Basic Firearms Safety

Discussion in 'Firearm Related' started by gunsmoker, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Yes, and this one should be the one we sticky.

  2. Yes, but there is already a better thread with more posts on this subject we can "sticky" instead.

  3. Yes, but let's create a brand new one in the near future.

  4. No, gun safety is not something intersting enough to make a "sticky" thread for.

  5. No, gun safety is not something we need to talk about here. That just reinforces the anti-gun notion

  1. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    The headline in the Chattanooga Times Free Press reads:
    "Teenage boy accidentally shoots, kills friend."
    We hear about such things all the time. Sometimes it's a kid who does the shooting, sometimes a teen, sometimes an adult.

    I would like this thread to serve as a place for newbies and people who may be rusty on their gun-safety knowedge and practices to come and learn.
    Learn for yourself. Learn it for your kids and grandkids, so you can show them the right way. Learn it so that you can share these rules & tips with others who may be around your guns, at home or at the range.

    Learn so that you can help keep any range safe during the time you're visiting there. If you see an unsafe practice, take it upon yourself to say something about it, so that you become a de-facto Range Safety Officer. (politely, of course. Stupid people resent being yelled at or called stupid and it will tend to discredit anything you say. And some people aren't really stupid, just blissfully ignorant of gun-safety protocol).

    COOPER'S FOUR RULES OF GUN SAFETY (these are all over the web, including both text and videos, if you want to search).

    1-- All guns are to be considered "loaded" at all times, even if you're sure they're not. (This means treat every gun you encounter as if it were loaded, even if it's your gun and you didn't load it, or even if you were sure you unloaded it a few minutes ago...)

    2-- Never let the muzzle point at anything you are not willing to shoot right then. (This is about the concept of "muzzle discipline" and avoiding "painting" somebody's body with an imaginary laser beam or light that you might pretend is coming out of the barrel at all times. When handling a gun at the range, gun show, or gun store, or anywhere else, keep the muzzle pointed straight up at the sky, straight down at the ground, but never let it "sweep" the room by pointing it sideways).

    3-- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you've decided to shoot. (People not familiar with this Rule tend to put their finger on the trigger of the gun as soon as they pick it up, and during any handling of the gun. Watch out for this among people you take shooting, or people on the firing line with you! Until the moment of actual shooting comes, and until the barrel is already lined-up with the target, keep your finger outside of the trigger guard.)

    4-- Know your Target, and what is Beyond it. (This Rule has two meanings. One is don't mistake a friend or family member for an intruder in your garage at night. Don't mistake another hunter for a deer.
    But another meaning of this rule applies to target practice at the range: Make sure your target will catch the bullet safely or the bullet will otherwise end up in a safe resting place like the backstop behind the target. Don't let the bullet just bounce off the ground and ricochet in the air where it might land with plenty of killing power left a mile or two away.)

    Anybody else have any gun safety tips, or links to helpful videos or websites?

    If you think this thread or one like it should be a "sticky" that stays at the top of the forum page permanently, please say so in the poll.
  2. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    P.S. About the only common exception to Rules #1 and #2 that you need to know about is the exception for walking in front of confirmed-unloaded guns that are left action-open and fully unloaded (nothing in chamber, no magazine in place) on the firing line while a "cease fire" or "cold range" is called, giving the shooters a chance to go down to the target area and put up new targets, patch bullet holes, etc.

    This is an "exception" mostly to Rule 2, because at some ranges it is the custom and expectation that y'all will be leaving your guns on the firing line pointing downrange, basically pointing at yourself or other shooters once you walk in front of the firing line.

    But these guns should always be fully cleared and confirmed cleared by a range officer or by letting one of the shooters next to you look at your gun on the bench to make sure it's fully unloaded, action locked or propped open, and no ammo in the gun, and no magazine in place either. Often a "chamber flag" or "empty chamber indicator" or "open bolt indicator" is used. This is just a short piece of bright yellow or orange plastic that sticks partially in the chamber and partially out in the air through the ejection port, showing everyone up and down the firing line that you've made your weapon safe.

    Some ranges do not have any exceptions to Rules 1 and 2, and that means that all the guns have to be taken off the firing line and put in racks with their muzzles facing up or in another safe direction before the shooters go forward of the firing line. This is a time-consuming process, so it is not the universal practice.

