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The 4 Safety Rules

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Kermit911, Mar 21, 2005.

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  1. Kermit911

    Kermit911 Member

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    I was reading the thread "I have a problem with weapon mounted lights" and he gave a list of the 4 safety rules with a weapon.

    RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
    RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY
    RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
    RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET

    Are there different variations of these rules because I wasn't taught these exactly?

    Rule #1: Consider all guns to be loaded.
    Rule #2: Never point the gun at anything you don't want to die.
    Rule #3: The same as his........
    Rule #4: Look past your target and know what’s around it.

    Thanx all for your help
    Kermit
     
  2. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Think they are in the THR library thingie.
     
  3. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Member

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    This is a good posting. It is important to repeat "The four rules" frequently, not just refer to them. It amazes me that gun shops, ranges and any firearm related event doesn't have these posted in excess. The more you see something the more likely you are to remember it.

    I just attended a state certification program and over a 45 hour period including live fire, the "rules" were never directly mentioned or posted. Let's start spreading the word folks.
     
  4. Darkmind

    Darkmind Member

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    Everyone was taught differently, for example I was taught them this way


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

    mguffey Member

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  6. WT

    WT Member

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    Depends upon where one is and the circumstances.

    I've had loaded shotguns, submachineguns, rifles, 120 mm tank barrels, etc. pointed at me one time or another. Most of it happened in an airport in the USA or a street in Europe. The tank was at the visitor's gate at Ft. Knox.

    Cops hold people at gunpoint all the time.

    Members of military patrols sweep each other.

    It happens.
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Member

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    Anybody else think of the Ramones' "Commando" when someone starts talking about the four rules? :neener: ". . . eat Kosher salami!"
     
  8. Zach S

    Zach S Member

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    Rules one through three are normally pretty much the same from what I've seen. I've seen several different rule fours. The only one that sticks out in my mind at the moment is "keep all firearms unloaded when not in use." Kinda contradicts rule one IMO, which is why it sticks out in my mind...
     
  9. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Rule Number 5

    Learn How To Spell
    safety
     
  10. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    This is NRA #3 - and is stated with IMO no thought of CCW in mind. Probably it is regarded as a ''safer'' recommendation. If NRA actively promoted ''keep gun ready at all times'' - which would be a CCW oriented statement - chances are someone somewhere would screw up and then try to sue them!

    For most of us I think Jeff Cooper's are the best - or derivatives thereof. In my own personal opinion #2 is the paramount rule of all - and I'd place it as #1 ... if all else fails this rule on its own can prevent tragedy. Rule #4 is a useful addition, in particular with respect to hunters ... as well as ''street gunfight'' scenarios. All too often folks forget, there is no calling a bullet back - and it has to stop, somewhere. It is I guess an extension actually of rule #2.

    If more shooters followed these (so simple) rules - there would never really be any excuse for ND's and ''accidental'' shootings. I try to drum them into shooters at every opportunity. Could be my own butt that gets saved!!
     
  11. TimRB

    TimRB Member

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    "If more shooters followed these (so simple) rules - there would never really be any excuse for ND's and ''accidental'' shootings."

    Isn't that the truth. Here in the worker's utopia called California, we have to pass a "safety test" before being allowed to purchase a handgun. Don't ask. Anyway, usually the gun store clerk has people study the little handbook for a few minutes and then take the test. Few fail.

    When the gun-grabbers found out how simple the test is, they complained that it didn't require any special knowledge; it was just common sense. Duh.

    Tim
     
  12. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Member

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    WT

    "Cops hold people at gunpoint all the time."

    And when I do I am ready to shoot. If not I will not aim in on my target. I am also aware of my "backstop" and surroundings.

    Once more for clarity, if a Cop holds you at gun point, be certain that the decision to shoot has already been made. I am only waiting for the "substantial action" on your part to justify my actions.

    Regardless of the exact wording, the rules remain solid. I have also heard several variations. Maybe we should muck it all up and make it five, six or seven rules.

    Then again, maybe not.
     
