Owning a firearm is a proud tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. From hunting to self-defense to recreation, firearms are a critical part of daily life for many of us and serve many important functions. And with a large variety of firearms, there are limitless ways one can enjoy a day on the range and the outdoors.
However, firearms are also dangerous and can cause tragedies in the wrong hands. To fully enjoy your firearms, you need to know how to responsibly own one. In this article, we’ll go over how to be a responsible gun owner and some tips on how to fire a gun safely.
Responsible Gun Owner Basic Rules
There are a few basic rules you can follow when handling a gun. These rules will help you avoid any negligent discharges and keep everyone safe during days on the range.
Never Point Your Gun at Anything You Don’t Intend to Shoot
When you’re aiming a firearm, it should always be pointed downrange at your intended target. Aiming at something you don’t intend to shoot, even if the gun isn’t loaded, increases the risk of accidentally firing.
Shooting an unintended target can result in injury or death to you or another party, so be careful when aiming.
Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready to Fire
Your finger should never touch the trigger until you are ready to fire. Putting your finger on the trigger is the last step before taking a shot because it prevents you from pulling the trigger too early or accidentally pulling it. This keeps everyone safe and prevents accidents on the range.
To prevent accidents at the range, you should have a trigger with an enhancement trigger that only releases the action when a small lever in the trigger is pressed. Be sure to check out the great options for triggers from Apex Tactical.
Treat Every Gun As If It Is Loaded
When you pick up a firearm, whether it is yours or someone else’s, you always treat every firearm as if it is loaded. It doesn’t matter if it is loaded or not. Some firearms can fire a round without a magazine or being cocked, so treating every gun as if it is loaded will protect you and others around you.
Know What You’re Shooting and What’s Beyond It
You should always confirm your target before firing, especially when hunting or in a self-defense situation. Shooting something because it resembles your target is a fast way to accidentally shoot someone or the wrong game. Be sure to analyze your target carefully.
Firearms are powerful things and many have the ability to penetrate the targets they are shooting at. This means that rounds pass through the target and continue on, hitting whatever is in front of it. Make sure that you have a strong backstop before firing or that the area behind the target is completely clear.
You should also make sure there is nothing downrange you don’t want to shoot, even if you aren’t aiming at it. Ricochets can be deadly and you shouldn’t shoot unless the area is completely clear.
Never Handle a Firearm Intoxicated
This may be common sense, but many people die every year handling firearms while intoxicated. Alcohol and other drugs impair your ability to make sound judgments. And a lack of sound judgment can lead to tragedy quickly when firearms are involved. Never handle a firearm while intoxicated, and be careful when in the presence of an intoxicated person with a firearm.
A Firearm Is Not a Toy
There have been countless deaths from people playing with firearms by showing off or not paying attention to where they are pointing it. Firearms are not toys. They are tools for protecting yourself, providing food, and having fun in a structured environment.
Avoid taking photos that cause you to point the gun anywhere but downrange or at the ground and never use a gun to intimidate or joke around.
Teach Your Friends and Family Gun Safety
If you’re going to have a firearm in your home, everyone living in that home should know how to safely use that firearm. Teaching family members and friends or roommates to be responsible gun owners and handle a gun correctly reduces the chance of an accident happening.
It also teaches them to use the firearm safely if they need to defend themselves from a threat in your home.
Maintaining and Storing Your Firearm
Although firearm maintenance isn’t the most important aspect of responsible gun ownership, it is critical to avoiding accidents and preserving your firearm.
Here are a few maintenance rules you should follow.
Keep Your Firearm Well Oiled
Keeping a functional, reliable firearm is critical to responsible gun ownership. If it doesn’t fire when you need it to, it’s no better than a big stick. Be sure to oil your firearm after every day at the range.
It will keep your firearm functional while preventing rusting and wearing of the parts.
Keep Your Firearm Clean and Free of Debris
Shooting a firearm involves a lot of metal on metal contact and burning of gunpowder, which leaves debris and dirt in the chamber, barrel, and action of your firearm. This can cause your firearm to jam. It can also cause your firearm to malfunction, leading to misfires and jams.
It can also cause damage to your firearm if not cleaned, which can make your gun unsafe to use. Always take apart and clean your firearm after a day at the range, including the barrel, action, and stock or handgrip.
Store in Dry, Safe Area
Mold, rust, and dirt can cause a lot of damage to a firearm and potentially render it unusable. Make sure to store your firearm in a cool, dark, dry area. This will help prevent damage to stock, rusting of the metal, and discoloration.
You should also make sure to store your firearm in a safe, locked container or area where children or other people cannot accidentally find it.
Responsible Operation of Your Firearm
Handling and maintaining a firearm are both important aspects of gun ownership, but responsibly operating a firearm is the most important aspect of all. It will help you safely take part on the range and prevent accidents, even in a crowded environment and home.
Here are a few rules to follow to help you safely operate your firearm on the range and at home.
Make Sure All Children and Pets are Accounted For
If you’re firing a gun on your property or during a hunting trip, you should always make sure your children or pets are accounted for. Young children and pets can wander into the firing line if left unaccounted for, which can result in tragedy.
Calling your pets inside or to a safe area is always a good idea, while you should always ensure your children are in a safe location before firing.
Keep Your Firearm Pointed Downrange When Reloading
Reloading a firearm may seem safe, but it can actually be very dangerous. This is especially true at the range. Handling a gun and ammunition at the same time requires care and attention. If you are reloading a firearm that uses a magazine, keep the firearm on the table while reloading the magazine.
If using a pistol, revolver, or a rifle, only reload while the range is live and you are allowed to handle a firearm. Many ranges will also not allow reloading of any kind while shooters are downrange fixing targets. Be sure to check with the range master before going to the firing line.
Always Follow the Range Master’s Instructions
If you are at a public range it may have a range master who will oversee the shooters and ensure a safe environment. Be sure to listen to the range master’s instructions carefully. Depending on the range the rules may change, but they will generally follow the same structure and guidelines.
Disobeying the range master’s rules can result in being kicked out or even criminal charges, so be sure to listen closely.
Always Ensure the Range is Clear Before Firing
When you’re at the range, there will likely be a large number of people handling firearms and firing rounds downrange. You should only ever point your firearm downrange if the range is declared “hot” or “all clear”. Do not touch your firearm unless the range master has given permission to all shooters to start engaging targets again.
Be a Responsible Gun Owner
Now that you know more about to safely own, maintain, and fire a gun, you can start passing down your knowledge to others to make sure they can use a gun safely. Make sure that you always act like a responsible gun owner and that you always keep a watchful eye when you’re at the range with friends or family.
If you have any more questions about how to use a gun or hunting, please visit our blog for more great information.