Protecting myself and those I care about is what first interested me about firearms. Given my aim of being more secure in more scenarios, it’d be ironic–and even quite ridiculous –of me not to take gun safety incredibly seriously.

Irrespective of what resulted in your involvement with firearms, if you came from a similar place like me or not, after gun safety rules is a necessity.

Within this guide, I’ll be covering the 4 worldwide gun safety principle and describing the importance of each. I’ll then go on to bring a number of additional rules I’ve picked up in my entire life I think everyone else can benefit from.

Top Gun Safety Rules

If you have ever been to a gun range, chances are you’ve noticed these rules plastered on the wall someplace or been required to watch instruction explaining them.

Treat all guns as though they are constantly loaded.
Never allow the muzzle point at anything which you are not prepared to destroy.
Be sure of your target and what’s behind it.
You should ALWAYS follow every single one of those rules, however I need to touch on every individually and explain how these principles will help protect you if you forget to do another one of these. In the (hopefully) unlikely event you catch yourself breaking one of these rules, be sure to generate a mental note of it so you can avoid doing this in the future.

1) Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.

Rules like this may look like common sense. Shockingly, not everyone intuits things like never pointing a gun in themselves or their buddies.

“Fixing all firearms as though they are constantly loaded” is largely meant to ensure you follow another 3 gun safety rules, no matter the condition of the weapon.

If you follow our extra rules, you need to always know whether your gun is loaded or not. With that being said, people are forgetful and crazy mishaps occur; therefore you still need to treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, as it really could be. I’d even argue that many seasoned gun owners can be careless than newbies about ensuring their firearms are cleared after use.

2) Never let the muzzle point at anything you are not willing to destroy.

Every year, people shoot themselves or others unintentionally, though mercifully these figures have steady been trending down. Aside from”freak accidents” such as ricochets (where in all likelihood the shooter likely didn’t follow the subsequent two safety rules), this implies that they probably broke the 2nd rule of gun safety.

I don’t think I need to go into much explanation on how ANY gun may kill someone shot by it or damage anything that comes into contact with.

As you ought to always additionally follow Rule 3, you shouldn’t presume that you or somebody else will continue to keep their finger off the trigger. Even if you/they do, you do not wish to become a part of a remarkably improbable gun malfunction that contributes to something or somebody unintentionally getting shot.

3) Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you have made the decision to shoot.

By this point you’re probably beginning to see how these rules work together, possibly avoiding a tragedy if you break another one of them. Don’t EVER point a gun at something you don’t want to destroy, but in the event that you erroneously do, and your finger is off the trigger, you are not as inclined to take that thing.

Trigger discipline, as it is known, is incredibly important to generate a habit of. It’s vitally important in recreational shooting and also very critical at a high-pressure defensive scenario. Simply because you draw your firearm for self-defense, does not necessarily mean you would like to shoot.

Good Trigger Discipline

4) Be sure of your target and what is behind it.

This is another rule that applies to recreational shooting and defensive situations. You may have also heard it as”always understand your backstop”.

When shooting recreationally, you need to always have a backstop supporting your targets to stop any missed shots or shots that permeate your targets. If you’re shooting at a private or public shooting range and also follow rule 3, then you should be safe.

Outdoor Gun Range With Good Backstop

In self-defense scenarios, this rule could be more difficult to assess and follow the fly. It is important to identify your target, be certain that you want to have a shot, and also know what lies behind your target. Even in the event that you reach your target, an over-penetrating bullet may hit what you don’t mean to take. Always make sure there are no innocent bystanders behind (or infront) of your target.

More Gun Safety Rules You Should Follow

Even though the above rules ought to keep you secure the vast majority of this moment, there’s some other rules I follow which can keep everybody be more safe.

A number of these might feel a bit obvious or even redundant, but I believe they are all important to know and follow.

The final point to notice is these are not necessarily in any specific order of significance, so read and follow all them!

5) Don’t handle firearms when depressed or angry.

This principle is a really serious one I do not often see listed on firearm safety guides.

Those feeling depressed or angry are more likely to commit suicide and homicide. While the massive bulk of legal firearm owners will never do either of those things and I don’t think that it’s an excuse to take away our 2A rights, I think this matter is crucial to discuss.

Irrespective of whether firearms are possessed legally or not, gun suicide victims have outnumbered gun homicide victims in most years since 1968.

If you are in a bad mental condition, you ought to seek assistance and make firearms inaccessible to yourself.

6)”Clear” a firearm anytime you touch .

The moment you get a firearm, with no immediate intention to take it, the first thing you should do is ensure that it is empty. For semi-automatic firearms, launch the magazine, then inspect the room to ensure that it’s empty.

It’s also advisable to always try this before leaving the range or putting away your firearm.

At this point, it’s become instinctual for me to do this 99 percent of the time the moment I touch a firearm.

