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Thread: A Different View of Gun Safety.

  1. #61
    Hobbyist JAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GardoneVT View Post
    Letís get the controversial stuff out of the way; I think the Four Rules are the worst thing to happen to gun safety.

    I respect and understand Col. Coopers goal to boil firearm safety into four easy ,cogent rules. That said true safety in anything involving deadly risk -not just guns- is having a *mindset* of safety. Not just following a series of rules and labeling yourself safe.

    Cultivating a mindset of safe handling and personal awareness of potential infallibility is where we should be as a gun safety culture,regardless of equipment or tactics.Instead what I see are people deciding the Four Rules are the end of the story, and then quibbling about the details. That view says youíre 100% safe as long as those Four Ironclad Rules are followed 100% of the time -which isnít humanly possible. If youíre reading this and shoot more then once every six months,youíve assuredly broken at least one of the Four Rules. Just because you may not humanly recall the instance doesnít mean it didnít happen; and yes there is research behind that statement.

    My thinking is that true gun safety should be taught as being personally aware of the risk of handling guns first,with following the Four Rules being a result of that safety mindset. Iíll admit I donít know how that could be effectively taught,especially within the context of a limited organizational budget; but what isnít the answer to me is teaching 100% compliance with Four Rules and hoping for the best.
    You have the right idea, but your horse ran over your cart. The four rules are a foundation for that safety mindset. You start with very concrete, straightforward (not literally perfect, but frankly not that hard to understand if you get out of your own way) absolutes. You progress from there to understanding why the rules are in place, how they interleave, and why there aren't exceptions. You then build habits that become part of a deep safety mindset. Clint Smith describes this very well around the 3:00 mark of the video linked in this thread.

    In other words, the four rules are the best way to get to the safety mindset you rightly describe as the ultimate goal. They are "how that could be effectively taught."

    It's not about anything of Cooper's being sacrosanct; it's just that well used and widely taught formulations are well used and widely taught for a reason.

    I tend to think that people who want to 'improve' the four rules (and the color code, and so forth) are not necessarily choosing the best path to enhancing the state of the art. I'm disappointed to hear that major trainers go down that road, but I only have so much of a training time budget anyway.

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by JAD View Post
    You have the right idea, but your horse ran over your cart. The four rules are a foundation for that safety mindset. You start with very concrete, straightforward (not literally perfect, but frankly not that hard to understand if you get out of your own way) absolutes. You progress from there to understanding why the rules are in place, how they interleave, and why there aren't exceptions. You then build habits that become part of a deep safety mindset. Clint Smith describes this very well around the 3:00 mark of the video linked in this thread.

    In other words, the four rules are the best way to get to the safety mindset you rightly describe as the ultimate goal. They are "how that could be effectively taught."

    It's not about anything of Cooper's being sacrosanct; it's just that well used and widely taught formulations are well used and widely taught for a reason.

    I tend to think that people who want to 'improve' the four rules (and the color code, and so forth) are not necessarily choosing the best path to enhancing the state of the art. I'm disappointed to hear that major trainers go down that road, but I only have so much of a training time budget anyway.
    It seems folks think I’m out to kill sacred cows . That’s not my goal here,and hopefully you don’t take the following personally.

    I’d have to disagree with the notion the Four Rules are effective. This is a forum of people who have decided to dedicate themselves to improving their pistol skills. I’d be surprised if there were folks reading this who didn’t understand the Four Rules . As such most of us here probably wouldn’t have an issue with them personally.

    However, comma, in the larger gun handling world these statements may as well not even exist. Routine violations of the Four Rules are just one trip to your local range away. When the staff at a gun shop praise you for exercising basic gun handling skills,that’s a problem. Police officers,military members, ordinary people; all of us can name times where we were flagged with a weapon, or witnessed abhorrent firearm handling. Objective measurement of a safety standard is based on how effectively people are (or not) meeting it; if folks across multiple areas of society are making safety errors ,the standard should be evaluated. I’m forced to sadly admit that if the Four Rules are designed to propagate and enforce safe gun handling ,they’ve failed miserably. Not only as a social concept ,but there’s research to the effect trained people under life endangering stress may violate the Four Rules on instinct.

