SAFETY: Watch where you shoot!

By B.B. Pelletier

Don’t let THIS happen to YOU!
While riding in a friend’s truck yesterday, I noticed that his driver’s side mirror was smashed and had a large hole in it. It looked like a large rock had hit it. I was curious how it happened.

“Guess,” he said, with a stupid grin on his face.

“You SHOT it?”

He nodded as he told me the story. He had been sniping at pigeons from the cab of his truck. He has a short PCP that allows him this kind of flexibility and he shoots hundreds of birds each week. Pigeons and grackles are all he hunts and his rifle is always in the cab with him.

He lined up his scope on the target without considering that the muzzle of the gun is about three inches lower than the scope. While he was able to see the bird through the scope, the muzzle was pointing at the mirror – and the rest is history. It will take several hundred dollars to replace because it is both remotely adjustable and heated.

No comment on shooting from the cab of a vehicle, which is illegal in most states – THIS IS A HUGE SAFETY VIOLATION! Unfortunately, this sort of thing isn’t that uncommon.

Last summer, I read a forum posting about a guy who had been shooting from his deck. He rested his legs on the railing and rested the forearm of his rifle on his knees. Same problem as my friend – saw the target in the scope but SHOT A PELLET THROUGH HIS FOOT! The guy said he was embarrassed that it happened, but he shared the story online to alert others to the danger.

Another careless airgun incident
About five years ago, I attended an airgun show where shooting was allowed. A dealer was selling a Beeman P1 spring pistol and a buyer was about to shoot it. The shooter held the pistol in a novel two-handed hold with his left index finger over the muzzle, instead of wrapping his left hand around his right hand. Three people jumped on him at the same moment, and I’m sure the sale was ruined from the communal browbeating the guy took. I shudder to think what might have happened if this guy had been by himself.

Airguns are fun but let’s not forget that they’re real guns, too! The first rule of gun safety is never point the gun at anything you don’t want to shoot. Sometimes, because of the design of the gun, you need to give more consideration to where your muzzle is pointed.

Incidentally, I never refer to these types of events as “accidents” because an accident is unforeseen, unexpected and/or involuntary. If you follow the first rule of gun safety, you will not and cannot have an “accident.”

If you want to share an experience with us about this kind of event, I promise not to lecture. I suspect that you’ve learned your lesson, and sharing your experience will benefit others.

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