If you’ve been shooting very long, no doubt you’ve seen some monkey at the gun range attempting to validate Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection by doing something stupid with a firearm. I know I sure have. Gun safety is everyone’s concern, and is the most important thing you can learn about firearms.
If you’re a new shooter, or if you don’t know the 4 Rules of Gun Safety, this post is for you.
Colonel John Dean “Jeff” Cooper (May 10, 1920 – September 25, 2006) was an avid hunter, prolific author, history professor, and Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. Colonel Cooper pioneered many things, one of them being the 4 Rules of Gun Safety, which are based on his works and detailed below.
Rule #1: Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
If you treat every gun as if it’s loaded, all the time, no exceptions, you will be sure to avoid accidents where you did not know the gun was loaded.
Rule #2: Never point a gun at anything you do not want to destroy.
This one sounds like common sense, but it’s really not for most new shooters. You only point guns at things you want to destroy (or in safe directions, like at the floor).
Rule #3: Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
Guns don’t fire themselves. This one is worth mentioning and discussing, as you’ll find that a lot of people who are not familiar with guns will say things like “I don’t even want to touch it” when confronted with a gun. This is understandable – they don’t understand how guns work.
The simple truth is of course that guns cannot fire themselves. Therefore you should always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire, or, as my buddy always says, keep your booger hook off the bang switch.
Rule #4: Be absolutely sure of your target and what’s behind it.
Hitting a target, especially for new shooters, can be challenging. Once a bullet leaves the gun, you cannot bring it back. Therefore you must be absolutely sure of what you’re shooting at, as well as what’s behind and around what you are shooting at. You might miss, and bullets can pass through whatever it is you’re aiming at.