I would like to take a quick few moments to explain to new and experienced shooters the well-known and universal safety rules and guidelines to follow whenever handling any kind of firearm. This may not be the first time you’re hearing this and I assure you it will also not be the last. Not adhering to the following may result in not only serious injury but possibly death to either you or someone else. While less serious, often over looked is the potential to destroy something that is precious to you or someone else. If you follow just 1 of the 3 rules below, as outlined by the NRA, you will greatly reduce and possibly eliminate this potential.
- Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
a. This is, by far, the most important rule. Even if you break the next two and the gun goes off, following this rule will mitigate the damage done.
- Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
a. If practicing with dry-fire, so long as you follow this rule you could break the other two and ensure the safety of all.
- Always keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
a. This is probably the rule most often broke by not only people new to firearms but experienced shooters as well. This is also my biggest gun-related pet peeve. You can quickly notice if someone has had firearm training and if they care about these rules simply by looking at what they do with their trigger finger when handed a firearm.
- Always know your target and what’s beyond it.
a. This is not necessarily an NRA rule, but a generally accepted rule across the shooting sports. This is most important when hunting, and you should ALWAYS be able to positively identify what you are shooting at as well as what may possibly be struck if you miss your shot.
It is also very important to familiarize yourself with any and all safety features of your specific firearm. This begins with reading your owner’s manual, no matter how mundane and boring it is. They supply them for a reason, they are full of good, detailed information specific to your make and model of gun. These features could include:
• Manual safety
• Trigger safety
• Magazine disconnect
• Loaded chamber indicator
Firearm safety should always be held above everything else and always adhered to by all. If you ever see someone who is exhibiting poor firearm safety, do not be afraid to say something to them or to a Range Safety Officer (RSO). It may be that they are just “too cool to worry about that type of stuff” or maybe they are simply ignorant and sincerely did not know (in which case you can send them the link to this article!). Either way they need to be made aware that other shooters are not OK with their unsafe practices.
Have fun, but more importantly BE SAFE!