Firearm Safety: The "do's" and "don'ts" of enjoying guns safely.

Picture of Firearm Safety: The
This instructable will show you some basic firearms safety precautions. I am intentionally keeping this very basic and to-the-point, but may go into more detail in a future instructable. Handling a firearm, like any other deadly item (cars, knives, ballbats, cook-stoves, lanterns, welders, etc.) is no laughing matter. People's lives are at stake.

Eighteen years ago, I lost a dear friend in a hunting accident. He and his uncle were going rabbit hunting. They were both experienced outdoorsmen, and may have developed a lax attitude to gun handling. They did not follow all the appropriate safety measures. He recieved a shotgun blast at point-blank range to the upper thigh and torso. Even though he had the top surgeon in the area working on him within 5 minutes (another close friend) he bled to death right there beside his truck. His young wife lost her husband. His 2 year-old son lost his father. I hope his story will encourage others not to take firearm safety lightly.

This instructable is not intended to be the last word on safety, but rather just a start. Good safety habits are developed and maintained over years. It is also not about "How to Shoot/How to Shoot Better". That's a different Instructable, for a different day. It's not "How to Hunt". It's not a Second Amendment forum. It's just a few precautions on how not to shoot yourself or someone else.

NOTE: This is my first instructable, so if you like it, please rate it accordingly. If you have constructive criticisms, those are appreciated as well. Thanks.
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canadians train to have the same basic knowledge of firearms as every cop and soldier before we civilians can buy that kind of gun. we are licensed to buy a type of gun before we buy it. canada understands that firearms are a dangerous responsibility and not a responsibility that can be handed out with birth certificates like they do in america. too many americans buy guns without any responsibility at all. anyway, here is the canadian safety rules that saves everyone that follows them. [1] go online and read your owners manual before buying the gun [2] learn the a.c.t.s. and p.r.o.v.e. methods of firearm safety and watch the half hour video about safe use, transportation and storage of all firearms on youtube or elsewhere. [3] re-read your owners manual before touching the new gun you bought [4] re-read the a.c.t.s. and p.r.o.v.e. methods of firearms safety before touching you new gun [5] even though you have not used your gun, clean your new, non-fired gun according to the manufacturers instructions about how to clean it after it was used [6] use your gun responsibly [7] clean your gun again and store it under lock and key and store the ammo separately away from the gun [8] thank me later LOL ..... of course certain situations will arise that create a need to "modify" this method. ex: primary use of firearm in america for self-defense.

Funny how you think your military is so well trained and your civilain gun owners. I served in Afghanistan with military from your country and watched many accidental shootings and some pretty stupid sh*t done in and out of combat by your people. Canada has the 4th highest for firearms accidents and crime in the world yet only has approx 35+ million people compared to America that has10 times the amount of people. Funny if you take your firearm and crime accident figures and times them by 10 to equal our population your country would have more of each. I checked you Halifax leads in gun crimes higher percentages then many American cities. Considering the low population and low gun ownership percentage in your country yes you have lower then America but only becuase of that. With 50 states each state has different back ground checks and many have waiting periods up to 1 month to get your friearm once you pass that background check and pay fo the firearm. Your country has nothing special going on and your hunters have just as many accidents as ours but lower population and not as many refugees and illegals coming in to your country also. You cannot get ahunting permit in America with out taking a hunter safety course.

Typogoddess7 months ago

I used to believe all sorts of awful stereotypes about gun owners. It is partly due to awesome Instructablers like you that I have been more respectful and knowledgeable towards lawful gun owners. Now, I've decided to actually learn about firearms, their uses, their makeups, and the people who own them before deciding I have an opinion. I plan to (properly) shoot a gun before voting on laws about them, too.

So thanks. Keep it up. :)

blazygut1 year ago
its really ironic how this is right next to an instructable called "how to make a grease firebomb"...
DconBlueZ2 years ago
Two years ago the 14 year old son of a friend accidentally killed himself - as near we can reconstruct it he was waking across a grassy field carrying a loaded and cocked .22 rifle by the muzzle end of it's forearm, stumbled, muzzle was pointing towards the center of his forehead when the stock struck the ground. Entry wound, no exit wound.

