PDA

View Full Version : Rule #1. What does it mean to you?


Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 1:34 PM
Firearm Safety Rule #1 is:

All guns are always loaded!
Always treat all guns as if they are loaded.
or
Treat all guns as if they are loaded.

I think this rule is very difficult to interpret. What does this rule mean to you? How do you interpret it?

(I decided to turn this question into it's own thread rather than discuss it on my other Firearm Safety Rules thread http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=490027)

Deadbolt
10-18-2011, 1:35 PM
Firearm Safety Rule #1 is:

All guns are always loaded!
Always treat all guns as if they are loaded.
or
Treat all guns as if they are loaded.

I think this rule is very difficult to interpret. What does this rule mean to you? How do you interpret it?

(I decided to turn this question into it's own thread rather than discuss it on my other Firearm Safety Rules thread http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=490027)

It means : Don't be a jackass because if you **** up, someone's getting shot.


/facepalm.

VictorFranko
10-18-2011, 1:48 PM
Difficult to interpret? You're kidding, right?
Looking at your post count and itrader score, you must be kidding.

Velio
10-18-2011, 1:51 PM
Seriously? It means its always loaded, even when it isn't.

VictorFranko
10-18-2011, 1:56 PM
Just in case you are not kidding, it means from the moment you "think" about handling a weapon, assume it is loaded until you check it and make it safe.
After you have made the weapon safe, continue to treat the weapon as if it were loaded. This includes dry-fire practice, malfunction drills, reload drills, everything.
Always treat the weapon as if it were loaded even though you know it is not.
Aw, come on, you were just kidding, right?

Decoligny
10-18-2011, 2:01 PM
Firearm Safety Rule #1 is:

All guns are always loaded!
Always treat all guns as if they are loaded.
or
Treat all guns as if they are loaded.

I think this rule is very difficult to interpret. What does this rule mean to you? How do you interpret it?

(I decided to turn this question into it's own thread rather than discuss it on my other Firearm Safety Rules thread http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=490027)

It means that the one time you pick up a gun and go "It isn't loaded!" and point it a something you shouldn't be pointing it at, that will be the one time you forgot to unload the gun and you will blow off that something that the gun should not have been pointing at.

Treat every gun as if it is loaded, because it might be loaded.
If it is loaded, and you treat it like it isn't, you or someone else could die.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 2:03 PM
Difficult to interpret? You're kidding, right?
Looking at your post count and itrader score, you must be kidding.

How is it possible to dry-fire without breaking rule #1?

unusedusername
10-18-2011, 2:24 PM
How is it possible to dry-fire without breaking rule #1?

Don't dry fire in an unsafe direction.

I dry-fire as if the gun might go off, so I point it at an exterior wall that has a big thick tree behind it. If it were really loaded nobody would get hurt.

armygunsmith
10-18-2011, 2:28 PM
I think it's pretty clear what the rule means on the surface, but there is more to it than that. I was always taught that you should imagine a constant laser coming from the muzzle of the weapon and to be cognizant of where a round would impact should the firearm go off at that moment.

Hopalong
10-18-2011, 2:33 PM
No playing around, ever.

Develop good habits, always.

Serious, serious, business.

esartori
10-18-2011, 2:43 PM
How is it possible to dry-fire without breaking rule #1?

If you always assume a gun is loaded (rule #1) then you always check it for safety upon handling it. Thus, before dry-firing, always check for safety. If you are asking because the rule can be stated as "all guns are always loaded," well then see above about pointing in a safe direction (however it is a bit naive to assume the rule must be taken as absolutely literal). However, I think that by religiously checking to make sure a gun is safe, you can dry fire without breaking the rule

Quickdraw Mcgraw
10-18-2011, 2:47 PM
It means that the one time you pick up a gun and go "It isn't loaded!" and point it a something you shouldn't be pointing it at, that will be the one time you forgot to unload the gun and you will blow off that something that the gun should not have been pointing at.

Treat every gun as if it is loaded, because it might be loaded.
If it is loaded, and you treat it like it isn't, you or someone else could die.


As somone who was SHOT by an unloaded gun I support this rule 100%
No reason to risk life and limb, always be aware and always practice RULE #1

bohoki
10-18-2011, 2:48 PM
the english language at times is inprecice and ambigious which is why there is so much small print on just about everything

its hard to make simple statements as absolute rules

how about "dont screw around" thats pretty much a good rule for everyting

i mean i don't treat my gun as if it is loaded while i am loading it or i wouldn't be loading it

VictorFranko
10-18-2011, 2:48 PM
How is it possible to dry-fire without breaking rule #1?

