Gun safety is the responsibility of every person who owns, carries or shoots a gun. The burden is on you to be responsible and safe with your firearm.
A gun has great destructive potential, and failing to respect that potential is what leads to accidents. Negligence and ignorance are dangerous, and negligence and ignorance with a loaded gun can and does get people killed.
For the complete newbie, it can seem intimidating. However, we’re going to give you a comprehensive overview of what you need to know to handle, shoot, and store guns safely.
However, no amount of reading takes the place of instruction from trained professionals. If you are completely new to guns, shooting, concealed carry and otherwise, it is highly recommended that you seek out firearms training from a professional instructor.
Bear in mind that this guide is also for informational purposes only. Alien Gear Holsters disclaims and responsibility, liability or otherwise for any errors, omissions or misunderstandings of this article. The reader assumes all risks when handling or shooting firearms.
What Does Gun Safety Even Mean?
Ultimately, gun safety comes down to a couple of key principles.
A person who owns, handles, carries and shoots guns safely doesn’t put anyone or anything in jeopardy besides range targets, game animals they are hunting or people that mean them deadly harm.
Gun safety practices, which we’re going to cover, are how you keep accidental or negligent discharges from occurring, and from people, animals or things from being injured, destroyed or killed as a result of unsafe handling or shooting.
Good gun safety practices also keep your firearms, be they pistols or long guns, safe when stored.
The good news is that the principles of safe handling and operation of firearms are not complicated. If you learn those principles, and apply them consistently, you’ll drastically reduce your chances of having an accident.
Gun Safety Rules
A misfire is when the striker or hammer strikes the cartridge, but it doesn’t discharge the bullet.
The typical cause is the firing pin not hitting with enough force – due to a worn firing pin spring or a broken tip – or a bad round or batch of ammunition.
If a misfire occurs, keep the gun pointed downrange and wait for about 30 seconds in case of a hangfire. Sometimes ignition is just delayed rather than prevented entirely.
If no hangfire occurs, eject the cartridge, inspect your gun and get back to shooting. If the image repeats, the issue is likely the firing pin or firing pin spring.
Other Ammunition Issues
There are a couple of other ammunition issues that can occur, though they are rare.
First is a squib load, which is when a cartridge ignites but the bullet doesn’t have enough pressure behind it to actually exit the barrel. You’ll notice either little or no noise, light or no recoil, gas or other debris coming from the ejection port or a failure to cycle in a semi-auto.
A squib has to be pushed out of the barrel. Your range day will be done, and you may have to visit a gunsmith.
Case head separation is another issue known to happen. This happens when the brass of the cartridge case splits near the rim of the cartridge, venting gases through the ejection port or elsewhere.
A case head separation typically only happens with reloaded or hand loaded ammunition that’s had too much powder added to the case.
In either case, it’s a good idea to have your gun inspected by a gunsmith to check for any structural damage.
Guns are machines, and like any machine there are malfunctions. When this occurs, part of safe operation is to know how to deal with them. The good news is that it’s easy.
If a malfunction occurs, keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction at all times until the malfunction is cleared.
Typical semi-auto malfunctions are a failure to feed (the cartridge won’t go into the chamber) failure to extract (a fired bullet doesn’t eject) and a failure to return to battery, where the slide won’t return all the way after firing.
The typical causes are insufficient lubrication, a bad magazine, or a bad extractor, though there are some others.
What you do to address them is a procedure called Tap, Rack, Bang.
You tap the magazine to ensure it’s fully seated, rack the slide and – if the slide returns to battery – commence firing again. Sometimes a malfunction can happen due to a variety of factors and never repeat…and sometimes it’s due to an issue that needs to be fixed.
If it continues to happen, get your gun to a gunsmith.
Gun Safety While Carrying
Gun safety is, of course, critical while carrying as you have a loaded gun on your person and you’re out and about in the world. There’s no safety net, so to speak; there’s no safe to put the gun in, so it has to be carried safely, all the time.
As a result, that means more elements that have to be accounted for in order to safely carry a firearm. Whether one is open carrying or concealed carrying, there are some safety considerations to bear in mind.
