With the endless talk about gun control and gun safety, it is important for everyone to understand how to stay safe while using a firearm.
As much as they can provide safety, they also carry with them a percentage of risk.
Therefore, it is best if you keep some basic safety tips in mind when using, holding, storing or even cleaning your weapon.
After research, we found that the main guidelines can be summarized in these few points.
1. Act as if your Gun is Loaded
One of the most basic tips experts give to people who are new to owning a firearm, is to deal with their guns as if they’re loaded. Especially when you’re new to holding a gun, you don’t really get to develop the habit of automatically unloading a firearm when not in use.
In which case, there’s a high probability that you may end up firing your gun by mistake. One helpful “handling protocol” is that you only point your gun at your target.
Meaning that, if your target isn’t visible, it is best to keep your gun pointed at the ground. That way, if you get startled, you can easily avoid doing any damage to property or people.
Keep in mind that this also means you shouldn’t squeeze the trigger unless you’re actually shooting something.
2. When Not in Use, Safely Store your Firearm
It is important to ensure that you keep your gun unloaded when not in use. This is a huge point of priority especially if you have other family members with access to the firearm.
More importantly, it is advisable that you don’t keep your gun in a drawer or someplace where it is easily accessible by another person as you see in the movies.
As a precaution, one should always go with quality gun safes, which are a requirement according to several state laws like in California and New York.
Some may think it is an unnecessary measure but while you may trust yourself, it can be a whole different thing when it comes to minors or even some adults. Plus, logically speaking, why keep your gun out if you’re not using it?
Also, be sure to check for “Best Ammo Storage Containers & Cans” – you want your ammo secured safely as well!
3. Don’t be A Stranger to Your Own Gun
When you first get the gun, make sure you know everything about it. Look through the user’s manual, check out its parts, and make sure you understand how everything works.
Needless to mention, you should make sure you know how to properly clean and maintain your firearm. You can always seek help with gun usage and maintenance from experts. Having an unclean barrel can end up hurting your gun… and perhaps even hurt you in the long run.
In addition, you also need to test your gun’s range to know how much damage it can make.
4. Always Use Proper Ammunition
This is one rule of gun safety that a good number of users tend to take lightly. For starters, using the wrong ammunition could result in two things.
First, it could cause gun damage and second, it could cause injury to you or others around you. Most, if not all guns come with an instruction manual and one of the things highlighted in that document is the gun’s specifications along with the appropriate ammunition that should be used.
Also, it is important to ensure you only use ammunition that is made from well-known components.
You don’t want to put ammo in your gun only to have it blast on your face and ends up injuring you as we see in the cartoons (NPI). Additionally, always be sure to check that your ammunition is in good condition before using it or even loading it in your gun.
Ammo that is wet, soaked in water or other solvents can lead to underperformance and unsatisfactory results, not to mention the possibility of causing injury or gun damage. It will only take you a second to check each cartridge and confirm that it is the one recommended for the specific type of gun before loading.
5. Consider Wearing Eye and Ear Protection
Most of us invest in guns for hunting, shooting sports, and sometimes for security purposes.
However, it is only in rare cases that most gun owners get to use their guns to protect themselves against intruders or vandals. When out there in the field with your gun, it is important to always make sure you wear protective gear for your eyes and eyes.
This means investing in shooting glasses and ear protection. Eye protection glasses can protect your eyes from twigs, dust, and falling stuff that may impede on your focus and end up affecting your performance or possibly get you injured.
They can also come in handy when cleaning your gun as they can protect your eyes from any springs, tension parts, or lubricants that may cause harm.
On the other hand, and needless to mention, the loud bang produced by a firearm can be disturbing and could probably affect your ears one way or another. Pain and ringing are two of the biggest reasons why you need hearing protection with firearms.
Experts suggest that continuous exposure to such loud bangs from guns could result in gradual hearing loss. to prevent this, consider investing in quality earmuffs or earplugs.
6. Check the Barrel for Any Obstructions
The actual essence of cleaning and properly maintaining your gun is to ensure that it is safe for use, lasts and lives to perform well. However, it is not uncommon for guns to accumulate dust and other kinds of debris, especially when they haven’t been used for a long time.
Additionally, dirt, snow, and other kinds of debris may find its way into the barrel if you happen to drop the gun. In case you unintentionally left it somewhere and someone else gained access to it, you may not know whether they tampered with your weapon or not.
Before carrying your gun to the hunting ground or your shooting game, it is prudent to check the barrel just to be sure there are no obstructions laying down there.
Major barrel obstructions could stop the bullet, causing what is known as an explosive failure, which could lead to severe injuries.
7. Know What You’re Aiming At
Gun accidents happen every other time, and a majority of those occur due to the gun holder’s lack of focus on their target.
Before firing your gun, it is only a rule of thumb that you make sure you’ve identified what you’re aiming at.
Firing haphazardly could result in injuries (or even death) to others or damage of property, which will obviously get you into trouble with law enforcement as well as your own conscience. Not only that, you could hit a surface from which the bullet could bounce back and hit you.
Whether it’s in a gun practice, shooting sports, or hunting session, failing to properly identify and aim at your target is no exception as far as gun safety is concerned.
8. Only Keep Your Finger on the Trigger If You Intend To Fire
Poor gun handling skill is a common cause of gun accidents and injuries the world over. Even a highly trained military or CIA operative will tell you that putting your finger on the trigger when you don’t intend to fire is not the wisest of things to do.
This is especially the case if you’re pointing a gun at someone or something with other people around. Distractions do happen, and it takes a fraction of a second for the bullet to be lodged once you press the trigger.
With no intention to make it sound scary; but that single second could leave you with regrets for the rest of your life. Only when you’re ready to fire a round should you put your finger on the trigger.
9. Keep It Legit
Different states and countries have different rules and regulations surrounding the acquire purchase, and ownership of firearms. In the U.S, for instance, gun rights fall under the 2nd amendment of the constitution and firearm regulation is the responsibility of the Guns Control Act of 1968.
All the same, you need a license to own a gun in most places. This means that before walking into a gun shop to purchase a firearm, you need to, first of all, seek clearance from the respective authorities. But humans will be humans and some like to cut corners a lot.
Before purchasing that weapon from the streets, think about your safety and the safety of those around you.
Gun malfunctions are real and what is good about saving time and money buying an illegitimate weapon that could turn out to be low quality, end up causing injuries or even cost a life?
Owning a gun is considered a safety measure for a lot of people and there’s nothing wrong with having one for yourself provided you follow the law.
However, if you don’t take the right steps when handling your gun, it could easily end up doing more harm than good for you. Rather than scare you off, this is meant to show you the bigger picture. It is supposed to direct your attention towards the importance of knowing how to be safe if you own, when using or when handling a firearm.
After all, it takes only one bullet for a firearm to claim a life, and it happens within a flash.