Fundamentals of Firearm Safety
Firearms safety is the most important section of this website and I cannot stress this singular subject strongly enough. Safety is the most important consideration in the shooting sports. If you are unsafe, then you must be removed from the shooting line and be spoken to. I don’t care if someone is the best shot in the world: if they are unsafe, then they must change their priorities in this sport.
When learning how to shoot, focus your first and last thoughts on safety. Ingrain that knowledge and carry it with you at all times, regardless of your level of expertise and experience. Everything else is secondary. Furthermore, as your level of marksmanship increases, you cannot let your appreciation of safe firearm handling diminish. Even if you make a minor mistake, its time to sit down and re-evaluate where your attention is.
The Ten Rules of Firearms Safety should be etched in your memory forever. Let them govern your actions wherever and whenever you’re involved with firearms. Whether in the woods, on the range or in your home, always keep them in your mind. Please take time to review and understand these rules.
- 1st Rule
Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Be constantly aware of where the muzzle is pointing and never allow it to point at a person.
- 2nd Rule
Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
- 3rd Rule
Don’t rely on your gun’s safety. It is a mechanical device and it can fail. Refer back to the 1st Rule.
- 4th Rule
Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it. Make sure that your shot will not penetrate your backstop. Also, if your shot goes over the backstop (or when you’re hunting) it may travel quite a distance (in some cases over a mile.)
- 5th Rule
Use proper ammunition. Make sure that it is the proper calibre and in good condition.
- 6th Rule
If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care. Keep the firearm pointed down range and wait for at least one minute (in case of a hang fire which is a delayed shot due to a malfunctioning, slow burning primer in the bullet.) Clear the round afterwards. If in doubt, ask for assistance from a range officer or a more experienced shooter.
- 7th Rule
Always wear appropriate eye and ear protection when shooting.
- 8th Rule
Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting. Visually inspect the barrel or pass a rod through it.
- 9th Rule
Don’t alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly by trained professionals.
- 10th Rule
Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using. Read the manual or ask someone who is familiar with the gun.
Shooting is a relaxing and challenging sport that you and your entire family can safely participate in. Due to the awareness of these rules, a range is one of the safest places to be. Let’s keep our vigilance high and keep it that way.