Some people insist that the safest way to carry is to not have one in the chamber. This is true from a certain perspective, but the downside is having to chamber a round as the gun comes out of the holster.
Not only does that require more fine motor movements under stress, it also requires time you might not have, as well as a lot (and we mean A LOT) of practice to get proficient with. Put simply, it’s more likely to get you killed in a fight than it is to prevent an accident from happening.
So how do you carry safely?
You Need A Holster
No matter what, if you’re going to carry a gun…you need a holster. Period, no exceptions.
People who put loaded pistols in their pocket get themselves or other people shot…or killed.
People who put a loaded pistol in their waistband get themselves or other people shot…or killed.
People who put a loaded gun in a backpack or purse get themselves or other people shot…or killed.
A holster is a critical piece of safety equipment. It secures the pistol to your person, and – if the holster is made correctly – will protect the trigger guard and retains the pistol inside the holster, whether it’s an IWB holster, OWB holster or an ankle holster.
So if you’re going to carry, get a holster.
What Every Holster Should Have
Whether you’re getting a holster for open carry, concealed carry or just for range use, there are certain things that a holster has to have, certain things it has to do or else it’s useless…or worse, dangerous.
A holster should be made for the firearm that will be put in it. That can be a custom-molded holster shell on something like a hybrid holster, a leather holster or what have you. Failing that, it should be at minimum made for the size class of pistol, such as for single-stack subcompact like a S&W Shield, so the fit is as precise as possible.
The holster should cover the trigger guard. The trigger guard must also be protected; you shouldn’t be able to feel the trigger through the holster.
The holster should make a solid connection to the belt, the waistband or whatever it is it attaches to, in case you’re carrying a drop leg, shoulder or other non-waistband holster. The holster needs to be a stable platform to draw from.
The holster should also be comfortable enough to carry on a regular basis without issue. If your holster isn’t comfortable enough for you to carry all day, every day, then you will find excuses not to carry it.
If you’re going to carry, you also need a strong belt to support the gun and holster. The standard belt from a department store is not enough; you need to get an actual gun belt.
Practice Carrying, And Put In The Work At Concealed Carry Practice
Before you hit the street, you should make sure your gun and gear are going to work with some concealed carry practice.
Start by wearing your gun and holster around the house. Do a few things while carrying it. Cook a few meals, mow the yard, take out the trash and get a feel for it.
You should also do some concealed carry practice at the range.
Practice drawing your gun from the holster and shooting the target.
This is also how you test your holster, to see if it’s going to carry the gun safely and effectively, as well as facilitate a clean draw and reholstering.
The idea is you want to make sure that your holster is going to work BEFORE you start carrying every day; you want to discover any issues with it when there’s less downside.
Safe Gun Storage
Another aspect of gun safety is safe gun storage. Firearms should be properly stored in the home, though some disagree on just what that entails. In any case, there are certain universals of gun storage that should be observed.
First, firearms should be kept safe from moisture. Whether loaded or unloaded, moisture can cause rust, which can and will ruin an afflicted gun if left untreated.
Second, they should not be accessible by everyone.
Some prefer ammo storage and gun storage to be in the same location, some prefer to keep the two locked up in separate locations.
The latter approach concentrates firearms and their ammunition in one location. Provided sufficient security, such as a gun safe or strong box with access limited to very few people, this approach can be perfectly safe.
However, many subscribe to the notion that separate (locked) ammo storage and gun storage is preferable and in truth is more secure as more layers of security decrease the odds of a tragedy occurring.
Many with children in the home will store ammunition separately from their guns, ensuring that even if they can somehow access the one, they cannot access the other.
Types Of Gun Storage
There are a number of different options one has for gun storage, and tossing a pistol in a dresser or nightstand drawer is not the best among them.
The most basic is a simple lockbox, as they are widely available and cheap. Many are little more than a metal box with a simple lock and key, though models are available with combination locks and even some featuring biometric (thumbprint) locks as well.
