What are the basic safe gun handling rules? What do you need to know in order to prevent accidents?
If you recently purchased your first gun, or you’re thinking about doing so, you have to learn basic gun safety. As a concealed carrier, it’s your responsibility to understand the federal, state, and local laws pertaining to carrying and handling firearms.
There are many components involved in safe gun handling. From shooting properly, to choosing the right holster, to maintaining and storing your gun well. If you’re a first time gun owner, which component should you focus on first?
4 Rules Of Gun Safety
When you’re learning how to handle a handgun safely, it’s imperative that you first know the 4 basic rules of gun safety.
Accidents happen when people rely on their memory and assume that their gun is unloaded. As a human you won’t always remember everything perfectly, so it’s vital that you always act as if the gun was loaded, even if you “know” it’s not. Always keep your finger off the trigger and pull back the slide to ensure a bullet’s not in the
- Treat all guns as if they are loaded
- Keep Muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times
- Never point the firearm at anything you aren’t willing to destroy
- Always be aware of your target and what’s behind it
As corollary to the assumption that a gun is always loaded, you must ensure that your gun is pointed in a safe direction. This ties directly into the practice of never pointing a firearm at something you’re not willing to destroy. It’s simply not worth the risk.
Equally as important is to be aware of what’s behind and around the target that you’re shooting at. Are there any people behind the bad guy? You need to know.
Know Your Weapon
Every gun is different. A semi automatic pistol is different from a revolver. Some pistols have manual safeties that you have to activate and deactivate while others don’t. Some double-action pistols have a longer, heavier trigger pull, while other striker-fired or single-action pistols have a shorter, lighter trigger pull.
Become familiar with your particular firearm, and invest time in weapons handling training.
While you have to know the basic safety rules of how to handle a firearm, it’s especially
important to be an expert at handling your firearm.
Guns need to be cleaned regularly in order to be kept in solid working condition, and consequently safe to use. Guns need to be regularly lubricated in order to prevent rusting, especially if you carry a gun everyday using an IWB holster. It’s also a good idea to have your gun regularly serviced by a gunsmith. If you’re having a problem with your pistol that can’t be solved by a basic cleaning, you shouldn’t attempt to take the gun apart by yourself if you don’t have the proper knowledge or skills.
Purchase A Quality Holster
Not all holsters are created equal. It’s vital that your concealed carry holster properly retains your pistol and protects your trigger guard at all times. Your gun should not be easy to pull out of your holster; the easier it is to pull a pistol out of your holster, the easier it will be for a bad guy to get their hands on it.
When you’re shopping for a holster, you want to purchase a holster that offers retention level adjustment, so you can tailor the retention level to what you feel most comfortable with. The greater the retention, the harder it will be to draw, however, the harder it will be to lose it.
It’s also vital that your trigger guard is properly protected. Guns that don’t have a manual safety are more vulnerable to accidental discharge if the trigger guard is not fully protected, since the trigger only needs to be pulled in order for the gun to fire. Therefore, you need a holster that fully covers the trigger guard to prevent this from happening. If you carry such a gun in a concealed carry purse or a pocket without a holster that does, the trigger could be easily snagged resulting in an accidental discharge.
Holsters made of thick, heavy-duty cloth can be functional, however, they don’t offer as much retention, and during physical activity, the gun is more likely to slip out of the holster. For maximum security, it’s best to purchase a holster made of plastic that has a molded shell for your firearm. Tactica Defense Fashion’s corset holster has a hook and loop retention strap to prevent this slippage issue.
Wear Protection At The Range
When you’re learning how to handle a gun safely, it’s important to take gun handling classes, or practice shooting at the range. At the range, safety precautions need to be taken.
Eye and ear protection are necessary. Hearing damage occurs at 140 decibels, and most guns project a noise range of 160 decibels and above. Therefore, if you don’t wear ear protection, you cause immediate and irreversible damage to your hearing.
Eye protection will ensure that your eyes don’t get damaged by hot brass when you shoot. Whether you’re shooting at an indoor or outdoor range, wear eye and ear protection. If you’re interested in learning more about proper protection at the range, checkout our blog post on 6 Things You Should Always Wear to the Gun Range.
Keep Your Gun Out Of Sight
Pistol handling techniques are important to master, but you also need to properly store your gun. Always practice situational awareness and know where your gun is. If you conceal carry, put the gun in a safe storage place the second you get home, preferably in a safe that can be locked, or behind a locked door. For detailed tips on how to safely store your gun, check out our blog post on Safe Gun Storage Options.
Firearm safety is a large topic, and you may find it helpful to seek professional help and take a pistol safe handling course to sharpen your skills and confidently master your weapon and shooting skills. When you’re learning how to handle a pistol, if you remember to always practice the 4 basic rules of gun safety, you will successfully prevent accidents.
Stay safe, and keep dressing to protect!
About the Author
Born in Arizona, Paisley Saris graduated in 2019 from North Idaho College, and will continue her education at Gonzaga University in the fall. She lives in North Idaho with her Husband and two step kids. She’s a passionate advocate for the 2nd amendment, and on her off days she enjoys the outdoors and spending time at the range.