Choose a "safe" wall in your home, ("safe" means your daughter or wife are not watching TV in the next room) just "in case" the weapon were to fire.

I use a wall that is common with the service porch.
Behind my dry-fire target is the wall, a cabinet, the washer, the dryer then another wall. This wall is common to the garage, and in line with my target and all the things previously mentioned, is another big cabinet filled with my SHTF supplies.
I dry fire when home alone, or the wife is asleep in bed, never when she is up and around.

My routine:
Remove all live ammo from the room.
Check the weapon and holster.
Go to service porch and check that the wife isn't out there doing laundry.
Return and check weapon again, holster.
Begin dry-fire practice.

Simple and safe.

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 3:25 PM
I'm not advocating unsafe practices and I take firearm safety very seriously. I'm simply discussing Rule #1 and what it means. People interpret it a lot of different ways.

The rule says 'always.

Some people say you should follow it to the letter, which is really dumb.
Some people say it is okay to break the rule for certain reasons.
Some people say it only applies until you clear and make the gun safe.
Some people say it means you should respect guns and not screw around.
My interpretation of Rule #1 is you should always treat a gun as if it's loaded, until you make sure it isn't loaded. Then follow the other rules. But that isn't at all what Rule #1 says.

There is a huge difference between a loaded gun and an unloaded gun. For example:
A loaded gun will shoot a badguy. An unloaded gun treated like a loaded gun will not shoot a bag guy.
A loaded gun cannot be dry-fired. An unloaded gun can be dry-fired.
I will hand my 5 year old an unloaded pistol if he wants to see it. I will not hand him a loaded pistol.
...

The real reason I hate Rule #1 is because new-shooters cannot easily understand it. In fact, to new-shooters it sounds retarded because new shooters understand that there is a major difference between a loaded gun and an unloaded gun, but they don't understand the principles behind the rules. Every single one of us regularly breaks Rule #1 because we know the pistol is unloaded. And we break it right in front of new-shooters. We show new-shooters that the firearm safety rules only apply sometimes, and I think that is sending the wrong message. For example, it's obviously okay to break Rule #1 when we dry-fire because we know the gun is unloaded. If you are a new-shooter and you do not understand the reasons and principles behind the rules, logically it stands to reason that if we know a gun is unloaded we can also break Rules 2, 3, and 4.

Librarian
10-18-2011, 3:35 PM
The '4 rules (http://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff6_2.html)' are a memory aid. (Pardon the quotation of the well-known) 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.

Imagine teaching young children safe behavior in the kitchen: the first rule is DON'T TOUCH.

And yet, adults are touching knives and hot pots and stoves and ovens all the time.

The rules are 'remember it this way, analyze it later'. If you follow the rules as presented, you will almost certainly not hurt someone, including yourself.

sanjosebmx
10-18-2011, 3:36 PM
I'm sure too many 'accidental shootings' were caused by an 'unloaded gun'...


*sarcasm intended*

paul0660
10-18-2011, 3:43 PM
I think this rule is very difficult to interpret.

It isn't. I went to the thread you referenced, and it is true, if you have cleared the gun and it is still in your hand, it is unloaded. Put it down, leave the room, etc. and you are back to square one.

mossy
10-18-2011, 3:43 PM
ok i dont go crazy over the rules, i check the gun, and mag then do whatever. i am not gonna move over 2000 rounds of live ammo out of the room that i am in. IMO that is just stupid.

stix213
10-18-2011, 3:47 PM
Its loaded until you personally check it, and if you even walk away for 2 seconds, it loaded itself again.

"always loaded" strictly speaking is a bit ridiculous. Try field stripping a Glock in your own house if its never unloaded....

ohsmily
10-18-2011, 4:00 PM
"always loaded" strictly speaking is a bit ridiculous. Try field stripping a Glock in your own house if its never unloaded....

That is the point he is making....words mean things...and when a particular version of rule #1 is read literally, you have an absurd result. Of course, when something has an absurd result, you should apply the meaning that logically makes sense and/or look to the intent (which is the standard practice, even in court WRT legislative intent). So, I think the OP is getting in a twist over semantics when most (if not all people) understand the intent of "Rule #1." On the other hand, I could see how someone, especially a child, could be confused by the rule that seems to be intentionally broken when handling firearms (dryfire, disassembly, etc).

