It can’t be stressed enough. Safety is first, last, and always a part of everything you should do when it comes to handling firearms because let’s face it: an accident can turn a great day at the range into a complete disaster.
So with that idea planted firmly in your mind here are 4 rules, that if followed, will keep everyone at the range safe.
A safe direction means this: if the rifle were to discharge, the round would not cause damage to person or property. As every situation is different, I can’t tell give you a one-size-fits-all answer to what a safe direction is. For instance, if you are at a traditional range, the range safety officer will appreciate it if you keep the muzzle pointed directly up at the sky until you get to the shooting area. Then and only then you should orient your muzzle toward a sturdy berm of dirt or some other backstop.
Your rifle’s magazine should be removed, action locked open, and safety engaged until you are ready to load it. Get a chamber flag and use it. This will help you and those around you quickly identify that your rifle doesn’t have a round in the chamber.
When holding your rifle, keep your finger out of the trigger guard. Make it a habit to rest your finger outside the trigger guard and along the side of the stock until your sights are on target and you've made the decision to fire.
It doesn’t matter if you are at the range with good friends or shooting alongside perfect strangers, keep an eye out and make sure they are following these safety rules too. If you observe unsafe behavior, do not ignore it. If you aren't comfortable addressing it personally, consult a Range Officer. If that doesn't work, gather your things and safely leave the area.
When my friends and I hit the range, you can bet your bottom dollar that these rules are strictly followed. Please remember, we aren’t playing tennis. An accident involving a firearm can have deadly consequences. So feel free to print a copy of these rules and keep them in your range bag. Review them often, until you know them by heart.
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