Chamber it, load the tube, press the unlock button and back the slide / bolt back part way. The hammer is cocked but the bolt position makes firing impossible I'd the gun were to fall or fall over. But the simple act of picking it up and closing it that last inch to inch and a half makes it ready to fire. 870's / 500 / 590's are NOT drop safe even with the trigger safety engaged for those who dont know. Neither are AR15's, Mini 14's, M1A's or most other rifles.