The Beginner’s Guide for Handguns : Loading and Unloading
3 Rules of Gun Safe Handling
The first thing you want to do is memorize the 3 Rules of Gun Safety. Having these rules ALWAYS on your mind will help you keep you and the other people around you safe. If you follow these 3 rules at all times you will NEVER have an accident.
Rule Number 1
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GUN POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION
What’s a safe direction?
Everyone’s safe direction is different. You must always be aware of your surroundings. Never point your gun at something you can’t blow up. We suggest a safe direction is pointing up, over everyone’s head. When you look down there are many things that can’t be replaced, like feet, knees, or children that are running by.
This doesn’t work for everyone though.
- If you live in an apartment or house with multiple floors and there are people above you.
Make sure that wherever your gun is pointing there is not anyone in your path. You can replace your ceiling, but not another person. This means if you are moving your gun from one room to another the barrel of your gun is never pointed at anything you wouldn’t want to hurt.
Wherever you are, pick a spot in your house, preferably facing a wall, for practice, where you will be safe to practice with your gun.
Quarter Inch Zone
The Quarter Inch Zone is exactly that. A quarter inch square that that you use as a guide to keep your gun in a safe direction. Imagine a laser coming out of your gun, if you have a laser, use it while you practice until you get perfect. The “laser” should never leave that Quarter Inch Zone. You will never move your gun up, or down, or left, or right, no matter how ever so slightly. This isn’t meant to make you always keep your gun in one specific spot, however, it is designed to train you to have a hyper focus on where your gun is pointed. If you can maintain your Quarter Inch Zone, you have proven to be able to have full control over your gun.
Practice with the ISIS flag below. Imagine a laser attached to your gun and don’t let the laser out of your Quarter Inch Zone.
Rule Number 2
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL READY TO SHOOT
This may sound like a no brainier, but you will find yourself with your finger on the trigger when it shouldn’t be. I suggest working with a partner, but if you don’t have a learning partner, stand facing a mirror so that you can see both side of your gun and if your finger slips onto the trigger. Your finger should be on the side of the gun, not the trigger, not the trigger guard.
- When are you ready to shoot?
You are not ready to shoot until you are actually shooting. This means, if you are AIMING you are not shooting. This means, if you shoot and then wait a few seconds before pulling the trigger again, you are NOT shooting. Between every shot, your finger is OFF the trigger.
Rule Number 3
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GUN UNLOADED UNTIL READY TO USE
- When are you using your gun?
You are using your gun if it’s on your hip, or in your nightstand while your sleeping, or in your center console of your car. You will keep your gun loaded during these times because you have the gun ready in case you need to use it. If an intruder comes in the middle of the nightstand you’ll need that gun loaded and ready to go. If you are keeping your gun around in case you need it, it’s being used.
- When are you not using your gun?
If you are going on vacation and leaving your gun at home locked up in the safe, you would keep in unloaded. If you are traveling and have it closed in it’s case, it’s not being used. If you are not using it for protection it’s not being used and should not be loaded. You would never want to keep it loaded because you or someone else may think the gun is unloaded when it is not and this is how accidents happen.
Snap Caps are fake rounds with a rubber primer. These are amazing tools to help become more familiar with your gun, encourage muscle memory, and prevent accidents. You will be able to practice loading, aiming, your grip, your Quarter Inch Zone, pulling the trigger, and unloading, all while being 100% safe.
Parts of a Revolver
Loading a Revolver
The revolver should lay on it’s right side with the Cylinder open. This way you know that this is an unloaded gun.
Pick up your gun keeping your finger against the side, pointing at your target. Make sure you are keeping your gun in the Quarter Inch Zone.
Then load one by one each round into the Cylinder.
When it is fully loaded close the Cylinder and turn it until it locks into place. Now you are ready to shoot.
Unloading a Revolver
Now that your gun is ready to be unloaded you will keep your gun in the Quarter Inch Zone. Push the Release Latch while using your finger to push the Cylinder open. Make sure your hand NEVER goes in front of the barrel. ALWAYS reached either under or over to open the Cylinder.
Now, use the ejector rod to push the rounds out of the Cylinder and hand pull each one out. Resist the urge to point the gun up and let them slide out. Keep the gun in the Quarter Inch Zone.
Then lay the gun down on the right hand side.
Parts of a Semi-Automatic
Loading a Semi-Automatic
The semi-automatic should lay on it’s left side with the slide back so that you can see that it is not loaded.
First, you will load your magazine. If it is a .22 the magazine has a lever on the side that helps with loading.
Once the magazine is loaded, pick up the gun with your finger off the trigger. Your pointer finger should be on the side of the gun, pointing at your target. Next, turn and face your gun. Do not leave that Quarter Inch Zone. Now, you can see everything on the gun easier. Load your magazine and pull to make sure it’s locked into place.
Then use both thumbs to push down on the Slide Release. Make sure you stay in your Quarter Inch Zone.
Now you are loaded and ready to shoot.
Unloading a Semi-Automatic
Now it’s time to unload our gun. Keep your gun in your Quarter Inch Zone. Turn and face your gun again, just like before. Release your magazine by pushing the Magazine Release in. If your magazine falls on the ground, let it fall.
Keep your gun in the Quarter Inch Zone. Now, you need to pull the slide back and push up on the Slide Stop so that it locks the slide back into place.
Now, visually inspect the chamber to make sure the chamber is empty. Now place the gun back down on the left hand side so you’re able to see down the chamber.
Parts of a Flip Up Gun
Loading a Flip Up Gun
The Flip Up should be laying on the left hand side with the chamber open.
First, you will need to load your magazine.
Turn and face your gun and keep it in the Quarter Inch Zone. Then, manually place 1 round into the chamber, the part that is flipped up.
Now, close the chamber.
Now you are ready to shoot.
Unloading a Flip Up Gun
Now that you are done shooting, you will turn and face your gun again. Keep your gun in the Quarter Inch Zone. First, release your magazine.
Next, you need to make sure there isn’t a round in the chamber, so flip the lever forward and the round will come out. Visually inspect the chamber to make sure it is empty.
Finally, lay the gun down on the left side.