Many people do not realize that being armed and ready for battle is part of the uniform for those on active duty. Being in uniform means that the service member needs to uphold the regulations of their uniform, so here are the top ten cardinal gun safety rules that every service member should always follow in the line of duty.
Treat every gun as if it were loaded. There is never any foolproof way to know whether your weapon is clear until you have cleared it yourself. One way of doing so is by removing the magazine and cocking the slide. Regardless, mistakes happen, so always assume any gun contains live ammunition.
Make sure you’re always holding the gun in a safe position. Safety should always be the first thing on your mind whenever you’re handling firearms. Unless you are aiming to fire, you should never have your weapon out of the safe position at your side.
Never point a gun at anything other than your target. Accidents happen all the time, especially with guns. The loads inside shotgun shells and the bullets from cartridges all tend to ricochet and can badly injure or kill someone if you don’t take the right precautions.
Be aware of your target and what is beyond it. If you are as mindful of your surroundings as you should be, you will also be aware of your target whenever you are ready to shoot. You should also look ahead and to the sides of your target to understand what is around it if you miss or the target moves.
Make sure there is a backstop in place behind your target. Without one, your bullet may travel beyond the target and hit something you didn’t intend it to.
Before handing your gun to another person, make sure it is open and unloaded. This habit should always be your standard. If you do otherwise, you could accidentally harm the other person or yourself.
Always open and unload your firearm while climbing during a hunt. You should be practicing safe climbing anyway, but if your gun or rifle falls off your side or back during the process, it could discharge erratically.
Always be able to identify your prey. Take time to home in on what you want to hunt. Making sure that you want to shoot something before you pull the trigger is the most important thing you can do while hunting.
Never shoot over open water with any weapon other than a shotgun. Since bullets can fly in any direction once they hit the water, shooting over open water is always dangerous.
Alcohol should never be present while you’re handling a firearm. It’s a cocktail for disaster, so just don’t.
When you’re handling weapons, remember that safety always comes first. Whatever happens with a firearm once it’s out in the open is the operator’s responsibility. This goes for military personnel, police officers, and average civilians. Therefore, everyone should follow the top ten cardinal gun safety rules anytime they are near a firearm.