SALT LAKE CITY — A man who thought his gun was unloaded is lucky to be alive after shooting himself in the face.

A 25-year-old man on Saturday afternoon put a .40 caliber handgun under his chin and pulled the trigger, believing the gun was empty, said Salt Lake police detective Mike Hemideh. The incident occurred near 200 South and 200 East.

The man was still able to communicate with police and emergency personnel when they arrived. He was transported to a local hospital in critical condition and later upgraded to stable.

"He's very fortunate," Hemideh said.

Two important rules that anyone with a gun should follow are: Assume all guns are always loaded, and never point a gun at anything you're not willing to destroy, the detective said.

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam