The 4 (ONLY) Rules of Firearm Safety

The 4 (ONLY) Rules of Firearm Safety(Video)

In the aftermath of what is the Obama desecration of American values, there are a lot of people that are new to guns. This is a good thing and I hope that people will read this article and watch our complementary video with an open mind.

I am a brash, matter of fact person, completely unfit for employment anywhere in the corporate world. What you are about to read and watch are just that- brash and direct. My style will likely not work for you, and that is okay. To date, I have driven away more subscribers than I have gained but I feel it is my responsibility to teach because I see so much information that is based on group-think that is just outright erroneous.

So, without further ado, The 4, and ONLY Rules of Firearm Safety.

1.) Treat all guns as though they are always loaded.

The purpose of this rule is to set the framework for the level of respect that you are to show a firearm.

You can tell right off the bat how much training and experience an individual has by their handling, unloaded or not.

“It’s Loaded” or “It’s Hot”

We have all said this before. In an ideal world we would never have to make this proclamation, because it wouldn’t matter. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the lowest common denominator rules the day.

To be factual, the majority of “accidents” involving guns occur during administrative sequences rather than during the drill or course of fire itself. “Cleaning the gun”, handing a firearm off, and the number one cause, working around a holster.

Plain and simple, the easiest way to ensure that deadly weapon is treated with the respect it deserves is to keep it loaded. When I have a holstered firearm sitting on the counter, none of my friends would pick the thing up and treat it like a toy (For the record I do have non-gun friends). Not because they are all upstanding, responsible people; because they know if it’s my gun, it is most definitely loaded.


2..) Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

This rule lays out the expectations for discipline when handling a firearm.

For the sake of discussion let’s pretend there is a lightsaber beam coming out of your barrel that is of infinite length. If you don’t know what a lightsaber is at this point, please just go away or use the Google machine. At all times, we want to manage this energy beam to keep ourselves and others from getting cut.
Fair warning, this is where I am going to start making people mad. Notice that in this rule there is no mention of a 180 degree line. Notice there is no mention of a moratorium on warm bodies forward of your position. It only mentions that your muzzle should never cross something you (at least marginally) care about.

To continue, the 180 degree line is an administrative control, not an absolute. It is a setup that is used by a business to organize patrons in such a way as to maximize space. Another good example of this would be a parking lot. The speeds are reduced, and the spaces are very regimented because you have every manner of idiot coming through there. Again, lowest common denominator.

I have no idea what that minimum safe angle is, but it isn’t 180.
For the record, I disagree with order of rules three and four. However, Jeff Cooper forgot more about guns than I and everyone reading this will ever know. So, we will defer to the man.

3.) Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you have made the decision to shoot.

The purpose of this rule is to define the level of discretion one should exercise when using a firearm.

Notice the wording. There are two separate actions that must occur prior to touching the trigger. 1.) sights are on target. 2.) You have to have made the decision to shoot (which would require criteria from rule 4, which hasn’t been mentioned yet. See where I am coming from?).
The act of pointing a gun at a live human being and the act of shooting a gun at a live human being are two distinct and separate actions; each of which carry their own physical, emotional, and legal consequences. We don’t touch that trigger until we have sufficient evidence to do so.

Any time we have not yet reached that level, our finger should be straight on the receiver or reaching for the ejection port; NOT on the trigger guard, or any permutation of in or around it. Once you send it you can’t call it back. It is your responsibility to ensure that it is properly addressed. As one of the good guys, “To whom it may concern” is not an option.
4.) Be sure of your target, its foreground, and background.

This is what I personally consider the most important rule of firearm safety. Inside my head, this is why I believe Mr Cooper lists it last. It ultimately governs the parameters by which you may make it rain copper and lead. Do everything else right, win the fight, be legally exonerated, etc, and screw this one up and you are a prime candidate for smoke starting a shotgun down the line.

Let’s start with the basics; be sure of your target. Properly identify it. Statistically speaking, you are more likely to get into a situation after the close of daylight hours. This is a fact, crime rates after dark are just simply higher. Badguys love the cover of darkness. Your EDC needs to be configured to work in this environment. This means a high-lumen, handheld white light must be paired with whatever firearm you choose to carry. For the sake of brevity, I will leave it there. If you want to get into an argument about this topic, perhaps I’ll write another article or make a dedicated video. Willingness is a state of mind; readiness is a state of fact.

The foreground.
Just as important as knowing, with certainty, that what you are shooting at, absolutely, positively has to die, is knowing those bullets are going where they are supposed to be. Going back to Rule 2. Not only are you very likely to have friendlies in the mix, but a whole host of other things that can alter a trajectory.

A.) Properly Clearing Your Cover.
I cannot think of a single course that I have attended that didn’t stress the use of cover/concealment. If you do not clear your cover the best case scenario is the bullet disintegrates in your face. Yes, that’s the good option. The bad option, the bullet skips off the surface or punches through it with an erratic flight pattern.

B.) Target Obstructions.
If you can use cover/concealment so can they (insert mental image of insurgent performing the Afghan spray and pray). This is why it is important that we only shoot at what we can hit. All it takes is a Ficus plant a few yards between you and Jihadi-Jim to turn a perfect shot into a wide left miss.

In both these instances, contemplate for a second what happens to you if that 124gn JHP tailspins into a 6 year old? A miss is a miss. (Racks Shotgun)

The Background
You are in deep do-do if you miss. What about if you make a clean hit, and it skippidy-do-dahs right through Crusty, the crack-head and strikes a mother of four at full expansion? Is that as bad as a full miss? I don’t know. There is some legal precedent that could keep you away from Bubba but I look inside and know, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate myself. (Duck stops don’t matter when you just need one; better make it 3-1/2)


Only 4 Rules? What about ear and eye protection? 

There is no mention of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the 4 Rules of Firearm safety because it is not a requirement. 
Gasp!! How dare you insinuate…hold your water there dude.  

Just like wearing elbow-long, latex gloves and a mask to protect you from GSR are not a requirement, we know that eye and ear protection are not a requirement for shooting, rather a choice. If we were to be assaulted in the middle of the mall, we wouldn’t say “time out” and put on my eye and ear pro. No we would shoot without them. We would however follow the 4 Rules. In fact, the IDF does not wear eye protection at all. Although, living in close of proximity to Palestinians, I would suggest eye pro for other reasons.
You see eye and ear pro is an American administrative control instituted by your range. When you shoot off a structured range, perhaps hunting, PPE is a choice. A damn good choice, but a choice nonetheless.

Like the Constitution, the Four Rules of Firearm Safety are absolute. They cover everything and be applied to every situation. Both are set in stone. Both are dead (not living and breathing). Nothing need be added.

Now to be clear, I am not advocating that you go out and set up drills with your buddies down range. Not at all. Doesn’t that run contrary to what I have been preaching this whole time? No, because most of you suck, and your friends probably do too. If you want to do that kind of stuff seek out a reputable instructor, that has the requisite experience to put you in such an environment.

This one is going to rub you the wrong way, Safe Space Warriors. If you don’t have confidence in your ability to put consistent, combat effective hits on target, in a controlled environment (IACE), with someone you care about standing next to it, then you have absolutely no business bringing a lethal weapon into a public venue. If you get geeked up about standing next to a target when someone shoots at it IACE, then you should seriously evaluate whether you are fit to carry. When the adrenaline goes from 4-11 you are likely more of a danger to yourself and others than you are to any threat.

You will not rise to the occasion, you will not fall back on your practice, you will only rise to the level of training that you have mastered under stress.

In closing. Check your ego, get some training, and Suck Less.

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