Soldier415
10-18-2011, 4:09 PM
Rule #1 to me is "KEEP YOUR GODDAMN BOOGER HOOK OFF THE BANG SWITCH"

VictorFranko
10-18-2011, 4:22 PM
i am not gonna move over 2000 rounds of live ammo out of the room that i am in. IMO that is just stupid.

LOL, if you are referring to my comment, of course you have to use a little common sense, like loaded magazines etc, not stored, cased ammo.
If I moved all my ammo out of the room, I'd be too pooped to practice :p

fiddletown
10-18-2011, 4:25 PM
Well let's see what Jeff Cooper had to say.

Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, Vol. 6 (1998), No. 2, pg. 8.
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.
Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, vol.9 (2001), No. 6, pg. 29:

...We think that "treat all guns as if they were loaded" implies with the "as if" qualification a dangerous choice of assumptions...
Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, vol.11 (2003), No. 13, pg. 64:

...A major point of issue is Rule 1, "All guns are always loaded." There are people who insist that we cannot use this because it is not precisely true. Some guns are sometimes unloaded. These folks maintain that the rule should read that one should always treat all guns as if they were loaded. The trouble here is the "as if," which leads to the notion that the instrument at hand may actually not be loaded....

Then as As John Schaefer, another student of Col. Cooper, puts it (http://www.frfrogspad.com/safety.htm), All firearms are loaded. - There are no exceptions. Don't pretend that this is true. Know that it is and handle all firearms accordingly. Do not believe it when someone says: "It isn't loaded."

And at that same link, Mr Schaefer quotes John Farnam in part as follows:
...The correct philosophical approach to serious firearms training is the "the condition doesn't matter" method. This was first articulated by Uncle Jeff in his four rules, but all four can all be rolled together in the universal admonition "DON'T DO STUPID THINGS WITH GUNS!" The "hot range" concept logically flows from this philosophical conclusion. Now, we handle all guns correctly, all the time. We don't have to "pretend" they're loaded. They ARE loaded, continuously, and all students need to become accustomed to it....

Those of us who have trained with the Four 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.

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.)

See also my post here (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=7346290&postcount=27).

...How is it possible to dry-fire without breaking rule #1?... Among other things by assuring that you follow Rule Two and not let your muzzle cover anything you're not willing to destroy.

repubconserv
10-18-2011, 4:30 PM
No it's not difficult to interpret.

Rule #1 "All Guns are always loaded. Treat them as such"

This is true in my mind until I have personally checked/cleared the gun, because I have reasoned that I checked, so it is now safe to do whatever I need to do.

If you need help on this (thinking literally that all guns are always loaded, even after inspected) you need more training/ learning. The safest thing for you to do at that point would be to go find someone more knowledgeable and ask them what to do next. (assuming you can not logically overcome where Rule 1 "fails")

even after I have checked though (and cleared) 2-4 still apply because of #1. Meaning despite clearing the gun... don't be an a-hole and muzzle sweep someone, don't dry fire unless pointed in a safe direction, and know what that safe direction is, what is behind it, etc, because human error comes into play and Rule 1 comes back with it.

paul0660
10-18-2011, 4:32 PM
Rule #1 to me is "KEEP YOUR GODDAMN BOOGER HOOK OFF THE BANG SWITCH"

Ok. Tell us the rest of your rules in order.

anothergunnut
10-18-2011, 4:47 PM
Various people have various rules but mine #1 rule is "always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction". If you follow that rule, a negligent discharge is only property damage rather than life threatening.

yelohamr
10-18-2011, 4:50 PM
In Zombieland, Rule #1 is Cardio.

repubconserv
10-18-2011, 4:52 PM
Various people have various rules but mine #1 rule is "always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction". If you follow that rule, a negligent discharge is only property damage rather than life threatening.

It also has possible legal implications. Why do something stupid safely, when you can do something smarter safely :confused:

gatesbox
10-18-2011, 4:53 PM
There are some obvious exceptions but I can accept that not everyone has the same concept of the Rule....I don't even quite agree with treating a firearm any differently after I have checked to assure that it is unloaded. Will still maintain muzzle safety....

