You must never act foolishly or play with air guns or air rifles. They are perilous when they are not handled carefully or used in a proper manner and can easily harm or even kill you, and those in your presence. With an air gun/air rifle, there are no chances and the rules for safe handling need to always be followed so as to evade accidents.
A lot of folks asked us to create a blog on the fundamentals of air gun/air rifle safety, a piece that would be excellent for novel shooters and an absolute refresher for the more experienced ones?’ We found this an ideal opportunity, and demonstrating shooting safety is something that a lot of you would be doing obviously, but you could all do with a top-up of extra information every now and then.
Here are 10 essential air rifle safety rules that you simply cannot miss:
One of our highest concerns is people handing you an air gun/rifle and stating that, ‘It’s not loaded’. This seems like normal statement, but never, ever trust it! Consider every air gun/air rifle to be loaded until you have been proved otherwise. It takes a couple of seconds to crack the breech and examine, and no one will ever have a problem with you having a quick check. Also, we have come up with a brilliant suggestion – Always examine your air gun/rifle after it goes into and comes out of a cabinet or storage. This is something many folks had never done, but something they ensure to do now. So – keep in mind that all air guns/rifles are loaded, until proved to be otherwise.
This is so vital. Always think about your barrel and which direction it’s pointing towards. Unless the air gun/rifle is pointing over the target line, the barrel must always be pointed safely at the ground. When you approach the shooting line, it’s healthy practice to keep your bag pointing toward the target line, so when you take out the air gun/rifle, it’s automatically pointing down range.
There is only one time that your finger need to be on the trigger, and that is just prior to you taking the ultimate shot. Many top shooters have a very precise system for what they do; they line up the shot and only when its targetting, do they place their finger on the trigger, and over the years, this has earned them bonus points. Sometimes when your hands are cold and drenched, your fingers tend to become numb, and when you go to place your finger on the trigger, the air gun/rifle will go off. You might have nudged it, or had a twitch, or just not even felt the trigger, but the pellet is now gone. So, finger off the trigger until you have targetted at the aim.
Remember this is a weapon, and if it is disrespected it could harm you or someone else. It might be a pellet gun, but it’s still a gun, so if you see a shooter not following safety protocols, bring it to their attention and if they don’t like it, speak to the instructor. Fortunately, our sport is incredibly safe and it’s only through people like you who are understanding this, that the sport will stay that way.
Most modern rifles possess safety catches that are used to evade accidental discharge for a safer handling and even though we applaud the use of these, never trust them totally. We have come across known safety catches that failed. So, use the safety, but never trust it since they do fail.
Compressed air tanks for PCPs possess a huge amount of potential energy and must at all times be treated with care. Having one rolling around in the boot of a car will be very unsafe. God forbid, if you have an accident and a car fire, you need to tell the fire brigade that you have an air tank in the boot since an exploding tank will rip through a car – and a fireman.
Make sure your tanks are certified & tested and that the hose pipes used to fill the air guns/rifles are undamaged and in healthy condition. Fill your air guns/rifles slowly and always get tanks filled from a reputable filling source.
When you have finished shooting, you must place your rifles and pistols out of reach of unexperienced individuals. You can use a gun cabinet, a locked case, or even chain your rifles to a post, by way of a bike lock. If you must store them under the bed or in a cupboard, use trigger locks, and chain them to the bed frame. Try to conceal them and do your best not to advertise their presence.
If you see someone doing something wrong, guide them and help them. There is no need to be rude. However, if they are pointing an air rifle/ gun the wrong way, a raised voice is sometimes called for because that’s a safety issue.
Guns have complicated mechanisms that are designed by experts to function properly in their original condition. Any alteration or change made to them after manufacture can make the air gun/rifle dangerous and will usually void any factory warranties. Do not jeopardize your safety or the safety of others by altering the trigger, safety or other mechanism of any air gun/rifle or allowing unqualified persons to repair or modify a gun. You’ll usually ruin an expensive gun. Don’t do it!
Not all air rifles/guns are the same. The method of carrying and handling them varies in accordance with the mechanical characteristics of each of them. Since air rifles/guns can be so different, never handle any of them without first having thoroughly familiarized yourself with the particular type of air rifle/gun you are using as well as the safe handling rules. You should always read and refer to the instruction manual you received with your air rifle/gun, or if you have misplaced the manual, simply contact the manufacturer for a free copy.
Well, these are 10 rules to help us stay safe whilst shooting. If you have any more, please is me know and maybe we can do a ‘part two’.
Stay safe and shoot straight