If one wants to keep one or two pistols by the bed, they are a decent option. If you want a separate storage container for ammunition, they are also a good choice.
The best lockboxes are also mountable, as many feature bolt holes through which one can mount it to a surface such as a dresser, nightstand or shelf of some kind. This prevents the box from being moved.
Some models can even be mounted to a wall – just make sure those are mounted to a stud.
Be wary of electronic locks, as fresh batteries must be maintained for the lockbox to work.
There are also gun cases.
Many firearms come with a case at the point of purchase (it’s mandatory for pistol purchases in many U.S. states) and most gun cases either feature locking latches or can be locked using a cable or padlock.
Provided solid construction and a good lock, these are perfectly viable methods of storage. Metal cases will often be the most durable, though many plastic cases are just as strongly built if not more so. Look for gun cases that are rated for airline use; these will the most solidly built.
A gun cabinet is exactly what it sounds like – a cabinet for guns. Most have a simple lock on the doors, so make sure to not lose the key once locked. These are the classiest and most elegant, but can be the easiest to break into as many have simple glass doors.
Therefore, you may want to consider purchasing a model that does not have glass doors, as a metal or totally wooden cabinet will not have this weakness.
However, a number of gun cabinets are no longer just simple uprights. Many gun cabinets and lock boxes are taking alternate shapes, as full-on gun storage furniture is becoming proliferate. Many take the shape of common household furniture, such as ottomans, wall shelving, even entire bed frames.
Gun safes are, naturally, the most safe. A gun safe provides the greatest degree of security, as access the most impeded. Additionally, many are fireproof, so your firearms and any other valuables stored in a gun safe can easily survive a fire in your home.
Gun safes range in size, so one need not dedicate an entire closet to it. Small safes are very popular for pistols, and many gun owners install one on a nightstand or in a nightstand drawer.
However, long gun safes do require the requisite space for upright or horizontal storage.
Using a Gun Lock
Some prefer to not only lock their firearms away, but employ a gun lock as well. There are different types of gun lock, and each works a little differently.
A cable lock is a type of padlock, but the part of the lock that’s inserted into the main lock housing (the shackle) is on a cable instead of being a piece of solid metal like the padlocks many are used to. Everything else is the same though; insert the shackle, turn the key and it’s locked.
Cable locks can be threaded through a gun’s action and thereby render a gun unfireable, including pistols and many long guns. For those who want to keep a gun locked and inert while in storage, this method can be employed for very little cash and is very effective.
Trigger locks are one of the more popular types of gun lock. They may even be required in some jurisdictions. They are very simple, as trigger locks have two halves – one side with a shackle and one side with a lock cylinder.
The shackle goes through the trigger guard, into the lock cylinder. Push the halves together until the lock “clicks.” Just like a cable lock, open with a key.
However, trigger locks are known for a particular defect, in that the lock shackle sits on top of the trigger.
A loaded pistol can be discharged if the trigger lock has sufficient travel. Therefore, if you are going to use one, do NOT employ a trigger lock on gun that’s loaded.
Rifles of AR-15 designs (and similar semi-automatic rifles) also can use magazine well locks, which range in design to a simple plastic block to mechanical locks.
Cable and trigger locks are the most common, but there are other gun lock designs though they are less common.
Some pistols are manufactured with a locking system that the owner can actuate with a special key, often an Allen wrench (or hex key) or something like it, and there are other evolving gun lock designs. However, cable locks and trigger locks are currently the most prevalent.
Best Practices For Ammunition Safety
The gun itself is not dangerous; what creates any danger is technically the ammunition. The ammunition ignites, sending a bullet out of the barrel.
Things that explode, as it turns out, are inherently dangerous!
Therefore, take steps to store and use ammunition in a safe manner. Here’s the basics of what that entails.
Use Correct Ammunition
You should only use the correct ammunition for your gun. Some chamberings allow for use of multiple calibers, which we’ll cover in a moment, but outside of those exceptions you must take care not to use the wrong ammunition in any firearm.
Most modern firearms have the caliber marked on the barrel or receiver. Check to make sure; do not load or fire the gun if you aren’t sure.
