NSSF: Safely Loading and Unloading the AR-15

By Dave Dolbee published on in How To, Safety and Training

The single most popular firearm in America today is America’s rifle, the AR-15. Sportsman, hunters, competitive shooters, law enforcement, home defense—the number of uses and users may be impossible to count, but the fact that America’s rifle is here to stay is unequivocal. Many of us already own one or more AR-15s, others are still looking for the right deal or to build their own.

Whether you already have an AR-15, or are simply doing a little research before heading to range for the first time, the following video from National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), AR-15 Administrative Load and Unload: Modern Sporting Rifle Tip demonstrates two different ways to safely load the AR-15. By following these simple instructions and heeding the lesson of head up, eyes up, gun up, you’ll enjoy and safe day which will start you down the path to earning the respect and trust of the shooter’s around you. These simple drills are applicable whether you are at the range plinking, in a defensive situation, hunting, or simply being aware of your surroundings at the range.

We want to hear from the novice as well as the veteran shooters. What did you think? Would you add anything to Chris Fry’s loading and unloading drills? Do you have a safety tip or a question about something that wasn’t clear? Share your questions or answers in the comment section.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

View all articles by Dave Dolbee

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Comments (12)

  • Christopher Eller

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    Good thing we’ve got Tier 99 Operators here who know what’s what with press checks.

    Watch almost any Pat McNamara video (a Tier ONE Operator), who press checks damn near everything in his life, including and ESPECIALLY his rifle and pistol before engaging anything.

    If press checking your AR is not good, we need to let Pat know this. He’s been effing up for decades in Delta and everywhere else he was to get there. Poor stupit Pat.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/patannamac1

    Reply

  • Buckles

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    The video was helpful but too dark. Too much contrast with the sky showing. Could not see the parts of the gun he was referring to. Please redo if able. Great topic.

    Reply

  • KEN

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    SAFETY FIRST, i.e. safety on first is best and always the safest whether loading or unloading. I prefer engaging the safety first then lock the bolt open. Trigger finger is never pointed forward all 5 fingers on the pistol grip when loading or unloading.

    Reply

  • Tony

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    Great video, I have used an M-16 and own a AR-15 and this was a nice refresher video for me, except two things, you are wearing a black shirt, and the AR-15 is black, and with low light could not see very clear when you did close ups on the bolt release/catch. Knowing the weapon like I do I understood what you were doing. Good job!

    Reply

  • Stump

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    I was surprised to see that you were in Greenfield. I’m formerly from Saratoga Springs. Never would’ve been able to afford a gun while there, too much red tape. Now I’m in the TN GA area, and have an AR on layaway. Thanks for the video, I know more now than I did before.

    Reply

  • Jim

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    my AR15 is new and I have not fired it yet. I thought this video was well done and very helpful.

    Thank you

    Reply

  • Frank R Nicholson

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    If you don’t trust your AR to load a round enough that you have to check get it fixed , checking to see if it loaded a round is a good way to cause a malfunction more often than prevent one.

    Reply

  • Marek

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    When unloading you shod not allowed live round to drop on the ground.

    Reply

  • Tom

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    Press checking an AR is more likely to cause a malfunction than to prevent one.

    If you really don’t trust your AR to feed a round into the chamber, then use the second method shown (which is also the only method shown in this better video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxrXfklhAxU

    Reply

  • Peter Prince

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    Nice job on the video. It would be better if Chris was not backlit as all detail of the weapon was lost. While I understood what was meant by press the release etc there was no detail visible in the image. Personally I feel that training such as this should be required at the time of purchase. I have seen too much sketchy handling of weapons on my local firing line for comfort.

    Reply

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