About the Study Guide

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Even something as simple as loading or unloading a firearm can result in tragedy if it isn’t done properly. Here’s how to do it safely.

  • Control the muzzle. Point it in a safe direction. Know the location of all people in your area.
  • Put the safety on if it is not already on.
  • Keep your finger outside the trigger guard.
  • Open the action.
  • Remove the ammunition by first detaching the magazine. Eject cartridges or shells if it's the only way to remove them. Do not let the action completely close. Use extra care with lever action firearms. (See page 14 for details on specific actions.)
  • Count your cartridges to make sure the magazine is empty.
  • Make sure the gun is empty by checking both the chamber and the magazine.

Loading and Unloading Firearms