The Four Safety Rules are a remarkably effective system of layered risk management strategies. But they aren’t the only strategies we have available, and in many activities, they simply aren’t enough. Which of the Four Safety Rules prevents a piece of t-shirt or old worn-out leather (or hybrid) holster getting caught in a trigger guard and pressing the trigger during reholstering? Which of the Four Safety Rules prevents a piece of shrapnel from bouncing off a target back into a shooter’s eyes at the range? The Four Safety Rules are great for reducing the risk associated with unintentionally pressing the trigger with your finger, and the Second Rule is a great mitigation for almost any type of unintentional discharge. But there are many other risks associated with operating a firearm, and we need to manage those risks, too.
If you’re going to teach Cooper’s Colors, don’t teach it as advocating a mythical and unattainable concept of situational awareness. Teach it as the man intended: mental preparation for the decision to press the trigger. The “situational awareness” interpretation of his code is fundamentally flawed.
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