Survival Buzz: Firearms Safety for Newbies

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 2, 2019
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Like most people, I have a lot of knowledge about many topics but just a handful where I would consider myself an authority.  Precious few, actually.  It really quite humbling, you know, to be of a certain age and not know it all.

One area where I am especially weak is with firearms.  I have been to classes, have my own handgun (which I find uncomfortable to use and need to replace), and have shot a few rounds in my day.  As much as I realize the importance of training and practice, I feel as though I will forever be a firearms newbie.  Does anyone else feel that way?

Firearms Safety for Newbies | Backdoor Survival

Recently one of my blogging colleagues, Heather Harris aka the Homesteading Hippy, suggested a piece on firearms safety for Backdoor Survival.  I jumped at the chance to share some knowledge from someone who is walking the walk and while maybe not an authority, is certainly more proficient than I am.

Whether you are an experienced shooter of someone who is just getting started, be sure to check out what Heather has to say, and remind yourself of the four rules of firearms safety.

Firearms have been a way of life for many homesteaders for a long, long time.

Back in the early days of America, they were used to hunt with, to protect families, and to start a revolution.

The Second Amendment of the Constitution states “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”. They are important part of our heritage, our country, and a modern homesteader’s life.

Modern homesteaders use firearms for the same reason our ancestors did.

Hunting and protecting family and livestock are important to us, right? When a bear is coming at your hives, or a raccoon coming into your coop, asking them nicely to leave isn’t going to work. Traps don’t always work, either. And, that’s when you need to take a different route.

This post isn’t about whether or not you should own a firearm, that’s another can of worms to open. This is about how to own firearms safely.**also, this post is intended only for adults. If you aren’t an adult, or can’t make decisions like an adult for some reason, please stop reading this post**

If you choose to own a firearm, you NEED to follow safety standards.

No ifs, ands, or butts about it. Seriously. You can’t just buy a gun and think it’s all good and done. There are certain things you need to know and keep in mind while you own and/or use it.

Know your state and local laws about ownership.

Some states allow you to keep it only in your home, some allow you to carry it concealed on your body or in a purse with a permit, some allow you to “open carry” with a permit. The last thing you want to do is to break the law concerning this. If you need a permit to carry a gun, get one. The cost can vary state to state, as well as regulations.

Some states require you to take gun safety class before you can be approved, some only require application and fingerprinting.

If you travel, KNOW the laws of the state you are going to and the states you are going through.

Some states will recognize other state’s carry permits, called “reciprocal”. Some will not recognize other states. It is YOUR responsibility to know which states will allow you to have it or not. The time to know is BEFORE you go to that state as well. You can check out state by state laws here, or with your local sheriff’s office.

If you choose to own a firearm, you need to understand the 4 basic rules of safety.


In our home, we treat all firearms, from our hunting rifle, to my son’s pellet gun, to my daughter’s air soft gun as a lethal weapon that is loaded at all times. They are NOT toys, and need to be treated with proper respect.


Simply put, don’t aim the gun at anyone or anything you are not intending to shoot, and willing to take responsibility for shooting. if you find that you are saying, “but, it’s not loaded”, please refer back to Rule number 1.

Rule number 3- KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER until your target is in sight and you know what you are shooting at.

Seriously. At the range while practicing, we lay our finger across the top of the gun until we are ready to aim and fire.


Basically, when hunting, you need to be able to identify the animal you are aiming for, and that there is no one just beyond it. It’s not enough to hear a noise, or see a movement. You need to know for absolute certain. This is why hunters wear the neon orange colors while hunting, as it makes it easier for others to be certain they are there.

If you choose to own a firearm, you NEED TO KNOW HOW TO USE IT SAFELY.

I can’t stress this one enough. Take a class on firearm safety with a qualified instructor and practice, practice, practice.

Remember, an amateur will practice until they get it right, a professional will practice until they CAN’T get it wrong. This isn’t the time to play around, you need to be safe.


If you choose to own a firearm around kids, LOCK IT UP!

Don’t make it a huge mystery, be honest with them about it.

Teach them the rules, and keep it out of their reach when you aren’t there. A gun safe, a trigger lock, and storing it out of reach in a locked cabinet will go a long way toward keeping tragedy away. Keep your kids, and their friends safe by using common sense. You can’t control how other kids will react to a firearm, so don’t leave it out where they can.



Want to read more from Heather?  Visit her website, Pinterest page and YouTube Channel.

Additional Reading: Getting Started with Handguns is Not for Wimps

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

In response to the article 14 Essentials to Help You Fix and Clean Almost Anything, Frances came up with a bunch of additional great tips.