    Maybe they worked in Col. Coopers time. Maybe they worked in the 80s and 90s. But it’s clear to me in 2018 those standards are not sufficient. We have all this commercial safety oriented research and data to teach people how to operate deadly machinery all around; why not apply those techniques for guns?
    The Minority Marksman.
    "When you meet a swordsman, draw your sword: Do not recite poetry to one who is not a poet."
    -a Ch'an Buddhist axiom.

  3. #63
    Safety is not the proper paradigm.

    Risk is the proper paradigm.

  4. #64
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    I think that you are glancing over a pretty important facet here. When you say that you see a lot of horrible gun safety at public ranges, do you also see horrible gun handling there? Teacup grips and whatnot? Do you see lots of bad tactics espoused e.g. if you shoot someone outside your house drag them inside?

    Are any of those failings because no one is able to teach them better, or is it because they do not know better? I would say that we are in the golden age of everyone gun related right now, and the people who train at all (in any capacity) are only the 7%. In my experience that people who are commited to safety/skill the 4 rules seem to work well. What possible safety system could help people who will ignore it, or won't be taught it in the first place?

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Nocturnalis Discipulo View Post
    I think that you are glancing over a pretty important facet here. When you say that you see a lot of horrible gun safety at public ranges, do you also see horrible gun handling there? Teacup grips and whatnot? Do you see lots of bad tactics espoused e.g. if you shoot someone outside your house drag them inside?

    Are any of those failings because no one is able to teach them better, or is it because they do not know better? I would say that we are in the golden age of everyone gun related right now, and the people who train at all (in any capacity) are only the 7%. In my experience that people who are commited to safety/skill the 4 rules seem to work well. What possible safety system could help people who will ignore it, or won't be taught it in the first place?
    It’s a good problem, one encountered in many areas of life. I’m sure people who work at car plants and oil refinieries where machinery can main or kill don’t necessarily care about the safety presentations either. But those companies teach it in a way that lessons reinforce each other , and it’s all done before the staff members are in a position to hurt themselves.

    It’s my belief we see a lot of unsafe gun handling (defined for the moment as routine violations of the Four Rules) because that process never happens. The Four Rules are presented as self evident statements of fact on the gun class 101 dry erase board , and if you get it you get em. If you don’t ...well, whatever. Load up and shoot,and here’s your basic pistol cert.

    To me ,considering the risk ( thank you Jay Cunningham) of an ND during admin handling is much higher for ordinary folks then clearing holster to engage a threat, safety should be the only focus of any introductory class. It should also be taught as a modern safety class would be in any other profession, not with macho posturing and “gun guy” winks and nods. I realize some instructors already do that - but a lot don’t,and we see it all around us at ranges and classes and gun shops.
    The Minority Marksman.
    "When you meet a swordsman, draw your sword: Do not recite poetry to one who is not a poet."
    -a Ch'an Buddhist axiom.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by GardoneVT View Post
    It’s a good problem, one encountered in many areas of life. I’m sure people who work at car plants and oil refinieries where machinery can main or kill don’t necessarily care about the safety presentations either. But those companies teach it in a way that lessons reinforce each other , and it’s all done before the staff members are in a position to hurt themselves.

    It’s my belief we see a lot of unsafe gun handling (defined for the moment as routine violations of the Four Rules) because that process never happens. The Four Rules are presented as self evident statements of fact on the gun class 101 dry erase board , and if you get it you get em. If you don’t ...well, whatever. Load up and shoot,and here’s your basic pistol cert.

    To me ,considering the risk ( thank you Jay Cunningham) of an ND during admin handling is much higher for ordinary folks then clearing holster to engage a threat, safety should be the only focus of any introductory class. It should also be taught as a modern safety class would be in any other profession, not with macho posturing and “gun guy” winks and nods. I realize some instructors already do that - but a lot don’t,and we see it all around us at ranges and classes and gun shops.
    I teach some of our safety programs at work. The big difference is that those people are forced to be there, paid to be there, and will be fired for violating those rules. If that were in place for all gun owners, we would have far fewer, and much safer gun owners. That was my point on the teacup grip, who anywhere teaches that? As far as I know no one does, but you still see it all the time. By Karl Rehn's estimation 93% of Texan gun owners have absolutely no formal training, and less than 1% have more than a CHL class of training. That leads me to believe that the problem is not that the 4 rules are broken or poorly taught, but that not enough people train. There may be a better way to teach people gun safety, I am open to the idea. I would like to hear you expand on your idea some @Jay Cunningham

    When I see people being unsafe with guns the problem is usually either that they were never taught properly how to be safe, or that they have not taken the time to ingrain proper habits. Before we decide to revamp the 4 rules shouldn't we first see if they have been taught to the offenders in the first place?

