Rule Five

Marooned has a post up about Rule Five. A very hard rule to follow, as he points, since our instincts work against us.

His post reminded me of something that happened at the range a couple of years ago. At the end of a match a group of us were in the parking lot and one of the guys had a 1911 he was thinking of selling. Pretty, hard chromed, trigger work professionally done, frame and slide fitted, mag well installed. He got it out of his truck. We all looked at the empty chamber, observed muzzle discipline, and passed it around to fondle.

As I mentioned, it was the end of the match, we were packing up, and since we weren’t carrying a stack of hundred dollar bills, once we had looked at the gun, we went back to work. I was putting things in my truck when I heard the sound of metal on gravel. We all looked over, saw a gun shaped hunk of shiny metal laying on the gravel parking lot where they were congregated and thought the worst. Expensive finish gouged, value suddenly diminished, someone buying a gun they didn’t plan on.

Except, when the gun was passed to him one of the other guys had one of those big chrome staple guns in his hand. He hooked the staple gun by the handle in his trouser pocket so he could give both hands to the 1911. It was the staple gun that had bounced on the rocks. No matter how nice a staple gun it was, it’s value was not sharply affected by the scratches.

Big sighs of relief all around.

Marooned is right. It’s wired in to try to catch things when we fumble them. The more expensive they are, the more desperate we would be. It’s bad juju to try to catch a loaded gun. But could you stop yourself?

A few strong instincts and a few plain rules suffice us.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson


2 thoughts on “Rule Five

  1. Hard-wired is it! Hell, I think it's in our DNA. Just reading your account made my breathing race. I dropped a 1911 slide, once. Tried to catch it. The result was a slight ding on the front sight. Still upsetting.

  2. When I read that, I instinctively rubbed the scar I have on my left pinky finger from trying to catch a falling chisel, almost 30 years ago. I see I'm not the only one.

    I am assured that I'm the only person who burned their ear with a soldering iron in a similar situation. Figuring out how one can burn an ear catching something falling is left as an exercise for the reader.

    That's probably more than I should say…

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