MakarovII2 years ago
You shoot your eye out kid so be careful...
Plo Koon3 years ago
Ole bally3 years ago
couple more for you!

Don't climb through fences or up/ down ladders with a loaded firearm.

Don't shoot at hard surfaces which are likely to cause ricochets!

Don't hand a 'closed' firearm to anyone...ensure the action is open - bolt is back or the slide locked open
Lt.Greg4 years ago
Skunkbait (why'd you choose THAT name? LOL) you did a good job, and your idea is sound, but still not quite "right" (IMHO). In the first place, the rules of firearm safety can be (and were!) codified into just four simple-to-remember rules about forty years ago, by one of the most wise and well-known experts in this arena - the late Lt. Col, John, "Jeff" Cooper - USMC(ret). I suggest that anyone who wishes to know more about firearms, their history and use, and much more, should google this man's name and buy some of his books. Col Cooper's Principles of Personal Defense is a MUST for anyone wishing to learn more about this topic, as is Ayoob's In the Gravest Extreme.

Rule 1 - All guns are always loaded.
Rule 2 - Never let the muzzle cover anything you're not willing to destroy.
Rule 3 - Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
Rule 4 - Always be sure of your target - and beyond.

That's all - no silliness about "always keep the ammo away from the gun", "make sure you read the instruction book" (if you don't, you're a dumbell!), "never handle guns while drunk or on drugs (if you do - you're a moron and you deserve to go to jail!") or any of that other twenty-rule nonsense propogated by the NRA (bless their litigation-minded little hearts) etc.

And as for never keeping ammo with the gun - that only goes so far. For any gun you keep in the safe, you could easily keep the ammo locked up there as well, and certainly when you're dry-firing for practice, you should ALWAYS first double-check for an unloaded magazine and chamber (what you refer to as the barrel in your advice above) and then deliberately place the ammo in another room before you dry fire. And if you keep the weapon in a rack, keeping the ammo in another location is not a bad idea. But for firearms kept for the purposes of self-defense, keeping the ammo separate from the weapon will create some pretty obvious problems!

Instead, keep the gun in a safe place, secure from and out of sight of children and anyone you do not wish to know about it. Never brag or tell anyone about your guns - just family and close like-minded friends. If there is ANY chance that kids will visit - then take whatever extra precautions are necessary to make sure they NEVER will accidentally find your firearms. I've found that a small, quickly-opened one or two-gun safe works well when placed near the bed or in another room - but still far enough away that you must first be fully awake in order to access it. (Some people will disagree with this, and that's their preogative, but the old adage of "keeping the gun under your pillow for speed of access" is for morons and lunatics only!

All in all, I think you did a very good job, and you're obviously a safe and intelligent person. Keep up the good work!

