Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Handling Firearms

I often talk about the Four Rules of Firearm Safety, usually when commenting on a negligent discharge that makes the news.

A quick refresher before we continue:

  1. All firearms are loaded - There are no exceptions, period. Know this rule and live it. Handle all firearms accordingly.
  2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy - If you are not willing to see a bullet hole in it, do not allow a firearm's muzzle to point at it. If you are doing dry fire drills in your home, extra care needs to be made to insure that ammo is not even in the same room as you are. Dry fire drills can be dangerous because they do violate Rule #2.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless your sights are on the target - You do not gain any speed at all by keeping your finger on the trigger. Keep it out of the guard until you are sighted on the target. Practice this until it becomes second nature. If this rule were followed 100% of the time, there would be no negligent discharges.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it - Be aware of your surroundings whether on a range, in the woods, or in a potentially lethal conflict. Never shoot at sounds or at a target you can not positively identify.
Following these four rules should become a natural part of handling a firearm, and need to be practiced each and every time you handle a gun.

An area in which I may have been remiss, is in talking about proper gun etiquette, explaining how to follow the Four Rules in every day life. I will work on that in future commentary on firearm safety issues.

What brought all this to mind is a post by Xavier, Passing Guns. That post, and the comments attached to it, describe how to properly pass a firearm to another person. This is a very important lesson for new firearms owners, and one that is often not taught at the sales counter.

Civis Proeliator shares his final lesson on passing guns in Revisiting My Younger Days, a short story of a father's tough love.

Both of these commentaries are well worth your time.


Thunderstick said...

As a rule, when I load my 7mm Remington 700, I always slide the safety to the on position. Then I always find a burm or a hill to point at while I pull the trigger, to make sure the safety is TRULY working. Just a "safe" thought.

JR said...

I check mechanical safeties as part of my function check after cleaning a firearm with such a safety.

If you want to check your safety more often than that, why not perform the check just prior to loading the rifle? Checking the safety with an empty chamber may be an even "safer" thought.