The Four Rules

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Re: The Four Rules

Postby Beekeeper » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:54 pm

Remember guys, he's a professional...
When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour.
.George Washington
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Re: The Four Rules

Postby Shadow » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:58 pm

1. All guns are always loaded...


Such a statement is not a rule, but, more properly a 'maxim', that is,a handy phrase that stimulates the memory and thereby increases safety.

A rule is a means of controlling behavior, a prescribed action, not an absolute statement of a condition or situation. In order to be a rule, the statement would have to be of the form, "Treat all guns as if they are loaded until proven otherwise." That would then satisfy the criteria for rules, as opposed to maxims.

Of the thousands of students and instructors I've trained over the years, I get one every once in a while that insists he's correct in stating, "all guns are always loaded," until I ask him (almost always male) how he cleans his gun. He invariably replies that he unloads his gun before proceeding. I then remind him his gun is still loaded, as, he said, all guns are always loaded. If a 'rule' is to be considered as true, it must not arrive at a logical contradiction and, if all guns were always loaded, it would be impossible to clean an unloaded gun, as all guns are always loaded. As we know guns can be unloaded, the rule that 'all guns are always loaded' fails the test of non-contradiction and is a logical fallacy.

The student invariably winces, and in the face of logic, admits the truth, that no, all guns are not always loaded.

We all have a lot of respect for Jeff Cooper. Stephen Wenger also posts this as his 'rule' one. I always use the maxim as a memory aid for students, as it is a snppy little witticism that does stick in the mind, but in the end, it's an irrational fallacy, as all guns are not always loaded.

The NRA rules on firearms handling are a better structured set of conduct standards as they provide a logical, overlapping set of true rules, not maxims, that prevent the wrong person from getting shot. You can violate one or two rules and if you follow the rest, no one's hurt. It's when you violate the first three simultaneously that the wrong person is shot.

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Re: The Four Rules

Postby Shadow » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:09 pm

While I'm in here...

I don't know if the photo of the man with the gun to his ear is photo-shopped or not, but I'd relate an experience that happend to me several years ago, training CCW candidates.

We were doing a scenario where we have the studnet use a phone to call 911 while defending their home, and a student, under some stress, decided to put the phone to one ear and the gun to the other.

Since then I've done some research and found that humans tend to do the same thing with both sides of their body when under stress, something to do with bi-lateral symmetry and the grasping reflex in primates. Basically a little preprogrammed routine that keeps you from falling from a tree and the cause of negligent discharge when you fall with your finger on the trigger.

Anyway, a word to the wise, if you do scenario training using phones, you might want to have the student lay the gun down on the table or somehow occupy the gun hand so as to prevent this type of reaction.

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Re: The Four Rules

Postby SMMAssociates » Tue Dec 01, 2009 3:52 pm


Old thread....

But wth....

Rules/Maxims/Whatever.... It's important to follow them, regardless of the name....

The bi-lateral symmetry, OTOH, is real, and should be considered! I did it myself about 25 years ago, give or take. I'd just received a new radio (of the hand-held persuasion), and was talking with a buddy across town when the wife asked me to help her cut some bread dough in the kitchen.

So, I've got the handheld in one hand, and the knife in the other. The ritual with the radio, of course, is to talk into it, and then sort of place it up to your ear to listen to it.... Guessing which hand to bring to my ear was a little interesting....

No damage, no blood, and I still have the ear and the radio, but it did leave me with an appreciation....

One worry I have now is that my pocket phone was designed by some Japanese engineer who apparently never actually used it. Dialing anything is a multiple-keypress dance that seems to require two hands. There's an "emergency number" function that lets me omit some "unlocking", but I still haven't figured out how to get there without leaving the phone open for pocket-dialing "911"....

(I've done that! The good news is that it was before "911" was active here, and was the local PD's non-emergency number, but.... At the time, I usually wore a flip phone of some kind. They don't pocket-dial. However, my trusty Star-TAC poofed, and the carrier loaned me a candy-bar phone - the kind with the buttons on the outside. I programed the PD's non-emergency number into button 1 and stuck it on my belt. Sitting in my office chair, and talking to a buddy on the landline, my cellphone rang. It was the PD. "Are you OK?".... Seems the chair arm was pressing the 1....)


(Why write a quick note when you can write a novel?)

(Why do those who claim to wish to protect me feel that the best way to do that is to disarm me?)

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Re: The Four Rules

Postby NavyChief » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:37 am

Shadow wrote:1. All guns are always loaded...


I did not post "the rules" to debate them. They speak for themselves. You may have also noted the good Colonel allowed in his amplifying paragraphs both why it should be treated as a rule, and when we may safely say, "Yep, it's unloaded."

Personally, I will not take a newbie to the range unless they have those rules down pat. (There are other things as well, but the rules are "step one.")

The beauty of the four rules is that at any given time one may be broken - so long as the other three are being observed - with little to no danger.

Total repeal of ALL firearms/weapons laws at the local, state and federal levels. Period. Wipe the slate clean.
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Re: The Four Rules

Postby jamestday » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:23 pm

New to the board, but just wanted to say good rules – you can not go over gun safety too many times. In fact I think the more you handle and shoot the more important it is to go over those rules, because we have a tendency to get comfortable.

In my gun locker I have basically these same rules eye level when I open the doors. Before I unlock my interior locks, I always looks at those and touch the sign – my mental/physical link to remember. May sound funny but it works for me.

In my basic military range training, the guy about 3 positions down from me shot one of the instructors in the leg doing something stupid. Luckily, it was not very deep and the instructor was back a few days later – leg bandaged and w/ a little limp and a lot of anger. I had been around guns since I was young, but that really galvanized why you go over these rules. Thanks for the great post.
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Re: The Four Rules

Postby r0005 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:57 pm

I know what they mean by rule 3 but most people teach you that you should be in low ready with your finger on the trigger rather than waiting to sight the gun in a close combat situation.
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