Firearm Safety - Gun Safety
*NRA Gun Safety Rules - The Golden Rules
*Additional Safety Precautions
* Reference "The Basics of Personal
Protection" - an educational training publication of the National
Rifle Association. Reprinted by permission of the National Rifle Association of
The 1st Law of Gun Safety
The 2nd Law of Gun Safety
The 3rd Law of Gun Safety
The 4th Law of Gun Safety
KEEP YOUR FINGER OUTSIDE THE TRIGGER GUARD! Almost all Negligent
Discharges (ND) are caused by placing the finger on the trigger when you aren't prepared
to fire. A finger on the trigger during reloading, during movement, during the draw,
holstering, or while clearing a jam have led to several Negligent Discharges (ND). It's
difficult to isolate the trigger finger from the muscles required to hold the gun firmly -
they all want to contract together. It can be especially difficult under stress and
anxiety. Therefore, THE FINGER SHOULD NOT TOUCH THE TRIGGER UNTIL THE INSTANT YOU ARE
PREPARED TO FIRE! This holds true even if you find yourself in a legitimate self-defense
The Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety should be etched in your
memory forever. Let them govern your actions wherever and whenever you're involved
with firearms. In the woods. On the range. Or in your home. Please
take time to review and understand these rules.
1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe
Let common sense rule when you carry a loaded gun. If you're in any situation that could risk accidental discharge - such as crossing a fence, wading through a stream, or climbing a tree - always unload your gun. Never pull or push a loaded firearm toward yourself or another person. And never carry a loaded gun in a scabbard, detached holster or gun case.
Safe storage of firearms is just as critical as safe handling. Never store guns loaded and be sure to keep your firearms in a secure place where no one can get their hands on them without your knowledge.
Take special care if there are children around. Kids
are fascinated by guns. It's a natural curiosity that can have tragic consequences
when not properly supervised. Store your firearms in a locked gun safe or some other
location that physically bars a child from gaining access. Ammunition should be
stored and locked in a location separate from your firearms. Never leave an
unsecured firearm or ammunition in a closet, dresser drawer or under the bed.
Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure that children and others unfamiliar with
firearms cannot get access to your firearms and ammunition.
Read your instruction manual to understand the exact
location and operation of your firearm's safety. Even when the safety is on,
maintain control of your loaded firearm and control the direction of the muzzle. In
other words, don't rely on your safety to justify careless handling. If your
firearm's internal mechanisms are broken or have been altered, your firearm my fire even
when the safety is on. Remember, you and your safe gun handling practices are your
gun's best safety.
Remember, bullets can travel great distances with
tremendous velocity. Know how far your shot will go if you miss your target or the
Check all ammunition before you load it to make sure it
matches your gun's requirements. Every Remington® cartridge and shell is
head-stamped with its caliber or gauge for easy identification. Likewise, you'll
find the caliber or gauge of your new Remington firearm imprinted on the barrel.
Many shooters handload as a hobby or to save money on commercial, factory-made ammunition. However, it requires a thorough knowledge of reloading procedures and a deep respect for the explosive potential of gunpowder.
Firearms are designed, manufactured and proof-tested to standards based on factory loaded ammunition. Handloaded or reloaded ammunition that deviates, either intentionally or inadequately, from load or component recommendations can be very dangerous. Reloaders must observe all possible safety precautions and practices related to the proper handling of explosives. Whether you're a seasoned reloader or just starting out, you should study the subject, watch reloading demonstrations and talk to experienced reloaders.
The first rule of reloading is to always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the components you're using. They'll tell you to follow certain guidelines. Namely:
Not following these guidelines could result in severe damage to your firearm or yourself. Dangerously high pressure and explosions can result from an overcharge of powder, use of the wrong powder, incorrect shot selection or other deviations from established reloading guidelines. Be very careful.
The process of reloading exposes you to environmentally hazardous materials. Lead is the most common substance in bullets and shot. It is important to handle lead bullets and shot with extreme care. Work only in a well-ventilated area and always wash your hands after exposure and before eating. Never smoke while reloading.
Primers and powders are also highly toxic and flammable. So after reloading, be sure to clean up all materials from your work area. Don't leave primer or powder spills anywhere on the floor or bench top. Dispose of all waste materials in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
Finally, when reloading or hand loading concentrate on what
you're doing at all times. Do not be distracted by talking to others, listening to
the radio or watching TV while reloading. Never reload after or while consuming
alcoholic beverages or drugs of any kind. You are working with extremely
hazardous materials and you can't risk even a few seconds of distraction.
Remember, if you reload, you are the ammunition manufacturer and you are responsible for
the performance and safety of your reloaded ammunition.
If for some reason the ammunition doesn't fire when you
pull the trigger, stop and remember the 1st Commandment of Firearm Safety - always keep
the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your face away from the breech, then
put the safety on, carefully open the action, unload the firearm and dispose of the
cartridge safely. Remember anytime there's a shell in the chamber, your gun is
loaded and ready to use. Even if you tried to shoot and your gun didn't fire, treat
your firearm as if it could still discharge.
