II – Aware

The 4 Basic Rules of Gun Safety

An image of the four gun safety rules

Col. Jeff Cooper (1920–2006) was a US Marine, the creator of the modern technique of handgun shooting, and an expert on the use and history of small arms. He introduced the concept of the mental alertness color code which indicates the degree of peril a person is willing to act upon and which facilitates a person to move from one level of mindset to another (situational awareness) to enable the person to properly handle a given situation.

As a way of encouraging universal firearm safety, Col. Cooper also advocated a simple 4-point set of rules anyone can understand:

  1. EVERY gun is loaded until proven otherwise.
  2. Point the muzzle ONLY at what you want to destroy.
  3. Put your finger on the trigger ONLY when you’re ready to fire.
  4. KNOW your target and what’s behind and around it.

Building An Iron Mindset

Your mindset determines how you show up in any given situation. Using these four mental techniques (The Big 4) developed by the US Navy Seals can assist you to build and maintain a strong mind and stay focused on your success to conquer any challenge.

  1. Goal Setting: Goals should be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound—and formed using the WIN method—What’s Important Now
  2. Mental Rehearsal: Visualize in your mind all aspects of a task before entering into it to be better prepared to execute it
  3. Positive Self Talk: Intentionally replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts
  4. Arousal Control: To help stay calm in a chaotic and difficult situation, use Tactical Breathing by inhaling through your nose into your diaphragm 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale out of the diaphragm through the mouth 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, and repeat. Also perform Progressive Muscle Relaxation by tensing the 4 major muscle groups for 5 seconds, then relaxing them for 5 seconds moving progressively through head and neck, arms and shoulders, chest and back, and legs.

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Situational Awareness: Passive or Active?

Criminal investigations & intelligence unit supervisor Lou Hayes Jr. says: “When I talk with most folks about Situational Awareness, they mention phrases like:

  • being aware of your surroundings;
  • know what’s happening around you;
  • observing things that stick out.

These behaviors or characteristics aren’t wrong. However, they do bring out a certain flavor of passivity. It’s as if the person is passively monitoring their environment as a receptor of stimuli. It’s, in a way, a defensive way of opening oneself up to receive information, whenever that information decides to reveal itself. In short, information comes to you.

What if we looked at a different posture of situational awareness?

How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne

Situational awareness is the ability to observe your surroundings and make detailed assessments about your environment. One aspect of SemperVerus living is learning to hone your powers of observation in all areas of your life.

Situational awareness is another word for mindfulness: being more cognizant of what’s going on around you and being more present in your daily activities, which in turn helps you make better decisions all around.

Observe + Orient = Situational Awareness