Gun ownership is no laughing matter. It takes your attention and responsibility to be able to handle firearms safely. That’s why it is important that you follow a set of rules when using your own gun. These simple checks based on the rules set in place by the National Shooting Sports Foundation will make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe, and you can use your gun with care and efficiency.
Rule 1: Assume Your Gun is Always Loaded
Even if your friend has offered his gun to you to use to fire down range, and he checked it and handed it to you empty, you must check for yourself to see if the gun is clear. Any time a gun was previously out of your control, you should check it again yourself to see if it is loaded.
Rule 2: Always Point Your Gun Out of Harm’s Way
This is pretty self-explanatory, but one of the most important rules. When at ease and handling your gun, never point it at anything that you aren’t willing to shoot. Total awareness of where the end of your gun is at all times must be your goal.
Rule 3: Finger Off The Trigger
If you aren’t about to shoot anything with your gun, your finger should not be anywhere near the trigger. Keep it outside the trigger guard, and only when you are ready to fire a round should you place your finger inside the trigger guard and on the trigger. It is all too easy for your finger to accidently slip and pull on something without your intention.
Rule 4: Know Your Target
When it is time to fire your gun, be aware of your target. Know what is behind your target and be aware if anything gets in front of it. Always be aware of your surroundings.
Rule 5: Check Your Ammo
If your gun isn’t using the right ammunition, it is at risk for misfiring and potentially causing an explosion. Use only the ammo your gun requires. The manual that came with your gun should state the proper ammunition recommended by the manufacturer.
Rule 6: Don’t Rely on Safety Mechanisms Alone
Gun manufacturers have many different safety mechanisms in place on modern firearms that make it difficult to fire off a round accidentally. But just because these mechanisms are there doesn’t mean you should rely solely on them. Always treat your firearm as if there were no safety mechanisms, and that you must be extremely careful when handling it. It will be in the moment that you don’t do this in which accidents will occur.
Rule 7: Know Your Gun
Take your gun apart, and then put it back together. Clean it inside and out. Get familiar with all the different parts and mechanisms that make up your firearm. The more familiar you are with your gun, the more confident you can be when using it. When something goes wrong with your gun, you will be able to diagnose the problem right away, then seeking professional care or solving the issue yourself.