Dos, Don’ts, and Maybes of Safe Gun Handling

In light of the historically unprecedented attack on our rights and freedoms to own and use guns by the predominantly socialist-controlled mass media today, it’s vital that all of us be well versed in the rules of firearms safety.

Accidents with guns and the misuse of firearms are, after all, the only aspects of firearms ownership, which is generally “reported” on by the press. When accidental shootings and discharges occur or when a gun is used for criminal purposes we see an instant media event, and the anti-firearm-ownership lies and hate propaganda which inevitably ensues serves to further instill in the minds of the public the notion that “guns are bad”.

“Never, ever touch a gun,” was the admonition one woman reporter’s mother made to her as a child, she related in a news “story” about guns.

Not a bad idea if you’re afraid of firearms, see them as inherently evil objects, or are just plain ignorant about them, which many people are in today’s urban, yuppie oriented popular culture. However, others of us who like guns and find great enjoyment, satisfaction, and security in owning them and using them responsibly know better.

Gun Rights

We have guns, and our friends, families, neighbors & business associates are subsequently exposed to them. It’s vital, therefore, that we observe the proper safe gun handling techniques at all times for the safety of ourselves and others and for the maximum public relations benefits.

Of course, accidents with guns can and do happen and will continue to happen, just as accidents with vehicles can and do, but the less of this, the better.

I won’t go over all the most basic rules of safe gun handling, many of you already know these anyway or can quickly review them if desired by only looking them up in just about any firearm owner’s manual or online. I’m more concerned here with educating the people who are basically ignorant of guns, and with providing some food for thought on some perhaps overlooked aspects of safe gun handling for those of us who are around guns more often.

Let’s start with some basic rules that anyone should know and observe at all times with guns.

Safe gun handling rules

Perhaps the most fundamental rule I know is: all guns are loaded at all times and must be treated as such. As Bob has commented, a lot of people have been killed with “unloaded guns.” That is, guns they thought were unloaded.

If you simply regard all guns as though they are always loaded, you get in the habit of avoiding pointing them indiscriminately (at people or anywhere you don’t want them to fire at) and handling them carefully.

Secondly, and just as important, don’t load guns until you are ready to fire them. This cannot be overemphasized.

A loaded gun — anywhere — requires a good deal of attention and care in handling. If you keep a loaded gun for personal security, you must be aware at all times that this is a high state of readiness, and great caution must be used.

When not actually firing or preparing to fire your guns, keep them secured, either locked up or with trigger locks or other devices for preventing them from being fired. Unattended children finding their parents’ loaded guns at home, or the guns with ammunition nearby, often result in accidental shootings.

Educating children about firearms and keeping them secure from irresponsible or immature people can prevent many of these accidental shootings. The latest case with the young babysitter shooting the child she was supposed to take care of is a clear examples of what can happen if a young, uneducated person finds a loaded gun. If she would have been made aware of such dangers and if she would have had the minimum knowledge about safe gun handling, that accident could have been avoided.

Never point a gun where you don’t want it to fire. This rule goes hand in hand with regarding all guns as being loaded at all times. If you get in the habit of keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction (at least in a direction that you believe is the safest), you can avoid tragic accidents.

Concomitantly, make sure — or at the very least, do your best — that others you are with always keep firearms pointed in safe directions. Too many times, I’ve been with people who aren’t concentrating on what they’re doing and unintentionally point or swing the muzzle of a loaded or unloaded gun in my direction. I’ve done this myself at times. It’s easy to forget, even for an instant, how you’re handling that gun.

Safe Gun Handling At The Range

Habitual training in keeping a gun pointed down range or in an otherwise safe direction is a must for all shooters.

No less important than knowing how to handle your gun or guns safely is knowing how your gun or guns work. You have to use your firearms, get to know their operation and their quirks, what they will and will not do, what they will tend to do, what type of ammo works best in them for which purpose, etc.

In understanding your firearms, you are in a much better position to handle them safely. No one can reasonably expect to just buy a gun and put it in a drawer and then, somehow, automatically, be able to handle it safely or use it effectively if needed. Use and train with your firearms and learn as much as you can about them.

With these safety basics in mind, let’s move on to a few other considerations regarding the use and possession of guns.

