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Firearms Safety Rules

Updated: Feb 15, 2022

When people talk about safety and firearms often they are discussing it from the perspective of storage, hunting, or some other broad societal concept. When we are discussing firearm safety rules here at Braveheart it is more of an inside out process that should effect how you use and store your firearm in any circumstance. My aim here is to outline firearm safety rules as a practical utility of safe firearms handling and use, but also to lead into how these safety rules drive the proper mentality as a shooter becomes more invested in the use of their firearms.

So let's dive in and get started. There are at least 4 major universal safety rules, and there are some basic ways of detailing these safety rules, but as I stated above I want to use these rules to help build on the purpose of firearms with intentionality to help make safe and effective shooters no matter what you are using firearms for now verses what you will get into in the future. All shooting disciplines use and require the knowledge of these safety rules.

1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded (and know its condition)

This safety rule is first for a very good reason. Every person that owns and uses firearms or are around them often need to have the mindset that every firearm they see is loaded or could be loaded. The assumption is always that any firearm you come across is ready to shoot by depressing the trigger. This mindset will ensure that you treat the firearm with the most respect possible and you will be paying close attention to what it looks like, where it is pointed, is the breach open or closed, is there a magazine inserted, is the trigger set, and ultimately how you will pick up that firearm if that is what you want or need to do based on the circumstances.

2. Never point your firearm at anything that you do not intend to shoot

The next safety rule focuses on the direction of the muzzle of the firearm. Ultimately your practices should always keep in mind that if a round leaves that chamber you must know where is it going. This safety rule really helps develop a shooters sense of muzzle discipline while doing any disciplined shooting as in marksmanship or hunting, and especially when using a firearm for self defense. Who is beyond that wall, downstairs, upstairs, or even outside your house? Knowing where your muzzle is pointed means you are paying close attention to the relationship of the muzzle and everything around you. This rule really highlights the importance of what a discharged round can do to its intended target, but more importantly to an unintended target because if that muzzle is pointed at anything other than your intended target, the damage could be to someone or something with grave consequences. You are responsible for every round that leaves your firearm’s chamber!

3. Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire

This next safety rule is one small step in firearms handling, but is the most practically important rule that a shooter must master and practice every time. Keeping your finger straight and off the trigger provides a shooter maximum safety while handling the firearm. It will also help the shooter develop safe and effective discipline when going on and off target at the range, or while hunting preventing any negligent discharges when it matters most. If your muzzle isn’t pointed at what you intend to shoot, then you don’t want a round discharged in that direction hitting whatever that muzzle is pointed at. This safety rule also is a communicative tool for range safety officers, hunting buddies and others that see you handling your firearm. When training with your firearm, your finger discipline shows a high level of competency and safety communication. Also, If you are ever in a circumstance that you have to brandish your firearm for self defense, the trigger discipline shows your intentions, and drives proper thought process through your muscle memory as a competent shooter.

4. Always be sure of your target and what is in line with your target

Safety rule number 4 highlights your knowledge of your surroundings and what your purpose is at that moment right before you shoot at the intended target. If you are at a range, what do you see while aiming in? Is there anything in line or beyond your target that you don’t want being struck by your round destroying it or even worse, causing injury or death? This safety rule means you are aware of your surroundings in regards to your thought process before you pull the trigger. You must be in control of the outcome of your choice to fire by thinking about what is going on around you and knowing where that round is going to end up once it leaves your firearm. The average distance a projectile can travel that is unimpeded is up to 1 mile.

These safety rules create safe and thoughtful shooters. Take the time to rehearse them and know them, and then think about them for your own purposes. Being safe and always following these safety rules will ensure tons of fun no matter what you are using that firearm for allowing you to focus on shooting and having high confidence in yourself while using that firearm. When it comes down to self-defense, these safety rules will protect you and your loved ones and give you the best outcomes when it really matters. At the end of the day, you will have peace of mind and a truly valuable knowledge set to further your love for firearms.

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