Firearms in the US have transcended into cultural significance, unlike anywhere else in the world. In 2020, there are about 44% living in a household with a gun. With guns being commonplace, everyone can benefit from learning the rules of gun safety.
The words “gun” and “safety” have always had a very complicated relationship. People have guns for safety; people need security from guns. According to studies, personal protection is the primary reason for gun ownership.
Whatever your reasons, the moment you have a gun within arm’s reach, safety is a full-time concern.
However, you can rest a just little easier. This guide will lead you to all the gun rules of safety you need to know!
Primary Rules of Gun Safety
With guns, you always prepare for the worst. You’ll notice this is a constant theme with all the cardinal rules of gun safety.
Here are the main rules of gun safety every gun owner should know instinctively:
Treat All Guns as if They’re Loaded
This first rule of gun safety is for instilling discipline into gun users. Granted, you should always know whether your gun has bullets. However, there’s no place for complacency even when you’re sure.
Keep the Muzzle Pointed in a Safe Direction
Never point your firearm at something you wouldn’t want to shoot. Then, again, always prepare for possibilities like accidental discharge. This applies when loading, unloading, dry firing, clearing your gun, and even when you’re just holding one.
When choosing a “safe direction,” account for possible ricochets and wall or ceiling penetration. This trains you always to be aware of where your muzzle is pointing. In tandem with all the other rules of gun safety, this awareness minimizes damage in case of accidental discharge.
Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger Until You’re Ready to Shoot
Keep your finger outside the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. To most people holding a gun, it feels natural to rest the finger on the trigger. However, much like the previous reminders, this should be a habitual practice for discipline.
Practice this whether you’re moving or stationary, even when pointing your muzzle in a safe direction. A high-pressure or shocking situation might accidentally change your aim.
Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Behind It
Be aware of your line of fire, whether you’re in a recreational or defensive situation. Shooting ranges will have backstops. In a defensive setting, consider what you might hit if you miss or the bullet penetrates the target.
You also can control your aim but not the trajectory of a ricochet. So don’t shoot at flat surfaces. This practice gives you time to take in your surroundings.
Keep Your Gun Unloaded When Not Actually in Use
When storing, make sure your gun is fully unloaded. Immediately unload after using a gun in the field or firing range. You should have already unloaded your gun by the time you’re in your car, even before getting home.
When picking up a gun from storage or anywhere, always inspect if it’s loaded. Still check for yourself even when someone already told you it’s unloaded. Remember to point in a safe direction when clearing.
Make Sure the Barrel Has No Obstructions
Make it a habit to check and clean the bore with a cleaning rod before shooting. Bore obstructions could cause the barrel to bulge or even burst upon firing. Also, small debris like mud, snow, or accumulated lubricating grease can increase pressure dangerously.
Don’t Rely on Your Gun’s “Safety”
The manual safety on guns are mechanisms that are not immune to failure. It could give you false complacency, which leads to carelessness. You’re also not immune to failure and might mistake the safety to be on when it’s not.
Your only guaranteed safety comes from your knowledge and discipline.
Firearm Operation and Equipment
With guns, irresponsible handling isn’t the only safety risk. Risks occur even before you have the gun in your hand. The danger comes from insufficient knowledge, improper equipment, unsafe storage, and unreliable sources.
Follow these tips to minimize risks:
Understand How Your Specific Firearm Operates
Always read the instruction manual on your firearm and its accessories. General gun rules will only get you so far since not all guns are the same. So, make sure any external research you do applies to your specific firearm.
Use the Correct Ammunition
Understanding how your firearm operates comes with knowing what ammunition it requires. Treat incorrect or damaged ammo like obstructions. They can cause injury and damage or even destroy your gun.
You also wouldn’t want to misfire in a defensive situation. Defective or cheaper substandard ammunition can cause failure when firing. Hence, the risk of injury and more expensive damage to your gun is not worth the money saved.
Wear Proper Personal Protective Equipment
Injuries don’t just come from bullets. The gun itself generates a lot of noise and force.
If you want to maintain your ability to handle a gun, protect your vision, hearing, and dexterity. For this purpose, having quality shooting glasses, hearing protectors, and tactical gloves are necessary.
Have Appropriate Storage
Anyone can use your gun, no matter how careful you are as a gun owner. To make sure it’s inaccessible to unauthorized people, follow these tips:
- Immediately unload, clean, and place your gun in a locked storage
- Store your firearm and ammunition in separate secured locations
- Never leave your gun unattended
- Use a gun lock
- Educate everyone in your household about firearm safety
Just because you can use the gun doesn’t make you safe. Never disregard your gun’s storage safety when it’s not in use.
Only Purchase from Reputable Retailers
This applies to the gun, ammunition, accessories, and safety equipment. With unauthorized sources, you’re putting yourself in physical and legal danger. In addition, you could be paying for a counterfeit or unregistered firearm.
Customer service from authorized stores is also invaluable. You can talk to knowledgeable and experienced salespeople about your specific firearm. To get in touch with a reliable retailer, follow the link for more info.
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
The thing about guns is that they are dangerous whether or not you know how to use them. And you can’t exactly count on trial and error when it comes to learning how to use guns.
You can’t take away the danger factor. You can, however, add a safety factor by learning and practicing the rules of gun safety.
For more guides, check out our other articles!