We always hear about the "Four Rules." You'll see them posted everywhere, from ranges to safety classes to social media every time there's a negligent discharge.
The Four Rules are short and sweet.
1) Treat all firearms as if they're loaded.
2) Never point the gun at something you're not willing to destroy.
3) Keep your trigger finger off of the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on target and you have made a conscious decision to fire.
4) Know your target and what is beyond it.
Now, you'll see and hear these dozens of times in your life. For shooters who have been around for a while, they just make sense. But for the new shooters, here's a look at WHY these rules are what they are as well as a slightly modified look at them and even exceptions. Yes, they exist.
1) Treat all firearms as if they're loaded. Why? Because the most common thing we hear after a negligent discharge is "Well gosh I thought it was unloaded." If you wouldn't perform an action with a loaded gun, then you shouldn't do it with an unloaded gun.
There are exceptions to this, and the two most obvious are when cleaning and dry fire practice. In fact, these two exceptions are relevant for two of the first three rules.
2) Never point the gun at something you're not willing to destroy. If we take out the double negative and change the sentence a little, we get "Control the direction your gun is pointing so that it points away from people, animals, and valuables." Why? Because human interaction with a firearm results in greater than absolute 0% chance of a negligent discharge. If you're going to have one, then it should happen when your firearm is pointed away from others.
Exceptions? Dry fire is not one of them. If you don't have a large expanse of land that would make shooting a gun normally perfectly safe, then you should have a dry fire practice pad. If you don't have a dry fire practice pad, make a clearing bucket.
There IS a practical exception, however, when we recognize that a large portion of defensive gun uses involve zero shots fired.
I personally do not suggest drawing your firearm unless there is an imminent need to fire it, but there is a chance that your attacker will flee as he or she notices the beginning of your draw stroke. As always, use good judgement and don't take legal advice from the internet.
3) Commonly referred to as "booger hook off the bang switch." Why? Because 99.9% of modern firearms just don't fire unless someone pulls the trigger.
Exceptions include dry fire, contact shooting, and shooting from retention. I do not suggest using a laser sight in place of your iron sights, rather as an enhancement. Additionally, I do not suggest warning shots or taking legal advice from the internet.
4) Know your target and what's beyond it. Why? Because bullets never stop at your target's distance if you miss, and they often don't stop if they hit. Injury can occur from over penetration, and (please bold this) you are 100% responsible for everything your bullet touches, both morally and financially.
If I could change any rule for everybody, it would be this rule. It would read "Know your target, what is in front of and behind it, the construction of all materials involved, and the effects of your ammunition on those materials." Most importantly, you should know the effects of your ammunition on the walls of your house. This will help you establish safe firing lines relative to your home's occupants in a home defense scenario. Less importantly, it drives home the difference between cover and concealment, which can save your life.
Thank you for reading, and stay safe out there.
By: Jake White
@BlogAboutGuns on Twitter
Blog posts are original content written by 1MMAGC moms and dads.