Without doubt, gun safety is always the priority when handling guns.  The basics never change and need to be reinforced constantly:

  1.  A gun safety course should be taken before handling a gun.
  2.  Every gun should be treated as if it were loaded.
  3.  Your gun should be pointed in a safe direction at all times.
  4. Do not take your gun off safety until you are ready to shoot.
  5.  Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  6.  Store your firearm so that children cannot access it.
  7. Never shoot at water or a hard surface as the shot can be deflected in various directions.
  8. Be knowledgeable about your firearm safety features but remember they do not substitute safe handling on your part.
  9. Properly  clean and maintain your firearm
  10. Use the proper ammunition.
  11. Never climb a tree stand, fence or obstruction with a loaded firearm
  12. Avoid alcohol or medications that may impair you while handling a firearm.
  13. Never transport a loaded gun.

I recommend getting used to your gun by practicing with it without it being loaded – by that, I mean get to know your gun.  I practiced drawing my handgun from my holster many many times unloaded and used a post it note for my target. The muscle memory from this exercise will enable you to feel comfortable when you use it at the shooting range.