Guide to beginner’s gun safety
Shooting a gun for the first time can be an exhilarating experience for anyone, but before you head out to the range there are a few things you should know. Shooting technique, proper stance, and more make a good shooter, but attention to gun safety makes a great shooter. In this article we’ll be exploring the proper way to enter and exit the range, safety equipment, gun storage, and gun cleaning or maintenance. All of these things will help your gun function properly and keep you along with your fellow shooters safe. So read on to learn how you can stay safe while having a great day at the range.
Gun safety may at first appear to be a very dry subject, but never fear this is after all a crash course so we’re going to keep it light and simple.
So now that you’re sure that your weapon is unloaded you can either prepare to load it and shoot or clean it. If you’re going to load your weapon, be sure to use the correct rounds for your gun. You can find this information in your owner’s manual or from a local dealer. When loading your gun be sure that the label on the box and the rounds match to avoid using incorrect ammunition in your gun. If this occurs there may be serious consequences up to your gun barrel exploding which will of course ruin the gun and possibly injure you in the process. We’ll talk about cleaning your gun in just a little bit.
Also while on the range if you have a malfunction on don’t panic. Misfires, hang fires, cylinder jams, and misfeeds are common. If any of these issues occur just relax and keep your weapon pointed down range. If you can try to lock your slide back and dump the round. If you cannot clear the jam yourself stay calm and raise your hand, all the while keeping your weapon pointed down range or at your chosen target. Someone more experienced on the range will come to assist you.
Now let’s talk about the gun safety mechanism
Alright you’re ready to shoot now and you can finally get on the range. When you get there though you’ll need to keep in mind that others will be shooting with you so keep bystanders in mind at all times when your weapon is loaded.
When you’re actively aiming and shooting it’s important to know what you’re shooting at. So be sure that you can see your target clearly. This applies to range shooting and hunting. Even if the deer is the prize of the season don’t shoot unless you’re sure it’s a deer you’re shooting at.
Now you’re ready to pull that trigger and hopefully hit your target. When you’re ready to fire be sure to hold your gun in a moderate grip. A loose grip may cause jamming to many modern hand guns and a tight grip will skew your aim. A tight grip may also cause you to feel more recoil in your wrists or cause injury to this area during firing. So hold your gun in a good firm grip and relax. Keep your eye on the target and breathe to prevent flinching when the shot is fired. This will prevent your shot from landing where you weren’t aiming for it to go.
Now that you’ve shot it is likely someone else’s turn so step aside pull up your muffs again and keep clear of the range while others are firing. When the day is done you need to clean your gun to prevent malfunction. As mentioned earlier be sure that your gun is empty and the slide is locked back or the cylinder is open.
Gun Safety at Home
So now you’re ready to go home and put away your gun after a great day at the range, but this too requires consideration for safety. Always keep in mind that guns should be stored unloaded and in an inaccessible place unless you have a concealed carry permit. In fact for beginners transporting your gun this way is probably the best option to prevent any accident that could occur from your gun being loaded. Your gun should be unloaded anyway after cleaning it at the range so this should be no problem. Ideally you should transport your gun in gun storage boxes to protect your gun and your passengers.
Once home you should also take care to store your gun in a safe location away from children and pets. There are many gun storage solutions on the market from trigger locks or gun locks, to gun storage boxes, and gun storage cabinets. We want to make a special note here and say that most accidents involving children can be prevented if we teach them to respect and properly handle firearms. We wrote a separate post dealing with just that, take a look here: Teaching Children to Respect Firearms
We mentioned young children above, but I’d like to take a minute to talk about gun safety in children. While no one should be frightened of guns it is important to have a healthy respect for guns. Later on when your children are older you may want them to shoot with you. There are many ways to help them be safe including beginners gun safety guides and gun safety classes which are often taught as a part of hunter’s safety courses in some areas. So while you should instill a healthy respect for firearms in your children there’s no need to frighten them. Just be honest with them and keep your guns stored safely to prevent firearms injuries in your home.
So there you have a quick down and dirty guide to beginner’s gun safety that you can use right now to stay safe and have a great time shooting. Just remember never point a gun at anything you don’t want to harm. So keep your muzzle pointed down range and be sure to unload your gun when you’re finished shooting. Also remember to store your guns safely with a trigger safety lock to prevent accidental discharges in your home. That’s really all there is to it and you can be shooting safely in no time with these quick tips. Also as one last point please never shoot alone and always shoot with an experienced safe gun handler for your first time.
This is something that you cant do at a range but we urge you to practice the motions of drawing from your concealed carry holster, you can do this with an unloaded gun. Take a loo here: 5 Reasons Why You Should Practice Drawing your gun
About The Author
Megan Spencer is a paramedic from North Carolina and a freelance writer with an interest in hand guns, particularly antique revolvers. She is currently pursuing a degree in Emergency Medical Care from Western Carolina University. She has been shooting for quite some time with various experts from law enforcement and military backgrounds. When she’s not working she enjoys archery and genealogy.