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Airgun Safety - Safe Gun Handling

PUBLISHED: 11:53 31 October 2011 | UPDATED: 11:57 31 October 2011

Shooters

Shooters

Remember that you are always responsible for your airgun, whether you are shooting it yourself, are allowing someone else to shoot...

Remember that you are always responsible for your airgun, whether you are shooting it yourself, are allowing someone else to shoot it, or even if it isbeing used without your permission, if the person concerned acquired it as a result of your negligence.

Always treat an airgun as though loaded, develop an awareness of where the barrel is pointing, and ensure that it is always pointing in a safe direction
Safe gun handling comes from a state of mind in which you have a constant awareness of where the barrel is pointing, without conscious effort. This isn't something you can achieve simply by reading about it - you have to develop the awareness by keeping it at the forefront of your mind whenever you have the airgun in your hands, until it becomes second nature.

Do not load your airgun until you are ready to fire it and are sure that the shot will be safe
A significant proportion of airgun accidents occur when the person in control of the airgun wrongly believes it to be unloaded, usually after it was loaded in the vague anticipation of a shot that was not taken. If you load your airgun and don't take the expected shot, discharge it in a safe direction, preferably into the ground.

Never rely on a safety catch to make an airgun 'safe'
Safety mechanisms are mechanical devices that can and do fail. The ONLY way to make a loaded airgun safe is to discharge it in a safe direction, such as into the ground.

Never put a loaded airgun down
Always safely discharge your airgun before putting it down, to ensure that it cannot fire.

Never leave your airgun unattended
You can never be sure who might pick it up.

On picking up an airgun, first make sure it's unloaded
Even if it's your own gun, and you checked it was unloaded before putting it down. Get into the habit of checking, in case you ever pick up a loaded gun.

Before pulling the trigger, consider where the pellet might travel if you miss the target - don't shoot unless the shot is perfectly safe
A pellet can travel hundreds of yards, so look beyond the target to ensure the shot will be safe. Also consider the possibility of a ricochet, which changes the direction of the pellet's travel.

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