Are you among the one-third of Americans who own a gun? If so, you know how important every aspect of gun safety is. So whether your weapon is for hunting, self-defense, or sport, there are certain steps you can take to stay safe while maintaining and using your weapon.

We’ll look at several tips for safely unloading, cleaning, and storing any firearm.

1. Unloading

One crucial rule of firearm safety is to always assume the gun is loaded. Even if you’re just pulling out your Winchester for upkeep, make sure your gun is safely and completely unloaded before you get out the cleaning kit. To prevent accidental misfires, remember to PROVE:

  • Point the gun in a safe direction
  • Remove all ammunition
  • Observe the chamber
  • Verify the feeding path
  • Examine the bore

Even after removing the magazine, the gun can still have a round in the barrel, so be sure to check for it.

2. Cleaning

Now that you’ve double checked the firearm is completely unloaded, you can proceed with the cleaning process. This varies slightly according to individual manufacturer instructions, but some general tips to remember are:

  • Only disassemble the gun as much as required.
  • Always clean from bore to muzzle, following a bullet’s path.
  • Use a clean, solvent-saturated (but not oversaturated) patch on every pass through the barrel until the patch comes out clean at the muzzle end.
  • Center the cleaning rod so it does not scrape the inside of the barrel, and push it through from back to front in a single motion (without pumping).
  • After cleaning, lightly lubricate the barrel and the action, as too much oil will create a gummy reside. Then lightly polish the handle, body, and everything else with a luster cloth.

In addition to these cleaning rules, try to minimize direct contact between your skin and the gun. Natural body oils can accelerate rusting or stickiness in certain parts of the firearm, so be careful not to touch more than necessary.

3. Storing

The final step for gun cleaning safety is one that can be easily overlooked: storage. After a careful cleaning, firearms should be returned to a secure location where they can be protected from the elements and unintended users. One of the most secure options for storage is a gun safe—a device which holds several guns in a tamper-proof vault that’s too heavy to steal and too hard to break into, but easy to access quickly if you know the combination. But how can you be sure the safe is secure? This is where home security comes into play.

By adding a door sensor to your gun vault, you’ll have help with peace of mind that your guns and family are safe. To compare different home security options in your area, call SafeWise at 1-855-814-3077 or use the online security system finder to compare these providers.

Image: Mascamon; CC 3.0

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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