If shooting a shotgun, also make sure you check the chamber length. A modern 12-gauge shotgun, for instance, will have either a 3-inch or 3-½” chamber; older shotguns may have only a 2-¾” chamber.
Centerfire ammunition will have the caliber imprinted on the rim. Rimfire ammunition often will not, so make sure know what caliber it is by keeping it in its box.
Take care to store different calibers separately. This is absolutely critical for people who own AR-platform rifles of multiple calibers. A .300 Blackout cartridge will chamber and headspace in a 5.56mm rifle, and the rifle will detonate if you pull the trigger.
Therefore, make sure that all ammunition is stored separately, and in clearly labeled containers.
A few firearms have the capability to fire multiple calibers through the same barrel as the projectile is the same size.
For instance, .357 Magnum revolvers can also fire .38 Special, as the projectile itself is the exact same; the difference is a .357 Magnum case is longer and holds more powder. Some .357 Magnum revolvers have a special cylinder that can also use 9mm with use of a moon clip.
This is also true for .44 Magnum revolvers, which can also fire .44 Special. .454 Casull revolvers can also fire .45 Colt. Some .45 Colt revolvers have a special cylinder that can use moon clips, and therefore fire .45 ACP ammunition.
There are also revolvers made for use with .45 Colt and short .410 Gauge shotshells.
The 5.56mm NATO cartridge uses the same projectile as .223 Remington, but is loaded to a higher pressure and has a slightly different shoulder. This means that any rifle chambered for 5.56mm NATO can safely fire .223 Remington, but not the reverse.
The same is true for .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO; the latter is loaded to higher pressures. You can shoot .308 from a 7.62mm rifle, but not the reverse.
Likewise, many .22 Magnum firearms can also fire .22 Long Rifle.
With that said, if using any multi-caliber firearm, make sure that any ammunition you use is of an appropriate pressure level and of the right projectile size.
Overpressure Ammunition, aka +P Ammo
Overpressure, or “+P ammo,” is loaded to a higher chamber pressure than the standard loading by adding additional gun powder.
The reason why is that creating more pressure behind the bullet sends it out of the barrel at a higher velocity. Remember, a bullet is a little bit of lead and copper being squeezed out of a tube by an explosion that takes place behind it. Increase the pressure, the bullet travels faster.
+P ammo, however, puts more mechanical stress on the gun, as the action of semi-automatics cycles harder and the chamber is subjected to higher pressures.
Make sure that your firearm is rated for +P use before using any. Factory +P ammunition will be marked “+P” on the headstamp, except for NATO loads such as 9mm NATO, a 124-gr 9mm+P loading. However, NATO ammunition is still overpressure, so take care before using it.
Unless the manufacturer clearly states that your firearm is rated for +P, don’t use any.
Safe Ammo Storage
For safe ammo storage, you should stow it somewhere that is relatively temperature controlled and dry. It isn’t necessary to invest in a humidor like you would get for cigars, but merely store where it can’t easily get wet.
People who live in humid areas should find some sort of enclosed storage. A stout lockbox or safe should suffice.
Likewise, total temperature control isn’t necessary, as normal temperature levels in the typical home are perfectly tolerable. So long as a cartridge isn’t subjected to wild temperature fluctuations and moisture, it can be stored for decades without issue.
However, unused rounds from a hunting trip or range day can get wet due to inclement weather or other sources of moisture. Therefore, take care to dry ammunition prior to returning them to storage, else corrosion will occur and the rounds will deactivate.
Take care to keep ammunition from suffering sharp knocks and dropping, so store it in a location where it isn’t likely to be knocked over and preferably well out of the reach of children.
A fireproof storage container is also recommended, as the last thing you’ll want to worry about in the event of a house fire is dodging bullets.
Mechanical Safety Features: What They Are, And How To Use Them
Every gun has some sort of mechanical safety feature if not multiple mechanical safety features. Part of safe operation and carrying of a firearm is to understand their function and their use.
