Gun safety is, without doubt, the most important topic we will cover on our blog, so it only makes for us to begin our regular blog content with an introductory post about gun safety. While developing strong safety practices around firearms is best handled in a training setting, of course, here is a brief look at the fundamentals of safe gun handling.
Treat all firearms as if they are always loaded.
We have this rule listed first on our safety resource page for a reason—it establishes how you should always approach handling a firearm, and it ultimately encompasses all rules that follow below.
Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
You might consider this the most basic safety rule. If everyone abided by this rule 100 percent of the time, there would be virtually no accidents that result in injury. Never point your gun at something that you do not intend to shoot, whether it is loaded or not. It is especially important to keep this in mind when loading and unloading your gun. When judging a safe direction, remember that bullets can ricochet and that they can penetrate walls and ceilings.
Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the shooting area or on the target range, ready to shoot. Unload your gun as soon as you are finished and keep the actions open while not in use. Remember: doing this can ultimately be the thing that prevents an accidental discharge.
Verify that a gun is unloaded every time you handle one.
On a similar note, you should never assume that a gun is unloaded. Open the action immediately whenever handling a firearm and visually check the chamber, receiver, and magazine for any ammunition.
Always keep your finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, you should rest your finger outside the trigger guard and alongside the frame. Never touch the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
Guns can emit debris and hot gases when fired, which, in turn, can cause eye injury. In addition, guns are loud, and the noise they produce can cause hearing damage. Therefore, you should always wear adequate eye and ear protection when shooting. Eye protection can also protect your eyes while you are disassembling or cleaning a gun, when springs, other parts, and solvents may inadvertently come into contact with your eyes.
These are just a few of the many fundamental rules you need to consider when handling firearms. Some additional rules include:
- Make sure you fully understand how a gun operates before using it.
- Ensure that the gun is safe to operate before use.
- Make sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before loading.
- Always know your target and what lies beyond it.
- Always use the correct ammunition for your gun.
- Clean and have your gun serviced regularly.
- Never use alcohol, drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or prescription drugs before or while shooting.
- Store guns in a safe and secure place.