gun safety

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Gun Range Safety

Whether you have a new gun or ammo that you can’t wait to try, or maybe it’s your weekly hobby. Going to the shooting range should always be a safe and fun experience. Every range comes with their own set of rules but there are three standard rules that are always applicable when it comes to gun safety and the shooting range.

  1. Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction and away from others
  2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot
  3. Keep the gun unloaded until you’re ready to use the firearm

If this is your first time at the shooting range, it’s important to introduce yourself to the Range Safety Officer (RSO). Be sure to tell your RSO that it is your first time at the range, this will allow them to tell you what you need to know before you set up your gear and inform you of any rules that the range has. It’s imperative that you learn the commands used at your range. Compliance with the RSO is mandatory and will keep you and others safe.

Two of the most common range commands are Ceasefire and Commence Firing.

  1. Ceasefires are used whenever all shooting must stop, regardless of reason. There should be no handling of firearms when this is called. Anyone in the shooting range can call a ceasefire. If you aren’t sure if you should call a ceasefire or not, call it! It is better to be safe than sorry. Some possible reasons for you or the RSO to call this would be if someone has accidentally walked too close to the firing area, if someone in the range has become ill, or if it’s time to change or retrieve targets.
  2. Commence Firingis the command given that tells the range attendees that it’s safe to shoot.

Always keep in mind that you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those around you. If you see that someone isn’t following the rules, you should leave the range and tell the RSO what is going on. Other courteous shooting range manners include not shooting at posts, supports or target frames as they’re expensive to replace as well as leaving the gun range better than you found it. This means cleaning up your firing station or any trash you may see lying around. A fun day at the shooting range happens when you and others put safety and courtesy first!



Understanding Common Gun Malfunctions

Guns, like any other piece of mechanical equipment, are prone to malfunction. Guns are susceptible to jamming or misfiring–both defined as a partial or complete failure of the gun to function as designed. These malfunctions can be temporary, harmless events or dangerous instances where injury occurs and the gun is permanently damaged. Understanding common firearm malfunctions and why these situations occur is an important aspect of gun ownership. Improper maintenance and user negligence are the two principal reasons for gun malfunctions, and these malfunctions can be grouped into two types: mechanical malfunctions and cartridge malfunctions. Here are a few of the most common ways in which guns malfunction.

Dud Rounds


This is a common reason for misfires in guns of any variety. Basically, dud rounds consist of a failure to discharge due to malfunctions in the primer or powder. This malfunction causes the round to fail to discharge from the gun. These are typically fairly minor forms of malfunction in guns and require that the round be removed. Always dispose of the dud round since it can still pose a risk if reused.

Incomplete Discharge


Incomplete discharges occur when the round fails to exit the gun barrel and becomes lodged inside of it. These malfunctions are some of the most dangerous since the gun could actually explode. When the round does not carry enough force to fully exit the gun, the discharge is considered incomplete. Additional rounds that are fired when this occurs can strike the lodged round and cause a total weapon failure. This could ultimately injure the shooter or those in the vicinity. Incomplete discharges can occur as a result of any obstruction in the barrel, round or otherwise.

Delayed Discharge


When there is a delay in the triggering action of the gun and the ignition of the propellant, delayed discharges can occur. These malfunctions are risky and can easily lead to accidents if handled improperly or by an inexperienced shooter. Guns that fail to fire but haven’t totally malfunctioned should be treated as delayed discharges. Keep the gun pointed downrange for a couple minutes before removing and disposing the round. There is a risk that the round could explode outside of the gun and cause injuries from fragmentation.

Failure to Feed and Eject


These are each common malfunctions that can damage a weapon or potentially lead to injury. A failure to feed occurs when round is not fed into the firing chamber. A failure to eject occurs when the empty cartridge or the fired round fails to clear the ejection port of the gun. This often occurs in self-loading, semi-automatic pistols where the cartridge becomes lodged in the slide of the gun. These can be mechanical malfunctions or a result of negligence in cleaning, inspecting, and loading a gun.

Hammer Follow and Slamfire


When the firing mechanism of a gun functions faster than designed, a hammer follow occurs. This occurs when the hammer follows the bolt and pin in battery as a result of the disconnector. A slamfire occurs when a round is unintendedly discharged as it is being loaded into the chamber. This is a dangerous malfunction since the round discharges while being loaded. Carefully inspecting and maintaining your gun and ammunition and exercising care when loading and firing the gun are critical for safety and avoiding preventable mechanical malfunctions.