Bear in mind that mechanical safety devices aren’t a replacement for safe operation and carrying of firearms. A person who carries or operates a gun in an unsafe manner is unsafe, and no safety device will undo that.
With that said, let’s briefly go over the typical safety features on most firearms.
Firing pin block: this blocks the firing pin and/or striker unless or until the trigger is pulled. The block is connected to the trigger via a tilting link, which moves the block out of the way so the firing pin can detonate the primer.
Transfer bar: found on revolvers, a transfer bar is a piece of metal that blocks the hammer from hitting the firing pin. The transfer bar drops out of the way as the trigger is pulled.
Striker trigger safety: these devices are found on modern striker-fired pistols. The trigger connects to a bar, which connects to the striker mechanism that hits the cartridge. When the trigger is untouched, the trigger bar is disconnected from the firing mechanism.
Manual safety: a manual safety blocks a component of the gun and prevents it from firing. Some block the slide, some block the trigger. Manual safeties are found on handguns and long guns alike.
Grip safety: a grip safety is a slide and trigger block controlled by a lever on the back of the grip. The block lowers out of the way when the pistol is grasped.
Decocker/decocking safety: a decocker, found on semi-auto pistols, blocks the firing pin while dropping the hammer to uncock it. Some are also decocking safeties, locking the hammer or slide as well as decocking it.
Magazine safety: a magazine safety is a passive safety feature that blocks the trigger when a magazine is not in the pistol. Inserting the magazine unblocks the trigger bar. This feature is very uncommon in the US, but is common elsewhere.
None of these devices, of course, take the place of safely carrying, storing, and shooting a firearm. Nothing makes a gun totally safe, except for safe use by the operator. All safety devices do is add another layer of safety.
Understood in that light, if you use, handle and carry guns safely…they aren’t completely necessary.
Except, of course, with the following exceptions:
Single-action semi-automatic pistols were designed to be carried cocked-and-locked, meaning with a round chambered, the hammer back and the safety on. Therefore, a 1911, micro 1911, Browning Hi Power or other SAO semi-auto, should be carried this way.
This is also how a CZ-75 is supposed to be carried, given that they have a manual safety but no decocking mechanism despite having a double-action trigger.
Traditional double/single action semi-autos with a decocking feature, such as a Beretta 92 or Sig Sauer P226, are meant to be decocked for carrying.
These pistols and those like them are meant to be used in conjunction with a safety device, as that is how these firearms are designed.
Long guns kept for home defense…are a topic of some debate.
Some believe they should be kept with ammunition in the gun but the action open. Others believe the gun should be stored loaded and with the safety on…and then you make sure the gun can’t be gotten to, dropped, fall over or otherwise have anything happen to it.
So long as the gun is stored safely, handled and operated safely, it won’t make a difference.
Point being that if you store, handle, and shoot guns in a safe manner…a manual safety is only a layer of safety rather than the source of it.
Children And Gun Safety
One of the highest risk groups for serious injuries or fatalities due to accidental discharges is children, which is why gun safety is of paramount importance if one has children in the home or they are present while handling firearms.
Safety concerns regarding children and firearms is a sensitive topic. Some people refuse to have guns in their home for this reason, or refuse to allow anyone who carries in their home.
Keeping guns away from children was the genesis of the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990, which has remained a source of controversy. Likewise, many businesses that cater to children and parents refuse to allow people to carry there when legally permitted, and so on.
Granted, automobiles, heights and water are just as dangerous. Accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control (see the National Vital Statistics Report and this page on child health and mortality) are the leading cause of death for those aged 0 to 14 years and motor vehicle accidents, falls and drowning are the most frequent types of fatal accidents.
However, according to the Brady Campaign (PDF), 2,703 children died as the result of injuries from firearms in 2011.
Suicides by firearm accounted for 61 percent (1,651), 32 percent (850) were due to homicide by firearm, and 5 percent (140) were due to unintentional injury. An additional 16,700 were injured.
Most people have seen horrific news reports of what can happen when children gain access to firearms.
