The 4 Rules to Live By

If I was able to plug my laptop into every students brain and program one thing, it would be gun safety.  I consider myself to be a happy-go-lucky or jovial type guy/teacher.  While fun isn’t the number one thing on my agenda when I teach a class, I do want it to be a pleasant experience.  However, I make the speech in every class, “You want to see how big of a jerk I can be, break one of the four rules of gun safety.”  The thing is, it’s not the new shooters who usually cause problems.  It’s the guy who’s been a hunter his whole life.  That guy could easily teach me a few things about the outdoors and the tips to a successful hunt.  I’d be glad for it.  I’m quite sure that sleeping for the first few hours of the hunt in your deer stand, only to wake up for morning coffee, little debbie cakes, and beef jerky isn’t the right way to go about harvesting deer.

That being said, those epic outdoorsmen scare the pant’s off me when they handle guns (before you go getting offended, I don’t mean all hunters).  What I am getting at is that sometimes those of us who have grown up with guns become quite casual.  I’ve been one of those.  Launch a round off in your house and I can promise you that it is quite loud and un-nerving.  Years ago I got complacent and had a brain fart.  I decided to get one more draw in, and bang!   I was lucky, you might not be.  The 4 rules will keep you alive!!  Get them in your brain, and never forget them.  We all back away when some one holds a lighter close to us in jest, we have a pucker factor when some one does stupid stuff with a knife.  Why, well…we’ve all been burned and we’ve all cut and we know it sucks.  Problem is that most of us haven’t been shot.  Be a different story if that was the case.


Rule 1 : Treat all guns as if they were loaded.  This means dummy guns and “unloaded” guns too!

Rule 2 : Don’t point the gun at anything you don’t want to destroy.  This means the guy/gal standing next to you on the firing line.  It means yourself as well!

Rule 3 : Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to shoot.  Simple way I go about it. On target, on trigger. Off target, off trigger.  If my gun is on target that means I am ready to shoot.  If I am not ready, I need to get my gun off target and therefore my finger needs to be off the trigger.

Rule 4 : Know your target and back stop.  The ever lovely Mrs. Heidi Smith is fond of saying that bullets will travel a long way, and everyone of them has a lawyers name attached to it.  This is critical thinking in a defensive shooting situation.  You may have a shot at the bad guy, but is it clear behind the bad guy?


Not every blog post will be this long.  Heck, some might be longer ;).  This is a really big deal though.  When some one leaves my class I always hope that they have the beginings of marksmanship and defensive mindset.  Honestly though, they are the small things.  Some people will handle that gun everyday and sometimes multiple times a day.  Each one of those times are a chance to do it right or royally screw it up.  That means the most important thing of the day is gun safety.  Take your time with this stuff and get it right.