Source: NRA Safety Rules plus NRA handouts.

Rules of Firearm Safety

1.  Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction (the direction in which the gun, if fired, would not cause any injury or damage).

2.  Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

3.  Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

4.  Know how to use the gun safely.

5.  Use only the correct ammunition for your gun.

6.  Know your target and what is beyond.

7.  Wear eye and ear protection.

8.  Never use alcohol or drugs before or after shooting.

9.  Be sure the gun is safe to operate.

10.  Store guns so that they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.

11.  Be aware that certain types of guns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions.

Parts of a Rifle


Loading, Firing, Unloading

1.  Point the firearm  in a safe direction, downrange and below the top of any backstop or berm.

2.  Keep your finger off the trigger.

3.  Insert a loaded magazine into the well at the bottom of the firearm.

4.  Make sure the firearm  is still pointed in a safe direction.  Chamber the first round.  With a semi-automatic, pull the bolt, or slide, back as far as it will go, and release it. The recoil spring inside will push it forward, transferring a cartridge from the magazine to the chamber at the back of the barrel.

5. (a) Rifle: With your finger still off the trigger, grasp the rifle with your strong hand on the grip, and weak hand supporting the forearm. Press the butt into the strong-side shoulder.
(b) Pistol: Grasp the grip with your strong hand, trigger finger pointing forward along the frame. Wrap your weak hand around the strong one, keeping the weak thumb on the same side as the strong one.

6.  Align the sights in relation to the target as shown below.  Focus on the front sight.


7.  Take a breath, let half of it out, and hold it.

8.  Squeeze the trigger slowly, pressing it straight back.  This should take no more than 6-8 seconds.

9.  Be surprised when the shot breaks.

10.  Hold the firearm  as still as you can, in the same position as when you aimed.

11.  When finished shooting, remove the magazine from the firearm and leave the action open.

12.  When finished shooting, always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

Remember - Always treat any firearm with the respect due to a loaded weapon.