Safety Rules

Safe handling of the rifle is critical. If proper 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:

Rule 1—Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.

When a Marine takes charge of a rifle in any situation, he must treat the weapon as if it were loaded, determine its condition (see para. 3003), and continue applying the other safety rules.

Rule 2—Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot. A Marine must maintain muzzle awareness at all times.

Rule 3—Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire. A target must be identified before taking the weapon off safe and moving the finger to the trigger.

Rule 4—Keep the weapon on safe until you intend to fire. A target must be identified before taking the weapon off safe. This rule is intended to eliminate the chance of the weapon discharging by accident (e.g., brush snagging the trigger).

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