Disclaimer and Copyright Notice


Firearms can be dangerous! Please follow all safety precautions when handling firearms.
You assume all risks of activities rising out of reading this blog! Do the projects at your risk. Author and all of his affiliates do not provide any warranty of its contents.

You may reproduce any content in this page, as long as you display the following: © 2011 Shooter's Quest http://shootersquest.blogspot.com


The Philosophy of Triple Redundancy

Since this is a blog aimed at beginners I thought I would kick it off with a talk on safety.  I hope this article serves  to help beginner shooters feel more confident around firearms; sometimes fear and nervousness contributes to accidents.  Conversely, complacency and comfort also contribute to accidents, so I hope experienced readers also read this and continue to be safe.

We've heard countless stories of people hurting themselves, hurting others, someone's child getting shot, innocent bystanders getting injured.  All of these stories have a very clear message: a firearm is an instrument that potentially has very deadly consequences.  It is a tool made to kill, seriously wound or otherwise destroy whatever target it is pointed at.  Pound for pound, firearms are one of the most destructive things we see every day.  I know a lot of people aren't going to like having read this paragraph because of political reasons, but make no mistake.  Firearms are weapons and they are very powerful.  Lets get this into our minds; the sooner and better we understand this, the more seriously we will take firearm safety.

Three Basic, Basic rules
Firearms however, serve to ensure that lawful citizens and appropriate professionals are kept safe.  Many of us are fortunate to live in a country and state where this right to self defense with deadly force is granted.  Unfortunately, some people neglect or abuse that right and make it on the news with a new negligent discharge story.  Every time that happens, this right seems frightening to some people and it threatens the existence to our right to bear arms.

Credit: www.hipowersandhandguns.com
Fortunately the modern firearm is a very well built device.  Most handguns have several safety devices built into their design.  Almost all weapons are designed so that unless specific steps are taken to disengage the safety devices, it is physically impossible to fire.

We all know that modern guns don't "go off" on their own.  You didn't know?  Well, they don't.  The only way a gun ever fires is by its trigger being pulled back with all other safety devices turned off.  And the only thing that can pull that trigger while the weapon is on your person is you.  When a round is fired, the bullet flies straight, and usually destroys anything it hits and quite often passes right through the object it destroys.

What are the elements required in any situation a gun is fired?  Lets see.  We have the operator of the firearm.  We have the weapon.  We have the ammunition, and an object that it hits, whether it be an intentional target or not.

Elimination and alteration of any of these elements can and will completely eliminate any chances of an accident.  We can remove the ammo.  A weapon with no ammunition will never fire.  We can remove the target.  If a bullet does not hit any object, there will never damage anything.  How about removing the operator?  Yes, you are correct in thinking that with no one ever touching the firearm, the firearm will never fire.  Same thing if the operator never does anything to cause the weapon to be fired.

But for gun safety, this animal would not
have helped people recover against
 irresponsible people with guns.*
Based on this logic, we can deduce that gun safety is actually very simple.  Only one element ever needs to be dealt with.  Changing most of these elements don't make any sense or makes firearms useless; a gun lying on a table with no operator is just paper weight, just as a unloaded gun is paperweight.  So what now?  Yes, we work on the operator.  That operator will always be you.  If you never allow yourself to deviate from these three cardinal, easy to follow rules, you can be fairly certain that firearm accidents will never happen.  Most of us have heard it a million times, but lets repeat it.

This rule is more of a mindset you should follow.  Treat all guns as if they are loaded.  Don't rely on chamber indicators, you may be tired and not observe it properly.  Pull that action back, use your eyes and finger to check, and even after that, keep treating it like it is loaded and ready to rock.

This one may seem simple, but people violate it all the time.  I cannot begin to describe how often this is violated.  This is a serious rule folks.  This rule applies at all times!  Whether you are cleaning your gun, just moving it from one room to another, when you come home and take it out of the holster, while you are loading it, unloading it, when it is lying on the table, when you are dry firing it, so on and so forth.. get the point? ALL THE TIME.  Don't allow yourself to ever, no matter how brief, "sweep" the weapon at a direction of another living thing unless you intend to kill it.  This also means that when someone walks by while you are handling your firearm, or your movement causes another being to be pointed at by your firearm, you move the muzzle of the gun up or down and away from them.  Remember, if you always follow this rule, you will never hit anyone if you do negligently discharge your weapon.