  13. mbs357

    mbs357 Member

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    I don't like the "treat guns *as if* they were loaded," for the same reason he doesn't.
    It implies that they aren't loaded.
    But that's just me...and him.
    I, for one, would rather treat every gun like it was loaded and therefor be programmed to treat it as such, than to check the gun, and treat it as if it were unloaded and risk getting used to it...because I handle empty guns a lot more than I do loaded ones.
     
  14. scout26

    scout26 Member

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    Why I like the four rules.

    a) There are only four to remember (not 10, or 12 or more). Kids can remember 4 rules, and explain them back to you.
    b) In order for something REALLY bad to happen you have to violate 2 of the rules. You can be a C student, get three out of four (75%) right, and still nothing really bad will happen. Something bad could still happen, but not the worst possible.

    Just my $.02
     
  15. Infidel

    Infidel Member

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    To follow what P95Carry said: The NRA espouses 3 rules:
    1. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction,
    2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire,
    3. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready for use.

    They usually include "Know your target and beyond" and "treat guns as if they were loaded" in any discussion, but they hammer on their three rules the same way Cooper fans hammer on his 4 rules.

    It's my impression that one difference is due to NRA bureaucrats thinking that "All guns are always loaded" could be interpreted as a directive to keep all one's guns Loaded. It's also my impression that the same possible misinterpretation is behind the alternative "treat all guns as if they are loaded" wording.

    NRA's 1 and 2 are more or less equivalent to Cooper's 2 and 3, except that the NRA likes to use positive concepts ("Always ...") instead of negative ("Never ..."). Those two rules, however expressed, are the essence of safe gun handling.

    As far as NRA rule number 3, they define "in use" for a carry or home defense weapon as "all the time", so it should be kept loaded all the time.

    I tend to reel off Cooper's rules by habit, but NRA prefers to teach their rules in their classes, and I can equally well see them as valid.
     
  16. LoadedDrum

    LoadedDrum Member

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    I think these rules need some rewording to eliminate the ambiguity.

    Rule One should be: Always check to see if the gun is loaded and unload if it you are not about to shoot it.

    Rule Two should be: Never point a loaded gun in at any thing you are not prepared to destroy.

    Rule Three should be: Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

    Rule Four should be: Be certain of your target and what is behind it.

    This way it is clear that you can safely handle an unloaded gun and use it in realistic training scenarios, as well as clean it, and dry fire it.
     
  17. Control Group

    Control Group Member

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    Sorry, LoadedDrum, but I have to disagree. Rule #2, in my mind, is the absolutely paramount one: never point a gun at something you're not willing to destroy. It's the one that's absolute fail-safe if everything else goes wrong. The whole point of the rules is to provide redundancy, because people make mistakes - how many stories have we all heard about people who "knew" the gun was unloaded, then proceeded to put a round through a wall, a refrigerator, a car, a door, a floor, etc.?

    When I dry fire practice, I aim the muzzle at a target on the wall. It's not something I want to destroy, but it's something I'm willing to destroy. The point is, rule #2 is the backstop for all the others. Even if things go horribly awry, and a round is chambered when you think it isn't, and somehow the hammer falls, even then nothing seriously bad happens.

    As far as cleaning the gun, in my mind, if the gun is in pieces on the table in front of me, the four rules don't apply to it (though I habitually don't look down the barrel from the muzzle end, even so). As soon as it's been put together, though, the muzzle gets pointed away from me and anyone else who might be nearby.

    You mention training scenarios, and I'm not qualified to comment, since I'm not a LEO, nor have I ever been in the military. But I admit I'd be surprised to find out that training scenarios are routinely conducted with real guns aimed at real people - does this actually happen? (Note, training guns that are only capable of firing paint or dye rounds are not "real" guns)

    Anyway, I understand where you're coming from, that guns aren't magical, and if there's no round chambered or if the trigger isn't pulled, nothing can happen. But the rules aren't there because guns are magical, unpredictable things, they're there because humans are error-prone, unpredictable things. Think of it as risk mitigation. Sure, the percent chance that I'm wrong about there being a round in the chamber when I've just reassembled the gun is miniscule. But the consequence of being wrong could be ending someone's life. Never pointing the muzzle at anything I'm not willing to destroy is an easy way to mitigate that risk.

