Gun Safety: The most important gun skills you can learn!

I feel comfortable making the statement that the most important firearms-related skills you can learn are gun safety skills. They aren’t high speed. They aren’t sexy and they really aren’t all that fun. What they are is important.

The logical reasons behind the importance of gun safety skills are simple. The consequences of ignoring gun safety and experiencing a firearms accident are severe. As a gun owner, you set the example of what gun safety should look like and you need gun safety skills every time you handle your firearms.

Gun safety skills - which direction is safe to point your gun in your current environment?
Part of Gun Safety is understanding what direction is safe in your current environment. In this hotel room, toward the air handling unit was likely the safest direction to check the condition of my handgun.

Simple Gun Safety Rules

I use the same rules every time I interact with guns. These rules are the same rules I teach to my students and expect them to follow and they are the same rules I expect my loved ones to abide by when they handle firearms.

They are simple rules that are a modification of the NRA’s gun safety rules. I first learned them as a Combat Focus Shooting Instructor. I still use and teach them today.

  • Keep your finger someplace other than the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Keep your gun pointed in a relatively safe direction whenever possible.
  • Remember: You are in control of a deadly weapon. If you use it with negligence or malice you may hurt or kill yourself or someone else.

If you want to learn more about these gun safety rules and why I use them, simply follow this link for some more detailed information.

Firearm safety - keep finger off trigger until you're ready to shoot.
Gun safety includes keeping your finger someplace other than the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Gun Safety: Ignoring the consequences is serious.

When it comes to firearm safety, the consequences of an error are extreme. A simple mistake that may seem like a split-second minor transgression can lead to a serious injury or the loss of life.

Plain and simple, it’s the stakes involved that make gun safety so important. The problem is that often times when someone makes a gun safety error, there are no serious consequences. People plain and simple get lucky. They then assume that their luck somehow means that they did it right.

Those people are wrong. Eventually, they will learn exactly how wrong they are in the form of a negative outcome with their firearm.

The fact that you are reading this article puts you in a separate group. A group of gun owners that wants to ensure that they avoid a firearms accident. Why? Because you know that the consequences of an accident with your firearm are severe.

When it comes to firearm safety it is important to remember to think!
When it comes to gun safety it is important to remember to think!

As a gun owner, you set the example.

You may not think of yourself as an expert when it comes to guns. Reality may be different from your perception regardless of what you think.

Compare yourself to those that might be picking up a gun for the first time. If you know anything about guns, you likely know much more than a first-time shooter. If you have taken even one class you have a significant amount of knowledge that other shooters do not.

Like it or not this immediately elevates you to “expert status” in the eyes of some of the shooters around you. Those shooters are watching you, and more importantly — emulating you. The result is those shooters will adopt and develop the firearm safety skills that you demonstrate.

Your skills and habits become the skills and habits of other shooters. If those skills and habits are solid and safe, you will help other shooters to be solid and safe. If, however, you demonstrate unsafe gun handling skills, you are planting the seeds for someone else’s tragedy.

You are setting the gun safety example. Make it a good one!

Gun Safety
There are several versions of firearm safety rules. These rules come from the Combat Focus Shooting program and they are the rules I use every time I interact with firearms.

You need Gun Safety Skills Often

You need firearm safety skills more than any other gun skills.

Every time you handle a gun you need to be putting your gun safety skills into practice. The stakes are high, but the frequency that firearm safety skills come into play is 100% of the time!

This makes for a big pay off if you know and practice gun safety skills. If you don’t, it makes the likelihood of an accident too high to bear.

Mitigating the likelihood of a gun accident is a relatively simple exercise in most circumstances. Learn firearm safety skills, then put those gun safety skills to use EVERY TIME you handle guns.

It doesn’t matter if you are at a class, at the range, at home with your family, or in the woods alone. Use your firearm safety skills. Always. Expect the same of those around you. Doing so drastically reduces the likelihood that you will experience a firearms accident. If you avoid the accident, you will avoid the consequences and that is the win you are looking for.

Final Thoughts on Gun Safety

If you are a gun owner or use guns there is a risk of a gun-related accident in your life just like there is a risk of automobile accidents for every person that uses automobiles. Just like cars and trucks, firearms have a tremendous upside that more than balances out the potential of risk.

The similarities between cars and guns don’t stop there. You can mitigate the risk of accidents by learning and using safe driving skills, and wearing your seatbelt. When it comes to guns, the acts of learning and using gun safety skills are your seatbelt.

Paul Carlson, owner of Safety Solutions Academy, is a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor.  He has spent the past decade and a half studying how humans can perform more efficiently in violent confrontations and honing his skills as an instructor both in the classroom and on the range. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of Critical Defensive Skills courses in more than a dozen states annually.  Courses range from Concealed Carry Classes to Advanced Critical Defensive Handgun Courses and include instruction for the defensive use of handguns, rifles and shotguns.  Safety Solutions Academy regularly hosts other industry leading experts as guest instructors to make sure that SSA's students have the opportunity for quality instruction across a broad range of Critical Defensive disciplines.


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