Concealed Carry Basics 14

#1 Safety 101: The 4 Rules of Firearm Safety

The essentials of safe handling of firearms. While there are dozens of good safety practices these are the Four Cardinal Rules.


These rules are in a specific order, and are unchangeable.

  1. All firearms are always loaded.
  2. Never point a firearm at anything you’re not willing to kill or destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until on target and ready to fire.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond.


These rules are not in any specific order

  • Never consume alcohol or drugs while handling/firing a firearm.
  • Always wear hearing and eye protection when shooting.
  • Keep your firearm unloaded and secure until ready to use. Firearms are number one on a burglar’s list. Record your firearm’s description and serial numbers.
  • Keep your firearms secure from unauthorized people, especially children and untrained adults. Teach everyone in your household basic firearms safety. You can’t kid-proof a house, but you can gun-proof a kid.
  • Know and use only the proper ammunition for your firearm. Store ammunition separately from firearms. Separate ammunition from firearms while cleaning.
  • Never alter your firearm’s mechanism yourself or disable a safety. Return your firearm to the manufacturer for repair and keep its records and receipts.
  • Clean your weapon after each firing or when stored for a long period of time. Know how to properly disassemble your firearm for cleaning. Read and ensure you understand the owner’s manual for your specific firearm. If you don’t have one, get it free from the manufacturer.
  • Obey property laws and shoot only where authorized. Clean up after yourself and leave the area better than you found it.
  • When going to shoot arrange times and locations so that someone knows where you are and when you’ll return. Have communication such as a cell phone or radio with you and never shoot alone.

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  • Mike Lapidow says: June 11, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Great refresher of rules no matter how experienced of confident. Great job!

    • David Birchmier says: June 11, 2014 at 1:04 am

      Thanks Mike –
      Glad you found the video & article useful. Let us know if you have any suggestions for future videos or articles you’d like to see!

    • Larry Brant says: June 12, 2014 at 4:52 am

      Very good reminders
      Thank you

  • Steve says: June 10, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Great video! Good job explaining the importance of each of these critical safety rules!

  • Sean Walsh says: June 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Well done. Just the right amount of information delivered professionally. I am teaching my son to shoot and we go through these rules every time we go to the range. I intend to have him view this video just to see that these are not my rules but the accepted universal rules for safe gun handling. It is important to have other sources for material when training kids. It is there natural inclination to question their parents rules. They need to hear it from someone else as well. Thanks

  • Bill Roberts says: June 10, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    All way’s a good refresher, I have 3 sons in there early 20’s
    I took them hunting waterfowl when they were 15. And when I take them too the range, we all way’s go over safety before we begin.
    I have sent them this for them too review again
    Thank you

  • Peter W. Lawrence II says: June 11, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I’m finally satisfied with the technique of instruction coming from CCW Guardian. I made an investment this past Christmas for my wife who had never owned a gun. I explain these simple, life-saving steps to her each time she handles the weapon and now with your reinforcement, she doesn’t take it personally as if she “would forget how dangerous a gun is.” It is a great reminder no matter if your a seasoned shooter or just a recreational one. Great job and thank you!

  • New shooter says: June 29, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    As a noob, it feels good to know and see that seasoned vets are putting it straight forward and informative. Apply and repeat the fundamentals and safe shooting becomes second nature.
    Thank you for the info.

  • Sam Mentesana says: September 5, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Great refresher of the rules of gun safety. It’s important to refresh every so often. Thanks!

  • Gary McNaught says: October 5, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Great video! Made it a point to show mode who is new to guns and wants to learn to shoot since I went on grave yard.

  • Micky says: October 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Thanks. Great video and reminder. Will be showing to my children because I have guns in the house and safety is a must.

  • Henry says: March 11, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    I like the way that David Reed speaks to you rather than down to you. And he mixes simple and straightforward lecture with effective hands gestures. His presentations are enjoyable and educational. I look forward to watching and learning more from David. Thank you!

  • Charles says: February 7, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I have learned a lot really like your app.

  • Chris says: July 11, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Disagree with 1 point. You should never repeat never stick your finger or anything else into the breach of a assembled weapon. Lost a fingertip that way in my army days, not to mention the potential damage or foreign objects in/to the breach should it close on you mistakenly or accidental. Remove the magazine, lock the slide, bolt, breach to the open position and visually look twice. Saying out loud, clearing the breach.

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