All men should have a general understanding of firearms and how they operate — from their integral components to the accessories and upgrades commonly found on most weapons. Here’s a look at firearm basics and gun safety everyone should be familiar with.
Understanding the functionality of a firearm and what aftermarket accessories can do is important knowledge to obtain when buying your first gun. Once you decide, you’ll want to learn the name and function of each component in your firearm. Basic gun components often include the muzzle, breech, hammer and trigger. These four pieces function together to fire ammunition through your weapon:
- The muzzle is the opening at the end of the barrel on the front of the firearm.
- The breech is the opposite of the muzzle, as in the back end of the firearm.
- The hammer is the point of the gun that comes into contact with the bullet primer when the trigger is compressed.
- The trigger is the lever that fires the round by releasing the hammer.
You’ll also want to know how to field strip your weapon and clean each individual component. There is nothing more important than keeping your firearm free of gun powder, rust and other sulfur deposits to ensure that it fires safely and functions properly.
There are multiple reasons people choose to own firearms, from self protection to hunting. If you plan on buying a firearm for hunting, then you need to narrow down the type of game you plan to hunt.
For instance, you can’t use the same firearm to hunt elk that you use on turkey; every hunt requires a specific weapon with a specific range and ammunition. What’s more, not all guns that are the same make and model are identical, so the more you handle and shoot your firearm, the more familiar you will get with it.
Common firearm accessories include aftermarket sights and magazines, upgraded stocks and grips, slings, holsters, chokes and more. Every accessory you add to your weapon should enhance the functionality of it, not hinder it. The more you shoot your firearm, the more you learn its individual quirks and what modifications it would benefit from.
The No. 1 rule to remember when modifying your firearm with aftermarket accessories is that you should only be customizing your firearm to fit your needs. Anything else is excess and can potentially take away from the accuracy and functionality of your weapon.
Before you pick up a firearm, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with gun safety. From proper handling to basic gun etiquette, educate yourself so you don’t put anyone in danger. Review the 10 rules of safe gun handling according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation:
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Firearms should be unloaded when not in use.
- Don’t rely on your gun’s “safety.”
- Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
- Use correct ammunition.
- If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care.
- Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
- Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
- Don’t alter or modify your gun, and have guns serviced regularly.
- Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.
Now that you have a more comprehensive knowledge of firearms and how they work, visit a local gun dealer and ask to handle a few different guns. Being familiar and comfortable with more than just the guns in your safe is a great way to gain confidence and improve your firearm knowledge.