In the United States, 43% of people live in a household that has at least one gun. Even if you don’t own a firearm yourself, it’s important to learn gun safety in case you ever have to deal with using one.
Whatever the case, you may be considering going to the gun range. It’s always a good idea, since gun safety is paramount if you live in a household with firearms.
So if you’re going to a gun range soon, then read on. Here are 7 safety tips to know before you go.
1. Take a Beginner’s Course
Is it your first time handling a gun? Or has it been a while since you’ve used one?
Then you’ll want to take a beginner’s course to start off with. This can give you all the very basics of using a firearm and get you familiar and comfortable with holding one in your hands.
Not only can you take lessons on particular types of guns (such as handguns and shotguns), but you can also learn how to properly maintain your firearms and build up your skills.
2. Make Sure Your Gun Is Unloaded
Before heading over to any gun range, make sure your gun is completely unloaded. In the majority of states, it’s illegal to drive around with a loaded firearm anyway.
So you want to make sure any guns you’re bringing with you are unloaded and kept in a proper case. You can choose either hard or soft cases; if you wish you use a box, that’s acceptable as well.
Keeping your gun unloaded before you get to the gun range is a good idea because of the law. Gun ranges also have their own policy of checking your ammunition to make sure they’re accepted there.
This means if you’ve loaded up your gun before you get into the gun range, they’ll make you unload it so they can check the ammunition. Save yourself some trouble and just load it after they’ve cleared you.
3. Get Proper Safety Gear
If you’ve never shot a gun before, then you may not realize how loud and damaging it can be to do so without safety gear. You’ll need to get some protection to save your hearing. There’s also the danger of shell casings flying back at your eyes, so you’ll also need eye gear.
The great thing is you can rent or borrow safety gear at most gun ranges, if not all. So if you don’t want to bother with bringing gear, you can just rent or borrow it.
But it may be a good idea to go for a thorough shopping trip. That way, you get equipment that fits you personally. Also, you’ll save money, as you’ll only need to make an initial investment into the safety gear and you won’t have to shell out more money until you need to replace them.
Either way, you’ll need to get shooting glasses and earplugs. If you don’t like earplugs, you can also use earmuffs.
4. Wear Tight-Fitting Clothes
As we’ve said in the section above, there will be bullet cases flying around. Not only are these ejected at high speeds, but they’re also very hot.
If you’re wearing loose clothes, like a big sweater or boat-necked shirt, it raises the chance of those hot casings flying into your shirt. The hot casings can then burn your chest, and in that moment of panic, you might accidentally wave your gun around.
To avoid this happening, wear tight-fitting clothes so no bullets make it onto your bare flesh.
5. Watch Your Trigger Finger
To avoid accidental misfiring, never put your trigger finger on the trigger guard until you’re actually going to fire.
If you have your fingers always on the guard, you may shoot the firearm when you don’t mean to, especially if your finger slips. Make it a habit to not place your finger on the trigger guard unless absolutely necessary.
6. Always Point Guns Muzzle Down
One of the biggest things about gun safety is when you have one in your hand, you shouldn’t be pointing it anywhere near someone’s face or body.
In general, you should point the gun with the muzzle down. Not only is this safer, but it’s probably a rule in most ranges you’ll go to.
In fact, if you point your gun with the muzzle up, you’ll get warned by the range safety officers (RSOs). If you do it multiple times, then they have reason to kick you out. So if you want to stay, make sure to follow the rules!
7. Always Ask Questions
They say “knowledge is power,” and that’s certainly true when it comes to gun safety. If you’re unsure of anything while you’re at a gun range, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
At every gun range, they have RSOs. They’re there specifically to answer any questions or concerns you may have, so make use of their knowledge.
RSOs have to pass many classes and pass the final test with at least a 90% score. And if they don’t pass, then they can only take the exam 2 more times. So you can trust that these are professionals who really know their stuff.
Be Safe When You Go to a Gun Range
Going to a gun range can be a lot of fun, but only if you practice proper gun safety. Holding a weapon in your hands can be a very powerful feeling, but with this privilege comes a lot of responsibility.
Make sure you keep everyone safe whenever you fire a gun, including yourself. Keep these tips in mind, and if you ever feel like you’re not 100% comfortable holding a firearm, then consider getting some assistance from a professional to feel more at ease.
If you’d like to learn more about gun safety, then sign up for one of our classes today.