Alpha Foxtrot 4 PRIMARY RULES OF FIREARM SAFETY
1. Always Keep Firearm Pointed in a Safe direction
Never point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot. This is particularly important when loading or unloading a firearm. In the event of an accidental discharge, no injury can occur if the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction.
A safe direction means a direction in which a bullet cannot possibly strike anyone, considering possible ricochets and the fact that bullets can penetrate walls and ceilings. The safe direction may be “up” on some occasions or “down” on others, but never at anything not intended as a target. Even when “dry firing” with an unloaded gun, you should never point the gun at an unsafe target.
Make it a habit to know exactly where the muzzle of your gun is pointing and be sure that you are in control of the direction the muzzle is pointing, even if you fall or stumble. This is your responsibility, and only you can control it.
2. Treat All Guns as Though They are Loaded
By treating every firearm as if it is loaded, a habit of safety is developed. Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. Whenever you handle a firearm, or hand it to someone, always open the action immediately, and visually check the chamber, receiver, and magazine to be certain they do not contain any ammunition. Always keep actions open when not in use. Never assume a gun is unloaded — check for yourself! This is considered a mark of an experienced gun handler!
3. Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger until You are Ready to Shoot
Never touch the trigger on a firearm until you intend to shoot. Keep your fingers away from the trigger while loading or unloading.
4. Always Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Beyond It
Don’t shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike. Be sure that your bullet will not injure anyone or anything beyond your target.
Be aware that even a .22 short bullet can travel over 1 1/4 miles and a high velocity cartridge, such as a .30-06, can send its bullet more than three miles. Shotgun pellets can travel 500 yards, and shotgun slugs have a range of over half a mile.
You should keep in mind how far a bullet will travel if it misses your intended target or ricochets in another direction.
Follow the safety procedures outlined here, develop safe shooting habits, and remember, firearm safety is up to you.