Mike Rowe safety lesson guns
Courtesy Mike Rowe and YouTube
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Mike Rowe, the well-known dirty job do-er, work raconteur and mover of the book markets, did a safety video that has application to shooters.

In the video, below, Rowe describes how he and his crew had attended beaucoup safety briefings during his work on the television show “Dirty Jobs.” He made the point that safety briefings weren’t really for the attendees. The safety briefings were actually for the employees and for protection of the businesses, who could point to the safety briefings as liability protection in case of an accident.

He noted in the video that despite sitting in dozens of the safety briefings across a range of work environments, his staff began suffering more accidents. He noticed the trend and thought about why these incidents had begun piling up. His answer: complacency.

He closes with the notion that safety is always an individual thing, and not a group thing. When people who are absorbed in an activity believe they are “safe” because of the presence of so-called safety staff (range safety officers), the participants can become complacent and begin making mistakes that lead to accidents.

This, of course, can be ruinous at a gun range.

Mike Rowe SHOT Show safety
Dan Z for TTAG

It’s a message he also drove home a few years ago for an audience at SHOT Show. The thrust of the lesson he learned: when safety becomes someone else’s priority, it becomes less so for you. And that’s a recipe for trouble.

Rowe explains that safety is always and must be an individual responsibility, That’s where his video ties into shooting safety. Or, as he says, “I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in ‘compliance’ doesn’t necessarily mean I’m out of danger.”

It’s great advice for shooters, too.

The Four Rules of Gun Safety

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  1. I’m a bit of a gat safety notzee. I managed to impress the wife to do likewise at least gatwise. Never quite sure where/what/who Mike Rowe stands for. He appears on ” The way I heard it” on Trinity Broadcast Network weekly. And pontificates a bit. No idea about his 2A stance🙄

  2. was at a range in central Illinois that had an rso killed previously. based off the way they acted zero surprise. I saw one chamber check my rifle while it was pointed at another RSOs junk.

  3. I’ve spent a shit load of time on ranges. Military, LE and private. Seen some scary things on all three, but the safest were always the private ranges.

  4. Complacency? Tell how to fabricate a Glock Safety Plug from the fat portion of a tire stem and you get berated by the dumbest Gun Owning mealy mouth beavis and butthead blowbags on the planet.

    • Debbie, let it go. You’re the only one keeping that meme running. I do have to say though, anything that requires me to use both my hands to get my defensive handgun up and running is the most stupid idea I ever heard of. No matter who thought of it.

    • Speaking of a dead horse …

      Why, oh why would someone want to cut up a valve stem to make a plug for a Glock?

      If someone is afraid to carry a Glock, then don’t. Get some other gun that you’re not afraid to carry. Shoving a foreign object into the trigger guard of any handgun is a dangerous and stupid idea.

      • This ^ especially the part about if you are afraid of a gun with no manual safety, just buy one with a manual safety. There are plenty of good ones out there that are every bit as reliable as a Glock.

      • I have five Glocks and did this to them. I messed up one of the safety inserts and needed another valve stem. I tried to go to Walmart but all the tires on my truck were flat due to no valve stems…😮

    • How I see it is that the only thing more stupid than the original factory made glock plug, is someone rigging up a generic facsimile of one.
      Seems like an accident looking for a place to happen, or a weapon that won’t work when needed most.

    • I have five Glocks and did this to them. I messed up one of the safety inserts and needed another valve stem. I tried to go to Walmart but all the tires on my truck were flat due to no valve stems…😮

  5. Never been much of a ‘rules follower’. Oppositional personality disorder, I think. But when it comes to gun safety, I become this obsessive, hyper-scrupulous, nightmarish, bug-eyed, fire-breathing fiend. You have to get to know me to really dislike me.


    I did not renew my membership at Firing Line because….people. The Rod and Gun Club is great. Never more that a few people across 10 ranges.

  6. I believe Mike Rowe is pretty conservative. Probably a 2A kinda guy. He’s very ‘common sense’, work and business oriented. Never heard his views on firearms, but would bet the farm he’s also a gun guy.

    • A few years ago he recounted an event where a drone was hovering outside his window early some morning and got a very clear sight of Mike Rowe pointing a shotgun at the drone while wearing his “favorite pair of imaginary pajamas”.