As you were!
Lt. Greg
mcaliber.504 years ago
it's (partly) accidents like what happened to your friend that cause people to believe that guns should not be allowed for citizens, which is why it is so vital for EVERYBODY to know how to handle a gun safely.
Hightechk4 years ago
although you are correct about keeping the gun unladed which i always did with my .22 but you need to always think that the gun is loaded because i came home from a trip to find it loaded so never assume.
Kush_Slayer6 years ago
2. Make sure you are using the correct ammo. Certain rounds will fit in weapons for which they are not intended. The results are almost always disastrous. A 16ga. or 20ga. shell can slip in a 12ga. or 10ga. barrel. I've never understood that, if you load another shot you dont hear it fire and dont see it come out of the gun then dont load another one in(unless your like me and my friends that just shoot stuff and unload the whole magazine as fast as possible into whatever your shooting at(lol i can unload all five shots within 2.5 seconds while bumpfireing)). that is also why semi-autos are better, if it doesnt shoot the first shot it wont load a second
It's not hard to understand: a faulty primer may take longer to ignite the charge and so, you have a hang fire. If you unlock a bolt action and the round suddenly detonates, you'll (at least) feel a bit of pain on your thumb. About semi-autos being better... a revolver will be faster to fire again if you get dead round and you can't beat the reliability of a quality bolt-action like a Mauser.
skunkbait (author)  Esmagamus5 years ago
I agree about the revolver. I've always been a revolver man, surrounded by auto guys. When it's all said and done, a revolver is just going to be more reliable. And if you need more than 6 rounds to take care of business, you probably need to practice more.
It really is a personal choice. I love autos i love the fact you can pack and extra clip and that they both can carry 19 rounds of 9mm
Are you planning on missing a lot?
Under stress maybe. Base things on worst case situations.
And one of those things is training.
My range is indoor so any kinda run and gun and true stress training is not possible. However places like the CATS(correct me if that name is wrong) in California does great run and gun high stress training. But i live in Virginia. Bottom line why not carry the extra rounds. Also i should find my own place to shoot.
Still, any of that will be of little use if your body and your mind aren't properly trained. I bet it's not easy to take aim while panting.
skunkbait (author)  Esmagamus5 years ago
Yep, the last study I read on the subject said that even trained law enforcement officers tended to hit twice (under stress) whether shooting 6 rounds or 16. I'd rather not be liable for all those extra stray bullets!
The last news I've heard about police firing on someone here in Portugal are one shot kills with old 8 rounds Walther P38s. I do know of the double tap technique your law enforcement officers tend to use.
skunkbait (author)  Esmagamus5 years ago
That's good. The study I read was from Florida, back when they were first going to autos. I suspect they were hitting the first two shots, and then out of a stress reaction were just emptying the weapon. Check out I recieved some training from Col. Grossman. He's a real expert in the stress involved in "dropping the hammer" on another living being.
All i can think of is that utah mall shooting where a CCH had his Kimber missed all seven shots(or eight if plus oned) and didn't pack an extra mag or anything.
skunkbait (author)  Coffee bean5 years ago
Yep. Fear/stress/anxiety is the enemy. Proper breathing is the answer.
one day i would love to do so some kinda high stress class type thing.
Join the army!
 I am considering a career in the military for help if payment in college. Plus get values are instilled.
The police in Canada and other countries are not supposed to double tap. The second shot can change it from self defense to man slaughter.
Banning that should be a crime in itself. All I does is demise the confidence of the cop.
It doesn't mean you CAN'T shoot a person twice if you need to. It just means that if you double tap where a single show would have worked it can be bad. The police unlike the military do not intend to kill the target if at all possible.
If you are in life threatening danger you should be able to fire two rounds if you feel it is needed. I wouldn't want to be standing in court disputing if I fired two shots .30 seconds apart or 1 second apart. But more important is fact that there are clearly saying they don't think their police have the decent judgement. Whenever you do that you take away some confidence. Instead of feeling that his department will stand behind you, you feel that your department may be prospecting you.
skunkbait (author)  mitchell125 years ago
I have mixed feelings on that. If two shots were needed, and the cop was afraid to fire again, an innocent bystander could still be harmed by the perp.
i think a bigger problem is 5.56 in a .223.
Exact same round, and I mean EXACTLY. Convert 5.56mm into inches and you will come up with .223 Same powder charge, same grained-bullet, same length, same everything except numbering system.
skunkbait (author)  recon5065 years ago
That's what I thought. My son has one. But if I remember correctly, my grandfather had some rounds for his that were much hotter than normal. Maybe someone gave him some heavy reloads.
Possibly, however I'm more inclined to believe that your grandfather received some military rounds, as opposed to the civilian ones you can buy today. If I recall correctly, militarized rounds circa 1980 and before were sometimes up to 25% more powerful than heir civilian counter parts.
skunkbait (author)  recon5065 years ago
That was probably the case. He was still in the Army back then. He may have gotten some rounds that were being "disposed of". I was little and that rifle of his really kicked. But my sons rifle is very gentle. I imagine it's the difference in military and civilian rounds.
A war veteran told me about the 9mm rounds the Portuguese army issued back in the colonial war being immensely hotter than civilian ones: "they made this little hole in the front and a this huge hole in the back". I now some soldiers spent their leisure time filing the copper jackets of their ammo to make dum-dum rounds.
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