A Member of the NRA Should Be Able to Get 27/35 on This Firearms Safety Quiz. Can You?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: RonBailey/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Since the earliest days of firearms, humans have realized just how dangerous these tools can be. With just an infraction of gun safety rules, shooters and bystanders alike may wind up permanently injured or even killed. The National Rifle Association, along with many other hunting and shooting organizations, is keen to stop those kinds of accidents before they happen. With just a few basic rules, most tragedies can be avoided. Do you know the vital fundamentals of firearms safety?

In 2016, nearly 500 people in the United States were killed in accidental shootings. Each of those inadvertent deaths was preventable. Do you understand how?

For example, one common maxim in gun safety is “trigger discipline.” In short, it means that all gun handlers should be aware of where their fingers are in relation to the weapon’s trigger. Furthermore, that mental discipline should account for potential accidents, like tripping over a rock or bumping into a person at the shooting range. This kind of vigilance isn’t optional – it’s a critical basic tenet of firearm usage.

Draw a bead on this challenging gun safety quiz! Let’s find out if you’re an NRA-level safety expert or whether you need to attend a basic firearms safety course at your local community college.

You should NEVER point a firearm at what?

Firearms send projectiles flying at high speed. Always remember that you shouldn't point the gun at anything that you don't intend to destroy.


Before you ever operate a new gun, what should you do?

Every gun is different. If you've never used a particular type of gun before, read the owner's manual. Doing so might save someone's limbs or life.


If you have to cross a fence during your outing, what should you do with your loaded gun?

If you're out alone with a gun and you have to cross a fence, be extra safe. Unload the weapon, place it carefully on the other side of the fence, then cross and retrieve your gun.


You should never fire a gun without which piece of equipment?

Ricochets happen. If you fire a gun without eye protection, you're adding to the risk of shooting.


In many places, you MUST wear which color while hunting with a firearm?

Most states have strict laws about making sure hunters are visible to each other. Blaze orange clothing is often mandated for specific seasons, all the better to making hunting safer for everyone.


How much alcohol is safe to consume during recreational shooting?

Drinking and shooting are a recipe for horrific tragedy. Don't mix the two.


If you haven't fired a particular gun in a while, what should you do before you shoot it?

Guns that sit idle tend to draw dust and other potential issues. Inspect your weapon's action and look for barrel obstructions before you shoot.


When you're target shooting, it's important to have what behind the target?

Sooner or later, someone totally misses the target … or the bullet passes through. That's why it's so important to conduct recreational shoots in an area with a backstop.


Before you pull the trigger, you should carefully evaluate which aspect of your target?

It is, of course, extremely important to evaluate your target before you fire. But you should always look far beyond the target, too -- that way, if you miss you won't accidentally strike an object or person you didn't notice.


Why should you never shoot at the surface of a pond or lake?

Water might seem like a soft, safe target for practice shooting. But lake surfaces can actually behave like solids when struck by bullets, sending the lead ricocheting off in an unsafe direction.


What should you always do after you're done firing your gun for the day?

Firearms, like any tool, require continous maintenance. Once you're done shooting, use a cleaning kit to remove debris and gunpowder residue.


If you must leave a gun unattended, what should you do?

There are many situations where you might need to quickly leave a gun unattended for a few minutes. Just be sure to unload it before you go … and do your best to prevent unauthorized people from touching the firearm in the meantime.


How much should you rely on a gun's mechanical safety during a round of shooting?

Your brain is the only real safety. Mechanical safeties routinely fail. Never rely on them or use them as a substitute for safe gun-handling procedures.


Before you clean your gun, you should verify what?

Every year, a few people are maimed or killed because they started to clean a weapon that was loaded. Always clear the chamber before you start the cleaning process.


Where should you store guns when they're not in use?

Gun safes are the best place for weapons when they're not in use. If you opt not to use a safe, at least make sure the gun isn't accessible to children.


Range can be deadly. Some rifle bullets may go how far after you fire them?

Modern rifle cartridges pack a crazy amount of punch. Some bullets can travel well over a mile, meaning you must be extra careful of objects beyond your target.


Before you load a gun, what should you do with the ammunition?

Some cartridges and shells will slide into weapons they're not made for -- and this can be a life-threatening situation. Always double-check the ammo to make it's the right load for the right gun.


Before you shoot, if you take prescription or over-the-counter drugs, you should check the label for what?

Many drugs make you sleepy or impair your judgement. Be sure you understand those pills before mixing them with a round of shooting.


It's all about the end. What is "muzzle discipline"?

Muzzle discipline is a catchphrase for assuming that the gun could potentially fire at any moment. That means the muzzle should always be pointed in a safe direction.


If you're shooting near children, you should always provide them with what?

If you don't want to protect your own hearing while you're shooting, that's your choice. But protecting the ears of children in the vicinity is critical to ensuring their hearing for decades to come.


When you're handling a gun, you should always be what?

Firearms are incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. And if you're not constantly vigilant while using guns, the wrong hands might belong to you.


What might happen if you use the wrong ammunition in a firearm?

Using the wrong ammunition in a gun can be devastating. In some circumstances, it can even cause an explosive event that harms or kills the shooter.


How safe is blank ammo compared to normal cartridges?

Blanks, like those used for dog training or on movie sets, are anything but harmless. They can injure or kill people, particularly anyone within a few feet of the muzzle.


Can you complete this gun safety maxim? "Think first, ___ second."

Never fire a gun until you've analyzed the target and considered the consequences. "Think first, shoot second."


If you aren't sure which catridge a gun uses, where might you find that vital information?

Many manufacturers stamp the caliber or gauge of the gun right on the barrel. It may be hard to spot at first, but with a bit of looking you might that this important bit of information is literally right under your fingertips.


If you buy a gun made before 1900, you should be sure of what?

Older guns from the 1800s are common on the used market. Never use modern ammunition with these relics unless you're sure its safe to do so.


Why should you avoid using sheepskin-lined gun cases for long-term gun storage?

Gun cases with sheepskin lining are less than ideal for storage. They tend to attract moisture, and as a result, they can cause rust to begin forming on your firearm in a very short amount of time.


If you need a specific gun manual and can't find one online, what should you do?

Gun manuals aren't always easy to find online. If you need one in order to better understand your gun, contact the manufacturer -- in one way or another, they'll help you find the information you need.


If you can't afford a gun safe, what's a less expensive way to secure a firearm?

Trigger locks are keyed locks that snap over the trigger guard. Not only are these devices cheap, but they're extremely effective.


How often should you clean your gun?

Gunpowder causes fouling and attracts dirt. You should clean the weapon after every shooting session to keep it in working order.


If you're shooting an unfamiliar gun and you're not sure it's safe to operate, what should you do?

No matter how you stumbled into that used gun -- maybe at an auction or a garage sale -- make sure it's safe to use. A professional gunsmith can easily inspect it for you.


If you see someone violating basic gun safety rules, what should you do?

Countless people are ignorant of gun safety rules or simply choose not to follow them. Don't let yourself become a sad statistic. Leave the area immediately and encourage your loved ones to do the same.


When does hearing loss from gunfire often take hold?

Noise-induced hearing loss happens to many shooters who forego ear protection. And in a lot of situations, that damage isn't apparent until years later … and modern medicine does not have many solutions to this problem.


You should never assume what about guns?

All gun models operate at least a little differently. You should never assume that one action works the same on one gun to the next, otherwise you might wind up as part of an accident.


The National Rifle Association stresses a number of fundamental gun safety rules. You should always keep your gun facing in which direction?

Safety starts with anyone who handles a gun. That means always making sure that the gun is pointed in a safe direction.


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