context of risk management. I'll bet you that Justin has cleared the weapon, before he dry-fires it.

If I disassembled a weapon, the barrel ceases to become a threat to me. I really have some difficulty understanding the concept of why an unloaded and safe gun falls under any rules. To me it isn't dangerous until it's reassembled and loaded.

Can anyone address the rules from this perspective.

JohnBT
March 4, 2012, 06:17 PM
"Can anyone address the rules from this perspective."

How about a quote from Emerson.


"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

From: Essays. First Series. Self-Reliance.

EddieNFL
March 4, 2012, 06:42 PM
For instance, I have no desire to drill a hole in my basement wall, but that's the risk I run every time I opt to engage in dry-fire practice.

For the sake of debate...

While you have no desire to destroy the wall, you are willing to or you wouldn't dry fire. So...technically, you're not breaking the rule.

I think the guy with Ten Commandments analogy estimated low.

Ragnar Danneskjold
March 4, 2012, 07:26 PM
In my experience, people who think there are or should be exceptions to the rules tend to think those exceptions happen constantly, and generally display a rather blasé attitude towards safety.

And by contrast, in my experience, people who prefer a precise and exacting definition for something, tend to be precise and exacting in most areas, including safety.

For one with an analytical mind, true=true and false=false. If a rule is alleged to be true all of the time, and an exception can be found, the rule must be reworked to include the exception, or be stated that it is not true all of the time. That's logic. And those who think like that tend to have a mind that is set up to approach many situations in a similar fashion. And it happens to be a very safe method as it promotes consistency, accuracy, and thoroughness.

Justin
March 4, 2012, 08:13 PM
Perhaps we should consider this in the context of risk management. I'll bet you that Justin has cleared the weapon, before he dry-fires it.

Of course. The gun is emptied of any ammunition, which is put into a container and stored in another room. My dry fire work is done in a room where no ammunition is present, and the status of the gun is checked several times before I begin practicing.


If I disassembled a weapon, the barrel ceases to become a threat to me. I really have some difficulty understanding the concept of why an unloaded and safe gun falls under any rules. To me it isn't dangerous until it's reassembled and loaded.

Can anyone address the rules from this perspective.

Personally, I draw a distinction between gun parts and assembled and functional guns. Gun parts of a disassembled and therefore functionless gun are one thing (after all, a frame with no slide on it isn't really a gun.)

On the other hand, its a good idea to adhere to the Four Rules even with a gun you have verified is safe because it helps to mentally reinforce good gun handling skills. If you refuse to cover anyone with the muzzle of any gun, ever, then you will never accidentally shoot someone. It's really as simple as that.

For the sake of debate...

While you have no desire to destroy the wall, you are willing to or you wouldn't dry fire. So...technically, you're not breaking the rule.


That's what I said previously. Call it the doctrine of competing harms. In order to engage in dry-fire practice, I've optimized the situation and picked the least-worst outcome in the event that the worst case scenario materializes. In the case that I have an ND in my basement, the only thing I will have destroyed is some drywall and concrete. I'm not dry-firing at my dog, kid, or doing this in my living room where a round could go through the window and kill someone on the street.

Furthermore, I undertake precautions to ensure that my dry fire practice goes uneventfully. Regardless, I'm aware of the fact that I'm doing something that is, strictly speaking, a violation of the four rules.

GEM
March 4, 2012, 08:15 PM
Heuristic vs. algorithmic.

That help?

CZguy
March 4, 2012, 08:26 PM
On the other hand, its a good idea to adhere to the Four Rules even with a gun you have verified is safe because it helps to mentally reinforce good gun handling skills. If you refuse to cover anyone with the muzzle of any gun, ever, then you will never accidentally shoot someone. It's really as simple as that.

I agree with that completely, it's the same reason I put on a seat belt to drive one block. I was referring to when I felt comfortable looking down the barrel of a gun to inspect it. I'm trying to say, that there has to be a time when we have rendered a gun safe for inspection.

"Can anyone address the rules from this perspective."

How about a quote from Emerson.


"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

JohnBT,

You are not alone....many people would say I have a small mind. :D

Loosedhorse
March 4, 2012, 08:49 PM
Heuristic vs. algorithmic.

That help? Actually, no. For me, it's more a question of whether the rules are hysteretic or non-hysteretic.

:evil:
All else proceeds from that absolute application of rule 1.Not at all. Again, the rule is for behavior, not legal determinations of justification. Your argument is like asking, how can a caught batted ball always be an out in baseball, if it's not also an out in football?

