While in America we are lucky to have the right to bear arms, this is a responsibility that must be handled with great care. Guns are not toys and can cause fatal injuries when mishandled. That’s why it’s imperative that any person operating a gun is aware of the proper safety techniques. Here some tips you should always follow when using a gun for any purpose:
- Study up! You should learn all of the characteristics of the specific gun that you are using. Many guns, especially beginner guns, are small and simple to operate, but no two guns are exactly the same.
- Even if the gun is not loaded, you should always treat it as if it is loaded.
- Relatedly, keep the gun unloaded until it is time to use it!
- Be careful at all times. It is imperative that you do not rely on the gun’s safety mechanism to prevent it from firing.
- Make sure you’re using the right type of ammunition. Using the wrong size or style can damage the gun.
- Never place your finger on the trigger unless you are aiming at a target and ready to shoot it. Keep your fingers relaxed and still.
- Additionally, you should be 100% sure of what your target is and everything that is surrounding it before firing. You should also be confident in your surroundings, especially if you are not standing still while shooting, so that you can be sure you will not lose your balance or become distracted, which might accidentally cause you to fire in the wrong direction.
- Never point a gun at something that you’re not planning on blowing into smithereens. When in doubt, keep it pointed towards the ground.
- Make sure that the barrel of the gun is clear of any obstructions before you load up. This could seriously damage the gun.
- If your gun does not fire when you squeeze the trigger, wait a few moments before moving to make sure that it is not simply delayed. Lower your arms and point the gun towards the ground or some other safe direction before slowly and carefully unloading it and inspecting it.
Now that you know some of the more general rules for safely handling a gun, it’s time to learn a bit more about shooting in a controlled environment. If you shoot at a shooting range, you will be given a specific set of instructions to follow by the range director. However, pretty much all reputable shooting ranges will have a similar set of rules.
First, you should keep in mind all of the above points about operating firearms. Second, you should be aware of all the specifications of this particular range, and always listen to everything your instructor tells you. You should be aware of the eye and ear protection policies, as well as the proper location where you may load or unload the gun. Always keep the gun pointed down-range, and leave the safety on and your fingers away from the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Range shooting is a great way to practice your aim, and many people who learn to shoot in a range move on to hunting later in their lives. Game hunting is very different from range shooting: you won’t have an instructor watching over you, and there are no specific rules for eye and ear protection in the range. However, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t held to the highest standards of safety and expertise. It always safest to hunt with other people who you trust, but not enough that you might all distract each other and encourage any bad habits.
Make sure that everybody is aware of the proper gun handling techniques. It’s also a good idea to appoint one person in the group as the so-called “safety patrol” of the group (although everybody should be on their best behavior). Some other important rules to establish include keeping in contact with each other at all times and ensuring that everybody knows where all the others are located, as well as everybody’s personal zone of fire. Since you’ll be walking outside, be sure not to climb over anything with a loaded gun on your person in case it accidentally fires. If you trip or fall, you should prioritize controlling the barrel of the gun so it points in a safe direction as much as you are able. Additionally, you should never use the scope or sight on your gun as binoculars, and if at any point you are unsure of your target, don’t fire!
This might seem like a lot to remember, but the handling of a gun should be treated as a serious responsibility. When you hold a gun, you are holding the lives of everyone in the room in your hands. You should always remember to practice, take it slow, and act responsible at all times – then you can focus on having fun!