First, a hat tip to Grant Cunningham over at the Revolver Liberation Alliance blog for providing the original link to a truly instructive story about a negligent discharge. Mr. C's blog is enjoyable reading for anyone interested in revolvers. I admire his writings about wheel guns in general, and his custom work in particular, but I respectfully disagree with some of his personal interpretations. More on that later.
Click HERE for the link to a brutally frank ND report, written by the unfortunate who self-victimized his own person. Please be advised: Some of the images included depict actual gunshot wounds. As such wounds go, these are not particularly gory, but they ARE graphic, and might take some folks by surprise. The writer confesses his own negligence and tells us of the aftermath. It is noted that, for a gunshot wound inflicted with a major caliber handgun, with high performance ammunition, at VERY close range, this one is fairly minor. Nonetheless, the aftermath was painful, traumatic, and expensive. It should be a lesson to us all.
The writer/victim points out the difference between an Accidental Discharge (AD) and a Negligent Discharge (ND.) He also repeats the FOUR RULES OF FIREARMS SAFETY in pretty much their original form, with some valuable elaborations. As it is ALWAYS in order to stress safety, I'll list them again:
Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety
RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY
RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
The above are pretty much “the original,” as I was taught them when I attended Gunsite back in 1980. They have been paraphrased a number of times, but as long as the sense of these is maintained, the purpose will be accomplished. “The Rules” are one of Jeff Cooper's true contributions to the world of shooting.
If these rules are taken to heart and strictly observed, safe gun handling is assured. Many years ago, the firearms industry, in cooperation with the National Rifle Association, promulgated “The Ten Commandments of Gun Safety.” These were okay, and far preferable to no codified rules at all. I submit that The Four Rules are truly superior, in that they are simple, easy to remember and easy to teach. If we truly make them part of our thinking when dealing with firearms, there will be no tragic accidents, no silly mistakes, and no unintended injuries.
I hope you'll take time to read Greg Morrison's commentary on The Four Rules. He changes nothing, but does provide an expanded and valuable perspective.
The disagreement I have with Mr. Cunningham's writings is his rearrangement and rephrasing of these valued safety rules. Perhaps it is not so large a matter as it seems to me, that we should not be revisionist with other individuals' writing. Maybe it's just too soon after Colonel Cooper's death, and I might think differently later. Who knows?