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Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 12:56 PM
I have a problem with the Firearm Safety Rule most people use or recite. I think they are poorly worded and confusing, especially for new-shooters.

The standard Firearm Safety Rules are:
1. All guns are always loaded! Or, always treat all guns as if they are loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!

Sometimes you see a Rule #4:
4. Always be sure of your target!

Rule #1 is the rule I primarily have a problem with because it's stupid, confusing and always broken. I'll explain. The entire meaning of this rule is implied, not stated. It's like the author tried to make one rule to cover everything in one sentence, but failed. What does a "loaded" gun actually mean rule wise? How should it be treated differently compared to an unloaded gun? Should you EXTRA not point it at people or important things? Should you EXTRA not touch the trigger? This rule means absolutely nothing to inexperienced shooters. Worst of all, this rule is broken every single time you dry fire.

I believe the intention of this rule would be better worded like this:
All guns should ALWAYS be treated as if loaded UNTIL they are checked for bullets. That is a lot clearer. An inexperienced shooter can understand it. And the rule isn't broken when you dry fire in a non-shooting area.

The other giant problem I have is Gun Safety Rules should NEVER be broken! Ever! Having any rule, especially Rule #1, as a rule that is broken repeatedly sets a horrible precedent that all of the rules can be broken sometimes.

Rule #2 is poorly worded, and new shooters should not be expected to know what the "muzzle" is.

Rules #3, and #4 are poorly worded, but pretty good.
However, the Standard Firearm Safety Rules completely leave out some VERY important rules.


The NRA has improved the Firearm Safety Rules:
A. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
B. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
C. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Rule A is a much better rule #1. It's clearer and easier to understand by inexperienced shooters. But it could be better.
Rule B is great and worded better than rule #2. In fact, it's optimally worded.
Rule C is bad. This rule tells new shooters that guns are generally unloaded because they are supposed to be unloaded according to the rule. I understand the NRA's intention with this rule, but that intention is not at all clear and the rule in no way explains what to do in terms of being safe (ie. check to make sure it's unloaded.)


I have put a lot of thought into what I consider a better set of Firearm Safety Rules. The goals of the rules are:
- Remove as much chance of an unintended firearm discharge as possible.
- Each rule is easy to remember and doesn't require a paragraph long explanation.
- Very clear instructions, easy to understand and follow exactly. There should be no questions about what a rule means.
- New shooters can understand the rules, as well as experienced shooters.
- The rules are unbreakable with no exceptions.

These are Tool's Firearm Safety Rules:
#1 NEVER point a loaded or unloaded gun at something you do not want to destroy, no exceptions.
#2 ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
#3 EVERY time you pick up a firearm you check to see if it is loaded, no exceptions.
#4 Be sure of your target and what is behind your target.

This is the reasoning behind my rules.

Rule #1 is the absolute most important rule of all. If someone remembers only one rule this is the one. If it is followed no person and nothing important gets shot. The rule is clear and there is no room for misunderstanding. Experienced shooters should ingrain this rule into muscle memory, and make it a point, or a game, to find the safest possible direction to point a gun when checking out the feel or sights.

Rule #2 is very important and easy to understand. Unfortunately this rule is the rule most broken. New shooters do not have any muscle memory for removing their finger from the trigger, so they must constantly be watched. Experienced shooters know this of course. Worse, experienced shooters usually are good about following this rule, right up until something unexpected happens, at which point their brain and muscle memory go out the window. Pressure also can make experienced shooters forget this rule. I made this rule #2 instead of #3 because I feel it is more important for new shooters to learn this rule as it applies directly to when they will be shooting in a controlled environment.

