Mr Farnam on which way you point the thing when you’re not pointing it downrange, to put it into rough but ready terms.
A “safe” direction in which to point a gun is mostly imaginary! Even on an established firing range, a “safe” direction, such as at a dirt berm, is only “relatively” safe. When any gun discharges in any direction, intentionally or accidentally, a bad outcome is always a substantial possibility! Of course, some directions are blatantly unsafe, and these need to be recognized and carefully observed.
So, on shooting ranges (and all other places), we endeavor to constantly keep muzzles pointed in “relatively safe” directions. We call this practice and philosophy “muzzle consciousness,” and every student is expected to be continuously aware of the direction in which his weapon is pointed. The ostensible “condition” of the weapon never relevant. Sloppy gun-handling is, at no time, tolerated!
Strongly recommend you read and heed the whole thing. Safety, as we all know but can always benefit from a refresher, is not a mechanical device but a straight-forward set of rules applied in a constant, conscious mindset.