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The 4 Basic Rules…Make Them A Habit And Live To Shoot Another Day!

If you always follow the 4 basic firearm safety rules…nothing will go wrong!

I was prompted to write this today after discussing a stupid accident by a guy last monday night. (read article here)

This guy “thought” he heard an intruder and went looking for him with his pistol and flashlight at around 3am.  Well…no one was in the apartment, but while “turning on the flashlight” he accidentally shot himself in the chest, claimed the man.

Now I don’t know about everyone else…but how that can happen I do not know!  I thought that flashlights were made to turn on with one hand…or maybe I’m assuming too much here.  I mean…we can put a man on the moon…several times, but can’t make a flashlight that a person can illuminate with one hand????  yeah…I don’t think so.

After reading this article and then reading some of the comments about it, I have to agree with a couple of people in saying that I am not totally believing that story, but will wait until further light is shed on this dumb shooting. (no pun intended there)

I have heard of lots of misleading information about what really happened in an accidental shooting, or at least the one recounting the incident thought it was misleading… but the fact is this;  If people would actually listen to the training, read the books, read the signs at the range and pay attention to what the NRA’s safety program preaches continually, then these types of accidents simply would not happen!

(some books have more robust wording, like the military, but these will do as well)

The 4 Basic Firearms Safety Rules!

Rule #1:  Treat ALL firearms as if they are loaded!

Rule #2: Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction!

Rule #3: Always keep your finger OFF the trigger until ready to fire!

Rule #4: Be aware of your target and target environment!

(some books have more robust wording, like the military, but these will do as well)

Since becoming a concealed firearms instructor and NRA instructor, I have been going back to every “accidental” shooting that I can read or be told about and checking the 4 rules with each.  There is ALWAYS at least 1 of the 4 rules missing when the incident happened.  In other words…people are not obeying ALL of these rules when handling their guns!

I promise, if you follow these rules, you won’t get shot, you will be safe.  Look at them…read them out loud…even if you have an accidental discharge, but you keep it pointed in a safe direction…you won’t get hurt!!!

It is simple to do, making them a habit will ensure your safety and the safety of those with you.  Heck…you should even use them with toy guns as well…creating safe habits will preserve life and prevent accidents.  We are creatures of habit…therefore, when we are not thinking right or we are stressed out, or whatever the reason, we will fall back on what we do habitually; if our habits are safe, then we will be just fine.

This guy with the flashlight…lets see what happened there:  Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction…BROKEN,  Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire…BROKEN.

So there are two rules that were broken, and in doing so, he is in the hospital trying to recover from a gun shot wound. (I really hope he recovers, then he can be smarter the next time) So what do we learn from this and other accidents?  Drill these simple rules into our heads…we can’t get enough of them really.  When these rules were invented, they certainly were inspired from lots of experience and wisdom.

I once had a guy tell me about how he was selling his pistol to a guy.  He checked it and it was unloaded and everything, of course he was a decorated expert shot in the Army, he knew what he was doing…however, when he pointed it down (a safe direction) and pulled the trigger, he shot the bullet through his cupboards, through his drywall, through his brick and into the ground outside.  WOW…he was stunned, it surprised everyone in the room, not to mention the sound was deafening as well.  SO…he missed one rule, clearing the firearm properly, but since he obeyed the other 3 rules, no one was injured or killed.

Of course in this day and age, performing a safety check with your pinky finger is more widely recognized and practiced then in those days, and that would have solved his initial problem in clearing the pistol properly, but he did follow the other rules to perfection and even though he was shocked when it went off, NO ONE was injured or killed!

I once had a buddy of mine call to tell me he had just accidently discharged his firearm in his vehicle.  It went through the floorboard and into the street.  My mind went down the list of the 4 safety rules and my next question was, “Why was your finger on the trigger?”  I got a long pause, with no explanation on the end.  Lesson learned!

SO for heaven’s sake folks…memorize the 4 safety rules and follow them with exactness!  Don’t be stupid, don’t get shot, and please don’t die because you didn’t listen the first time!

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