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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All have heard what are generally considered the cardinal rules of firearms safety:

1-All guns are always 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 target and you have decided to fire
4-Always be sure of your target

Now these are good rules and make sense at a beginners level and on what is now called a square or flat range. But as the goals and purpose of using the firearm changes these rules routinely get violated. For those of you who teach others (even informally) you are bound to get caught not practicing what you teach by a sharp student.

There comes a point when the rules morph when teaching for the purposes of speed/competition or defensive/tactical shooting (I hate the over used word "tactical"). But these methods of shooting should not be taught till basic safe handling and applications of the fundamentals of marksmanship are understood and demonstrated consistently.

So how do the rules morph? And when are they violated? When is it okay to violate them? Or is it never okay to do so?

I think we can all agree the intent of #1. Guns can be dangerous and should always be treated with respect. When handling them you should assume and handle them as if loaded and even after verifying it is unloaded you should not flag others with it etc etc. we have all been around those at public ranges that have no grasp of this rule and firearms etiquette.

I will leave the rest for now for the sake of discussion and what may become lively debate. The remaining three do get changed for the users purposes. And shooters I think should be able to understand the when's, whys and be able to explain it to others.
 

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Personally, I don't think the rules should ever be violated. They should become second nature, but something we always have to be aware of. Sweeping people with the muzzle, fingers on triggers, those things scare me when ever I see it.

You know what really freaks me out, and I've seen it a couple of times, is when a person who is not familiar with guns (I've seen this in gun stores) picks up a gun their significant other or friend is showing them and puts it to their head and pulls the trigger, as a joke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You know what really freaks me out, and I've seen it a couple of times, is when a person who is not familiar with guns (I've seen this in gun stores) picks up a gun their significant other or friend is showing them and puts it to their head and pulls the trigger, as a joke.[/QUOTE]

Holy crap. Really?
 

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You know what really freaks me out, and I've seen it a couple of times, is when a person who is not familiar with guns (I've seen this in gun stores) picks up a gun their significant other or friend is showing them and puts it to their head and pulls the trigger, as a joke.
I've seen it. Makes me angry.
 

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If they tripped and fell and suffered brain damage from the unloaded gun... the NRA and Gun owners would be blamed...
 

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I have a question and a scary story about why I'm asking it.

Question: Since I haven't been to CC class yet, is the instructor at the front of the class or behind you?

Story: The reason I ask is that a friend was telling me about what happened when he was instructing a class on safety. He is a Colonel in the military and a marksmen, has lots of guns and is a smart guy. (Usually) Anyway, he was telling the class to always treat a gun as if it is loaded and before doing anything, drop the magazine and rack the slide. One person racked the slide then dropped the magazine. (You know where this is going) Then held the gun, pointed down range and pulled the trigger. Yep. It went bang with my friend the instructor standing in front of this person. He heard the bullet go by his head as his life flashed before him. Luckily nobody was hit.

So, the lesson for me is 1) instruct from behind and 2) the order of checking that a gun is empty is really, really important.

So, if you don't mind....can you answer question 1? And if you are in a class full of people, how does everyone stay out of everyone else's LOF?
 

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In our class there were NO weapons allowed and even the instructor unloaded his in front of us.
All live shooting was done out on the range with 1 person in each stall.
Our ccw class was limited to 24 people and each had a stall to themselves.
There was one instructor in the classroom and 3 on the range floor.
The instructor point blank told everyone that if he seen a barrel pointed anywhere but towards the target, your day was done and you lose the money for the course..
 

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In Ohio the concealed carry class is 12 hours. Ten classroom and two live fire. No guns or ammo were permitted in the classroom and the range was very closely monitored. Anyone showing unsafe firearm handling would have been denied passing the class with no refund.
 

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If they tripped and fell and suffered brain damage from the unloaded gun... the NRA and Gun owners would be blamed...
Nah, sounds like the had brain damage when they arrived at the LGS.
 
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I've never been in a defensive/tactical situation, but I would assume that once you have engaged your attacker(s) you probably would not remove your trigger finger from the trigger guard area until you were satisfied that the threat had passed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Porscheville

I teach at a LE academy. We start square one. As far as the unloading method we teach it is this:

With the weapon pointed downrange or at an object of minimal harm that will stop bullet when not at the range; remove the mag and secure it in a pocket. Watch the ejection port and lock the slide to the rear in one motion.

Check the chamber and mag well for ammunition. Then while watching the ejection port cycle the slide three times and holster.

You can see the redundant checks in this procedure and the opportunity to stop and start over if you see ammo being ejected.

As far as teaching there are times weapons are in the classroom and are checked before entry. We do demo in front of the line. No stalls on the range. The trust aspect is learned in regards to running a cold then progressing to a hot range.

