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A Fifth Safety Rule?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by HGM22, Mar 4, 2012.

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  1. HGM22

    HGM22 Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Everyone already knows the four safety rules of firearms, but I believe there is a fifth rule that is only sometimes mentioned.

    That is, when one experiences a funny sound/recoil impulse (i.e. a squib load), they should check for a barrel obstruction (unless of course they see a plume of dirt or hit target).

    Just curious what you guys and gals think. I know it was a bit after I became a shooter that I learned this fifth rule, and sometimes wonder how many other newbies realize it.
  2. Clipper

    Clipper Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Mt. Morris, MI.
    There's actually 10 'rules', babes. The '4' are just the main 'dont shoot yourself or someone/something' rules that are most imperative.
  3. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    New York
    Knowing them and practicing them are, of course, two different things. But I agree with your caveat about barrel obstructions. I learned the hard way about the dangers of rapid fire when I failed to notice that a squib .22 round was lodged in the barrel. The blast from the next shot backed up into the magazine and blew both grips off the pistol, blackening my hands and ruining the grips. Cheap ammo and rapid fire are a recipe for disaster, especially when one is wearing effective hearing protection. I don't believe this is stressed enough.
  4. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    There's no rule I know of re: squibs, but common sense plays a role. I'd propose that the first time we shoot a new handload recipe, especially one on the low end, it's a good idea to follow one or both of these guidelines:

    1) Load a mag/cylinder with just one round. If only one round goes in, and it squibs, there is no way to AD a second round into it. Fire that round. Drop the mag, open the action, check the chamber, check the barrel.


    2) Shoot a paper target as close as allowed, say 5-6 feet, and choose each new POA away from all previous holes. If we have a scope or a very high contrast target, we can increase the distance to target. We must be able positively see where the new hole gets made, or count holes as we go, to make sure the hole count equals the trigger pull count. Shooting into a reactive background accomplishes the same thing.

    The point is, for the first few rounds at least, we're not focused on accuracy, but on function. We either 1) safely check the gun itself to make sure the bullet left the barrel, or 2) check downrange to make sure the bullet impacted or made a hole.

    Once we know the recipe doesn't squib, we can shift to normal rate of fire and distance. Of course, any batch of ammo, factory or homemade, can have a round that squibs. Every shooter must be always on the alert.
  5. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Johnson City, TN
    This is already a safety rule, along with a host of others for every conceivable situation. The Four have more to do with AD/NDs, or, failing that, that your AD/ND causes no harm that cannot be easily repaired.
  6. MuleRyder

    MuleRyder Member

    Dec 28, 2010
    One of the 10 commandments of gun safety is to be sure your barrel is clear of obstructions
  7. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    Aug 4, 2008
    eastern Massachusetts
    The only trouble to adding safety rules is when do you stop? A reloader might consider your rule essential. An eye doctor might feel that eye and ear protection was fundamental. A parent might consider safe storage Rule 1.

    The 4 Rules are designed (IMHO) to prevent the accidental hole in a person made by a bullet travling where directed. Other rules, designed to prevent other injuries, might be considered secondary. I'm not sure that the 4 Rules implies there are no other rules.

    I personally (see other thread) feel that YOU should decide what your rules are--what rules you want to teach your kids. And then STICK TO YOUR RULES ALWAYS, whatever they are.

    (Any responses to that last comment can be posted in the linked thread, to avoid thread drift here. End shameless pitch! :D)
  8. Nushif

    Nushif Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    Corvallis, OR
    A rule like that would make a lot of the faster paced games impossible though.
    Some of those guys go through a tap-rack-bang faster than I realize their slide didn't cycle all the way.

    I agree with the notion that the rules while very important are not philosophical absolutes and that the stress on them varies by the environment.
    A slow day at the range ... Sure I'll check it out.
    In the middle of a practical handgun course .... No, sorry.
  9. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

    May 29, 2003
    I teach this to new shooters early on. I load their gun with a primed only case (no bullet), then when they try to fire another round with "a bullet stuck" in the barrel" we have a talk.

    This sounds good on paper but MANY experienced shooters do not recognize when a bullet gets stuck in the barrel from a squib load or primed only round and will try to "tap, rack and fire", except it becomes "tap, rack and kaboom".

    It happened recently with an experienced shooter, new 1911 and a no powder NAME BRAND defense round. Lucky all that happened is the new gun went to the gunsmith to be checked over and have a new barrel installed.

    Last year I was standing by a experienced shooter when he fired a no powder load, sticking the bullet in the barrel. He immediately started to jack another round in the chamber to fire the gun again. I reached in front of him and grabbed the gun from above locking the slide about half way back, as I said, "Don't shoot. There's a bullet stuck in the barrel".
    The shooter and the gun store manager, who was also watching the shooter, both doubted me, until they checked for themselves.

    This happens so seldom that few people catch it when it does happen. Then they fire another round, with mixed results.

    But it DOES happen.
    I was asked to inspect some 38 revolvers carried by a government security guard force. Two out of 5 guns had ringed barrels from firing with bullets stuck in the barrel.

    On my range there's been at least five bullets stuck in barrels. Lucky I caught most of them.

    Just recently a friend was about to buy a nice Colt 1903. I told him to pass because the barrel was bulged.

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
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