Thoughts on Rule Number 3

by
posted on September 16, 2014
wilson2015_fs.jpg (27)

During a lifetime of developing and teaching defensive pistol techniques, Col. Jeff Cooper condensed all of the firearms safety rules into just four simple statements that anyone could learn and memorize. Rule Number 3 simply states, "Keep your finger off of the trigger until your sights are on the target."

I went into police work when the double-action revolver was still king. And the shooting technique we all learned was that at the same time your hand gripped the revolver, your finger was on the trigger. I frankly don't recall hearing about all that many negligent discharges resulting from this practice and suspect that the long trigger pull of the DA revolver was what kept more of these incidents from occurring.

Eventually, I began carrying a 1911 pistol almost exclusively and finally got around to taking the 250 pistol class at Gunsite. Now, I will tell you that the instructors at Gunsite are serious about Rule 3. In fact, they teach, as do most other good defensive schools, the trigger finger should be completely out of the trigger guard until the sights go on target. Frankly, I still didn't think it was all that big a deal, but I was playing in their back yard and decided I would follow their rules. As I became personal friends with many of those instructors, I was privy to the various horror stories about what happened when Rule 3 was violated. These stories, I might add, always involved a loud noise and very often a good bit of blood.

Then came the day when I was an assistant instructor at a class on the West Coast. One of our students was a retired deputy sheriff—an old revolver guy—who was taking the class with his 9 mm Glock. I had cautioned him twice about his trigger finger and was considering taking him off of the line if he couldn't get with the program. That was when he went to re-holster one more time. Yep, there was a loud noise. There were holes in the leg of his khaki pants. And, when I got him to the shooting shed and he dropped his trousers, he had plowed a nice gouge in his thigh. Simply put, adherence to Rule Number 3 will avoid the vast majority of negligent discharges that might occur.

What follows is one of my favorite quotes from Colonel Jeff Cooper. I have cleaned it up just a bit so as not to offend delicate sensibilities.

1. Keep your finger off the trigger.

2. Keep your finger off the damn trigger.

3. Keep your damn finger off the trigger.

4. Keep your damn finger off the damn trigger.

5. FINGER. TRIGGER. NO!!!

Latest

Colt Anaconda revolver
Colt Anaconda revolver

Review: Colt Anaconda Revolver

We cannot lie: Colt’s latest revolver oozes class—and power. The new Anaconda is impressive and tough.

I Carry: Taurus G3 TORO Pistol in a Kinetic Concealment Holster

In today's episode of "I Carry," we have a Taurus G3 TORO optics-ready pistol equipped with a Bushnell RXS-100 red-dot sight and carried in a Kinetic Concealment outside-the-waistband holster.

Solving Issues with Brass Casings

Recently, while shooting a Norinco SKS, I experienced a failure to go into battery. Upon removing the cartridge, I found the round to be “shrouded” by another brass casing.

Handgun Grip Vs. Hold: What's the Difference?

Grip and hold on the firearm are often viewed by handgun shooters as one and the same. However, seasoned defensive and competitive shooters break down handgun shooting stability into two distinctly but equally essential subcomponents: grip versus hold.

First Look: FN America FN 303 Tactical Less Lethal Launcher

New from FN America is the FN 303 Tactical Less Lethal Launcher with a modular chassis system that allows operators and armorers to quickly customize the buttstock, grip or sighting system.

First Look: Diamondback Sidekick Rimfire Revolver

Diamondback Firearms is introducing the Diamondback Sidekick, a 9-shot, single- and double-action rimfire revolver that has an interchangeable swing-out cylinder.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.