Gun Safety for Idiots

By D. Bailie owner of Survival Puck  .

gun safety I can tell you I’ve bent pretty much every guideline listed below at some point years ago. I might also add that I have been narrowly missed twice due to accidental discharges by others. I have been the guilty player in a couple unplanned discharges myself. The lord takes care of babies and fools they tell me. It has made a gun safety believer out of me. My hope is some reading this will learn faster than I did.

Muzzle control: It’s really simple, if the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction then you can screw up in multiple ways and have a reasonable chance of not hurting anyone. Remember what comes out of the end of that muzzle cowboy?  That means don’t point your dam gun at my feet. Don’t point your gun at my dog, my truck, my tent, my house, my wife etc. Notice a pattern here?  Don’t be swinging the muzzle toward me when you turn to talk to me, I don’t care if it’s empty. Keep that thing pointed down range while you’re monkeying with it, clear it if you can, if not ask for help. Do not turn around and approach me with a malfunction. Quit launching bullets into the next county, if you can’t keep that muzzle down during rapid fire don’t do it! Better yet get a gun you can handle.

Trigger control: The first rule of trigger control is “keep your finger off it” genius. Don’t you remember what that does? How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to pull it. I mean completely away from the trigger so we all can see it.

Loading & Unloading:  Dude step away from me when you’re loading and unloading. You can show it to me when it’s unloaded and safe. Don’t load it and then walk thru a crowd to get to where you’re shooting. Concentrate on what you’re doing, load then shoot, don’t load and then jack your jaw.

Firearm operation: Know how your gun works, seriously there is no excuse. Might take a bit of looking but you can find plenty of owner manuals and demo videos online. Learn this at home not when there’s shooting to be done planned or unplanned. And while you’re at it memorize your on safety position by feel makes it easier to check.

Home: If you cannot safely handle or store your firearms and ammunition at home, then you are a firearms failure, plain and simple. Can you even image the heart break if you were responsible for an accident?

Training: Get some, the NRA works hard to help shooters. Don’t be shy they are really accommodating to newbies. You may know a shooter that would be happy to help as well. Word of caution here: When it comes to guns there are a lot of walkers and a lot of talkers. I’m afraid the talkers outnumber the walkers on occasion.

Shoot straight and safe.


  1. I always like taking new shooters to the range. When I do that the only shooting I do myself is to show them how the firearm works and operates, ALL safety instruction and so they can get used to the noise before they start shooting.

    Then i stand right with them and correct any and all mistakes, because all new learners make mistakes. I don’t wander off, I don’t do more shooting myself, I stand there and observe and instruct and catch and correct any safety mistakes over and over until they learn.

    For some reason newbies like to keep their fingers on the triggers and they like to pick up the gun and turn with it. Again, stay right with them and nip this behavior in the bud!

    We should all be finding new shooters and introducing them to the joy of shooting but we need to make sure we are damned sure they got it down pat on the safety and responsibility of all aspects of shooting!

  2. You can never be too safe! Always assume a gun is loaded, and treat it that way.

    • I agree. I have a friend who lives every day with the fact that he shot and killed his best friend -with an ‘unloaded’ gun.

      It was a major trauma for all of us in that little town when Ted died. He was a great guy (and I don’t say that about people just because they are dead – ask me about my uncle Fred sometime).

  3. MorePooperThanPrepper says:

    I’m a relatively new shooter. I started with two short stints by myself (didn’t know anybody that shot) on ladies night (I’m a gent) at a well supervised range. Then I spent about 20 hours over two days at an appleseed shoot. I think I got into good habits from the start.

    I’m a guy who usually learns by trial and error and from my mistakes. That works in art, cooking, woodworking, computer programming, etc. but I knew from the get-go it just wasn’t going to be good enough for firearms. (Also why I had to skip out on my hiking and camping buddies when they started to get into rock climbing.)

    If I am absolutely 100% fanatical about the 4 rules:

    Every gun is loaded

    Never point the muzzle at anything you don’t want to destroy.

    Don’t put you finger near the trigger until you want to fire.

    Be sure of my target and especially what is beyond it.

    Then when I make my mistakes, still so many you’d be surprised, no one gets hurt. I forget to take it off safety, I forget to put the safety on when I walk out to check my targets, I forget to put in the magazine, I forget to load the round, I forget which magazine is empty, I take my ear and eye protection off and forget, I have even pulled the trigger “by accident” well before I really wanted to take my shot. And no harm because I am downright fanatical about the big four. Even that accidental fire was down range at my target, just not at my exhale.

    Thanks for the reminders.

    • I learned to shoot from my boyfriend in HS.

      He was adamant – and I’ve never forgotten – or violated his rules.

      Never point at anything unless you are going to shoot it.
      Never shoot anything unless you are going to kill it.

      Although, I have to admit, I’m not really trying to kill our training targets – but his point is well made.

    • And your #4 rule is so true
      Identify your target and know what ie BEHIND it
      We have a range on the edge of our property, home made and safe. Our target holder is an old refrigerator with tires stacked up behind it and the tires are filled with dirt. No rounds penetrate it.

