From the first time buyer picking out his or her first firearm for the E.D.C. to the veteran operator practicing with your 3rd “Tacticool” AR-15 for the fort, the first and last thing on your mind should always be, “is the firearm SAFE?”
Assume all guns are loaded always.
Always check to make sure that the firearm is not loaded any time you are not intending to fire it. Especially during the cleaning process and transporting.
Never point a firearm at anything you are not wiling to shoot. Ever!
Always make sure to practice safe muzzle awareness. Never point a loaded or unloaded firearm at anything you do not wish to destroy. Do not use your scope as binoculars.
Keep your finger off of the trigger and out of the trigger guard.
Never place your finger on the trigger until you are ready to take a shot.When handling any firearm, be cautious of any articles of clothing or any cleaning utensils or equipment that may accidentally depress the trigger.
Be sure of your target and what is between, beyond and around it.
Always take account of anything in your field of view of the intended direction of fire. At the range, on a course or hunting, you must be aware of any variable obstructions or statuses in your immediate vicinity. (Range hot or cold, and unannounced personnel, vehicles or livestock in your field of fire.)
ALWAYS lock up your guns.
Your firearms are your responsibility even if they are not in your possession. Make sure that no one is able to obtain your firearm without your consent. You will be held accountable for any accidents or unlawful use of the firearm. In the event of theft, immediately report the missing firearm or any ammunition to the local authorities.
Verifying and unloading a firearm!
Always make sure that the firearm is on safe if it has a safety feature. When picking up the firearm in question, keep your fingers away from the muzzle and out of the trigger guard. Make sure that the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. For magazine fed firearms, always extract the magazine before checking the chamber. Once the magazine is clear, you may now open the action and visually and physically inspect the chamber. For double and single action revolvers, inspect every chamber in the cylinder and remove and/or open the cylinders action. For shotguns and some bolt action firearms, working the action through its cycle is the only way to unload. (make sure the firearm is on safe) Once you are sure that there is no ammunition present in the firearm you may start any disassembly or inspections. If you don’t know ask a professional gun smith.
Know your firearm!
Knowing that you have purchased a quality firearm is not enough. All guns are not created equal and most guns are produced in mass quantities. Parts wear out, break and fail even on well cleaned and carefully kept firearms. Knowing how your firearm works is important in identifying any broken, cracked or weakening parts that may cause future damage to your firearm or the operator. Be aware of normal ware spots or metal on metal contact points of moving parts. Springs, pins, screws, and platforms (stock), may all develop signs indicating a greater issue. Also inspect ammunition for awkward swelling, extraction marks, or over penetrated (cratered) and flattened primers.
When buying a firearm, determine what the function of the firearm will serve!
Is it for protection in the home or out of the home? Hunting? Survival/Bug Out? Regulated shooting events, such as three-gun, race competitions or just a local turkey shoot? Maybe you just want to go out with a friend or family member and do some plinking. Perhaps you just want to add to the family collection.
Whatever your plans for the firearm are, here are a few things to consider;
Is the manufacturer reputable? Remember, you get what you pay for! A reputable manufacturer produces a better and safer product. The better product costs more. The higher cost goes back into the product. See where I am going with this? Bargain hunting for a firearm should always be met with a level of education. Research the awesome deal you just came across and make sure that you are not just buying garbage. This can leave you hungry for the prize buck that just walked, hurt by a serious malfunction, or simply upset that no one told you that the $150.00 “burner” you just picked up would leave you in embarrassment as the inconsistent shots have you wishing you had just saved for the better one.
Be practical in your decision or you will inevitably find yourself with an expensive paper weight that you are now responsible for. As Americans, we have a great responsibility to ensure that the people of this nation never suffer the same tyranny that plagued the eastern world. Laws changing daily from state to state and divided points of view on the presence of firearms among citizens in our current political climate have never been so extreme. Education is the key to ensuring that any environment where a firearm is present is a safe environment. The wide world of shooting sports is flooded with organizations and personnel dedicated to making sure that your firearms experience is safe, efficient and enjoyable. You can find information about these organizations on the web, at your local gun store or shooting range. Don’t be afraid to ask. Get Educated. Get Armed. Get Safe. Pass it on.