Over the past several decades, the per capita rate of gun accident deaths has decreased dramatically. Much of that decrease is likely due to the increased awareness of gun safety. Thanks to the proliferation of the internet, it’s never been easier for people to learn about important gun safety tips.
There are several universal gun safety rules that form the bedrock of gun safety. It is critical that all gun owners follow these safety rules at all times in order to avoid any dangerous accidents. After we go over those four universal rules, we’ll then go over some other very important tips that you should know about.
So continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know!
Treat All Guns As If They’re Always Loaded
This rule should hopefully sound like common sense. However, it should still be stressed. Even if you think there’s no way that you’re gun can be loaded, you still can’t be 100 percent sure.
And the people around you also can’t be 100 percent sure. Because of this, you should simply ALWAYS assume that every gun is loaded.
Let’s go over the next three rules and see how this rule applies to them.
Never Let the Muzzle Point at Anything You’re Not Willing to Destroy
Even though accidental gun deaths continue to go down each year, they still happen. And even more people end up injuring themselves or others or damaging property.
This is also where the first rule comes into play. Because you can’t know for sure that a gun is not loaded, if you point the muzzle at something, any number of events could happen that could lead to the gun going off. You should never point the muzzle at anything that you aren’t willing to shoot.
This means that you shouldn’t ever jokingly point your gun at yourself, other people, or anything else that’s not a target.
Keep Your Finger Off of the Trigger Until You’re Ready to Shoot
By this point, you’re probably starting to realize how these rules all work together. Going off of the previous tip, you should never place your finger on or near the trigger until you’ve got your sights on your target and you’re ready to shoot.
If you do end up accidentally pointing you’re gun at something you’re not willing to destroy, and the gun does happen to be loaded, then keeping your finger off of the trigger might be the only thing that stops you from firing.
Trigger discipline is extremely important for all shooters to practice. You should always be aware of where your fingers are and where the trigger is.
Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Behind It
This is a rule that applies to both defensive scenarios and recreational shooting. You might have heard about this rule if you’ve ever heard someone say “always know your backstop.”
Even if you’re shooting a pistol at a steel target, there’s still a chance you might miss. When you’re shooting for fun, you should always make sure that there’s a backstop behind your targets. This backstop will stop any missed shots as well as shots that go through your targets.
If you find yourself using your firearm for self-defense purposes, then this rule might be more difficult to assess. No matter what, it’s important to know what your target is and knows what lies behind that target.
Even if you hit your target, there’s still a chance that the bullet can go through it and hit something you didn’t mean to shoot. There should never be innocent bystanders behind your target.
Now that we’ve gone over the foundational and universal gun safety rules, let’s go over some other important gun safety tips that you need to know about.
Don’t Handle Guns When You’re Angry or Depressed
Nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides. While the majority of legal gun owners are not going to be using their firearms for suicide or homicide, it’s important to recognize that guns are still weapons.
Whenever you’re going to hold a gun, you should check yourself first and make sure that you’re in a calm and stable mood. If you’re not feeling well mentally, then you should give yourself time to cool off.
“Clear” a Gun Anytime You Touch One
As soon as you pick up a gun, assuming that you’re not intending to shoot it immediately, the first thing that you do is make sure that it’s empty. If you’re dealing with semi-automatic guns, like AR 15 stock, then you should release the magazine and inspect the chamber to make sure that it’s empty.
You should also always clear your gun before putting it away or leaving the range. However, keep in mind that even after you’ve cleared the gun, you still need to treat it as if it’s loaded.
Don’t Rely on the Gun’s Safety
You should always keep your gun’s safety on until you’re ready to shoot. However, just because the safety is engaged doesn’t mean that you can disregard the other safety tips. It’s still possible for malfunctions to take place.
Also, you might think that the safety is on but it actually isn’t.
Make Sure That Your Barrel is Clear of Any Obstructions Before Using It
First, you should make sure that the gun is empty by taking out the magazine and checking out the chamber. If you have a pistol, you can quickly field strip the gun to the point where you can take off the barrel. Then, make sure that there aren’t any obstructions.
If you’re using an AR-style rifle, you want to remove the upper receiver from the lower one. Take off the bolt carrier group and the charging handle. Make sure that there aren’t any obstructions.
9) Always Wear Eye and Ear Protection
You should always wear ear protection and shooting glasses when you’re using guns or are around them. Practically all guns can cause permanent hearing damage when you don’t use the proper kinds of hearing protection.
Shooting glasses can help protect your eyes from hot ejected casings and shrapnel.
Know Your Gun
After you buy a new gun, you should look through the owner’s manual. You should also regularly practice with the gun. Doing this will help you get comfortable with that gun and understand the proper ways to use it.
If you’re new to guns, then you should consider taking firearm safety and shooting classes.
You Can’t Safely Use an Unsafe Gun
If your gun is malfunctioning for some reason, then you can’t use it safely. You should regularly service and clean your gun so that it stays in proper working condition.
If you think that there’s an issue with your gun, then you should take it to a certified gunsmith. It’s also a good idea to have a gunsmith look at your weapon after every few thousand rounds.
Know What to Do When Your Gun Fails to Shoot
If you’ve pulled the trigger of your gun and it failed to shoot, then the first thing that you should do is keep it pointed in a safe direction for at least thirty seconds. This is going to keep you safe in case you experience a delayed discharge or “hangfire.”
After thirty seconds, you can remove and get rid of the cartridge in a safe way. Don’t pull the trigger again before your take out the cartridge.
Use the Correct Ammunition
Using ammo that’s not meant to be used by your gun can lead to serious malfunctioning of the firearm. It can also lead to severe bodily harm. Because of this, you should always consult the owner’s manuals for your firearms and only use the ammo that’s listed.
For people who shoot different calibers often, you might want to think about using color-coded rubber bands for your magazines and guns. This can help make sure that you don’t put in the wrong ammo.
The Importance of Following These Gun Safety Tips
Guns can be incredibly useful tools and are embedded within American culture. But guns are also weapons and should always be handled with caution. By following the gun safety tips listed above, you’ll be able to more likely avoid dangerous accidents and keep yourself and those around you safe.
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