Wear protective shooting glasses to guard against falling shot, clay target chips, powder residue, ruptured cartridge cases and even twigs and branches in the field. Also be sure to wear eye protection when you're disassembling or cleaning a gun so that tensioned parts (like springs) and cleaning solvents don't come in contact with your eyes.
Continued exposure to shooting noise can permanently damage
your hearing. On the range, where shooting volume is the loudest, be sure to use the
maximum protection of a headset. And learn to use earplugs in the field, especially
in confined locations like duck blinds.
When firing, rely on your instincts. If the noise or
recoil from your firearm seems off or weak, stop everything, unload your firearm and be
sure nothing is lodged in the barrel. Remember the 12/20 burst? That's what
can happen when the barrel is obstructed. So always be sure you're using the correct
ammunition in your firearm and that it's free of obstructions.
Your firearm has been designed to operate according to certain factory specifications. You'll jeopardize your safety and that of others around you by attempting to alter its trigger, safety or other mechanisms. So never alter or modify your firearm in any way.
Like any mechanical device, a firearm is subject to wear. It must be maintained and periodically serviced to assure optimum safety and performance.
Don't allow anyone to service, repair or modify your firearm unless they are a qualified service facility.
Proper cleaning and lubrication are also important to firearm maintenance and are necessary to assure accuracy, safety, and reliability. Before cleaning, always make sure that your gun is completely unloaded. And always clean the barrel from the chamber end to the muzzle when possible.
Make it a practice to clean your bore every time you're going to shoot. Be sure to clean your entire gun before and after long-term storage, and no less than once a year. It's also important to clean your gun whenever it's been exposed to adverse conditions such as rain, dirt, mud, snow, sleet or saltwater.
For safe and dependable operation of your firearm, all parts of your gun must be properly cleaned and lubricated. Periodically inspect the internal workings of your firearm to be sure they're clean and free of rust, unwanted dirt and debris.
Use recommended lubricants on your gun and do not over-lubricate. Excessive use of a non-recommended lubricant could adversely affect the function and safe operation of your firearm. Remember, you are responsible for the proper care and maintenance of your firearm. Failure to properly maintain your firearm can not only damage or ruin your firearm, it can expose you and others to unnecessary risks of personal injury or death.
THE BASIC RULES OF SAFE FIREARMS HANDLING
Americans have a right to purchase and use firearms for lawful purposes. The private ownership of firearms in America is traditional, but that ownership imposes the responsibility on the gun owner to use his firearms in a way which will ensure his own safety and that of others. When firearms are used in a safe and responsible manner, they are a great source of pleasure and satisfaction, and represent a fundamental part of our personal liberty.
Firearms do not cause accidents! Firearms accidents are almost always found to have been the result of carelessness, or ignorance on the part of the shooter of the basic rules of safe gun handling.
The following rules must be observed by gun users at all times. Safe gun handling is not just desirable, it is absolutely essential to the continuation of gun ownership and sport shooting as we know it today.
1. LEARN THE MECHANICAL AND HANDLING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FIREARM YOU ARE USING. Not all firearms are the same. The method of carrying and handling firearms varies in accordance with the mechanical provisions for avoiding accidental discharge and the various proper procedures for loading and unloading. No person should handle any firearm without first having thoroughly familiarized himself with the particular type of firearm he is using, and with safe gun handling in general.
2. ALWAYS KEEP THE MUZZLE POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION. Be sure of the bullet stop behind your target, even when dry-firing. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at any part of your body or at another person. This is particularly important when loading or unloading a firearm. In the event of an accidental discharge, no injury can occur as long as the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction. A safe direction means a direction which will not permit a discharged bullet to strike a person, or to strike an object from which the bullet may ricochet. A safe direction must take into account the fact that a bullet may penetrate a wall, ceiling, floor, window, etc., and strike a person or damage property. Make it a habit to know exactly where the muzzle of your gun is pointing whenever you handle it, and be sure that you are always in control of the direction in which the muzzle is pointing, even if you fall or stumble.
3. FIREARMS SHOULD BE UNLOADED WHEN HOT IN USE. Firearms should be loaded only when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. Firearms and ammunition should be securely locked in racks or cabinets when not in use. Ammunition should be safely stored separate from firearms. Store your firearms out of sight of visitors and children. It is the gun owner's responsibility to be certain that children and persons unfamiliar with firearms cannot gain access to firearms or ammunition.
4. BE SURE THE BARREL IS CLEAR OF OBSTRUCTIONS BEFORE SHOOTING. Even a bit of mud, snow or excess lubricating oil or grease in the bore may cause the barrel to bulge, or even burst on firing, and can cause injury to the shooter and bystanders. Be sure that you are using ammunition of the proper caliber and loading for the gun you are using. If the report or recoil on firing seems weak, or doesn't seem quite right, CEASE FIRING IMMEDIATELY and check to be sure that no obstruction has become lodged in the barrel.
5. BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET BEFORE YOU SHOOT. Don't shoot unless you know exactly where your bullet is going to strike. Be sure of the bullet stop behind your target, even when dry-firing with an unloaded gun. If you are in the field hunting, do not fire at a movement or noise. Take the time to be absolutely certain of your target before you pull the trigger.
6. WEAR SHOOTING GLASSES AND HEARING PROTECTORS WHEN YOU SHOOT. All shooters should wear protective shooting glasses and some form of hearing protectors when shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, and adequate vision protection when shooting is essential.
7. NEVER CLIMB A TREE OR FENCE WITH A LOADED FIREARM. Put the firearm down carefully before climbing a fence, and unload it before climbing or descending a tree or jumping over a ditch or other obstruction. Never pull or push a loaded firearm toward yourself or another person. When in doubt, or whenever you are about to do anything awkward, unload your gun!
8. DON'T SHOOT AT A HARD SURFACE, OR AT WATER. Bullets can glance off many surfaces like rocks or the surface of water and travel in unpredictable directions with considerable velocity.
9. NEVER TRANSPORT A LOADED FIREARM. Firearms should always be unloaded before being moved or placed in a vehicle. A suitable carrying case or scabbard should be used to carry an unloaded firearm to and from the shooting area.
1O. AVOID ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES WHEN SHOOTING. Don't drink until the day's shooting is over. Handling firearms while under the influence of alcohol in any form constitutes a criminal disregard for the safety of others.
There's one rule that must be followed when handling firearms. In fact, respect for this rule is necessary in order to effectively practice the Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety. The rule is: SHOOT SOBER!
Alcohol, drugs and guns are a deadly combination.
Never consume anything that would even mildly impair your judgment or physical
coordination when you're using a firearm. This includes Prescription & over the
counter medications as well. A staggering percentage of the shooting accidents that occur
every year involve alcohol or drugs. Be smart. Shoot sober and stay alive.
The following gun safety rules should also be observed when using or storing a gun:
1. Be sure the gun is safe to operate. Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun's general upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun's condition, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.
2. Know how to use the gun safely. Before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, how to safely open and close the action, and how to remove ammunition from chambers and/or magazines. Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling. Don't rely on a gun's safety mechanism. Like any mechanical device, it can fail. Use it, but don't let it be a substitute for safe gun handling and observance of the three fundamental rules of gun safety. A defective mechanism could result in an accident. Never pull the trigger on a gun when the safety is in the "ON" position, or when the safety is located anywhere between the "ON" and the "OFF" positions. If the safety mechanism is defective, the gun could fire without any trigger contact when the safety is moved to the "OFF" position at a later time. Dont play with the safety by changing its position constantly . . . leave the safety in the "ON" position until absolutely ready to fire.
3. Use only the correct ammunition for the gun. Only BBs, pellets, cartridges, or shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the gun unless the proper ammunition is used.
4. Know the target and what is beyond Be absolutely sure that the target has been identified beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond the target. This means observing the prospective area of fire before shooting. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. When practicing, be sure that there is a safe backstop. Always think first. Shoot second.
5. Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate . Gunshots are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. Guns can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury. For these reasons, safety glasses and ear protection are strongly recommended.
6. Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting. Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns. Remember that even over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications can impair judgment and cause undesirable physical side effects, such as loss of coordination, vision difficulties, tremors, and drowsiness, which could contribute to an accident.
7. Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons. Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns. A person's particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Remember that safe and secure storage requires that unauthorized individuals (especially children) be denied access to guns. Dozens of gun storage devices are available on the market today: gun cabinets, gun safes, wall racks, hard and soft gun cases, strongboxes, etc. In addition, various types of locking devices which attach directly to the gun, such as trigger locks, are available. However, these mechanical locking devices, just like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules. Ammunition, as a general rule, should be stored separately from guns. It is preferable to keep the ammunition in the manufacturers' original boxes. Ammunition should be stored in a cool, dry area and in a manner so that it is not accessible to unauthorized persons.
8. Beware that certain types of guns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions.
9. Learn the Mechanical and Handling Characteristics of the Firearm You Are Using. Not all guns are alike. They have different mechanical characteristics that dictate how you should carry and handle them. Anyone who plans to use a firearm should first become totally familiar with the type of firearm it is and the safe handling procedures for loading, unloading, carrying, shooting and storing it.
10. Before you even unpack your new firearm, read the instruction manual from cover to cover and familiarize yourself with the different component parts of the gun. Then read, understand and follow the ten commandments of safety.
Reloading can be a safe and enjoyable hobby as long as you obey some simple rules. Just as you follow
basic gun handling rules to make the hobby safer, you must so the same with
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SAFE OPERATION AND STORAGE OF YOUR
It is your responsibility to teach or get qualified instruction in safe handling and use of firearms for your household. Practice close
supervision and stress safety.