Sterile Guns, Sterile People!

By John Farnam

No Loaded Guns
No Loaded Guns
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( Empty guns!

September of last year, in PA, a State Trooper (Firearms Instructor) accidentally shot and killed another State Trooper during a training session. The Trooper who did the shooting has subsequently been indicted by a grand jury.

The pistol involved was, of course, unloaded and thus “safe!”

The tragic incident, and aftermath, has sparked sharp debate within the LEO training community.

In my opinion, the problem is not with a set of “rules,” nor even with specific acts of carelessness by this individual or that. The problem is with an entire, fatally flawed philosophy that currently governs much of what passes for “training,” in and out of LEO and military institutions.

For lack of a more polite term, we refer to this defective philosophy, and those who adhere to it, as:

“The Empty-Gun Crowd”

Adherents are frightened to death of guns! They are even more frightened of legitimate Operators, who have comfortably integrated loaded guns into our daily lives. They cynically regard guns as they do Operators, as a (in some respects) necessary evil.

Their ineluctable lifestyle is characterized by a maniacal preoccupation with the complete and continuous sterilization of all guns, and the universal and automatic disarming of all Operators, and others, who carry, or even occasionally touch, guns!

They are profoundly uncomfortable in the presence of any species of gun, and they are positively aghast with the thought that anyone, even their own employees, might actually carry loaded guns in public on a regular basis. They will not tolerate the practice in their own surroundings, nor at any institution over which they have influence!

They post “no guns allowed” signs everywhere they can!

This represents their version of the four, cardinal rules of gun-handling:

1) All guns are always unloaded 2) Unloaded guns are “safe.” When around “safe” guns, you can relax! 3) When handling “safe” guns, never be concerned with the direction in which they’re pointed. After all, they’re not really guns anymore, are they? There is no reason to even look! 4) When handling “safe” guns, have your finger constantly on the trigger, for good control

Those who leech onto the foregoing “rules” will cause accidental shootings on a more-or-less continuous basis! Yet, articulated or not, the foregoing governs gun-handling in many LEO venues, and virtually all military venues!

What is needed, of course, is a profound change in philosophy. Difficult, because it will necessitate that ossified careerists admit they’re wrong. Not only are they wrong, but they’ve always been wrong!

Of course, the four gun-handling rules adhered to by genuine Operators are:

1) All guns are always loaded! 2) Do not allow your muzzle to point in unsafe directions 3) Keep your finger(s) off the trigger, and in a strong, “register” position, until your sights are on-target, and you are in the process of intentionally firing 4) Be sure of your target, as well as what is beyond it

Cynical lip-service is often paid to these, but the former “four” are the ones actually followed by empty-gun practitioners.

To see an example, go to a typical gun-retailer and watch a host of “gun-shop-commandos” carelessly wave guns around like laser-pointers, as they provide omniscient “advice” on guns to all who will listen!

Or, go to a typical “competition,” and watch starry-eyed nimrods walk about carrying empty pistols in “fast-draw” holsters. Then count how many times they point their “safe” guns at each other and themselves!

Or, attend a typical military ceremony, and watch smartly-uniformed lads literally loaded-down with rifles and pistols, all continuously empty. No ammunition, nor even magazines, anywhere close!

Sterile guns in the hands of sterile people!

To the empty-gun crowd, “hot” ranges are unthinkable. Thus, real training never happens. None even carry a gun on a regular bases, and they or-so piously eschew those of us who do!

Some progress is being made, but it is glacial! The empty-gun crowd is still firmly, and arrogantly, in charge most places.

We Operators just have to work-around them, and we do, occasionally prodding them ( as they kick and scream) in the direction of true enlightenment!

They have given us into the hands of new, unhappy lords. Lords without anger nor honor, who dare not carry their swords They “fight” by shuffling papers; they have sullen, alien eyes. They look at our labor with laughter, as a tired man looks at flies. And the load of their loveless pity is worse than ancient wrongs Their doors are shut in the evenings; and they know no songs ~ “The Secret People” GK Chesterton


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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Klaus Nietzschmann

There are three ways a firearm will discharge:
1 Intentional, 2 Negligent, 3 Defective firearm
That is all and will be this way forever.

leonard haraway

Unfortunately,another person loses their life due to negligence that easily could be prevented.First,before touching a firearm,go over the most important rules and reminders (again before touching a firearm).Those rules will tell you to always, always, always, assume a weapon is loaded.Second,when you do pick up a firearm,make sure it is pointed in a safe position and never in the direction of a human being.Third,clear that weapon at least three times and continue to assume the weapon is loaded.Here,I cleared an AR-15 3 times in front of several people and attempted a fourth clear and a round ejected out.Could have been… Read more »


just like the officer at that gun store, he failed to check that the firearm was indeed safe and empty of any rounds.

He shot his finger off.

Just like Jose Canseco the retired baseball player, he shot off his finger while cleaning the gun.


Empty or loaded you never point a gun at something or somebody unless you intend to shoot!


I have been an Instructor for over 35 years and never had an accidental firearm discharge. He did not follow the safe gun handling rules. I have all my students check their firearms 2 times to insure its unloaded. Always kept pointed in a safe direction and finger OFF the trigger!


“There House, There Rules”, No Ambiguity there. If don’t want to play by our rules, play somewhere else…

Mike the Limey

Good article that points up the idiocy coming from the “guns are baaad!” mob.
BUT; do you have to throw in “Operator” at every opportunity?
It’s just the latest in meaningless “buzz words” & detracts from the message itself.