Gun Safety Basics

Gun Safety Basics

Becoming a new gun owner comes with an enormous amount of responsibility. There are many facets of gun laws and federal regulations that all gun owners must be fully aware of before exercising their Constitutionally protected right to bear arms. Because the use of firearms is an inherently dangerous hobby when left unchecked, it is critical that first-time gun owners be made aware of the most basic of rules regarding gun safety. You as the gun owner are solely responsible for the actions of your firearms, and any negligence on your part can result in serious injury, death, and the potential for prison time depending on the circumstances.

The Four Rules of Gun Safety

There are four basic gun safety rules, never changing and always relevant. 1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. 2. Never point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy. 3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire. 4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.

In the firearms world, these basic safety rules are universally recognized by all and universally preached. Before you ever fire your very first gun, it is your job to know and abide by these basic tenants of gun safety. It is important to note that these rules are not the end all be all of gun safety, rather the starting line for a lifetime of safe shooting. When attending a shooting range, you will most assuredly meet someone with the title of Range Safety Officer, or RSO.

Whether at an indoor or outdoor range, the RSO is the person in charge of the firing lines. It is their job to ensure the safety of all individuals present at the range. When the RSO says it’s safe to shoot, then you are good to go. If the RSO yells “ceasefire” you are to immediately stop what you are doing, put your weapon on safe, and unload the weapon until the RSO says it’s safe to resume firing. If the RSO finds that you are conducting yourself in an unsafe manner to them as well as the other guests at the range, you will be told to leave. It is up to the discretion of the RSO to remove anyone from their range at any time, no matter if you have paid for your firing lane or not. The fifth rule of gun safety while at the range is “listen to the range safety officer.”

How to Handle a Malfunction

Sometimes while shooting, you may experience some kind of malfunction. It could be as simple as a round failing to fire due to a faulty primer, which does happen from time to time. Or you may experience a double feed, that is when two rounds are stuck trying to fit in the chamber at the same time. Whatever the cause, it is always important to revert to the basic safety rules, namely, to keep your firearm muzzle pointed in a safe direction. With a round loaded and the trigger pulled, there is always the risk of the round going off. You are first going to want to put the weapon on safe and release the magazine if possible. Lock the weapon to the rear and begin to clear any jam that may be present. If the firearm failed to fire due to a faulty primer, do not try and fire it again.

Cleaning & Maintaining Your Firearm

To maintain a properly functioning firearm, it is very important that you keep up with regular maintenance and especially cleaning practices. A firearm with too much built-up gunpowder residue will begin to jam over time without proper cleaning. Every firearm comes with a user manual provided by the manufacturer that will explain everything about the firearm but will also provide step-by-step instructions on how to properly disassemble and clean your firearm. Leave all ammunition away from your workstation during the cleaning process.

Once your firearm has been disassembled, you should utilize a proper cleaning kit and the provided cleaning tools to remove all dirt and debris. You can even find cleaning kits that are specific to your firearm’s caliber. Bare minimum requirements will be a good cleaning brush, scraping tool, some type of gun lubrication, and some tool used to clear the barrel of any obstructions. Q-tips are also a cheap and very handy tool to use for cleaning in the small, hard-to-reach spaces within your firearm. To ensure the cleanliness of your barrel, you can either use a cleaning rod or another option is to use what’s referred to as a “bore snake.” The bore snake is a long, cloth-like ribbon that can be run through the barrel to quickly remove any built-up debris and all it takes is one or two pulls through the barrel.

Essential Safety Equipment

Nearly every range will require you to have eye protection and ear protection as their bare minimum requirements. And most ranges will require you to wear closed-toed shoes as well when firing. This is for everyone’s safety, as having a scorching hot shell casing land on your bare toes will most definitely make you jump, and jumping around wildly while holding a loaded firearm is a seriously unsafe act. You are also going to want to find a durable range bag for all your firearms and equipment. There are plenty of options available online or in stores, and many of them are inexpensive. Find a range bag that is large enough to hold your firearms, ammunition, eye protection, and ear protection. If possible, find a range bag that has some elastic straps to securely hold your magazines as well. There is no need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on your range bag, you can easily find one in the $30-60 price range.

Firearm Storage

Firearms storage requirements may vary from state to state and in some cases even municipality to municipality. It is your responsibility to ensure that your firearms are stored properly both in your home and if you decide to leave your home with your firearm. You are also responsible for knowing the laws in either of those situations. There are now plenty of options available to you in terms of small, closet, or bedside safes and vaults that will meet the requirements of any jurisdiction. If your collection is now bigger than just one or two firearms, maybe it’s time to consider a larger floor safe to properly store all your firearms. The biggest thing to remember is that, if you have children in the house, regardless of your local or state laws, locking up your firearms and preventing unauthorized access from children is 100% expected of you. Bottom line, if there are children present, lock up your firearms always.

Train Often

Whether you have just purchased your very first firearm or you have been shooting for years, training never stops. It is your responsibility to always remain proficient with your firearm. Practice as often as you possibly can. There has been a huge interest in the past several years in more specific and advanced shooting courses. If you decide to go ahead and apply for your concealed carry permit, taking the required training course is a great source of information for all shooters. Many ranges will offer these concealed carry courses, as well as advanced shooting courses to hone your skills in specific areas. If you are brand new to shooting pistols, try a pistol basic or advanced pistol shooting course. And if you are new to the world of AR-15s or other rifles, many training ranges offer many classes in this discipline as well. It is up to you to train and remain proficient, to be as safe as possible while shooting, and to have fun with your new hobby. And when you’re ready to grab. For your new favorite firearm, be sure to check out Gunspot to find the best gun auctions for the best price to fill that new gun safe.


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