Rule #3 is critical and will prevent almost all of the typical ND's. It's easy to think this rule is excessive. If you just cleared your pistol and set it down and no one has touched it you shouldn't need to clear it again, right? Wrong. You need to clear it anyway. It's all about creating automatic muscle memory that you don't even have to consciously have to think about. Much in the same way experienced shooters keep their finger off the trigger without thinking about it. I am really bothered that both of the other sets of rules completely leave out this firearm clearing rule. It is hugely important, surpassed only by Rule #1. The "Standard" rule #1 very indirectly sort of implies this rule, but how they do it is unacceptable. NRA rule #3 also implies this rule, but does so horribly. My rule #3 is clear and understandable. It is the only rule that can be questioned by new shooters, about it's excessiveness, but I see no way around that. If a new shooter asks, an experienced shooter should explain about the muscle memory, and with almost no exceptions it is ALWAYS when we think a gun is unloaded that a ND happens.

Rule #4 is almost optional. It should be common sense, even for new shooters, to know what is behind your target. But it's good to be reminded.


Sorry for the long post. My hope is you will see my logic and incorporate my rules into how you handle firearms and when you teach new shooters the safety rules the new shooters will better understand the rules. Thanks for reading.

TimRB
10-18-2011, 1:12 PM
You're on a noble, if difficult quest. One thing I would point out is that your rule 3 is sometimes not possible to follow. That is, a new shooter might well not know how to check to see if a gun is loaded. Indeed, I have handed M1 and M14 rifles to military veterans who did not know how they worked.

Tim

Merc1138
10-18-2011, 1:17 PM
You're on a noble, if difficult quest. One thing I would point out is that your rule 3 is sometimes not possible to follow. That is, a new shooter might well not know how to check to see if a gun is loaded. Indeed, I have handed M1 and M14 rifles to military veterans who did not know how they worked.

Tim

What?

Find charging handle. Pull charging handle to rear and hold back, look into chamber and magazine area if you were unable to figure out how to remove the magazine. I can't think of any handguns or rifles that don't have something other than the trigger to push or pull on with some obvious area to inspect.

TimRB
10-18-2011, 1:20 PM
I can't think of any handguns or rifles that don't have something other than the trigger to push or pull on with some obvious area to inspect.

Obvious to us, yes. Maybe even any normal person. But try handing a gun to someone with the intellect of Carolyn McCarthy and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Tim

Merc1138
10-18-2011, 1:26 PM
Obvious to us, yes. Maybe even any normal person. But try handing a gun to someone with the intellect of Carolyn McCarthy and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Tim

You specified "military veteran", I wasn't aware that any military veterans could have served and then retired with zero firearm experience.

AAShooter
10-18-2011, 1:26 PM
All guns are always loaded! Or, always treat all guns as if they are loaded.

The point here is that your gun handling skills should be the same regardless of whether the gun is loaded or not. If you use the same safe gun handling skills for both, you avoid problems. People are not able to handle a loaded gun one way and an unloaded gun another without making a mistake over time.

Nothing is more frustrating to have someone decide their gun is unloaded and then start muzzling me with it.

Merc1138
10-18-2011, 1:29 PM
All guns are always loaded! Or, always treat all guns as if they are loaded.

The point here is that your gun handling skills should be the same regardless of whether the gun is loaded or not. If you use the same safe gun handling skills for both, you avoid problems. People are not able to handle a loaded gun one way and an unloaded gun another without making a mistake over time.

Nothing is more frustrating to have someone decide their gun is unloaded and then start muzzling me with it.

And there is the answer for why "always treat guns as if they're loaded" exists. Just because the guy next to me unloaded his gun when I wasn't examining it myself, doesn't mean it's ok for him to start waving the muzzle around in my direction.

AAShooter
10-18-2011, 1:33 PM
These are Tool's Firearm Safety Rules:
#1 NEVER point a loaded or unloaded gun at something you do not want to destroy, no exceptions.
#2 ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
#3 EVERY time you pick up a firearm you determine if it is loaded or unloaded, no exceptions.
#4 Be sure of your target and what is beyond.Know what is behind your target.

Here are some of the edits I would suggest. Many have to do with the "Department of Redundancy Department". Finally, there are always exceptions.

