Keep Your Gun Loaded and Within One-Arm's-Reach November 08, 2017 12:48
I keep hearing those with supposed authority on firearms and training advocate for keeping guns unloaded until they are ready for use. Use for what? The shooting range, competitions, and plinking are not deadly force. In the carefully scripted worlds of competition shooting, military ranges, and training environment, an unloaded firearm has no real consequences other than to serve as an insurance policy, a lower score, or slight embarrassment. Yet there are many "instructors" out there who continue to sell this notion that an unloaded gun is "safer" than a loaded one. This mentality is costing people their lives.
First and foremost, firearm handling rule #1 is, "Treat all guns as if they are loaded." If we are going to treat them like they are loaded, then they should be loaded, especially if the gun is one you use for self defense. Police officers do not go out on duty with unloaded pistols, knowingly anyways. Military personnel do not go on patrols in combat zones with unloaded guns. Likewise, concealed carriers need to have their guns loaded. That means a round in the chamber, charged magazine properly seated in the firearm, and the firearm within one-arm's reach. On your body is best, and if you are in the house with children, this is especially true. If you get disarmed by a child, you probably have other things to worry about than a firearm.
When it comes to rifles, the same thing applies. Your long gun designated for home/neighborhood defense needs to be clean, loaded, and lubricated. The magazines need to be charged and locked into the rifle with a round in the chamber. Despite the reports, the church shooting in Texas recently would have had far fewer casualties if the individual who eventually exchanged rounds with the active shooter had simply kept his rifle loaded. As his rifle was unloaded, it took an extremely long period of time before he was able to make his weapon ready for fighting. I am not taking anything away from the plumber who saved lives by shooting the bad guy. He bravely ran toward the sound of gunfire and got into the fight. That is commendable.
What spurred this article is that once the shooting in the church began, the citizen had to retrieve his rifle from a safe, charge his magazines, load the rifle, and then engage the suspect. How many lives could have been saved if his mags were already full and rifle loaded? Once again, how many of you does this hit home with realizing that your gear is not ready?
Realize that when deadly force happens it does so quickly. You need every advantage you can take, and stuffing mags full at a time when people's lives are being taken is not the time to do it. Keep your mags charged, your guns loaded, and your mind and body ready. There is no reason not to have this done, right now.
Keep your guns unloaded until ready for use? The lessons that we learn are written on the tombstones of others.