The NRA put some thought into this topic many, many years ago and came up with three fundamental rules instead of Coopers four:
- ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
- ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Notice the rules are all expressed as things you must do.
The Cooper rules are a mixture of things that must and must not be done. This is not good. If you were told to not imagine pink elephants what is the first thing that enters your mind? Yeah, images of pink elephants.
The most frequent questions people have above rules are:
- What about carrying your gun or in the nightstand while sleeping?
- Does rule 3 mean I have to keep it unloaded until I am preparing to shoot a bad buy?
The answer is the gun is “in use” when you put it in the holster on your hip or in the nightstand. Hence, the gun may be loaded while you are carrying it.
I hate to be divisive but I’ve long been of the belief that the NRA rules are much better than the Cooper set. It is because of this I have used them as the basis for the Boomershoot rules for many years.