At some point when I am convinced the weapon is no longer a firearm I start to ignore rule 1. Just today I was cleaning my revolver...with the cylinder removed for cleaning is the only time I have stared down the barrel to check for leading, etc.

with my semi-auto it is always presumed loaded even after a check, until the barrel is removed completly from the frame and the slide is removed....then I might start inspecting barrels, slide, etc....

Prodigal_son
10-18-2011, 5:04 PM
Better to be safe than sorry. Plus its just basic safety measures!

paul0660
10-18-2011, 5:05 PM
with my semi-auto it is always presumed loaded even after a check, until the barrel is removed completly from the frame and the slide is removed.

So you have never dry fired in the comfort of your own home? One actually presume that a gun will not fire if the trigger is pulled. The four rules (or three, or 19) apply to a firearm newly handled. Newly handles is the part that gets messed up.

Droppin Deuces
10-18-2011, 5:34 PM
To me, it means constantly check the chamber, point in a safe direction, don't chew on it or stick it up your butt, etc. In general, treat it as you would if you were at the range.
I tend to handle mine and dry fire a lot, but even when I'm fiddling with them, I'm still checking the chamber, not scratching the dogs with them, etc.

vince42
10-18-2011, 6:47 PM
I think it's pretty clear what the rule means on the surface, but there is more to it than that. I was always taught that you should imagine a constant laser coming from the muzzle of the weapon and to be cognizant of where a round would impact should the firearm go off at that any moment.

I thought i was the only one imagining a darth vader light sword!! definately makes you mind your muzzle direction. And you notice every time you get swept in a LGS!

greybeard
10-18-2011, 6:55 PM
Being a NRA instructor this is my first rule.
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
If it is pointed in a safe direction and you do not follow your rule 1 no body gets hurt.
Another rule is do not point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy

weinerd
10-18-2011, 7:13 PM
common sense people, common sense.

gatesbox
10-18-2011, 7:16 PM
So you have never dry fired in the comfort of your own home? One actually presume that a gun will not fire if the trigger is pulled. The four rules (or three, or 19) apply to a firearm newly handled. Newly handles is the part that gets messed up.

I dry fire, but still following number one I don't dry fire while pointing my semi-auto in an unsafe direction...

Us3rName
10-18-2011, 7:26 PM
the gun is always loaded.

always.

When I teach a new shooter. The first thing I tell him is to forget the term "its not loaded."

Its always loaded. under no circumstance is it ever not loaded. I don't like people pointing anything related to a firearm or weapon at me and I'm sure the same is for others.

ElvenSoul
10-18-2011, 7:26 PM
It means I get upset when I get muzzle sweep at the gun store!

Toolbox X
10-18-2011, 8:34 PM
All of you are dodging the fact that we all break Rule #1 over and over. I try to teach to the lowest common denominator (because there are millions of stupid and ignorant people who own and shoot guns).

If I tell my 7 year old son, "All guns are always loaded" he's going to give me a WTF look because he knows that is not at all true. If I tell him "Always check a gun to see if it's loaded as soon as you pick it up", well he understands that. It makes sense.

And the truth is, if you ask either of my 5 and 7 year old boys about this they will tell you "I can touch any gun of mine I want, as long as they ask first, and he checks to make sure it's unloaded." They understand that. "All guns are always loaded" simply makes no sense to them. Or me.

fiddletown
10-18-2011, 8:43 PM
All of you are dodging the fact that we all break Rule #1 over and over. I try to teach to the lowest common denominator (because there are millions of stupid and ignorant people who own and shoot guns)....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.

repubconserv
10-18-2011, 8:45 PM
All of you are dodging the fact that we all break Rule #1 over and over. I try to teach to the lowest common denominator (because there are millions of stupid and ignorant people who own and shoot guns).

If I tell my 7 year old son, "All guns are always loaded" he's going to give me a WTF look because he knows that is not at all true. If I tell him "Always check a gun to see if it's loaded as soon as you pick it up", well he understands that. It makes sense.

And the truth is, if you ask either of my 5 and 7 year old boys about this they will tell you "I can touch any gun of mine I want, as long as they ask first, and he checks to make sure it's unloaded." They understand that. "All guns are always loaded" simply makes no sense to them. Or me.

Well that's fine for you then. I do not understand why you are making such a big deal out of this. Yes I do technically break rule 1 all the time. The fact though that I remember rule 1 as the most important has always yielded the result of "click" whenever I dry fire my guns.