Home and personal defense

This is a primary concern for many people who purchase firearms.

What type of gun should you buy?

What type of ammunition should you use in it?

If you have to use the gun in a defensive situation, what might happen?

These are things the prospective gun purchaser has to consider before picking up a firearm from their local gun shop.

If you live in an apartment, you likely wan’t want a .308 caliber battle rifle for home defense. On the other hand, if you own an isolated home in the wilds of Montana or Alaska, a .308 caliber semiautomatic rifle might not be such a bad idea.

Suggested reading: Defensive Use Of Firearms

In other words, it depends on your circumstances. If you shoot at an intruder with a .44 Magnum and you miss, and the bullet travels through an apartment wall and hits your neighbor, the subsequent liability lawsuit — even if criminal charges aren’t filed against you as well — could well ruin your life.

There are lots of different types of ammunition, much of it made with home defense in mind, available on the market today. Learn about it and train with enough of it that you have a pretty good idea of what it will do in your gun if you have to use it in your home, boat, etc.

My recommendation

Here I’ll also mention the ongoing argument over which is better, revolver or auto, and what caliber. Most authorities on personal defense will recommend a good double-action .38 Special revolver for home defense, as these are considered to have sufficient stopping power and penetration, and they are simple to use.

If I were only buying one gun for home defense and decided on a revolver, I’d buy a .357 Magnum revolver. All .357 Magnums will also fire .38 Special ammunition (but not vice versa) and this gives you the option of firing different types of .38 Special, including the hotter + P stuff, as well as .357 loads.


The disadvantages of revolvers include that they don’t hold as many rounds, take more time to reload, and lack much in the way of safety mechanisms. On the other hand, auto pistols can require more training to use them effectively and under stress are harder to use, but they can also provide more firepower and better accuracy.

Related article: 5 Guns Every Prepper Should Own

I’ll never forget one night when I was home alone and asleep in the middle of a dream. I heard a noise outside my bedroom window which was open to the screen (I’ll never know if there was actually someone out there). I sat up in bed, still partly asleep and dreaming, and was convinced I saw a shadowy figure enter through the window and advance aggressively toward me. I jumped from the bed and grabbed my 1911A1 Government Model .45 ACP pistol just in time to thrust it into the stomach area of the shadowy figure now seemingly attacking me, and pull the trigger.

Nothing happened.

By this time, more awake, I stepped back and flicked on the light to discover there was nothing in the room. I had a loaded magazine in the gun, but no round in the chamber and the gun was not cocked. I felt stupid but relieved that I hadn’t fired a shot into my dresser, where I had been pointing the gun when I squeezed the trigger.

Had I had a loaded revolver on my nightstand instead of the 1911A1 I would definitely have shot my dresser!

On the other hand, had the imaginary intruder been real, he might have killed me before I could cock and fire my gun. Owning a gun is no guarantee of safety.

If you should have to fire your gun in your home or office, etc., what might happen?

If you miss your target, could the bullet go through a wall and hit your child? Your wife? Your brother-in-law? A coworker?

Try to think through what might occur and how you would react in such situations. This may be helpful should a real defensive situation arise someday.


With these points, I’ve tried to introduce the subject of gun safety to the uninitiated and to offer some concerns to these of us who already have guns. Perhaps the most important point I can make is that you need to be well versed in safe gun handling and to learn as much as you can about firearms and ammunition in general and your own in particular.

There are lots of good books and courses available all over the country. Consult your gun stores, your police department, and organizations like the National Rifle Association for more information.

Other Useful Resources:

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation during a major disaster

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Find Out What’s the Closest Nuclear Bunker to Your Home

Learn how to Safeguard your Home against Looters

1 thought on “Dos, Don’ts, and Maybes of Safe Gun Handling”

  1. To my mind a gun is a tool, perhaps no more dangerous than many other tools to which the public have access and as such can be used correctly or incorrectly, legitimately or criminally in any endeavor depending upon the user’s competency or intent. “Give the Gun a Bad Name”, however I wonder if there is any available data comparing various other tools that have caused wounding accidents or have been used criminally that have seriously or fatally injured a person. I bet based on the data that guns would not be top of the list of most dangerous implements used by the public. Follow the rules for the safe use of tools and the article above is a good place to start.


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