I know many of you have heard me talk about these before. Especially if you have already taken one of my classes. But honestly they are one of the most important things that you can learn. If you follow these 3 Basic Firearm Safety Rules you will never accidentally hurt someone.
1) ALWAYS KEEP THE FIREARM POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION
First thing to decide is what is a safe direction? Well that depends on where you are. A safe direction is a any direction where if the gun went off the bullet would not hit someone. So if you are outside, then the ground or towards a hill or your range backstop. If you are inside this could be down at the floor, (unless there are rooms below you that might have people, or a cement wall, or a wall in your house that you know faces a direction where there are no other people or homes. Up in the air is NEVER a safe direction. "What goes up must come down" and if you accidentally shoot a bullet into the air you have no idea where that bullet will come back down or who or what it might hit.
2) ALWAYS KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT
This is in my opinion the most important of the 3 rules, but must be used in combination with the first to guarantee that no one one will ever get accidentally hurt with a firearm. What this rule means is that you should never ever under any circumstances put your finer on the trigger until you are 100% ready to shoot the firearm. You finger should stay up above the trigger guard alone the frame of the gun whenever it is in your hand. Whether you are simply carrying a gun you KNOW to be empty across the room, or whether you are investigating a strange noise you heard in your home in the middle of the night, or engaged in an actual active shooter situation and you have your gun drawn, your finger should never be on the trigger. Only when you have a target that you are pointing at, whether that be paper or a threat, and you are 100% sure you are going to shoot that target then and only then should you move you finger down to the trigger and squeeze.
If you keep your finger off the trigger it can never go off accidentally. Things happen, we make mistakes or get startled, especially in a high adrenaline or fear situation like hearing noises in your home, or being shot at, and if in these situations your finger is on the trigger, and something startles you, you are most likely going to pull that trigger out of reflex, and who know who or what you are going to hit.
3) ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GUNS UNLOADED UNTIL READY TO USE
This applies to firearms that you are not carrying on your person. So if for example you own a couple of pistols and a couple of rifles. The only firearm that should be loaded is the one you are carrying on you for self defense, or the one you setup on your night stand in case you hear something during the night. In the morning if you are not going to be taking the firearm with you you should unload the firearm and lock it away. If you are carrying it with you, you can leave it loaded but it must remain in your direct control the entire time it is with you.
If you follow this rule you can never have someone else gain unauthorized access to your firearms and accidentally shoot themselves or others.
There is also one more rule I like to add on in addition to the 3, and that is to Know your target and what is beyond your target, what this means, is that bullets travel very far and very fast, things like regular home walls will not stop them, Even 1/4 inch steal plates do not stop some bullets. When you are shooting you need to always pay attention to what you are shooting at, and what is around and behind that target. We are not special forces, and in the heat of the moment we may not hit what we are aiming at, so you need to pay attention to what is around and behind the target, whether that target is another person who is trying to shoot at you, or a paper target nailed to a tree.
"A gun is a tool. No better or worse than any other tool: An axe, a shovel, or anything. A gun is only as good or as bad at the man using it."
Please remember these rules and practice them diligently every time you touch a firearm.
Stay Safe and Be Ready