Another reason (restated) I like to keep the "normal" rule 1 is because people tend to get lax with the other 3 (more so than usual) if they start to think that the gun is unloaded. If you keep in mind that the gun is always loaded, you probably (not always) will do less stupid stuff.

but to each his own,stay safe!

ERdept
10-18-2011, 8:48 PM
Rule 1: Never talk about fightclub.

dieselpower
10-18-2011, 8:57 PM
Think this over....

If you come into my house, every single gun is 100% loaded at all times. You walk into my livingroom and look behind the door to see a 12ga shotgun...its loaded. The glock sitting on the nightstand next to the bed is loaded. The AR15 standing in the corner has 10 in the mag and one in the pipe ready to go....

When kids come into my house most of the firearms are placed into a safe. When kids leave, the guns come out. They are never NOT loaded while in my home.

So please refer to your rules...you pull a trigger in my home and something goes boom...100% of the time.

greybeard
10-18-2011, 8:58 PM
All of you are dodging the fact that we all break Rule #1 over and over. I try to teach to the lowest common denominator (because there are millions of stupid and ignorant people who own and shoot guns).

If I tell my 7 year old son, "All guns are always loaded" he's going to give me a WTF look because he knows that is not at all true. If I tell him "Always check a gun to see if it's loaded as soon as you pick it up", well he understands that. It makes sense.

And the truth is, if you ask either of my 5 and 7 year old boys about this they will tell you "I can touch any gun of mine I want, as long as they ask first, and he checks to make sure it's unloaded." They understand that. "All guns are always loaded" simply makes no sense to them. Or me.
So in your opinion what should Rule #1 be?

peter95
10-18-2011, 9:14 PM
it means enough for me to rack the crap out of my pistols and double check make sure its not loaded....

it means that even after I check if its loaded, I still would not point that towards anyone because im still afraid that a ghost bullet would come out.

It means exactly what it means and I take it seriously if that's what I mean....

People die because of this stuff.

dieselpower
10-18-2011, 9:34 PM
it means enough for me to rack the crap out of my pistols and double check make sure its not loaded....

it means that even after I check if its loaded, I still would not point that towards anyone because im still afraid that a ghost bullet would come out.

It means exactly what it means and I take it seriously if that's what I mean....

People die because of this stuff.

I was 100% positive my 1911 was unloaded. Why the "F" would I pull the trigger if it was loaded? When the ringing in my ears stopped, I was glad I only shot the floor.

I was young and dumb. I kept my guns unloaded and ONLY treated all guns as if they were loaded. Now that I am older and wiser, I now keep all guns loaded, and treat them the way a loaded gun is treated.

I will say this again... why dont you stick knives in electrical sockets? Answer... You have been taught for years all sockets are live and dangerous. You treat them with respect because of this fact.

bruss01
10-19-2011, 6:23 AM
I'm not advocating unsafe practices and I take firearm safety very seriously. I'm simply discussing Rule #1 and what it means. People interpret it a lot of different ways.

The rule says 'always.

Some people say you should follow it to the letter, which is really dumb.
Some people say it is okay to break the rule for certain reasons.
Some people say it only applies until you clear and make the gun safe.
Some people say it means you should respect guns and not screw around.
My interpretation of Rule #1 is you should always treat a gun as if it's loaded, until you make sure it isn't loaded. Then follow the other rules. But that isn't at all what Rule #1 says.

There is a huge difference between a loaded gun and an unloaded gun. For example:
A loaded gun will shoot a badguy. An unloaded gun treated like a loaded gun will not shoot a bag guy.
A loaded gun cannot be dry-fired. An unloaded gun can be dry-fired.
I will hand my 5 year old an unloaded pistol if he wants to see it. I will not hand him a loaded pistol.
...

The real reason I hate Rule #1 is because new-shooters cannot easily understand it. In fact, to new-shooters it sounds retarded because new shooters understand that there is a major difference between a loaded gun and an unloaded gun, but they don't understand the principles behind the rules. Every single one of us regularly breaks Rule #1 because we know the pistol is unloaded. And we break it right in front of new-shooters. We show new-shooters that the firearm safety rules only apply sometimes, and I think that is sending the wrong message. For example, it's obviously okay to break Rule #1 when we dry-fire because we know the gun is unloaded. If you are a new-shooter and you do not understand the reasons and principles behind the rules, logically it stands to reason that if we know a gun is unloaded we can also break Rules 2, 3, and 4.


