Thinking About Weapons Safety

Staff sergeant fires M4 during weapons training
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Kovacs, squad leader assigned to 529th Military Police Company "Honor Guard,” fires an M4 during the Law Enforcement Weapons Training and Qualification (LEWTQ) at the Wackernheim Regional Range Complex, Germany, Feb. 26, 2021. (Michele Wiencek/U.S. Army)

You must obey numerous safety rules whenever you are around military weapons. Treat all weapons as if they are loaded.

Warning: A weapon is never safe to handle until you have cleared it. Ensure that it's unloaded. Note: You'll receive detailed instructions on how to clear the weapon during your classroom training. Pay attention! Clearing the weapon is one of the most important things you will learn.

Follow these safety rules:

  • Never point a weapon at anyone or anything you do not intend to shoot.
  • Keep your weapon pointed in a safe direction at all times.
  • A weapon is equipped with a mechanical safety. Keep it on Safe when it isn't being fired.
  • Never engage in horseplay when handling (or you're around) weapons.
  • If you have to take medication, inform your instructor so that you can be watched more closely.
  • Do not handle the weapon until you're told to do so.
  • While on the range, keep the weapon pointed toward the target at all times.
  • Immediately obey all commands on the range.
  • Immediately remove your finger from the trigger upon hearing "Cease fire," regardless of who gives it.

Warning: Safety violations on the range or anywhere else can cause serious or fatal injury to you or others. They also can cause extensive damage to military property. A military weapon is not a toy; it can kill a person with one round. Remember, a weapon is only as safe as the person using it.

From Basic Training for Dummies, copyright © 2011 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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