Rifle and Firearm Safety

Every year in the United States, more than 18,000 people experience unintentional gun injuries. About 500 more people unintentionally perish from their wounds. The term “unintentional” is key here. In addition to the many who die because of planned gun violence (both suicide and homicide), there are many others who suffer by accident. The cause is often improper gun conduct, a sufficient lack of respect for the lethal potential and power of the gun.

We previously provided some rifle shooting tips for beginners, with the basic skills that people need for hitting their target. Now, here is some even more vital information on rifle and firearm safety.


Assume Every Firearm is Loaded

This may be the most basic rule for protecting yourself and others when using firearms. Every single time you hold a firearm, treat it as if it is full of ammunition and ready to go off. You must hold this state of mind even when you feel 100% confident that your firearm is not loaded. You must act like this even when the whole reason you have your gun out is to reload it. Lastly, you must assume that your gun is loaded even if you are picking it up for the first time in a while.

This may sound rather exaggerated, especially if you already view yourself as quite careful. However, no amount of caution is too extreme when you consider the bloody, painful, potentially lethal alternative.


Watch Where You’re Pointing

Never point your gun at anyone when you hold it. Keep the muzzle pointed in a direction where, in the event of an accidental discharge, no one would get hit. It does not matter if you believe that the gun is not loaded, or if the safety is on (remember, always assume it is primed). At every moment that the gun is in your hands, be aware of where the muzzle is aimed, even when you are not aiming.

There is really not much more to say, but we repeat for emphasis: If you’re not planning on shooting, never point your gun at anyone when you hold it.


Stay Away from the Trigger

If you are out hunting game or participating in a competition, you will have to fire your gun at some point. You may thus feel tempted to keep your finger on the trigger, as a way to cut down milliseconds of preparation when the time comes. However, it should really be the other way around. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are absolutely ready to shoot.

It is true that every fraction of a second can make the difference between a hit and a miss, especially when your target is mobile. However, missing the shot is always preferable to sacrificing your safety, or the safety of others.


OTM Tactical is currently creating a thorough curriculum for our very own rifle safety program. Firearms Training will offer classes in proper Precision L/R rifle use and grant graduates CWP certification. While this is under construction, feel free to visit our online shop for high-quality rifles, rifle parts, ammunition, and accessories.


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