Study Guide



A mechanical device that, when engaged, should prevent a firearm from firing by stopping the firing pin from striking the primer.

While featured in various styles according to the manufacturer, below you will find examples of the most common types of safeties.

IMPORTANT! The safety is a mechanical device and consequently subject to failure. While it is important to know how a safety works and how to use it properly, a safety is no substitute for the most basic rule of firearm safety: ALWAYS keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Push-Button Safety

Located on the trigger guard, it blocks the trigger or the hammer when engaged. It may have a visible red band when the safety is in the OFF position.

Push Button Safety  Push Button Safety Off

Safety On                                                         Safety On

Slide or Tang Safety

It features two positions of operation. In the ON position (i.e., a green colored dot or the letter "S" may be visible) it blocks the firing mechanism of a rifle or shotgun. In the OFF position (i.e., a red colored dot or the letter "F" may be visible) it enables firing of a cartridge or shot shell. A Tang safety, featured on some models of shotguns, is engaged when the letter "S" is visible on top and in the back of the receiver

Slide Safety  Tang Safety

Safety On                                                        Safety On