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The Science Behind Firearms and Using Them Safely

The firearm industry has recently begun to see a rise in sales as we move towards an uncertain future. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives people the right to bear firearms. However, with more and more people owning firearms, it is important to be educated on the topic and be able to make wise decisions.

pistol

There are different types of firearms and while they all function similarly, each is unique due to its physical form. The most popular types of guns among firearms owners include pistols, shotguns, and rifles.

The differences in appearance between the three are quite obvious upon first glance. The pistol is small and easily portable. It can be concealed in your pocket or perhaps in a case at the side of your hips. The shotgun is longer and narrower. It cannot be concealed easily. The rifle is definitely not concealable and larger than the other guns.

How Do Firearms Work?

You may figure out how to use a firearm by simply watching an action film. Sure, it seems easy enough- just aim, pull the trigger, and fire away. However, the physics behind how a firearm function is not that simple.

When understanding the physics behind a gun, you will have to understand the conservation of momentum. Firearms work on the idea of converting potential energy (the energy of rest) to kinetic (the energy of motion). When you pull the trigger on a gun, no matter what type, the firing pin will collide with the primer.

The firing pin can usually be found in the bolt or frame of the gun. The primer can be the chemical or device that triggers combustion to release the projectiles from the firearm. After the collision, the primer causes combustion within the gun that will react with the flaming powder to create pressure. It is this pressure that causes the bullet to fly out of the gun.

This seemingly lengthy process only takes a few seconds to occur. This process occurs in all guns, no matter what type. The firing rate for certain guns, such as rifles may be faster than per se, shotguns, or pistols. However, this also depends on the size of the ammunition clip and the recoil rate. It is better to identify all of these specifications when purchasing a gun.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how a gun works, the next step is to know how to properly and safely operate a firearm.

Operating a Firearm

The most basic rule to remember is that you should always keep ‘safety’ on, no matter where you are. This prevents any risks of intentional accidents.

Safety is the top priority when using firearms, as most accidents occur due to mishandling or intentional neglect of safety features.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has 10 rules for operating a firearm safely. Here are a few of them:

  • 1. Point the muzzle in a safe direction
    When unloading or loading a firearm, it is important to keep the gun pointed away from anything or anyone you would not want to shoot. This is the leading cause for most firearm accidents. A safe direction is one at which no one is at risk for getting injured if the gun is accidentally fired. Be sure to always be aware of where your gun is pointed because when owning a gun, you take complete responsibility for whatever may happen.
  • 2. Keep firearms unloaded
    By keeping your guns unloaded, you are reducing the risks of unfortunate accidents. Always check the barrel beforehand and never hand a loaded gun to someone else. If you are given a gun, check for yourself if it is loaded or not.
  • 3. Do not rely on the firearm’s ‘safety’ mode
    While we may rely on this mode due to its obvious layer of added protection, like any other device, this feature is prone to malfunction. While it is recommended to keep your gun set to ‘safety’ at all times, there are other ways to set the gun off. For instance, physical force such as a hard fall may cause the gun to fire even with ‘safety’ on.
  • 4. Be aware of your target and surroundings
    When firing either at target practice or shooting range, make sure that the area in which you are targeting is clear. This includes the region beyond your target. If you miss your target and someone is walking a little beyond the intended region, they are at risk of being injured. Be aware of your surroundings and only fire when you are sure that everyone is safe.
  • 5. Use the correct ammunition
    Each gun uses a specific type of ammunition. Using the wrong ammo, whether intentionally or not can cause the gun to malfunction and perhaps cause personal injury. If the ammunition is wet or in contact with any other substance, dispose of it properly as it can damage the firearm. Check the specifications fo your gun to determine what type of ammo it uses.
  • 6. Wear eye and ear protection when shooting
    Shooting often causes loud noises, which can be harmful to your ears. Because it can damage your hearing, ear protection is always recommended. Vision protection will protect your eyes from any gases, debris, or other agents that may come your way.

If you’re looking to own a firearm, the key is to prioritize safety, no matter your reason for purchase. Find a firearm that feels comfortable, whether it’s a handgun for home defense or a rifle for hunting. With all of these tips in mind, you are well prepared to own and use a gun in a safe manner.

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