Shooting incidents involving children takes several forms. One is where children shoot people – such as a playmate, sibling or parent – unintentionally, believing the gun wasn’t real or something to that effect or not knowing what they were doing. Another common occurrence is when improper handling leads to a discharge that strikes a child. Yet another is when a child uses a firearm to commit suicide, and then there are homicides by firearms.
The latter two are most common among teenagers.
Teens are more likely to commit suicide by firearm than any other age group from birth to 18 years of age. They are also more likely to commit murder with a firearm, including that of another teen, or conversely be murdered with a firearm than any other age group of people under age 18.
Often enough, the most effective act of gun safety regarding children is merely to store them properly.
Safe Gun Storage Cannot Be Overemphasized
If there is one action a person can take that will virtually guarantee children will never be harmed by a gun in the home, it’s safe gun storage. Keeping firearms and ammunition locked and out of the reach of children is the best and most reliable method for preventing tragedy.
The EveryTownResearch organization, a pro-Second Amendment organization dedicated to gun safety, found in its research that between December 2012 and 2013, at least 100 children died in unintentional shootings.
Of those, their findings suggest, 70 percent were preventable simply by locking guns away.
Many have likely read a news report where a young child gained access to a loaded firearm and shot themselves, a sibling or playmate or a relative with it.
Often, they didn’t know it was loaded, didn’t think it was real, or didn’t know it was real or loaded. A great deal of these incidents likely would have been prevented had the gun been locked away.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide was the second most common cause of death for those 10 to 34 years of age in 2014.
Young adults and teenagers have long been one of the highest risk groups – though adults aged 25 to 34 years are a risk group as well – and it is likely that many teen suicides are preventable if firearms were locked away with only parental access being possible.
The Brady Campaign also reported 68 percent of school shooters obtained firearms from their home, typically from a parent or relative.
Ideally, all guns in a home will be stored locked and unloaded, with ammunition stored likewise locked and separately from one’s firearms. However, not everyone is going to. A good deal of people like to have at least one loaded firearm accessed easily in case a defensive need arises, such as a pistol like many keep on or in a nightstand.
If you decide that you need to have a loaded handgun, that isn’t to say it’s unsafe. With proper monitoring, it’s perfectly fine. However, to stay as safe as possible, you should keep your handgun holstered on your person at all possible times.
If you keep some other manner of firearm loaded for defensive or other purposes – many people keep a shotgun or AR-15 for home defense – the weapon should be kept with the safety on and out of reach for children. A gun safe or securely locked cabinet would be ideal.
The NRA has their own safety campaign for children, replete with a mascot called “Eddie the Eagle” and a flock (or rather, convocation) of friends that teach children about the subject.
These materials are widely disseminated, but advocate four rules for children if they see a gun laying around.
These steps, if followed, create a safety protocol and procedure for unattended firearms.
Resolving Child Curiosity About Guns
Children are curious, and child curiosity about firearms is naturally a source of concern.
Curious children have caused accidental discharges, shot playmates, and been involved in other terrible accidents involving firearms, and therefore it behooves parents or people with children constantly in their home to ensure children are made less curious about firearms and/or cannot access them.
The right age for children to be introduced to guns is a matter of debate.
Some hold that numerical age is not a good rubric to go by and stress that emotional maturity is a better gauge of when a child will be ready for being introduced to firearms.
One of the most common recommendations is to perform routine gun maintenance around children. Have them observe guns being cleaned, so they become used to the sight of firearms in the home.
Teaching Gun Safety
At some point, parents will have to have “the talk” with their children regarding guns. Naturally, children need to be instructed about the potential for injury or death and therefore to respect firearms as such.
The appropriate age for this, again, is a topic of some debate. Some believe that when observable “gun play” begins – whether in boys or girls – that’s when the discussion is warranted. Some prefer to do so when the child can appreciate and retain the information.
Many people are given a pellet or airsoft gun as their first “firearm.” While many learned gun safety this way, these “guns” are still capable of causing injury.
The common refrain of “shooting your eye out” has a more than modicum of truth, so these “starter guns” should be accompanied with lessons in firearm safety, especially the Four Rules of Gun Safety.
