Course Outline

Hunter carrying firearms while approaching downed game

The Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety are stated variously by different organizations and are often presented in different order, but the meaning is consistent and universal, including in Africa. If these rules are followed, a firearm-involved accident is highly unlikely.

  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  2. Control the direction of your firearm’s muzzle.
  3. Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target.
  4. Be sure that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions and that only the proper size ammunition is used.
    1. It is not uncommon for termites and other insects to discover that a rifle barrel is an ideal place to build a nest. Take a look through your barrel every day!
  5. Unload firearms when not in use.
  6. Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  7. Never climb a fence or tree or jump a ditch or log with a loaded firearm.
  8. Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water.
  9. Store firearms and ammunition separately.
  10. Avoid alcoholic beverages and drugs before and during shooting.

These commandments rely upon basic common sense. Implied throughout is the reliance on control of the direction the barrel is pointed—and the lack of reliance on the firearm’s mechanical safety. These rules don’t change in Africa. Most professional hunters (PHs) will attest that the most dangerous creature in the African bush is an excited visitor with a firearm!

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