TimRB
10-18-2011, 1:37 PM
You specified "military veteran", I wasn't aware that any military veterans could have served and then retired with zero firearm experience.

Zero firearm experience, no--zero firearm knowledge, yes.

I don't mean to rag on military folks. It's easily possible that someone in the M16/M4 generation has never handled the older rifles. In fact, I know this to be true because we have had young Marines come to our rifle matches who needed a quick tutorial on how to work an M1.

I also don't mean to sidetrack the discussion. My point was that no matter how simple a firearm is, there are going to be people (new shooters) who don't know how to work it. If I handed a 1911 to my mom and asked her to check to see if it was loaded, she would look at me as if I were from Mars.

Tim

weinerd
10-18-2011, 1:38 PM
From the HSC study guide:


1. Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
2. Keep the gun pointed in the safest possible direction.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
4. Know your target, its surroundings and beyond.
5. Know how to properly operate your gun.
6. Store your gun safely and securely to prevent unauthorized use.

EchoFourTango
10-18-2011, 1:43 PM
#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 strait and of the trigger until you are ready to fire.
#4 Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire

and the super secret one. Beaware of your target and what lies beyond.

AAShooter
10-18-2011, 1:51 PM
#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 strait and of the trigger until you are ready to fire.
#4 Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire

and the super secret one. Beaware of your target and what lies beyond.

Is there a difference between ready to shoot and ready to fire? Generally safeties come off way before you start shooting.

AAShooter
10-18-2011, 1:55 PM
One big problem with the safety rules is they are situationally dependent. What goes for a beginning shooter on the range, tactical engagement and sniper are different? The exceptions change.

Try loading a muzzle loader without breaking the safety rules. Try to get a squib load out of some revolvers without breaking the safety rules. Try carrying a gun concealed without breaking the safety rules.

Exile Machine
10-18-2011, 1:57 PM
Definitely a worthwhile effort, but I had a concern about this one:

#3 EVERY time you pick up a firearm you check to see if it is loaded, no exceptions.

There will be an exception to this one every time you draw your weapon for self defense. Of course for most of us non-LEO that won't happen very often but still...

When I see the rule about all guns are always loaded, I think back to the 1978 death of Terry Kath of the band Chicago. If all guns are always loaded and you have this rule in mind, then maybe you won't play Russian roulette with an "unloaded" (but really loaded) gun... But yeah there are exceptions to this rule too, like you mentioned dry firing and what about cleaning? You wouldn't clean a loaded gun.

Being certain of your target is just as important as what's behind it, think in a hunting situation, you may be very sure of that dirt berm behind your target but if you are shooting at a brown shape moving through the trees and it turns out to be a hapless geocacher in a brown jacket instead of an elk...

-Mark

DVSmith
10-18-2011, 2:01 PM
I don't really think the NRA rules need any improvement.

From their brochure:

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.

2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.


3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.

AAShooter
10-18-2011, 2:02 PM
. . . Being certain of your target is just as important as what's behind it, think in a hunting situation, you may be very sure of that dirt berm behind your target but if you are shooting at a brown shape moving through the trees and it turns out to be a hapless geocacher in a brown jacket instead of an elk...

-Mark

Or another example is your idiot teenager or his dumber friend sneaking in your house in the middle of the night . . . you need to be sure.

AAShooter
10-18-2011, 2:08 PM
I don't really think the NRA rules need any improvement.

From their brochure:

1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.

2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.


3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.

Those are hard to beat but I cringe any time someone suggests "common sense". The more I observe people, especially from a wide range of cultures, there is no such thing as common sense.

Just look at the recent incident in China regarding the toddler being hit. Their common sense differs from ours in that situation.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 2:09 PM
All guns are always loaded! Or, always treat all guns as if they are loaded.

The point here is that your gun handling skills should be the same regardless of whether the gun is loaded or not. If you use the same safe gun handling skills for both, you avoid problems. People are not able to handle a loaded gun one way and an unloaded gun another without making a mistake over time.

