The following are our standard firearms safety rules, adapted from the National Rifle Associations safety rules. The NRA's rules are used by other living history organizations.

firearms safety
  1. Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.

  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

  3. Always keep the firearm unloaded until ready to use.

  4. Know your target and what is beyond.

  5. Know how to use the firearm safely.

  6. Be sure the firearm  is safe to operate.

  7. Use only the correct ammunition for your firearm.

  8. Wear ear protection as appropriate.

  9. Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting.

  10. Store firearms so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.


Participants will be thoroughly instructed in the safe use of a firearm and their performance evaluated by Institute officers before participating in any firing. No weapon is to be loaded or bayonet drawn without orders. Officers will ensure that Institute participants and other participants at events adhere to all safety rules. Any infraction of safety rules will be handled immediately, and deliberate breaches of safety protocols or extreme carelessness is grounds for immediate ejection from all Institute events.


The Institute mandates that firearms be cleaned regularly, during and after all events. See our Care and Cleaning of Firearms page for more details. All firearms and ammunition are regularly inspected at events. Institute officers reserve the right to prohibit any firearm from being used during an event.

Live fire safety Protocols
  1. Live firing will only occur on an established rifle range with fixed targets. The range will be set up according to NRA guidelines, including marked off boundaries, designated & trained range safety officers, a designated & trained range master, red indicator flag, etc.

  2. Live ammunition will never be prepared together. Firearms will first be loaded with a standard blank, and then one bullet will be handed out to each shooter individually.

  3. Ramrods are ONLY to be used when live firing. Muzzle loading firearms may fire blanks without using the ramrod, but are incapable of firing a bullet without the use of the ramrod.

  4. Weapons and ammunition will be inspected before and after firing to ensure that all safety protocols are followed. Ammunition will only be provided from special locked containers by trained Institute officers.

  5. Before shooters exit the range, they will demonstrate that they do not have any ammunition of any kind on their person.



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The Texas Civil War Living History Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations to the Institute are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law. Federal Identification Number (EIN): 38-4088203.

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