11 Gun Safety Tips For Safe Firearm Use
Guns are dangerous tools, but they can also be fun during outdoor recreational activities, or even at a family event. Gun safety should always be observed any time you handle firearms, whether you are a seasonal professional or a novice shooter. Proper gun safety is an attitude, and not just actions. Whether your gun is for sport, hunting or self-defense, there are steps you can take in order to stay safe, whilst maintaining and using your firearm. In this article, we are going to give you tips on proper gun safety;
11 Gun Safety Tips
1. Be Familiar with Your Gun
Make sure you know exactly how your gun operates. Take time to read the manual on your gun, and learn about its' features and operation. Learn how the safety mechanisms are enganed and disengaged. Learn how to safely remove the ammunition from the gun and also how to remove the magazine. The time to learn this isn't while you are at the range shooting or out hunting; you should already know how to properly operate the firearm you will be using.
2. Don't Shoot at Hard or Flat Surfaces (Including Water)
Avoid shooting at hard or flat surfaces as they're most likely to cause a ricochet, which can end up injuring or kill someone. Therefore, you should not shoot at road surfaces, metals, hard wood or rocks. Water might not seem like a hard surface, but its' density makes it very dangerous. Bullets and shot pellets can ricochet and fly off in an unexpected direction, and this is never good.
3. Use the Right Ammunition
Make sure the ammunition you are using is right for your gun. Do not assume that you've the right ammo just because it can be easily crammed into your gun. Using the wrong ammunition can not only damage your gun, but it can also cause serious injuries or even death. Guns are specifically designed for a specific gauge or caliber, and at times even a specific ammunition load. Most firearms have the type of ammunition stamped on the barrel, and at times on the cartridge. Don't use a gun unless you are sure you've the right ammunition.
4. Never Aim Your Firearm at Anything You Don't Intend to Shoot
This basically means that the muzzle of your firearm should never be pointed at something you wouldn't want to shoot. This also means that you shouldn't use your firearm's scope (if it has one), to look at animals, houses, vehicles, etc., unless you actually intend to shoot. In addition to this, always keep your finger off the trigger til you are ready to shoot. When you are holding or handling your gun, rest your finger on the side of the gun or on the trigger guard to avoid accidents. Some triggers are hair triggers which means that it only takes very light pressure to trigger the gun.
5. Make Sure the Barrel and Chamber are Clear of All Obstructions Before Shooting
Anything caught in the barrel can cause damage to your gun. Obstructions in the chamber can cause the round not to load, and can also cause ejection and extraction issues which drastically reduce the gun's reliability. To avoid this, properly inspect your gun and make sure that there isn't anything obstructing the chamber, the barrel or the action before firing.
6. Always Wear Eye and Ear Protectors That are Specified for use with Firearms
Shooting is a fun activity for people that enjoy it as a sport, however, residual damage may occur to the shooter as a result; especially to their ears and eyes. As such, you should always wear the appropriate protection when shooting. Always wear ear and eye protection specified for use with guns every time you go shooting. Make sure other people in the vicinity do so as well.
7. Never Use Drugs or Alcohol When Handling a Gun
Drugs, alcohol, and guns do not mix. Alcohol and drugs (even prescription drugs) can alter or impair physical and mental bodily functions, including your judgement and reaction time, and should never be used during or before handling a gun. Under no circumstances, should you use a gun while not totally sober. Also make sure that access to guns is always limited to the responsible adults who are mentally sound and aren't under the influence of any kind of substance.
8. Store Your Guns Safely
Safe storage of your guns(s) is a key responsibility of firearm ownership. You should always secure your gun and the ammo separately so that they're not accessible to kids or other unauthorized individuals. Consider storing your gun(s) in a gun vault, a locked cabinet or a storage case, and keep them out of reach of children. Remember to keep the keys to your ammo and gun storage separate from the other household keys, and away from kids.
9. Keep Your Gun Unloaded Until You're Ready to Use It
Always store your gun(s) unloaded, and whenever you pick it up, remember to engage the safety and remove the magazine. If you're unsure of how to check if the gun is loaded, you should seek advice from an expert. Also remember to always treat firearms as though they're loaded until you're sure they're not.
10. Do Not Rely on the Safety Mechanism
Most guns have a safety device which prevents them from firing. They're usually reliable, but not always. Some guns have actually been known to fire when the safety is released (like the Remington bolt action centerfire rifles), which basically means that the safety mechanisms aren't completely reliable.
11. Keep the Gun Pointed in a Safe Direction
One of the most important rules of gun safety is to always keep the muzzle of the gun pointed in a safe direction. A 'safe direction' basically means that the firearm is pointed in such a way that even if it were to accidental discharge, it'd not result in any injuries or damages.
Gun safety is everyone's responsibility, regardless of your ability level or your age. Take extra care and follow the above safety tips. That said, in case you happen to see somebody else handling firearms improperly, don't be afraid to speak up and correct them; we all need a reminder every now and then.