NRA's Three Safety Rules
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Thread: NRA's Three Safety Rules

  1. #1

    NRA's Three Safety Rules

    New to firearms or want a quick refresher on general firearm safety?

    Brief discussion regarding NRA's Three Gun Safety Rules:

    Gun Safety Rule #1: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

    Your gun should only be pointed in a direction that, if it were to be fired, the bullet would not impact anything you would not want to damage or destroy.


    (1) If on a range, keep the gun's muzzle (end of the barrel where the bullet comes out) pointed down range. 'Down range' is the direction your gun should be pointed if you are standing at the firing line and facing your targets.

    (2) If manipulating the gun in your hands, do not 'sweep' any part of your body with the muzzle.

    (3) If drawing the gun from a holster, do not cant the gun towards your legs. If adjusting a front sight, do not allow your hand or fingers to dip in front of the muzzle. If handing the gun to someone else, keep the gun pointed in a safe direction such as down at the ground. Observe this rule when cleaning your gun to reinforce the discipline.

    Imagine a mile-long steel rod protruding from your gun's barrel. As you move the gun around, where is the rod pointing? This is the 'kill path'.

    All other safety rules are layered upon this fundamental rule!


    Gun Safety Rule #2: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

    Your trigger finger is your primary gun safety device.


    (1) Your finger should be on the trigger only when your sights are on a target that you are ready to damage or destroy.

    (2) Never move locations with your finger on the trigger. If changing firing positions, remove your finger from the trigger area during movement; return the finger to the trigger once your sights are on the next target.

    (3) The appropriate location for your trigger finger when not firing is above the trigger housing and parallel with the barrel. This is also a visible safety indicator to others around you.

    If you fail at this rule, Rule #1 will ensure that you do not negligently shoot anything that you are not willing to damage or destroy.


    Gun Safety Rule #3: ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

    To unload (clear) a gun:


    (1) Engage external safety device if possible.

    (2) Remove magazine OR clip (they are not the same!).

    (3) Open the action. The action is the gun's mechanical component that 'takes action' when you pull the trigger. (Handgun: lock the slide back / Revolver: swing open the revolving cylinder.) Note that some models will eject a loaded cartridge/shell when the action is opened.

    (4) Look into the action and ensure that there is no ammunition in the chamber(s) / lodged in the internal part of the barrel. The chamber is the part of the gun that stores the loaded cartridge(s) waiting to be fired. (Revolver: each cylinder has multiple chambers).

    (5) Look again into the action & chamber(s) to check for ammo. If possible, ask someone else for a confirmation. If in low light conditions, stick your little finger into the chamber area to verify.

    If you carry a weapon for duty purposes, your carry weapon is 'ready to use' while on duty. If you are permitted to carry concealed, your personal defense weapon is 'ready to use' when holstered. If positioning a firearm for home defense, your gun is 'ready to use' when it can be quickly accessed to respond to a threat while properly stored to prevent misuse. If shooting competitively, your firearm is 'ready for use' when the target range is declared hot and you are waiting on the start signal.


    If you fail at this rule, Rule #1 & 2 will ensure that you do not negligently shoot anything that you are not willing to damage or destroy.

  2.   
  3. #2
    It is amazing the number of shooters, even seasoned instructors that get complacent with these safety rules after shooting for a while. Good post.
    .... And let the one having no sword sell his outer garment and buy one. ~God
    http://www.cjdefense.com/ Wisconsin

  4. #3

    Great advice

    I am in Iowa and will be getting my permit to carry next week. These tips are superior advice. I'd love to see more.

  5. #4
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regular_Joe View Post
    If you carry a weapon for duty purposes, your carry weapon is 'ready to use' while on duty. If you are permitted to carry concealed, your personal defense weapon is 'ready to use' when holstered. If positioning a firearm for home defense, your gun is 'ready to use' when it can be quickly accessed to respond to a threat while properly stored to prevent misuse. If shooting competitively, your firearm is 'ready for use' when the target range is declared hot and you are waiting on the start signal.
    So if you don't carry your gun with one in the chamber when holstered while concealed carrying you are breaking rule number 3?

    I want to make sure that I am comprehending what it says. As I carry with one in the chamber as that is how my Glock likes to be carried.

  6. #5
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    i have had many hours of training including as a reserve cop. i also am critical of myself at times thinking perhaps i could have been safer. i kind of think that we should all look at how we handle our guns and constantly strive to be as safe as possible. im not paranoid as ive been around guns all my life but a dose of "i could have done better" is healthy. it would keep us having fun, keep everyone safe, and give the anti-gun nuts something less to talk about.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalicoJack10 View Post
    It is amazing the number of shooters, even seasoned instructors that get complacent with these safety rules after shooting for a while. Good post.
    Amen! I have found that new shooters are pretty good with remembering to keep your booger hook off the bang switch but experienced hunters here in the Tetons that are getting formal training for the first time have a tough time breaking 20+ year bad habits.

    I also encourage frequent press checks.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Shootinjh View Post
    Amen! keep your booger hook off the bang switch
    Every once in a while something comes along that just sits me down with tears in my eyes laughing. That did it. I am stealing that and using it.
    .... And let the one having no sword sell his outer garment and buy one. ~God
    http://www.cjdefense.com/ Wisconsin

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasper View Post
    So if you don't carry your gun with one in the chamber when holstered while concealed carrying you are breaking rule number 3?

    I want to make sure that I am comprehending what it says. As I carry with one in the chamber as that is how my Glock likes to be carried.
    Excellent question - we hear this often. Response: "...your personal defense weapon is 'ready to use' when holstered." When I am carrying concealed, it is 'ready to use' - the chamber has #18 (#'s 1-17 are in my M&P's magazine). It is a personal choice, but if you are living in a location that permits citizens to carry a personal defense handgun, I believe it should be carried with a cartridge loaded into the chamber. Seems to be the best tactical and logistical option.

    ChamberedorNot3.mp4 video by crw0000 - Photobucket

    I like your phrase "as that is how my Glock likes to be carried"!

  10. #9
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    I live by four rules, my dad made me memorize this before he let me near a gun:
    1. All guns are loaded until YOU personally verify
    2. Don't point a gun at anything YOU are not ready or willing to destroy
    3. Don't put your finger on the trigger till YOU are ready to destroy the target
    4. Know what is beyond the target.
    "You can get a lot accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit" - Ronald Reagan

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by fuhr52 View Post
    I live by four rules, my dad made me memorize this before he let me near a gun:
    1. All guns are loaded until YOU personally verify
    2. Don't point a gun at anything YOU are not ready or willing to destroy
    3. Don't put your finger on the trigger till YOU are ready to destroy the target
    4. Know what is beyond the target.
    Sounds like your dad was a defensive handgun dude!
    Jeff Cooper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Jeff Cooper established many of the fundamental protocols behind defensive use of a handgun. Cooper's 4 safety rules:

    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
    4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

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