  7. #67
    Pizzagun Dilettante Joe in PNG's Avatar
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    I'm still confused as to the why people want a different set of rules.
    Would any replacement set be substantially different in any real significant sense?
    "You win 100% of the fights you avoid. If you're not there when it happens, you don't lose." - William Aprill

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Nocturnalis Discipulo View Post
    I teach some of our safety programs at work. The big difference is that those people are forced to be there, paid to be there, and will be fired for violating those rules.
    Members of the military and LE face those consequences and worse if they have an ND,and yet they have them too. Sometimes from highly switched on people.

    Even Travis Haley (among others of his experience) had an ND. I don’t think lack of training is the root of the problem.
    The Minority Marksman.
    "When you meet a swordsman, draw your sword: Do not recite poetry to one who is not a poet."
    -a Ch'an Buddhist axiom.

  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    <snip>
    I like Pannones take on them (coming from his unit experience).
    <snip>
    You said these are:
    1. Always be absolutely certain of the condition of your weapon.
    2. Keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction (relative and possibly fluid).
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you're preparing to fire (safety off here).
    4. Be sure of your target, your backstop, foreground, the quality of intervening cover, and the ballistic capability of your weapon and ammo.

    To me, Pannone's #2 and #4 is covered by NRA #1: "Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction". #4 is basically defining a safe direction. (Ditto w/Gunsite #2 and #4). I see having the definition as a rule making more to memorize, but OK.

    I have a slight issue with Pannone's #3 and Gunsite's #3. They way Cooper explains #3 in the two videos of him I've seen is that your trigger finger is attached to the frame until you can see your front sight, then it goes on the trigger. How do you shoot from retention without an exception and/or different interpretation to this rule? To me, NRA #2 "Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot" handles shooting from retention were you don't see your sights. (I re-watched Cooper this morning so I'm pretty sure I have his explanation of rule #3 correct).

    Some may see the retention statement and the next statement as too literal, but I can see my front sight in high compressed ready and my front sight may be on my target. However, I've haven't decided to shoot yet so I would keep my finger off the trigger. If I didn't keep it off, I would be violating Pannone's #3 and NRA's #2, but not Gunsite's #3.

    Personally, I like Pannone's #1 as it was the first rule I was taught (early 70's BTW so I don't think my uncle was influenced by Cooper). However, I see it handled by NRA's rule #3: "Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use". It implies to me that if you are going to use it, you should make sure it's loaded, but it's not spelled out specifically.

    I appreciate the spirit of Gunsite's rules 2-4 and the mindset they're trying to instill with #1. However, there is more effective wording available (Supposedly studies have found that telling someone what to do usually has better results then telling them what not to do and the NRA rules are positive) and ways of wording that don't require exceptions. Not to mention a rule that's not a rule or if converted to a rule, boils down to "follow the other 3 rules (How do you treat a loaded gun? See rules 2-4)", with an exception if you personally have verified it's unloaded. I've read that Cooper added #1 because folks thought it was OK to violate the other rules with an un-loaded gun, but I have no primary source.

    It's been my experience that the NRA rules are better received by kids. I realize this is anecdotal, but I checked and the Scouts use NRA rules so maybe they did some studies. Are the Gunsite rules universal if kids can't understand them?

    No experience in LE/armed professionals so can't say what's best for them, it just seems to me the NRA rules work there, too, based on the above list.

  10. #70
    I settled a long time ago on "never assume the state of a firearm" as my short version of #1, the longer version adds "verify it yourself", variations of "treat as loaded", etc.; reassuring to see Pannone's on a similar boat.

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