    Also, ranges have a rule about NO HANDLING OF GUNS or maybe even NO TOUCHING ANYTHING AROUND OR NEAR THE GUN when people are downrange. That way we all know that the gun that was double-checked and confirmed to be unloaded will remain unloaded during the 3 or 5 minutes that the people are downrange. If anybody starts handling anything on the shooting bench where their gun is resting while other people are still downrange, those other shooters will be justifiably upset!

  3. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke New Member

    Additional rules for children and others that can not responsibly handle a firearm:

    If you find a what appears to be a firearm:

    1. Stop- Stop all activities you and others are doing around the weapon.
    2. Don't touch- Self explanatory
    3. Tell an adult - Inform an adult you trust such as a parent, teacher or police officer.
    4. Leave the area - Do not stick around to see if the other kids will be as responsible.

    With regards to adults, number 3 was always taught to me as "keep your finger off the trigger until you are prepared to shoot" which has a different meaning. Many circumstances you should be prepared to shoot (such as attacker with a knife coming at you but not within range to do you harm) that do not necessarily mean you are ready and willing to shoot (said attacker may stop and retreat when they notice the gun). In those situations you should, in my training and opinion, be prepared to shoot with your finger on the trigger though not necessarily willing to shoot. I am not willing to shoot until I am reasonably sure that my life or some other innocent persons life is for sure in peril but that does not mean I will not have my finger on the trigger and prepared to shoot when I am only fairly sure.

    Another part of #4 is also recognizing what and/or who may be behind soft surfaces (such as drywall etc) behind the target. A family member on the other side of a wall behind an intruder is not safe from a missed round fired in their direction.

    With regard to rule number 2, I find it helps to inform people who violate this one that it is in fact not just a rule, but the law. OCGA 16-11-102 makes it a crime to point a firearm at another person without legal justification whether the gun is loaded or not. I wish more ranges/gun stores would post that code in their places of business to remind their customers that not only is it an unsafe practice but it is in fact a crime.
  4. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    Okay, here's a short and simple tip for new gun owners
    or people whose expereinces are limited to just a couple guns.

    Most guns will fire if the chamber is loaded,
    even if the magazine is empty
    or if the magazine has been completely removed from the gun.

    "Unloading" a gun doesn't just mean popping-out the "clip," (as detachable magazines are sometimes incorrectly called). Unloading a gun fully means first emptying the magazine / detaching the magazine, then opening the action to extract the round from the chamber.

    Yes, some guns have "loaded chamber indicators." Don't trust them. Some pistols have "magazine disconnect" safeties that are supposed to prevent the gun from firing without a mag (loaded or empty, doesn't matter) in place. Don't trust them either. And be aware that many models of pistols do not have that feature.

    Here's an online article or blog about these much-criticized safety features on guns:
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  5. mountainpass

    mountainpass Under Scrutiny

    48 ... afety.html
  6. CoffeeMate

    CoffeeMate Junior Butt Warmer

    0 matter how "professional enough" one is...
  7. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    the NRA's Gun Safety Rules may be found here. most important and useful rules they have are basically the same ones that have already been covered-- Col. Jeff Cooper's "Four Rules" for gun safety.

    Here are some additional things the NRA also lists:

    Keep guns unloaded. The NRA says ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. In other words, store the gun empty. Carry it to and from the range empty. Bring it to the firing line empty. Don't load it until after your target is set up, or until after you're in the deer stand all strapped-in. (I think this rule is too strict, and obviously aimed at beginners and newbies. Since it doesn't apply to many of us who carry loaded guns daily for protection, you can't really call it a "rule" can you? A "rule" applies to everybody, regardless of skill level or experience.)

    Keep your guns out of the reach if children and unauthorized users. This is a big subject that generates a lot of controversy and a lot of debate about how to promote this kind of gun safety without slowing down your access to a loaded working gun when you need to defend your home and family. Let's just say that the topic is something you should think about and YOU should consider your needs, your family situation, the risks y'all face, the ages and personalities of your kids or other people who live in or often visit your home. Then YOU should come up with your own plan for dealing with this issue. The NRA isn't dictating that you lock up all your guns in a safe, unloaded, and I'm not telling you what to do either.

