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Handgun Safety

Handgun Safety is very important and something that should be addressed before ever shooting a gun. It is my belief that every handgun owner should go through a general gun safety class and make sure they are very familiar with any pistol or handgun they are going to shoot, long before they ever load it.

Below, I will address some of the more common handgun safety rules. This will by no means be all encompassing.

If you talked to my kids, they would probably affirm that they have heard me say "use common sense." That sentence is a guiding principle in my life and it definitely holds true in regards to handgun safety as well.

Basic Handgun Safety Items

At the very least, these items are needed for your(and any spectators) physical safety.
  • Shooting Glasses: I think most people would agree, their eyes are pretty important to them. It might seem obvious to most, but shooting safety glasses are often overlooked. They are relatively inexpensive, takes but a second to put on, and could be the difference between you driving home after a great day of shooting and having someone drive you home with a patch over your eye.


  • Ear Protection: Just like shooting glasses, ear protection is MANDATORY. A gunshot blast can reach decibel levels of over 140dB. Any sound over 140dB can just plain hurt whereas constant, prolonged exposure to noise over roughly 85dB can cause permanent hearing damage. For those reasons, when you are shooting ear protection is a necessity.


Common Sense Rules

These rules are just that, common sense. You might be saying, "why list them then if they are so straight forward and "obvious"? That's easy: Excitement! Anytime "excitement" entersthe picture, whether it be because you just got your first handgun, or your first date, often timescommon sense eludes us and what might normally be "obvious" is the furthest thing from our mind. I'd dare bet it has happened to us all. So, for all of us who are not perfect, sometimes it's a good idea to have a little reminder at times. :)
  • Know the gun: Whatever gun you are shooting, it is important to know how it works. It may sound obvious but way too often someone is injured or worse because either they or someone else was not familiar with the gun they were shooting. Familiarity builds confidence, reduces doubt, and allows one to concentrate on what they are doing and being safe.


  • Only use the ammunition intended for your gun:I know, most of you are saying "no kidding". More often than you think, people are injured because ammunition is being used that the gun was not intended for. Again, know the gun, know the ammo it takes and don't try ammunition not specifically intended for the handgun you are shooting.


  • Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to shoot:What else is there to say. Don't load the gun until you are ready to shoot. Certain situations (i.e. home defense) this might not pertain to, but in general, this is a good idea.


  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction: This could be at the top of the list! Pretty self-explanatory but if the gun is never pointed in an unsafe direction and it accidentally discharges, the chances of it hurting someone are greatly reduced.


  • Keep the safety on until you are ready to shoot: This is another measure to prevent unintended discharge.


  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot: Just like having the safety on, if your finger is not on the trigger, it makes it much more difficult for the gun to discharge accidentally.


  • Know what you are shooting at:whether you are hunting or target shooting, do not fire your handgun unless you are absolutely certain you know what it is you are shooting. Never fire at ANYTHING you don't know what it is. While hunting, this obviously will prevent the shooting of another hunter, a family members dog or whatever. While target shooting, shooting at something not intended to be shot at could cause a ricochet resulting in injury.


  • Know what is beyond your target:No secret here, bullets can travel a long way! Know what is beyond your target. Even a caliber as small as a .22 rimfire cartridge can travel up to a mile and a half. By knowing what is beyond your target and taking the necessary precautions, you can greatly reduce the chance of an accident.

Summary

Improper handgun safety can turn a great afternoon into a nightmare that could last the rest of your life. Use common sense and follow some basic rules and your shooting experience will remain a positive one.

For more information on general gun safety, check out the NRA's site here

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