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Beyond the Basics of Firearm Safety


First, the Four Rules of Firearms Safety have been keeping people safe for a long time.  You and everyone you shoot with needs to know them and apply them.  This will prevent the vast majority of serious gun accidents:

  1. Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  2. Don’t point your firearm at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
  4. Be aware of your target and what is beyond it.

Now, here are a few safety considerations that we’ve seen and learned about through our experience in the law enforcement, military, and competitive shooting fields.  Give this some thought:

  1. Always, always, clear it– The moment you pick up ANY firearm, you should automatically point it in a safe direction and clear it (remove magazine, check chamber). This is the mark of a professional.  Even if you are CERTAIN a gun is unloaded having only left it for a moment, clear it again.  It only takes a second.  An unbelievable number of accidental shootings happen with a gun that “wasn’t loaded.”  Clear it every time.
  2. Add this rule: All guns are carried or secured – When you take your EDC gun off, where do you put it?When you are done cleaning your pistol, where does it go? There is a reason that you never leave your weapon unattended in the military.  Unattended firearms can be used against you or fall into the hands of an untrained, innocent person and cause a tragedy.  By owning and/or carrying a firearm, you are solely responsible for ensuring it does not fall into the wrong hands.  Take it seriously.  Get an inexpensive pistol vault or trigger lock and throw it on the gun when you take it off.  If you are leaving guns in your home or vehicle, implement controls such as a safe or cable lock, to keep it from being stolen and used in a crime.  Do everything you can to ensure your Shadow Systems pistol is used for good, righteous things, and does not harm an innocent person or you.
  3. Dryfire is how you safely learn new skills– Most competitive shooters will tell you that they build their core skills and speed through dry fire. Start by removing all ammunition from your practice area. Clear your pistol thoroughly and clear it again.  Even though the gun is unloaded, ensure you are dry firing toward something that will stop a bullet…just in case.  Now, practice the skill slowly (aiming and firing, drawing, reloading, etc.) and gradually increase your pace.  You will become more comfortable with the new skill and it will start to feel natural and automatic.  More importantly, if you screw it up and drop the gun or pull the trigger too soon, you have not created an unsafe situation.  You have learned a valuable lesson and can correct your technique and try again.  Once you are truly comfortable through dry fire, you are ready to try it slowlyat the range.  Be patient, focus on technique, do not compromise safety  This is how you master the fundamentals.
  4. Don’t shoot yourself re-holstering – Lots of negligent discharges happen re-holstering which can be especially bad because the pistol may be oriented toward your body. Don’t get in a rush or “slam” the gun into the holster.  Shirt tails, gear, and even your finger can get caught inside the trigger guard and then pull the trigger as the gun goes into the holster.  Take your time.  Keep in mind that you are particularly at risk for a mistake like this after a self-defense situation.  Being fast OUT of the holster is important.  Being fast INTO the holster has never won a gun fight.


  1. Build a safety culture– Strive to encourage and enforce safety among the people you shoot or handle firearms with. If you are showing someone a firearm (after clearing it, of course) and they accidentally orient it toward you, a gentle reminder “watch your muzzle please,” is totally appropriate.  By that token, if someone calls you out for something unsafe, set the example by taking the feedback in a respectful manner.  “But it’s unloaded,” or “but the safety is on,” is never an acceptable response. Teach others the four rules of guns safety and hold everyone accountable, including yourself.


Now here are some other safety rules you should be aware of:

  1. Read this manual carefully before loading or using your Shadow Systems pistol.
  2. Failure to follow the safety information and safety instruction in this manual could result in death, serious personal injury and/or property damage.
  3. Like most modern handguns, your Shadow Systems pistol is designed without a conventional manual safety.  Therefore, you must consider it to be loaded and ready to fire until you have removed the magazine and visually and physically confirmed that the chamber is empty.
  4. Always seek a doctor’s advice if you are taking medication to be sure that you are able to shoot and handle a firearm safely.
  5. Never drink alcoholic beverages or take drugs before or while shooting.  Your vision and judgment could be seriously impaired, making you unsafe when handling firearms.
  6. If your Shadow Systems pistol or any other firearm is carelessly or improperly handled, you could cause a negligent discharge, which could result in death, serious personal injury and/or property damage.
  7. Never take anyone’s word that a firearm is unloaded; always check for yourself, with the firearm pointed in a safe direction and your finger off the trigger and outside of the trigger guard.
  8. Always make sure your Shadow Systems pistol is unloaded and that the slide is locked open in the rearward position with the magazine taken out before handing it to another person.
  9. Modifying your Shadow Systems pistol with non-factory parts can cause it to malfunction and create a dangerous condition. If you choose to modify your pistol, always choose Shadow Systems parts and only take on modifications you feel comfortable completing. Call us to speak with our technical team with any questions before, during, and after a modification. 469.458.6808.
  10. If you choose to carry your Shadow Systems pistol loaded, ensure that your holster properly and securely fits the pistol.
  11. To store your Shadow Systems pistol, first unload it as described in this manual.  Then, after checking to make sure that it is unloaded (magazine removed and chamber empty), use the included lock (pass it through the open ejection port and down the magazine well), or lock it a suitable container.
  12. Although the Shadow Systems pistol has several internal design features and mechanical safeties designed to prevent an unintentional discharge if the pistol is dropped or hit, the proper and safe function of the pistol depends on it being used for its intended purposes and not being altered or modified.  Like any other mechanical device, if your Shadow Systems pistol is subjected to unusual and extreme forces, a part failure can occur. Therefore, safe firearm handling practices and the instructions and safety warnings in this manual must always be followed to minimize the risk of a negligent discharge.
  13. Although your Shadow Systems pistol has a loaded chamber indicator, it is a mechanical device, which could fail. Never rely solely on a loaded chamber indicator or your memory to determine whether your pistol is loaded or unloaded. Always remove the magazine, retract and lock the slide by pulling it to the rear and then visually and physically check to make sure there is not a cartridge in the chamber.
  14. Do not use reloaded, remanufactured, or hand loaded ammunition because it may not meet applicable SAAMI, CIP, or NATO standards and could cause death, serious personal injury and/or property damage. Only use high quality commercially manufactured ammunition in the same caliber as your Shadow Systems pistol.
  15. Always be sure that the barrel of your Shadow Systems pistol is clear of obstructions before firing it.  Any obstruction in the barrel could prevent the pistol from firing properly and result in death or serious personal injury and/or damage to the pistol.
  16. Always wear safety glasses when cleaning your Shadow Systems pistol to protect your eyes from cleaning materials.
  17. Always make sure that no ammunition is located in the area where you clean or dry fire your pistol.


3 Replies to “Beyond the Basics of Firearm Safety”

  1. These gun safety tips are very helpful. Thanks for sharing this out.

  2. Jacob Solliday says:


    I am a new shooter and first time buyer. I purchased a MR920 WARPOET and have two questions. 1) Will it damage my gun to dry fier, pulling the trigger without a round in the chamber? 2) What is the recommended ammo? 9mm luger +p?

    1. Jessica Roe says:


      1. No, dry firing will not cause any damage—it’s a great way to train!

      2. Our guns really aren’t that picky. 124 is what we test with, but they’ll run fun with 115 and 147 as well. The main thing is that the ammo needs to be loaded to standard pressure…we find that the super cheap steel case is often loaded a little light and can have failures to eject. If you buy typical, brass cased ammo in one of the common bullet weights you’ll be good to go! +P is also good to go!

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