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mr.smashy

Four Rules of Firearms Safety

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  1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

 

We get these safety rules from LTC Jeff Cooper, and their intention is for use in a gunfight, but they also work well for range and match use. Safety is something we should keep in the front of our minds when handling firearms and training, but remember that when it comes to your survival, safety does not come first, victory comes first.

 

"Sometimes it appears we become so obsessed with the ephemeral goal of safety that we lose sight of the purpose of the exercise. Safety is not first. Safety is second. Victory (or success) is first." - LTC Jeff Cooper

Edited by mr.smashy

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Mr. Smashy,

LTC Cooper, as usual, is spot on. I have always objected to the term 'accidental discharge'. While it is just barely conceivable that an accidental discharge could happen (metal fatigue after a revolver is cocked causing the hammer to drop, maybe) every AD I've ever heard of should come under the heading of negligent discharge. 'Inadvertent' is probably too nice a way of saying you messed up; negligent is almost always the appropriate term.

 

Also agree that safety is not first in a defensive situation. Again, Cooper is right; in a firefight Victory is the only thing. As Bill Jordan titled his excellent book, there are "No second place winners" in a gunfight.

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I'll share a little story here to help drive the point home. Having lived by the four rules since I got my first gun at 6, I hade a (lets call it) inadvertant discharge. After my grandfather died, my grandmother was showing me his gun collection to see if there were any that I wanted. I picked up a little Anchutz bolt .22 to look it over, gun pointed up, racked the bolt, checked the chamber. Being that the gun was REALLY old, I wanted to relieve the springs, so I pulled the trigger... BAM! It fired into the crack between the wall and ceiling! It turns out the chamber was deep and the bullet had been there for years, and was oxidized almost black. The extractor failed to grab it. I HAD checked and failed to see it. ALWAYS be thorough in your chamber check, especially with an unfamiliar weapon. No one was hurt and the only damage was a 1/4 inch hole in the drywall and my pride. The "what if's" on this one still bother me today!

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In a gunfight, if I'm out of ammo and someone wants to hand me a loaded weapon, I'm taking it.

Ditto that!!!

 

If I'm fighting off the killer zombie horde and I reach back for the wife to hand me another weapon and it goes click.... I'm going to be a little upset! haha

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Ditto that!!!

 

If I'm fighting off the killer zombie horde and I reach back for the wife to hand me another weapon and it goes click.... I'm going to be a little upset! haha

 

Yep, but not for long! MZB are quick to take advantage of a situation!

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Ready?4What?

Sometimes you do everything "correctly" and it still happens. When I was in flight school we took a tour of the Bell plant in Ft. Worth. Saw the damage done and got the story as follows:

Seems the GE guys were checking out the new 30mm Gatling gun on the front of a Cobra. The GE guy cleared that gun using 3 separate procedures. IT WAS CLEAR! As he stood up, he spun the barrels. (In the Gatling gun it is the barrel movement that loads and fires the round. The trigger only runs the motor that spins the barrels.) The gun went boom!, the round exited the hanger, went through a full 55 gallon oil drum, penetrated the big tank on a fuel truck that was refueling the test birds, ARMED itself(it takes a bit of time and distance to fully arm the explosive round), and hit a six inch water main used to supply the water for the 'rain rack' (used to test water tightness on the helicopters) where it promptly exploded. There were a Huey, an AH-1 Cobra, and a civilian 212 (twin engine Huey) in the rack and all three took major frag damage.

The only appropriate comment came from the fuel truck driver - He placed his keys and log book on the hood and walked away. They never did hear from him again. Sometimes doing everything right can get you killed. In this case, nobody was even seriously hurt but several procedures were, ahem, revised!

If you can't see down the barrel, a finger to make sure it's empty is a good idea.

Occasionally someone puts a 20 ga shell into a 12 ga shotgun. When it goes click they think they didn't load it and put a 12 ga shell into the chamber. A 20 ga shell sticks about were your hand will be when you hold the shotgun to shoot. When the 12 ga shot hits the 20 ga round what happens is not nice. People loose fingers, hands, eyes and life over this mistake.

