Written By Jbird | Edited By The Gun Psychiatrist
There are many rules you have to follow before shooting a gun, and as an 11-year-old gun connoisseur, I want to address these very important rules. I first started shooting when I was six years old. The first gun I shot was a Ruger MK4 .22 cal pistol and that’s when I found the joy in shooting.
Not soon after my first time shooting, my passion only developed further as I got to shoot my dads CAI Yugo M70ABM AK-47 under-folder which was awesome. As fun as shooting is, my dad quickly ingrained certain rules that I must follow to be safe.
Rule number one, always keep your finger off the trigger until you have acquired the target and are ready to fire. Even if the safety is on, there is always a probability it is loaded or could chamber a round. I always treat a gun like it is loaded, even if the gun is not loaded. This is why you must always keep a gun pointed in a safe direction as well. Failing to do so could injure another person or even worse, kill them.
Rule number two, wearing eye and hearing protection is critical. Hearing damage can occur at just 85dB, yet a 22 rifle can produce over 140dB when fired, so hearing damage can happen quickly. Investing in a good pair of plugs will save your hearing so you can have those awesome gun conversations with your friends and family.
Eye protection is just as important. Without it, you risk catching a piece of hot brass, dirt, or other debris in your eye. If you can’t see, you can’t shoot, and I love shooting too much to risk never being able to shoot again. Always put on a pair of safety glasses before picking up a gun, they are super cheap, and even this 11-year-old can afford them.
Rule number three, having good range etiquette and being aware of your surroundings is very important. When I go to the range with my dad, I try to pay attention to several things. I first look to see who is at the range and if other shooters are present, my first thought is where I am going to shoot.
In addition to knowing where you are going to shoot, I ask myself where my brass will be going. This is great situational awareness, as I always pay attention to where other shooters are at on the range. Have they moved? Have they walked back to their vehicle? Are they attempting to go down range without communicating their intentions? These are critical thoughts before placing your finger on the trigger.
Next to gun safety, communication is the second most important rule in range etiquette. For example, when we pull up to the range and shooters are present, I like to introduce myself only after they are done shooting. Doing so is important because I am laying the foundation for positive communication at the range. This will come in handy when we all need to check the targets or walk down range.
Rule number four, knowing what is behind your target before you shoot is just as much important as treating every gun like it is loaded. Whether you are in the woods, an outdoor range or even have the luxury of a backyard shooting range, knowing what the bullet is doing after impact is critical. Dirt shooting berms with no bullet catch system are susceptible to worm holing. Worm holing is when a bullet travels through the berm and continues flight. I have personally witnessed this at a backwoods range I went to one time and it is quite scary.
If I ever go shooting in an unfamiliar place that is not a range, like a family members backyard or in the woods, I like to use Google maps to see the path of my bullet. Google maps will not only show me satellite imaging of the area but I can also view terrain (elevations), houses, and even measure the distance I think my bullet can go. Even though this technology is readily available, images can be out of date, so it is still best to walk the flight path of my bullet.
In closing, I think it is critical for everyone to apply the things I have discussed in this paper. I am only 11 years old, and though I may have only touched on the most critical points of gun safety, I only continue to learn every day. The most important thing I have learned when it comes to gun safety is, it all starts with attitude! A positive attitude will contribute to a positive and safe shooting environment. Whereas, a person with a negative attitude in regards to shooting safety will promote dangerous situations and never learn. Thanks for reading and I hope you will apply these rules when you shoot as well.