Safe handling of the rifle is critical. If weapons handling procedures are not used, a Marine risks his safety and the safety of his fellow Marines. During combat, a Marine must react quickly, safely, and be mentally prepared to engage targets. To ensure that only the intended target is engaged, a Marine must apply the following safety rules at all times:
a. Rule 1—Treat every weapon as if it were loaded. When a Marine takes charge of an unattended or attended rifle in any situation, he must treat the weapon as if it were loaded, determine its condition (see paragraph 3003), and continue applying the other safety rules.
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