Gun Safety Basics, Common Questions

Knowing and understanding gun safety is crucial for any gun owner. Whether you’ve shot firearms your whole life, getting back into the sport after a number of years, or just getting started, you must know how to keep yourself and others safe around guns.

The way that media and entertainment depict handling a gun is a far cry from reality. If movies were to be believed, handling your firearm and hitting your intended target would be easy. Nothing is further from the truth. That is why we at BulkMunitions want to take a moment and highlight some of the most important things to practice when handling a firearm.

Handling handguns, rifles, and shotguns do require skill and training. This is even true of individuals who have spent their entire lives shooting firearms. Understandably, those who want to purchase a pistol should consider what is involved in being a responsible and respectful gun owner. The following are a few points every individual looking to purchase a pistol will want to consider.

What Are The Four Rules of Gun Safety?

There are many different iterations of the Four Rules of gun safety (Wikipedia has a nice article on how the verbiage differs) but they all share the same general idea of how a proper firearm owner should handle their weapon.

Rule #1. Handle Guns As If They Were Always Loaded

As a handgun owner, you want to show respect to your fellow community. This means showing that you are a responsible and knowledgeable firearm owner. So, it is very important that every time you handle a gun, interact with it as if it could be loaded. If you are unfamiliar with the firearm, ask for assistance from an expert.

Rule #2. Always Keep the Gun Pointed in a Safe Direction

Your responsibility is to be aware of your environment and where you are pointing your gun. Before you pick up your gun, study the area around you. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. This includes when you are reloading, loading, showing clear, or even laying the firearm down. This discipline is also commonly referred to as muzzle awareness.

Rule #3. Don’t Put Your Finger on the Trigger until You Have Your Target in Sight and Are Committed to Shooting

You often hear people talk about their trigger finger. However, as a responsible gun owner, you see it as your safety finger. From the second you make contact with the firearm, keep your finger straight and rested on the side of the frame. Only put your finger on the trigger once you have identified your target and have made the decision to shoot.

Rule #4. Clearly Identify Your Target and Know What Is Behind It

When you pull the trigger, you are responsible for everything the round hits. Before you pull the trigger, think about what would happen if the bullet ricochets, strays, or penetrates the target.

How to Find the Safety on a Gun

The location of the safety on your handgun is going to vary based on the type of gun. It is very important to get familiar with your firearm and completely understand the safety mechanism for that specific firearm.

For example here a few different types of handgun and rifle safeties:

• A pivot safety is located on the side of an autoloading handgun

• A grip safety is located on the grip and prevents you from firing until you grip your gun and compress the safety

• A hammer safety or half-cock safety is engaged by putting the trigger at half-cock

How To Tell If Gun Safety Is On

Gun Safety off on Beretta 92

If you are unfamiliar with the gun, you may wonder how you can know if the safety is engaged or not. For most frame safeties, the rule of thumb is:

• If the safety is down, it’s safe

• If the safety is up, you can fire

However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. For example, Ruger’s SR 22 does not follow this pattern.

Some safety switches expose a red dot or indicator when the gun is in fire mode, but others don’t. If you are unfamiliar with the gun, the best practice is to never assume a gun safety is on. Always practice caution when handling a firearm.

Do Police Guns Have a Safety?

One interesting fact involving gun safeties is that Glocks, which many law enforcement officers carry, do not have external safeties. The Glock actually has a Safe Action System. A police officer can draw their gun and fire with no additional movements needed. However, they are trained to handle these firearms and they strictly follow the golden rules of gun safety every time they draw their weapon.

Is it Safe to Carry a Gun Without a Safety?

While there are multiple schools of thought in regards to carrying a gun without a safety, the answer here is “it depends.”

There are no in-depth scientific studies to corroborate if carrying a gun without a safety causes an increase in unintended firearm injuries.

However, there are also no such studies showing that carrying a gun without a safety will increase your chance of survival if attacked and forced to use your firearm in defense of your life.

The most important thing here is to lawfully carry. By having a firearm you’re comfortable with carrying, you’re more likely to carry it. That right there will increase your chances of survival (as opposed to leaving your pistol at home).

Was Gun Safety Ever Taught in Public Schools?

You may be surprised to learn that in the 1950s some public schools in Indiana were offering firearm training to grade school students who had the permission of their parents. There is a lively debate as to whether gun training should be introduced into schools today. In Butler County, Iowa a week-long training program that includes gun safety training is being included in the school’s curriculum.

Are Gun Safety Classes Mandatory?

A majority of states do not require you to take gun safety classes before purchasing a firearm. However, some states, like California, do require you to purchase a firearm safety certificate. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as active-duty military, peace officers, or military who have honorably retired.

How Long Is a Typical Gun Safety Course?

A great resource for gun safety education and tips is the NRA. They offer a number of firearm education courses as well as firearm safety courses. For example, the Home Firearm Safety Course is a four-hour course that discusses a well-rounded knowledge of firearms such as cleaning your firearm, proper handling, and the parts of a firearm to list a few. They offer a number of courses specifically tailored to pistol, rifle, and shotgun ownership and shooting. These courses teach you how to shoot and the basic safe operation of the gun.

What is the Golden Rule of Gun Safety?

The golden rule for gun safety is “treat every firearm as if it was loaded.” This simple rule will help avoid the vast majority of accidental firearm-related injuries. This mantra also helps instill the respect everyone should have for every handgun, shotgun, and rifle.

What are the 10 Commandments of Gun Safety?

If we were to sum up what it means to be a responsible gun owner, we would refer to the “10 Commandments” of gun safety. They are the following:

  1. Control the muzzle of your firearm
  2. Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot
  3. Assume every firearm is loaded
  4. Clearly identify your target and what is in front of it and what is beyond it
  5. Keep your barrel and action clear of obstructions
  6. Unload firearms when not using them
  7. Only point a firearm when you are ready to shoot your intended target
  8. Do not climb, run, or jump with a loaded firearm
  9. Store ammunition and firearms separately and safely
  10. Stay away from alcohol and drugs before and during shooting

Remember, guns are tools, not toys. They are useful tools when used appropriately. That is why it is important to understand your firearm and the ammunition you as the shooter will be using and why you will using your firearm.

For example, a Glock 17 paired with a Federal 124 gr HST Jacketed Hollow Point is perfect for home self-defense, but only if you truly understand how to handle the firearm. So in conclusion, it is very important to be responsible, take gun safety seriously, and be a good example for your family and your community.

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