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Targetzone recently cited the icarly show for "questionable" safety practices (understatement) with paintball blowguns.
Smp showed us the hazards of letting somebody shoot things out of one's hand with a blowgun dart.
Sphingid mentioned the hazards of using one's finger/thumb as a "muzzle valve"...
I thought it might not be a bad thing to have a dedicated "safety tips" thread, which might be useful for blowgunners of all experience levels, and especially to those just entering the sport...
I'll throw out a few other thoughts just to help get things started.
1. Do not walk or run or do gymnastics while holding a blowgun to your mouth. This seems to be something else that the icarly show is doing with blowguns, that's really not advisable. If you trip or slip and the blowgun muzzle hits the floor/ground, or if you "walk into" something like a wall with the muzzle, the mouthpiece is going to get pushed very hard against or even into your mouth. Let's not find out if it's possible to knock teeth out this way, or to find out just why the "soft palate" is called the SOFT palate...
2. Remember those warning signs on aluminum ladders, that caution against carrying the ladder in a way that could cause it to come in contact with an overhead electrical power-line? Remember that a blowgun (even a wooden or fiberglass one) can be an electrical conductor too, so never carry it in a way that would cause it to come in contact with an overhead power supply line. Remember that moisture collected inside a blowgun may enhance its conductivity.
3. Wear eye protection when shooting. Strong plastic shooting glasses are easy to find and don't cost that much. Blowgun darts usually don't bounce off of a properly made target. HOWEVER, every once in a blue moon, they do. Later I'll explain in more detail a couple of situations where I've had a wire target dart bounce back towards me off a target I would have thought was bounce-proof. For now, though, trust me, it's possible.
4. Never expect a tree or a bush to stop a blowgun dart (or an arrow, or slingshot pellet, or bullet). Even though all the leaves on the tree make it look like a "solid mass", there are plenty of spaces between twigs and branches for a dart to go zipping through and hit something past the far side of the tree, something that you didn't see because of the tree. When I was a teenager I had my target bow "grounded" because I thought a tree would stop a target arrow---but what really happened is that the arrow went on "through" (between) the tree branches, and continued through a chain link fence, and ended up in a neighboring yard...luckily hitting only the ground. You must always have a REAL backstop behind any target you shoot at. The dart doesn't know it's "supposed" to be stopped by something like a tree or fence that has gaps in it.
5. NEVER shoot a dart high into the air with no idea of where it's going to land. Whatever goes up, must come down. With bullets, arrows, slingshot pellets, and blowgun darts, the speed coming down is usually somewhat slower than the speed going up, but even so there IS still enough speed to cause damage, injury, and worse. Never imitate those TV "cops" who dramatically fire a handgun into the air several times to draw the attention of a crowd. In real life, those bullets would be all too likely to punch through the top of someone's skull as the bullets fell back to earth. If you want to try shooting for distance with a blowgun (flight shooting) then you must locate a shooting range or other location with plenty of open space that is secure from persons wandering into the range unannounced. I would suggest consulting flight shooting experts (maybe archers) to get very detailed advice on how to proceed safely.
Well, that's all I have energy for right now....
Any other safety tips anyone's got to share?
Or any snappy re-wordings that would make them more fun to learn, and easier to remember?