Manager of the Palmetto Shooting Complex at the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rhett Simmons, reminds us of the importance of firearm safety.
“It’s crucial. You can’t recall a shell after you pull the trigger,” Simmons said.
In order to keep accidents from happening, all shooters need to police themselves and others around them.
“Be aware of your surroundings. If someone has a gun pointed in an unsafe direction, tell them,” Simmons said.
He notes there are only two safe directions to point your gun: up or down range.
Some folks carry their gun barrel pointing down. It’s a pretty safe bet, but there are a couple of good reasons to stick with the options above.
- Your feet are down there — it’s never good to shoot yourself in the foot.
- If you trip, stumble or fall, the gun barrel will go right in the ground. Kids are notorious for making this mistake. — barrels can be easily obstructed — if dirt, grass or any other object obstructs the barrel, shooting can be very dangerous.
When you are shooting at the range or out in the field, remember the acronym “MAT” to help follow safety protocol.
M (muzzle): Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
A (action): Keep the action open and the firearm unloaded until ready to use.
T (trigger): Keep your finger off and away from the trigger until ready to shoot.
In addition to the safety tips above, Simmons reminds folks not to cut corners or rush when handling a firearm. And to keep the following in mind when hunting and target shooting:
- Keep your firearm and ammunition separated and out of reach from children.
- Double check your ammunition is correct for the type of firearm you are using.
- Ensure no horseplay is taking place and that all parties are alert and aware of what’s going on.
- Be sure anyone shooting has passed a hunter safety course and has a good understanding and working knowledge of firearms.
- Eye and ear protection are required in every shooting discipline, even for viewers.
- Don’t rely on your gun’s “safety.”
- Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
When you are being safe, everyone wins!