Col. Jeff Cooper (1920–2006) was a US Marine, the creator of the modern technique of handgun shooting, and an expert on the use and history of small arms. He introduced the concept of the mental alertness color code which indicates the degree of peril a person is willing to act upon and which facilitates a person to move from one level of mindset to another (situational awareness) to enable the person to properly handle a given situation.
[ Read the SemperVerus article, Checklist: Matters to Consider When Deciding on a Handgun ]
As a way of encouraging universal firearm safety, Col. Cooper also advocated a simple 4-point set of rules anyone can understand:
- EVERY gun is loaded until proven otherwise.
- Point the muzzle ONLY at what you want to destroy.
- Put your finger on the trigger ONLY when you’re ready to fire.
- KNOW your target and what’s behind and around it.
Trigger finger discipline is crucially fundamental to gun safety. Each and every time you handle a firearm, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. That means, place your finger up, out of and away from the trigger guard, on the side of the frame of the gun. This will avoid the possibility of a negligent discharge. Finger discipline is vitally important both before you shoot AND after you shoot. Do not linger your finger on the trigger after your final shot. Move it immediately away from the trigger and onto the frame.
Another way of remembering the safety points is with the acronym ACTS:
[ Read the SemperVerus article, The Process of Becoming a First Time Gun Owner ]
- Eddie Eagle Gun Safety by NRA
- Project ChildSafe by National Shooting Sports Foundation
- Kids and Guns 101: Safety, Age, & Recommendations by Pew Pew Tactical
- Let’s Talk About Gun Safety at The Firearm Blog
- The Four Rules of Gun Safety for New Gun Owners…and Everyone Else at The Truth About Guns
- Guns 101 Videos for New Gun Owners by the Polite Society Podcast
- New Gun Owner Orientation Videos by Active Self Protection
- GUNSMARTS by Smith & Wesson
- Firearm Safety + Handgun Fundamentals 101 Videos by USCCA.
You may want to consider taking an NRA online safety course
Being careful and attentive to follow these rules EVERY TIME you handle a firearm will ensure safety for everyone involved!
[ Read the SemperVerus article, Important Judicial Decisions Regarding Self-Defense Law ]
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Manufacturers Safety Pages:
- GLOCK S.A.F.E. Program – https://us.glock.com/en/learn/firearms-education/safe
- Ruger – https://www.ruger.com/safety/index.html
- Ruger Blue Book: Firearms Safety for Responsible Citizens – https://www.ruger.com/pdf/blueBook.pdf
- Remington – https://www.remington.com/support/safety-center/ten-commandments-firearm-safety
- CZ USA – https://cz-usa.com/community/firearm-safety/
- Beretta – http://www.beretta.com/assets/12/29/Basic_Safety_Rules.pdf
- Taurus – https://www.taurususa.com/safety/shooting-fundamentals/
- NSSF – https://www.nssf.org/safety/rules-firearms-safety/
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