Safe firearm handling in the field



The number of hunters with you and the terrain determine how you can safely carry your firearm in the field.

Two-hand carryThe two-hand carry provides the best control over the firearm. One hand holds the firearm's grip and the other hand is on the forearm of the firearm. This is sometimes referred to as the ready carry, since the firearm can be shouldered quickly. This carry gives the hunter the best control over the firearm’s muzzle.

Shoulder carryThe shoulder carry is handy when using a break action firearm. One hand is placed on the barrel as shown, while the action is open and rests on your shoulder. This carry is excellent for walking longer distances and allows for good muzzle control. For rifles, use a different type of shoulder carry: one hand holds the firearm's grip, the barrel rests on your shoulder and the muzzle points behind you. Only use this carry if you are positively certain that no one is behind you.

Trail carryUse a trail carry only when no one is in front of you. Grasp the stock with one hand, just in front of the action. Ensure the muzzle is in front of you and pointed away from you. This positions the muzzle toward the ground but does not offer good control of the firearm. Be careful that the muzzle does not hit the ground; if it does, check the barrel for an obstruction.

Cradle carryFor the cradle carry, place the firearm across your chest and rest its action in the bend of your arm. Next, grasp the butt of the firearm with your other hand or cover the trigger guard. This carry is quite comfortable. If there is another hunter walking beside you, make sure that both of your muzzles are pointed in a safe direction.

Sling carryThe sling carry takes advantage of your firearm’s sling attachments. Attach a sling, making sure it fits properly, and place the rifle over your shoulder while grasping the sling with your hand. This is a great carry when traveling over long distances. If you bend over to pick up an object, remember that the muzzle is now pointed in front of you.

Elbow carryFor the elbow carry, place the firearm’s butt in your armpit and let the firearm’s forearm rest on your arm. The muzzle is pointed down and in front of you. This is another a very comfortable position but does not give you very good control of the muzzle. Remember that when you turn right or left, the muzzle will follow you.

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