Of course we can remove them for safety infractions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think rule 4 is always be aware of your target and what's behind it.
I guess no new discussion on this rule. We "preach" to identify the target and threat, and be aware of what surrounds it. We want folks to have a full situational awareness since in public places people can move about and do so quickly. Having an understanding (through training experiences) how long it will take for you to decide to shoot and make the shot under those conditions and seeing if an innocent is headed into your line of fire; will help you decide if you should be shooting or moving to cover and or changing your angle to make the shot safely.

Experimenting with a shot timer is a necessity to build these subconscious training files. Understanding time and distance and action reaction times makes you a smart shooter. I know lots of good shooters. But when the target can shoot back you need to be a smart shooter.

Size, Distance and Urgency. These three factors are what I use and teach as being the factors used to decide my actions and how I shoot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Porscheville

I teach at a LE academy. We start square one. As far as the unloading method we teach it is this:

With the weapon pointed downrange or at an object of minimal harm that will stop bullet when not at the range; remove the mag and secure it in a pocket. Watch the ejection port and lock the slide to the rear in one motion.

Check the chamber and mag well for ammunition. Then while watching the ejection port cycle the slide three times and holster.

You can see the redundant checks in this procedure and the opportunity to stop and start over if you see ammo being ejected.

As far as teaching there are times weapons are in the classroom and are checked before entry. We do demo in front of the line. No stalls on the range. The trust aspect is learned in regards to running a cold then progressing to a hot range.

Of course we can remove them for safety infractions.
I thought I would add that once we get a group to a point that we can run a hot range we expect them to keep weapons hot and manage their ammo. Placing their "heaviest" mag in the gun before re holstering.

To not create what nowadays people call training scars; when we need to clear weapons at the end of the session we state:
"That concludes our live fire training for the day. We will now unload. ". They then perform the task as above.

We don't want them to get into a habit of unloading and pulling the trigger to show clear as is done at USPSA or IDPA matches. We stress that the unloading process is an administrative procedure only.
 

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I thought I would add that once we get a group to a point that we can run a hot range we expect them to keep weapons hot and manage their ammo. Placing their "heaviest" mag in the gun before re holstering.

To not create what nowadays people call training scars; when we need to clear weapons at the end of the session we state:
"That concludes our live fire training for the day. We will now unload. ". They then perform the task as above.

We don't want them to get into a habit of unloading and pulling the trigger to show clear as is done at USPSA or IDPA matches. We stress that the unloading process is an administrative procedure only.
Great info Mike. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Personally, I don't think the rules should ever be violated.
Yes and no to me. Depends on how how they are phrased as there are several slight variants of these four. And how you are using the gun and where you are in the skill levels that exist.

For example, rule 3... Do you wait till you see both sights superimposed on the desired point of impact before moving your trigger finger from the frame to the trigger? Some versions of the rule say not till the sights are aligned. New shooters are taught to stress sight alignment and sight picture so much that they wait till these are as perfect as possible before touching the trigger. But the mere act of moving the finger from frame to trigger disturbs the aim which needs to be corrected before pressing the shot.

Therefore you are wasting time to aim twice for one shot.

So there are morphing of the rules as the shooters skill level increases and depending on the purpose and circumstances that the weapon is being deployed.
 

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The differentiator appears to be situational as well as training level. For highly trained professionals, they need to be prepared to optimize their response to a combative situation. My perception is that these professionals are also trained in how to identify and evaluate situations, i.e. when to go from condition yellow, to orange, to red. Recreational shooters who do not have this level-threat identification/evaluation training should probably always adhere to the original safety rules. Taking a few more seconds to be sure the perceived aggressor is actually the bad guy and not a plain-clothes officer taking down a fugitive is a good thing. We are not trained to make split second decisions, so we should not take split second shots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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I brought this topic up to learn the thought processes of others and to get people thinking of how they operate, where they are in regards to skill and training and to get thinking of where they may want to be.

I like these discussions because I like to hear from others as everyone has a perspective that I can learn something from and that may help me be a better instructor to others coming from different backgrounds.

Don't put the average trained professional on too high a pedestal. I am sure MPO Southy can chime in on the fact that only about 10% of those professionals are really at a high level when it comes to their competency with firearms. I have been training cops since 87.

Training to make split second decisions is not tough. It does require effort, imagination and a training partner with the same goals. I think everyone who uses a gun for defense should be able to do so. And the legal standards and expectations are less on those not paid to do it. Certainly being slower to decide on a course of action just makes moving to cover that much more important. Cover is comfort. Comfort and protection (and being a reduced target) provides a bit more time to process things better and not make panicky decisions.

Like I mentioned in another post. Knowing time and distance and your "shooting solution" in advance leads to good tactics. If the target is at a distance that would require you 3 seconds to draw and hit but you could get behind the nearest cover in under 2 seconds. You should be moving not shooting...yet.

I appreciate the discussion.

And some of you guys are up way to early. I am just going to bed!
 
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