No matter if you are an avid hunter, or compete professionally in long-distance competitive shooting tournaments, gun safety is crucial, not only for your protection but also others in the vicinity.
Accidents, can and unfortunately, do happen.
Here is a summary of the top 10 gun safety rules that could mean the difference between life and death.
Top 10 Gun Safety Rules
1.Never take a loaded gun from someone else.
Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded.
When you pick it up, always check the action for any ammunition. Never take a firearm from another competitor or hunter unless it is unloaded, and the action is ajar.
2.Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
You are responsible for controlling the muzzle on the firearm and make sure it is pointed in a safe direction. This rule is vital and must always be followed, even if the gun is unloaded or in its protective case. If you follow this rule, you never have to worry about damaging property or injuring another person.
3.Be certain of your target and what is beyond that target
Being a safe competitor means making wise decisions for your own safety and the safety of others.
Always ascertain where the target is and make sure if it is ethical and legal to shoot prior to your finger going into the trigger guard and on the trigger.
Listen carefully for an approaching animal, breathe deeply and stay calm.
Always make sure of the target so you are not mistaking another hunter for wild game.
Once you have fired the shot, there is no turning back. Be sure that you have a clean shot, so as not to injure the animal and have to track it down to make sure if it is dead.
Make sure you have a proper backstop when you are firing.
Check for water or rocks in the area, that could result in the bullet ricocheting in the opposite direction.
Avoid shooting towards the top of a hill.
4.Don’t keep your finger on the trigger
Safe huntsmen always protect the gun’s trigger.
Your finger must be in the trigger guard and only after identifying your target and what is in front and beyond it should you place your finger on the trigger.
Check the gun’s barrel for possible obstructions
Once debris manages to get into the barrel of a firearm it causes an obstruction.
Obstructions block the bullet’s path and can cause damage to the gun and injury to yourself.
If you think there is an obstruction, first unload the gun and clean the barrel using a cleaning jag.
5.The action must be kept open
While travelling by vehicle from or to a hunting spot, make sure the action is kept open. The gun must be unloaded and in its protective case.
Also, keep the action ajar when you are walking to your next shooting location.
6.Only when you are ready to begin hunting, must the firearm be loaded.
Keep the safety on until you have identified your target.
Only when you plan to shoot must the muzzle be pointed
7.Treat your gun responsibly it is not a toy and should not be joked around with.
The firearm’s scope must not be used for binoculars and always be aware of the direction that the gun is pointing.
Never use the barrel of the gun as a pointer when giving someone directions.
8.Guns must be stored in a safe place.
If you are carrying a gun it should unloaded and be in a holster, check out Kydex holsters, to ensure that you have the correct holster for your gun, and it is positioned correctly onto your belt
Never keep guns in plain sight or in the region of careless adults or any children.
9.Avoid drugs and alcohol.
Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs before or while you are handling a gun. Illegal substances or alcohol can change your mental status and behaviour and guns must be used when you are fully in control.
10.Unload the gun prior to running, climbing, or jumping.
Avoid climbing a tree, jumping over a ditch, or jumping a fence when you are carrying a loaded gun. Avoid pulling the muzzle when you are pulling the gun towards you.
Once you are finished climbing, running, or jumping, check the gun to make sure it is not damaged before reloading.
Whatever sporting activity you choose to partake in, be sure to have the correct gear, be this guns, clothing, camping gear, etc. This will make for a much better experience all round.
I hope this post has been useful and that you will familiarize yourself with these rules before you embark on your first hunting expedition.