Shooting playmates, siblings, animals or anything other than targets should not be tolerated.
In this manner, a BB, pellet or airsoft gun can be a good teaching tool for the rules of safety. If any of the rules are broken or not observed, confiscate it and return it when you think the child is ready to begin observing them.
Some recommend starting a child off with a toy gun and then graduating them to their first air-powered gun once they’ve demonstrated they can handle the toy gun safely.
When teaching gun safety to children, it may be difficult to drive home the point of how dangerous a gun can be. Some recommend finding an object to shoot to demonstrate the destructive power of ammunition.
A large, fleshy fruit such as a melon of some sort (be it watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew) can be a good visual aid.
A 2012 CNN article quotes a girl named Robin (she didn’t provide her last name) whose father demonstrated the destructive potential using a jar of red Kool-Aid during her childhood.
The jug exploded when shot with a .410-gauge shotgun, which made an impression on her, as did the recoil from his .357 Magnum revolver. She maintains that she got a healthy fear and respect for guns from that point on.
If you feel your child isn’t grasping one or any concept relating to firearms safety, they probably aren’t ready yet.
Additionally, there are also a lot of parents that have children with special needs. While many special needs children are perfectly capable of learning proper firearms safety, some are not. In the case of the latter, safe storage is an absolute must if any guns are to be kept in the home.
Youth Gun Safety Education Outside The Home
Gun safety in the home is one thing, but what about outside the home?
Range days require safe handling and safe shooting. If your child cannot safely handle, then they cannot safely shoot.
Some people will hold their child whilst they shoot, which certainly can work for young children and help absorb the recoil, though this is totally the choice of the parent. Another school of thought is not to let someone shoot a gun they can’t control.
Before a child should appear on a range, they should be able to properly handle and control a gun. They should also be instructed in safe shooting, such as never shooting at hard, flat surfaces or at any target without knowing what’s beyond it.
What if you and your child are at another home where guns are present, or just your child themselves, such as the home of a friend or a relative?
Naturally, you can’t anticipate everything in advance. If you know what other homes your child may frequent, it’s a good idea to ask if firearms are present in those homes and how they are stored.
If it happens to be the case that firearms in a home your child or children frequent are not stored as securely as in your own, make sure your children know not to touch them and if any are left unattended, to follow the NRA’s steps to stop, don’t touch, leave the area and find an adult and tell them.
If you decide to mention something to another parent, friend or relative about safe storage, do so tactfully. Whilst following best practices for firearm storage are vital, especially when and if children are concerned, some people do not react positively to criticism of what they do in their own home.
Remember that children are naturally curious. They also emulate the behavior of adults, and if you practice improper or cavalier gun safety, they are likely to do the same.
Naturally, parents are human and make mistakes; no one does everything perfectly all the time. However, sticking to and being mindful the basic tenets of gun safety can ensure that your children learn and practice good gun safety themselves.
Summary of Gun Safety
- Remember the 4 Rules of Gun Safety:
- Rule 1: Treat Every Gun as If It’s Loaded
- Rule 2: Never Aim at Something You Don’t Want to Shoot
- Rule 3: Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger Until You Intend to Shoot
- Rule 4: Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Beyond It
Remember to practice only safe shooting.
Remember to use correct ammunition.
Know how your gun works and handle with an abundance of care, as there is no adequate substitution for safe handling.
Only carry in a holster with adequate retention and trigger guard coverage.
“Tedder Industries, LLC d/b/a Alien Gear Holsters (‘Alien Gear’) offers this guide solely for informational purposes and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of the content or information contained herein. All firearms users should obtain training regarding firearm use and safety from certified, professional firearms safety experts, and this guide is not a substitute for such training. Firearms users are required to comply with all applicable legal requirements that come with firearm use and ownership and Alien Gear makes no representations as to those requirements. Alien Gear does not manufacture or sell firearms, and Alien Gear’s products are not designed as, nor are they intended to be used as, firearm safety devices. The owner and user assume all responsibility for firearm safety.”