4 Rules of Firearm Safety

Going back to basics, regardless of industry, is a great way to support a foundation for further growth. This is no different for firearms. For this specific post, we are going to take a deeper dive into the firearm safety rules, explain the WHY and provide detailed scenarios of each.

Take a second to read the rules below and understand that they all promote safety. They also support one another and remember that no one rule is more important than another.

Treat Every Firearm As If It Were Loaded

Is a water gun, dart gun or toy gun considered a “firearm”? This debate can go back and forth for days and can get very heated for parents on all spectrums. Especially when we consider children and firearms, we want to build muscle memory for safety. These toys can be fun (and they are), but they can also create an arena for complacency. 

Muscle memory can take up to 2 to 4 weeks to establish, but on-going refresher is needed to maintain memory. Firearms training is physically and mentally challenging. What happens to human muscle mass if conditioned at the gym for 4 weeks straight and then stopped for 1 month? According to healthline.com, we can see diminished performance just after 4 weeks of not working out. 

All of these safety rules require motor skills and motor skills are perishable, meaning that to maintain or improve firearm skills takes continued, on-going practice.

A simple maneuver, such as properly retrieving a firearm laid on the nightstand in the dark can create many safety concerns or complications. Is it pointed in a safe direction? Is the safety on or not? Are there items blocking it? Is the firearm in a locked safe? Can the firearm even be identified in the dark? Is the firearm equipped with night sights and/or light? Regardless, there are many questions to consider beyond the basic safety rules. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s cover the 4 basic firearm safety rules.

Never Point the Firearm at Anything You Are Not Willing to Destroy

As mentioned above, treating all firearms as if they were loaded. This safety rule is compounded by focusing on muzzle control. The muzzle is the front part of the barrel and for on-going practice, think of a high-intensity laser coming out the front of the firearm. It would ultimately destroy anything in its path.  Especially for beginners, having a laser or light on the front of the firearm as a constant reminder during practice may help amplify that muscle memory.  

This is especially important when holstering, presenting, firing, maneuvering, SUL/Temple Index stances, etc. The more motion we incorporate, the higher probability of complacency in muzzle control.

Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger Until Ready to Fire

This rule can be a bit misleading and for safety reasons, we need to add “Off the Trigger Guard” as well. During many maneuvers, the Trigger Finger should be above the guard and touching the slide. 

During movement, our grip shouldn’t be compromised, but in real life situations, things will never be perfect and that “perfect grip” will get lost. Reassessing grip position with the Trigger Finger on the slide won’t compromise safety.  This safety rule is also imperative during the holstering process. Physically look and slow down. We have all the time in the world to holster the firearm.  

Be Sure of Your Target and What is Behind It

Last, but not least we need to focus on the target and what is behind it. All these rules apply to Dry and Live Fire and when setting up targets for in-home, Dry Fire we always make sure the chamber, magazine well and magazines are clear, as well as removing all live ammunition from the room. What’s even as critical is setting the targets up in a safe direction.

What’s in front of the target? What’s on the backside of the wall? Are neighbors living close or on the other side of the wall? Are there other  potential safety hazards, for instance: propane tanks or other flammable/explosive materials?

Have questions about any of these concepts? Contact us HERE and would love to help. 

Stay well and stay safe!

5 Top Dry Fire Drills For Practice At Home

Before we start any dry fire practice, focus on safety first. Please remove ALL ammunition from the room and place in a safe, dry and cool place. Make sure firearm(s), mag well(s) and magazine(s) have all been checked/cleared of ALL ammunition. When aiming, make sure it’s in a safe direction and nothing you intend to destroy is in the firearms path. This includes checking the other side of the wall and beyond.

“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” -Vince Lombardi

Dry fire practice helps establish finger dexterity, muscle memory, decreased anxiety, decreased cost w/o the use of ammunition, increased accuracy and many other positive benefits.

Now on to the dry firing drills.

1) Simple Dry Fire

For this drill we’re simply focusing on basic fundamentals of placing the sights on target, proper grip and trigger press. Try standing in front of white wall and simply get into position. Wrack the slide back and with proper grip, get the sights aligned and slowly pull the trigger through the wall (the resistance point of the trigger press). Repeat this process. Even the most advanced marksmen take the time to simply dry fire.

2) Balace for Trigger Control

This drill can be completed with the use of a thumb tack, coin, empty casing or SNAP cap. We would suggest using a SNAP cap because they should already be available during this dry fire exercise. Next, grab one of these items and balance it on top of the slide. Now with proper position and grip, pull the trigger slow and steady without dropping the item balancing on the slide. Repeat as necessary. (Note: Had to take a picture with the other hand! It took more than a few tries.) This is especially helpful for new firearm owners that may also need to build finger dexterity or upper body strength. Note: This is also a good indicator if the weight of the firearm exceeds the users limitation. Getting properly fitted for a CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) should also be done with a Certified Firearm Instructor.

3) The First Shot

Concealed Carry means that the firearm is hidden on body or off body. There are countless options and finding a holster that fits comfortably is key for this exercise. The First Shot is exactly what it means. Practice drawing, presenting and firing the firearm from the concealed location in a slow, but steady pace. Don’t focus on speed. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast! In a self-defense situation, always have the first shot!

4) Multiple Target Transition

This exercise will need two targets and placed about 3 feet apart on the wall. Starting from a low ready position, aim at the first target and pull the trigger. Then quickly transition to the second target, get the sight dialed in and pull the trigger again. Building the muscle memory with target acquisition is the main focus in this drill. Remember, recoil will affect this exercise and once comfortable, transition to live fire. For the sake of saving money on ammunition though, dry firing is always a great option.

5) Presentation

The Presentation Drill has been included in earlier exercises, but this is simplified to help build important muscle memory. Practice drawing from the concealed carry position, presenting the firearm with proper grip and aligning the sights in a slow, but steady pace. Again, don’t focus on speed. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast!

Have other dry firing drills that are a favorite? Submit them in the comment section below.

Stay well and stay safe!