:rolleyes:So are you saying that the actions of someone handling a gun are never a justification of a SD shooting?No. I'm saying that rules of safe gun-handling have nothing to do with rules of law. Like football and baseball. I take it your obtuseness is actually rhetorical?Maybe some of the differences in opinion stem from a simple semantic argument over the word rule.Or the word "exception", or "breaking." Whichever way, I think you're right.If a rule is alleged to be true all of the time, and an exception can be found, the rule must be reworked to include the exception, or be stated that it is not true all of the time. That's logic. And those who think like that tend to have a mind that is set up to approach many situations in a similar fashion. And it happens to be a very safe method as it promotes consistency, accuracy, and thoroughness.My hat is off to you, sir. Perhaps that portion of the debate that is NOT semantic divides those of us who "rework" our understanding of the Rules so that they do always apply; and those who prefer to just say the Rules are inconstant.

My problem with the latter approach is that, unless you are very thorough in your description of when the rule doesn't apply, you've declared a very important safety principle invalid, and left in its place to fill the void...

Nothing at all.

Owen Sparks
March 4, 2012, 09:15 PM
I let the muzzle cover all sorts of things that I am not willing to destroy, including my new holster every time I draw and every time I re-holster. I also let the muzzle cover many expensive things in my home and the interior vehicle that I do not wish to destroy. The only thing I NEVER let the muzzle cover is people, even if it means pointing the muzzle at my new bedroom carpet, the expensive plasma TV or the hot water heater.

I point the muzzle in a SAFE DIRECTION. "Safe" is a relative term. All guns are always pointed somewhere and I would rather have them pointing it at various THINGS that I don't want to have to replace to avoid pointing them at PEOPLE who can't be replaced.

A better wording of rule 2 would be:

2. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

That is more realistic and can actually be followed to the letter as opposed to the original which is so impossibly strict that it literally can not be followed.

o Unforgiven o
March 4, 2012, 09:54 PM
My problem with the latter approach is that, unless you are very thorough in your description of when the rule doesn't apply, you've declared a very important safety principle invalid, and left in its place to fill the void...

Nothing at all.

No, in it's place he has left common sense. Why is that so hard for you and others here to understand? Are you saying that people are so incompetent, so stupid, that saying a rule has exceptions without listing all of them specifically, somehow devalues the rule? If someone needs such absolute, all encompassing exceptions spelled out clearly so they can check whether or not their situation falls under the approved list for safety's sake, they are unfit to have a gun.

If someone followed the four rules to a T, they better not buy a glock because they would never get the damn thing apart. THAT, is where common sense comes into play, unfortunately it is not so common anymore, in this thread or otherwise.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 4, 2012, 10:52 PM
I'm beginning to think this horse is dead enough.

exavid
March 4, 2012, 11:29 PM
Definitely beaten to a pulp!

dmazur
March 5, 2012, 12:26 AM
How about one more stroke on the poor horse...

FWIW "action open" does not equal "unloaded".

Of course not. It is wise for you to also check, before closing the action.

The point of the action open is to disable the weapon, to make it safe for handling. (That is, to make it OK to violate Rule 2.)

And, since nobody else but you knows it is unloaded, Rule 1 and Rule 2 apply when you close the action.

JRH6856
March 5, 2012, 03:13 AM
No. I'm saying that rules of safe gun-handling have nothing to do with rules of law. Like football and baseball. I take it your obtuseness is actually rhetorical?

OF course it is rhetorical. It is an argument in the absurd. But it illustrates my point. The "absolute" rules only apply under certain conditions and not absolutely. They can serve as a guide to safe action when applied to ones own actions, but can't be used as a guide for analyzing the actions of others. Ergo, the rules are not absolute.

And by now the horse is probable been served at some burger joint.

doc2rn
March 5, 2012, 04:11 AM
All things being considered I like "Gunnies Rule": Keep your' bugger picker off the bang switch! Slam fires can happen, things can get stuck in the trigger guard, and life can happen but most things are easily avoidable if you remember Gunnies Rule. The gun is just a tool.

Loosedhorse
March 5, 2012, 01:04 PM
No, in it's place he has left common sense.Like I said, nothing at all. :D

If we are back to depending on common sense, it makes the Rules, well, unimportant--even fussy! Might as well make one safety Rule: "Make sure you use enough safety, but not so much as to be rigid or ridiculous." Great rule...but doesn't say much.
OF course it is rhetorical. It is an argument in the absurd.Ah. Well, your providing an absurd argument does make your point more emphatically--as a good rhetorical device should!--but it does not support your contention that obeying a safety law absolutely is absurd or impossible.

