Four Basic Rules of Gun Safety

The four basic rules of gun safety are paramount for not just all firearm owners to know and understand, but also for their family members and even those who don’t have guns in their home. Knowing and teaching your children these rules could save a life.

  1. Treat All Firearms As Loaded
  2. Never Point A Firearm Towards Anything You Don’t Want To Destroy
  3. Be Sure Of Your Target & What Is Behind It & In Front Of It
  4. Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready To Fire

1. Treat All Firearms As If They Were Loaded

Never assume that a firearm is unloaded, that it’s just a toy or that it’s unable to fire. Too many accidents have ended with the words, “I didn’t know it was loaded”, as their significant other bleeds out on the floor from a gunshot wound. Always assume a firearm you just pick up is loaded, cocked and ready to fire. For this reason, the first thing you should do, as a responsible firearms individual, is to check every firearm you pick up for its status by checking the magazine well and the bore of the firearm to see if it’s loaded. After you confirm the firearm’s status, this rule still applies… Still treat it like it’s loaded, cocked and ready to fire. You’re responsible for knowing the status of any firearm in your vicinity. Never assume it’s just a toy, even if it’s pink or orange and don’t assume by it’s old appearance that it’s an antique that isn’t capable of causing lethal injury.

Too many accidents have ended with the words, “I didn’t know it was loaded”.

2. Never Point A Firearm Towards Anything You Don’t Want To Destroy

If you assume every firearm is loaded, cocked and ready to fire, it only comes to reason that whatever is in front of the muzzle will be destroyed if it does fire. ALL accidents can be avoided if this single rule is obeyed by never letting the muzzle point in the direction of something you aren’t willing to have a hole in. While this rule refers to ‘pointing’ the firearm, what it really means is the direction the muzzle is pointing at all times, not just when the firearm is in your hand and being used. When setting your firearm on a table, point it in a safe direction, not towards you or those around you, and not towards the wall of your neighbor’s apartment. One good tip is to use the visual thought of having a 1,000 yard laser beam pointing out of your firearm’s barrel that will burn through whatever it touches.

Use the visual thought of having a 1,000 yard laser beam pointing out of your firearm’s barrel that will burn through whatever it touches.

3. Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready To Fire

Don’t put your finger inside the trigger guard until you’ve aimed, are sure of your target, know what’s in front of your target and know what is behind your target. Until you’re ready for the bullet to fire, something that you can never pull back and return into the cartridge, you should keep your finger off the trigger. When handling your firearm, always index your finger instead of gripping it with your finger ready to fire. Shooting courses like IDPA help to reinforce this discipline by having safety officers looking for this mistake when shooters move from target to target. Any time you’re moving and not shooting, your finger shouldn’t be on the trigger. Also, keep your finger indexed when changing magazines and racking the slide.

4. Be Sure Of Your Target & What Is Behind It & In Front Of It

Before you go shooting at something, always know what is between you and your target, and what is behind it. Once the bullet leaves your firearm, it can never be recalled. If something from your surroundings gets in the path of your bullet when you pull the trigger, it will be destroyed before your target will. Since most targets aren’t made of thick steel we must always realize that our bullet will hit our target, puncture through it, and continue to destroy whatever is behind it for a short distance.

We must always realize that our bullet will hit our target, puncture through it, and continue to destroy whatever is behind it.