General Firearm Etiquette

In continuing with the safety theme, there are a few things that are considered general etiquette that most shooters are not aware of or simply do not follow.  I foresee this as being a list that will be continuously added to, but here are the few I can think of that are common and easy to remember.

First, whenever you are handling a firearm you should always make sure it is unloaded.  Also, when handing the firearm to someone, you should do so in such a manner that they can easily see it is unloaded and safe.  An example of this with a semi-automatic handgun would be to remove the magazine, lock the slide back, and hand the gun grip-first with your left hand.

Second, whenever you handle any gun you should always ensure it is safe to handle (or safety-check it).  Even if the person handing the gun to you has safety-checked it and also passes it in such a manner that it is clearly safe to handle, it is ultimately your responsibility to always check.  After all, it’s better to be safe than to have an accident occur.

Third, upon placing a firearm of any kind down you should do so in such a manner that demonstrates to all others around that the firearm is safe.  This would include locking the slide back on a semi-automatic handgun and placing on the left side, opening the cylinder on a revolver and placing on the right side, locking the bolt carrier back on a semi-automatic long gun and placing so the chamber is visible, removing the bolt altogether on a bolt-action long gun, leaving the break-action open so the chambers are visible, etc.  It would also include engaging the firearm’s manual safety if it is equipped with one.

Like I said before, I’m sure I will continue to add to this list and I would encourage each of you to comment with your suggestions.

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