Again, thanks everyone. If this is all the meat there is on this bone, it's still enough for me to chew on.

:)

SharkHat
March 5, 2012, 01:10 PM
If this is all the meat there is on this bone, it's still enough for me to chew on.

Leave some for sandwiches.

dmazur
March 5, 2012, 04:33 PM
I think that citing Cooper's own words, and a text he edited, should be sufficient.

Rules 1 and 2 have exceptions, as explained in those references. They are exceptions borne out of necessity, not convenience. IMO, if you stick to the recognized exceptions, you aren't in dangerous territory.

However, it appears to be necessary to study the exceptions as well as the rules.

I looked pretty hard, and I couldn't find any exceptions to Rules 3 & 4. Probably because there just isn't any "maintenance" stuff going on at this part of gun handling.

JohnBT
March 5, 2012, 04:51 PM
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

How do you shoot a double tap then? You fire the first shot and the muzzle rises, right? Is your finger off the trigger, because your sights are NOT on the target until the barrel comes back down. The gun is probably aimed at the ceiling momentarily or over the berm if outdoors. But I'd be willing to bet your finger is on the trigger the entire time.

You have violated Rule #3. ;)

We have to make exceptions when necessary. Like those always loaded (empty) guns on shelf at the gun store that point either at the customers' knees or at the employees behind the counter.

jcwit
March 5, 2012, 05:31 PM
Would you pull the pin on an inert grenade,








and still run?




This is where common sense comes in!

JRH6856
March 5, 2012, 09:25 PM
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

How do you shoot a double tap then? You fire the first shot and the muzzle rises, right? Is your finger off the trigger, because your sights are NOT on the target until the barrel comes back down. The gun is probably aimed at the ceiling momentarily or over the berm if outdoors. But I'd be willing to bet your finger is on the trigger the entire time.

You have violated Rule #3.


Actually not. The rule, as stated, says nothing about taking your finger off the trigger once you have put it there. ;) Still, I stated the rule as " Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire." But that is because at SD ranges, I don't use sights.

JohnBT
March 5, 2012, 10:33 PM
"The rule, as stated, says nothing about taking your finger off the trigger once you have put it there"

Once you put it there you can't ever take it off? Ever? That's a long time. That's what you're saying.

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

It appears to be rather straightforward - only have your finger on the trigger when the sights are on the target. Keep it off means keep it off until your sights are on the target. Riding the trigger until the sights go back down on target is prohibited by Rule #3. Right?

Folks want the rule to be absolute? Okay, I'll play.

John

JRH6856
March 5, 2012, 10:45 PM
Once you put it there you can't ever take it off? Ever? That's a long time. That's what you're saying.

No, I'm saying that the rule, as stated, only applies until your sights are on the target. The word until limits the time of application of the rule. It does not speak to what you should do after your sights are on target and your finger is on the trigger so you are free to do as you please. Now, if it said, "unless" instead of "until", then your argument would be correct and valid. As Ragnar said, words have meaning.

But as I said, if I applied a rule requiring sights on target, I would never be able to fire a gun in an SD situation, at least not inside of 7 yards.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 5, 2012, 11:46 PM
Good Lord folks, this horses bones are already bleached!

JRH6856
March 6, 2012, 01:11 AM
Good Lord folks, this horses bones are already bleached!

But they are still there and make such good clubs for beating with.

JohnBT
March 6, 2012, 10:10 AM
"after your sights are on target and your finger is on the trigger so you are free to do as you please"

So you can turn around and sweep the crowd? You can point the gun anywhere you like because you are "free to do as you please"? That's what you said - "free to do as you please" after your sights are on the target even when they come off the target. That's a strange interpretation of a rule.

Words do have meaning. When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

John

Loosedhorse
March 6, 2012, 10:18 AM
Words do have meaning.This may be the point we are currently debating. ;)

Flintknapper
March 6, 2012, 11:19 AM
JohnBT wrote:

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
It appears to be rather straightforward - only have your finger on the trigger when the sights are on the target. Keep it off means keep it off until your sights are on the target. Riding the trigger until the sights go back down on target is prohibited by Rule #3. Right?

Folks want the rule to be absolute? Okay, I'll play.


Agreed.....