That's the problem, a loaded gun is totally different than an unloaded gun. Two examples, I would never hand a loaded pistol to my 5 year old, but I will gladly hand him an unloaded pistol (after clearing it of course). And you cannot dry fire a loaded gun. See how dumb that rule is? It's totally confusing and we break it all the time.

Nothing is more frustrating to have someone decide their gun is unloaded and then start muzzling me with it. That's exactly why "NEVER point a loaded or unloaded gun at something you do not want to destroy" is the real Rule #1. Follow just that and almost all of your problems go away.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 2:13 PM
These are Tool's Firearm Safety Rules:
#1 NEVER point a loaded or unloaded gun at something you do not want to destroy, no exceptions.
#2 ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
#3 EVERY time you pick up a firearm you determine if it is loaded or unloaded, no exceptions.
#4 Be sure of your target and what is beyond.Know what is behind your target.

Here are some of the edits I would suggest. Many have to do with the "Department of Redundancy Department". Finally, there are always exceptions.

I struggled with whether to include the over-emphasis or not. For professionalism I totally agree with your edits. For trying to maximize safety I lean more towards my over emphasized version. Regardless, both versions are infinitely better than the standard and NRA rules. Thanks for your constructive criticism!

AAShooter
10-18-2011, 2:18 PM
That's the problem, a loaded gun is totally different than an unloaded gun. Two examples, I would never hand a loaded pistol to my 5 year old, but I will gladly hand him an unloaded pistol (after clearing it of course). And you cannot dry fire a loaded gun. See how dumb that rule is? It's totally confusing and we break it all the time.

That's exactly why "NEVER point a loaded or unloaded gun at something you do not want to destroy" is the real Rule #1. Follow just that and almost all of your problems go away.

I would suggest not handing loaded guns to people, regardless of age. Unload it and then hand it to them or lay it down for them to pick up. It solves many problems.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 2:19 PM
Definitely a worthwhile effort, but I had a concern about this one:

Originally Posted by Toolbox X
#3 EVERY time you pick up a firearm you check to see if it is loaded, no exceptions.

There will be an exception to this one every time you draw your weapon for self defense. Of course for most of us non-LEO that won't happen very often but still...

Drawing from a holster does not require checking the gun. You should know if your pistol is loaded or not when you holster it. However, when you first picked up the pistol before you holstered it you should have checked and every time you set it down and pick it back up you should check.

When I see the rule about all guns are always loaded, I think back to the 1978 death of Terry Kath of the band Chicago. If all guns are always loaded and you have this rule in mind, then maybe you won't play Russian roulette with an "unloaded" (but really loaded) gun... But yeah there are exceptions to this rule too, like you mentioned dry firing and what about cleaning? You wouldn't clean a loaded gun.

Follow any of the rules and shooting yourself in the head isn't possible.

Being certain of your target is just as important as what's behind it, think in a hunting situation, you may be very sure of that dirt berm behind your target but if you are shooting at a brown shape moving through the trees and it turns out to be a hapless geocacher in a brown jacket instead of an elk...

You are totally correct. I'll modify rule number 4.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 2:22 PM
Those [NRA Rules] are hard to beat but I cringe any time someone suggests "common sense". The more I observe people, especially from a wide range of cultures, there is no such thing as common sense.

Do you see how the NRA rules each require a full paragraph of explanation to make sense? That is unacceptable. All of that info is going to go into one ear of a new shooter out out the other. Keep the rules simple, clear and understandable. IMHO.

(and I'm totally with you on anything specifying "common sense." Scary.)

johnny_22
10-18-2011, 2:25 PM
The Gun Zone had a similar discussion:

http://www.thegunzone.com/therules.html

AAShooter
10-18-2011, 2:33 PM
Do you see how the NRA rules each require a full paragraph of explanation to make sense? That is unacceptable. All of that info is going to go into one ear of a new shooter out out the other. Keep the rules simple, clear and understandable. IMHO.

