Critical Rules in Firearm Safety
Whether it’s your first time handling a firearm or your 400th time out at the range, these rules will always apply to keeping you and those around you safe. Nearly 500 people die each year unintentionally by guns. This can come from children seeing the gun as a toy, someone not realizing a gun’s safety is off, not realizing someone is behind a target, and more. Here are some of the most important rules to keep you and those around you safe when handling a firearm.
Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
This is a pillar of gun safety: don’t aim your gun somewhere you don’t intend to shoot. It’s a basic safety rule. This doesn’t just go for the firearms being loaded; it applies to loading and unloading a firearm. Pointing the gun in a safe direction means any direction where a bullet won’t hit someone. This should account for ricochets or going through walls.
Never assume the safety is perfect.
To piggyback off the previous point, the safety on your gun is there to help. However, safeties can fail. Never handle a gun carelessly or wave it around because you think the safety is on. Safeties are like any other device; they can fail, and they can fail at the worst possible time.
Unload your gun when not in use.
Your firearms should only be loaded when you’re at a range, in the field, and ready to shoot. Always unload your gun as soon as you are finished. Do not keep a loaded gun in your car, truck, or home. If you need to hand someone a firearm, open the action and check the chamber, receiver and magazine to ensure they don’t have any ammunition. Never ever assume a gun is unloaded!
Don’t touch the trigger until you intend to shoot.
This seems common sense, but it’s a surprisingly necessary reminder. Never have your finger on the trigger until your gun is fully aimed and you are sure of your target. This rule also applies to dry firing/unloaded guns. Make it a habit of not touching the trigger until you’re aimed and ready to fire.
Know your target and what’s beyond it.
Once you pull the trigger, you’ve lost control of where a bullet goes. Don’t fire unless you know where a bullet should hit, and always consider what’s beyond your target. For example, if you’re out hunting, ensure no other members of your party are on the opposite side of your target. Even a 22 short can travel over a mile. High-velocity cartridges can send bullets even further. Assume you’ll miss, and consider what lies beyond your target.
Wear eye and ear protection while shooting.
Guns are loud. Even a single gunshot blast can cause irreparable damage to your hearing. Anyone on a range should wear some form of hearing protection while shooting. There’s a wide variety of ear protection available, ranging from comfort plugs to over-the-ear muffs. Pick the ones that are best suited for how long you’ll be shooting.
Wearing protective glasses protects a vital part of your shooting performance: your eyesight. Protective goggles can keep falling shot, clay chips, or twigs out of your eyes. Be sure to wear eye protection while cleaning and disassembling guns so that you don’t have spring or spring-loaded parts flying up and hitting your eye.
Have your guns regularly serviced and properly stored.
Guns are complex tools that are expertly crafted. Altering your firearm can open you and those around you up to injury, not to mention break any factory warranty guarantee that came with your gun. Get a qualified professional to repair, or modify any gun. Like all pieces of equipment, guns will get wear and tear. Always use the manufacturer’s recommendation for recommended servicing.
Proper gun storage can quite literally be the difference between life and death, especially if guns are kept around other family members like children. Improper storage of guns is the biggest contributing factor to accidental child deaths by firearm. Keep your gun unloaded, keep it locked, and keep it away from your kids.
Learn your firearm and its characteristics.
It’s tempting after watching an action-packed blockbuster to think if you know how to handle one gun, you can handle them all. However, carrying and handling firearms will vary depending on the gun’s characteristics. (You’d never fire a shotgun the same way you would a pistol…) Familiarize yourself with your gun. Read the manufacturer’s manual for information on carrying, loading, and storing your gun.
At Split 2nd Training, Florida’s premier concealed carry trainers, we want people to know the essential rules of firearms so they can feel confident and comfortable properly handling guns. Safety of firearm users and those around them is a priority, and these rules should never be overlooked or compromised — especially not when someone’s life could be at stake.