      Anyone who has his gun on target before even considering grabbing his trousers is alright in my book.

      • I’d refrain from shooting at drones personally. Anything other than a shotgun runs the risk of injuring or killing a person when the bullet comes back down. Shotguns are also pretty ineffective unless the drone is super close (if my experience flying my drone around and through firework shows is any indication). Drones are also considered aircraft by the FAA and the rules about downing one are similar to the rules about downing a manned aircraft.

  7. As I watch pan handlers, bums, and homeless crossing intersections with moderate to heavy traffic in poorer neighborhoods regardless of what color the lights are without looking. Just creating all kinds of nuisances practically begging someone to hit them.

    While I sit through the safety topic that begins the daily morning meetings, my coworker WILL find the only divit in the ground big enough to step into and twist an ankle.

    I am a big believer in murphy’s law.

    • We passed a law against panhandlers here in Jax, precisely for the reasons you mentioned.

      I’ve seen one since then. And he was gone the next day.

  8. Labor Day weekend:

    Celebrated my wife’s birthday.
    Trimmed a tree that was shading our vegetable garden.
    Mowed the lawn.
    Did some canning (beef stew).
    Set up the booth to sandblast a basement wall that needs to be water-proofed.
    Made a big pot of chicken-veggie soup.
    Painted a few more 4×8 bead board panels that will become the new ceiling on the back porch.
    Enjoyed reading what the TTAG crowd has to say.
    Took a couple of long walks with the wife.
    Worked out every day.

    Hoping you all have been having a great time!!!

  9. This is a great and interesting essay on safety and what should be common sense. It’s not specifically about firearms safety, but it could be. It could also apply to the tyrants in power who justify control under the guise of “safety”…. and to the rube citizens who buy into it.

  10. ‘Big Wall Of Bullets’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Issues Fatal Warning To Man Who Threatened To Kill Her…says she’s a big believer in semi-auto AR-15’s.

  11. Safety is a journey, it is not a destination.
    You never arrive at safety; your practice of safety is always ongoing.

    As an RSO, instructor, and former range director, i have seen some “don’t have 2 working brain cells to rub together “ level stupidity. That wins you a free pass to exit the range, whether you want to or not.
    However my experience has shown that the majority of firearm safety violations are due to complacency, bad habits, or just not thinking things out.

    If there is ever a time to practice mindfulness (being in the moment w/o the inner brain voice going like a chatterbox), it is when you are at the range, with or without a firearm in your hand.

  12. Elmer Fudd’s coralary to Rule #1.

    Every shotgun is always loaded.

    There is no exception for shotguns that are loaded only with “harmless buckshot” or even birdshot. This includes shotgun slugs even if the shotgun has a choked barrel. Contrary to the opinion of many TactiCoolFools who think that they are gun experts because they “build” AR-15s, shotgun slugs will shoot through a choke like crap through a goose.

  13. Standard USMC Friday afternoon safety brief as a Squad Leader before liberty:
    1) Don’t add to the population.
    2) Don’t subtract from the population.
    3) Don’t get arrested out in town.
    4) IF you do get arrested out in town, because none of you people listen, immediately establish dominance in the cell, and then call me.
    5) Don’t get drunk in the Barracks and decide to summon The Dark Lord Cthulhu. For any reason. This means YOU Lance Corporal Willis.
    6) While awake, THIS means including the time you are intoxicated beyond the ability to remember your own name, you WILL wear clothing.
    7) Don’t eat the crayons.
    8) Don’t lick the windows.
    9) Stay away from Shit Creek. When you do get caught being there by the MP’s, because none of you people listen: Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape.When that fails, call me.
    10) Dont: Buy a car. Get Married. “Adopt” a Stripper.
    Squad dismissed. God please Help me.

  14. Years ago, I was in our local Academy Sports. I wanted to look at a Beretta. The guy behind the counter pulled the gun out and pointed it right at the center of my chest while he cleared it. I grabbed the pistol and slammed his hand downwards on the counter and yelled, “You just pointed that weapon at my chest!” He was very apologetic. Someone ran and got the manager who then reviewed the camera footage. He gave me 4 $25.00 gift cards and a very humble apology and said he would deal with it. Found out later, they fired the guy.


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