Rules For A Gunfight – Rule 1


Someone, and I don’t know who, made a series of five memes about the rules for a gunfight. Not wanting them to go to waste, I thought I’d flesh out the ideas they put forth. If anyone can identify the creator of the memes, please let me know so that I can properly attribute them.

Now, bear in mind that the rules are going to have different connotations for different approaches to the problem. SWAT Teams, the military, and concealed weapon permit holders all have different missions and rules of engagement to deal with. We’re going to concentrate on this series from the viewpoint of a concealed weapons permit holder, because the other groups mentioned will have their own specific criteria.

So, without further ado…

Remember the first rule of gunfighting… “have a gun.” Jeff Cooper

 The first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun. See, if you don’t have a gun when a gunfight breaks out, you’re not actually in a gunfight.What you’re in is a murder, and your sole contribution will be bleeding and providing a body for a crime scene technician to trace a chalk outline around. So yeah, you need to have a gun. To quote Clint Smith, the director of Thunder Ranch, “An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.”

If you’re a concealed weapons permit holder, you’ve dedicated time, effort, and expense in obtaining your permit, right? And you got your permit because you understand the world is kind of an unpredictable place to wend your way through, and that you just might have to defend yourself at some point, correct? So, you are carrying every single day, everywhere you’re legally allowed to, aren’t you?

If you’re not carrying all the time, why aren’t you? By not carrying, you’re voluntarily surrendering a huge part of your personal security plan. I’ve had several permit holders tell me that they carry if they are going someplace dangerous, but other than that they leave their gun in the car or at their house. I try to point out the flaw in this logic, usually to no avail. Since none of the ones that have laid this on me are independently wealthy from winning the lottery or making great investments, I have to go with the assumption that they’re not prescient. Maybe they’re graced with the superpower of knowing in advance when danger will strike. I don’t know. I do know that if I have to go someplace dangerous enough for me to bring a gun when I normally don’t carry one, well, I’m just not going to go. The only way to absolutely guarantee surviving a gunfight is to not get into one in the first place.

I know that wearing a gun can be uncomfortable. What is comfortable is the inside of a coffin. It’s nicely padded, your head resting on a satin pillow. Sadly, you won’t be able to enjoy it. So comparatively, that 1911 on your hip isn’t so bad now, is it?

Comet? No, it was the Styrofoam containers that killed off the dinosaurs.

So, we’ve established that we need a gun if we’re to successfully participate in a gunfight. This has some assumptions tied to it. The gun has to be loaded. An unloaded gun is a short, relatively ineffectual club. The Neanderthals picked up on the fact that the longer the piece of wood they used to bash in a dinosaur’s brain with, the better chance they had of surviving. So ammunition in the gun is a good thing. This also assumes that your gun is reliable, and will go bang every time you pull the trigger. If it doesn’t, refer to the club analogy above. To recap – with you, loaded, and functional.

And while we’re talking about ammunition, you do have extra with you, right? You know, a couple of speedloaders if you’re carrying a revolver because you might be facing more than one threat. And extra magazines for you semiauto shooters because, well, the multiple threat thing and in case the mag in your gun decides today is the day to take a day off and not feed bullets. Always expect the unexpected, and remember Murphy loves a gunfight.



caveman photo credit: Lord Jim via photopin cc


The Tactical Pirate

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President and lead instructor. Follow me on Twitter, and check out our blog.

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