10 Best Rules of Gun Handling!

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10 Best Rules of Gun Handling!
10 Best Rules of Gun Handling!


The most important information and facts about any firearm is firstly, its safety and secondly its handling. The writer hereof has in all previous guidelines, focused tremendously on those two aspects and reference can be made as such. What would seem as a repeat of previous articles, are just a summary added as part of the subject matter and the article at hand. In no uncertain terms can this be ignored. Imagine, going to the shooting range without doing any of the safety drills and not handling your firearm properly, it’s a sad recipe for disaster. 

With reference to a previous article, “Five Rules for Firearm Safety”, the writer explicitly quotes the following viz, “Oxford describes the word rule as either a noun or a verb. As advice, a rule is described as; “a statement of what you are advised to do in a particular situation, Oxford (1031:2000).”

I go further in saying, “From the time you pick up a firearm, you become part of a system over which you have complete control. You are only part of a system that can make a firearm safe or unsafe. Firearm safety rules apply to everyone who owns a firearm, for those who get into contact with someone who handles and/or owns a firearm and even to children whose parents own a firearm to which they are exposed to either by seeing it in their environment or the unfortunate possibility of handling such a firearm. Rules are not made for a certain group of people but for everyone. During my research it’s amazing to note how various learned authors and firearm experts define certain firearm rules. Some meticulously believe that three rules suffice while some have six and some ten rules. The amount of rules is not the focus point but, the essence and values of these rules and how it will be implemented, responsibly.” 

That was then, five rules, now we have our sights set on ten (10) rules apart from everything we’ve learnt. During my research, the conclusions reached were that there are no differences to the rules. Along with that, there are no such rules as primary or secondary rules.  This article will outline safety measures as well as rules. 

We travel with our firearms all the time, taking them to the range, on hunting trips or carrying them on our person, as permitted by law. As a result, there will be times when you might have to leave your firearm in your vehicle. This was a guideline never covered before by the writer and included due to its significance to this article.


1.1 This is the most basic safety rule. If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they didn’t intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearm accidents. It’s as simple as that, and it’s up to you. 

1.2 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 as long as the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction. 

1.3 A safe direction means a direction in which a bullet cannot possibly strike anyone, taking into account 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 anyone or anything not intended as a target. 

1.4 Even when “dry firing” with an unloaded gun, you should never point the gun at an unsafe target. 

1.5 Make it a habit to know exactly where the muzzle of your gun is pointing at all times, and be sure that you are in control of the direction in which the muzzle is pointing, even if you fall or stumble. This is your responsibility, and only you can control it.


2.1 Before you load your firearm, open the action and be certain that no ammunition is in the chamber or magazine. Be sure the barrel is clear of any obstruction. 

2.2 Even a small bit of mud, excess lubricating oil or grease in the bore can cause dangerously increased pressures It causes the barrel to bulge or even burst on firing, which can cause injury to the shooter and bystanders. 

2.3 Make it a habit to clean the bore and check for obstructions with a cleaning rod immediately before you shoot it. If the noise or recoil on firing seems weak or doesn’t seem quite “right,” cease firing immediately and be sure to check that no obstruction or projectile has become lodged in the barrel.

2.4 Placing a smaller caliber cartridge into a gun (such as a 20 gauge shell in a 12 gauge shotgun) can result in the smaller cartridge falling into the barrel and acting as a bore obstruction when a cartridge of proper size is fired. 

2.5 This can cause a burst barrel or worse. You can easily avoid this type of accident by paying close attention to each cartridge you insert into your firearm.


If you need to leave your firearm in a vehicle, here are some important safety considerations to keep in mind to help prevent theft and unauthorized access.

3.1 Take note of the safety control and muzzle direction of firearms in vehicles. This is one of the main rules of gun safety and applies to the inside of vehicles as well as any other location. 

3.2 When finished using your firearm outside your vehicle, unload it before you re-enter your vehicle. 

3.3 Even after a long hunt or a day in the sun at the range, always check, and then double check, that guns are unloaded before placing them in a car or truck. 

3.4 Be very careful if you must unload a firearm in the confined space of a vehicle so as not to have an accidental discharge. If your location allows, it is safer and easier to unload the firearm outside the vehicle. 

3.5 Never leave firearms in an area of the vehicle where they are accessible to children or pets. 

3.6  Use secure temporary storage for firearms in vehicles. 

3.7 A lockable gun case or a lock box may be the most practical choice to securely store a gun in a vehicle. These come in a range of prices and models. 

3.8 If you’re concerned about quick access to your firearm, many types of lockable safes allow for extremely fast access to your gun while at the same time helping to prevent unauthorized access. 

3.9 Secure the lock box to the vehicle, if possible. Some companies make custom concealed compartments for specific model vehicles. 

3.10 Keep firearms and ammunition out of sight to avoid tempting thieves. 


4.1 It’s your first priority as a responsible gun owner to keep guns out of the wrong hands. 

4.2 If you must temporarily store a gun in your car or truck, for your safety and

that of your community, we encourage you to take steps to properly store them. 

4.3 Use a secure storage device, keep it out of sight, try not to be away from

the vehicle for an extended length of time. When you arrive home, take the

firearm inside with you to your secure home storage area. 

4.4 Remember, the number one way to help prevent firearms theft, accidents and misuse is to securely store firearms when not in use.


5.1 Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. 

5.2 When not in use, firearms and ammunition should be secured in a safe place, separate from each other. It is your responsibility to prevent children and unauthorized adults from gaining access to firearms or ammunition.

