Gun Safety Tips for Beginners
It should go without saying that guns are not toys, and handling them requires a great amount of responsibility. To help you get used to the proper protocol, and in the interest of helping you form good habits as possible, we’re providing a list of safety guidelines for you to keep in mind.
- Unload firearms when not in use. The firearm and its ammunition should be stored separately (and far away from children!). A gun should be unloaded immediately after you finish shooting, and you must always check to see if a gun is loaded – never assume that it is empty and safe to handle.
- Treat all firearms as if they’re loaded. Check to confirm if it is loaded or not, keep your finger off of the trigger, and never carry a gun in an awkward or reckless manner. All guns should be handled as if it is possible they could go off at any moment.
- Don’t just rely on the safety mechanism. It can be easy to assume that as long as the safety mechanism is in place, nothing bad can happen. The truth is that sometimes the mechanical safety trigger can be faulty, or it can be in the “off” position even if you thought it was engaged. It is much safer to keep the safety features in place and develop good safety habits.
- Always point at the ground or in a safe direction. Whether the gun is loaded or not, if it is not aimed at a particular target, the muzzle should always be pointed at the ground, or in a safe direction told to you by a supervisor. A gun should never be aimed at anything that you do not want to put a hole in – and don’t forget that a bullet can travel through walls, ceilings, and other barriers, or at least it can ricochet off and hit an unsuspecting person.
- Never operate under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- Be familiar with your target and its surroundings. Observe the entire area and understand that firing at strange noises or movements could result in an innocent person getting hurt. Once a gun fires, you no longer have any control over where the bullet goes or what gets hit. Make absolutely sure you know what is going to get hit before you fire.
- Don’t touch the trigger until your sights are on your target. We mentioned this briefly in an earlier point but it is definitely important enough to bring up again. Beginners might feel as though it’s important for them to always have their hands in a position that is “ready” to fire. However, if your finger is already on the trigger, being startled at the slightest noise could result in an accidental, reflective firing. Making sure to keep your finger away from the trigger will reinforce the fact that you need to take your time before you shoot, ultimately forming much safer shooting habits.
- Clean your gun regularly. Good maintenance is important for your gun to function smoothly, so it should be cleaned every time it is used. If a gun has been placed in storage for a long time, it should be cleaned thoroughly before being used, in case any moisture, oil, or dirt buildup prevents its normal functioning. We also strongly recommend to confirm with the manufacturer of your gun how often it should be professionally inspected or serviced. Any mechanical device is subject to wear and cannot lost forever, so periodic adjustments and thorough inspections are critical to its functioning.