You are absolutely right. The rule, taken 100% literally in an absolute sense, cannot be implemented without seriously impacting the usability or necessary handling of the gun. As you said, you would not let a child see a loaded gun, you would not practice-fire (dry fire) a loaded gun in your home and you certainly would not try to clean a loaded gun. A necessary prerequisite to all of these activities is to UNLOAD THE GUN. Once you have unloaded the gun... are you still to treat the gun as if it were loaded?

Look at rule 2 - never point at anything you don't intend to shoot. Again, this rule cannot be applied 100% literally in an absolute sense. The second you pick up a gun it is pointed somewhere, even if only briefly. When I draw my ccw pistol from the holster, it is briefly pointed at the floor, nightstand, bed etc while I am unloading it. I don't intend to shoot these, and I'm not OK with shooting any of these... but the muzzle of the gun does briefly point there. That's because it is the only safe way I can handle the gun in a practical sense.

IMHO the key to appreciating the rules is understanding that they are ideals, not absolutes. You don't drive your car 100% straight down the road, completely parallel to the lines drawn on the road. You swerve to miss a pothole, or drift a bit left or right. The line is your guide, not a rail you ride on like a monorail train. The closer you can adhere to the 4 rules within the realm of practicality and possibility, the safer you will be to yourself and others.

Myself, I consider a gun to be loaded and treat it as such UNLESS the magazine is visibly removed and the slide is locked back - or in the case of revolvers, the cylinder open and chambers visibly empty. Once these conditions are achieved I can disassemble the gun (for cleaning etc). Once disassembled, it is no longer a gun but rather a harmless collection of gun parts. I can then clean or handle the parts without concern. I don't "dry fire" a gun unless there is no magazine and I have REPEATEDLY checked that the chamber is empty and there is no ammo present within sight or reach. These are the exceptions that prove the rule.

Let a newb learn the 4 rules and play the game of catching himself breaking them, constantly trying to get better and more rigid in their observance. As he goes along, he will learn safe handling of the gun that accommodates the rules in a practical sense. Much like teaching a child the Ten Commandments, then later once their character is formed, they can learn the nuances of ethics and social behavior. Focus on the LARGE initially, iron out the details as we go along.

haole_50
10-19-2011, 6:31 AM
I use the addage, "Know FEAR!" "No Fear". Treat it as the scariest thing on the planet, UNTIL you know it's not the scariest thing on the planet. You will then know IT'S LOADED or IT'S UNLOADED.

POLICESTATE
10-19-2011, 10:23 AM
It's real simple: Treat all guns as if they are loaded. Even when you know they are not. If you do this, the likelihood of a ND and potential tragedy is greatly reduced.



Firearm Safety Rule #1 is:

All guns are always loaded!
Always treat all guns as if they are loaded.
or
Treat all guns as if they are loaded.

I think this rule is very difficult to interpret. What does this rule mean to you? How do you interpret it?

(I decided to turn this question into it's own thread rather than discuss it on my other Firearm Safety Rules thread http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=490027)

Toolbox X
10-19-2011, 10:25 AM
I should clarify. I don't think people are getting killed because the Standard and NRA rules are unclear and poorly worded. They work well enough. But that does not mean there isn't room for improvement.

I'm not trying to put together a committee to lobby the NRA and gun community to change the rules. I'm just having a discussion because I find this subject interesting.

Toolbox X
10-19-2011, 10:25 AM
If you come into my house, every single gun is 100% loaded at all times. You walk into my livingroom and look behind the door to see a 12ga shotgun...its loaded. The glock sitting on the nightstand next to the bed is loaded. The AR15 standing in the corner has 10 in the mag and one in the pipe ready to go....

When kids come into my house most of the firearms are placed into a safe. When kids leave, the guns come out. They are never NOT loaded while in my home.

So please refer to your rules...you pull a trigger in my home and something goes boom...100% of the time.

This is a philosophy shared by a number of very intelligent and significant gun icons. And I agree with it 100% in theory. People rarely get unintentionally shot by guns that are known to be loaded. People almost always get shot by guns that are thought to be unloaded.

For lots of people who are committed to this lifestyle it works very well. I'm not going to do it for a multitude of reasons, most of them circling around my 5 and 7 year old sons, and lots of neighborhood kids constantly in my house.

But you are completely right. A loaded gun that is known to be loaded will be treated usually in a safer way than a gun thought to be unloaded. Unfortunately guns that are thought to be unloaded are all around us and they must be dealt with.

