Here at Red Hound we take safety seriously, so for our first ever post we want to go over the cardinal rules of gun handling and range safety.
1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire.
3. Always keep your firearms pointed in a safe direction.
4. Be sure of your target, and your backstop.
Now to go over them:
1. This is the big one; and encompasses the other 3. Following this rule means you're actively thinking about the others. Every time you pick up a firearm, whether its handed to you at the range, or you personally just removed all the rounds, you should consider it to be loaded. 99 times out of 100 you concentrate on the rules and follow them without a hitch, and no danger is presented. But that 100th time, maybe you come home to find the goldfish just ate your shoe so you're a bit distracted. You start to take down your carry gun for cleaning and due to the first 99 times... everything still goes great! This muscle memory that comes with the repetition of anything is one of the big reasons that even if you are 100% sure the firearm you're holding is empty, you still treat it like its loaded. That training can prevent negligent discharges even if your mind is somewhere else.
2. Barring a major mechanical malfunction, keeping your finger off the trigger means a firearm won't fire. A firearm's first and best safety is you.
3. If anything does go wrong, be it a slip of the finger or a worn sear from years of use, ensuring the firearm is pointed away from anything important will help ensure no harm is done aside from maybe a bruised ego.
4. Always double check your target, and whats behind it. Whether you're out hunting, or at the range, make sure that silhouette is really a dear, and that if the round misses or passes through the target, there is something that will stop it before it travels too far.
I think is worth adding safe storage to the list as well. Ideally, keep firearms unloaded, and locked up so they can't be handled without the key. This will help prevent any kids or unauthorized people from getting a hold of them. If you do keep loaded firearms around for defense or anything else, make sure they are out of reach of anyone not qualified to handle them. Also ensure there aren't other objects around to get in the way or cause a misfire if you need to grab them in a hurry.
Keep these rules in mind whenever handling firearms and you'll stay problem free, except for maybe needing a new shoe after that fish is done with it. Have fun and be safe!