1) All guns are always unloaded2) Unloaded guns are “safe.” When around “safe” guns, you can relax!3) When handling “safe” guns, never be concerned with the direction inwhich they’re pointed. After all, they’re not really guns anymore, arethey? There is no reason to even look!4) When handling “safe” guns, have your finger constantly on the trigger,for good control
Last week (February 11, 2015) John S. Farnam posted an article - "Sterile Guns, Sterile People" - on his Defense Training, International "QUIPS" website. In this commentary (which has not yet been added to his website, as of this date), Farnam criticized gun clubs which use the "WEAPONS COLD" range rule.
His postulate is that the COLD RANGE rules lead to the assumption of the mindset which he exemplifies with his (very critical) Range Rules above.
HOT RANGE vs COLD RANGE:
This COLD RANGE rule imposes a requirement that all firearms remain unloaded until the (active shooter) is actually on the firing line, and the firing line is declared "HOT" by the Range Officer/Safety Officer. At that time, the shooter(s) may load his/their weapon(s).
[At the completion of the exercise, on a Cold Range, every shooter is required to 'unload and show clear'; each individual is inspected by the Range Officer, deemed unloaded and clear, and weapons may not be reloaded again until the shooters are once again on the firing line and under the direct supervision of a Range/Safety Officer.]
This is in direct contrast to a "HOT RANGE", where all weapons are loaded at all times. At the end of an exercise, shooters are expected to insure that their weapons are loaded before they leave the firing line.
DEEMED UNLOADED: FARNAM IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!
The condition with which Farham takes issue is typical of the lax safety measures which most of us have witnessed often at the range. People who are inexperienced, who have no training, are all too willing to learn how to be ALWAYS safe on the range. They take safety for granted, and they assume that their friends are just as alert and aware of the safety rules as they are.
And accidents do happen, 'anyway'; that's why they call them "accidents".
How about ... deliberately being shot at?
Winston Churchill once said:
"Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."
I've been shot at, and missed, in Viet Nam. In those circumstances, one tends to hug the ground while cursing the thickness of one's uniform buttons which prevent one from melting into the earth.
That's still not quite as frightening as having a gun pointed at your belly, close up and personal; even if you are absolutely certain that the gun is unloaded.
That's why I trained as a Chief Range Officer in USPSA, so I could help people to understand that pointing a firearm ... even one which is demonstrably unloaded ... is A Bad Thing.
I've still had a few unloaded firearms pointed at me. It's still a frightening experience. Most of those people learned from the experience.
And so have I.