While you’re at the shooting range or anywhere you handle a firearm safety ALWAYS comes first. There are 5 Rules of Firearms Safety.
When followed, these rules will prevent negligent discharges. If a negligent discharge does happen, no one will get hurt.
5. Don’t Rely On Your Gun’s Safety
Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time. The safety on any gun is a mechanical device which, like any such device, can become inoperable at the worst possible time. Besides, by mistake, the safety may be off when you think it is on. The safety serves as a supplement to proper gun handling but cannot possibly serve as a substitute for common sense. You should never handle a gun carelessly and assume that the gun won’t fire just because the safety is on.
Regardless of the position of the safety, any blow or jar strong enough to actuate the firing mechanism of a gun can cause it to fire. This can happen even if the trigger is not touched, such as when a gun is dropped. Never rest a loaded gun against any object because there is always the possibility that it will be jarred or slide from its position and fall with sufficient force to discharge. The only time you can be certain that a gun cannot fire is when the action is open, and it is empty. Again, never rely on your gun’s safety. You and the safe gun handling procedures you have learned are your gun’s primary safeties.
4. Know What’s In The Front And Back Of Your Target.
If you pull the trigger, you cannot take back the bullet! Everything and everyone in front of, near, and beyond your target is your responsibility. Make sure you have an adequate backstop and never shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
Don’t shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike. Be sure that your bullet will not injure anyone or anything beyond your target. Firing at a movement or a noise without being certain of what you are shooting at constitutes disregard for the safety of others. No target is so important that you cannot take the time before you pull the trigger to be certain of your target and where your shot will stop.
3. Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Ready To Shoot
While there have certainly been documented incidents where firearm accidents occurred even though no one pulled the trigger, negligent discharges mostly occur because someone pulled the trigger by mistake.
Eliminate that possibility by never placing a finger on the trigger meaning do not have a finger inside the trigger guard unless planning to fire the firearm.
2. Always Treat Your Gun As If It Is Loaded
Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. When not in use, firearms and ammunition should be secured in a safe place, separate from each other. It is your responsibility to prevent children and unauthorized adults from gaining access to firearms or ammunition.
The phrase “it’s unloaded” should never pass your lips and should never be trusted from someone else’s. Unless you are preparing to shoot, your first action with any firearm in all situations should be to point the muzzle in a safe direction, check the chamber, and clear the firearm.
1. Always Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction
This is the most basic safety rule. If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they didn’t intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearms accidents. It’s as simple as that, and it’s up to you.
You are responsible for the bullet when it leaves the barrel. It basically has your name on it. The reason it is so critical is that if a firearm discharges and it is pointed in a safe direction, no harm will come to pass.
Hunting and target shooting are among the safest of all sports. This list is intended to help you make them even safer by emphasizing the basics of safe gun handling and storage and by reminding you that you are the key to firearms safety.
If a person always treats a firearm as if it’s loaded, never points a firearm at another person, and keeps their finger off the trigger until they are ready to shoot, virtually all potential negligent discharges are eliminated.