How to Handle and Clear a Gun Properly

How to properly handle and clear a gun

Safe Gun Handling Every Firearms Owner Should Know

4 Rules of Firearm Safety

4 rules of firearm safety

Firearms are powerful tools that require responsible handling and respect to ensure the safety of the operator and those around them. Therefore, every firearm owner should know how to handle and clear a gun properly. The importance of firearm safety cannot be overstated. Even a momentary lapse in judgment can result in severe injury or even death. As part of this blog, let’s start by covering the four fundamental rules of firearm safety that every gun owner and operator should know and follow. Following these rules will help ensure you properly handle and clear a gun.

These rules are universally recognized and taught by firearm instructors worldwide, and following them can prevent tragic accidents when cleaning, handling, or transporting. Ensure the safe and enjoyable use of firearms. Whether you are a seasoned gun owner or new to firearms, understanding and practicing these rules is essential to safe and responsible firearm use.

Treat every firearm as if it is loaded

The first rule of firearm safety is to treat every firearm as loaded.

Treet every gun as if its loaded

This rule is a reminder always to exercise caution and respect when handling firearms. Even if you believe a gun is unloaded, you should treat it as if it is loaded. Treating every gun as if it is loaded can prevent accidental discharges and ensure the safety of everyone.

Point your firearm in a safe direction

The second rule of firearm safety is never to let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy.

This rule emphasizes the importance of knowing where the firearm points and what is beyond your target. Guns are designed to deliver deadly force; even the slightest mistake can have catastrophic consequences. By keeping the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction, you can minimize the risk of injury or death to yourself or others. It is important to remember that once a bullet is fired, it cannot be called back, so always be aware of your surroundings and where your firearm is pointed.

point your firearm in a safe direction

Keep your finger off the trigger

The third rule of firearm safety is to keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you are ready to shoot.

always keep your finger off the trigger

This rule is designed to prevent accidental discharges caused by unintentional trigger pulls. When handling firearms, it is essential to keep your trigger finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Doing so can avoid accidentally firing the gun before you are prepared. You should place your finger on the trigger and aim only when you are ready to shoot. This rule reinforces the importance of always being aware of your surroundings and maintaining control of your firearm.

Be sure of your target and beyond

The fourth rule of firearm safety is to be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

This rule stresses the importance of knowing what is in the area beyond your target. As bullets can travel through multiple objects and cause unintended harm. Before firing a firearm, it is essential to identify your target, what is behind it, and any potential obstacles or hazards in the surrounding area. Doing so can avoid accidental injuries or property damage caused by errant shots. This rule emphasizes the need for responsible firearm use. It reinforces the idea that firearms should only be used in situations where the safety of yourself and those around you can be ensured.

be sure of your target and beyond

You’re ready now that you’ve reviewed the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety. So, keep these shooting tips in your back pocket next time you’re out on the range. Then, you’ll be on the fast track to building your
confidence and improving your shooting skills quickly.

Properly Clearing Your Handgun

Handgun clearing is an essential safety procedure that should be followed whenever you handle a firearm.

Here are the steps for clearing a handgun:

  • Start with clearing your weapon of any live ammunition by removing the source of ammunition from the firearm
  • Racking your slide, action or bolt three times to remove any ammunition, locking the slide (or action) to the rear
  • Visually and physically check your magazine well, slide, and barrel for any ammunition (3 times)
  • Remove any live ammunition from the area

Point the handgun in a safe direction

Pointing the handgun in a safe direction is the first and most crucial step when handling firearms. This means that you should always ensure that the firearm’s muzzle is pointed in a direction that will not cause harm to people or property in case of an accidental discharge. For example, a safe direction is usually towards the ground or ceiling or a safe backstop. Keeping the handgun pointed in a safe direction throughout the clearing and handling process is essential. By making it a habit always to point the firearm in a safe direction, you can help prevent accidental injuries or property damage. This ensures the safety of yourself and those around you.

Remove the ammunition

Clearing your weapon of any live ammunition is of utmost importance to ensure safety, whether you are a military personnel, law enforcement officer, or a civilian gun owner.

Removing the ammunition and magazine before handling a firearm is critical to ensuring the safety of yourself and others around you. Even if you are familiar with the weapon, treating it as if it is loaded and ready to fire at all times is essential. In addition, removing the ammunition and magazine eliminates the risk of accidental or negligent discharge, which can have catastrophic consequences. Therefore, it is crucial always to clear it. Remember, there is no such thing as being too cautious when handling firearms. Always err on the side of caution to prevent tragic accidents.

Rack your Slide or Firearms Action

Racking your slide, action or bolt three times to remove any ammunition, locking the slide (or action) to the rear.

Racking the slide or firearms action is an essential step when clearing a firearm. It is the most effective way to ensure that the chamber is empty and that there is no ammunition in the gun. In addition, racking the slide or action allows any chambered round to be ejected. Providing a visual and tactile confirmation that the gun is indeed unloaded. It is important to note that this step should be performed in a safe direction, away from any people or property. There is always a chance of an unintentional discharge during the clearing process. Additionally, racking the slide or action provides an opportunity to physically inspect the chamber.

Lock the slide back

The third step in clearing a handgun is to lock the slide or action back. Pull it back and engaging the slide stop lever or pulling the slide back and locking it with the slide stop lever. The slide is the top part of the handgun that moves back and forth to the chamber and ejects rounds. Locking the slide back ensures no round in the chamber and prevents the firearm from being fired. To lock the slide back, pull it back and engage the slide stop lever. It is typically located on the side of the handgun.. This step allows you to inspect the chamber to ensure no round is present visually. Keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while performing this step and throughout the clearing process is essential. By following this step, you can ensure that the handgun is completely unloaded and ready for safe handling.

Visually inspect the chamber

The fourth and final step in clearing a handgun is to visually inspect the chamber and magazine well. Ensure that the firearm is completely unloaded.

visually inspect the chamber

This step involves physically and visually checking the chamber and magazine well to ensure no round is present. With the slide locked back, visually inspect the chamber and magazine well for any signs of ammunition or obstructions. Use your finger or a small tool to check the chamber to ensure it is empty. You should also inspect the magazine well to ensure that it has been removed and no rounds are left.

Keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while performing this step and throughout the clearing process is essential. Following this step, you can ensure the handgun is unloaded and ready for safe handling.

Perform a physical check

After visually inspecting the chamber and magazine well, you should use your finger, a pick, or something similar to physically check for any obstructions or cartridges. This step ensures that the chamber and magazine well are clear. This step ensures you may haven’t missed anyting during the visual inspection.

Store it in a safe and secure location

secured firearm

If you are certain that the handgun is unloaded, the final step is to store it in a safe and secure location. Always store firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, or secure place, out of reach of children and other unauthorized persons. If you are not certain that the handgun is unloaded, repeat the above steps. Never assume a gun is unloaded, even if you remember clearing it. Always treat firearms with respect and caution and follow the proper clearing procedures whenever you handle a gun.

It is essential to follow these steps carefully and diligently every time you handle a firearm. Ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

Conclusion

This looks like a long list and seems as if it would be hard to remember. You would be surprised how fast it goes and how fast it becomes second nature. These steps just become a natural part of your safe gun handling. Special thanks to Dennis Rousseau from Force Solutions. A company dedicated to teaching law abiding citizen’s proper firearms safety, and the essential fundamentals.

Author

  • Michael Hodgdon

    A firearm, shooting, outdoor, and hunting enthusiast for over 35 years. Thank you all for the suggestions on topics you would like to see; we'll keep posting as you keep sending them in. Please comment; we will try to answer all comments quickly.

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