Your right to carry comes with enormous responsibility. Mishandling your firearm or failing to follow safety precautions can result in a negligent discharge—a shot going off when you did not expect or want it to.

You are ultimately responsible for what happens with your gun, and a negligent discharge can have dire consequences. Whether you’ve been carrying for decades, carry professionally, or just started to carry as a private civilian, practice vigilance. Stay safe and carry responsibly with these tips for avoiding negligent discharge of your firearm.

Avoid Excessive Handling

In everyday carry, you should only draw your gun to protect life and property. Every time you pull out your pistol to show it off to a friend, you create an opportunity for something to go wrong. A loaded firearm that you carry for your protection is neither a toy nor showpiece. Don’t treat pulling it out as nonchalantly as showing someone a picture.

Keep the gun safe, secured, and holstered unless you intend to use it. This eliminates many opportunities for something to go wrong with a round ending up where it shouldn’t.

Use a Quality Holster

The second tip for avoiding negligent discharge is to carry your firearm in a holster. Whether from ignorance or indifference, negligent discharges often occur when the carrier fails to use a holster.

Pocket carrying a gun without a pocket holster, for instance, can cause negligent discharge. Whether it’s from something snagging the trigger in your pocket, or your finger accidentally touching the trigger as your reach for the weapon, the lack of holster leaves the gun overexposed.

Whether you’re pocket carrying, carrying in another position, or doing off-body carry, always use a holster. The holster should prevent the trigger from catching and the gun from going off unexpectedly.

Keep Your Gun Near You

One of the worst-case scenarios that can happen when you carry is for someone else to get hold of your gun. Keep your gun close to you, no matter your preferred carrying style or position.

While keeping your gun near you is natural with on-body carry, it can get trickier when you do off-body carry. Use a reliable discreet firearm case and stay mindful to keep your gun near you. Keep the bag on you and don’t let someone else take it. Treat the case like a holster rather than a bag.

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Dianne Pajo

Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.