The "Four Rules"

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by bearcreek, May 13, 2017.

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  1. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    I think you missed my point and the point of this topic.
    My point, is that simple rules are easier to remember when under high stress. When is the last time you cleared a house for a possible armed suspect. For me it was last week. Myself and another officer had never worked together before. Simple safety rules were used, no clarification needed.
    And the topic is about the wording of safety rules, not gun safety.
     
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  2. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    My 12yo niece understands, and has demonstrated that understanding, the basic 4 by Cooper as I instructed. There are countless other "youngins" that do the same.

    Why is it that youngsters when properly informed have no issue with this but "adults" (I'm assuming you're over 30) seem to want to nit pick it to death?

    You're trying to debate something that doesn't need change. It's been around as long as it has because it works.

    If YOU are having trouble understanding the simple 4 rules laid out by Cooper and you are an "adult" then maybe you should seek professional help. Or just not handle any firearms from now on.


    You're trying to change something that doesn't need change, and if you don't understand why it doesn't need change than you probably shouldn't be in the discussion in the first place.
     
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  3. Hanzo581

    Hanzo581 Member

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    You are correct, the rules were written by a god of a man not to be questioned by us mere mortals. It amazes me the amount of people on this site that are afraid of discussion that may involve change. The notion of "well, we've always done it this way so it must be right" is very regressive. I never once said I didn't understand the rules or that they were bad, I am saying they do not reflect reality. Are they a good starting point? Sure, but this thread was about the wording, which could use a refresh in my personal opinion. If you disagree that's great, that's what a forum is for, discussion.
     
  4. entropy

    entropy Member

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    It is implied to anyone with the logical mind to comprehend it. To those who cannot. Rule One stands pat as is. And, yes, I know you are not in the second group, Hanzo581. But your ad nauseum infinitum dissection of Rule One is becoming tedious, and I fail to see the point. I have not been in combat, but I've had quite a bit of training for it, and I think Gunny USMC will agree that it becomes a much more dangerous place if you can't trust the guys on your side not to shoot you. That's why well-trained vets are very conscious of the state their weapons are in, where they are pointing, and what position 'da switch' is in.
     
  5. Hanzo581

    Hanzo581 Member

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    It almost seems like you think I'm arguing against the rules, on the contrary, I'm simply saying telling someone new to firearms all guns are always loaded is counter productive.

    I'm simply saying inserting a bit more info in regards to weapon status wouldn't be terrible. You disagree, and that's fine.
     
  6. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    You seem to be under the impression that this thread is a novel thing. In reality, over the years there have been many discussions about the Four Rules on this and other boards. The objections to the Four Rules tend to be much the same, and a variety of fixes have been suggested, but nothing ever takes.

    This suggests to me that those who raise objections to the Four Rules have not been sufficiently convincing. In the marketplace of ideas new notions aren't entitled to acceptance just because they are new. Those proposing new ideas must earn acceptance for them by convincing the audience of the utility and superiority of those ideas. The critics of the Four Rules haven't been getting very far with that.

    Do you somehow think that when we teach new shooters about safe gun handling we just recite the Four Rules and stop there? Do you have much experience instructing people, especially novices. I have been both a student and a teacher, and the Four Rules are, in my experience, far from counterproductive.

    Indeed when discussing safe gun handling in a class the Four Rules are explained and expanded upon. But the statement of the Rules remain concise and focused. Thus they are easily remember, and the mental recitation of the Rule triggers recollection of the discussions.
     
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  7. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    I used the term juvenile because the four rules cater to the least experienced shooters on a flat range. That's fine to a degree and following them will certainly help prevent many accidents. I just think that they could be worded more accurately in a way that applies to everyone, all the time. No one who owns and maintains a firearm treats it as if it were loaded all the time. No one "never point's the muzzle at something you're not willing to destroy". Those things are not physically possible to do at all times. You don't follow them all the time and neither do I. Why is there such resistance to using rules that are actually valid and followable at all times rather than ones that are extreme statements that have multiple exceptions inherent in them?
     
  8. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    That's true. Old habits die hard, especially amongst gun people. Heck, they still label a lot of shotgun ammo with what it's equivalent in a black powder load would be, even though very few people have used black powder shotgun shells in the last 100 years.
     
  9. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    So, kind of reinventing the wheel, or should I say make it better. Now the wheel has come a long way, but it's still round and rolls. Ask the average driver what the tires on his car are made of, most will answer with rubber. Most couldn't tell you other then the tire sales rep.
    Now I have been to a few ranges that have reinvented the wheel, so to speak, when it comes to safety rules. Some were so elaborate that you would have to study over night just to remember them.
    Some looked like they hired a lawyer to write them.
    My kids have grown up using Cooper's 4 Rules. My youngest is 13yo and treats all guns as they were loaded, many in the house are. He started shooting when he was five. The rules were simple, he caught on fast.