Unless you are Jerry Miculek (or the likes) pretty much everyone has their “finger on the trigger” during recoil…if only briefly. So strictly speaking…rule #3 is violated by nearly everyone once the first shot breaks. Not that there is any REAL danger in that…since the weapon is rendered inert UNTIL the trigger is reset.

So, yes….you are correct and I would gladly join you in pointing out why adhering to absolute rules (in their strictest sense) is not possible or practical.

For the most part….the “rules/guidelines” were established with regards to “loaded weapons” or those being “handled”. Col. Cooper, in his typical dogmatic and unbending fashion helped to instill in folks an unreasonable fear of the weapon itself.

He later somewhat amended that….but the “rules” had taken off by then and those prone to getting the “heebie jebbies” and certain folks who prefer things “dumbed down” quickly embraced them and hold them to be Gospel to this day.

The “rules” are useful and appropriate in the right context. However, the “rules” are literally not possible to follow (to the letter) if you own, carry or use a firearm.

To argue otherwise is pure folly and I will be happy to point out the hypocrisy of it to anyone who thinks the rules MUST be followed rigidly at ALL times.

valnar
March 6, 2012, 11:32 AM
One of my 4 rules is I hate public polls. :p

JRH6856
March 6, 2012, 01:58 PM
[never mind]

CZguy
March 6, 2012, 02:07 PM
One of my 4 rules is I hate public polls.

Fine, but in the spirit of this thread, you have to list the other three, and have them dissected into oblivion. :D

valnar
March 6, 2012, 02:37 PM
Nah, just being funny. It's a like poll for "Where do you keep your safe in your house?", then making it a public poll. :scrutiny:

Loosedhorse
March 6, 2012, 05:32 PM
To argue otherwise is pure folly and I will be happy to point out the hypocrisy of it to anyone who thinks the rules MUST be followed rigidly at ALL times.Okay, I'll play. I have already made a stipulation:I have decided (for me) that the Rule applies to handled, functional, assembled guns that have their actions closed.Given that stipulation, my hypocrisy is...

Flintknapper
March 6, 2012, 05:35 PM
^^^^^^
WHICH "rule" are you making reference to?

Loosedhorse
March 6, 2012, 05:38 PM
All of them. Although Rule 4 doesn't seem to apply to any gun unless the holder is actually in the process of shooting (has a "target").

And I'll take Cooper's exception that if you're still holding a gun you just confirmed is unloaded, then Rule 1 doesn't apply--even though I had an ND in exactly that circumstance...

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 6, 2012, 05:51 PM
And I'll take Cooper's exception that if you're still holding a gun you just confirmed is unloaded, then Rule 1 doesn't apply--even though I had an ND in exactly that circumstance...

Well, since you had a ND then I would have to surmise that you FAILED to CONFIRM that it was unloaded. I've yet to see an UNLOADED firearm ND. But I have seen MANY unconfirmed unloaded firearms go bang. Reminds me of that saying in Forest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does"

Loosedhorse
March 6, 2012, 06:00 PM
you FAILED to CONFIRM that it was unloadedOf course. But that doesn't mean I hadn't just checked--only that I hadn't checked well, and therefore fully believed I had confirmed! And that doesn't violate a rule. ;):D Probably why Rule 1 is phrased as it is.

Oh: because I believe in Rule 1, even though I had just checked, the gun was pointed at a bare foundation wall when I had the ND. Now I know what lead foil looks like."Stupid is as stupid does"It is not just stupid folks who have an ND. Any of us can have a stupid moment...which I've always thought was kinda the raison d'être of the 4 Rules.

I'm told even Jeff Cooper had an "accidental discharge." Maybe that's why his Rules are so stupid? ;)

CZguy
March 6, 2012, 06:18 PM
I've never had a ND.......but I'm wise enough to know that it's only a matter of time. I've seem them happen to people who are so safety conscious you wouldn't think that it's possible.

I use the two different sense method, to verify that a firearm is unloaded. I look in the chamber and then stick a finger in, to verify what my eyes are telling me. This is borrowed from aviation where you can inspect the same thing repeatedly.

jimmyraythomason
March 6, 2012, 06:24 PM
Absolutes are like sitting at a stop sign waiting for it to change. At some point common sense has to come into play.

Loosedhorse
March 6, 2012, 06:28 PM
I'm wise enough to know that it's only a matter of time.I think that's a great attitude, if it's meant to make sure you "never" violate Rules 2-4 when handling a gun.

But in fact, I think that you can avoid them "forever." And that is my current goal: I know I could have avoided mine if I'd added some better safeguards (like the ones you describe)--so I've added them. That ND is (unbelievably to me) 17 years ago now. Not that I remember.