A little cheap vodka or similar alcohol works great as a spot cleaner for gluey label residue, Magic Marker marks and the like. We also keep a bottle of “Everclear” for medicinal purposes (making tinctures, etc.). It’s about the strongest alcohol you can easily obtain. Keep away from children, of course! Although rubbing alcohol has its place, you can’t consume it!

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE is needed in every med kit. Considering it’s so inexpensive, have a a supply on hand at all times. We put some in a spray bottle for disinfecting surfaces. Again, keep safe from little explorers.

There is a ‘food safe’ version that we prefer, but you may have to order it online.

Don’t forget to keep a large supply of SALT! You can keep aside the specialty salt like Himalayan for culinary purposes. I’m talking about the cheap stuff. It can be used for cleaning, irrigating wounds (in solution), bathing, and endless other purposes. Required to sustain life!

I also use white vinegar (the cheapest kind) to do a rinse for fine washables and handmade items that ‘bleed’ dye. End the final rinse with plain water.

Microfiber towels are not just for utility cleaning. We found bath-sized towels for sale online and love them as they take only a few minutes to dry.

Cotton terry takes forever, and takes lots more $$$ at the laundromat. Think of a camping type situation where you don’t have all the modern appliances!

Microfiber washcloths have more ‘scrubbing action’ than typical soft cotton versions. Hand towels, too.

Cotton ‘tea’ towels have their place, however. They are thin, dry quickly, and can be used for food preparation (covering bread, straining liquids, etc.). If you can splurge, get LINEN tea towels. They cost a bit more, but will last much longer than cotton. If you sew, it’s easy enough to make your own. Just cut to size and hem them. We keep a few linen napkins in the medical kit. Linen withstands being boiled over and over. In the old days, linen garments were cleaned in boiling water. (I suppose to kill any critters hiding within!)

Compressed Air is nice, but you can also find soft dusting brushes that help when your can is finally empty. There are also ‘dry sponges’ you can get at hardware stores to clean things you can’t get wet, like lamp shades. On the other hand, we don’t personally keep things in our dwelling that are that delicate!

I am always interested in learning about new ways to prep on a budget.  Michelle offers this tip for making your own waterproof matches.

i actually have a really great way that serves both as a long burning fire starter and water proofs matches in the same stroke.  I have made 10 sets of the diamond box matches (the ones that come in a pack of 10 at the Dollar Tree) so I now have close to 2500 water proofed fire starters/matches in my preps and plan on making more.

Here is the YouTube video I used

An Update on the Oil of the Month Club

There is some exciting news for essential oils enthusiasts.  Spark Naturals has introduced a Premium Oil of the Month Club that features the higher priced oils at the bargain price of $24.99 with free shipping.  To give you an example of the savings, the May oil is a 15ML bottle of Frankincense, normally $70.  That is a discount of almost 65%.

If you would like to learn more about the Oil of the Month Club, visit the page I created for you (shown below) or click on the graphic to head on over to the Spark Naturals web site.

Additional Reading:  Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club

Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club | Backdoor Survival

The Final Word

I am more that a little excited to be heading back home this week.  As you are reading this, I am most likely passing through Umatilla, Oregon with my next stop being Washington State.  After that a ferry ride plus a short, ten mile drive to the other side of San Juan Island and I am home.

This has been a grand adventure and I know that many of you have questions about it.  I plan to begin answering those questions and more from the LifeStraw Go giveaway next week.

So what about you – what did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

An article I wrote on DIY cleaning turned out to be hugely popular all around the web. In cased you missed it, here is a link to the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies and to some of the products that I use to make my own cleaners.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap: Of all of the Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps, tea tree is my favorite.  I prefer to purchase the versions are already infused with essential oils since it does save me a step when concocting my own cleaners. A little goes a long way with a favorite use being DIY Foaming Hand Soap.

InterDesign Duo Foaming Soap Dispenser Pump:  I have had good luck with this type of foaming soap dispenser.  There are lots of styles to choose from and you can even try repurposing those that come prefilled from the Dollar store.

Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, (Pack of 36): No list of DIY cleaning supplies would be complete without these wonderful microfiber cloths. They will last you for years and will allow you to replace paper towels forever. Truly. I color code using blue for glass and windows and the other colors for everything else. I love these.

Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Liquid Cleanser: I know that Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile soaps have a cult-like following but I prefer the Sal Suds. I call my DIY cleaner “Sudsy Sal”.

Soft ‘n Style 8 oz. Spray Bottles: I happen to like these smaller bottles and you can not beat the price for a set of 3. Likewise for these Pump Dispensers.

