There are 4 Rules of Gun Safety that must be followed 100% of the time. When the rules are followed accidents can be minimized. Being a gun owner means that you have made a commitment to knowing these rules and living them. Responsible gun ownership means learning and practicing behaviors that will help prevent needless injury, death, and theft.
Always treat a firearm as if it were loaded
Take the time to treat every firearm that you come in contact with as it COULD be loaded. Never assume a firearm is unloaded and never treat it that way, even if you watch as it is unloaded. Make it a habit to treat guns like they are loaded all the time.
Never point a firearm at anything you don’t intend to destroy
Situational awareness is critical to firearm safety. A safe direction is a direction where the bullet will travel and harm no one in the event of an unwanted discharge. Before you make contact with the firearm consider your environment and determine your safe direction. It is your responsibility to always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction 100% of the time.
Always keep your finger off the trigger straight and indexed along the frame or receiver until you are ready to fire
Trigger finger discipline is a learned skill and is vitally important to maintaining the safe condition of the firearm at all times. If a finger is inside the trigger guard, that hand is likely going to close around the pistol grip of the gun and on the trigger causing an unwanted discharge. Since a firearm is fired by pulling the trigger, this rule keeps you safe from firing at something or someone by accident. The easiest way to observe this rule is by doing what is called indexing. When you’re not firing, your index finger is off the trigger, out of the trigger guard, and rests along the side of the firearm.
Be aware of your target and what lies beyond it
This is especially important in defensive situations where there is a possibility of other people in the area and even behind your intended target. Keep in mind that bullets can pass through things and continue moving. Therefore, it is critical to always confirm not only what and where your target is but also what is around and behind it.