C – you got some good advice here already, but let me add a little bit more if I may. Don’t worry about being a nervous wreck – that’s a good thing because it makes you pay double attention to what’s going on. It’s the people who aren’t nervous to begin with that become dangerous later on when they become complacent. Watch out hanging around them as they will “forget” their guns are loaded while waving them around at camp! Yikes!!! Take it slow and the more you handle your weapon in the multiple scenarios the better you will feel and the more natural it will become. Eventually it will become second nature. U.S. Marine recruits go through a full week of firearm safety, functioning, sighting in positions, and dry fire before they even get to shoot the first round. It doesn’t happen overnight, but through repetition you’ll be fine. We were all ignorant to begin with – no one here will talk down to you – we’re just glad to be able to help a little and glad you asked!
On hunting with a firearm – agree with 74 and Sledjockey, having to dig out a magazine out of your pocket (especially when you are “hiding’ behind something) will be difficult at best. Then silently trying to place the magazine in the weapon, then silently releasing the bolt to chamber a round, then sighting in on the animal – you get the picture. That rabbit will probably be long gone, let alone any type of bird. Animals are extremely wary to different sounds and movements that are not natural to their environment – I’ve had many of them get away just because they heard the very slight “click” of the safety being disengaged. Some animals like turkeys have such good eyesight that you’ll be lucky if you can slightly move the muzzle to aim in before they bust you and take off.
Use of the safety should be incorporated into your training – it just adds another feature that keeps things safe. Yes, they do fail, but IMHO it’s extremely rare – I’ve never had one do so, nor do I know anyone who has (although I’m sure some others may have). So you have constant muzzle awareness, magazine out of gun (in your case), round out of chamber and safety on. Eventually you will run into firearms with an internal or incorporated magazine. The only way to keep them at the same level of safety that having the magazine out is to keep them completely empty. Then you’ll be fooling around with individual rounds that need to be loaded in the gun magazine, then chambered, then sighted in while the quarry is getting further away. I won’t try and tell you that you’re wrong with the magazine out – you can progress later once you’re comfortable if you want. Back to the safety – lets say that you somehow get a rabbit to stay still and lets you put your magazine into the gun, chamber a round and sight in – what happens when you go to pull the trigger and the gun doesn’t fire? You panic and pull the trigger again – still nothing! It’s only then that you take the muzzle off the target and realize that somehow the safety was accidentally bumped “half on” and wouldn’t let you fire. If you train to always keep the safety on then after that round is chambered and you’re sighted in your last action would be to take the safety off. It becomes natural. Let me add another “what if”. You’re using a semi-auto shotgun with a tube magazine attached to the firearm. The magazine is loaded, but no shell is chambered. You see some geese coming in from a ways out so you push the bolt release button and the bolt chambers the first round followed immediately by a “BOOM!”. What happened? The shotgun slam fired when the bolt was released – it shouldnt’ have, but it did. You’ve just been scared to death, the geese turned and flew away, if only you’d used the shotgun safety to keep the hammer from falling. Get the jist? Use the safety – added to the rest it’s just another way to keep an accident from happening.
Okay, HTH – again, glad to see your willingness to learn and seek advice!
Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
- Thomas Paine