Air guns may not be as powerful compared to firearms, but they can still be dangerous in the wrong hands. Over 90% of the deaths that have been caused by air rifles in the United Kingdom in the past two decades all have involved minors and so, it is important to know some essential tips for those considering buying one for themselves of their adolescent children.
Check if the rifle is loaded- Whenever you pick up an air gun for the first time, check if it is loaded. Even if you were the last individual to use it and are aware it is not loaded, check anyway. This will become a natural habit and you will never forget to do it.
Treat the rifle as if it is loaded, even when not- You should always act as if the air gun is loaded. That simply means never pointing the barrel at another person or a pet. Again, you may be aware that the rifle is not loaded, but if you wire this one into your subconscious, then there will not be any unexpected incidents.
Keep your finger off the trigger- Unless you are shooting, avoid touching the trigger. This is an easy safety tip that numerous rifle owners fall foul of.
Only load when you want to shoot- This can be a tricky habit to develop, especially for the keen hunters. It can certainly be an inconvenience to break the barrel to load a pellet when doing your quarry shows. However, if you have a quiet action on your rifle, this one is certainly worth following. If you load your gun before you start hunting, there’s a good chance that your prey will not show. After hours in the field without a shot, it’s certainly hard to remember that your rifle is loaded.
Consider the implications of your shot- What’s behind your target? Is there any chance that there’s someone or something beyond your target? You should always consider the worst possible results before pulling that trigger.
Don’t rely on safety catches. The same applies to anti-bear traps. Keep the barrel pointing in the safe direction and do not pull the trigger unless you want to shoot. You should always act as if there is no safety. This does not imply that you should not use the safety catch, but rather to show that extra precaution is always ideal.
Gun transportation- you should always utilize a suitable gun slip that will help maintain your rifle and act as an ideal safety measure.
Do not use broken or damaged gun- if your air rifle fails to fire for some reason, or unexpectedly drop it, you should not attempt to use it. Ideally, do not try to fix it in the field. Also, it’s important to transport potentially damaged air rifles with extra caution, particularly if they are still compressed.
Put the rifle away safely- When you are done, ensure that the airgun is empty and decompressed. Store it somewhere out of reach of minors and other individuals you would not want to get hold of it. Keep in mind that you’re still responsible for your rifle even when not using it.