4 Rules for Every Firearm Whether it’s a Rifle, Pistol, or Shotgun
First time gun owners can face an intimidating process when you are purchasing your first firearm. Gun owners have a lot to absorb from both a product and usage standpoint. Here are 4 Rules to being safe and responsible first time gun owner:
- ALWAYS treat guns as if they are loaded
- ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction
- ALWAYS be aware of your target and what is beyond it
- ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
These rules can be applied in a lot of everyday situations in your life as a gun owner, especially if you are purchasing your firearm for defensive purposes. It’s important to be aware of how these rules work in the real world since applying them correctly is a foundational part of being a safe and responsible gun owner.
ALWAYS treat guns as if they were loaded
It’s never safe to assume a gun is unloaded. Whether it was unloaded last time it was in the safe or when you set it down two seconds ago, you should always assume the gun is loaded. For semi-automatics, this means racking the gun or bolt to the rear every time you pick it up to ensure it’s unloaded, for revolvers it means opening the cereal and visually inspecting each chamber, for a break action shotgun or a derringer it means breaking the action open to look inside. If you’re a new gun owner or someone looking to buy a firearm be sure to ask when you purchase how to check if your gun is loaded.
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction
If we’re assuming all guns are always loaded, it makes sense that we shouldn’t point them at anything we wouldn’t want to shoot. The best way to think about it is to treat your gun like there’s an infinite and deathly destructive laser coming out of the front of the muzzle – you wouldn’t want to accidentally point that at your friend or your $15,000 TV. It takes some focus at first to be aware of where your muzzle is pointing, but if you’re willing to put in the effort to pay attention early on you’ll find this awareness becomes more ingrained over time and you will build healthy habits around keeping your gun pointed in safe directions.
ALWAYS be aware of your target and what is beyond it
A key part of keeping your gun pointed in a safe direction is recognizing what is really in that direction. If you live in an apartment, or if you have a family, you’re going to have a little more to think about than if you live alone in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Every wall has something behind it – if that something is your neighbors or family members then it is not safe to point your gun in that direction. This is also something you need to think about if you’ve purchased your gun for any kind of self-defense. Should you find yourself in a defensive scenario, do you know where your family will be or how they will react? These are important questions to consider and conversations to have with your family to make sure everyone is safe.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
This last tip is important because it’s your absolute failsafe. When you’re not actively engaging a target – this means anytime your gun is out at home, or even if you’re at the range and have not purposefully sighted in on a target – your finger should be off the trigger, out of the trigger guard, and resting straight alongside the frame of your firearm. This ensures you will never accidentally pull the trigger and keeps you safe during all movements and firearm manipulations.
By following these 4 rules of firearm safety you can help yourself and your family stay safe. If you want to continue building fundamentals that will help you on your way to being a safe and responsible new gun owner you can register below for our Handgun Fundamentals course: