Guns are dangerous and fatal machines. So, they should be handled properly, with care. If not, they can injure or even take life.
There are some safety rules that can enable you to handle a gun safely. Adhere to all of these rules for ultimate gun safety.
14 Basic Rules of Gun Safety [Beginners Guide]
Here are 16 rules that you should maintain to ensure gun safety:
1. Store Firearms Safely [Universal Gun Safety Rules]
All new or old owners should store their guns safely and securely to prevent unauthorized use. It offers the convenience of knowing where it is at all times.
Following gun safe storage practices is especially important for those with children of their own or who frequently have children at their house. Many children die or get injured by shooting themselves.
Even if you do not have children around, your guns can easily be stolen and used for criminal activities if you leave them out in the open. So, the first thing you must do with a gun is to store it properly.
You have to consider a few things before deciding how and where to store the gun. Store your weapon somewhere that’s hidden but easy to reach. You do not want to be in a home defense situation and not know where your firearm is!
If you store your firearm at a discreet location, it will not only keep it safe but also ensure you can grab it quickly whenever you need to. You’ll never have to worry about home intruders getting ahold of your firearm if you store it safely. Moreover, you will be able to keep track of your gun and know if an unauthorized person has taken it or not.
You can use gun storage devices to store guns. There are a lot of gun storages, along with which you will also find locking devices. These devices will directly attach to the and keep it safer.
2. Keep the Gun Pointed to a Safer Direction
It is one of the basic gun safety rules. Every year, many people injure others or even themselves with guns, unintentionally. But if everyone adhered to every rule, there would have been no firearm accidents.
Never assume that the gun is empty and that someone else or even you will keep your fingers off from the trigger. Even if all precautions are taken, you don’t want to become a victim of firearm malfunction that might lead to someone or something unintentionally getting shot.
So, never keep your gun pointing at something you have no intention of shooting. This is especially very important even when unloading and loading a gun. Make sure that the gun is pointed towards a safer direction. Turn it into a habit as well.
Ensure that you control the direction the gun is pointing at even if you take a fall or stumble. Since you have the gun, only you can handle it, and thus, this is your responsibility. If you do so, in the event of an accidental discharge, no one will get hurt.
Also remember that bullets can sometimes penetrate ceilings and walls. So, a safer direction for you might be either “up” or “down,” depending on the situation. But never in a direction someone can get hurt from.
Even when you are practicing dry firing or firing with unloaded firearms, never point the gun towards an unsafe target. Especially without making sure the gun is not loaded.
3. Keep the Firearms Empty When Not Being Used
Firearms are never to be loaded when they are not in use. Load them only when you are ready to shoot in the field or on the target range or shooting area. If you are not using them, secure the firearms and ammunition in a safe place, separated from each other.
Because no matter how safely you store your gun, children or unauthorized people may find it. So, you must be responsible enough to perform everything required so that children and unauthorized adults cannot gain access to firearms or ammunition.
To make guns safer, empty your gun immediately after you have finished shooting. And make sure the firearm is unloaded well before you bring it into a car or home. And always open the gun’s action immediately when you pick your firearm or before you give it to someone.
Never assume the gun is empty. Check the gun visually to ensure it does not contain any ammunition. Remember to keep the barrels open when not in use. Otherwise, fatal accidents may happen.
4. Always Treat Guns Like They Are Loaded
Right, you should treat every gun like it is always loaded. Of course, you need to follow rules like emptying the guns, keeping your finger off the trigger, and pointing the muzzle in a safer direction.
But the problem is, people are forgetful. Even seasoned firearm owners can be as careless as the newbies in ensuring that their firearms are cleared after use because of their confidence. But guns are hazardous, and they should be treated as such.
Even a simple slip of mind can have fatal repercussions for you or anybody around you. So, no matter what, you should still treat every firearm as if it is loaded because it could very well be.
5. Keep Fingers off from the Trigger
You must keep your fingers off from the trigger so that you do not shoot yourself or others accidentally. This practice is known as trigger discipline. And it is vital to be habitual about it.
It’s essential in not only recreational shooting but also in defensive conditions where you must use the gun. Just because you need to draw out your gun for self-defense does not actually mean that you get to shoot and kill life.
You should never point a gun at something you don’t want to destroy or put ammunition in your weapon beforehand. But if you mistakenly do, by keeping your finger off the trigger, you’re less likely to shoot someone or something.
6. Know the Mechanical Aspects of the Firearm
You must know how to use, handle and store your firearm safely. Do not use any gun without completely understanding its particular characteristics and safe use. It can be dangerous for you and anyone around you.
Foolproof guns do not exist. You should read and refer to the instruction manual you received with your gun. If you have misplaced the manual, contact the manufacturer for a free copy and follow the manual.
It does not matter if you are a new owner or not. All firearms are different. Being able to use one type of gun does not mean you know the mechanical and handling aspects of all other types of firearms.
Guns are very different from one another. For this reason, do not handle any firearm without familiarizing yourself with the type of firearm you are using thoroughly first. And always adhere to the gun handling safety rules for loading, unloading, carrying, handling that firearm.