POLICESTATE
10-19-2011, 10:33 AM
I should clarify. I don't think people are getting killed because the Standard and NRA rules are unclear and poorly worded. They work well enough. But that does not mean there isn't room for improvement.

I'm not trying to put together a committee to lobby the NRA and gun community to change the rules. I'm just having a discussion because I find this subject interesting.

I agree. Many of the ND incidents we hear about involve people who either never learned about gun safety and probably legally shouldn't be in possession of firearms in the first place, and others involve alcohol or a general lack of care.

No matter how perfect you write a warning there will always be people who ignore it, or don't take it seriously, or flat out are careless individuals.

fiddletown
10-19-2011, 10:38 AM
I should clarify. I don't think people are getting killed because the Standard and NRA rules are unclear and poorly worded. They work well enough. But that does not mean there isn't room for improvement.... On the other hand, the Four Rules have been around and in use for a long time, and from time to time someone proposes changing something. Yet none of those changes have taken hold.

Toolbox X
10-19-2011, 10:41 AM
My argument for improving the Standard Rule #1 is I do not think it teaches inexperienced shooters to be safe because it is confusing to them. Almost all of the replies on this thread focus on how Rule #1 is fine and makes sense, but all of the replies are coming from experienced shooters. I have no doubt that people like you guys understand proper gun safety. But I'm not concerned about you guys. I think new shooters would benefit from a Rule #1 that is easier to understand.

My Rule #1 is: Never point a gun and anything you do not want to destroy. It's clear, easy to understand, and if it's followed no person or anything important will get shot, even if the gun fires. But the thing I really like about this rule is it clearly tells the new shooter to focus their mind on a specific task: not point the gun at important stuff. All guns are always loaded doesn't give the new shooter anything to focus on because they don't know all that is implied with that statement. For most new or non-shooters (like my mom) if they treat a gun as if it's loaded they wouldn't even pick it up. But if I tell her not to point it at anyone or anything important she can easily understand and follow that.

fiddletown
10-19-2011, 11:40 AM
...All guns are always loaded doesn't give the new shooter anything to focus on because they don't know all that is implied with that statement. For most new or non-shooters (like my mom) if they treat a gun as if it's loaded they wouldn't even pick it up.... But what's wrong with that? If someone knows a gun is loaded and doesn't know how to handle a loaded gun, not touching it is a good and safe thing. He or she can take our class and learn how to safely handle a loaded gun.

CessnaDriver
10-19-2011, 12:07 PM
Ya gotta clean 'em sooner or later or
you put snap caps in to practice trigger control.

It's loaded until I am 100% certain it is not because sometimes I have purposeful or necessary
things to do with them in an unloaded state.

Librarian
10-19-2011, 12:17 PM
My argument for improving the Standard Rule #1 is I do not think it teaches inexperienced shooters to be safe because it is confusing to them. Almost all of the replies on this thread focus on how Rule #1 is fine and makes sense, but all of the replies are coming from experienced shooters. I have no doubt that people like you guys understand proper gun safety. But I'm not concerned about you guys. I think new shooters would benefit from a Rule #1 that is easier to understand.

My Rule #1 is: Never point a gun and anything you do not want to destroy. It's clear, easy to understand, and if it's followed no person or anything important will get shot, even if the gun fires. But the thing I really like about this rule is it clearly tells the new shooter to focus their mind on a specific task: not point the gun at important stuff. All guns are always loaded doesn't give the new shooter anything to focus on because they don't know all that is implied with that statement. For most new or non-shooters (like my mom) if they treat a gun as if it's loaded they wouldn't even pick it up. But if I tell her not to point it at anyone or anything important she can easily understand and follow that.

Is it your experience that new shooters do not realize that loaded guns go 'bang' and unloaded guns (actually, verified right-this-minute unloaded) do not?

It's true that worrying first about loaded has some implications: one needs to know how to tell, and how to change that condition if it is desired.

I like the loaded caution first, because if THAT one is followed, violating the other three does not have lethal consequences.

HighLander51
10-19-2011, 2:21 PM
It means don't point your gun at me, loaded, or unloaded, because I won't know the difference, but after it happens, you will know the difference.

ohsmily
10-19-2011, 4:30 PM
the gun is always loaded.

always.

When I teach a new shooter. The first thing I tell him is to forget the term "its not loaded."

