NRA’s Three Safety Rules

NRA's Three Safety Rules
NRA's Three Safety Rules

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

Here is a 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.