7. Don’t Only Rely on the Gun’s Safety Precautions
Every gun comes with safety mechanisms. These mechanisms serve as a supplement to proper weapon handling and other safety measures you can take. But they are usually mechanical devices. And like any other such devices, they can malfunction at any time.
Besides, by mistake, the safety could be off. So, treat every gun as though it can fire at any time to be safe. Never handle a gun carelessly. You should never assume that the safety is on and the gun won’t fire. Always adhere to safety precautions.
8. Be Sure of Your Target and Beyond
This measure is for the time when you are shooting. Nobody can reverse a bullet once it’s been fired. You can’t control where the bullet might reach or what it may strike after you’ve fired your gun.
So, always be careful about what you are shooting and where. Don’t shoot unless you know for certain where your bullet is reaching. Be sure that there is no one beyond your target.
During hunting or similar uncertain situations, firing at just a movement or a sound without being absolutely sure of what you are shooting at is an absolute no-no!
You should keep in mind that a bullet will go a long distance if it misses your intended target or ricochets in another direction. A 22 short bullet can travel over one and a half quarter miles. A high-velocity cartridge like a 30-06 can send its bullet across more than 3 miles.
Shotgun pellets and shotgun slugs have a range of 500 yards and over half a mile, respectively. So, know what’s behind your target. No target is so important that you cannot take the time before pulling the trigger to be absolutely certain what your target is and where your shot will stop.
9. Wear Ear and Eye Protection While Shooting
Wearing protective gear while shooting is mandatory. This rule is for your protection alone. Shooting noise can damage hearing. So, you should wear some type of ear protectors when you’re practicing shooting.
Twigs, falling shots, and sphincters from bullets can harm your face or eyes. Therefore, protection of your vision is also essential. All shooters should wear protective shooting glasses.
Wearing protection for eyes when cleaning or disassembling any gun is an essential thing to do. It should also reduce the possibilities of solvents, spring parts or other such agents from reaching your eyes.
Suppose you’re practicing to shoot at a privately owned or public range. In such cases, the authority usually requires you to put the protective gear on before you enter the shooting area. There is a wide variety of eye and ear protectors available on the market.
10. The Barrel Must Be Clean
When you load your firearm, make sure that the barrel of your gun is clear of any type of obstructions. To be sure, open the gun’s action and clean it well. Check for obstructions with a cleaning rod after you clean it to be sure. Even a tiny bit of snow, mud, excess lubricating inside the bore may increase pressures inside the gun dangerously.
And it can cause the barrel to burst or bulge when fired, risking injury to anyone around.
Like other measures, cleaning the bore before loading it should become your habit if you are a gun owner.
If the noise you get from firing sounds weak or doesn’t seem right to your ears, stop firing immediately. Make sure that there is no obstruction stuck inside the barrel.
11. If Your Gun Malfunctions When the Trigger Is Pulled, Handle Carefully
Occasionally, a bullet may not fire when the trigger is pulled. Anything can cause this, from mechanical dysfunctions to obstructions in the barrel. And it can be dangerous. If you keep trying to shake, the gun can explode. Do not try to fire the weapon if that happens.
When it occurs, keep the gun pointed towards a safer direction. Keep your face away from the muzzle. Then open the gun’s action carefully and unload the gun. Check what’s causing it. If it’s fixable, fix it. If it’s not, take it to experts who can fix it.
12. Use The Correct Ammo
As I said before, every type of firearm is different. And so are the ammunition used in those. Guns are designed, manufactured, and tested to standards based on ammo for that particular firearm.
If you use bullets that are not made for your particular firearm, it can malfunction. Doing so might even destroy a gun and cause serious personal injury.
So, ALWAYS read the manuals carefully and use only the suggested ammo. Be sure that the shots you put into the gun match the specifications suggested by the manufacturer.
Do not reload improperly or use ammunition made of components you do not know about. Never use damaged or substandard ammo as well. Bullets that have got wet or submerged in water should be discarded safely.
Never spray oil or solvents on ammunition. Using such ammo can cause poor ignition, unsatisfactory performance, or damage to yourself or others.
If you are a new gun owner, learn by heart what you can use with your gun. To make it easier, you can try using rubber bands or colored tapes for the magazines or the firearm itself. Doing so will help you remember which ammo to pick for which gun.
13. Don’t Alter Your Gun
You should never modify or alter any kind of firearm. Firearms have extremely complicated mechanisms. Experts design these machines to function correctly in their original form. These experts also take safety measures to make guns safer.
Any alteration done to a gun after purchase can make the weapon dangerous and dysfunctional. So, try not to alter the safety, trigger, or other mechanisms of your weapon. Also, don’t allow anyone unauthorized by the manufacturer to make modifications or reparations to a gun.
14. Never Handle Your Firearm Under Influence
Using guns requires complete attention and nerves. Alcohol, as well as any other substance are likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions. And therefore, you should never get near a firearm while you’re drunk or high.
In most countries and states, it is illegal to have a firearm when someone is under influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if it’s not, doing so would be a foolish idea.
Stick to these rules to ensure gun safety for you as well as anyone around you.
Ensure to adhere to all these rules so that even if you forget one once, the other measures can protect you from shooting yourself or others around you accidentally.