Common Firearms Handling Mistakes you’ve been making

Guest Post by Josh Montgomery

Firearms are both dangerous and useful. When used correctly, they make amazing outdoor recreational activities. If misused, they can cause harm to not only you but to other people and property around you. Before using your firearm for hunting or any other activity, you should familiarize with these mistakes that could cause death, unnecessary injury and theft.  

  1. Assuming all firearms operate the same

Not all guns are alike. Before using a tool for the first time, you should familiarize with its operation. When you receive a new gun, read through the manual and understand it before assembling. If you get a used one, ask for the owner’s manual and take it to a competent gunsmith for inspection.  In case you cannot trace the owner’s manual, contact the manufacturer and ask for another one. When selling or trading your gun, remember to transfer the manual as well.

  1. Not treating all guns as if they were loaded

Inspecting a firearm and clearing it for use is a knowledgeable and responsible participant at the range. Before using a weapon, even if you are the one who put it away, assume that it is loaded and treat it as such. Do not act as if someone else handled the unloaded gun. Take the time to inspect it and take the necessary precautions before using it. If you feel that you aren’t familiar with a firearm, do not accept it into your hands. It is okay to seek assistance for a demonstration on the safety and proper use of a gun.

  1. Using the gun for its unintended purpose

It is not an impact weapon, pry bar or hammer. Forget what the flashlight ads say and don’t use your firearm to drive nails. Remember that’s a firearm and handle it appropriately. Put that in mind before engaging your hands and don’t leave anything for chance. When handling a gun, turn the mental switch that now you are holding a weapon that can do both good and harm. When it comes to firearm safety, you can never be too careful.

  1. Pointing the muzzle on things you don’t want to destroy

Situational awareness is a critical factor in gun safety. Before using your firearm, take note of the environment and establish a safe direction. The safe course is the one which will not harm others in case of an accidental discharge. Many people make the blunder of discharging during loading and unloading. Make it your responsibility to know where the gun is pointed, whether it is loaded or not. Alertness not only ensures safety, but it also makes the weapon much more comfortable to use because you are at peace.   

  1. Using the wrong ammunition

Using improper ammunition can result in severe personal injury and also destroy the gun. Firearms are designed, and proof tested to the standards based on the factory loaded ammunition. If you use the wrong bullets, you deviate from the recommended pressures; thus making the arm unsafe. It only takes a cartridge of the wrong caliber to wreck your gun. Spare a minute to countercheck the ammunition you are using and ensure that it matches the gun’s specifications. Do not use wet bullets in your firearms and dispose of them off carefully. Never spray solvents or spray oil on ammunition.  

  1. Failing to unload and secure firearms when not in use

Load your gun only when you are on the range or in the field and ready to shoot. Once you are done, unload the firearm and keep it in a secure place. Make sure you empty both the magazine and the chamber. Open the action before storing it.  Keep your guns in a safe place where unauthorized persons cannot gain access. Remember that it is your responsibility to secure the storage area. When you receive a firearm from another person, check the magazine, receiver and chamber to ensure that there isn’t any ammunition inside. Never carry a loaded gun into your home, vehicle or camp. Whenever you are holding a loaded gun in the field, make sure you unload it before climbing a tree or crossing a fence.

  1. Relying on the gun’s safety

Treat every firearm like it can fire at any moment. The safety feature is merely a mechanical device that can let you down any time. Besides, in case the safety feature is switched off, you will be in for a rude shock. Therefore, never handle a gun carelessly with the assumption that it won’t shoot because you have switched on the safety feature. Irrespective of the safety, any blow that is strong enough to activate the firing mechanism of a firearm can prompt it to shoot. It can happen even when the trigger isn’t touched, such as when you drop the gun. Do not rest a loaded gun against an object since there is a chanced that it will jar, slide from its position and fall with sufficient impact to discharge. The only time you are sure that a gun won’t fire is when the action is open.

  1. Not wearing ear and eye protection when shooting

All shooters should wear protective eye and ear gear when on the range. Prolonged exposure to shooting noises may harm your hearing ability. Shooting glasses protect users from falling shots, twigs and clay target chips. Wear eye protection when dissembling and cleaning the firearm to avert the possibility of solvents, springs and other substances from damaging your eyes.  The rule protects you and ensures you have an enjoyable time on the range or at the field.  

  1. Not taking guns for regular servicing

Your firearm has been designed to operate on factory settings, and it is at its best in that mode. Any alterations might compromise the safe operation of the guns and endanger your life. Just like any other mechanical device, you should maintain and service your weapon regularly. Hire only a skilled gunsmith to repair or service the weapon. Proper lubrication and cleaning are also crucial in ensuring that your firearm functions appropriately.

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