    It's also valuable in terms of habit. If you habitually follow the rules, even when you negligently break one of them, odds are good that you're following the others, and nothing seriously bad happens.

    This is the same way I always check my blind spot when I'm changing lanes, even when I know there's nobody there (I'm alone on the freeway, and have been for miles). It's good habit. And it potentially saved my life once: I was exiting the freeway, signalling to get off, and I checked my blind spot before entering the ramp. Good thing, too, since some [EXPLETIVE DELETED] was tearing along up the emergency lane, and would have rammed me. That one instance justifies all the blind spot checking I've done, and all the blind spot checking I ever will do. Just like all the years of carefully not pointing an empty, uncocked gun at things will pay off that one time it's not empty and it's not uncocked.
     
  18. richyoung

    richyoung Member

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    1. All lawyers and members of state and national legislatures are always loaded!
    (This is a pretty safe bet - think of Ted Kennedy...)
    2. Never point lawyers and members of state and national legislatures at anyting you don't want to ruin for everybody!
    3. Keep your lawyers and members of state and national legislatures out of your wallet until your desired action is complete!
    4. Know your lawyers and members of state and national legislatures , and what's sufficiently embarrasing to them that threatening to divulge it will wreck their re-election campaigns, thereby keeping them "on the reservation", so to speak!
     
  19. mbs357

    mbs357 Member

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    +1
     
  20. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Control Group - I am with you all the way - and then some!!

    I have stated many times - Rule #2 is the final butt saver of all. If it and only it were followed 100% then no one gets hurt. I am interested too to hear what you say re blind spot checking - very similar drill. You ''knew it was clear'' (you think!) - but ''let's check one more time''. This has also saved MY butt more than once. I am a biker and employ this religiously.

    This same approach to firearms means that I personally HAVE to treat any and every gun as loaded - even when just shown clear. Seems anal to some but to me - it is mandatory. My only 2 ND's were pretty much zero risk - and taught me to further enhance following of rule #1 in one case (where rule #2 meant only loss of face - metaphorically!) - and in the other case (standing at low ready in a compo' shoot) - to properly follow rule #3! Divot in ground in front - and disqualification from that stage! :p
     
  21. richyoung

    richyoung Member

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    Seriously - my understanding from Col. Cooper and others is that Condition ONE, "Cocked and locked", is the safest way to carry a 1911, - even safer than hammer down on an empty chamber. Given that, someone explain to me HOW to carry a 1911 in a "fanny pack", sit in the passenger seat of a vehicle, and NOT point a loaded and cocked pistol at the driver?
     
  22. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Rich - two factors here as I see it. First - in such a carry condition myself - I would (and have) made sure that gun cannot sweep anyone (in vehicle) - by judicious rearrangment - even then of course any fanny pack carry will be sweeping in theory much of the time we are out and about.

    The second and major thing IMO is that the gun is not in hand. I personally do not like horizontal shoulder rigs - just makes me uncomfortable - and on draw, the gun has to be handled during which time sweep can IMO be potentially hazardous.

    Let's say ''static sweep'' is undesirable - to me very undesirable. But ''active sweep'' - the sweeping with loaded firearm in hand (or ''unloaded'' come to that) is where rule #2 is paramount.

    Condition #1 is a special case - and folks view it in different ways.
     
  23. LeadPumper

    LeadPumper Member

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    Teach well...

    As an NRA certified instructor, I have to teach the rules the NRA provides:

    NRA Website Rules

    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.


    I must, when I agreed to become an instructor, teach these rules at a minimum. However, I can (and have) expanded on these rules to include Cooper's 4 rules and some of the variations included above.

    In general, I stay with the NRA's rules for youngsters and beginners until they are mentally prepared to decide for themselves what series of rules they want to use.

    For anyone else, I say, "pick the set of rules that applies best to you and your situation, and stick with them"

    YMMV

    -LeadPumper
     
  24. thorn726

    thorn726 Member

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    nice, that was my question, and answer.
    also thinking of the at-home defense piece.
     
  25. mbs357

    mbs357 Member

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    A CCW weapon on your hip is in a lot more use than those in your safe.
    Same as a shotgun next to your bed compared to those in your safe.
     
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