The SAFTD Gun Safety Rules

The SAFTD Gun Safety RulesReady position 500

Guns should always be pointed in a Safe Direction

Unload all firearms when not in use

Never touch the trigger until you are on target

Store guns in a secure location

A Gun is a tool of last resort

Fire only at verified targets

Educate yourself about your firearms

Train frequently and with purpose

You own every bullet you fire

Let’s take a deeper look at these rules.

      Guns should always be pointed in a safe direction.  Every time you handle a gun, be aware of your surroundings, and make sure your gun is pointed in the safest possible direction at all times. This is a dynamic situation, so your surroundings could change quickly, and you must remain cognizant of the direction your muzzle is pointing. If you are on the second floor of your house is down a safe direction? If you are on the first floor of your house and there are people upstairs, is up a safe direction? These decisions need to be made prior to handling your firearm. If you are not willing to shoot it, don’t point your gun at it.

       Unload all firearms when not in use. This is not that complicated. If you are done with it, unload it and put it away. If this is a target shooting gun, or a hunting gun, unload it, clean it, and lock it up. If this is a defensive firearm, and your situation allows, make sure you lock it up in your quick access safe. Make sure to check your local laws. Are you legally allowed to leave a loaded firearm locked up in your home? Some jurisdictions may not allow guns to be loaded when not attended even if they are locked up. If this is your concealed carry firearm, and you have it in your holster, it is in use. Again, make sure you are adhering to the laws of the jurisdiction you are in at the time. Any time you are going to be handling a firearm, assume it is loaded. Safely go through the steps to verify the condition of the gun prior to any handling of it.

      Never touch the trigger until you are on target. Once you have made the decision to shoot and your sights are on target, then and only then you may place your finger on the trigger. Any other time your gun is in your hands, your finger should be in the register or indexed, that is your finger should be straight and along the frame of the firearm.

     Store guns in a secure location.  This is a rule not a suggestion. There are many out there who are willing to leave their guns lying around their house. We believe this is a bad idea. With very few exceptions, it is suggested that you have a safe to lock your guns in. Your safe should be secured to ensure it cannot easily be removed from this location. Most large, long term storage safes are designed so that they may be bolted to the floor or a wall. Many quick access safes are designed to be bolted down to a dresser or in a drawer. Yes, you can put a lock on your plastic or nylon gun case, but let’s be honest, how secure is that really?

     A Gun is a tool of last resort.   With rights come responsibility. Yes, in this country we have the right to defend ourselves, sometimes even with lethal force. Lethal force is our last resort, in general, using lethal force to defend ourselves must be to the preclusion of all other options. Since using a gun is always considered lethal force, a gun is a tool of last resort.

     Fire only at verified targets.  Suppose you wake up to a noise in the middle of the night. In your half awaken state, you point your gun in that direction, and start shooting. When the smoke clears, you walkout look on the floor and see your beloved family member laying there bleeding to death. Perhaps, a flashlight may have been the better thing to fire in this situation, verify whether the noise was in fact a threat, or just someone getting a glass of water. It is simply not ok to point your gun at someone until you have verified they are a lethal threat.

     Educate yourself about your firearms.  Do you know the make and model of your firearm? How about the caliber? How many rounds will it hold? Does it have a manual thumb safety or a de-cocker? Where is the magazine release or the cylinder release? Is it a revolver or a semi-automatic, a pump action or a bolt action? These are all things you need to learn and know about your firearms. If you plan to carry a handgun concealed, I would submit you should know the make, model, serial number, caliber, type of ammunition, and how many rounds you are carrying. The more you know about your firearm, the more prepared you are to use it.

  Train frequently and with purpose.  After completing a class, and learning new skills, you need to practice those skills. When you go to the range, what skills are you planning to work on? Keep a training log of the drills you are working on, skills that drill is intended to improve, your accuracy and time. By doing this you will be able to determine whether you are improving or not. When you are going to the range what are your goals? When you start to plateau, you need to seek out a competent SAFTD instructor to help you grow. We suggest you attend at least 24 hours of training every year, and practice the skills learned in those classes at least once a month.  

     You own every Bullet you fire.  This rule seems to be problematic for many to comprehend. You are in fact responsible for every round you fire, who or what it hits, any person injured, any property damage caused by it. Verify what target you are going to shoot, verify what is around and beyond that target, and do not miss. 100% round accountability. If you are going to shoot it, then shoot it, don’t shoot at it and miss. Can you defend your actions in criminal court, and/or a civil court? 


By William A. Martin

SAFTD Regional Master Instructor

Is it ever "OK" to point a gun at someone?

     Is it ever "OK" to Point a gun at People?

