- +- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- A safe direction is one in which an accidental discharge will not cause injury to yourself or others. Do not allow your gun to point at anything you do not intend to shoot. Be especially careful during loading or unloading and always treat every gun as if it were loaded.
- +- Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
- Load your firearm only when you are in the field or on the target range and ready to fire. Do not let a loaded gun out of your sight or out of your hands. Unload it as soon as you are finished shooting. Unload before you bring it into your car, camp, or home. Unload the firearm completely of all ammunition.
Before handling a firearm or passing it to someone else, visually check the chamber, receiver and magazine to be certain they do not contain ammunition. Always keep the action open when not in use. Never assume a gun is unloaded. Check every time.
- +- Don't rely on your gun's safety.
- A firearm’s safety is a mechanical device and it could fail. Or the safety may have been disengaged without your knowledge. A safety supplements the proper handling of a firearm; it does not serve to free the user to ignore or take less seriously the guidelines regarding firearm safety. Don't touch the trigger on a firearm until you are ready to shoot. Keep your fingers away from the trigger when you're loading or unloading.
- +- Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target.
- Before you pull the trigger, be absolutely sure of your target and what is behind it. Make sure your shot has a backstop such as a hillside or sand.
- +- Use Proper Ammunition.
- Using the wrong ammunition, mixing ammunition or using improperly reloaded ammunition can cause serious personal injury or death. Use ammunition that exactly matches the caliber or gauge of your gun. Refer to the instruction manual if you are not sure.
- +- If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.
- If the ammunition does not fire when you pull the trigger, stop. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your face away from the breech, then put the safety on, carefully open the action, unload the firearm and dispose of the cartridge safely.
- +- Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
- Your sight and hearing should be protected at all times. Wear protective shooting glasses to guard against falling shot, clay target chips, powder residue, ruptured cartridge cases and even twigs and branches in the field.
Continued exposure to shooting noise can permanently damage your hearing. On the range, where shooting volume is the loudest, be sure to use the maximum protection of a headset. Use earplugs in the field, especially in confined locations like duck blinds.
- +- Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
- Before loading your gun, open the action and make sure there's no ammunition in the chamber or magazine. Check the barrel for any obstructions or debris. Even a small amount of snow, mud, excess lubricant or grease in the bore can dangerously increase pressure and cause the barrel to bulge or burst when firing.
- +- Don't alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly.
- Your firearm has been designed to operate according to certain factory specifications. You will likely jeopardize your safety and that of others around you by attempting to alter its trigger, safety or other mechanisms. Do not alter or modify your firearm in any way.
- +- Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
- Firearms have different mechanical characteristics that dictate how you should carry and handle them. Anyone who plans to use a firearm should first become totally familiar with the type of firearm it is and the safe handling procedures for loading, unloading, carrying, shooting and storing it.
- +- Shoot Sober
- Alcohol, drugs and guns are a deadly combination. Never consume anything that would impair your judgment or physical coordination.
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