(and I'm totally with you on anything specifying "common sense." Scary.)

Remember, we are trying to convey key concepts not catch phrases. Concise rules that cover all situations and shooters are very difficult to develop given the diversity of shooters and situations. For example, what if they don't know what a muzzle, trigger or trigger guard is? New shooters may not know how to safely check to see if there gun is loaded or unloaded.

The biggest issue with the NRA rules is the distinction between ready to use and ready to shoot.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 2:43 PM
The Gun Zone had a similar discussion:

http://www.thegunzone.com/therules.html

Thanks for posting that! They have a great discussion about Rule #1 over there.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 2:55 PM
Remember, we are trying to convey key concepts not catch phrases. Concise rules that cover all situations and shooters are very difficult to develop given the diversity of shooters and situations. For example, what if they don't know what a muzzle, trigger or trigger guard is? New shooters may not know how to safely check to see if there gun is loaded or unloaded.

The biggest issue with the NRA rules is the distinction between ready to use and ready to shoot.

I think if you look at my rules they are pretty clear and understandable. I specifically removed the word 'muzzle' from Rule #2 because most new shooters don't know what a muzzle is. 99.99% of people know what a trigger is, and that's more than you can ever hope for.

I agree with you that new shooters don't always know how to perform a safety check. That's why I made it Rule #3 instead of 2. If a shooter doesn't know how to perform a safety check that is the first thing they should learn. and they should already be under the direct supervision of someone who does.

My rules aren't perfect. Perfection is impossible. But I feel my rules are superior to the standard and NRA rules. Test them if you can. Show both sets of rules to a non-gun person and ask them which make more sense. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so.

fiddletown
10-18-2011, 5:23 PM
The Four Rules (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=7345961&postcount=16):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.

The Four Rules don't have to prove themselves. Their utility has been well established. They have been in use for a lot or years, and they seem to work just fine. They have the great benefit, for teaching purposes, that they are short, direct, to the point, and easy to remember. Every so often someone wants to come along and change them, but nothing else really has anything like the successful track record of The Four Rules.

Remember that they are first and foremost rules for safe gun handling. If a gun is in a holster, it's not being handled. If it's in your safe, it's not being handled. If it's in a case, it's not being handled.

Those of us who have trained with the Rules, and teach with them, understand them as safe handling rules. We know and teach their proper application and context. So --

If you hand me a gun, don't bother telling me it's not loaded. Because Rule One applies, I won't believe you and will personally verify/clear the gun.


If I criticize you for pointing a gun at me, my spouse, my cat, or anyone/anything else I value, don't bother trying to excuse yourself by telling me that it's not loaded.


If your gun fires when you didn't intend it to, don't bother trying to explain yourself by saying anything like, "I didn't think it was loaded." You should have understood that under Rule One since it is a gun it is loaded, and you should have conducted yourself accordingly.


And wherever you are, if your gun is in your hand, you jolly well need to find a safe direction for your muzzle until you've actually got something to shoot at, and you're about to be shooting at it.


And if you're not actually shooting, your finger needs to be off the trigger, whether you're using your sights or not.


And you need to know your target and what's behind it even in a self defense situation. No one is going to pat you on the back and tell you what a splendid fellow you are for wasting poor old Mrs. Smith when trying to avoid getting mugged yourself. (If you ever have a chance to train with Louis Awerbuck, he will have you engaging targets with "non-combatants" in front of behind the "BG" target. It will be up to you to move or place your shots (or in his moving target class, time your shot) to avoid hitting a non-combatant.)

Jeff Cooper insisted, and the way Rule One is stated at Gunsite and most other schools and by the many instructors who were influenced by Cooper and Gunsite, it is simply, "All guns are always loaded." When one merely treats a gun as if it were loaded, or pretends that the gun is loaded, one mentally admits the possibility that it is not actually loaded. That invites sloppiness and carelessness.