I recently saw a video in my news feed of an Instructor working one on one with a student in a private lesson.This Instructor was allowing this student to 

shootersimulate drawing her gun from a holster, and rotate her elbow, and lock her wrist to what some call a retention shooting position.  Now this all sounds good so far, the “problem” is he was standing in front of her and the weapon was pointed at him. As I read through the comments, I read many people’s opinions. Comments like these:

  • …and he would be following safety protocols
  • He should have his credentials revoked
  • It’s a felony to point a gun at someone, even in a class on guns

Now these comments went on for a long while, and I will not comment as to their meaning or accuracy.

Don’t get me wrong, in this case, this guy made some mistakes, and fortunately, no-one was hurt.  After watching this, and reading these comments, I had to sit down and ask, Is it ever ok to point a firearm at someone else in training?

My answer may surprise you, more on that later.

A while back, I asked a group of students, “Is it ever ok to point a gun at someone else?” Every person in this class said without delay “NO!” So, I posed some scenarios to them. Here are the scenarios I asked them to comment on. Please read them, and answer to yourself…

  • If you take an outing to the local Laser Tag venue, is it ok to point these laser guns at someone else?
  • If you go to the local paintball field and engage in a “Battle” is it ok to point these paintball guns at someone else?
  • If you go to the local airsoft field, is it ok to point these airsoft guns at someone else?
  • If you take a Force-on-Force class using UTM equipped guns, is it ok to point them at someone else?
  • If you take a Force-on-Force class using Simunition guns, is it ok to point them at someone else?
  • If a criminal is threatening you with serious bodily injury of death, is it ok to point your gun at them?

Their responses were all “YES!”.  So, I ask again, Is it ever ok to point a gun at someone in training?

     Well, I will say this, if the proper safety measures are taken, and there is a legitimate purpose for this training, then yes.  Now try not to get your feathers tooFSSWMP40SB ruffled.  I am not advocating randomly grabbing a gun off the shelf in the classroom, and pointing it at everyone in the room. I don’t believe we should be pointing guns at students in basic firearms orientation class, or a basic concealed carry permit class. As a matter of fact, I think the times where pointing a gun at someone should be chosen very carefully, and have a very specific purpose. The context of the training must be very clear, and the results must outweigh any possible safety concerns.  I  believe there are very strict protocols that must be in place to insure the safety of the participants.  I also believe there are enough training aids such as Blueguns, Sirt Pistols, and other props, that the need for using an actual firearm is few and far between.

     A colleague of mine recently worked with a group of law enforcement officers. They had AR-15s that had the Bolt Carrier Group removed, ECI( Empty Chamber Indicators) installed, and empty magazines inserted in the guns. All ammunition was removed from the training area, and everyone was patted down to ensure their pockets were empty. There was no risk of these guns being operational. This was this group of officers first foray into the FOF training. These guys were instructed to complete some drills, and some of these drills required, wait for it, pointing their duty weapon at another individual. An overwhelming 90% of these officers absolutely refused to complete this training at first. The question must be asked, if their lives were on the line, would they have been capable of pointing their guns at a felony threat? After some time, and work, they were all able to complete the training, and they all were thankful for the training they received.
Inert MP

     I believe there is a need for stress inoculation in training.  Many law enforcement officers have an opportunity to participate in Force-on-Force training using Simunition/UTM guns. This gives them an opportunity to get shot at, and shoot back at people with paint-marker rounds in guns that look and act just like the guns they carry on duty.  This is a very efficient means of inducing stress into their training. This method of training allows them to see flaws in their training, and make corrections in a safe environment, but yes they are pointing guns at another person.

     Many civilians can take ECQ (Extreme Close Quarters) courses using UTM/Simunition guns to help them understand that civilian defensive encounters happen very quickly, and are very violent. Without this training, they would never see the gaps in their training.  There are some things that are difficult, nearly impossible to train for while standing on a one-way range shooting slow fire at a paper target.

     Have you ever participated in a combat sport? Boxing? Wrestling? Martial Arts?  All the training you do working on technique, working on a bag, shadow boxing seems to leave your mental consciousness the moment you get punched, kicked, or taken down.  Oh, maybe not, because in those sports, you train for Force-on-Force with a training partner who punches you, kicks you, takes you down and tries to hurt you.  So why is it ok to spar in that arena, but not do the same thing in a controlled environment dealing with something like a lethal force threat?

ECI Plug

     In closing, I will say this. I do believe we should be vigilant about safety when training.  I will also say we need to make time, and set aside the money needed to attend these courses, and get some Force-on-Force training.  Just make sure the person leading the class has a very strict set of safety protocols to ensure the participants do not get hurt.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this. 


More Articles...

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

DTS    13062360 10154176811839044 5792144932881697092 n      NRA-TCsm    NRA-Instrutorsm       download     Saftd-logoInner 

RM Logo pngsm  2016logo 002 4607247586OE logo for bottom of website