I’ve seen a couple of posts on various forums regarding unsafe conditions while cleaning firearms. Let’s briefly go over the gun safety rules:

  • ALWAYS keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
  • ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire
  • ALWAYS keep the firearm unloaded until ready to use

I know we have done this before, but let’s go over it again. The safe direction is going to be one AWAY from your body and in a direction in which no one would be harmed if the firearm was discharged. If you are on a second floor you may need to think about this. Straight down may not be a safe direction. Up is never truly a safe direction because a bullet which goes up will eventually come down and you may bring the ceiling down on your head. So if I have the firearm away from my body and in a safe direction if there was somehow a miracle discharge no person would be harmed.

Now I’ve mastered the safe direction let’s master keeping that finger off the trigger. It’s pretty simple, finger on the trigger only when necessary, finger off the trigger the rest of the time. If I have my finger off the trigger and the firearm in my hand it is not going to fire unless it has a major malfunction, but I already mastered the safe direction so no person was harmed by the miracle discharge.

Since I’ve completely understood a safe direction and my finger is off the trigger if I keep the firearm unloaded until I need to use or potentially use it the gun will not be able to fire a bullet because there are no cartridges in the gun. So if someone broke the first two rules the unloaded firearm would keep them from breaking a third.

Too many times people say, “I thought the gun was unloaded,” and the reality was it was still loaded with one in the chamber. You need to clear the firearm completely with the muzzle in a safe direction and your finger off the trigger. Guns do not go off spontaneously. The primer has to be struck on the cartridge and generally that means the trigger was contacted or if the firearm has a hammer it was struck or pulled back and released. Follow the rules, practice them over and over, and you will never have an accident.