Learning how to handle a gun is a useful skill that can be used in many capacities from fun target shooting to protecting yourself in a life threatening situation. Before anything else, you must learn the first five rules of safe gun handling, put together by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. These rules will prepare you to safely handle your gun no matter your situation.
You should never point your firearm at something you aren’t planning on shooting. This includes everything from personal belongings, to close objects, from those standing around you to any buildings you may be near. This is one of the most basic, yet ignored rules of safety. If this rule was always followed, the number of accidental shootings would be significantly reduced. Do your part to prevent firearm accidents by always pointing your weapon in a safe direction.
The only time your firearm should be loaded is when you are using it. Load it once you get to the range, or shooting area. Once you are finished be sure to remove any remaining bullets, keeping the gun empty. It is essential when you store your weapons to ensure they don’t have bullets inside. This is good practice even for those who secure their valuables in a safe as an added precaution.
While your safety should be on whenever the firearm is not in use, you should still treat it as though there is no safety. This includes the first rule of never pointing your firearm at another person. While the safety is designed to protect you, it is not immune to mechanical failure. In addition to putting on the safety until ready to shoot, you should keep your finger off the trigger until this time as well.
No matter where you are shooting, be aware of what resides beyond it. Never shoot downhill. Be sure that there is nothing unseen your bullet can damage. Even a short .22 bullet can travel farther than you think, over a mile. Other more powerful bullets can travel over three miles. Make sure you are secure in where your bullet will end up if you miss your target.
It is essential to use only the right ammunition for your firearm. Make sure you read both the gun’s instruction manual, and the instructions on the ammunition boxes. This information must be taken seriously as the wrong ammunition can damage your weapon or deliver serious injury. Never use ammunition that has been submerged in water or otherwise damaged.
Follow these five rules of safe gun handling to better protect you and those around you when handling a firearm. Check back later on our blog to see the next five rules for safely handling a firearm.