A shotgun is a dangerous weapon, so extreme precaution must be taken when handling it. It doesn’t matter if you are using it out on a hunting trip or at the target range: you must always be careful. Always assume that the gun is loaded. Check if the safety is on. Break it to find out if it is loaded and how many cartidges it is holding. Also, it is of utmost importance that you are mindful where the muzzle is pointed. Always keep your shotgun pointed away from people. You must always be aware where your muzzle is pointed. And never handle any type of weapon when you are under the influence of narcotics or alcohol.
Here are the different ways of carrying a shotgun:
- Ready carry. Hold your weapon with both hands. Place your trigger hand on the trigger guard while the other hand supports the stock. Never position your hand on the trigger itself. Point your shotgun upwards. This position is ready for action.
- Side carry. If you don’t have a strap, you can carry the shotgun by placing it on the crook of your arm. This will point the muzzle downwards. However, it would not be safe to do a side carry if someone is walking ahead of you.
- Pocket carry. If you have a strap to your shotgun, put it over your. Hold your shotgun and just invert the muzzle up. Butt side should be pointed towards the ground. With your hand, hold the pistol grip or trigger guard. You may rest your thumb in the pocket of your pants in this position. It helps alleviate the weight of the gun you are carrying.
- American carry. This is the style used by the US military (hence the name). Carry the gun with a strap on your stronger or dominant side. The shotgun is placed on your back and the strap on your front. Hold the strap of the gun in front of one side of your chest, just like holding one strap of a backpack you are carrying on one shoulder. The stock should be face down, the muzzle facing up. The disadvantage of carrying the gun this way is that it will bump a second gun (if you have one) or any other object strapped to your belt.
- Shoulder carry. You can also choose to rest the handle of the shotgun on your shoulder. The butt of the shotgun will be above your shoulder while the muzzle is still pointing down. Use your other hand to hold the muzzle so you always have control of where your shotgun is pointed.
- Never hold a shotgun over your shoulder with the muzzle pointed to the back. You don’t know where or who it is pointed at. It is dangerous to have the butt side in front of you and the muzzle pointing to the back.
- If you are carrying an over and under type shotgun, always have it broken open. You won’t know if it’s loaded.
Whichever way you choose to handle your shotgun, always make safety the priority.