All firearms are potentially lethal. It is essential that the safety and operating procedures recommended by the manufacturer are precisely followed, and that all operators are properly trained in safe operation and maintenance.

  • Get instruction from an experienced operator before using any firearm
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct loading procedure and the type of ammunition

Do not under any circumstances attempt to handle or operate firearms before reading and fully understanding the manufacturer’s instructions for the particular weapon being used.

Safe Operation

  • When receiving or handing over a firearm, always open the breech and make sure it is not loaded. Confirm this with any other parties present by turning the breech towards them and showing it as being empty before completing the transfer.
  • During and on completion of the loading procedure, the muzzle of the weapon must at all times be kept pointing away, and at a distance, from the operator’s or any other person’s body.
  • Once the weapon has been loaded, ensure that the safety catch is on until ready to shoot.
  • When handling  any firearm, never allow it to point at any part of your body or at any other person.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are actually aiming at the target and ready to shoot.
  • When shooting smaller animals, ensure (if possible) that the subject is standing on soft ground and ensure that no part of your body (e.g. your foot) is underneath the animal.
  • Rifles, shotguns and general-purpose handguns should never be discharged with the muzzle in direct contact with the target area. Such action could result in severe injury to, or the death of, the operator.
  • In the unlikely event of a misfire, do not open the breech of the weapon for at least 30 seconds. Sometimes, slow primer ignition will cause a ‘hang-fire’ and the cartridge will go off after a short pause.
  • If there is any reason to suspect that a projectile is obstructing the barrel, immediately unload the firearm and look through the bore. It is not sufficient the merely look into the breech: ammunition may be lodged some distance along the barrel where it cannot easily be seen.
  • Immediately report any faults in the operation of the equipment to the person responsible for maintenance (if applicable) and take the weapon out of service until the fault has been rectified.

Cleaning and Storage

  • After each use, thoroughly clean the weapon before locking it away.
  • Make sure that the weapon is unloaded before cleaning.
  • When not in use, firearms and ammunition should be stored separately and locked away in approved storage cabinets.

Do not attempt to carry out cleaning and maintenance until you have made sure that the firearm is not loaded. Always lock firearms away immediately after use. Do not forget to secure the ammunition in a different location.

General points on safety:

  • Always treat all firearms and shotguns as if they are loaded
  • Do not climb trees or step over fences with loaded firearms
  • Never carry any firearm in your pocket, purse or waistband: always use a pistol case or proper holster with a safety flap or strap
  • Never pull a firearm towards you by the muzzle
  • Never point any firearm, loaded or unloaded, at anything you do not intend to shoot
  • Never leave a loaded firearm unattended or carry one in a vehicle
  • Firearms and illness, alcohol or drugs do not mix

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