August 28, 2006

Rule One: All Guns are Always Loaded

The US Army has a new program to increase firearms safety. New recruits were getting sent overseas so fast, they didn't have much time to familiarize themselves with proper gun safety habits, and so were accidentally shooting each other once deployed.

photo of M16A2 battle carbine from US Army training manual

from the AP article:

Soldiers such as Pvt. Kenneth Dykeman, 21, of Portland, Ore., carry their gun to class, physical training and even have it nearby as they sleep. At night, Dykeman keeps his weapon under his mattress, with the rifle's magazine in his locker.


Even in the training environment, soldiers are required to keep a round of ammunition in their chambers and clear their guns before entering any building.

Looks like the Army is taking a lesson from Jeff Cooper's "enhanced" Rules of Firearm Safety. Most folks know them as follows:

Rule 1: Treat all guns as if they were loaded.
Rule 2: Never point a gun at something you don't want a hole in (your TV, your dog, your foot)
Rule 3: Finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Rule 4: Be sure of your target, what's behind your target, and its surroundings.

Cooper's version of Rule One is as follows: "All guns are always loaded."

For those of us used to "cold" ranges, where guns are unloaded except at the firing line, this is kind of freaky, but it really seems to make sense, and is being proven so by the new Army doctrine.

If everyone knows every gun they see is loaded, they'll be extra-careful around the guns, especially their own. OK, they're not issuing real ammo until they get deployed into the field, but even blanks can do some pretty bad things (c.f. Jon Erik Hexum).

The Army says this program has reduced accidental discharges (AD's) considerably.

Posted by jameshom at August 28, 2006 01:12 PM | TrackBack
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