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Old May 2, 2012, 11:49 AM   #55
Frank Ettin
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Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,919
There are a number of ways the Four Rules have been stated. Here's how they're put at Gunsite (founded by Jeff Cooper):


Gunsite is a "hot range", and actually loaded guns are customarily worn on the ranges and throughout the grounds.

So --
  • If you hand me a gun, don't bother telling me it's not loaded. Because I follow Rule One, I won't believe you and will personally verify/clear the gun.

  • If I criticize you for pointing a gun at me, my spouse, my cat, or anyone/anything else I value, don't bother trying to excuse yourself by telling me that it's not loaded.

  • If your gun fires when you didn't intend it to, don't bother trying to explain yourself by saying anything like, "I didn't think it was loaded." You should have understood that under Rule One since it is a gun it is loaded, and you should have conducted yourself accordingly.

  • And wherever you are, if your gun is in your hand, you jolly well need to find a safe direction for your muzzle until you've actually got something to shoot at, and you're about to be shooting at it.

  • And if you're not actually shooting, your finger needs to be off the trigger, whether you're using your sights or not.

  • And you need to know your target and what's behind it even in a self defense situation. No one is going to pat you on the back and tell you what a splendid fellow you are for wasting poor old Mrs. Smith when trying to avoid getting mugged yourself. (If you ever have a chance to train with Louis Awerbuck, he will have you engaging targets with "non-combatants" in front of behind the "BG" target. It will be up to you to move or place your shots (or in his moving target class, time your shot) to avoid hitting a non-combatant.)

And let's see what Jeff Cooper had to say about Rule One:
  • Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, Vol. 6 (1998), No. 2, pg. 8.
    Quote:
    ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
    The only exception to this occurs when one has a weapon in his hands and he has personally unloaded it for checking. As soon as he puts it down, Rule 1 applies again.
  • Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, vol.9 (2001), No. 6, pg. 29:
    Quote:
    ...We think that "treat all guns as if they were loaded" implies with the "as if" qualification a dangerous choice of assumptions...
  • Jeff Cooper's Commentaries, vol.11 (2003), No. 13, pg. 64:
    Quote:
    ...A major point of issue is Rule 1, "All guns are always loaded." There are people who insist that we cannot use this because it is not precisely true. Some guns are sometimes unloaded. These folks maintain that the rule should read that one should always treat all guns as if they were loaded. The trouble here is the "as if," which leads to the notion that the instrument at hand may actually not be loaded....
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"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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