About the Study Guide

You are looking at the Washington Handgun Education Study Guide. At the present time, you cannot obtain handgun education certification from Handgun Safety Course. However, you can use this Study Guide as a resource to learn more about handgun safety.

Pivot Safety (Thumb Safety)

  • Common on handguns
  • A pivoting lever or tab that blocks the trigger or firing pin
  • Located on the frame (blocks trigger) or on the slide (blocks firing pin)
Pivot Slide Safety

Grip Safety

  • Common on modern semi-automatic pistols
  • A bar that blocks firing until you grip the gun and compress the safety
  • Located on the grip
Grip Safety

Half-Cock or Hammer Safety

  • Common on handguns with exposed hammers
  • Positions the trigger at half-cock, away from the firing pin
  • Engaged by placing the trigger at half-cock; some handguns automatically rebound to the half-cock position after the trigger is released
  • While not a true safety, it sometimes is described as a mechanical safety device by firearm manufacturers