From the time you pick up a firearm, you become part of a system over which you have complete control. You are the only part of the system that can make a gun safe — or unsafe.

Here are 10 basics of gun handling that you must know, courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF):

1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

2. Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.

3. Don’t rely on your gun’s “Safety.”

4. Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

5. Use correct ammunition.

6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care!

7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.

8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.

9. Don’t alter or modify your gun, and have guns serviced regularly.

10. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.

Special SCTP Safety Rules for All Disciplines 

• Toe Pads: The use of toe pads is forbidden. Itis a violation to rest the muzzle on the foot. 

• Foot Wear: Shooting in flip-flops or opened-toed/heeled shoes/sandals is prohibited.

• Muzzle Control: While on a shooting post or station, the muzzle must never cross any part of the shooter’s anatomy or any other person’s anatomy.