Around 60,000 to 2.5 million defensive gun uses take place each year.
What’s a defensive gun use?
While the definition can vary from state to state, generally speaking, defensive gun use occurs whenever someone uses a firearm in self-defense. It just goes to show that owning a gun can make the difference between life and death.
As a gun owner, you understand that your safety is your responsibility. To help you stay as safe as possible, we’ve created this first-time gun buyers guide. Our gun guide will review the top 4 rules of gun ownership, along with a few more helpful tips.
Read on to learn how to be a responsible gun owner.
- Keep Your Finger off the Trigger
Let’s kick off this gun guide with rule #1: Keep your finger off the trigger! When you attend gun safety courses, trigger finger discipline is one of the first things they’ll teach you. Learning finger discipline is tricky since your trigger finger naturally wants to hold on to the gun.
However, you have to train your mind and body to leave your trigger finger extended, yet ready to go. After you practice gripping your gun with the trigger finger extended, the position will begin to feel more natural.
Where Exactly Does the Trigger Finger Go?
If you’re not ready to shoot, your trigger finger can extend alongside the frame of the gun. We suggest putting your trigger finger up as high as you comfortably can. The higher up your trigger finger is, the further it’ll be from the trigger guard. While you’re on the range, you may notice other gun owners resting their trigger fingers on the front of the trigger guard.
However, letting your finger sit near the trigger guard makes it more likely that you’ll shoot accidentally if you trip, or are startled. Another advantage of keeping your trigger finger high up is that gun instructors can easily see that your finger is safely off the trigger.
- Know What Lies Beyond Your Target
Moving on, we have rule #2: Know your target and what’s behind it. Whether you’re at the shooting range, or out in a field all by yourself, you have to take the time to fully understand the area of your target. By fully understanding your target area, you’ll be able to avoid accidentally shooting something you didn’t mean to.
For instance, if you’re shooting a target in the field, but there are woods in the background, you could accidentally shoot someone passing by. Another factor to consider is the risk of an accidental ricochet. If you don’t know everything that lies beyond your target, a stray bullet could wind up ricocheting and causing you harm.
For example, water is great at deflecting bullets. Should you unknowingly shoot a river or lake, the bullet could bounce off the water and come zooming your way!
Build a Backstop
If you’re having a tough time finding a secure place to shoot, you can try making your backstop. Backstops are commonly seen on firing ranges, and they serve as a background to capture bullets.
To set up your backstop, you’ll first need to scout a location that’s away from roads, homes, and buildings. Once you have a good spot, you can check out this guide to get specifics on the best back stop materials and construction tips.
- Pretend the Gun Is Loaded
Next on our first-time gun buyers guide, rule #3 is all about respecting your firearm. You should make a habit of only loading your gun when you’re ready to use it.
However, rule #3 states that you should always pretend that your gun is loaded, even when you’re positive it isn’t. Why? Everyone makes mistakes, and it’d be very easy for you to assume your gun’s empty, when in fact it’s loaded and ready to go. By treating your firearm with the same respect, whether or not it’s loaded, you’ll be guaranteeing the safety of yourself, and those around you.
Showing Your Gun to Guests
Should you let your friends hold your gun? It depends on the friend and the environment. For instance, let’s say your with a friend who’s experienced with firearms, and it’s just the 2 of you in your house.
You could responsibly let your friend hold your unloaded gun without having to worry about having any issues. Whereas, if you have a house full of people, and everyone’s been drinking, that’s never a situation a firearm should enter into.
- Aim at Things You Want to Shoot
Last but not least, we have rule #4: only point your gun at things you’re going to shoot. If you follow the rule of pretending that the gun’s always loaded, it makes sense why you wouldn’t want to point it in the wrong direction.