5.3 Unload your gun as soon as you are finished. A loaded gun has no place in or near a car, truck or building. 

5.4 Unload your gun immediately when you have finished shooting, well before you bring it into a car or home.

5.5 Whenever you handle a firearm or hand it to someone, always open the action immediately.  

5.6 Visually check the chamber, receiver and magazine to be certain they do not contain any ammunition. Always keep actions open when not in use. 

5.7 Never assume a gun is unloaded. Check it for yourself! This is considered a mark of an experienced gun handler.

5.8 Never cross a fence, climb a tree or perform any awkward action with a loaded gun.

5.9 While in the field, there will be times when common sense and the basic rules of firearm safety will require you to unload your gun for maximum safety. 

5.10 Never pull or push a loaded firearm toward yourself or another person. There is never any excuse to carry a loaded gun in a holster not being worn or a gun case. When in doubt, unload your gun.


6.1 Not all firearms are the same. The method of carrying and handling firearms varies in accordance with the mechanical characteristics of each gun. 

6.2 Since guns can be so different, never handle any firearm without first having thoroughly familiarized yourself with the particular type of firearm you are using.

6.3 The focus is on the safe gun handling rules as we discussed in a previous article for loading, unloading, carrying and handling that firearm, and the rules of safe gun handling in general.

6.4 For example, many handgun manufacturers recommend that their handguns always be carried with the hammer down on an empty chamber. 

6.5 This is particularly true for older single-action revolvers, but applies equally to some double-action revolvers or semiautomatic pistols. 

6.6 Always read and refer to the instruction manual received with your gun, or if you have misplaced the manual, simply contact the manufacturer for a free copy.

6.7 Having a gun in your possession is a full-time job. You cannot guess; you cannot forget. You must know how to use, handle and store your firearm safely. 

6.8 Do not use any firearm without having a complete understanding of its particular characteristics and safe use. 


7.1 Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time. The “safety” on any gun is a mechanical device which, like any such device, can become inoperable at the worst possible time. 

7.2 Besides, by mistake, the safety may be “off” when you think it is “on.” The safety serves as a supplement to proper gun handling but cannot possibly serve as a substitute for common sense. 

7.3 Never handle a gun carelessly and assume that the gun won’t fire just because the “safety is on.”

7.4 Never touch the trigger on a firearm until you actually intend to shoot. Keep your fingers away from the trigger while loading or unloading. 

7.5 Never pull the trigger on any firearm with the safety on the “safe” position or anywhere in between “safe” and “fire.” It is possible that the gun can fire at any time, or even later when you release the safety, without you ever touching the trigger again.

7.6 Never place the safety in between positions, since half-safe is unsafe. Keep the safety “on” until you are absolutely ready to fire.

7.7 Regardless of the position of the safety, any blow or jar strong enough to actuate the firing mechanism of a gun can cause it to fire. 

7.8 This can happen even if the trigger is not touched, such as when a gun is dropped. 

7.9 Never rest a loaded gun against any object because there is always the possibility that it will be jarred or slide from its position and fall with sufficient force to discharge. 

7.10 The only time you can be absolutely certain that a gun cannot fire is when the action is open and it is completely empty. 

7.11 Again, never rely on your gun’s safety. You and the safe gun handling procedures you have learned are your gun’s primary safeties.


8.1 You must assume the serious responsibility of using only the correct ammunition for your firearm. 

8.2 Read and heed all warnings, including those that appear in the gun’s instruction manual and on the ammunition boxes.

8.3 Using improper or incorrect ammunition can destroy a gun and cause serious personal injury. It only takes one cartridge of improper calibre or to wreck your gun, and only a second to check each one as you load it. 

8.4 Be absolutely certain that the ammunition you are using matches the specifications that are contained within the gun’s instruction manual and the manufacturer’s markings on the firearm.

8.5 Firearms are designed, manufactured and proof tested to standards based upon those of factory loaded ammunition. 

8.6 Hand loaded or reloaded ammunition deviating from pressures generated by factory loads or from component recommendations specified in reputable hand loading manuals can be dangerous.

8.7 It can cause severe damage to guns and serious injury to the shooter. Do not use improper reloads or ammunition made of unknown components.

8.8 Ammunition that has become very wet or has been submerged in water should be discarded in a safe manner. 

8.9 Do not spray oil or solvents on ammunition or place ammunition in excessively lubricated firearms. Poor ignition, unsatisfactory performance or damage to your firearm and harm to yourself or others could result from using such ammunition.

8.10  Form the habit of examining every cartridge you put into your gun. Never use damaged or substandard ammunition. The money you save is not worth the risk of possible injury or a ruined gun.


9.1 Only load a firearm when you intend to use it, and only in an area where it can be safely and legally discharged. 

9.2 Remember to unload it when you have used it.

9.3 Only load your ammunition into the magazine when you have reached your shooting area. 

9.4 The firearm is then carried with the bolt or action closed on an empty chamber. 

9.5 The cartridges are readily available from the magazine and it only takes a second to open the action and feed a round into the chamber.

9.6 Do not load the chamber until you are ready to shoot.

9.7 Unload the chamber if the game gets away. 

9.8 Put the round back in the magazine and close the bolt on an empty chamber.

9.9 Unload completely, no rounds in the magazine or chamber.

9.10 Before leaving a shooting area or entering a hut or camp. Double check.


10.1 Because it is not practical to apply this rule to semiautomatic shotguns and rifles, it is recommended that when you have seen, or expect to flush game at any moment, you load the firearm and place the previously tested safety catch on ‘safe’. 

10.2 If you release the safety catch but decide not to shoot, re-apply the safety catch. 

10.3 Whenever a round is in the chamber, you must be absolutely sure that the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction. 

10.4 Test the safety catch before loading any ammunition into the chamber. 

10.5 If you have any doubt about the safety catch, don’t trust it. Have it checked by a gunsmith.

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