    Have you ever heard of the acronym KISS? That is what the 4 rules are based on.
    Show me something better, I'm all for it. If it's just change for the sake of change, it's just lipstick on a pig.
     
  10. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Really now? Let's just look at the group of folks I teach Basic Handgun classes with. We've all taken multiple classes at Gunsite, Front Sight, at other similar schools, and with instructors like Louis Awerbuck and Massad Ayoob. Several of us are POST certified instructors. All of us have experience in competition, including IPSC and/or IDPA. We are all NRA certified instructors in various disciplines. Each of us has on the order of 400 to 600 hours of training together with hundreds of hours experience teaching. I've attended classes at Gunsite with others having similar training resumes as well as serving LEOs and military personnel.

    And we all embrace the Four Rules. Are we the least experienced shooters on a flat range?
     
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  11. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    ^^ concur
    After a more than twenty years of active duty and an equal number in law enforcement (not to mention being a LE certified firearms instructor), with that several hundred hours of training and hundreds of hours teaching (alas, not much time spent shooting competitively) ... I know only that the longer I go on, the more I appreciate the simplicity and the truth of The Four Rules.

    "Juvenile" is being at the point where one doesn't know what one doesn't know. I've kept company for many years with shooters more experienced than myself, and I've yet to hear someone postulate that The Four Rules need improvement, or don't work.
     
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  12. carsten1911

    carsten1911 Member

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    As other people clearly pointed out the most important thing with the Four Rules ist that they teach MINDSET.
    Our shooting association desperately tries to convey the impression that their word is more catholic than anything the Pope ever said ex cathedra....so they invented the "Ten Commandments of Gun Handling".

    Now how many people who SHOULD know the original Ten Commandment can really recite them all?
    Yep, failure is pre-programmed with this halfhearted try.

    And they might be very accurately worded, but they do not transport the mindset-aspect....which lead to dead people at championships because a lack of mindset (e.g. a 16 yo girl shot through her heart with a single shot .22lr olympic precision rifle). Their solution is to come up with more gear and rules, but still I have to look down barrels of guns pointed at me....sometimes with fingers on the trigger.

    So I can absolutely attest to several made points by people in the know:
    1. MINDET is the most important factor....CHECK
    2. SIMPLICITY, so everyone can be taught the rules....CHECK
    3. REDUNDANCY, so even a single slip will never lead to disaster...CHECK
    4. CLEARITY, so noone who is not into arguing for arguing´s sake can say whether a rule is obeyed or broken...CHECK

    Trying to "renew" them without a clear, written out proposal that will prove it´s functionality in both discussion of experienced trainers AND real life test with new shooters, who of course should be closely monitored, is just using bandwidth for it´s own sake.

    So if you want t o reinvent the wheel...don´t talk, DO!
    You are welcome to post your ideas...if you really have those.
    If not: Nuff said.

    Y´all be safe!
    Carsten

    (EDIT: a missing "T")
     
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  13. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    Using your rules, and a literal interpretation of your Rule #1 as you applied to the 4 Gunsite rules, how do you clean your Glock?

    (Note for those who may not know: You have to pull the trigger on a Glock to release the striker before disassembly.)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  14. Hokkmike

    Hokkmike Member

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    You state that these rules are "too simplistic". That, in my opinion, is the problem. Mistakes with guns have eternal consequences. It is ALWAYS better to rule on the side of KEEP-IT-SIMPLE-STUPID (as the saying goes). Your interpretations are too literal, (as others have said) legalistic and miss the heart of the matter.
     
  15. Hanzo581

    Hanzo581 Member

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    Lots of good info in here but put yourselves in the shoes of a beginner, now let's say they aren't working with an instructor (or you).

    Who is conveying these rules as a "mindset" to them? You have to look at these rules in a vacuum because there are a lot of people that are just going to buy a gun and head out to the range.

    I'm not suggesting a huge rewrite with four pages of complex rules, but there has to be middle ground. Or we could just say the system is perfect and close the thread. I'm good either way at this point.
     
  16. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    Where did I say that? I said they were not accurate or relevant at all times. I did not say they were wrong and don't work.

    BS, I understand just fine.

    You think that when Colonel Cooper came up with that rule he was talking about just pointing the gun at the target? If he wasn't talking about actually using the sights why wouldn't he have said "keep your finger off the trigger until the gun is pointed where you want to shoot"? Why bother mentioning the sights if he wasn't talking about necessarily using them?
     