Despite this being a fantastic rule to follow, you still need to treat all firearms as if they were loaded if they have been cleared.

7) Don’t rely on your gun’s safety.

As you should still treat all guns as though they are loaded even after clearing them, the usage of a gun’s safety isn’t a excuse to disregard the other principles on this list. Even with your gun’s fire controllers in the”safe” place, malfunctions can nevertheless take place.

If we are being honest with ourselves, we’ve also all forgotten to flip to”Safe” on more than one occasion.

8) Be sure that your barrel is clear of any obstructions before use.

This naturally doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use your gun’s safety, just that it shouldn’t be the only thing preventing a firearm related accident.

I mainly shoot pistols and AR-style rifles, so here’s my process before using those:

Instantly field strip your pistol into the point you are able to eliminate your barrel, then ensure there are no obstructions.

AR-Style Rifles
Eliminate the upper receiver in the lower receiver. Ensure there are no obstacles.

9) Always wear ear and eye protection.

Regardless of what style firearm you’re using, never look down the barrel out of where the bullet exits, particularly if it is connected to the remainder of your firearm. For other firearm platforms, study the way to safely assess your barrel.

Nearly all firearms may cause irreversible hearing damage when not using proper hearing protection.

Shooting glasses may protect you from shrapnel and hot ejected casings.

If you’re shooting a public or privately owned range (that you pay to use), they usually do and should ask that you put these on before going into the area where firearms have been taken.

10) Know your firearm.

I’m very much not a fan of people buying firearms then simply setting them away in the event of a house invasion.

This means reading the owners manual thoroughly and regularly practicing with your gun at the range. Standard range time will even help you internalize appropriate safety practices.

If you are new to firearms, it is also a wonderful idea to take classes on firearm safety and working on a firearm.

11) You can’t safely use an unsafe gun.

If your gun isn’t in proper working condition, it can not be used safely.

As the prior rule stated, it’s essential to be familiar with your firearm. You should also regularly wash and service your firearm to ensure its in proper working order.

12) Know what to do when your gun fails to fire.

If you suspect some issues with your firearm, take it into a certified gunsmith. I would also recommend using a gunsmith look at it frequently after every few thousand rounds or each year.

If you have pulled the cause of your own firearm and it failed to fire, then the first step would be to keep it pointed in a safe direction for 30 minutes. This will keep you safe in case of a”hangfire” or delayed discharge.

After 30 seconds, remove and dispose of the cartridge in a secure way. Don’t pull the trigger before removing the capsule.

13) Make a habit of safely removing your holstered handgun.

For all those of you who concealed carry or just use holsters, make a custom of safely putting away your firearm. When not practicing drawing your firearm under secure conditions (dry fire or live clinic at the range), remove the entire holster with your firearm still in it before removing the firearm in the holster.

Though you should practice drawing on your firearm from a holster, its not mandatory when its loaded and you are in the home.

Employing ammunition that is not designed to be used by your firearm can result in a catastrophic malfunction that may result in serious bodily harm. ALWAYS carefully read the owner’s manuals to your firearms and just use the ammunition listed.

For those of you who frequently shoot different calibers, you may want to consider using colour coded tape or rubber bands for the firearms and magazines. This could help remind you that ammunition to use.

Faxon has introduced this as a product, using color-coded and tagged rifle caliber marker bands–although you can also simply use regular rubber rings. Another choice is to use a marker to label everything.

15) Don’t handle firearms under the influence.

In most areas it is illegal to own a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. No matter doing so is a really poor idea.

Also bear in mind the consequences of any prescription medication you take. Some may prevent you from safely handling a firearm.

16) Store firearms safely.

How to store firearms is among the more controversial subjects surround firearm safety. The reason for this can be many firearm owners wish to ensure their firearms are readily available for protecting themselves, while some people today advocate extremely strict storage practices.

1 thing we should all be able to agree upon is that firearms shouldn’t be accessible to unauthorized users.

For those of you with kids or who have kids visiting your residence, this possibly even more significant. Children are at risk for inadvertent firearm related injuries. Project Child Safe has some great in-depth information for keeping kids safe from firearms.

If you bring guns to the scope, make certain to always have them at an assortment bag or case. Don’t remove them in the case till you’re in your shooting bay. This prevents you away from”flagging” others in the scope. This is a rule at most ranges and when it is not, it should be. Once you’ve unloaded your firearms, you can then move your bags from the way.


This article wasn’t meant to scare you about what can go wrong using firearms, but rather to help teach you how to use them safely. Following these principles and others like them can make it possible for you to safely enjoy using firearms your entire life.

As a final note, keep in mind that”everybody is a range safety officer”. Be sure to call out dangerous practices and report them to your range safety officer. Those of us who don’t follow proper gun safety set not only themselves, but also you and others at risk.