Firearms & Gun Safety

60 Second Safety Overview

This section is intended for those who just want a quick and painless, 60 Second Safety Overview/Review... Just think of the following as 5 hard and fast rules to safety while enjoying the shooting sports.

  • ALWAYS Treat all firearms as if they are loaded (Even if they are unloaded)
  • ALWAYS Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • ALWAYS Keep fingers off the trigger
  • ALWAYS Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.
  • ALWAYS Wear the proper eye and ear protection.

Remember, Safety is YOUR responsibility.

Gun Safety Rules & The Mindset

If you plan to own, or use a firearm, it is your responsibility to be safe. The key to keeping not only yourself, but also others around you safe is to observe the gun safety rules and to maintain the correct mindset in saying safe. We have to remember at all times that firearms are inherently dangerous, and must be handled with great care. Firearms are not toys, they are dangerous tools used for a variety of tasks (Recreation, Hunting, Self-Defense, etc). Ultimately, safety is your responsibility as a user of a dangerous tool, or item.

There are many variations of the different firearms safety rules; however, by far the two most popular are the ones published by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and those published by the Canada Firearms Centre. Both are very similar, and both will suffice in keeping you, and everyone around you, safe.

The National Rifle Association's Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling

  • ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
  • ALWAYS know your target and what is beyond it.

The Canadian Firearms Centre's Four ACTS of Firearm Safety

  • Assume every firearm is loaded.
  • Control the muzzle direction at all times.
  • Trigger finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard.
  • See that the firearm is unloaded. PROVE it safe.

Either set of safety rules will suffice, though I have found that some new shooters prefer the ACTS acronym and the rules associated with it.


  • One of the easiest ways to memorize these rules is to constantly quiz yourself. One way to quiz yourself is whenever to think about or talk about guns is to just go over the rules in your head. Mentally ask yourself, “What are the gun safety rules?” and then mentally go through them. No one likes to study or have to memorize anything, but these rules for firearms safety truly are the key to keeping EVERYONE safe.

Gun Safety & Secondary Dangers

Often, one aspect that seems to be overlooked is gun safety and secondary dangers. That is to say, dangers that are not directly related to the firing of a firearm, but that exist and should be considered.

Noise & Your Ears

When a firearm is discharged, the noise caused by the discharge can easily reach over 165dB. To put that in perspective, it is said that sustained exposure to 85dB to 95dB can result in hearing loss. Even with hearing protection at between 135-140dB it is said that even short term exposure can cause hearing loss and other issues. It's always best to wear some kind of hearing protection. It does not matter if you choose to use active or passive hearing protection, just use something that is purpose built.

Hot Gases, Powder, Debris & Your Eyes

Again, when a firearm is discharged hot gases and debris leave the firearm which can be very dangerous. The hot gases for example can easily burn you or others, or even get in someone's eyes if proper eye protection is not used by EVERYONE. Then there's Powder, not all the powder from every round of ammunition fired gets burnt up in the firing process. Sometimes, a very small amount of that powder will come out of the firearm and can easily get into your eyes. Finally, one of the last primary concerns has to do with debris; or, more specifically the ejection of hot shell casings from the firearm. These hot shell casings can easily hurt the shooter or even bystanders through the impact and or burning. It's because of all of those reasons, and more, that it is always recommended that shooters wear proper eye protection.


  • Do not wear open top clothing (especially women). One thing that is always best to avoid is having a hot shell casing go down your shirt.
  • Do not wear any open toe footwear.