Safety Rules Related to Your Firearm's Holster and Ammo Carrier

  1. Always use a holster which is designed for, and which fits, your handgun.
  2. Make sure your holster covers the trigger guard of your handgun.
  3. Purchase a holster which allows you to obtain a secure grip on the grip while it is still holstered.
  4. Be sure the thumb break, safety strap, or other firearm retention device on your holster is functional and consistently employed. A good holster should retain your firearm during normal carry and routine physical activity, but no holster can insure that a firearm will be secure against determined attempts at disarmament, or keep a firearm secure during all possible physical activities.
  5. Avoid clip-on holsters and magazine pouches. These carriers may fail to stay clipped to the belt and end up being drawn along with the firearm or the magazine they still hold, (As Clint Smith would say, "like a bugger hanging off the end of your gun") thereby interfering with use of the firearm or with timely reloading.
  6. Avoid paddle-style holsters, cross draw holsters, and similar holsters which provide poor weapon retention.
  7. Avoid ankle holsters, shoulder holsters and other types of holsters which can introduce unnecessary delays in accessing a defensive firearm.
  8. Avoid carrying a defensive firearm in a purse, pocketbook, daypack or briefcase. A firearm carried in that fashion is typically hard to rapidly access due to the presence of slow-to-open zippers, multiple latches, often hard to find and draw among all the other items routinely carried;  few purses or briefcases include a dedicated handgun-carrying compartment; Are prone to being unavailable when needed, since briefcases, purses and other carriers are routinely set down or put away in a desk drawer where they may or may not be readily accessible and under your physical control; Unusually vulnerable to being stolen, since purses, pocketbooks, day packs and briefcases are prime targets for purse snatchers, pick pockets, muggers and thieves; Are prone to malfunction in an emergency since materials carried along with your handgun in a purse or brief case may gum up the firearm's mechanism and potentially interfere with its proper operation, and are likely to allow your handgun to accidentally become visible to shop clerks, bank tellers or other parties while you are searching for your checkbook or locating a credit card, and that inadvertent exposure may potentially result in a tense situation or even a tragic over-reaction on the part of an individual noticing the firearm and/or summoning law enforcement officers to the scene.
  9. Never carry a handgun tucked into your belt or waistband without a holster (so-called "gangsta" or "mexican" carry). A handgun carried in this fashion may be unintentionally dislodged, fall onto a hard surface and accidentally discharge or be damaged. Inside the waistband-type holsters will allow you to obtain the concealment of this type of carry while simultaneously providing vastly improved firearm retention.
  10. Always employ a proper magazine holder or speed loader carrier to carry your spare ammunition. Select a design that secures and protects your speed loaders or magazines while still making them readily available for use. Avoid ammunition loops and ammo dump boxes.
  11. Never put a partially empty magazine or speedloader back into a magazine carrier or speedloader pouch: only full magazines or full speedloaders belong in a carrier. Partially empty magazines or speed loaders should go into your pocket; empty magazines or speedloaders should be allowed to fall where they're used during an emergency.

Miscellaneous Safety Rules

  1. At a range, obey the commands of the range officers, or any individual calling `cease fire,' at once. Read, know and follow any rules peculiar to a particular range which you may be using.
  2. Be careful of hot gases and metal shavings ejected at the forcing cone of a revolver.
  3. Keep your fingers and other parts of your body away from the muzzle, the rear of the slide, and the ejection area of a semiautomatic pistol.
  4. In the event of a misfire, keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, remove your finger from the trigger, wait ten seconds, then eject the cartridge and dispose of it properly.
  5. If you hear an unusual sound upon squeezing the trigger or feel an unusual recoil, stop shooting and investigate. You may have experienced a ``squib'' load (or under-powered cartridge), and it may have caused a bore obstruction. Keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, remove your finger from the trigger, wait ten seconds, then unload the firearm and safely examine the barrel, checking carefully for any possible obstructions before reloading and resuming shooting.
  6. Never ---

           Climb a tree with a loaded firearm,
           Cross a fence with a loaded firearm,
           Jump a ditch or ford a stream with a loaded firearm,
           Scale or descend a steep incline or hill with a loaded firearm,
           Climb a tree, or climb into a hunting stand with a loaded firearm,
           Prop or lean a loaded firearm against a tree or other surface which may allow it to slide, or
           Transport a cased loaded firearm.

  • Always carry your firearms in a way which will allow you to control where the muzzle is pointing, should you stumble or fall.
  • A ballistic vest may substantially improve your chances of surviving an armed encounter on the street.
  • Always wear 1000 square inches or more of blaze orange while in the field during hunting season.
  • Blackpowder (and replica blackpowder) firearms require additional safety precautions not discussed here. Obtain qualified instruction in the safe operation of blackpowder firearms before attempting to load or fire any such firearm.
  • Circumstances may require additional safety rules unique to a particular situation.

Safe Gun Storage

  1. When you are not using your firearm, you should insure that it is stored safely.
  2. Affirmative measures designed to prevent unauthorized access to a defensive firearm by minors, or firearm theft, include:
  3. Use of a simplex-type locking box for securing firearms which need to be kept loaded yet available for ready-access defensive use
  4. Use of trigger locks or padlocks to secure firearms which don't need to be kept immediately available for defensive use.
  5. Also note that:
  6. Gun security devices which rely solely on physical strength to secure firearms from unauthorized use are generally undesirable since ingenious children can potentially employ leverage or tools to overcome those devices.
  7. "Hiding" a firearm won't secure it from discovery and possible misuse by curious children or intruders.
  8. Metal gun cabinets or gun safes can be used to safeguard firearms from unauthorized access or theft in many circumstances.  Metal gun cabinets or gun safes are generally preferable to open racks or glass-front cabinets.
  9. Firearms should be stored unloaded and separate from ammunition when the firearm isn't needed for ready-access defensive use.
  10. You may want to store critical components of a firearm (such as the gun's bolt or slide) separately from the rest of the firearm when the gun won't be used in the immediate future.
  11. ​Explore "gun-proofing" your child by proper training, and by controlled and closely supervised access to firearms to reduce your child's natural unsatisfied curiosity about firearms.