Gun safety rules

NRA's Gun Safety Rules


Safety is the primary goal. Conscientious attention to these rules will prevent most, if not all, gun accidents. Be aware that ignorance and carelessness lead to accidents in all walks of life, including the handling of firearms.

Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
If the gun should discharge, it should not harm any person or destroy any valuable property. Careful attention to muzzle direction is key to safely handling a firearm.When carrying a firearm from place to place, the best way to control the muzzle is to keep it in your view.

Be aware of what objects can stop a bullet, and what ones cannot. In NRA courses, and on shooting ranges, the instructor or range officer will explain and point out the safe directions available.

Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
Under normal conditions guns do not discharge unless the trigger is pulled. When holding or manipulating a gun, hold the grip firmly and place the trigger finger along the frame or receiver, not inside the trigger guard.

Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Guns cannot be discharged unless they are loaded with live ammunition. There are many uses of guns which permit them to be loaded, but such firearms must always be under your control.

Guns not in use, but not stored, should have the action locked open so that anyone may inspect the chamber and magazine for live ammunition. When handing a gun to another person, lock open the action (if possible) and check the chamber and magazine by sight and feel to ensure than no live ammunition is present. The person receiving the gun should also check.

Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety


RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY

RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET


RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

There are no exceptions. Do not pretend that this is true. Some people and organizations take this rule and weaken it;e.g. "Treat all guns as if they were loaded." Unfortunately, the "as if" compromises the directness of the statement by implying that they are unloaded, but we will treat them as though they are loaded. No good! Safety rules must be worded forcefully so that they are never treated lightly or reduced to partial compliance. All guns are always loaded - period!


This must be your mind-set. If someone hands you a firearm and says, "Don't worry, it's not loaded," you do not dare believe him. You need not be impolite, but check it yourself. Remember, there are no accidents, only negligent acts. Check it. Do not let yourself fall prey to a situation where you might feel compelled to squeal, "I didn't know it was loaded!"


RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY

Conspicuously and continuously violated, especially with pistols, Rule II applies whether you are involved in range practice, daily carry, or examination. If the weapon is assembled and in someone's hands, it is capable of being discharged. A firearm holstered properly, lying on a table, or placed in a scabbard is of no danger to anyone. Only when handled is there a need for concern. This rule applies to fighting as well as to daily handling. If you are not willing to take a human life, do not cover a person with the muzzle. This rule also applies to your own person. Do not allow the muzzle to cover your extremities, e.g. using both hands to reholster the pistol. This practice is unsound, both procedurally and tactically. You may need a free hand for something important. Proper holster design should provide for one-handed holstering, so avoid holsters which collapse after withdrawing the pistol. (Note: It is dangerous to push the muzzle against the inside edge of the holster nearest the body to "open" it since this results in your pointing the pistol at your midsection.) Dry-practice in the home is a worthwhile habit and it will result in more deeply programmed reflexes. Most of the reflexes involved in the Modern Technique do not require that a shot be fired. Particular procedures for dry-firing in the home will be covered later. Let it suffice for now that you do not dry-fire using a "target" that you wish not to see destroyed. (Recall RULE I as well.)


Rule III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

Rule III is violated most anytime the uneducated person handles a firearm. Whether on TV, in the theaters, or at the range, people seem fascinated with having their finger on the trigger. Never stand or walk around with your finger on the trigger. It is unprofessional, dangerous, and, perhaps most damaging to the psyche, it is klutzy looking. Never fire a shot unless the sights are superimposed on the target and you have made a conscious decision to fire. Firing an unaligned pistol in a fight gains nothing. If you believe that the defensive pistol is only an intimidation tool - not something to be used - carry blanks, or better yet, reevaluate having one around. If you are going to launch a projectile, it had best be directed purposely. Danger abounds if you allow your finger to dawdle inside the trigger guard. As soon as the sights leave the target, the trigger-finger leaves the trigger and straightens alongside the frame. Since the hand normally prefers to work as a unit - as in grasping - separating the function of the trigger-finger from the rest of the hand takes effort. The five-finger grasp is a deeply programmed reflex. Under sufficient stress, and with the finger already placed on the trigger, an unexpected movement, misstep or surprise could result in a negligent discharge. Speed cannot be gained from such a premature placement of the trigger-finger. Bringing the sights to bear on the target, whether from the holster or the Guard Position, takes more time than that required for moving the trigger finger an inch or so to the trigger.


RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET

Know what it is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified. Be aware of your surroundings, whether on the range or in a fight. Do not assume anything. Know what you are doing.


SUMMARY:Make these rules a part of your character. Never compromise them. Improper gun handling results from ignorance and improper role modeling, such as handling your gun like your favorite actor does. Education can cure this. You can make a difference by following these gun handling rules and insisting that those around you do the same. Set the example. Who knows what tragedies you, or someone you influence, may prevent?