GUNS 101: Safety On?

Whether you’re a certified range officer or a complete noob — or anything in between — you’ve heard about the need for safety when handling firearms. And you’ve heard and heard and heard. Well, you’re about to hear about it again.

Without apology.

By the way, this brief article on safety begins a series we’re calling Guns 101. Basically, you’ll have at hand a growing collection of articles covering basic firearms knowledge. They’ll be good reminders for range officers, noobs, and everyone in between.

DSC_9044Having your “safety on” is a mindset. It’s understanding, knowing, and regularly following the four basic firearms rules:

  1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they aren’t, you treat them as if they are. This should keeps you in a heightened state of care and safe handling.
  2. Never point the muzzle of a gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy. Guns shoot in the direction they’re pointed. So keep them pointed in a safe direction.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. Guns shoot when the trigger is squeezed. So keep your finger off the trigger until it’s time to shoot.
  4. Know your target and what’s in front of it and behind it. When it comes time to shoot, understand that bullets are meant to pierce and destroy what they hit and they’ll pass through things and hit what’s behind a target.

target copyYes, having your safety on can mean that your gun’s manually operated safety lever has rendered it “safe.” But mechanical safeties can fail, be inadvertendtly turned off, be forgotten to be turned on, and more. And so the four rules still apply. Regardless of a gun’s mechanical safety, be sure you have your mental safety on.

Unfortunately, stories abound about people who accidentally discharged a gun during a cleaning session or when showing it off to a friend or in some other situation. In some instances, people have been hurt or killed. In the vast majority of accidents like these, someone didn’t follow one or more of the four firearms rules. In other words, they didn’t have their mental safety on.

DSC_9226Guns are a part of American history, written in to the Bill of Rights, used countless times for purposes of justice and self-defense, and equally a fun and challenging sport or hobby for many. Proper use demands a 100 percent commitment to safety.

As you enjoy the Guns 101 and other content available to you here, and as you handle and shoot guns in a responsible and law-abiding way, do so while actively following the four basic gun safety rules.

Ask yourself and others, again and again and again: Got your safety on?

— Mark Kakkuri

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