Firearms Safety

posted November 29th, 2012 by John B.

Firearm Safety is a must. 

The following are the 4 simple USMC rules of firearms. Since every Marine is a rifleman first, these rules are learned by every Marine at Boot Camp.  All other branches of the military, police departments, and civilian gun ranges have their versions of these rules, but these are the complete set.

1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded, regardless of perceived or actual condition.  Never assume (making an “ASS” out of “U” and “ME”) that a weapon is in a safe and/or unloaded.  Many accidents happen by not following this first simple rule.  Every time you touch a weapon you should go through the motions of making sure the weapon is cleared by checking the ammunition delivery system, the bolt action (slide) area, and the internal barrel area. When a Marine hands a weapon to another, they do so by holding on to the front end of the weapon and handing the pointed at themselves in the exchange.  They are so sure that the weapon is cleared that they willing to have it pointed at them during the exchange.

2. Keep weapons pointed in a safe direction at all times.  Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot (destroy).  A safe direction means where the gun is pointed, so that even if it were to go off, that it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle (front end of the barrel) is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.  It usually is straight up in the air when hunting or down range when on a shooting range.

3. Keep your weapon on “safe” until aimed in on target and the decision to shoot has been made.  Never select “fire” until you are sure you are just about to fire the weapon.   Some weapons don’t have a safety (or it is an internal mechanism), so rule #2 is a must.  If a weapon has a safety selector this is the best use for it.

4. Keep your finger straight and outside the trigger guard, indexed along the frame, until the decision to shoot has been made.  There is no reason your finger should ever be on the trigger unless you are about to fire.

Every time I’m shown a well-armed deployed military group photo my eyes are always first drawn to every finger straight and off the trigger.  I scan the picture at every weapon and then I look for the friends I know.  I have yet to find a military group picture with a finger on the trigger.  That always makes me happy that we have a well-trained military force.  As a Marine, I always look for the same when I see Hollywood make a military picture.  I can’t say the same for group pictures of some of my hunter friends.  I never say anything to them, because I view firearm safety as my second nature.  Most hunters I know are alpha-male types and are not very conducive to corrective firearm training and education.  Train like you are going to fight and fight like I have trained.

Keeping Guns Safe At Home

No matter the size, gauge or variety, all guns are powerful tools and they need to be safely stored. For security purposes, any weapon should be respected for the danger it may present to others and should be secured. The first thing you should consider is safety; the second is accessibility, especially in an emergency situation. 

A Gun Safe is the safest and most secure way to store personal weapons, lockers prevent unauthorized access to weapons by keeping them behind lock and key. If you’re a family man and you have children or teens in the home, it’s the best option.

Trigger and cable locks.  These locks are great for short term solutions, but shouldn’t be your main or only safety option as they can easily be bypassed. These devices used together are the second safest way to store your handguns.  There are other devices on the market for rifles and shotguns.  Trigger & cable locks used in conjuntion with safes is the optimal safety.

Firearm knowledge and education.  This should always be your first and foremost safety method. The more you (and your whole family) know about the weapons in your home, the more respect for them you’ll have as a tool. Naturally, kids will be curious about guns and that’s good, as long as they grow up to respect and utilize guns properly. If you respect your tools, your children will too.

Unsecured guns are an invitation anda sure formula for disaster in the home. The statistics of accidental shootings in the home from an unsecured firearm in the home is a totally preventable statistic. 


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