After purchasing my first firearm, I still had to take my concealed carry permit course before I would be able to carry it. With my background and upbringing, I have a basic but very important knowledge base when it comes to safely handling your firearm. Most blogs you read will tell you the same four things that are VITAL when it comes to handling guns, the reason they are repeated is because they are that important. I am going to go over 4 rules of firearm safety that everyone should know.
Assume the firearm is always loaded
- The purpose of this rule is so that you develop safe gun handling habits. Even if you are sure your gun is un-loaded, and you are at home, you don’t want to develop any unsafe habits that might find their way onto the range with you. Even when someone says it is empty/clear, still check for yourself.
- Something that I was unsure about when I first started handling firearms was how is the best way to pass a firearm to another person? Though some of these tips might seem like common sense or over explained, the handling a firearm should be taken seriously.
- The first thing I do for a semi-automatic pistol is, release the magazine.
- Then I will lock the slide open and visually inspect it to ensure it is not loaded.
- The gun should be passed grip first. The receiving party should be able to grab the grip freely. Remember to just grab the grip, don’t put your finger near the trigger.
- I will not let go of the firearm until I know that person that I am handing it to has control of the firearm. Acknowledging them by saying “I’ve got it,” or “Thanks.”
- The person receiving it should assume it is loaded even if the other person tells them it isn’t. With the firearm pointed in a safe direction, check to ensure it is not loaded. If the person receiving the firearm cannot safely hold the grip or is in a position where they cannot safely check to see the firearm is not loaded, they need to move to a place where that is possible.
Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target
- This rule is one of the most important and should be practiced 100% of the time. This prevents accidental discharges from happening. Every time you pick up or handle a firearm at home, at the gun shop, or at the range, your finger should be placed along the frame of the firearm.
Never point the muzzle of the gun at something you are not prepared to destroy
- Even after you have checked to make sure your firearm is unloaded, that does not mean you can be careless with your handing of the firearm. Remember the first rule? You should point it toward anything you are not prepared to destroy.
Know what is behind and beyond your target
- This rule I think can sometimes be overlooked and is more of an afterthought for people vs. something that they think about first. For me personally, this rule is one that has stuck with me since my hunter safety class. They showed a video clip of a hunter preparing to take a shot at a deer that was on the top of a hill… do you see where I am going with this? On the opposite side of the hill was a farmer with his livestock, if that hunter took that shot he may have gotten more than he bargained for. Bullets can go through and beyond your intended target, always know what is behind your target.
There are other tips and tricks that are important to know when handling firearms but these four are a great starting point.