I've been a recreational shooter for over 40 years and am an NRA Pistol Instructor. I've taught many people to shoot - including my 3 kids - and firmly believe SAFETY COMES FIRST!
1. ALWAYS keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
2. Keep the firearm unloaded until ready to use.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you are ready to fire.