Rules for a Gunfight – Rule Number 1: Bring a Gun

GunslingerObviously, one should strive to avoid being in a gunfight.  Gunfights are, for the most part, not desirable situations in which to be.  They are typically loud, dangerous, stressful situations and may result in injury or death to one or more of the involved combatants.  Because of these and other factors, one should seek to find a more peaceable resolution for conflicts than a gun battle.

That being said, gunfights sometimes happen whether you want them to or not.  There are lists of “Gunfight Rules” floating around the internet on various web pages, in forwarded emails, hanging on gun store walls and other similar places.  While the source of these rules varies depending upon who you ask, a vague consensus seems to indicate that the first (and, arguably, most important) rule of gunfighting comes from a conversation between Col. Jeff Cooper and Mark Moritz regarding whether or not there are any rules in a gunfight to begin with.

More rules have been added to supplement this first rule, with some sources giving credit to a Drill Sergeant from Fort Benning by the name of Joe Frick.  Presented here for your edification and enjoyment are

28 Rules for Gunfighting:

1. Forget about knives, bats and fists. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns. Bring four times the ammunition you think you could ever need.

2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammunition is cheap – life is expensive. If you shoot inside, buckshot is your friend. A new wall is cheap – funerals are expensive

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

4. If your shooting stance is good, you’re probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.

5. Move away from your attacker and go to cover. Distance is your friend. Bulletproof cover and diagonal or lateral movement are preferred.

6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a semi or full-automatic long gun and a friend with a long gun.

7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running. Yell “Fire!” Why “Fire“? Cops will come with the Fire Department, sirens often scare off the bad guys, or at least cause then to lose concentration and will.  And who is going to summon help if you yell “Intruder,” “Glock” or “Winchester?”

9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on “pucker factor” than the inherent accuracy of the gun.

10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

11. Stretch the rules.  Always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

12. Have a plan.

13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work. “No battle plan ever survives 10 seconds past first contact with an enemy.”

14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible, but remember, sheetrock walls and the like stop nothing but your pulse when bullets tear through them.

15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.

16. Don’t drop your guard.

17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees. Practice reloading one-handed and off-hand shooting. That’s how you live if hit in your “good” side.

18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. Smiles, frowns and other facial expressions don’t (In God we trust. Everyone else keep your hands where I can see them.)

19. Decide NOW to always be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.

20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

21. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet if necessary, because they may want to kill you.

22. Be courteous to everyone, overly friendly to no one.

23. Your number one option for personal security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.

24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun the caliber of which starts with anything smaller than “4”.

25. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. “All skill is in vain when an Angel blows the powder from the flintlock of your musket.” At a practice session, throw your gun into the mud, then make sure it still works. You can clean it later.

26. Practice shooting in the dark, with someone shouting at you, when out of breath, etc.

27. Regardless of whether justified of not, you will feel sad about killing another human being. It is better to be sad than to be room temperature.

28. The only thing you EVER say afterwards is, “He said he was going to kill me. I believed him. I’m sorry, Officer, but I’m very upset now. I can’t say anything more. Please speak with my attorney.”

3 Responses to Rules for a Gunfight – Rule Number 1: Bring a Gun

  • Randal hirsch says:

    Remember trust no one you only have one life

  • Mick says:

    Have to disagree with #24
    My .357 will beat the pants off of most auto pistols, all day, every day.
    Hell, I’d rather have an old Police .38spl than a 9mm.
    Maybe I’m old fashioned but I like a magnum wheel-gun.
    More bullets in the mag doesn’t make you a better shooter.

  • steve jarvis says:

    I’ve been a Close quarter protection specialist for 25 yrs. The list has been around for yrs. Always cracks me up.
    But # 23 is Really the most important rule on this list. Why, because if you have put your client into a situation where ” Guns will come into play”
    Well let’s just say “EPIC Fail” in this biz
    Why? Well did you do an advance on the restaurant where your client is having dinner tonight?

    No? Oh gee guess what you walked into the 25 reunion of the Local
    Hells Angels chapter. Amigo, Start walking.

    Being a protection specialist, believe it if not is more about your Socia Skills. Your First resonder certs always up to date.

    And now for the “Dirty little Secrete,” that no specialist will ever tell his client. What’s that? Well does the name John Hinkley,,(Jody Foster,)
    Ring a bell? Reagan had (4) Four layers of The best security, and guess what? A lone determined adversary..? You can not defeat.
    So brings up ton24,)
    A gun or two is nice, but what else you got? I mean to me the gun is last resort.
    I carry a Hubaton, ( google it) a stun gun, a taser, a snap out 26 inch Barton, plus pepper spray.

    I’m fond of the Taser, barbs go 20 feet at least and man to watch a guy ride the “WHITE LIGHTNING IS HYSTERICAL”
    Point is every one of those Tools is for one thing.
    Capaciting attacker, get ur protected in car and RUN LIKE HELL?
    Got it. We don’t stick around. We leave. Bye bye.
    I hope to never have to shoot some ipone ( I know I can/ will, but life is hell after it.,) I believe my 9 jhp will go smush and bang a roiling and make a
    Rotor router in his head, jet not come out and hit a a pedestrian.

    Think about what I said.


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