Steel Shooting Safety Tips with Hickok45

There is always time for gun safety, and Hickok45’s latest YouTube video addresses an important one: shooting steel. This video is well worth watching if you’re not entirely up on gun safety while shooting steel and is also a good one to share with new shooters. After all, the four golden rules of gun safety always apply – treat all guns as though they’re loaded, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re on target, don’t point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy, and know your target and what is beyond it – but there are other rules to keep in mind as well.

My reason for sharing this is partly because I’ve seen so many safety rules violated as of late but also simply because Hickok45 does make great videos. Check out his YouTube channel at And please, be safe. We don’t want to see you as the next social media “what happens when your gun goes off” posts.


TFB Staffer

TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.


  • thedonn007

    What safety rules have you seen violated?

  • Does anyone make angled steel targets, where the plate is tilted forward at such an angle that ricochets are deflected into the ground? It seems like a fairly obvious thing for a top-pivot spinner, and it would be super simple to build them so that they’re basically hanging from a hook and will fall off a crossbar if hit hard enough to spin them.

    • Bill

      There are fairly common, the better manufacturers usually have some.

    • Joseph Goins

      Most of the time, the brackets are angled. Check RSR steel targets.

  • Renegade

    There is such a thing as too much safety.

    • Dan

      To be completely sure you will not be injured while shooting your guns is to give them all to me. I will make sure they will not injure you. I will send pictures of them to you monthly and videos of them at the range. And all for less than the price of a cup of coffee a day.

  • Michael Guerin

    Good video, extremely relevant. About 15 years back, we had an incident in NZ wherein some local cops upcountry acquired an SKS and took it to a local shooting range. They fired several shots at a mild steel target which was reserved specifically for lead pistol bullet shooting and then departed. A pistol shooter turned up later that day, failed to recognize the significance of a crater on the target and cut an artery in his leg when the bullet from his first shot came straight back at him. He survived! I subsequently made a point of telling that story at every Firearm Safety Lecture I attended whilst taking people for their Firearm Licences.

    Shortly after I started shooting, I had a scare whilst competing in a Simulated Field Shoot. The course had been set up with a mixture of swinging targets and silhouette targets (which turned out to a once only experiment). It is not very pleasant to have your own bullet whizzing back past your ear!

    NZ Deerstalkers’ Association (1989 to date)
    NZ Mountain Safety Council, Firearms Safety Volunteer (1997 to date)
    Territorial Force Royal New Zealand Engineer (1984-1996)

  • Wolfgar

    Do not shoot at steel targets with rifle bi- metal bullets like Wolf, Tula, etc. They will crater AR500 steel.

  • DrewN

    Man, I love Hickock45, but would it kill the guy to write a script?

    • Joseph Goins

      Scripts are evidence of high production quality. Hickok45 already lacks good content (“I just love to shoot guns” doesn’t count as analytical). He might as well get something right.

      • Jake

        insulting grandpa wont get you any points around here. make your own channel, maybe review butt dildos or something you guys are good at using?

        • Joseph Goins

          Why would I review dildos? You’re the one who’s butt-hurt.

          • Jake

            “Joseph Groins: The butt blaster 2.0, i give it 4 out of 5 stars”

            be sure to put my royalty check in the mail.

          • Joseph Goins

            Do you really think I haven’t heard that one before?

          • Jake

            Im so alone

  • jcitizen

    I’ve fired 10s of thousands of rounds, that were not tracer, of all types, at all kinds of targets, and even some explosive ordinance in the Army, and never noticed once that any shrapnel came back at me. This DOES NOT mean it didn’t happen, it is just that I didn’t notice. Now when you start shooting tracer ammo is when you get a lesson in what dynamics does with bullets in such situations, It doesn’t matter if you are shooting dirt, they can come back at you quite often. This was a real eye opener( and safety glass motivator) for me. I will admit that everyone I remember seeing came at a high arc back to my location, and fell straight down, so I probably would not have been injured, except for maybe burns from hot bullets. I once saw a 50 cal BMG API round take off like a jet at 50 foot altitude and go for a half mile before landing flat on the ground. The core was sitting just behind the jacket, and was still smoking hot. It looked like a UFO flying about a hundred meters from the target area to our rear right. We all stood there and watched the entire flight, which seemed like a long time. Your senses tend to take compressed time and elongate it for some reason.

  • JJ

    During a hot house room clearing training session, using hanging steel targets, I had a piece of jacket from an fmj round turn frag on me and imbed in the front of my shin. As Hickok says, it doesn’t matter how safe the targets are designed, it can happen. Luckily we had some needle nose lying around.

    • Sianmink

      roomclearing vs steel is what frangible practice ammo was made for.

  • De Facto

    “Is EVERYBODY stupid?