Cardinal Rules of Safe Gun Handling
- Always treat all firearms as if they were loaded.
- Never allow the muzzle of any firearm to point at anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Never put your finger near the trigger until you are ready to fire. Do not depend on any mechanical device for safety.
- Always be sure of your target, and what is behind and in front of it.
Special Range Rules for Safe Practical Shooting
- Never allow your muzzle to point up-range past 90 degrees to the median intercept of the backstop or above the top of the backstop in any direction. Observe the 180 degree rule at all times, and keep your muzzle pointed downrange or in a designated safe direction whenever your weapon is uncased or unholstered.
- All pistols are to remain holstered, unloaded with the magazine removed and the hammer down on an empty chamber at all times unless specifically directed by a range official or at a designated safe handling area provided for that purpose.
- Never handle ammunition in the safe handling area. The safe handling area is for uncasing, holstering, dry firing and maintenance of completely unloaded firearms only.
- Never leave the firing line without unloading and showing clear to your designated range officer or instructor.
- Never allow the muzzle of your firearm to point towards any part of your body.
- Always make sure the action is open and magazine is removed, and physically and visually check the magazine well and chamber to verify the weapon is unloaded before handing it to or receiving it from another person.
- Always wear effective eye and hearing protection at all times on the range.
- Never handle firearms when under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
- Always keep your trigger finger straight along side the frame and completely out of the trigger guard at all times when handling any firearm unless you have decided to fire and are actively engaging a target. Remember: “On target, on trigger / off target, off trigger.”
- Always holster a safe weapon. Make sure your handgun is safe by decocking the hammer or applying the safety as required before holstering.
- Never leave the range with a holstered weapon. Case and secure your weapon at the safe handling area before leaving the range for any reason.
- Handling any firearm must always be performed carefully with a serious mind and a full grasp of the potential consequences. Never participate in or tolerate horseplay, carelessness or needless gun handling when firearms are present.
- You are the only person responsible for your safety and the safety of others whenever you choose to handle any firearm.