Practicing Safe Gun Handling for Beginners

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Today’s post is information I would like to share about safe gun handling.

It is intended for beginners, but even those who know how to shoot could sometimes use a refresher.

The critical thing to remember is that safety is always number one.
There is nothing more important.

If you aren’t going to be safe while using a firearm, you have no reason to read any further.

If you want to learn how to handle a gun safely, this post is for you.

Glock 9mm propped up on rocks

Since leaving law enforcement, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a few friends how to shoot.

Since this is a topic I care about and think everyone should know how to handle a firearm safely, I take this very seriously.

Those close to me know I don’t mess around with firearms, and I am serious when I say if you don’t take these tools seriously, you shouldn’t own one.

My Qualifications

You might wonder who I am and why you should listen to me.

Eric on patrol at SSU PD

Like many people, I started with firearms at a young age. Since I first learned to shoot a BB gun, safety has been ingrained in everything.

In a nutshell, I’ve worked at a gun range, have my concealed carry permit for years, was an armed guard (security, private investigations, and armored transport), and was a sworn officer in California for a decade.

As you can see, my firearm journey started when I was younger but grew into a career. I have always been interested in them and have learned much over the years.

Eric shooting outdoors, using firearm safety rules

Before you ask, yes, I’ve taken countless hours of firearm courses. Everything from basic safety, hunting, security, rifle training, building clearing, and tons on different firearm platforms.

Above, I mentioned learning to shoot a BB gun.

Not very impressive, but this was because my Uncle and older cousin wanted to ensure I took safety and my training seriously.

After I understood the basics, we eventually moved to shoot cans with the BB gun. Then we progressed to a 22 rifle before moving to SKS and the AR platforms.

When I was around 11 or 12, the process started with a .22 handgun. It was a few years later I got to shoot a Desert Eagle, which, let’s say, is a bit bigger than a .22.

Again, I want to point out that you need to understand the basics before you start shooting.

Safe Gun Handlingshooting course using firearm safety fundamentals

If you skipped to this point, I’d say this again.

You must be safe when handling any firearm.

You might have heard the four primary safety rules before, but you must understand and practice them.

  1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
  2. Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  4. Always be aware of your target and what’s beyond it.

I feel these rules are self-explanatory, but if you want me to go into each one, let me know in the comments below!

Instead of covering each of the four safety rules, I would like to direct you to a few other articles that have done an excellent job.

  • NSSF, the firearm industry trade association, has good information on safe gun handling. They have a great quick read on the above four primary safety rules (check it out here).
  • NRA is an excellent resource for many gun-related topics. I’ve been a member for as long as I can remember. This article is great if you are learning to shoot.
  • Shooting Illustrated has so much information it’s crazy. Here is more information for you about gun safety that is a must-read.
  • If you didn’t think the NRA could get any better, here is more information on our topic. They even included a “find a training course near you.”

Whether you take a course or go to the range, you will need the above four safety rules.
And I would like to say that every gun owner should know what they are if ever asked.

Being Responsible with Firearmsproper cleaning and teaching with gun safety

We covered the four rules, but I suggest everyone take an introductory firearm course.

After you are familiar with firearms, you can also rent a few guns to test out at your local gun range.

All good gun ranges will give you a demo of each firearm you rent, especially if you aren’t familiar with it.

What firearm should I purchase?

This has to be the question I get all the time. To be honest, what works for me might not work for you.

You have to consider your hand size, strength, and operation of the firearm you are considering.

Another reason you should go to a gun range and store. This will allow you to hold and see if you can reach all the critical components of the firearm (mag release, slide release, etc.).

girl holding firearm incorrectly, never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot
Do you see a problem with this photo? Let me know in the comments below.

Only when you take the time to understand firearm basics and test out different models and calibers will you be ready to purchase your own.

One more thought before you purchase your firearm. Where are you going to store it?

Each state has laws for the safe storage of firearms, so please check your local laws (you can go online to your state’s Department of Justice for more information).

Here are a few considerations when purchasing a firearm:

  • Who do you live with (children, roommates)?
  • Who should have access to the firearm?
  • How will you store it (safe is the best option)?

I think it’s best practice to inform those you are living with there is a firearm in the house.
Always make sure you lock and secure them.

Guns are not toys and should always be treated with respect.

boy learning to shoot proper firearm handling

Next steps

Rember to always practice safe gun handling, whether you are a beginner or have been shooting for years.

Be responsible with guns and always store them safely, away from children. If you are unsure how to handle a firearm, contact your local gun range, retailer, or police department (call the non-emergency number).

handgun and ammo on a desk

As long as you keep the four rules mentioned above, you are halfway there. It’s important to remember them because guns can be very dangerous.

Once you understand the basics of a firearm and know the safety rules, it’s time to get to shooting.

There are a few things to keep in mind, which is why I suggest taking a course.

For those that know me, I’ve been honored to share my knowledge with them. It’s also an excellent way to remember what it’s like to be new to handling guns.

I wanted to write this post because those new to handling firearms can have a point of reference.

If you want to add something you feel I missed, please do so in the comments below.

Also, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.
I will reply to everyone.

police on practice range using gun safety fundamentals

I would also like to know if this is a topic you would want me to write more about. I have a lot more I wanted to include in this post, but I wanted to keep it basic and for beginners.
Feel free to contact me with any further questions.

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2 thoughts on “Practicing Safe Gun Handling for Beginners”

  1. Could anyone say the word “safety” too many times when discussing firearms? No way!

    I have had conversations with people that their focus is on having fun and feeling the power of a weapon.
    Those are exciting things, but safety needs to be paramount.

    Who hasn’t heard of someone accidently discharging their weapon and shooting themselves? Or others?
    Or maybe they were lucky enough to have the bullet travel through a few walls or structures without harming anyone?

    Thank you for writing this blog. Also, glad you do not take anyone shooting that you feel is not respectful or serious about safety first.

    On a personal note, I have had the experience of some lessons with you and appreciate how patient you are. Also, how you take the time to teach about the firearm before a single round is shot.

    • I agree that safety is number one. As for negligent discharges, I’ve got some pretty crazy stories about that. Luckily, that has never happened to me. But I have a whole thing for clearing and cleaning firearms at home, range (if needed), and other locations.

      I’m glad you liked the post. And for anyone who knows me personally, I’m down to help you! This is something fun for me, and I enjoy doing it.


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