      But during an urgent situation you don’t always think. We had a predator get one of our chickens, as DH grabbed the shot gun from by the door I grabbed his arm,, in a direct line with the predator and 15 yards behind was our 3 horses eating hay. We averted a disaster,, always identify what is behind your target, because that’s where your round may end up!

  4. GREAT points, I can’t tell you how many experianced shooters and hunters I have been around that exhibit the WORST muzzle control I have ever seen. I have been peppered with shot-shell pellets before evan at 80 yards it hurts like hell. (Never hunted with that idiot again), thankfully as close to really hurt as I ever got. When I taught my DW how to use her 9mm wouldn’t even give her a magazine until she went thru dry-runs to be sure she underdstood muzzle control, and trigger mechanics. I am not a trained pistol instructor but basic gun safty really should be second nature if you intend on ever using one.

  5. I remember a recretaional shoot with some friends. I was handling my single action revolve with someone still down range. It went off, fortunately I was complying with the other safety rules so the bullet didn’t go anywhere near people, but it put a scare into me. I carried that through my entire military career, volunteering to run the “Zero Range” (the first one the troops get to, with extensive safety briefings). As a result, no more “Accidental Discharges” (which are actually “Stupid Discharges) in 40+ years.

  6. I uhhhhhh,,,,, had a freind,,,, who knew a guy,,,, that had just come in from his shop after having done a trigger job on my,,,,, i mean his ruger mini14. Well this guy, puts his loaded magazine in his rifle and is headed to the gunsafe to put it away when something of interest comes across the screen on the telly as he walked through the living room. He sat down just for a second to watch this interesting bit of whatever on the telly. just for a second turned into several, then he decided to give his new trigger job,one last try before placing it in the safe. Ive heard he killed his refrigerator,a couple walls, an electrical outlet, and grazed the water heater. Then had to spend two very lonely and cold nights sleeping in his shop with only his dog “joe” to keep him company. Bad things happen to dumb people. Safety,Safety,Safety!!! And every gun is loaded. big dummy. That water heater is still alive and kicking but the fridge was a very expensive mistake. Thanks god it was only an appliance that suffered an untimely death and not the big dummies wife, whom he loves with every molecule of his being. well, thats what i heard anyway.

  7. “memorize your on safety position by feel makes it easier to check.”
    I know from experience that this is only good advice if you also adhere to the rule about keeping your finger off of the trigger.

  8. Texanadian says:

    I was test firing a new shot gun. Locked and loaded, pointed down range, finger on trigger and an idiot walks into downrange area from stage left. Dropped the barrel immediately but forgot to move finger. Gunshots are louder when you think you might of blown your toes off. Ball of shot in the ground and one nick out of the welt of my boot.

    Know who’s around and where they are when on the range.

  9. I used to belong to a gun club in Wisconsin and during a club picnic once ambled down to the rifle/pistol range with a couple friends, one about 8 months pregnant.

    There was a couple already there, and the guy was “teaching” his wife/girlfriend/whatever how to shoot a semi-auto pistol.

    It became clear she had never had a gun in her hand when he handed her a fully loaded pistol with the safety on, then backed up about 20 feet behind her. She couldn’t figure out how to take the safety off, so turned around to ask him with her finger on the trigger, swiping the muzzle across two men, one pregnant woman, and her SO.

    So he screamed at her like she was the idiot, and kept screaming at her. Fortunately for all, she didn’t accidentally disengage the safety. I guarantee you she went away traumatized by the things he screamed at her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she never touched a gun again, and it was to my way of thinking 100% the fault of her “instructor”.

    I don’t know if he was a good or safe shooter himself, but it was pretty clear he had never sat down and asked himself how to properly go about teaching an utter beginner the basics.

  10. IDIOTS should not have guns. Unfortunately they can own a car, do drugs and LEECH off the govt. And of course we let them.

  11. axelsteve says:

    I have 2 basic rules that I follow.#1 all guns are loaded. #2 all guns are loaded so act like they are. Never had any problems.

  12. A father of one of our kids friends shot himself in the leg. He was assuring his wife it was safe to keep it in the nightstand.

    I am a huge believer that if your weapon is not on your person, it should be locked in a steel gun safe bolted to the floor joists. But won’t stop a determined criminal but it will stop the average thug, and kids.

  13. Thunder ba says:

    In the army we’ve stopped referring to them as accidental discharges and started referring to them as negligent discharges or nd for short….I think that is a little more accurate.

  14. Brearbear says:

    …let me tell you a short story yung’uns…my best friend and i…aged about 10or so…were sitting atop his bed..he discharged his bb-gun at a toy on the floor…it richoched and hit me in the eye.
    all i remember was him crying and saying “dont telly mom”…as i ran to the bathroom holding my eye.
    with my good eye i could see my friend in the mirror behind me…
    i used my fingers to gently touch my other eye… and out popped the bb.
    i had no pain or ill effects from this “accident”.
    Wether extreme miracle or luck? Call it what you will.


  15. Thanks for writing a firearms safety article that will actually be fun for my kids to read! Great work!

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!