Air guns can be very dangerous if they’re not handled correctly. In this guide we will be laying out 6 air gun safety rules that are easy to remember and should be practiced every time you pick up an air gun.
1. Only aim at your intended target
Never point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
This rule is the most important rule of all and applies to both firearms and air guns. Whether it’s a paper bullseye, pop bottle, pest, or game that you’re hunting, be sure that you only point the muzzle of your gun at your target.
The saying “always point your gun in a safe direction” isn’t always specific enough. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that an unsafe direction is anywhere you don’t want your shot to go.
If a person walks into your line of fire you must point the gun in another direction immediately. With long guns this is hard enough but with hand guns it’s even worse.
You are more prone to inadvertently point a handgun in an unsafe direction because they’re short barrels allow them to be pointed anywhere very quickly. So always pay attention to where your barrel is pointed and be aware of anyone in the vicinity.
All guns have the potential to fire unexpectedly all on their own. This can happen for a number of reasons but just know that guns can fire when you don’t mean for them to and when you assume they’re unloaded. Therefore never point the muzzle of your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot as this will keep you safe whether the gun is loaded or unloaded.
2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire the gun
Some people keep their fingers on their trigger all of the time. If you’re one of these shooters then get into the habit of taking your finger off of the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
Modern air guns are specially designed so that the shooter is forced to use both hands to cock the gun. This design makes it impossible to keep your finger on the trigger while you’re cocking.
Most modern air guns have safeties that engage automatically when the gun is cocked – but don’t rely on this. The safest measure is to not put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot your rifle or pistol.
3. Treat every gun as though it is loaded
This rule is similar to our first rule. However, we have rule number three for other considerations as well. One of those considerations is related to how some air guns operate.
For example, guns that feed their BB’s by gravity can actually be loaded and yet not fire a BB for several shots. This happens when a BB gets jammed in the BB feeding mechanism.
The danger exists in the fact that the BB can be jarred loose the next time the gun is cocked and shoot the BB by accident. The last thing you want is a BB firing when you’re cocking the gun.
Another example that emphasizes the importance of treating every gun as if it is loaded lies in the real life account of Remington’s 2014 recall of all Remington 700 models. The Remington 700 was said to have a flawed trigger mechanism that could fire the gun without the trigger being squeezed. At least a couple dozen deaths and over 100 serious injuries have been reported.
Treating all guns as if they’re loaded prevents us from having accidents when things like this happen.
4. Always be aware of your backstop and what’s behind it
The first three rules will keep you safe but there are some additional tips you need to think about when shooting any sort of firearm.
The backstop is what prevents a BB or pellet from traveling farther once it hits your target. The safest backstop is dirt but even then you can get into trouble if the ground is too hard.
Many air gunners believe a backstop made out of wood is a safe option but it’s not. A powerful air gun will shoot through several inches of wood with just a few shots. However, it takes a steel plate to stop pellets effectively.
If you’re shooting a BB gun you will need a backstop that will prevent the BB from rebounding.
5. Be aware of how far you’re going to shoot
Is your shot lined up with the house next door? If so what else is in its trajectory path? This rule is an easy one and just be sure to be conscious of not putting anything that you don’t intend to shoot at in harm’s way.
6. How much damage can your gun cause
The final rule for air gun safety is knowing how much damage your air gun can cause. Some shooters think they can discourage pets from certain behavior by shooting them with a BB gun. But with the power of today’s BB guns and pellet guns, you can easily kill or maim a small animal with just one shot.Therefore, always know what your gun is capable of doing.
There you have it folks! Those are the 6 basic air gun safety rules to practice when shooting your air gun. Browse our site for more information that covers a variety of different air gun topics and reviews.