The Range Safety Equation

The range safety equation

Tim O'Connor / 26 July 2021

It seems as though large firearm advocacy groups think that the more safety rules they conceive, the more legitimate they appear. Rule #42: Don’t use an electric blow dryer while in the shower. 

US Marine LtCol. Jeff Cooper realized that this was unrealistic and boiled it down to just four:

1. All guns are always loaded

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you’re not willing to destroy

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target

4. Know your target and what’s beyond it

Colonel Jeff Cooper's Rules of Firearm Safety

Gunsite Academy Firearms Training

Colonel Jeff Cooper's Rules of Firearm Safety
Gunsite Academy Firearms Training

I’m not 100% in agreement with all four of these rules (I didn’t clean my firearms for years as to not break rule #1). However, taken reasonably, these rules do in fact avoid unintentional harm; though I would like to include an additional rule that I think adds perspective.

5. Try to behave in a way that makes others around you feel safe.

We really don’t need someone to tell us to not cause harm to ourselves or others during our peaceful exchanges everyday, but nearly sweeping someone with your muzzle will get their dander up just as readily as downright pointing in on them. Muzzles are just ugly in that way.

So, the next time you are on the range, stop and think about how others are perceiving your actions. Never hesitate to address the comfort level of yourself and others. The most competent among us project safety while still looking “cool”. Afterall, firearm accidents are, at a minimum, embarrassing- not to mention lethal.

Tim O'Connor firearms instructor

Author: tim o'connor

Tim O’Connor is a firearms instructor at Gunsite Academy and has worked in the hunting and shooting industry for over 25 years, training with law enforcement and military around the world. Tim started in 2000 partnering with training organizations to increase the precision rifleman’s understanding of the function of the rifle optic and its benefits and limitations to the application of long-range shooting. Through these partnerships and an increased law enforcement direct training agenda Tim has honed an optics centric firearms training curriculum that he has presented across the country and around the world. This training offers insight into the dark magic of firearm optics not previously available to shooters.

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