Over 27,000 people go to the hospital each year because of a gun-related accident. By learning the proper way to handle a gun, this number could go down.

In the hands of someone who doesn’t know proper gun safety tips, guns can be very dangerous and lead to injuries or deaths.

If you’re going to arm yourself with a gun, you need to arm yourself with knowledge too. Keep reading for four gun safety tips to remember when handling a gun.

1. Treat Every Gun Like It’s Loaded

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If you pretend that every gun you hold is loaded and handle them with care, you’re much less likely to cause an accident.

If someone hands you a gun, don’t assume they’re giving it to you unloaded. Injuries happen every year because people wrongly assumed their guns didn’t have bullets in them.

2. Point Your Gun in a Safe Direction

Similar to tip #1, if you always point your gun in a direction that won’t cause harm, even when the gun is unloaded, you’ll avoid injuries and accidents.

No matter what you’re doing – whether it’s loading, unloading, shooting, or working on the gun – always make sure it isn’t pointed at people, animals, or property. This often means pointing it down towards the ground.

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3. Don’t Touch the Trigger until Ready to Shoot

Some triggers go off at the slightest touch. To avoid shooting the gun when you didn’t mean to yet, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.

Instead of holding your finger on the trigger before shooting, place your finger straight along the frame. This way, if you flinch or move by accident, your gun won’t go off.

4. Know What’s Beyond Your Target

Unless your target is made to stop a bullet, a bullet will pierce the target and keep going. This means that whatever is behind the target could be hit too.

Before shooting a gun, make sure the area behind your target (and around it, in case you miss or the bullet ricochets) is clear and safe. If you can’t confidently say what’s beyond the target, it isn’t safe to shoot at it.

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Extra Gun Safety Tips

While we’ve listed the top four rules for firearm safety, there are still a few other safety tips to follow.

Make sure you know how to use your specific gun properly, as there are many types of guns and each one is different. Whenever you’re shooting, wear ear and eye protection too.

It’s also important to only use the right kind of ammunition for your gun. This article has information on ammunition that can help you stay safe.

Lastly, always keep your gun unloaded and locked up when it isn’t being used. You don’t want anyone who isn’t trained to use it and injure themselves or others.

Shoot Safely

By using caution and always handling a gun as if it’s loaded, you’re much more likely to shoot safely. Follow these gun safety tips to enjoy your shooting experience without causing any harm to yourself or others.

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