Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby tommy610 » Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:08:46

I've seen this gun safety rule several places. When I first got into guns a few years ago, I seriously had to think about it for a few seconds... what could that mean? We need to rid ourselves of this confusing wording.

(It is often worded better as "Treat every gun as if it were loaded".)


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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby MarcSpaz » Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:32:41

My gun IS always loaded. Well, except between rounds and mag swaps. LoL

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby Chasbo00 » Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:34:35

Here is some insight on Cooper's four rules: http://www.thegunzone.com/therules.html

Cooper's Final Version

Almost as if a direct riposte to Rob's critical note, in Spring 2003, Jeff Cooper issued what appears to have been his final words on the issue:

"We hoped by this time that the standard rules of safe gunhandling would have become universal throughout the world. They have been arrived at by careful consideration over the years, and they do not need modification or addition. We trust that all the family have them by heart in all languages, but for those who came in late here they are again:

1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)

3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.

4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

Those will do. We need all four and we do not need five. It should not be necessary to belabor this issue, but life is not perfect."
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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby SHMIV » Sat, 18 Apr 2015 02:59:37

My father gave me all sorts of safety rules, in regard to tools, when I was growing up. I can remember the exact wording of only one rule.

"There is no such thing as an unloaded gun", my father said, sternly. I was four years old. I can hear my father's voice very clearly in my mind, even today, as if he only told me a moment ago.

I think that it's the finality of the statement. It's absolute. It leaves no room for doubt. The gun is ALWAYS loaded.

The rule has served me well. I don't think that the wording "treat every gun as if it were loaded" would have imprinted in my mind so clearly.

Besides, as Marc points out... my guns are always loaded, anyway. An unloaded gun is just an overpriced club.

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby Remek » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 01:13:19

I've seen a few close calls, guys who thought their gun wasnt loaded but it was. I agree that the wording of the rule could be confusing, but its military speak, lowest common denominator. Follow that rule, and you are not going to screw up.

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby ShotgunBlast » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 10:39:15

Not only lowest common denominator, but a lot of kids start with guns early and rules that are more basic in grammar are more effective for them too.

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby SHMIV » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 11:08:11

Exactly; as I said above, I learned the rule at 4 years old. It has stuck with me, ever since.

Also, if your mindset is that there is no such thing as an unloaded firearm, you will behave accordingly.

I didn't think there was anything wrong with the rule back in April, and I still don't. It keeps things simple, which is good.

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby WRW » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 11:25:54

The car insurance commercial that mentions "torque ratios" comes to mind. It ain't right, but it sure gets folks attention. In this instance, I'd settle for the imprecise commandment in order to more thoroughly assure that the concept is understood/remembered.

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby MarcSpaz » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 12:30:36

WRW wrote:The car insurance commercial that mentions "torque ratios" comes to mind. It ain't right, but it sure gets folks attention. In this instance, I'd settle for the imprecise commandment in order to more thoroughly assure that the concept is understood/remembered.

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I don't want to derail the thread... and though I understand your sentiment, but in the car world, there is something call a "torque ratio" and a "horsepower ratio".

The torque:weight (tq/lb), often called the torque ratio, defines how many pounds of weight the vehicle has per ft lb of torque. The smaller the ratio, the quicker the vehicle can accelerate and the more fuel efficient it is. The horsepower:weight (hp/lb), often called the horsepower ratio, defines how many pounds of weight the vehicle has per horsepower. The smaller the ratio, the faster the vehicles top speed will be and the more fuel efficient it is.

Example... My son and I both have a car that weighs 4,000 lbs. His car makes 400 ft lb of tq and 385 hp. His car has a torque ratio of 1:10 and a horsepower ratio of 1:10.4.

My car makes 500 ft lb of tq and 485 hp. My car has a torque ratio of 1:8 and a horsepower ratio of 1:8.2. There for, my car is both quicker and faster than my son's. Make sense?

Figured I'd share.


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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby WRW » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 12:42:05

Shouldn't that be torque to weight ratio so as not to be confused with input to output torque ratio ( mechanical advantage )?

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby MarcSpaz » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 12:49:33

Beats me... but after 28 years of racing and doing automotive work as a hobby, I just understand the lingo. I have no idea how we got there.

I personally always use the correct verbiage, but I'm an engineer. My wife yells at me all the time because I "talk to her like she is one of my customers". LOL

EDIT: Maybe the racers and car enthusiast choose to use the expression "torque ratio" because the better the torque to weight ratio is, the more of a mechanical advantage you have when racing... so they use the terms interchangeably for ease of conversation??? I don't know... just a thought.


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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby WRW » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 19:26:13

Damifino, but I think my point is in there somewhere.

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby MarcSpaz » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 21:36:51

Hahaha. Yes... Yes it is! :-)

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby SHMIV » Fri, 25 Dec 2015 21:53:11

Another thing that I thought of; we have had these set of rules for a long time, and they have served us well.

Why change them now? That sort of thing has led us to the horrible state we are in currently, as a nation. We've had various social rules and traditions that served us well for ages, they were in place for a reason, then we allowed them to be disposed of, under the pretense that they were "outdated", or no longer made sense in our modern world. The new rules and traditions do us a disservice, yet we won't go back to the old ways.

I think that the old adage applies here, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby Ironbear » Sat, 26 Dec 2015 15:16:24

SHMIV wrote:Another thing that I thought of; we have had these set of rules for a long time, and they have served us well.

I don't think we've actually had them that long. Back when I took hunter safety, we had the "Ten Commandments" of gun safety. Now all the hunter safety stuff I've seen has been distilled down to some variation of the four. A definite improvement if you ask me.
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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby Jon » Sat, 14 Jan 2017 22:55:32

Anyone who does not press check a firearm before they pick it up or put it away is a fool. Only exception is a firearm that you pick up or are handed in which the chamber is already exposed to visually show that the gun is empty.

All guns are always loaded because they are supposed to be.

People like to get caught up on rule #1 but the reality is that the other three are just as important. As Cooper stated, if you neglect one but observe the rest you are likely to still be ok. The problem, especially in today's world, is most folks that don't observe one of the rules likely won't observe the rest.


Nothing needs changing in regards to the 4 rules. They are quite possibly the most direct, blunt and effective way of describing the boundaries of a specific circumstance ever to be devised. They are like the firearms safety gospel and have served me quite well.


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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby Reverenddel » Sat, 14 Jan 2017 23:25:15

Jim at Pro-Shooter has the perfect method that was so close to what I was taught, except it added one thing, "put yer pinky in the chamber..."

yeah, it could close on it, but better that than an ND! But lock it open, look, pinky, look, close with no mag, insert mag, hand it to whom ever....

Like GOLD!


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Re: Stupid wording of rule "The gun is always loaded"

Postby Remek » Sun, 15 Jan 2017 00:12:58

The finger check is in the rules, I believe, because if you're used to visual checks like we all are, you can look at the chamber and register what you expect, rather than what's actually there. I say this because I put my firearms away unloaded (save those I intend for immediate house defense), and I saw in my mind, an empty chamber, but when I stuck my pinky in I was shocked to find a round -- then I remembered that I had been running snap caps through it, and I had just decided to leave one snap cap in the chamber to remind myself of exactly the reason we assume it's always loaded. Worked like a charm! Lol

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