Most modern firearms have some type of safety in place to prevent negligent discharge and provide some added peace of mind. However, the safety button or feature on any gun is only going to be useful if you know for sure where it is and how to use it. Below, the firearms safety and training experts from Gun Safety Training Pros, a premier provider of gun training online, explain where gun safeties are typically located and how this feature should be used.
With handguns, in general, the safety is typically located by the receiver, and it’s usually easy to find. But not all handguns come with mechanical safeties. This is also likely to be the case if you have an older or antique handgun.
A cross-bolt safety is an easy-to-use push-button that blocks the hammer or the trigger. This type of safety is often found on pump and semi-automatic firearms. It’s usually found in one of two locations:
• At the trigger guard
• Ahead of the hammer
Some semi-automatic pistols may have pivot safeties, although they’re more common on bolt-action rifles. These safeties have either a tab or pivoting lever that inhibits the firing pin or trigger. Two possible locations for pivot safeties are:
• Directly on the frame
• On the slide or bolt
Some rifles and break-action shotguns have slide or tang safeties. With these safeties, there will either be a button or a sliding bar that keeps the gun from firing. This type of safety can be found on the side of the receiver. It can also be on what’s called the “tang,” referring to the metal strip located behind the receiver.
Single-action revolvers or similar guns with exposed hammers often have hammer safeties. A hammer safety works by putting the hammer into a half-cock position to prevent it from connecting with the firing pin. It’s engaged by the act of putting the hammer in the half-cock position. This isn’t a true safety, but some manufacturers consider it to be a safety feature.
How to Use the Safety on a Gun
With a side-mounted safety, the tab is usually pushed down to engage it and up to disengage or disable it. With a frame-mounted safety, you’ll push down to disengage and up to activate or reengage. If you have a bolt-action rifle, you may have a side-mounted switch on the right side of the bolt. Pull the switch rearward for safe mode and forward to fire. Tang safeties are usually moved forward to fire and rearward to engage the safety.
With most safety mechanisms that have two positions, you’ll see some type of red mark that indicates the gun is ready to fire. When it’s in safety mode, the red mark or indicator isn’t visible.
Additionally, maintain optimal safety when using any type of gun by:
• Assuming any gun you handle is loaded
• Never pointing a gun at anything you don’t intend to be a target
• Keeping your finger off the trigger until you have your target in your sights
• Knowing what’s beyond or around your target before you pull the trigger
One of the most important parts of being a safety-conscious, responsible gun owner is knowing everything about your gun, including its safety features as well as how to operate it properly. Fortunately, high-quality firearms training is readily available. If you’d like to learn more about gun safety from professionals with years of experience in firearms education, reach out to the experts at Gun Safety Training Pros. Contact us today at [email protected].