A firearm can help you protect your home, safeguard your family and even put dinner on the table, making them an essential item for anyone willing to learn how to use them.
Taking that first step can be intimidating, though, especially in today’s political climate. You should not be afraid to handle or use your first gun, or to exercise your Second Amendment rights. Familiarizing yourself with the firearm you have purchased until you know everything about it and learning the general rules of gun safety will allow you to join the ranks of responsible gun owners.
The NRA suggests the following steps for new gun owners:
Brush up on Gun Safety Rules
Both firearm safety in general and the specific safety details about your chosen handgun; you can find these in your owner’s manual. The most important components are:
· Muzzle management: where you are pointing the gun
· Trigger discipline: how you are holding the gun/where your trigger finger is
These two principles are at the heart of gun safety, and the first things a new owner should be aware of. A class at your local range and the manual to your new gun can help you become comfortable with safety and handling rules, but knowing these fundamentals is just the first step.
Make Safety Checks a Habit
Any time you handle your firearm, a safety check should be your first step. You’ll become more comfortable handline the weapon when you routinely check and prepare to use it. For a pistol, remove the magazine and lock the slide (to the back) to visually confirm the chamber is empty. You can then reload if desired. This check accomplishes two things – you enhance your personal safety and your comfort with manipulating the different moving parts of the pistol.
Taking this step to verify your firearm is not loaded allows you to familiarize yourself with the moving parts, builds in a good habit and ensures you are always fully in control. Even if you are sure you put the gun away empty, someone tells you it is empty, or you remember emptying it yesterday, you should still perform a basic safety check every time you handle it.
Fieldstripping and Cleaning
The NRA recommends learning to properly fieldstrip your pistol once you are familiar with it and ready to learn more. Fieldstripping, cleaning and maintaining improve your comfort and confidence – and when you learn to fieldstrip while the gun is clean, you’ll have a better sense of what it should look and feel like when you’ve cleaned it. You’ll notice a difference after a trip to the shooting range, and knowing what the piece “should” look like will help you keep your pistol in the best possible condition.
While you can learn safety and fieldstripping at home or on your own, a basic class can increase your comfort level and introduce you to other, like-minded individuals in your own community. Committing to these basics from the start ensures you are able to confidently handle your pistol and that it is ready to use at all times.
~ Firearm Daily