Jeff Cooper, father of the Modern Technique, formulated the following four safety rules. They have been tested and tried and have proven to be the gold standard for firearm safety. There are only four of them. Commit them to memory and more importantly: IMPLEMENT them.

Every accident that I have witnessed has been a direct result of ignoring one or more of these safety rules.

-Robbie Barrkman

1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)

3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.

4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 11, No. 4, April 2003

Col. Jeff Cooper

Col. Jeff Cooper

Choosing a self-defense system is very personal, and making this choice takes considerable thought and planning. Here are some guidelines to consider, but remember, the ultimate choice is yours. Only your life depends on it.

Which gun? Actually the answer is pretty simple. The one you will have with you when you need it. Choose the biggest caliber you can comfortably carry and more importantly, will carry. Having an 88 magnum at home is a poor choice when you are having the poop kicked out of you in the parking lot of the local “Stop & Rob”. In a crisis, any reliable gun that you have trained with, is better than no gun at all. No matter which gun you choose, it is imperative that you fire it on a regular basis. Most guns need some sort of work on them to make them reliable and user friendly. Have this work done by a competent gunsmith. Do only what needs to be done. Keep the system simple and reliable. Remember, only your life depends on it.

Carrying a gun should become part of your daily life and also your wardrobe. You may very well need more than one retention device to suit all your needs. You may wear an inside the pants holster during your workday and have to switch to a fanny pack to go with your jeans and T-shirt in the evening. Keep an open mind and find the system that works for you. The system should hold the gun securely in place especially if you are manhandled. It should only require one hand to get a firing grip, and deploy as your other hand may be occupied in fending your assailant off.

Without proper training and the mind set that comes with it, your gun can be a liability rather than an asset. We know that under stress we will do one of two things:

1. Freeze: the old familiar “I can’t believe this is happening to me”
2. Reflexively revert to that which we have trained to do.

Training not only gives you the physical skills necessary to respond to a sudden attack but more importantly, the mind set to defend yourself. The fight is won or lost in your head, way before the real potential fight ever takes place. Go to a recognized training institution and get an education. Remember, only your life depends on it.

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