  17. Hanzo581

    Hanzo581 Member

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    bearcreek we might as well abandon this thread. I have come to learn that anything on this site that questions "the way things have always been" is met with people reciting their resume to you to prove their opinion holds more weight than yours, and how you must be incompetent if you don't agree with them. We could continue here but I think it would be a waste of everyone's time.
     
  18. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    "Ain't Broke"
     
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  19. strambo

    strambo Member

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    Well, what can you ever do about someone who is just going to buy a gun and head out to the range? I'd be impressed if they even looked up and read the 4 rules.
     
  20. Hanzo581

    Hanzo581 Member

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    Assuming it's a range, all the ones I have ever been too make you read over the rules and quiz you before you can shoot. I am sure there are some that are just free for alls.
     
  21. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Member

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    The objections to the Four Rules seem to be matters of statement, not principle. Which of the principles that the rules point to are unhelpful? Exactly none of them. Which principles are extraneous? Same answer. So the question is how better to state the same principles.

    But if the principles are clear from the statements we have, their restatement is an exercise in semantics. "All guns are always loaded." This rule is the easiest one to criticize. I can remove the revolver from my holster, remove the cartridges from all the chambers and then proceed to say, "Nyah, nyah, nyah."

    But notice what I had to do to refute the blanket statement of the rule. The steps (up to the point where I removed the cartridges) would have been the same had the gun been empty to begin with. I checked the weapon. At no time did I cavalierly point it at you, me, your dog or your wife's prized vase.

    Because the point of the rule is to stop people from firing guns they assume to be unloaded (by teaching them always to negate that assumption) I would say the rule has done its work.

    "Treat every gun as a loaded gun" might say it better, or maybe not, but the actions that accompany the words are the critical thing.
     
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Games? About a serious subject? Are you just looking for arguments, or are you looking for serious discussion?

    And we have had this "debate" many times with the same results, people arguing semantics and getting nowhere. You are either safe with weapons, or you are not. The four rules will keep you safe. That's the whole idea. One has to have some common sense to go with them. :)
     
  23. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Why? Why would you think that the Four Rules were intended to substitute for instruction and mentoring? They evolved in a community/instructional setting.

    No, I don't have to look at the Four Rules in a vacuum. Why do you think that any statement of a just a few rules would be adequate to produce an appropriate attitude and mindset?

    If you think so, prove it. Go ahead -- tuchus oyfn tish:

    • Come up with a few short "rules" that --

      • Will be easily understood by someone with no prior firearms experience and without the assistance of anyone else like an instructor or mentor.

      • Will instill the proper, safe gun handling attitude and mindset.

      • Will be easily remembered.

      • Will reliably and invariably put into practice by someone with no prior firearms experience and without the assistance of anyone else like an instructor or mentor.

    • And convince us that your "rules" accomplish that (and note that no one has said the the Four Rules were adequate in a vacuum for someone with no firearms experience who just buys a gun and goes out to shoot it somewhere.).

    But the problem is that you don't understand the Four Rules in the context of fostering proper attitude and mindset, and the attitude and mindset fostered by the Four Rules are relevant at all times.

    With regard to Rule Three, we weren't talking about Col. Cooper's intent. We don't know and can't ask him. We were talking about the words used in Rule Three. You claimed that they were inaccurate as applied to point shooting, and I showed that you were wrong.

    All opinions aren't equal. The educated opinion of someone with meaningful education, knowledge, training and experience in the subject has more weight than an opinion plucked out of the air by someone without meaningful education, knowledge, training and experience in the subject.

    The opinion of my doctor on matters related to my health holds more weight than that of my mechanic. Were that not true, I'd need a new doctor.
     
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  24. boom boom
    • Contributing Member

    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Given that firearm deaths through accidental discharges have been declining sharply, I believe that the onus and the burden of proof is on those that would change the 4 rules rather than on the defenders of the status quo. Those who train others have their money and reps on the line which could result in ruinous costs if the rules did not work. I really do not see firearms trainers moving wholesale to "improve" the rules thus I conclude that they work as advertised.
     
  25. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    Some of the most unsafe shooters I have ever been around are experienced shooters that "know" how to handle firearms. These are the same folks that when confronted with their mistake and reminded of the rules exclaim that they are an adult and do not need to be treated like a child. Well then why did you just sweep the line?



    In this case, the four rules, the way things have always been is just fine and do not need any changing. They are simple enough for anyone to understand and implement, well expect for gun folks it would seem...

    Everyone is not equal. Those with higher levels of training and experience do carry more weight. A resume means something, and while it does not make that person an automatic expert it does lend more credence to what they say.
     
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