The Firearms Safety Code:
1. Treat every firearm as loaded
Check every firearm yourself.
Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.
2. Always point firearms in a safe direction
Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
3. Load a firearm only when ready to fire
Load only the magazine after you reach your shooting area.
Load the chamber only when ready to shoot.
Completely unload before leaving the shooting area.
4. Identify your target beyond all doubt
Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you.
Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise
5. Check your firing zone
THINK: What may happen if you miss your target? What might you hit between you and the target or beyond?
Do not fire when you know others are in your firing zone
6. Store firearms and ammunition safely
When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately.
Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended
7. Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms
Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.
All hunters should know the Arms Code well, and conform with all parts of it at all times.
The Arms Code is available for free download from
Former MSC Firearms Programme manager Mike Spray wrote an article for NZ Hunting and Wildlife which discusses the Arms Code. To read this article CLICK HERE.
Chamber Safety Device (CSDs)
CSDs are inserted into the chamber of a firearm which then clearly demonstrates that it is free of live ammunition.
You can purchase CSDs from the MSC ONLINE STORE
Former MSC Firearms Programme manager Mike Spray wrote an article on the Chamber Safety Device for NZ Hunting and Wildlife. To read this article CLICK HERE
Health & Safety
Shooting is a sport with a high risk potential. You need to be physically and mentally competent and capable of safely controlling your firearm. Good eyesight is also important because you must be able to identify your target beyond all doubt and shoot with accuracy. Even colour blindness can cause problems so if you have any doubts, visit an eye specialist
Wearing safety glasses will protect your eyes. You can protect your hearing with proper muffs or earplugs. This is particularly important at a firing range where others are firing alongside you.
All firearms users should have first aid skills. You may be the first to arrive at a shooting incident scene so you need to be prepared. Knowing what to do in this situation could prevent further injury and possibly save a life
Where to get further help:
With all firearms pursuits there is a good case in favour of getting involved with an appropriate club. Whether your interest is collecting firearms, target shooting or hunting it will be to your advantage to belong to a club catering for your particular interest. The members of these clubs are enthusiasts who can pass on valuable information.
The Police Arms Officer, the Mountain Safety Council, or local firearms dealers can give you more information on clubs in all the firearms pursuits.
Another source of valuable information, advice and practical help is a qualified gunsmith. Even when brand new your firearm may need telescopic sights or other modifications.
For a list of contacts see our Get Outdoors page