Critical Rules of Safe Gun Handling at a Seattle Gun Range
By Space Coast Daily // January 13, 2020
A first-time visit to a Seattle shooting range can trigger an adrenaline rush. Nevertheless, all the excitement of being at the gun range can quickly transform into mishaps, injuries, or worse.
A range is, after all, a place where deadly weapons are discharged so things can go horribly wrong.
If there’s one sacrosanct rule of the gun range, it’s that safety always comes first. Ultimately, these rules are there to prevent us from injuring ourselves or becoming a true ‘Wild, Wild West.’
Whether you are a gun range novice or have been visiting firing ranges for decades, it’s important that you regularly familiarize yourself with the basic rules of gun range firearm safety.
Point the Muzzle in a Safe Direction
Don’t point your gun at anyone or anything you have no intention of shooting. This and the trigger rule we’ll see next are often considered the two foundational pillars of gun safety.
If everyone in or outside a gun range ensured that their firearm’s muzzle was pointed in a safe direction at all times, there would be hardly any injurious or fatal shooting accidents.
Muzzle discipline is especially important when loading or unloading the gun as it’s at this time when there’s a substantial risk of accidental discharge.
Nevertheless, adhere to this rule even when the gun isn’t loaded. Remember that safe direction must take into account the possibility of ricochet (and ricochet direction), as well as the likelihood of a bullet penetrating ceilings and walls.
Don’t Bank on the ‘Safety’
Treat every gun in your care as though it could be fired at any time. Each gun has a safety feature that can be turned on to prevent the weapon from firing unintentionally.
However, safety is a mechanical feature and as with anything mechanical, it can fail and could do so at the absolute worst of times.
The safety switch is a vital aspect of gun safety but certainly isn’t a substitute for basic procedures of safe gun handling. Don’t handle the weapon recklessly in the assumption that there’s no risk of discharge because the safety is on.
Don’t touch the firearm trigger until you are ready and intending to shoot. Do not operate the gun if the safety seems to be in between the safe and unsafe positions.
Unload When Not in Use
Guns must only be loaded at the range when you are in the shooting area and ready to shoot. At all other times, the firearm should be unloaded and, together with the ammunition, placed in a secure place away from unauthorized persons.
It may feel like a bit of an exhausting, unnecessary routine if you will be engaging in multiple firing sessions over the course of your day at the range.
Nevertheless, the inconvenience this comes with pales in comparison to the grim possibilities that moving around with a loaded gun when not shooting portends.
Whenever you receive a firearm and before you hand it over to someone else, open the action and inspect the magazine, receiver and chamber to confirm they do not have ammunition. Keep the firearm’s actions open when the gun isn’t in use.
Know Your Target and What Lies Beyond It
Once a bullet leaves your gun’s muzzle, what happens next is outside your control and cannot be reversed. So don’t take a shot unless you are certain that you are aiming for the desired target. It’s not just about the target but also what lies past it.
The average shooting range in Bellevue WA or the greater Seattle area will go to great lengths to make sure the backdrop of their targets is a safe space.
Nevertheless, there’s no harm in ascertaining the same yourself (with the range staff’s guidance of course in order not to endanger your own safety).
No gun range target is so urgent that it doesn’t afford you the time to ascertain it’s safety and where your bullet will ultimately stop.
Shooting ranges are a famously safe environment and accidents are extremely rare. Nevertheless, it’s important that you understand these four basic principles of firearm safety so you can play your part in keeping it a place that doesn’t endanger life.