Its always loaded. under no circumstance is it ever not loaded. I don't like people pointing anything related to a firearm or weapon at me and I'm sure the same is for others.

Seriously? Did you bother reading the thread. The whole point is that absolute creates an absurdity. How do you disassemble your Glocks if it is ALWAYS loaded? What about dry fire practice?

The whole discussion is about the syntax and meanings within "Rule #1."

Librarian
10-19-2011, 4:55 PM
Seriously? Did you bother reading the thread. The whole point is that absolute creates an absurdity. How do you disassemble your Glocks if it is ALWAYS loaded? What about dry fire practice?

The whole discussion is about the syntax and meanings within "Rule #1."

We deal with practical absurdities all the time, quite successfully.

Here's one:
http://jocotraffic.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/stop_sign.590856_std.jpgThose one-word signs are all over the place.

Does everyone always and everywhere have to stop at such a sign? Looks absolute.

Nope.

First item, applies to vehicles, not pedestrians.

Second item, does not apply to police, fire, ambulance when on an emergency call.

Third item, does not apply to other vehicles when the intersection is temporarily controlled by police or fire or CALTRANS or other emergency or maintenance workers.

But the first thought every vehicle operator should have when encountering one of these signs is "stop".

Seems to me 'all guns are loaded' works just the same way.

ohsmily
10-19-2011, 5:05 PM
We deal with practical absurdities all the time, quite successfully.

Here's one:
Those one-word signs are all over the place.

Does everyone always and everywhere have to stop at such a sign? Looks absolute.

Nope.

First item, applies to vehicles, not pedestrians.

Second item, does not apply to police, fire, ambulance when on an emergency call.

Third item, does not apply to other vehicles when the intersection is temporarily controlled by police or fire or CALTRANS or other emergency or maintenance workers.

But the first thought every vehicle operator should have when encountering one of these signs is "stop".

Seems to me 'all guns are loaded' works just the same way.

I can certainly appreciate the point you are making. My retort would be that there are rules specific rules that qualify the "STOP" sign. There is no qualifier for Rule #1.

Anyway, this whole thread is strictly academic and it is interesting to read members' opinions about what the seemingly simple rule means to them (same words, different interpretation for many).

fiddletown
10-19-2011, 5:14 PM
...The whole point is that absolute creates an absurdity. How do you disassemble your Glocks if it is ALWAYS loaded? What about dry fire practice?...And again, let's look at what Jeff Cooper said on the subject (Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, Vol. 6 (1998), No. 2, pg. 8):
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....

So, as a student of Jeff Cooper's, 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.

Now 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 if I'm teaching a novice, I want that person to know that all guns are always loaded so that he know that that gun he sees there is a loaded gun. If he is therefore afraid of it and concerned that he doesn't know what to do with it, that's fine. I can then start to teach him how to manage a loaded gun safely.

Librarian
10-19-2011, 6:32 PM
I can certainly appreciate the point you are making. My retort would be that there are rules specific rules that qualify the "STOP" sign. There is no qualifier for Rule #1.

Anyway, this whole thread is strictly academic and it is interesting to read members' opinions about what the seemingly simple rule means to them (same words, different interpretation for many).

Sure there are - they've already been mentioned in the thread as reasons why 'always loaded' is inadequate, 'unless you yourself have just verified the gun is unloaded, or unloaded it yourself' being the principal example.

I think the purpose is to create a default understanding and a default behavior on first presentation with a particular firearm.

'Look, a gun! It's loaded - I must be extremely careful.'

From there, one begins to analyze, e.g.
- is it actually loaded? Is that the right condition for the circumstance? Do I want it to be unloaded? Do I need to use it immediately?
- do I want it to be UNloaded? Are there necessary ways to handle the gun at this time that are safer, or only safe, if unloaded?

supersonic
10-19-2011, 6:41 PM
I will say this again... why dont you stick knives in electrical sockets? Answer... You have been taught for years all sockets are live and dangerous. You treat them with respect because of this fact.

Actually, that's not true in my case. I never had to be taught or told anything. At the age of 1 1/2 yrs. old, my miniature little pinkie finger found its way into the wall socket in my room while I was playing on the floor. It is the ONLY clear/true memory I still have of anything before about 3 yrs old. And there's a very good reason for that!;)

USMC 82-86
10-19-2011, 7:11 PM
ALWAYS,ALWAYS treat every gun as if it is loaded at all times. Period