Howdy folks. Been a little while since I've done one of these, but I'm bored as hell and have nothing better to do.
Today's topic is firearm safety.
One of the biggest pet peeves of anyone that's been around weaponry for any real length of time is safety. That might seem odd, since guns are inherently unsafe. I mean, you're blasting bits of lead wrapped in copper at several thousand feet per second. Surely there's nothing safe about that, right?
Yeah, no. It's perfectly possible and indeed recommended to practice some basic safety procedures that'll keep you from shooting yourself or your buddies.
First and foremost: treat all guns as if they are loaded at all times. The majority of accidental shootings occur because someone mishandled a firearm they thought was unloaded. This is not something that happens only to green shooters. There are plenty of experienced marksmen who slipped up or got cocky and found out the hard way that it's not worth it to just assume the gun is safe. Always always always assume that a weapon is ready to rock and roll until you've checked it yourself, and even then don't get careless.
With that in mind, always make sure the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction. If you're on a range, usually that means pointed towards the targets. If you're carrying a weapon in the woods, that usually means pointed down. Bottom line, if the worst happens and the gun does go off by accident, you want to make sure it's not pointing at anything you won't mind getting shot. This is especially important when cleaning a weapon. Too many people have blown their heads off looking down a barrel because they didn't check and make sure the gun was safe.
Going further along that line of thought, keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire. This is a huge pet peeve in movies and TV. Since no one tells the actor how to hold the damn thing, they just assume it's fine to keep their booger hook on the trigger. In real life, that's grounds for a beating on a firing range, and it's just asking for a negligent discharge. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the guard until you're ready to shoot. Period.
This next part should probably go without saying, but I'm going to anyway: don't shoot while impaired. I know some guys who like to have a few beers while shooting. I don't shoot with them, because that's retarded. Don't drink and shoot. Don't shoot while high. Or tired. If you're not in peak condition mentally, just load up Call of Duty or Destiny or some crap. It's too easy to make a mistake while impaired, and that's not a risk you should be willing to take. A guy I graduated high school with got his head blown off by his best friend because they were drunk as hell and playing with a shotgun. His buddy threw the gun up on his shoulder with his finger on the trigger and the gun went off. Holden had a closed casket funeral.
This last part is probably the most important: never point a gun at anything you're not willing to kill. For paper targets and clay pigeons, that's not so hard. When it comes to living things, it is. In hunting, worst case scenario is you look like a wuss. In a self defense scenario, it can get you killed. If you draw down on a person, you're not trying to scare them. You're not going to shoot to wound. It is infinitely more difficult to hit someone in the arm and leg, and chances are you'll kill them anyway, because holy crap, arteries. Most preventable combat deaths occur because someone got hit somewhere nonvital and bled out. If you are not completely sure you are ready to take a human life, you have no business carrying a gun. It's an uncomfortable thought, and it should be. No one should take that lightly. But if the time comes where you find yourself in a life or death situation, point at the center of their chest and keep shooting until either they're down or you are.
Anyway, that's the down and dirty. If I left something out, or you have any questions, the comments section and my inbox are open. Thanks for reading.