Not just your fingers though.  Any object that will fit inside the trigger guard.  Don't even put your finger inside the trigger guard, even by accident.  Not just your trigger finger, but also be aware of your thumb, other fingers, or any other extrusion to get inside that trigger guard.  Take care around worn out or improperly made holsters.  I think this is the most important rule.  Your last line of defense.

TSA: What the heck were they thinking?
You have absolutely no excuse to fail to follow these rules.  That gun in your hand is your weapon and it is your responsibility.  They are very simple rules, don't break them.  If you have a negligent discharge, as we correctly deduced earlier, it is because you broke this rule.  Absent a major defect or extreme circumstances out of your control, your weapon shall never fire without you intending for it to fire.  (an example of extreme circumstances would be if someone spotted your carry weapon and took it away from you)   This also means you follow these rules absolutely all the time, no exceptions.

Triple Redundancy 
So, with triple mental redundancy, even if we completely screw up and fail on two of the above three rules, there will be no negligent discharges that result in injury.  We do this to minimize the chances of ND's resulting in injury the best we can.  Think of it this way.  Assign some arbitrary number for the chances that you will violate each one of these rules when you make best efforts to follow these rules.  Say for example, every time you touch the gun, one out of 10 times you will do something to violate rule number 1.  Just for the sake of this example, say the same applies for all three.  Since you must positively act out all three violations, the chances of a negligent discharge that results in an injury would be 1/10 multiplied three times: 1/1000 or 0.001.  Say if you don't consciously follow one of these rules, the chances of that rule being violated is.. lets be conservative here and use a small number.. three out of ten times.  Then your chances are increased to 0.003.  Doesn't sound much?  You might think so, but in this example you are many time more likely (three) to cause a negligent discharge that causes an injury, if you choose not to follow one of these rules.  Also think of it this way: even though this example was run with bogus numbers, you'll be handling your firearm many more times than 1000 times.  And you don't want a single case of negligent discharge in your lifetime, do you?

If you are one of the gun owners who think they are fine with muzzle awareness because you always check the chamber, this example would apply to you.  If you happen to be one, I hope I didn't sound harsh.  I know a lot of responsible gun owners who think that way.  As long as you are vigilant about following at least two of them, no one should get hurt.  But still, please think about what I said in this article, and do everything you can to minimize the chances.  Triple redundancy.

More precautions
Now, with that out of the way lets look at some more rules.  These go a bit beyond what basic rules above prescribe, but also absolutely necessary for responsible firearms ownership because it further minimizes the chances of a negligent discharge and one that results in injury.

Doesn't need an example.  On a side note, don't be firing into the water either.  Ballistics can be very unpredictable.


Young children, no matter how responsible, should not have access to guns.  I remember very well what it is like to be a kid.  I grew up not being in a country where we cannot own firearms and where you also got your ass kicked for failing to obey your parents.  My family has a saber that my father got from his academy graduation.  Naturally, I was forbidden to touch it at that age.  Also naturally, me being a child, I did manage to get to it, despite the ass kicking which I indeed feared very much.   I somehow had the strength to draw it, but promptly drop it because it was too heavy or put it back where I found it.  Whoops.  Guess what happened that night?

Kids get into things and kids aren't as aware of themselves as adults are.  Please keep guns away from children.  There are so many choices of safes out there including ones that give you quick access.  No excuse not to have one.  Please also remember this does not mean that you shouldn't take them to the range and get them familiar with it.  Also while they should not have access to guns, you shouldn't treat it like its the holy grail of the things children shouldn't touch; rules seem to flare up curiosities.

I know this is wordy but the rules are simple!  Finger off trigger, don't point, and treat as if always loaded.  Always follow gun safety and it will always be safe.

*Summer v. Tice

No comments:

Post a Comment