Everyone should read this post before even touching a firearm. Why? Because saftey rules are the most important part of shooting. We will get into the 5 fundementals of shooting next week, but for now I just want to make sure that you know and memorize the rules.
AFA teaches a variety of different courses, but every course starts with the same sermon, Always! Always! Always! These are the 3 rules that always apply when handling firearms, and when I say always...I mean..you get it. Let's Review:
1. Always - Treat every firearm as a loaded gun
2. Always - Keep every firearm pointed in a safe direction
3. Always - Keep your finger up and off of the trigger until on target and ready to shoot
Ok, so I want to break these rules down so you understand their value and purpose.
Rule 1 (always treat every firearm as a loaded gun) eliminates the excuse "I didn't know it was loaded." Every firearm, even if you clear it, should be treated as loaded. You will hear the term "Hot Gun," when Range Saftey Officers (RSO's) reffer to loaded weapons, but all shooters should treat every gun as a "Hot Gun."
Rule 2 (always keep every firearm pointed in a safe direction) so what is a safe direction? Good question, the least likley direction to cause harm to anything you don't intend on shooting. If you are at a shooting range, down range (towards the target) would be the ideal direction, but if you are in your appartment cleaning you may need to determine that direction for yourself and neighbors. Think of the barrel of your gun as a lazer beam, and anything the lazer beam points at can be destroyed.
Rule 3 (always keep your finger up and off of the tirgger until on target and ready to shoot) possibly the most important rule because modern firearms are designed with internal safties
that will not permit the gun to fire unless the tigger is pulled. You can almost 100% garentee that your gun will not fire if you don't pull the trigger.
If you follow even 2 of these rules you will greatly illiminate the risk of a negligent discharge of your firearm.
Special mention* Often instructors will add the 4th rule of Always know your target, what is infront and what is beyond. This is true but only applies if you have a target, for instance, you don't have a target if you are at home cleaning your guns showing a friend your gun collection. Still, this is a good rule to know when shooting.