Basic gun safety is just as important for experienced shooters who customize their firearms as it is for those brand new to owning their first firearm. Firearms safety rules may not be as flashy as the shooting skills exhibitions put on by popular influencers, televised experts, or even the hot shots down at your local shooting range, but they help keep you safe, protect those around you, and protect you from increased liability as a gun owner. Gun safety is everyone’s job, from manufacturers to parts retailers like us, to the owners who rely on firearms for sport, hunting, and personal defense. Just like perfecting your aim, it all starts with a focus on the fundamentals and developing consistency.
Preventing Gun Accidents
Basic gun safety rules can go a long way toward preventing firearm-related accidents and tragedies. Unfortunately, due to media and political bias, it’s difficult to find real statistics that aren’t co-mingled with other firearms incidents to forward an agenda. The truth is, however, that even one is too many, especially when it’s from an entirely preventable situation. That’s where common sense firearms safety rules make their biggest impact–stopping dangerous circumstances before it starts.
Store Your Weapon Unloaded
If you’re storing your weapon, make sure you unload it first. Someone else accessing the storage area (or you if it’s long-term storage) may not remember that the weapon is loaded. In addition, loaded weapons often have components that are put under stress, such as magazine springs, degrading their performance. Fully unload the weapon and invest in safety flags that can be placed in the chamber to indicate the gun is made safe.
Keep It Secure
You can only ensure basic gun safety is followed in your house if you limit access to firearms. Make sure your firearm storage area is secure, especially if you decide to keep a loaded weapon as a personal defense gun. This should feature a strong lock that uses a code only known by authorized adults or uses a key that is in your physical possession. Guns should never be stored within easy reach of a child.
Talk To Your Loved Ones
Make sure people staying in your house that need to know about the presence of firearms are aware of where they are and how they’re stored. Talk to any children about age-appropriate firearms safety rules, like not touching guns and coming to find a parent if they see one unsecured. Remember that not everyone who enters your home or knows firearms are present needs complete details, but it’s important that everyone has the information they may need as part of basic gun safety. As an example, a spouse may need to know how to access the guns, and a close friend may know they’re in a safe in your bedroom from a conversation, but a random salesperson likely doesn’t have a need to know.
Know The Local Carry Laws
It’s your responsibility to learn and understand what rights you have to carry a weapon before you choose to carry. Some states require a permit that takes special training and certification to achieve, others allow permitless open carry, and an increasing number of states have constitutional carry, allowing citizens to carry open or concealed anywhere it’s not prohibited. Ignorance of the law, especially while traveling, will not keep you out of handcuffs if you run afoul of it.
Use The Right Equipment
Make sure you’re using the right holster for your carry style. Inside-waistband holsters are great for concealed carry, but outside-the-waistband models can be more comfortable and may be required in open-carry states.
Keep It In Good Repair
Ensure your weapon is serviceable. This means keeping up with your standard maintenance, replacing worn components with quality aftermarket gun parts, or even customizing it to better fit your shooting preferences.
Know When To Deploy Your Weapon
The ability to carry a gun doesn’t exempt you from basic gun safety rules or common sense–it makes them more important. Only draw your weapon when absolutely required for protection and only in accordance with your state laws.
Protect But Forget
Carrying a gun comes with the responsibility of protecting that weapon. Learn to feel your gun on your body, position your arms and body to help create space around it for more drawing space and increased security, and do your best not to draw attention to its presence. Carrying discreetly, whether you’re carrying concealed or open, keeps you and your weapon safer.
Never Assume It’s Unloaded
Always check your weapon to ensure your gun is unloaded prior to heading to the range, when the range master calls for a cease-fire, anytime your weapon leaves your control or sight, and before cleaning your gun or packing it up to head home. One of the core tenets of basic gun safety is to assume every gun is loaded until you have verified for yourself it is not.
Finger Off The Trigger
Never put your finger on the trigger of your gun until you’re ready to fire. Up to that point, rest your trigger finger along the lower edge of the slide, receiver, or bottom strap of your gun.
Don’t Point Your Weapon At Anything You Don’t Want To Shoot
You’ve probably heard the basic gun safety adage to never point your weapon at anything you don’t want to destroy. A loaded gun is a dangerous tool. Make sure to only point at what you want to shoot, whether that be a paper target, clay pigeon, game, or aggressor. It’s also important to know what is behind your target, as bullets can remain dangerous long after they pass the potential point of impact.
Know Your Weapon
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the proper use, care, and maintenance of your weapon. This starts with reading your owner’s manual, becoming familiar with your gun, and practicing its proper storage, carry, and use.
While we stand behind our basic gun safety blog and the firearms safety rules in it, signing up for a gun safety, hunter’s education, or other firearms course from a certified instructor is a great way to not only learn or brush up on the best safety practices, but it also gives you a chance to talk with a knowledgeable expert about your unique safety needs for carrying, shooting, or storing your weapons.
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