The Safety Third concept is an elegant and efficient way to look at a practical application of safety, whether it’s gun safety in relation to firearms training, or anything else you’re concerned about.
When Rob Pincus heard commentator Mike Rowe talk about his “Safety Third” concept, Rob realized it overlapped perfectly with how Rob has always approached safety on the shooting ranges where he conducts firearms training. Rob believes that safety, including gun safety, is a matter of balancing risk and benefit. Decide what the risk level is that you’re willing to accept for the benefit you’re going to receive, and drive on.
RISK VS BENEFIT
The idea is that we have a benefit in mind — this is the first reason we go to the range. We don’t go to the range to be safe. We go to the range to develop our defensive shooting or concealed carry skills, or to have a fun day of target shooting, or to practice for competition, or any other reason. We have some specific goal in mind, and that goal is going to involve some level of risk when we’re talking about firearms. Every time we fire a gun, there is some level of risk, whether that be injury or danger to ourselves or someone else.
When you go to a live-fire shooting range, you risk damaging your hearing, but you mitigate that risk by wearing ear protection or putting a suppressor on your gun. Those risk mitigation factors are the safety rules, and this is why we say safety is third.
1. Identify the benefit. Why are you going to the range? Why do you carry a firearm? Why do you own guns at all?
2. Identify the risks that are involved with owning and using firearms, including risks to yourself and people around you.
3. Take the appropriate steps to mitigate those risks.
Whether it’s gun safety or any other kind of safety, saying safety should be third doesn’t mean it’s not important.