A gun can be extremely dangerous if it’s not handled properly. Whether you are a new firearm owner, or you have been target shooting or hunting since you can remember, you should read these eight gun safety tips to ensure that you are handling your gun correctly.
1.) Correctly point the muzzle
This is the first thing that you should learn to do when you purchase a firearm. The simplest, yet arguably the most important, gun safety tip is that the muzzle should never be pointed at anything you don’t want to shoot. You would be surprised of how many gun accidents occur because someone wasn’t cautious of where their muzzle was pointed. So, always be conscious of where your muzzle is pointed, even when your gun is unloaded.
2.) If it’s unused, it should be unloaded
A good sum of gun accidents happen when the gun was unused. A common and unfortunate situation is when a child comes across a loaded gun. They do not have the knowledge and experience of how to handle it properly, and the outcome can be extremely dangerous. A good rule of thumb is when you’re not actively shooting, your gun should be unloaded. So, if you’re hunting, and you decide to walk to a new location, unload your gun. And when you’re finished shooting for the day, unload your gun before you begin walking back to your car.
3.) Don’t rely on the safety catch
While the safety catch is supposed to prevent your firearm from accidentally discharging, it doesn’t always work. So, don’t be reckless with your gun just because you have your safety catch on. Continue to handle your gun with the proper care and precaution.
4.) Have a clear target
Once you fire your gun, you have no control over where the bullet goes. So, it’s important that you consider where your bullet will travel when you’re getting ready to fire your gun. Some people are eager to shoot once they see a glimpse of an animal, but this is an extremely dangerous and reckless process. Instead, choose to calculate your shot and aim directly at the animal. Make sure you consider what could happen if the animal you’re trying to shoot moves.
5.) Choose the correct ammunition
Every gun requires a different type of ammunition. If you own multiple firearms, you shouldn’t assume that the same type of ammunition can be used for each firearm. Not only could using the wrong ammunition harm yourself or another person, but it could destroy your gun. Think of it like a cell phone. You wouldn’t use an Android battery charger for an iPhone, right? So, don’t use a specific type of ammunition for a gun that it wasn’t made for.
6.) Wear protection
It is extremely important to protect your eyes and ears when you’re shooting. Wearing proper shooting glasses will help maximize your sight, as well as protecting your eyes from possible clay target chips, falling shot, and even serious injury if your firearm happens to malfunction. It’s known that shooting is extremely noisy. If you don’t wear proper headphones or earplugs, you could lose a significant amount of hearing, and possibly become deaf.
7.) Clear the barrel of obstructions
Environmental factors like snow and mud can clog your barrel. While consistently cleaning your barrel may seem time consuming and an inconvenience, it prevents malfunctions and accidents. If the barrel isn’t properly cleaned, it can burst when the gun is fired. This could harm yourself and any bystanders.
8.) Have your gun regularly serviced
Like any other mechanical device, your gun is going to lose its function and ability over time. This is normal, and should be expected. When your gun begins to show signs of wear, have it inspected by a certified inspector. This person will be able to adequately adjust and service your gun, so the chance of malfunction and accidents are lowered. It’s important to note that there will be a time you will most likely have to retire your gun. If you have learned to love it, simply keep it unloaded in a safe and secure area rather than properly discarding it.