and applying basic rules of proper handling can help you avoid
didn't know it was loaded!" are tragic words often uttered
after a friend or family member has committed a gun accident.
with firearms are essentially 100% avoidable. By learning and
applying the basic safety rules for proper firearms handling
and storage, no one need experience pain and agony due to a
are rarely hurt or killed by an "unloaded" firearm.
If there is no ammo in the gun's chamber, clip or magazine,
the most that could happen by improperly handling a firearm
is inadvertently dropping it on a toe.
rule of gun safety is to know if a gun is loaded, whether you're
handling it or not. In fact, always assume every gun is loaded
until you have personally verified that it isn't.
can be prevented by assuring that any gun that's not being used
is also unloaded.
get agitated if someone randomly points a firearm at them or
for that matter, anyone else. Informing someone about proper
firearm etiquette or even abruptly intervening is justified
as circumstances warrant.
fired deliberately or accidentally, can be stopped.
never point a gun at someone or something you don't intend to
shoot. Always pointing a gun in a safe direction is using basic
common sense. Being constantly aware of the gun's field of fire
and safely controlling the firearm must always be complementing
important is to always keep your finger off the trigger until
you are actually ready to fire the gun. You can safely place
your finger on the frame until you intend to shoot.
shooting at a paper target, a tin can or game, be sure of your
target and what's behind it. The bullet will usually pass through
the primary target and strike whatever is behind it.
you have a safe backstop and that the space between it and the
target is clear.
driving, the handling or shooting of guns does not mix with
using drugs or alcohol. Anything that might impair your judgment
or ability to react immediately to a real or perceived danger
should not be part of the activities.
as with most other activities, knowledge and training are essential.If
you don't know how a gun works, how can you ever begin to safely
handle or shoot it? When you buy a new gun, the instruction
manual will indicate how it operates and what ammunition is
compatible with your firearm.
still, the shop owner should demonstrate the gun's basic functions
and point out specific safety features, potential operating
hazards, and special cleaning or maintenance requirements.
forget - a gun is a mechanical device that can malfunction.
Nothing, including the firearm's safety, can take the place
of safe handling practices.
that newcomers to the shooting game who may not have capable
friends to instruct them contact the National Rifle Association's
Education and Training division in Fairfax, VA. Ask for a list
of basic gun safety and marksmanship programs being taught in
the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in Newtown, CT,
offers a brochure titled "Firearms Responsibility in the
Home," which emphasizes safe and responsible firearms practices.
are two basic categories of handguns: revolvers and semiautomatics.
Each has a distinct function. Always remember: You can't readily
determine if any handgun is loaded (or unloaded) by simply looking
at it. You need to know how each type of handgun operates in
order to exercise proper gun safety.
feature revolving cylinders that typically have chambers for
ammunition, and may be single or double-action. The action refers
to how the hammer and/or trigger are manipulated to discharge
the single action revolver you must first cock the hammer fully
to the rear and then pull the trigger. The shooter must repeat
the sequence until all the cartridges in the cylinder have been
expended. Most double-action revolvers can be fired in the same
manner as a single-action.
a double-action revolver will also fire by simply pulling the
trigger. The force applied to the trigger is transferred to
the gun's internal operating mechanism which simultaneously
cocks and releases the hammer.
cases or loaded rounds are usually removed from single action
revolvers by pointing the barrel upward and aligning a chamber
with the loading gate, which is opened to load and unload the
the spring-loaded ejector rod under the barrel, you remove an
empty case or loaded round from each chamber as the cylinder
is rotated from one position to the next.
is loaded by lowering the muzzle and inserting a round of ammo
into each chamber as it rotates into position. Then close the
loading gate to retain the ammo in the cylinder.
most single-action revolvers must be done without allowing the
hammer to slip and fall, which will cause the gun to discharge.
