last updated: March 2, 2013
Basic Firearm Safety
The following are basic safety rules for handling any firearm. They should be followed at all times!
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded at all times
- Never point any firearm, even if you believe it is unloaded, at anything you are not willing to destroy
- Keep your finger off the trigger unless you are sighted on target (and willing to fire on that target).
- Never pass a weapon to another person until either the cylinder is open or the slide is locked open and you have visually inspected the barrel for a round.
- Before handling any firearm make sure you are completely aware of its operation.
- Never rely on a mechanical 'safety' (e.g. always assume the weapon is 'hot')
- If you witness others behaving unsafely with a weapon be sure to report it.
- Always use eye and hearing protection when shooting or while around others that are shooting.
- Always make sure the ammunition you are using is compatible with your firearm.
- Never use ammunition that is corroded or rusted.
Target Related Firearm Safety
- Positively identify your target and what may be behind it before firing
- Never fire at a hard surface or water to avoid a ricochet.
- Never shoot across a road or highway
- If a round of ammunition fails to fire keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction for no less than 30 seconds before cycling the action.
- If the round fires shortly after the trigger is pulled (what's known as a hang fire) the ammunition being used should be checked immediately.
- If the round does not fire at all the ammunition being used should be checked immediately.
- If a round emits a quiet 'pop' instead of the normal sound unload the weapon and have it checked by a gunsmith. This is what's called a squib load (when the primer fires but fails to ignite the powder). Firing another round after experiencing a squib load could lead to damage to the weapon or the barrel exploding, causing injury or possibly death.
- If the weapon fails to feed another round (semi-auto firearms) it, along with the ammunition, should be inspected by a gunsmith immediately.
- If the empty casing fails to eject and becomes caught in the action (a 'stove pipe') the weapon and ammunition should be inspected by a gunsmith immediately.
- If the weapon fires after cycling the action, without pulling the trigger (known as a slam fire) the weapon should be inspected by a gunsmith immediately.
- Never handle a firearm if you are tired, or impaired in any way.
- Receive training before shooting and additional instruction prior to shooting any unfamiliar weapon.