Fire Arm Safety Rules
About Guns, New Gun, Training & Handling

Firearm Safety Rules

I think women are just inherently safety conscious. We are always looking out for the safety of others and have a very healthy fear of “dangerous” things. Women and gun safety naturally fit together. Now, don’t get cocky! Even though we have a natural predisposition to safety, we still need to practice the firearm safety rules. It is! Actually, we as women shooters need to adopt the gun safety rules into every aspect of our lives as women gun owners.

These basic rules codified by Jeff Cooper are universal. They apply to EVERYONE and they apply ALWAYS! No matter how experienced a shooter and no matter what the circumstances. ALWAYS.



The Gun Safety Rules Are:

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 until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

There are also secondary gun dangers, learn more here



loading cylinder

All guns are always loaded – period!

This firearm safety rule must be your mindset. Treat any and all guns as if they have are loaded. If someone hands you a gun and says, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded,” do NOT believe them, no matter who it is. Whenever a gun is transferred from one person to another, have the owner remove the magazine, lock open the chamber, and show you the empty gun. With a revolver, have them open the cylinder and remove any rounds. When you accept the gun, assume the gun is loaded and check it yourself. Remember, there are no accidents, there is only negligence.



Naturally, if firearm safety Rule 1 applies ALWAYS, firearm safety Rule 2 applies EVERYWHERE. Whether at the practice range, in your daily carry, examination or cleaning. When you holster a gun properly, lay it on a table, or store it properly, the gun poses no danger to anyone. Gun handling creates that risk. This rule of keeping the muzzle (front) pointing in a safe direction applies in self-defense, practice and daily handling. The muzzle of a firearm shall never point at anything you are not willing to destroy. If you are not willing to take a human life, do not point the muzzle at a person, including yourself! Do not allow the muzzle to point at your extremities, for example using both hands to re-holster your firearm. This is an unsafe practice. A well-designed hostler will accommodate one-handed holstering, so avoid holsters which collapse after withdrawing the gun. Safe Dry-fire practice with an empty gun at home is a good habit and highly recommended.


gun safetyRule 3 is violated when any uneducated person handles a firearm. Since the hand naturally tries to work as a unit – as in grasping – separating the function of the trigger-finger from the rest of the hand takes effort. This firearm safety rule covers when drawing your gun, or picking it up, place your “trigger finger”, your index finger, straight along the side of the gun frame. Do NOT allow your finger to move into the trigger guard until you have your target sighted. Never fire a shot until you superimpose you sights on the target and make the decision to fire. Allowing your finger to settle inside the trigger guard before you are ready to shoot is extremely dangerous.

Once you move the gun sights off of the target, the trigger-finger leaves the trigger and straightens alongside the frame once again. Under stress, and with the finger prematurely placed on the trigger, an unexpected movement, misstep or surprise could result in a negligent discharge. This rule applies any time you handle a gun. Practice placing your trigger finger extended along the frame to help minimize the natural tendency to slide the finger into the trigger guard. Please remember that safety requires that you keep your finger off the trigger when posing for photographs.



woman on target

The last firearm safety rule: Know what your target is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it.

Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified. Remember – in many cases, the bullet does not stop with your target and can pass through both interior and exterior walls. In self-defense situations, always be aware of what or who may be behind your target and then assess the risk of hitting an innocent bystander. You may need to adjust your line of fire to avoid hitting others. You must assess the deadly threat from your attacker with the deadly threat from your bullets to others. Be keenly aware of your surroundings, whether on the range or in a life-threatening altercation. Do not assume anything.


Find out more about safety in are safety section of the website: Firearm Safety  

or discover more about how the actual gun works by reading Making the Decision: Part 3 – Let’s Learn About Guns

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13 thoughts on “Firearm Safety Rules

  1. It’s great that you elaborated on never keeping your finger on a gun’s trigger. I heard that my cousin is purchasing his first gun in a few weeks, so I think he’d benefit from following your safety advice. I appreciate your information on firearm safety guidelines to follow by the book.

  2. Olivia Smart says:

    Thank you for explaining that you should always be careful about where you point the muzzle of the gun. My dad is trying to teach me gun safety and taking me to a firing range. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind, even when the gun is unloaded.

  3. Patti Butzlaff says:

    I read an article of a man who responded to a shooter in a mall. The “hero” fired 8 shots at 40 feet away to take the shooter out. All I could think of was that this was in a mall. Lots of people. 8 shots at 40 feet seemed to me to be of danger to other bystanders nearby or even behind this shooter. I am not sure I think the “hero” was acting responsibly.

    1. Mike says:

      The shooter was a bigger threat to innocent bystanders.

  4. Anna Collins says:

    My brother recently got his permit for concealed carry and bought a handgun for self-defense, so he plans on taking proper lessons to handle it safely. I’m glad that this article talked about how keeping your mind thinking that all guns are always loaded is an important firearm safety rule since accidents may happen if you’re not careful in handling them. Hopefully, my brother finds a good gun shop that provides firearm safety training.

  5. An excellent reminder that we should think before we act. Always keep an eye on your target and its surroundings. Someone could be in the “area” besides, to the side, or behind the target.

  6. Tom says:

    Hollow point bullets greatly reduce the risk of over-penetration, but it is not a 100% guarantee. So you still need to be sure, not only of the target, but what is beyond it.

    I have known a couple of law enforcement officers who had to shoot in the line of duty, and they said that during the investigations that followed, the detectives asked them, “What was your backstop?”

  7. That’s a great tip, to always assume that a gun is loaded and when handed back one to make sure they show that it really is empty of any ammunition. I certainly wish we can remember this, cause most of the time we tend to forget depending on the situation.

  8. Bryson Owens says:

    It’s so smart to always act like every gun is always loaded no matter what. My parents are giving me my grandpa’s old rifle soon but I don’t know how to use it. I’ll try to take some safety classes so that my family and I can be safe around the gun.

  9. Tristan Stewart says:

    I love the mindset that everything you point the gun at, you should expect to destroy. That way, you only point the gun at things like targets for practice and never ever point it at another person. I want to teach my kids how to use a firearm and I know how important safety is while doing this.

  10. Tristan Stewart says:

    I love that you talked about acting as if the gun is always loaded and ready to fire. That way, you never point it at yourself or others because that can cause serious problems. I want to take my kids hunting with me but first I need to teach them how to be ultra-safe around firearms.

  11. Trevor Hall says:

    My wife and I want to purchase a firearm soon so that we can protect our home from intruders. There have been a few break-ins lately and I don’t want that to happen to us without protection. I’ll always remember to assume the gun is loaded so I don’t treat it improperly.

  12. Lyla Peterson says:

    It’s good to know that you should keep your finger off of the trigger until you have your target sighted. I have been considering going to a recreational shooting range with my father for his birthday. I will keep these safety tips in mind to ensure nothing is damaged or injured.

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