Firearm Safety Tips
If you own a firearm it is wise to learn about potentially unsafe firearm handling practices to prevent yourself from becoming another statistic. Most shooting ranges are very similar when it comes to firearm safety rules, however, please keep in mind that varying ranges will have their own specific rules so it’s best to contact the range prior to your first visit to familiarize yourself prior to your outing. Additionally, if you are just out plinking on your own, hunting, or just handling your gun in your home, below are very helpful firearm handling tips that will ensure other shooters feel comfortable with you shooting next to them, and will keep you and others safe while you’re handling a firearm or shooting.
1. ALWAYS treat your gun as if it were loaded – Many times gun related accidents occur when the owner, or the person holding the gun, forget there is ammunition either in the magazine, or the chamber. Many firearm related accidents could have easily been avoided if the person holding the firearm assumed the gun were loaded at all times, rather than assuming it’s unloaded.
2. ALWAYS keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction – Don’t ever point the barrel of your gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy. When you’re on a shooting range, keep the barrel of your gun pointed downrange. Never point the barrel of your gun at a person, or other live thing, unless that person or live thing intends to cause immediate severe bodily harm or death to yourself or others. If you’re target shooting, ensure that you are a familiar with what is behind your target so-as not to accidentally shoot something unintentionally.3. NEVER put your finger in the trigger guard, or on the trigger, until you’re aiming at your target and are ready to shoot – Provided you never put your finger in the trigger guard until you’re aiming at your target and ready to shoot, you shouldn’t ever have an accidental discharge. The image to the right shows the proper trigger discipline that you should become familiar with when handling a firearm.
4. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it – This includes not taking a loaded gun to the range. Bring your unloaded gun to the range, with your loaded magazines separate from your gun. Don’t load a magazine into your firearm until you’re at the firing line. When you’re at home, the safest way to store your firearm is unloaded, separately from the ammunition.
5. LEARN the ins and outs of your gun – Before going to the range, you should get familiar with how your gun operates. Take the empty magazines and practice inserting them and then using the magazine release button to remove the magazines from the gun. Additionally, you should rack the slide back, lock the slide back, and utilize the safety selector prior to getting to the range. The more familiar you are with your gun, the safer you will be when using it!
6. ALWAYS use the correct/proper ammunition – Make sure you purchase your ammunition from a reputable source, and it the appropriate caliber for your firearm. Incorrect caliber choices for your firearm could result in damage to your firearm, and/or damage to your own body. Damaged ammunition during the manufacturing process could also cause severe damage to you, and or your firearm. Don’t reload your own ammunition until you are ready!
7. Failure to Fire Procedure – If you pull the trigger, and the gun does not fire, stay in your shooting position for several seconds. Then, with your barrel pointed in a safe direction unload the firearm.
8. Safety Selector – It is good practice to keep the safety selector on “safe” when the firearm is not in use, and to resist pulling the trigger when the safety selector is set to safe. Remember Rule #3 and keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot!
9. Surroundings – Be cautious of your surroundings when handling your firearm. As long as you keep your finger off the trigger, and are aware of your surroundings, you should be able to prevent most accidents before they occur.
Be safe and have fun!