Air Rifle Safety: Not Just A Toy
Air rifles are tools for parents and teachers. Before you take your son or daughter on the hunt, make sure they demonstrate safe practices with an air rifle. Think of BB or Airsoft guns as training wheels for the real thing. Go over these safety tips with your son or daughter before you hit the game trail with guns loaded with real ammo.
This Isn’t a Toy
The most important rule, and you really can’t stress this enough, is that any gun—air rifle, paintball gun, or real firearm—is not a toy. Ever. All guns are weapons, whether they are made for hunting or combat, and air rifles are no different. Impress upon your son or daughter how much damage an air rifle can inflict on another human. While they are very seldom lethal, a pellet to the face can leave a nasty mark, and a friend or family member can lose an eye in an instant.
Whenever you have your air rifle out wear proper safety gear. Make it a family rule that safety goggles must be worn at all times when air rifles are in action. Furthermore, emphasize that no gun should ever be pointed at a thing or person unless you intend to shoot it. The most dangerous gun is the one you think isn’t loaded.
Know Your Gun
Teach your son or daughter about his or her air gun. Teach them how to dismantle it and clean it. They should never trust the safety of their gun, always use Clear Barrel Indicators(CBIs), such as a long cord, typically cut from weedeater cord, that goes all the way through the barrel and prevents any ammunition from being loaded. Make sure your son or daughter know the components of his or her weapon such as stock, trigger, trigger guard, action, muzzle, bolt, and breech end of the barrel.
One of the most important attributes a gun owner must have is muzzle control. Muzzle control is an acute awareness of what is around and where your muzzle is pointed. When around others at a range, or even by yourself, point the gun in a safe direction; this typically means down toward the ground or up. If the gun does fire, the pellet is unlikely to cause damage in this case. When you walk with a gun the safest way is with the gun pointed up, the muzzle above the head.
Don’t Rest on the Trigger
Whenever a gun is not about to be fired, keep all fingers aware from the trigger. While, traditionally, this rule is No. 3 on the list of gun safety, it should probably be No. 1. No one has ever been shot on accident when a finger wasn’t on the trigger. If your finger isn’t inside the trigger guard the gun cannot and will not discharge on accident.
When You Shoot
While ranges are the safest place for any air rifle owner to practice, many people practice on their own property. If you and your son or daughter target practice at home, always be aware what is behind your target. The best place for a target set up is into a hill or embankment.