Basics of Gun Safety

4 03 2012

You know what’s scary in the US?  Any idiot can walk into a store and buy a gun, with ZERO training.  I was in a gun store a couple months ago and was scared to see a guy thinking of purchasing a gun who knew absolutely nothing about guns.  Anyway, I figured I’d do a quick post on gun safety for fun.

Google “10 Commandments of Gun Safety” and you’ll get a huge variation on advice.  I’ve posted what I consider to be the best, easiest to remember, and most effective rules.

  1. Assume that all guns are always loaded and will go off at the slightest touch.
    I once shot my friend Brett in the ass with a BB gun.  I always kept it unloaded but as a joke my brother loaded it when I was away.  I pointed it at Brett’s ass, assuming the gun was unloaded, and then shot him with a 6 mm plastic pellet through a thin pair of basketball shorts, ouch, sorry man.
  2. Since all guns are always loaded and ready to go off, always point your gun in safe direction.
    My friend Rajiv once shot me with a paintball gun which had a hair trigger while handing it back to its owner.
  3. Similarly, don’t point your gun at something you don’t intend to shoot.
    This also means that other people will infer that you intend to shoot what you’re pointing your gun at.  If you point your gun at someone, they are within rights (morally speaking, not legally) to draw on you and fill you with holes.  You may know your gun is unloaded, safety is on, and action is open, but remember rule 1: they will assume your gun is loaded and ready to fire.
  4. Safety on and finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
    Don’t rely on the safety (which is why there are three rules more important than having the safety on), but have it on.  If the safety is on, the trigger shouldn’t be able to be pulled, but you should still keep your finger off the trigger.  Only a true moron carries his gun with his finger holding down the trigger, relying on the safety to stop it form firing.  Develop a “stiff finger”, which means that anytime you handle a firearm your finger should be straight along the side of the gun, not in the trigger guard.

    Gun, Enemy, Friend - can you see the problem?

  5. When preparing to shoot, know your target AND WHAT’S BEYOND.
    Why?  Check out the screencap on the right from Killer Elite.  Even if you hit your target, the bullet can penetrate and deal damage to something or someone behind it.
  6. As a courtesy, if you must swing your barrel around such that it points at someone, place your hand over the barrel to indicate to the person you’re pointing your gun at how confident you are that it will not fire.

There are a bunch of other smaller rules to know, but the above is what i feel everyone ought to know, and the smaller rules are generally common sense.  Here’s a quick list:

  • Keep firearms unloaded unless in use.  Personally for home defense, I keep ammunition nearby but not loaded.
  • Use the proper ammunition.  Not just caliber, but powder load etc.
  • If you pull the trigger and nothing happens, keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.  Wait a minute before ejecting the cartridge.
  • Wear ear and eye protection.  Unless you want gunpowder in your eyes and to lose partial hearing.
  • Make sure your barrel isn’t obstructed before firing (mud or whatnot).
  • Don’t alter your firearm (use a gunsmith), keep it maintained.
  • Know how to use your firearm.  How to load it and unload it safely, field strip it, clear jams, etc.
  • Don’t run, jump, or climb with your firearm.  In other words, don’t horse around.
  • Store your firearm(s) and ammunition safely and out of reach of children.  I would also recommend teaching your children about firearms and firearm safety to remove the mystique around them and so that if their friend shows them a gun they know what to do.

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