Gun Safety Rules

National Rifle Association Firearm Safety Rules


1. Keep The Gun Pointed In A Safe Direction

This is the primary rule of gun safety. A "safe direction" means that a gun is pointed so that even if the gun went off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or the front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.

2. Keep Your Finger Parallel To The Barrel And Off The Trigger Until Ready To Shoot

When holding the gun people have a natural tendency to place their finger on the trigger. Don't do it! Rest your finger on the trigger guard or on the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire do not touch the trigger.

3. Keep the gun unloaded until ready to use

Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately open the action and look into the rear of the gun's barrel. This area is known as the chamber and should be clear of ammunition. (If the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and make sure it is empty.) If you don't know how to open the action, leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.

4. Be sure the gun is safe to operate

Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular maintenance and proper storage are part of the gun's proper upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun's ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.

5. Know how to use the gun safely

Before handling a gun know how it operates. Know its basic parts, how to safely open and close the action and remove the ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember a gun's mechanical safety device is never foolproof. Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.

6. Use the correct ammunition for your gun

Only BBs, pellets, cartridges, shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition typed stamped on the barrel. Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.

7. Be sure of your target and what's beyond

Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of what is beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction where there are people or a potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.

8. Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate

Guns are loud and can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye damage. For these reason safety glasses and ear protectors are recommended.

9. Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting

Alcohol, as well as any legal or illegal substance likely to impair normal mental or physical body functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.

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

Several factors should be considered when you decide on where and how you intend to store your guns. Your particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Safe and secure storage requires that untrained individuals (especially children) be denied access to your guns.

Finally, be aware that certain types of guns and certain shooting activities require additional safety precautions.

Other Training Programs

NRA Home Firearm Safety Training Course

  • Rules for Using and Storing Guns
  • Gun Parts and Terminology
  • Loading and Unloading Guns
  • Types of Ammunition
  • Cleaning and Transporting Guns

Summary or Course Content:

A non-shooting course dedicated exclusively to storing and caring for a firearm in the home. There is special emphasis on children and learning gun safety. The main cause of firearm related accidents in the home can be traced to improper handling or lack of education with firearms. This 4 hour course of instruction, while not designed to teach the student marksmanship or accuracy, will teach the student what to do should they encounter an unattended firearm. We encourage the entire family to take the course together at the same time.

Course Goal:

To teach the basic knowledge and skills and to explain the attitude necessary for safe gun handling and storage of guns in the home.


No prerequisites for taking this course and the material can be understood by mature people of all ages.

Student Limit:

Must have 5 confirmed (fully paid) to make a class; while each class is limited to 10.

4 Hour NRA Home Firearm Safety Training Course ***Coming Soon!***

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NRA First Steps Basic Pistol Course

The FIRST (Firearm Instruction, Responsibility, and Safety Training) Steps Basic Pistol Course is the latest addition to the NRA's training programs for new gun purchasers (and new shooters).

It is a basic course abbreviated to the most fundamental shooting skills and specifics of a particular model of pistol. Because of the courses narrow focus it can be completed in as little as three hours. This three hour course introduces the student to the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for owning and using a specific model of firearm. The course will take proportionally longer as the number of or pistol type's present increases.

Course Goal:

To provide beginning shooters with an introduction, to the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to own and use a specific pistol safely.

Course Content:

  • Introduction to pistol safety, parts and operation
  • Introduction to Ammunition and fundamentals of pistol shooting
  • Introduction to Shooting from the bench rest position
  • Introduction to Pistol Cleaning, Storage and Training Opportunities

Student Limit:

Must have 5 confirmed (fully paid) to make a class; while each class is limited to 8.

3 Hour NRA First Steps Basic Pistol Training Course ***Coming Soon!***

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NRA Basic Pistol Training Course

The Basic Pistol Course is approximately eight hours long. Students will get the Basics of Pistol Shooting and receive an extensive lesson in safety, gun handling, the various types of pistols, the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship, various pistol firing positions, several practical excercises on the firing range, cleaning, storage, and a summary of pistol sports and activities. The NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course introduces students to the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary for owning and using a pistol safely. Through this course, the students will learn about pistol parts and operation, ammunition, gun safety, pistol shooting fundamentals, and pistol shooting activities. The Basic Pistol Course will also help prepare the student for participation in other NRA courses and is a prerequisite to for other Concealed and Open Carry Classes.

Course Goal:

To teach the basic knowledge, skills and attitude for owning and using a pistol safely.

Course Content:

  • Pistol Knowledge and Safe Gun Handling
  • Ammunition Knowledge and Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting
  • Two handed and One handed Standing Shooting Positions
  • Firing the First Shots (includes Cleaning and Storage)
  • Pistol Sports and Activities
  • A short written test on the lesson material at the end of the course.


NRA Home Firearm Safety Training Course and NRA First Steps Pistol Training Course or an assessment by the instructor that allows you to take the course.

Student Limit:

Must have 5 confirmed (fully paid) to make a class; while each class is limited to 8.

8 Hour NRA Basic Pistol Training Course ***Coming Soon!***

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