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Carrying Firearms Safely – The Six Safe Carry Positions

Safely Carrying Firearms While Hunting

Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and the barrel under control.
Keep the safety in the “on” position while carrying a firearm. Only change the position of the safety to fire when you are ready to shoot.
Always keep your finger outside the trigger guard.

While hunting

Check the status of your firearm often, especially as you travel or get ready to cross an obstacle. Check to see if your safety is still on and keep the chamber empty. If your magazine is loaded, when you’re ready to fire, it is easy to chamber a round for the shot. Don’t be shy to ask others about the safety status of their firearm.

Sling Carry

A sling carry uses a rifle sling placed over your shoulder to support the rifle. Keep your hand on the sling while walking to keep the rifle from slipping. The sling carry is good for long walks in open cover. If brush becomes dense, the barrel tip can get caught in shoulder-high branches and twigs so you may need to switch to a different carrying method. It is a good carry when walking with others.

Trail Carry

The trail carry uses one arm to carry the firearm, leaving the other free for balance.

Elbow or Side Carry

The elbow or “side” carry is a very comfortable carry for break-action firearms. The pivot of the open action rests easily in the crook of your elbow and down over your forearm. In this manner, the barrel naturally points down. Others can easily see that your action is safe and open.

Shoulder Carry

The shoulder carry balances the rifle on your shoulder, controlling the firearm with a hand on the grip. Always keep your finger off the trigger and on the outside of the trigger guard. This is a good carry when walking beside or behind others. It is not a good carry if others are behind you.

Two-Handed or Ready Carry

Safe Carries in a Group

Safely carrying firearms while hunting with others can be a challenge. Strict muzzle control is the key factor to keep in mind. Remember that you may have to adjust or change your carry for the terrain and pace of your group.

Cradle Carry

The cradle carry rests the gun across your forearm and elbow. The hand easily secures the firearm by grasping the stock. It is a comfortable carry that reduces arm fatigue.