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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wonder if there is a way that we could be safer with firearms. When we say "keep them unloaded, but pretend they are loaded," we know that we are lying to ourselves. So, eventually a problem happens because we "thought it was unloaded!"

When I beleive a gun is unloaded, I may dry fire it or goof around when I'm by myself. When a gun is loaded, I am afraid to cock it or have my finger near the trigger because I don't want to have the police come over for a chat, or someone getting hurt.

My uncle was allmost killed as a youth because a peer was being careless with a shotgun that he believed was unloaded, but it was indeed loaded.

What if we kept all firearms loaded at all times? I don't currently practice this, but I believe that I would would treat them as though they were loaded if I thought they actually were. Guns would allways be an instrument of destruction- never unsupervised, never treated as a toy. As for now, the "lie" doesn't allways induce safe handling practices amoungst gun owners, as evidenced by accidental dicharges.
 

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I never believe that any gun is unloaded without my personal inspection. I always believe that any gun is loaded, with one in the chamber, and will fire if the trigger is pulled.

To me this is the number one rule of gun safety. It has always been taught this way and I see no reason to change anything about it

Perhaps I don't understand what you're saying, but to ask for any changes in this absolute rule is to ask for trouble.

I do think that there are many gun stores and shops, gun owners, LEOs and others that do not practice this rule. I'm amazed at the number of times I asked to see a gun and the person handling me the gun does not first check to see that the gun is unloaded.

When I'm handed a gun, the first item I do is check to see if the gun is loaded. It is ingrained in me to do so. I've had people tell me "it's not loaded and why are you checking?"

That tells me a great deal about that person and the respect (or lack of) that they have for me and guns in general.

No one has ever been shot with an unloaded gun. Many have been shot with a gun they thought was unloaded.

There's no need to change this rule, only a need for people to abide by it.

Steve
 

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I personally believe that it is safer to keep all of your firearms loaded than unloaded. Then as whiffelball said you don't have to pretend. I know this is not an option for many people. Small kids running around the house, and so on.

I do treat all firearms whether I know they are loaded or unloaded as if they are loaded. This is the only way to do it.

Bert
 

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Hello,

You say when you believe a gun is unloaded, you'll dry fire it & goof around with it when your by yourself? Well my friend, it's either loaded or not, and If your simply going on someone elses word thats it's unloaded & you don't check for clear Every Time you pick a gun up, including your own guns & the ones in gun shops! You need a course in gun safety.

Take Care
 

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Treating a gun as if it is loaded is a matter of personal discipline. I agree it is harder to maintain this discipline if you know you just unloaded the gun, but that just means one has to double up his personal discipline. I know this is not always easy, and I have caught myself in "bad form" before, but because I got away with it before doesn't mean I will be lucky every time.

The purpose of treating an unloaded gun as if it were loaded is so that you never accidently treat a loaded gun as if it were unloaded. If you always stick to the same, safe manual of arms and you'll be OK. The military has an old cliche - train as you will fight, because you will fight as you train. It often makes things in "peace time" more awkward, but everytime we tried to do things one way during "normal" operations and another way during contingencies or war ops, we made a hash out it until we retrained ourselves. Same with the gun - if you try to treat it one way while it is unloaded, and another when it is loaded, eventually you will make a mistake in a grievious direction.

This of course extends to dry fire practice. Of course you will unload and check the chamber to make sure it is empty, but even then you should only point the gun in safe directions, make sure your dry fire target and its background are something that you wouldn't be upset putting a bullet into, and only touch the trigger when you are on target and have decided to dry fire.

(BTW, the following company makes a nice little line of ballistic pads to handle dryfire and unloading/loading situations. I have one. Go check it out: http://www.safedirection.com/

As to the idea of keeping guns loaded all the time - well, yes I agree. I keep the one I am carrying loaded all the time except when cleaning or dryfiring, as well as a couple designated backups in locked boxes. Guns that are stored not for immediate use are not loaded, but when I haul them out I sure don't count on them being unloaded.

I have sung the praises of the John Farnam training course I took back in March, because I think he has a well thought out set of procedures for administrative handling and tactical shooting. One of his points of emphasis is personal responsibility, in the form of treating all guns as if they were loaded all the time - there is no period of time when you can treat a gun as if it is unloaded. To reinforce this and to reinforce the seriousness of carrying a pistol for self-defense, he insists on a hot range - students are expected to have their guns loaded all the time, except when performing a few designated dry fire exercises. When not on the shooting line, guns are to be holstered, but they are always loaded - on the line, back at the table getting spare ammo, during breaks/lunch, etc. Since an unloaded gun is to be treated as a loaded gun, it might as well be loaded all the time! No advantages to an unloaded gun.

I would urge you to seriously reconsider "goofing around" if that means you are not following the loaded gun principle. I fear you will eventually suffer a serious consequence if you don't.

best wishes.

elb
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I didn't expect any replys really, so thanks for your opinions.

I allways tell people the following before any gun handling begins:

"If you point any gun at me- loaded or unloaded- I will treat you as though you have pointed a loaded gun at me and pulled the trigger. You may not enjoy the consequenses of that action, so lets not enact the scenario."
I never point a gun at anyone else EVER, and I don't let them do that to me either. When you are looking down a barrel from the "bad end," you might trust the person not to shoot you, but I don't like to have that mental conversation with myself. If I'm wrong at that particular instant, I'm dead.

You should never have to trust the competency of another person with your life. I don't trust my neighbors, my father, or anyone to point a gun at me, and I make sure that they don't have to trust me either- because I'll never point a gun at them.