;)Absolutes are like sitting at a stop sign waiting for it to change. At some point common sense has to come into play.Or: maybe breaking the Rules is like waiting at a RR crossing with a LONG freight train in front of you; eventually you get bored, notice you haven't been hurt yet...so you try to cross while the train's still in front of you.

Analogies are wonderful! No wonder they caused the Dark Ages. ;)

dmazur
March 6, 2012, 07:20 PM
Here is a restatement of The Four Rules (again), with some additions that might be "an exercise in thinking". By that I mean, how can we honor the intent of the rule as we are breaking it. :)

I believe this is, perhaps, the best way to proceed. Sort of a structured approach to common sense. After all, the concepts of The Four Rules are simple enough.

RULE 1
ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

The only exception to this occurs when one has a weapon in his hands and he has personally unloaded it for checking. As soon as he puts it down, Rule 1 applies again. (This means you have to check every time you pick a gun up, before you proceed with something that requires it to be unloaded, such as cleaning. And, it isn't a bad idea to do a "chamber check" to make sure the weapon is loaded before holstering for CCW.)

RULE 2
NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY

You may not wish to destroy it, but you must be clear in your mind that you are quite ready to if you let that muzzle cover the target. To allow a firearm to point at another human being is a deadly threat, and should always be treated as such. (This concern is for weapons being held and capable of firing. Cased or holstered guns, guns laying on tabletops, and guns with actions locked open do not present a danger, regardless of where the muzzle is pointing. One of the major concerns is during draw and presentation, especially with cross-draw or shoulder holsters. The support hand & arm must be deliberately elevated to prevent sweeping it with the muzzle.)

RULE 3
KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER TIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

This we call the Golden Rule because its violation is responsible for about 80 percent of the firearms disasters we read about. (Just like Rule 2, the biggest problem occurs during the draw and presentation. Even after presentation, multiple shots may be necessary, and of course your finger remains on the trigger during this response. If the dynamics of the threat require you to move, the shooter should keep his finger off the trigger while moving, then replace it as he re-engages. A related problem is reholstering, where shirt-tails and retention straps frequently act as "fingers", especially troublesome with trigger-operated safeties.)

RULE 4
BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it. (And, because recoil is going to lift the muzzle, techniques such as "double-tapping" require practice so the shooter doesn't unintentionally shoot above the intended target.)

The exercise isn't comprehensive. I believe each shooter will discover their own details as they struggle with the gun handling safety problem.

Flintknapper
March 6, 2012, 07:33 PM
Loosedhorse wrote:

Okay, I'll play. I have already made a stipulation:
I have decided (for me) that the Rule applies to handled, functional, assembled guns that have their actions closed.
Given that stipulation, my hypocrisy is...

Your hypocrisy is reframing the argument by conveniently applying “stipulations” while at the same time espousing the need to follow the rules! ;)

My argument (which clearly isn’t the same as yours), revolves about the idea that the “rules” (as originally written) were to be followed rigidly, no exceptions.

Actually, you promote that position….BUT first make provisions in order to make the rules reasonable and achievable. You don’t see the hypocrisy in that? Make your own rules...then always follow THEM, is what you are saying.

If we are to argue this, (and I hope we won’t)……the first order of business would be to establish WHICH set of rules we will be discussing, yours…(as you have seen fit to apply them) or the original set (taken quite literally by some folks).

If the former, then we have no area of disagreement that I can see…since I subscribe to the same position: “applies to handled, functional, assembled guns that have their actions closed”. If the latter, then yes….I will argue/discuss that with you.

But... I suspect it will result in a colossal waste of our time.

If I am misunderstanding your position...please correct me, but it seems we are not even talking about the same thing.

EddieNFL
March 6, 2012, 07:35 PM
Yawnzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 6, 2012, 07:40 PM
http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f159/RaulMonkey/Animated/beating-a-dead-horse.gif

Certaindeaf
March 6, 2012, 08:02 PM
^
It seems you have a booger on your bang switch.

Ragnar Danneskjold
March 6, 2012, 08:09 PM
Seeing as the poll is still pretty close, and the thread is still generating discussion, those who are claiming it's beating a dead horse might be better off elsewhere as they obviously don't feel like taking part in the actual thread anymore.

jcwit
March 6, 2012, 09:36 PM
Cussed and discussed!

