Four Rules Of Safe Gun Handling
Owning a gun is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that literally countless Americans seek out on an annual basis. Even those who are total amateurs when it comes to firearms understand that handling a gun can be a risky endeavor if you’re not thoroughly educated and trained ahead of time, however. Nevertheless, many modern Americans are deeply unfamiliar and uncomfortable with firearms solely because they were never briefed on the importance of gun safety and the major rules for handling a firearm.
How should you go about toting a gun without accidentally blowing your toes off? Here are four major rules of gun handling, and what you’ll want to know before you head out to the range for the first time.
Here are the 4 rules of gun safety: 1. assume all guns are always loaded, 2. keep the muzzle downrange at all times, 3. finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot and 4. always know whats beyond your target.
1. All guns are always loaded
Rule one of gun handling doesn’t literally mean that all guns everywhere are constantly loaded with bullets, but rather is meant to stress that gunowners should treat every individual firearm they come across as having the potential to be locked, loaded, and ready to fire at a moment’s notice. This is the most crucial rule for gun handling, and something that must be sternly drilled into the heads of every nascent student who hopes to learn the wonderful art of mastering firearms.
There are obviously good reasons to champion and support rule one – after all, you can only imagine the calamity that would occur if gunowners were regularly toting their shotguns, pistols, and other firearms about as if they didn’t have the potential to fire at any moment. In many ways, you can consider “all guns are always loaded” to be the first commandment of gun ownership, that most essential statement from which all other things will inevitably flow.
It’s imperative that you stand up for this rule, whether you’re at the range, in the woods hunting, or in any circumstance that involves firearms. Some gunowners don’t want to be fickle about pressing their friends or shooting companions about gun handling, but the truth of the matter is that someone’s life could be taken if an amateur is wielding a fully-loaded firearm as if it were a playful Nerf gun. Don’t worry about your reputation – worry about your life, and the lives of those around you, and remember to remind people that all guns should always be treated as if they’re loaded and ready to fire.
2. All muzzles must be pointed in safe direction
The second rule of gun handling is almost as simple an important as the first – all muzzles must always be pointed in safe direction. In other words, you should only ever point a firearm at an object or person if you intend to shoot – playfully gesturing with your firearm at a potential target or something that could inadvertently be shot at is a sin that simply can’t be committed if you’re serious about your health.
Some experts take issue with the phrasing of this rule, and note that technically there is no “safe” direction for a gun to point in. Ricochet, for instance, could cause a bullet fired in a so-called “safe” direction to ultimately rebound and strike someone who was far away from where the round was originally cast towards. Another way of phrasing the second rule of gun handling that some police departments rely on is that you shouldn’t allow your muzzle to “cover” (or be aimed at) any object or living being that you’re unwilling to destroy, as you may inadvertently do just that if you’re pointing your gun around wildly.
3. Your finger remains outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot
This is one of the rules of gun handling that takes the most practice to master, as it can be difficult to figure out how exactly you’re going to position your hand. It’s always important to remember that your finger must remain off the trigger (and better yet, outside the trigger guard itself) until you’re ready to shoot, as keeping your finger at the ready may seem wise but will really result in an accidental discharge that could injure or kill someone, yourself included.
Gun owners who are trying to school amateurs to the trade in the ways of the craft are highly advised to help new shooters practice the necessary hand movements for proper gun handling. The muscle memory of most seasoned shooters has been well-trained by the time they’ve fired a few guns, meaning it can be easy for veterans to remember to keep their fingers off the trigger. Newcomers will need to get a hang of how your hand rest without its finger of the trigger of an object that’s designed to fire easily, however, so be patient and helpful when it comes to teaching people about rule three.
In many ways, you can expand rule three to also read “until your firearm is pointed at an appropriate target and you’re ready to shoot,” as it’s imperative to understand what your round will hit before you’re ready to let some lead go flying. This leads us directly to rule four of gun handling, which is something that far too many people ignore, even gunowners and seasoned veterans who should know better.
4. Know what your target is and what’s behind it
Even those who have never fired a gun before in their lives should understand that it’s imperative to know what your target is and what lurks behind it, yet every year thousands of Americans suffer from close calls that are a result of someone firing off a round at a target they misidentified or didn’t carry out their due diligence on. Gunowners who don’t take the time and energy to know what their target is simply shouldn’t be allowed to own a firearm, as it’s utterly imperative that you know what you’re flinging lead in the event that you accidentally fire upon another person.
Your target is insufficient in and of itself, though, as you must also know what’s lurking behind your target. If you pause for a moment, you’ll understand the logic here; guns are immensely powerful, and those with excellent bullet penetration won’t just hit the target they’re aimed at, but also anything (or anyone) directly behind said target, too. If you’re out hunting, it’s very crucial that you take the time to survey your area and arrive at a thorough understanding of your surroundings and what lurks beyond nearby bushes and blind spots. It’s impossible to determine how many hunting accidents have occurred throughout history because rookies didn’t realize how far their bullets would travel, though it’s a safe bet that bows and arrows suffer from a similar problem, too.
Keep Gun Safety in Mind at All Times
Those who want to practice proper firearm handling should never forget any of these rules and should keep rule four closely in mind when ranging outdoors for hunting where visibility is sometimes limited. Mastering these rules isn’t optional – it’s a necessary part of becoming a responsible and effective gunowner. Everyone from police officers to active duty soldiers to average joes who love the 2nd amendment can and will benefit from the following of these rules, so keep these four gun handling tips in mind before your next trip to the shooting range.