Folks forget that even a little 22 has tens of thousands of pounds of pressure in the chamber at firing. Nothing to play with!

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^lol yeah, I like these rules although they would seem like common sense.

The least common thing in the world is "common sense". The old joke about the most common last words being "hey ya'll, WATCH THIS!" is not too far from the truth. When we stop thinking and start reacting to emotion or expedience or history (it's never been loaded before!) or habit (I spin my SAA safely all the time so I spin my Colt Python (and blow my toe off, if I'm only slightly unlucky)) then we set ourselves up for disaster. It happens to pros in aviation all the time. I've actually heard tapes of an AF fighter jock making his final radio call before landing "Air Force 237, Base to Final, gear and brakes" (237 is turning from the base leg to the final approach course, he has checked the landing gear is down and the brake pressure is up) with the landing gear up warning horn going off in the background. He didn't hear it because the gear is ALWAYS DOWN at this point. Habit and History can really mess us up.

Edited by Capt Bart

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This seems to be implied but it's one that has saved me multiple occasions: Always check a firearm every time you pick it up, no matter how recently you set it down, or who hands it to you.

John,

I know a lot about someone the first few seconds after I've handed them a gun. They've seen me verify that it is unloaded before I hand it to them. If the first thing they do is NOT to check to see if it is loaded, I've learned that:

1. They do not understand firearm safety.

2. They do not understand using a firearm for self defense.

3. They are not nearly paranoid enough to be handling firearms.

4. They are in desperate need of my 15 min. firearm talk. (which they are about the get)

 

Most folks don't understand that the muzzle end of a gun isn't the "dangerous" end. The dangerous end has a brain (may or may not be engaged - NEVER even touch a gun with brain disengaged) and a trigger finger. I have never seen a bullet launcher go off without someone or something pulling the trigger. It could happen I guess, but I've never seen it. Yes by all means control the muzzle because that is the door that death comes out of but ALWAYS control the "brain-trigger finger" linkage because that has the key to death's door.

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I know a lot about someone the first few seconds after I've handed them a gun.

 

Most folks don't understand that the muzzle end of a gun isn't the "dangerous" end. The dangerous end has a brain

 

Very well said sir. I'm fanatically about checking constantly bc I keep my weapons loaded and with me; I keep my shotgun in the room I'm in. I don't leave a round chambered however. I subscribe to the idea that racking it will deter a thief. Yes, introducing a weapon can escalate the encounter but I plan to rack, dial 911, and defend myself, not go find the guy.

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Very well said sir. I'm fanatically about checking constantly bc I keep my weapons loaded and with me; I keep my shotgun in the room I'm in. I don't leave a round chambered however. I subscribe to the idea that racking it will deter a thief. Yes, introducing a weapon can escalate the encounter but I plan to rack, dial 911, and defend myself, not go find the guy.

 

It may deter a thief. Unfortunately the current crop of home invaders seem so spaced out they often don't here the slide rack. Still, I don't leave my pump with one in the tube - I do leave my double that way (one in each tube). Like you I live with my guns and I always check when I pick one up. In fact, when I get home I always check my "ready" weapons just to be sure someone has not pulled a "billy the kid" on me and left it with an empty chamber/cylinder where I expect a round.

http://www.policeone.com/patrol-issues/articles/3139390-Justice-preserved-Billy-the-Kid-denied-a-pardon/ check the "killing of Fred Grant" and remember to NEVER trust a gun that has been out of your hands until you have checked it personally.

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These are definitly the GOLDEN RULES that should always be followed. I see number 4 violoated all the time especially in public hunting areas. It is probably one of the toughest ones to remember especaily if you are hunting and in the moment. I can't tell you how many times I have had slugs hit the ground by my feet while deer hunting with a group ( which is why I no longer do so) Always know what is behind your target, if you can't say with 100 percent confindence that it is safe behind your target you should not shoot.

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