Handgun Safety


Handgun Safety – Safety with handguns is one of the most critical aspects of handgun training. Because of the size and portability of handguns, they are prone to being inadvertently pointed in directions that the possessor does not intentionally desire. Often when an individual is addressed while holding a handgun, he or she will turn to face the person speaking and thereby accidentally point the pistol at that individual or some other unsuspecting person on the range. For that reason, shooters must always be aware of the muzzle orientation of their pistol, keep their finger off the trigger unless firing the weapon, and if possible, safe the pistol and return it to the holster or render it safe and point it in a safe direction when interacting with others that are not hostile.

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded …AT ALL TIMES!
  • Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you are aiming at your target and ready to shoot.
  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Never point your firearm at anything that you are not willing to destroy. 
  • Know your target, foreground, background, left, and right. Be aware of the ballistic capability of your weapon and the backstop. Ask yourself what your bullet will hit if it misses or goes through the target. Never shoot at hard, flat surfaces or water…bullets can and will ricochet.
  • Always keep the safety in the “SAFE” position, especially when the firearm is loaded and cocked, until you are ready to fire.
  • Always keep and carry your firearm with an empty chamber until you intend to shoot unless you have received the proper instruction by a qualified instructor, and you have a need. Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
  • Always wear hearing and eye protection when shooting.
  • Discharging firearms in poorly ventilated areas, cleaning firearms, or handling ammunition may result in exposure to lead, a substance known to be associated with birth defects, reproductive harm, and other serious injury. Have adequate ventilation at all times and wash hands after handling. Wear rubber/latex gloves while cleaning to prevent absorption of chemicals present in the process.
  • Be sure that your barrel is clear of obstructions, including excessive oil, grease, cleaning patches, etc before shooting.
  • Use only clean, high quality factory loaded ammunition in good condition.
  • Do not alter or modify your firearm, have work that is needed to keep the firearm in working order done by a qualified gunsmith.
  • Do not try to change your firearm’s trigger pull, because alterations of trigger pull can affect sear engagement and might cause accidental firing.
  • Securely store firearms and ammunition separately, and beyond children’s reach.
  • Understand the procedures for when a firearm or ammunition malfunction for a safe remedy to the issue.

“Down Range” is an administratively designated area where projectiles are intended to impact. Conditions and range status will identify it is a direction where a firearm may or may not be safely pointed and discharged.

“Safe Direction” is a direction in which a firearm is pointed where a negligent or accidental discharge cannot harm personnel or equipment.

*Down Range is not always a safe direction! Observe your surrounding and act accordingly.

There is no training event worth losing a life over.