NOW Solutions Vegetable Glycerin: You will need this for your Dirt Cheap Soft Soap. I paid almost as much for only 4 ounces locally. This is a great price and 16 ounces will last forever.

Peppermint Essential Oil: I favor peppermint and tea tree (Melaleuca) essential oil in my cleaning supplies. But there are many types of essential oils to choose from. Take your pick. One thing you will find is that a little goes a long way.  The nice thing about essential oils from Spark Naturals is that they are also excellent for therapeutic and healing use and well as for use in DIY cleaning supplies.  Just remember to use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout to get 10% off your order.

Budget Essential Oils:  For the budget minded – and especially for use in cleaning supplies – consider NOW Foods Essential Oils.

Mobile Washer

Mobile Washer: This is hand operated washing machine. Like a plunger, it uses a technique of pushing and pulling the water through clothes to clean them well without wearing them out. It uses a minimum of water and less soap due to the agitation motion. Use in a bucket (5-gallon suggested), sink or tub.


What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival




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Updated Jul 2, 2019

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10 Responses to “Survival Buzz: Firearms Safety for Newbies”

  1. My wife and I live alone. Maybe we are paranoid, but each week we see on the evening news of a home break in of an elderly person. I have a holster velcroed to the side of my easy chair. I have a revolver on top of the refrigerator. I have a pistol attached to the side of the lavatory in my bathroom. Of course my wife and I have our weapons on our nightstand by our bed. In each of these cases, our weapon of choice is one that does not have a safety. Just pull the trigger. I know if we needed to use the weapon, we would be so excited and scared that we would forget which position the safety was. No safety, just pull the trigger.
    I’m saying this because we live alone. When we know that grandchildren are coming over, all weapons go in the safe. We also have a keyed lock on our bedroom door. This keeps out the youngsters. Oh, did I say that my wife carries a hammerless revolver in her purse and I carry a simi at all times. I dont go anywhere without being strapped. To the mailbox or the garden. Dont leave home without it.

    • You are not paranoid enough. Carry a gun in the house on your person all of the time. What if you are not at your easy chair or near the fridge or etc. when someone or several someones come crashing through the door. You won’t have time to run to a gun. If it is already on you, problem solved. Then you don’t have to grab one when you go outside of your house. We carry ALL of the time. It is no problem to do so. Try it and you will see it is no big deal to carry all of the time

  2. Just curious, did you watch that poor video on making “waterproof” matches? Pretty sad that you posted a video where he could only get one out of several of his long (3 min) burn matches to work. Besides the hassle of making them it would appear the unreliability of them would necessitate the making (and carrying) of a few hundred to feel you could reliably start a fire. Have you ever used petroleum jelly on a cotton ball? Lite it with a true waterproof match, bic lighter or ferrocerium rod and striker will get one going every time. No failures. Look up info on using cotton balls and petroleum jelly. Very simple and reliable fire starter. Oh, one cotton ball with a dab of petroleum jelly worked into it will burn many times longer than these so-called long burn matches.

    • I have written about using cotton balls and a dab of vaseline quite often. That is my personal choice along with dryer lint. The DIY waterproof matches tip (and video) was contributed by a reader who prefers to use matches. It all gets down to a matter of personal preference and choice.

  3. I live far enough out of town that a home invasion is unlikely but we have coyotes, bears and the odd cougar. Learning to shoot is a very high priority. My son in law is a crack shot but I can’t count on him to always be around.

  4. Some states require No Permits for Open or concealed carry !

  5. I live in bear country, gun in every room, practice makes perfect.

  6. In a self defense situation what counts are hits on the subject that will stop any further action that poses a threat . If your weapon is uncomfortable take what ever steps necessary to remedy the problem .
    Normally the break in requirements for a new weapon are about 250 rounds fired . It takes
    Several sessions to do . Both you and your weapon are adjusting . Find someone who can take the time to train you and go through disassembly and cleaning as well as shooting.
    Do not bet your life on cheap ammo , an unreliable weapon , or an unfamiliar situation .

  7. Selecting a personal firearm (mainly a handgun) can be a long and frustrating process. If it doesn’t feel comfortable in your hand and you don’t ENJOY using it, don’t buy it!
    I am a petite female with small hands. I used numerous rentals at our range before I picked my XD 9mm tactical. It felt like an extension of my arm. If your hands are small it’s really hard to get that super fit.
    We are just getting settled into our homestead and once the infrastructure work is done, it’s going to be all about target practice!!

  8. Global Gun Control Advocates to Meet in NYC to Set UN Disarmament Agenda


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