People complain about Rule One. They say that they know there are unloaded guns. But the The Four Rules are rules of gun handling and intended to avoid injury. So as far as I'm concerned, when I pick up a gun, there is no such thing as an unloaded gun, and I conduct myself accordingly.

So what do you do if you have a gun in your hand and you don't want it to be loaded? Well you clear it, of course. So that's what you would do if, for example, you wanted to dissemble if for cleaning or enclose/lock it in a case for legal transportation if the law requires that the gun be unloaded. But while the gun is in your hand you still follow Rules Two, Three and Four. And if the gun is out of your control, Rule One again applies -- so you conduct yourself accordingly and personally verify/clear it if you don't want it to be loaded. (And of course anyone one who uses a gun for practical applications, such as hunting or self defense, in any case needs to be able to handle a loaded gun properly.)

One may choose to quibble with the Four Rule, but they have still been around for a long time, are ubiquitous and have been shown to be very effective for teaching and promoting gun safety.

And to reinforce that, A short time ago I received the following (quoted in part) in an email from another Gunsite alumnus:...Negligent discharges that result in injury are the result of 1. IGNORANCE, and/or 2. COMPLACENCY and/or 3. HABIT that is inappropriate to changed conditions.

Proper training with the universal rules can only address #1 and #3.

...The great deficiency of much NRA civilian training ... is that muzzle and trigger discipline are not rigorously enforced except when on the range when the line is hot and sometimes not even then. Change the conditions to carrying a loaded gun at all times and adverse results are predictable.

EXAMPLE #1: Trap and skeet shooters often rest muzzles on their toes and point them at each other. They have almost no accidents on the range because guns are unloaded until just before they shoot. ...CHANGE CONDITIONS to a duck blind with loaded guns and the results are predictable....

One thing that Jeff Cooper said ... made a big impression on me. It is seldom repeated. To address complacency he said that every morning when he picks up his gun he says to himself "somewhere today someone is going to have an accident with a gun - not me, not today"....
The current Four Rules grew up on a hot range where it is customary to indeed go about with one's gun(s) loaded and where people are trained who will indeed be going around with loaded guns out in the world and about their normal business.

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l142/fiddletown_2006/Arizona/IMG_0944-2.jpg

See also my post here (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=7346301&postcount=24).

...I specifically removed the word 'muzzle' from Rule #2 because most new shooters don't know what a muzzle is....If a shooter doesn't know what a muzzle is, he needs to learn what it is quickly. There are just some things that a gun owner/shooter needs to know, and it's up to those of us who teach new shooters to do what we can to see that they do.

...But I feel my rules are superior to the standard and NRA rules....Sorry, but I don't. I will not be using them.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 9:16 PM
Fiddletown, I appreciate the time you spend adding to this discussion. Many of your points are valid. I hope you don't think I'm some chairborne commando who just sits on his computer telling other people what to do, having no experience of my own. That is not the case.

Those of us who have trained with the Rules, and teach with them, understand them as safe handling rules. We know and teach their proper application and context. So --
If you hand me a gun, don't bother telling me it's not loaded. Because Rule One applies, I won't believe you and will personally verify/clear the gun. Standard Rule #1 does not say anywhere to do this. You personally do it because you are an experienced shooter. There is no way a brand new shooter would know to do this. However, my Rule #3 specifically says to do what you said. You get handed a gun, you pick up a gun, you take a gun out of the safe, you check it.


If I criticize you for pointing a gun at me, my spouse, my cat, or anyone/anything else I value, don't bother trying to excuse yourself by telling me that it's not loaded. Standard Rule #2 and my Rule #1 both say the same thing about this. I think this rule is so important it should be #1 instead of #2.


If your gun fires when you didn't intend it to, don't bother trying to explain yourself by saying anything like, "I didn't think it was loaded." You should have understood that under Rule One since it is a gun it is loaded, and you should have conducted yourself accordingly.Once again, Standard Rule #1 says nothing about this. Nowhere in any of the standard rules does it say to clear the gun. You are an experienced shooter, and gun safety in ingrained into you as it is me, so this is not a problem for us, we know better. But new and bad shooters need to be told exactly what to do. Rule #1 does not do that. My rules do.


