When to release your safety Catch?

UK Outfitters

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
I was reading a shooting magazine last night where the author was describing aligning the sites on a fox and then releasing the safety.

This got me thinking

I have always released my safety catch when I am in a stable position and ready to take the shot, But I always release it with the rifle pointing at the ground near the animal I wish to take, rather than release it with the sights on the beast.

I then take the final site on the beast with finger only going onto the trigger when sights are aligned and starting the squeeze.

If I use the set trigger, likewise will set it with rifle pointing at a safe, inanimate object. Although I tend not to use the set trigger when in the field.

Logic being that guns can and do go off when the safety is released - they should n't but you can never be too careful. And if it were to go off (perhaps due to a bit muck getting in the way of the sear etc), I would much prefer to have a scarred / spooked beast than a wounded one.

Any body any thoughts


Well-Known Member
When I did my DSC1 I used the instructors rifle. The first 3 shots were ok, but on the 4th I was lined up on the target & slipped the saftey off & the bloody thing went off on its own, scaring the life out of me & also missing the target.Apparently the trigger adjustment screw had dropped out !!!!. So i would suggest that your right & take it off when your ready to take the shot, but not lined up on the beast, Just incase. needsy


Site Staff
Bloody hell Needsy, I hope they didnt fail you, bit of an embaresment for the instructor, and lucky there wasn't an accident.

I always leave the safety on until I am comfortable with the shot, backstop etc. However the exception is when and if following up on wounded game, or a downed Sika, that appears dead but probably isnt!! If I am with a client I make them walk in front safety off and one in, as Sika have a habit of coming back to life when you least expect it. And you will not get much of a chance once they are up and on their feet.

Also taking dangerous game abroad, better to be ready than dead if following up. ;)


Site Staff
I always leave taking the safety off until the last possible moment, these conditions vary, obviously, as Malc pointed out. The biggest fright I ever had was when I was preparing to ease up over a stone dyke to take a shot at a roe buck on the other side. As I cycled a round into the chamber and closed the bolt the bloody thing, a 243, went off, frightened the crap out of me. The boy with me went a whiter shade of pale and said,"it's a good job that wasn't pointing at anybody" :!: :!:

This frightened me all over again, I knew this boy was a shooter but I had never been out with him before (I never went again), he never had clue one about muzzle awareness and the fact that I had just executed a perfect heart shot into a turf was, to him, a bit of luck.

It was a bit of a lesson to me, you never assume that everyone is as safety conscious as you would like, you always keep an eye on other folks weapon handling, always try a little gentle education where you can, safety cannot be over emphasised.

The good news is the buck did not move, how does that work? Any other time the bloody thing would have run off if a mouse farted, but now it did not move. I am guessing that it was deaf :D :D

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