As for "goofing around," I'm mostly talking about storage and handling. There is a difference between spinning an unloaded revolver before holstering and practicing russian rullete. I allways try to be safe and check to see if a gun is loaded. I've kept my guns unloaded all the time, but a couple of times I've forgotten to check them when getting them out of the safe. That is why I've stopped dry fireing at home even with snap caps. I just don't want to be one of those stories on the news about a guy who swears it was unloaded.
 

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There is a corralary here. There are very few "accidents" (which many of us claim are really the result of criminal negligence) on a "hot" range. Most of the misahaps with firearms happen when people think they are indeed unloaded.

Rule #1 of the Universal Rules of Firearms Safety, tells us that the only exception is the weapon you have just cleared and it has not left your hand. Even then we do not violate the other 3 rules!

Onward,
Jim
 

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Snap caps: for years I avoided 'em reasoning that if one got in the habit of dry-fire at all one would inevitably have a tragic mishap, especially closing the chamber or cylinder with something dimensionally identical to a cartridge. The only use (in my view at the time) was for use in "twist, tap, and rack" clearing drills.

Now I use snap caps for dry fire practice but with an important caveat: I never have any ammunition anywhere in the house except in my bedroom. Even when I'm going to the range, I go all the way back there to retrieve the ammo to take to the car. Thus, my dry fire practice is in another room, the ammo in a separate one. And when I'm finished, I'm finished--the live ammo goes back in the firearm, and it gets put away.
 
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I do keep all my guns loaded. My pistols are all single action and are kept cocked and locked.
Semi rifles are kept with the bolt open and safe off. Bolt guns bolt closed and safe off.
 
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Most of my guns stay loaded just in case I have to shoot them in a hurry. But any time I'm handling one the first thing I do is clear it. If it's the first time I've touched a certain gun today, I drop the mag and rack the slide as soon as I pick it up. Then I do whatever else, but from the beginning I verify the status. The only gun I don't do this with is my Taurus but that's because I can see the cartridge rims from the side. Safety means always being sure of your equipment, so check, double check, then re-check. And the only revolver I'll spin is my black powder, which I've never fired.
 

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I am the only person that handles my guns. My wife "hates guns" and I haven't taken my sons out shooting yet. BUT, I always check my guns when I get them out even though I was the one who put them away... empty. I may check the same gun a couple of times, knowing I have not had any ammo near it. I can't afford the possibility of a negligent or accidental discharge regardless of injury to anyone.

Maybe I'm anal but I'll always err on the side of caution as long as I don't live alone.

Ed
 
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Hi there whiffleball,

"Complacency is the Mother of all Accidents..."

Chris
Indeed! One of my room mate's friends accidentally shot himself through the leg with a .243 just last week. He was out at his ranch and got into his truck with his rifle and forgot to check if it was loaded. Three surgeries later I hope he's learned his lesson...
 
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Yes there is a way that we can all be safer with firearms. Don't goof around with one even when you know it's unloaded. Guns are not toys man, so just don't goof around with them, it's irresponsible behavior. EVERY GUN IS LOADED until proven otherwise. Always verify a safe weapon before cleaning it, or storing it, or showing it. Some of mine are kept loaded and chambered for home protection, but are locked in a place where only me or my wife can quickly get to them. Our lock boxes are finger touch code unlockable.

Yes every gun is always loaded. That is the mindset you have to train yourself. Don't do anything with a gun until you have verified it's load condition. Discipline is a huge part of being a responsible gun owner. Deviating from this practice has gotten a lot of people accidentally shot. If you want to own a gun or guns, you'd better be a person who is up on your game, always.
 

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Elmer Kieth noted in his autobiography that he allways kept all of his guns loaded. I believe he may have also had a sign on the glass doors of his gun cabinets saying so. He said he got a lot of visitors/fans dropping by, and they respected the guns more knowing they were loaded. And also saved a lot of wear on his triggers from people who wanted to try 'em out after reading so much about 'em.

'Course he also said every time he saw little kids in town playing cowboy shooting each other with cap guns, he wanted to blister their butts.

Though we want to keep our rules uncompromised, we have to be careful not to form routines, either. Have you ever walked into a dark room during a power outage & flipped the light switch? I recall an account by a gentleman who always kept his pistol unloaded in a desk. He would get the gun, rack the slide to verify that the chamber was empty, and do some dry fire practice by pointing it at a safe spot on the wall. Then one day he wanted to carry the gun, so he got it out, inserted the loaded magazine, racked the slide,... pointed it at the spot on the wall & had the trigger half pulled before his brain kicked in. Sometimes good habits can be bad too. So don't let it be an ingrained unconscious habit; you have to engage the mind every time.
 
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"pointed it at the spot on the wall & had the trigger half pulled before his brain kicked in."

This is first hand. I did somewhat the same thing. Brain did NOT kick in and I had a hole in the wall. No one was at home at the time. A 9mm sure is loud in a confined space!

This was about 15 years ago and my procedures and habits insure that this is not repeated. I don't recommend this method as a means to good safety habits.

By the way, good site. My first post.
 
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It's called an AD (accidental discharge) and just about everybody that's been involved with guns for a long time has had one or two. It really does reinforce safe gun handling habits for about the next 20 or 30 years.

Welcome aboard.
 

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Should be called ND - negligent discharge rather than AD - accidental discharge.

If you intentionally put your finger on the trigger and pulled, there was no accident involved.....
 

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Whether you call it accidental or negligent discharge, one thing can safely be said about them. The two groups of folks most likely to have one are the novice trying to learn how to safely handly one, and the old pro who has become far too comfortable handling one.

Treat each weapon as if it is loaded is such an easy thing to say. Why is it so hard for people to remember and practice. Unless they have patched them now, there are half a dozen bullet holes in various walls and ceilings in my old police department. They chose not to patch them so they would serve as a silent but loud reminder about safe gun handling. I hope they have never patched them, and there are no new holes.

twoguns
 
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