Gun safety is important when it comes to firearms. I can’t stress this enough. It’s almost a normal occurrence in the news now. You might hear a report about a negligent discharge injuring someone or worse. Maybe you recently read an article about a toddler taking hold of a parent’s gun and firing. Either way, this seems like it is becoming normal in today’s society. This is why it is very important to practice gun safety techniques any time you have a firearm. We will cover what I think are basic elements regarding gun safety. These apply to both on and off the firing line.


Eye and Ear Protection When Firing – Wear It!

eye and ear protection for shooting

This should be a given! All shooters need to use protective firing glasses and hearing protectors while firing.

  • Direct exposure to shooting sounds will harm hearing.
  • Shooting eyeglasses protect against wind, debris, extracted casings, clay target chips, and firearm malfunction to name a few. Wearing eye pro when taking apart and cleaning any gun might also protect against the chance of parts under tension, gun cleaning solvents, or other chemicals from eye contact.


Point Muzzle in Safe Direction

muzzle awareness

Never aim your gun at something you do not plan to shoot. This is especially crucial when loading or unloading a gun. If there is an unintentional discharge, no injury should happen as long as the muzzle is directed in a safe way. Very important in gun safety! This is why plenty of unintentional accidents happen.

  • A safe direction indicates a direction which a bullet can’t hit anyone. Also account for ricochet and bullet penetrations through ceilings and walls. In some instances, a safe direction might be “up” or “down” but by no means at anybody or anything not meant as a target. This also applies to dry firing. Don’t point your gun at anyone or anything ever.
  • You should have muzzle awareness at all times. This means knowing your where muzzle is pointing.


Unload Firearms When Not Using

Ok, I’m gonna catch heat for this. Many people would argue that having a weapon loaded minimizes error and increases time to react to a threatening circumstance. Textbook answer is that guns should be loaded when you are engaging at a target in a shooting range or shooting space.

  • Unload your firearm instantly after shooting is complete. This would be before you bring it anywhere like a house, car, etc.
  • Visually inspect the chamber, receiver and magazine. You need to be certain that they do not have any ammo.
  • By no means think a firearm is unloaded. You need to physically check it.


Weapons and Ammo Storage

Gun Safe Storage

Both weapons and ammo should be secured when not in use. They should be separate from one another and not in the same location.

  • If you are storing your firearm in a biometric gun safe, you shouldn’t also have ammo in there.
  • Buy a smaller gun safe or simply lock your ammo up in an inexpensive ammo can and secure it in another location.


The Gun’s “Safety”

Gun Safety Switch

Handle every firearm as though it could shoot at any moment. A gun’s “safety” is a mechanical system that can become dysfunctional at the wrong time. The safety acts as an addition to appropriate gun managing but can’t suffice as a replacement for common sense.

  • Never treat a gun negligently and believe that the weapon will not fire because the “safety switch” is on.
  • Any force strong enough to shake or recoil the firearm could cause the firing mechanism to initiate. This could happen even if the trigger isn’t squeezed.
  • Only time you can be sure that the gun won’t fire is when the weapon is cleared. This means a physical inspection of the firearm was complete and no indication of ammo remains.


Finger Off The Trigger

weapons safety rules

Keep fingers off the trigger when loading or unloading.

  • Do not squeeze the trigger on any gun even when it’s selector switch in on “safe”.
  • The firearm could fire that moment or later on when you turn the safety off without pressing the trigger again.


Check Whats Behind Your Target

Once you fire a bullet, there is no control over where your bullet will travel or what it will hit. Do not shoot unless you understand exactly what your bullet is intending to hit. Be certain that your round won’t injure anybody or something past your target.

  • Shooting at paper targets – ensure there is adequate stopping power behind your target.
  • If shooting at moving targets, make sure the range is cleared to engage.


Use Correct Ammo

Different Ammo

There would be serious consequences for using the wrong ammo. Using the wrong ammo can damage the firearm, ammo can explode inside the gun, and you could get seriously hurt. Read all warnings such as those that show up in the gun’s handbook and the ammo boxes.

  • Be certain the ammunition you use matches the specs that are included in the gun’s manual and also the manufacturer’s markings on the gun.
  • Never use damaged ammo!
  • Inspect your ammo before loading it.
  • Never use ammo that was submerged in any liquid.


Firearm Failure To Fire

Weapon Malfunction

Sometimes a cartridge might not fire when the trigger is squeezed.

  • Keep the muzzle pointed down range, or safe direction.
  • Keep your face clear of the firearm.
  • Cautiously unload the gun and remove the bullet.
  • If there is a bullet in the chamber, your weapon is loaded and prepared to fire. It might shoot in any instant so always practice muzzle awareness.
  • Don’t discharge weapons in badly ventilated areas. You could be exposed to lead and other chemicals. These chemicals could cause birth defects and reproductive harm. Always have appropriate ventilation and wash your hands after.


Clear Barrel Of Blockages

Before shooting or loading, visually inspect the barrel.

  • Just a tiny bit of excess oil, mud, snow, or grease could cause increased pressure. The barrel would then bulge or burst upon shooting.
  • If the sound or recoil on shooting appears weakened or does not seem right, stop firing instantly and check that no blockage has occurred in the barrel.

No Modifying Your Gun Or Altering

Gun Barrel Obstruction

Guns are complex systems that are created by professionals to work correctly in their original state. Any modification to the gun can make it dangerous and usually void any manufacturer warranty.

  • Don’t risk your safety by changing the trigger or other component of the gun.
  • Don’t allow incompetent people to service or alter a firearm.
  • Guns don’t last forever. They are subjected to occasional wear and tear.
  • Take it to a professional for regular servicing to extend the life of your firearm.


Learn How Your Firearm Works And Functions

parts of a gun and their functions

Not all guns are the exact same. That being said, you shouldn’t try to operate it without understanding how it works.

  • Never handle a gun without completely acquainting yourself with the specific type of weapon you are using.
  • This includes loading, unloading, carrying, function checking, and handling the gun in general.
  • Don’t use a gun without understanding its characteristics and how it operates.


Wrap Up

These basic firearm safety guidelines are here to emphasize gun safety. These guidelines will help bring situational awareness to a shooter of any experience level. It is vital to continuously practice gun safety procedures to reduce unintentional accidents. Beginners, should be closely monitored when managing unfamiliar firearms. Many people might need a physical teacher to show them how these rules work and to walk them through the steps. For that, I recommend enrolling in a professional gun safety course.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you witness an unsafe act or can improve someone’s gun safety techniques, give feedback. When it comes to firearm safety, that should be a number one priority both on and off the range.