    Three other less-important points from the NRA:

    * Keep your gun clean and in proper working condition. A badly rusted or corroded gun might blow up when fired, or it might fire while you are loading it and closing the action on live ammo.

    * Use the correct ammo for your gun. Just because "it fits" in the chamber or magazine doesn't mean it's really the right caliber. Most of the time if you load the wrong kind of ammo, it will jam the gun, that's all. But sometimes it will blow the gun up. You could lose a hand or eye or even get killed. I have put the wrong ammo into guns before (.32 acp pistol ammo into a .32 Colt revolver), and I have seen others do it (20 gauge in a 12 gauge shotgun, .270 deer rifle rounds in a .30-06 rifle).

    * Use eye and ear protection. The noise of shooting a gun is not just uncomfortable. It can and usually does cause permanent high-frequency hearing loss. Don't shoot without ear plugs, or muffs, or both (I strongly prefer both). Even if all you want to do is fire a few shots to test the gun's function, or confirm that the sights are zeroed-in. Eye protection is important, too. They recommend special safety glasses that offer protection from side impacts too. Regular eyeglasses or sunglasses are often made of "acrylic" plastic lenses, and this is a brittle kind of plastic that can shatter. Polycarbonate plastic is a lot tougher, and it's what most safety glasses or "tactical" eyewear is made from.
  8. Phil1979

    Phil1979 Member Georgia Carry

    A lot of accidental shootings happen with semi-autos where the slide is racked to eject the cartridge from the chamber, and then they remove the magazine. But they didn't realize that they loaded a fresh round into the chamber when they racked it.

    Remove the magazine FIRST, then rack it, then look inside the chamber carefully to see that nothing is in there.

    Sad to say that even some adults make this mistake.
  9. mygunstoo

    mygunstoo Active Member

    Similar to the NRA Eddie Eagle program,

    Stop, don't touch, leave the area and tell an adult.

    Important to remember that all these safety rules are based on a simple concept. Once the bullet leaves the gun, it can not be "recalled", grasped or stoped before it hits something. :wink:
  10. pml

    pml Active Member

    If you're buying or just bought your first gun, or haven't owned one since you were a kid, take a gun safety class. They are available at almost every range and they are cheap. Don't find out the hard way that you don't know what you are doing.
  11. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    There are dozens or maybe hundreds of tips, rules, hints, and suggestions for gun safety.
    But if you follow the fundamental "Cooper's Four Rules" you should almost always avoid accidentally causing serious injury or death to others.

    EXAMPLES: You didn't know about "hang-fires." You thought you had a dud. But as you brought the weapon back from the firing line and started to open the action to clear the round, it fired.
    IF you were following Cooper's Rule #2, keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, you will not shoot the guy in the next lane at the shooting range. You may blast a chunk out of the floor, or the wall, or the ceiling. You may injure your hand or get fragments in your eye. But at least you won't kill anyone.

    ANOTHER EXAMPLE: Recently two different people (a pawn shop customer, and a Secret Service agent) shot themselves in the side while reloading or re-holstering their handguns. I would bet that both of them were handling their guns with their fingers on the trigger. There is no reason to put your finger on the trigger when the gun is not at least pointed at the target (some say not even then-- don't touch the trigger until you are actually going to shoot it then, right that second!). See Cooper's Rule #3.

    LAST EXAMPLE: You know you unloaded your gun 10 minutes ago, before your wife called you out to the back yard to help fix the broken clothes line. What you don't know is that your 6 year old son has been playing with your gun while you were gone, and he took one cartridge from the box of ammo in your sock drawer and put in in your gun. When he heard you coming he put the gun down on the same spot on the table with the barrel pointed the same angle. He left the room just before you got back. Now you pick up this gun that you assume is still unloaded and start cleaning it.
    You violate Cooper's Rule #1 because you didn't re-check the gun, and you don't assume that it's loaded.
    But as you clean the gun, you still keep it pointed at the floor, or at the wall that you know doesn't have people on the other side of. You do not let the muzzle point at you or out the front window where kids are playing in the street.
    You still observe Cooper's Rule #2.
    Then you cock the gun to wipe down the face of the hammer and firing pin with some oil.
    Then you wipe the trigger. (This is a technically a violation of Cooper's Rule #3, but sometimes it's a necessary part of cleaning IF you have observed all the other safety rules!)
    The gun shoots !!
    But where does the bullet go? Since you were observing Cooper's Rule #2, the bullet embeds itself in your hardwood floor or maybe goes through your floor and impacts the dirt under your home's crawlspace. But nobody is hurt or killed. You just did a little property damage, that's all. (Seriously, people shoot themselves cleaning "unloaded" guns all the time. Often they live, but somtimes with permanent and disfiguring injuries).