carefully pull the hammer fully back. Then, while securely and
constantly controlling the hammer with your thumb, pull the
trigger and let the hammer down into the gun's frame slowly
and gently. You should practice this operation with an unloaded
gun before proceeding with live ammo.
revolvers have a cylinder latch on the left hand side of the
frame which is pushed either in, forward (all Smith & Wessons)
or back to unlock the cylinder.
the latch is actuated, pushing the cylinder to the left will
move it out of the frame. The spring-loaded ejector rod at the
front of the cylinder is used to push all of the empty cases
and/or loaded rounds out of the cylinder simultaneously.
rounds may be inserted into the empty chambers after the ejector
rod returns to battery, and the loaded cylinder can then be
choose to operate the double-action revolver in the single-action
mode and then decide not to fire the gun, you must carefully
decock it as described for the single-action revolver.
handguns or "pistols" operate differently than revolvers
do, although there are both single and double-action versions.
the revolver's multichambered cylinder will hold one or more
rounds of ammo, a magazine is used to contain and feed ammo
to a single chamber in a pistol's barrel. A semiautomatic is
charged by first installing a loaded magazine into the cavity
within the pistol's handle or grip.
grab the rear of the spring-loaded slide firmly, pull it smartly
to the rear, and release it cleanly.
slide returns to battery it strips a fresh round from the magazine
and feeds it into the chamber. Simply removing a loaded magazine
from a pistol does not mean the gun is unloaded.
likely there's a round in the chamber that must also be ejected
by pulling the slide back to completely make the pistol "Safe".
difference between single and double-action pistols is similar
to the difference between a single and double-action revolver.
requires the hammer to be cocked before the first round can
be fired, while the latter will fire by simply pulling the trigger.
However,with a single action pistol the recoiling slide of the
gun, caused by being discharged, also cocks the hammer.
subsequent rounds may be fired by simply pulling the single
action pistol's trigger.
decide to stop shooting a single-action pistol before the magazine
is emptied, you must either engage the safety/decocker or repeat
a similar decocking sequence as described for revolvers.
pistols may or may not be designed to also cock the hammer when
the slide recoils, extracts and ejects the empty case and reloads
feature repeated double-action trigger operation or double-action
only; others operate like a single-action pistol after the like
a single-action pistol after the first round is fired.
double-action pistols feature a "decocker" control
lever that safely drops the hammer even if a round is in the
device may malfunction - in this case, possibly causing a pistol
to accidentally discharge. Always point the gun in a safe direction.
as important to properly store your firearms when they're not
in use as it is to properly handle them when they are. Proper
storage prevents access to guns by children or other unauthorized
persons and avoids firearms theft.
are naturally curious, and also like to "play act"
roles they learn from TV and other kids. The most effective
way to overcome curiosity is to satisfy it. When a child asks
about or shows interest, immediately and patiently respond.
saying "Don't touch my guns!" to a child's expressed
interest in firearms will almost surely lead to their finding
out for themselves later with potentially fatal results.
your child that he or she may handle firearms only when you
are present is one of the most important lessons they can learn.
kids come into the home, having a child who knows to leave guns
alone unless they're with a responsible adult can defuse a potentially
catastrophic situation. The NRA's "Eddie Eagle" program
is geared to teach children, upon encountering a gun, to immediately
tell an adult, without touching the gun.
storing your guns and ammunition when not in use is mandatory.
Installing a trigger lock and storing guns in a locked cabinet
will help preclude unauthorized access. Keep the keys/combination
away from children. If a critical part of the gun is removed
and stored separately, it is more secure.
with several guns should seriously consider a safe. Many companies
offer models with combination locks, interlocking bolts, and
optional fireproofing. Most are configured to store both long
arms and handguns. Safes will stop the amateur burglar or kids,
but not the professional burglar.
should never be thought of casually; It must be a mindset that
both consciously and subconsciously directs our behavior whenever
we use, carry or store a firearm. Safe handling and securely
storing firearms are so important that the discussion bears