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Originally posted by bigfoot1212a turkey hunter who just fired into the brush because he heard noise
Primary Safety Rules
* In a tradition that was probably started by Jeff Cooper, most defensive firearms instructors teach some version of the first four rules for handling and operating firearms:
1. All guns are always loaded.
- Probably more people who have been shot unintentionally were shot with "unloaded" firearms than with any other kind.
2. Don't let the muzzle of the gun cross anything you're not prepared to shoot.
- At conventional handgun ranges, if your gun isn't pointed at a person or object, you can't shoot that person or object.
- Keep in mind that if the gun is pointed at an upward angle and it discharges, the bullet may travel a very long distance and strike a person or object you may not even see.
- Similarly, many walls may not stop bullets, so rounds fired at walls may penetrate and strike a person or object on the other side.
3. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard, up on the frame of the gun, until the sights are on target and you're prepared to shoot.
- Tradition places this rule as rule three; if I were starting fresh, I think I'd make it rule one.
- Firearms do not discharge on their own. If, in the heat of battle or in total brain fade, you inadvertently point a firearm at someone you don't intend to shoot, they can't get shot if your finger is not inside the trigger guard.
- Most guns are designed to be fired by a finger on a trigger. They are more natural to grasp that way, so the finger tends to drift there under stress. While a single-action pistol would seem more vulnerable to rule three violations, American police officers racked up countless unintended discharges in decades of using double-action revolvers, so it is essential to follow rule three regardless of the type of gun you're handling.
4. Always be sure of your target and what's beyond it.
- The first part of this rule is absolute: you must always identify your target.
- The second part of this rule is relative: in a sporting or training environment there is no justification for not knowing what is beyond your target. In a deadly encounter you may be forced to fire in circumstances where you may not even be able to see what is beyond your target. All the more reason to select ammunition which is not likely to exit its original target.
5. Maintain control of your gun.
- Attorneys Michael Anthony and Robert Brown have researched civil litigation involving firearms and found that most successful lawsuits against gun owners involve incidents where someone other than the owner has accessed and misused the gun.
- As a result, I have accepted their suggestion and now teach this fifth basic rule of firearms safety.
- Make sure that you keep the gun within your control when you carry it. Guns in purses and other means of off-body carry are difficult to control, as are guns being shown to friends, stashed between couch cushions, placed in desk drawers, etc.
- When you must store a gun that you are not carrying, take reasonable steps to limit access by unauthorized users. If you must simply disable it with a lock, a cable lock is preferable to a trigger lock - most trigger locks violate Rule Three.
- A caveat to this rule concerns dropped guns. Modern handguns are designed not to fire when dropped and people have shot themselves trying to catch guns that have slipped from their hands. If you do momentarily lose control of a firearm, let it fall to the ground.
Because we do actually unload firearms and also place them out of our immediate control from time to time, a corollary of Rule One and Rule Five, the condition check, is also worth learning:
Whenever you pick up a firearm that has been out of your control, even if only for an instant, open the action to determine that it is in the condition in which you want it, loaded or unloaded.
A "click" when you expect a "bang!" can be as deadly as a "bang!" when you expect a "click."
Let’s Wrap Up the Bear Thing: More responses from list members:
1. You are spot on, their skulls are almost impenetrable, especially from the front. I have heard of large cal. rifle bullets "running" across the skull with the only effect being a slightly dazed, really, REALLY pissed off bear! Best CNS shots are either directly into the roof of the mouth as they frequently roar in a charge, or, what I was referring to the upper shoulder/ hump shot from the side after the bear was turned, along the backbone, which pretty much shuts down their movements, even if you just take out their rear legs, it slows them down enough to give you a chance to get far enough away to carefully take them out. Another technique that reportedly works, (I knew an agent who survived a big brown bear attack doing this), is to climb a treeand then shoot down into the bear as it climbs up behind you. They do climb fast, too, but it exposes their spine when they "hunch" up to move up. Don, the gentleman I know, took out the brown bear with a .38 revolver by shooting it in the spine. I recommend a much larger caliber, but he did walk away from the attack and in my opinion, any bear attack you walk away from is a good one, sorta like landing a plane.
2. If you look up a picture of a bear skull on the web, you will see that there is very little above the eye sockets, as is the case with most 4-legged predators. With the fur and ears, there is a misleading appearance of more above the eyes than is truly there. I think the best head shot would be to aim right for the nose, if head on… As far as getting off the X (assuming that means lateral movement), I'm not sure that it would not be a waste of time. Often, in the mountains, one is on a steep hillside or might have movement hampered by brush or logs. Unlike someone shooting at you, the bear has to get right up to you to do any damage. My strategy is to get low, so the shots are more straight on, and just hold and fire until the last second. Then, if it's not working at that point, a dodge to the side can't hurt.
3. When I was in Kodiak (back in the dark ages - 1965-1968) a friend showed me a photograph that had been taken on a bear hunt. The photo showed the head of the dead bear with someone parting the fur to better see the 220 grain 30-06 bullet with approx 1 inch of the rear end of the bullet showing stuck in the skull. The bullet hit and mushroomed and didn't penetrate the skull. It was factory ammo, with the shot taken at approx 50 yards. I later became friends with the native who had shot the bear, and learned that what they normally did was to shoot the bear in the pelvic area and break down his hind legs so he couldn't charge. (Sound familiar?) And then take their time and kill the bear.
4. There's a considerable difference between North American bears and mountain lions. Usually (always not always) lions give up readily when shot with anything. Cat hunters who tree lions with dogs usually carry and shoot treed cats with a .22. The cats usually (not always) just fall out of the tree and die (or die and fall out of the tree). Note: There are plenty of stories about a .22-shot mountain lion falling out of its tree into and ravaging the pack of dogs that treed it, but they're not the usual stories. Bears, on the other hand, are exceptionally vital and tough. They don't give up easily. If distance and armament are adequate, the safest rule is to first break both front shoulders. It is said that a bear with its heart blown out can still travel 100 yards and kill the shooter. Yes, bears' skulls are thick, and a frontal shot on a bear's skull will often bounce off. However, an old Alaskan guide once told me that most any centerfire round to a bear's head will knock the bear down for seconds, giving the shooter moments-only to adjust position and put another into the ear - a thinly-protected route to the brain.