Loosedhorse
March 6, 2012, 11:03 PM
Your hypocrisy is reframing the argument by conveniently applying “stipulations” while at the same time espousing the need to follow the rules!Actually, no. My stipulations were stated in the OP. So, if you are responding without acknowledging them (or without any knowledge of them! :D), then the hypocrisy is entirely yours...

For supplying an answer to a question that I never asked.

As I said in the OP, perhaps you believe that there is an "exception" to Rule 2 for toy guns, and disassembled barrels...and imaginary guns!...because Rule 2 is supposed to apply to them. I say that's ridiculous, because Rule 2 was never meant for them. And then I told you what I believe they are meant for. Interestingly, as soon as I apply those stips, I no longer have to use exceptions, and I can follow the rules consistently.

Without hypocrisy! :D

Now, as has been pointed out, this may be semantic. I may be stipulating when the Rules apply, and then I need no exceptions; while you may prefer to apply the Rules more broadly (for what reason, I can't fathom) and then claim you need exceptions to back those broader apps out again--and then the Rules to "make sense."

Whatever works.Make your own rules...then always follow THEM, is what you are saying.Almost. As stated in the OP, decide a priori when the Rules apply (for example, closed-action assembled real gun that you have not checked), and when they don't (for example, imaginary gun). And then stick to the rules in all cases that you already decided they apply.

And that gives the consistency that is (IMHO) the only real advantage that rules convey. Otherwise, call them Cooper's 4 Suggestions.

:D

Flintknapper
March 6, 2012, 11:21 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^

"Semantics", no......a bunch of gibberish and double talk yes. You brought nothing of value back to the argument, but my impression is that you are in this for the "sport" of it anyway. :rolleyes:


Have fun with it.

CZguy
March 6, 2012, 11:43 PM
Shoot this thread, it's just suffering.

I know let's start a new thread about something that we can all agree on......like "What's better the 9mm of .45 ACP".

o Unforgiven o
March 7, 2012, 02:00 AM
Like I said, nothing at all.

If we are back to depending on common sense, it makes the Rules, well, unimportant--even fussy! Might as well make one safety Rule: "Make sure you use enough safety, but not so much as to be rigid or ridiculous." Great rule...but doesn't say much.



And I'll take Cooper's exception that if you're still holding a gun you just confirmed is unloaded, then Rule 1 doesn't apply--even though I had an ND in exactly that circumstance...

Wait...Does this mean you are an avid proponent of the absolute rules of gun safety, and a poster child of someone who does not follow them? :what:

I for one, am shocked. In light of this new knowledge, I motion to dismiss the rules altogether, because clearly those that follow these rules (absolutely even) are not protected by them as clearly illustrated above.

Loosedhorse
March 7, 2012, 08:18 AM
"Semantics", no......a bunch of gibberish and double talk yes. You brought nothing of value back to the argument, but my impression is that you are in this for the "sport" of it anywayWell, this post is harldy surprising from someone who A) didn't bother to read the OP and B) declared that all people who don't believe as he does are hypocrites, and promised (emptily) to prove it.

I guess that, given your already stated absolutist position (all people who think other than you do are hypocrites) you would have no choice, presented with a countering argument, except to declare it gibberish.

About "sport": stated a second time (why am I unsurprised you missed it the first?), I am in this to learn. Just, apparently, not from you. If I can have a little "sport" while learning, why not?Wait...Does this mean you are an avid proponent of the absolute rules of gun safety, and a poster child of someone who does not follow them?It means that I have been informed by a poster (dmazur--thanks) that Cooper himself listed an exception to Rule 1. I learned; changed what I thought. I think I know at least one poster who would consider learning an act of hypocrisy! :D

It seems to me the inventor (or chief promoter) of the Rules might know what he is talking about, so I will see if I can adjust my practices to include this exception.

I may not. As I said, we are all responsibile for deciding how (and how consistently) we apply the Rules. So, after trying the exception out a while, I may or may not decide to in the end adopt it--I'm not sure if it will change my behaviors significantly, or in a way that I like. But for now, I will assume that Cooper knew more than I do on this subject, and accept his words at face-value.

If you've got a problem with that, take it up with him! :DNever fear. The end is near!I picture Johnny in Revelationist garb standing on a busy Miami street corner carrying a Doomsday sign. Say it ain't so!

Sam1911
March 7, 2012, 08:36 AM
I think John Stuart Mill said it best:

"All action is for the sake of some end; and rules of action, it seems natural to suppose, must take their whole character and color from the end to which they are subservient."

Of course David Bohm said a few words which would work well here, too:

"Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture."

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