Muzzles and Fingers

Fingers and Muzzles

Rule # 1: Assume all guns are always loaded

Rule # 2: Never let your muzzle cover anything that you are not prepared to destroy.

Rule # 3: Never put your finger on the trigger unless your sights are on target and you’ve made the decision to shoot.

Rule # 4: Know your target and what lies beyond it.

“Yeah… but that doesn’t apply to me right?”


“I mean, I understand the logic… but my gun is unloaded… everyone knows my gun is unloaded… and I well, my finger just naturally goes to the trigger.  It is ok when my gun is unloaded.”

“Hmmmm… well let’s review Rule # 1”.

“Yeah… ok… but I know my gun is unloaded.”

“Fair enough… do I?”


“You know your gun is unloaded… but do I?  According to Rule # 1 it does not say “assumeyourgun is always loaded”… it says assumeallguns are always loaded right?”

“Well yeah.”

“So when I see you with your finger on the trigger pointing the gun in every manner of direction, work through what I must be thinking.”

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“That the gun is loaded… that it is pointing at stuff I want to destroy… and since my finger is on the trigger my sights must be on target and I’ve made the decision to shoot….. oh crap!”


“Well… if I were to draw on a person that was trying to victimize me though and I just wanted to scare him I wouldn’t have my finger on the trigger. Right?”

“What would you be telling him… let’s work this through one at a time.”

“Ok… well… he must assume the gun is loaded… that is rule number one.”

“Uh huh”

“He must also know that I am willing to destroy him, since I’m pointing the gun at him and that is rule # 2”


“My finger… wait… since my finger is off the trigger I’m telling him that I am not prepared to shoot… that kinda lets him know my state of mind huh?”

“Yeah… you’re kinda giving him a tell aren’t you?”


“Let’s go back to you being in an administrative environment though.”

“Ok… wait… what?”

“You are at home, or your study, or garage and you are messing around with your gun for one reason or another.  You are checking your grip, getting ready to clean it, or showing it to a buddy  that might want to buy it from you.”


“Every time you handle that firearm you are creating a habit.  You are strengthening muscle memory and developing a stronger neural pathway.  If you are habitually pointing the gun in an unsafe direction, or constantly keeping your finger on the trigger what in essence are you doing?”

“I’m training myself to break the safety rules.”

“Bingo….  If those rules are constantly… religiously followed would anyone, ever, be injured by a negligent discharge?”

“I guess you are looking for a “no” answer?”

“Yes… you are correct.  If someone were to assume that the firearm was loaded, even though they know full well it is not… yet they treat it as if it were, then they are going to keep it pointed in a safe direction right?”


“If it is pointed in a safe direction and they have no intention of shooting it but miraculously the gun were to go off, two things would happen: 1) no one would get hurt, 2) They would probably become quite rich from a settlement from the gun manufacturer.”

“I hear you.”

“If they need to put their finger on the trigger to disassemble their gun then they are extremely conscience of what they are doing, and they are ensuring that the gun is in a safe direction, and they know what lies beyond what they are pointing at right?”


“You see it takes multiple rules to be violated for someone to get hurt with a negligent discharge.  Go onto the web and search for videos where nimrods shoot themselves or their friends with supposedly unloaded guns… count the number of safety violations they did prior to the discharge of the firearm.  Then ask yourself… as you swing your gun around in a cavalier manner, finger on the trigger with no knowledge of where the gun is pointing at any given time, are you not in fact emulating what you are seeing on Youtube.”

“You have a point.”

“We call them safety rules… that is probably not the best moniker… I think it would be better if Col. Cooper had called them the four principles.  Principles don’t change.  Rules are designed to bolster and follow principles.  Those four principles are always in effect whether someone is watching you are not.”

“I understand.”

“Now stay safe.”


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