    1-- Assume all guns are loaded.
    2-- Only let the muzzle point at things and in directions that are no big deal if you sent a bullet that way.
    3-- Don't touch the trigger until your sights are on the target and you've decided to shoot.
    4-- Know what your target is and where your bullet will end up if you miss the target or shoot right through it.
  12. Rugerer

    Rugerer GeePeeDoHolic

    This is something I've always admired about how the rules are constructed. If you break one rule, deliberately, accidently, stupidly, whatever, the remaining rules can still save you. There's a safety margin built into the rules. Strive to follow all rules completely so that the margin is maximized. If you're unknowingly breaking one, and deliberately break another, your margin is gone.

    Nice examples.
  13. HeadHunter

    HeadHunter Active Member

    This is the reason I keep a lockbox in my vehicle and secured to my vehicle. If I have to leave my handgun in the vehicle I want to do as much as possible to prevent it from being stolen. It's all too easy to break into a vehicle and steal a handgun that is now unsecure and probably loaded. Several members of this board have discovered that unpleasant reality the hard way.
  14. HeadHunter

    HeadHunter Active Member

  15. mygunstoo

    mygunstoo Active Member

    I would modify Cooper's rule #1 a little bit for those smart a.. kids when they say that the gun is not loaded.

    I would say, Treat every gun as if it were loaded until you personally check otherwise. If the gun is sitting somewhere and nobody touches it, it really does not matter if it is loaded or not. It becomes important when you add the human factor to it.
  16. cbeyond

    cbeyond Member

    kids and guns -- just a thought

    I am sure someone else could phrase this better... that stated here goes..

    I have 2 kids ages 6 and 10, both have guns that are "theirs" but kept in my safe. Both have shot guns and been around them and been thoroughly taught not to touch them or even attempt to access them without my (or their uncles in some cases) presence. Specifically I was concerned with them "showing their friends" so to speak .... and yes they are in a safe...and they couldnt get them if they wanted to ... but for me the act of trying to is disobedient enough! Heck even thinking of trying ... is disobeying.

    It occurred to me that if they were at a friends house (as they got older) that one of their friends may try to show them their daddy's guns. So we had a long discussion about how the gun rules extend further than the walls of the house so to speak PERIOD! and that if one of the friends did this ...even if just to show them ...they were to leave the room and go to an adult... if no adult present... then come home immediately!

    Kinda like the old adage that no one ever got hooked on drugs by their worst enemy.
  17. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist


    Guy taking carbine class shoots own foot with AR-15.
    Yeah, it stung a bit. The guy's moaning and groaning confirms that.
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
  18. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    B305091D-F556-4843-91BF-60ADD80AF6AD.jpeg 638F8B34-1E02-465D-9EFE-52FFE51FB07D.jpeg

    I wonder why that guy was shooting an AR with his foot in front of the muzzle --anywhere even close to the line of fire seems ridiculous and unsafe to me.

    But if he deliberately chose to shoot from that position over, or next to, his own foot, then what went wrong so that he put a bullet through the middle of his own sneaker? What did he see looking through his sights?

    Many scoped rifle shooters FORGET that there could be 2.75 -3.5 inches Of discrepancy between the line of sight and the path of the of discrepancy between the line of sight and the path of the bullet.

    At spitting distance, the bullet will hit that much lower than where your scope's crosshairs are or your red dot is.

    And I find that using any type of optics, rather than open sights, reduces your peripheral vision. So you don't notice the giant gray sneaker -- you just see the 10-point kill zone on the target.