And wherever you are, if your gun is in your hand, you jolly well need to find a safe direction for your muzzle until you've actually got something to shoot at, and you're about to be shooting at it.Exactly. My rule #1 says this. The standard Rule #2 says this.


And if you're not actually shooting, your finger needs to be off the trigger, whether you're using your sights or not.Exactly. My rule #2 says this. The standard Rule #3 says this. I've got more to say about this rule down below.


And you need to know your target and what's behind it even in a self defense situation. No one is going to pat you on the back and tell you what a splendid fellow you are for wasting poor old Mrs. Smith when trying to avoid getting mugged yourself. (If you ever have a chance to train with Louis Awerbuck, he will have you engaging targets with "non-combatants" in front of behind the "BG" target. It will be up to you to move or place your shots (or in his moving target class, time your shot) to avoid hitting a non-combatant.)Exactly. This rules isn't all that important for range shooting or safe shooting environments with new shooters, but it is critical for both hunting and self defense.


I'll explain a little about where I'm coming from. My friends and I often shoot aggressively and under considerable pressure, which requires aggressive safety adherence. There is a lot less room for mistakes when you a moving quickly, firing fast, transitioning weapons, etc.

I also teach a number of new shooters every year. Nowhere near as many as a regular instructor, but a lot more than average.

I developed my rules based on my experience. I needed rules that were very easy to understand and very clear for new shooters. As you know, fundamentals and muscle memory are learned from doing, not listening. People remember almost nothing when they get into the doing it part. It's like trying to tell someone how to ride a bike. It doesn't work. They need to do it to learn effectively.

When I teach someone new, I drill into them one thing and only one thing. Don't point the gun at anything you don't want to destroy. If you remember only one thing while you are shooting, that is the thing you remember. I tell them my other rules, but honestly I don't expect them to remember them. Experienced shooters often have a hard time keeping their finger off the trigger. New shooters are damn near guaranteed to leave their finger on the trigger. It takes a lot of time and practice for a shooters muscle memory and subconscious to learn to keep their finger off the trigger. Same with making the gun safe when they pick it up, and I don't even bother reminding them about my Rule #4, know you target and what's behind it. They will never remember it with so many things to already focus on. I remind and DRILL my Rule #2 (trigger finger) into the new shooter right before and when the person is on the line under my supervision. I don't care how many times I've 'told' them what the rules are, there is no way I am going to trust they will follow them.

My Rule #3, always clear a gun when you pick it up (or get it handed to you), gets DRILLED into my students when they first start handling guns. Drilling this rule into them before they are handling guns does not create the connection in their brain between recalling the rule and the act of actually performing the rule. And it's all about getting the new shooter's brain to connect the rules with the physical acts of following the rules. Not just being able to recite them.

If you look at my rules, they cover everything all of the Standard rules and the NRA rules cover, but they do it simpler, and in a way that's much easier to understand, for experienced shooters, but especially for new shooters.

The "Standard Rules" have been an ever changing collection, and they will continue to change. It wasn't long ago that the NRA dropped the Standard Rules and replaced them with a new set that primarily removed the Rule #1 from the Standard Rules. Just because something has always been one way doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. That's why I spent the time to discuss this.

LDSGJimbo
10-18-2011, 9:49 PM
I personally like the NRA rules, except #3. I keep my firearm loaded in a locked safe.

Sent from my motorola with tapatalk.

fiddletown
10-18-2011, 9:54 PM
I'll explain a little about where I'm coming from. My friends and I often shoot aggressively and under considerable pressure, which requires aggressive safety adherence. There is a lot less room for mistakes when you a moving quickly, firing fast, transitioning weapons, etc. ...The Four Rules grew up at Gunsite, a hot range. I've attended several classes there. The Four Rules work just fine there and have for many years. At Gunsite, other classes I've been in and in USPSA competition, we shoot aggressively, and the Four Rules have proven appropriate in those circumstances.

