This is one of those things that almost nobody talks about because everyone assumes it must be common sense. The thing is, though, most people don't hand a gun to another person the right way, and, technically this can be a very dangerous thing.
I have personally had someone hand me a loaded revolver with their finger on the trigger while looking at the muzzle. If being on the business end of a loaded gun doesn't wake you up in the morning, nothing will.
It is my goal with this article to address the following question —
How do I hand a gun to another person?
The safest way to hand a gun to another person is to do so with a gun that's unloaded with the action open (So, slide locked back or cylinder open). You want the person you're handing the gun to, to be totally confident that you're not going to shoot him or her. Only under certain circumstances should you ever hand a loaded gun to someone. This includes instruction at the range, but only people who know what they're doing should hand a loaded gun over to someone else.
In all cases, whether loaded or not, always follow the gun safety rules ensuring that your finger stays off the trigger and the muzzle stays pointed downrange or in a safe direction.
No matter what you choose, there is absolutely no rush in this process when you're at the range handing someone a gun, or an unloaded gun at your house.
This includes reminding that person the status of the gun, to keep their finger off the trigger until they're on target, AND keeping the gun's muzzle pointed in a safe direction or downrange. If they're offended by you reminding of these things, remind them that safety is the most important thing, and that you value their life.
If they're still pissed, find someone else to shoot with.
Again, the only truly safe way to hand someone a gun is to make sure it's unloaded first and hand them the gun with the action open, as seen in the above picture. Whenever I hand someone a gun I tend to make sure I can at least partially cover the trigger guard with my own hand as I'm trying to demonstrate in the pictures.
The reason why, is because I'm unsure of the other person's skills. I don't want them to accidentally grab the trigger as they grip the gun. So, I do my best to cover it.
It can be covered from the top or the bottom, whichever feels more comfortable for you. Many folks prefer to take a slide down approach (meaning gripping the gun from the slide with the fingers pointed up toward the sky). I've done both methods and it depends on the gun and how I'm feeling in the moment.
When I say it depends on the gun, it's because the smaller the gun the more difficult it generally is to hand to someone safely. My hands are monstrous as it is and as you can see in the second picture above, my hand is getting pretty close to that muzzle.
Again, the main thing to remember whenever handling any firearm, is to remain safe and follow the rules.