Small arms are firearms intended to be carried and used by a single person, such as a handgun, rifle or shotgun. They include military rifles and individual automatic weapons, but the term generally does not extend to individual unguided rockets or guided missiles.
Due to the their potential as offensive weapons, many countries ban or regulate the ownership and use of guns (see gun control). There are also rules that gun owners tend to learn in order to effectively handle guns in a safe manner - the National Rifle Association have a set of three rules which are taught to ensure safety when handling guns:
- ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
- ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.