...I also teach a number of new shooters every year. Nowhere near as many as a regular instructor, but a lot more than average.... I'm with a group of instructors who teach a monthly Basic Handgun class. Probably 90% of our students have never even touched a real gun before. We teach about 100 students a year. We don't seem to have any problem.

...If you look at my rules, they cover everything all of the Standard rules and the NRA rules cover, but they do it simpler, and in a way that's much easier to understand, for experienced shooters, but especially for new shooters...Sorry, but "no sale" here.

monk
10-18-2011, 10:06 PM
TBH I learned the HSC rules and keep the top 4 in my mind at all times. It's what I know and tell others. Like that drink, it worx for me.


BTW I hate that commercial and whoever created it should be fired from all future promotional production.

dieselpower
10-18-2011, 10:14 PM
I totally disagree with the NRA's rules. They are for "sport" shooters only.

A. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. as long as pointed at a threats head or center mass is "a safe direction" I agree. I am pointing a gun at something I want dead...it has nothing to do with safety 50% of the time...I may just be hungry.

B. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Wrong, I prepare myself to shoot by putting my finger on the trigger, I relax from aggression by removing my finger from the trigger.

C. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. Wrong, an unloaded gun is a paperweight. The last thing you want to do is have to load a gun you need immediately.

If you understand all guns are loaded 100% of the time, you will treat them with respect.

Heres an example...

Go get a kitchen butter knife and randomly shove it in any electrical socket in your home. Please come back and post to me what happens to you. Oh whats the matter??? Why don't you want to do this??? I don't understand?? It should be safe right because you only flip on circuit breakers to electrical outlets just before use. No one in their right minds would just have a LIVE electrical socket just waiting for a child or dumb person to accidentally stick a metal object in there... so whats the problem?

You understand all electrical sockets are LIVE and DANGEROUS because you have been taught from the time you started crawling that ALL ELECTRICAL SOCKETS ARE LIVE... so you TREAT ALL ELECTRICAL SOCKETS AS LIVE UNLESS YOU PROVE TO YOURSELF THEY ARE NOT. This is how to treat a gun.

FYI, all guns in my home are loaded at all times....and just laying around the house. You pull a trigger in my home...the gun goes boom...100% of the time.

sekatoa
10-18-2011, 10:25 PM
I personally like the NRA rules, except #3. I keep my firearm loaded in a locked safe.



I'm not sure if this rule 3 is the one I'm thing of, but if so, the above scenario doesn't break the rule.

I dislike the "numbering" of rules because the numbers can mean a lot of different things to different people...with none of them being wrong. Knowing and practicing the common meaning and intent of the core rules is what is important.

The rule about storing a firearm unloaded and ammo separately is situationally dependent too, depending on which NRA class you are in. In a hunter safety class, your hunting rifle should be unloaded and ammo stored separately when not hunting (in use). In a personal protection class, a primary firearm for protection is in use (for protection), even when stored loaded in a safe, so it is an exception to storing unloaded with ammunition separately, under the "when not in use" clause.

All rules will require some cognitive interpretation under the situation. Try field stripping your Glock without pulling the trigger. Of course you verify it is unloaded, and point it in a safe direction, but you are still pointing it somewhere at something you have no intention of actually shooting at, or "destroying".

Some rules are definitely clearer and need little or no interpretation, or should ever be "violated" , such as "know your target and what is behind it". But If one cannot decipher when it is acceptable to apply other rules or not safely, such as in the field stripping a Glock scenario, perhaps they are not ready for the responsibility if gun ownership.

fiddletown
10-18-2011, 10:36 PM
...you are still pointing it somewhere at something you have no intention of actually shooting at, or "destroying"...The ruling as stated at Gunsite is: Never let the muzzle cover anything which you are not willing to destroy.That is different from intending to shoot or intending to destroy.