Firearm Safety

Posted by Diane Ecker on 22 March, 2015

Charter Arms are among the safest available today.
But safe firearms are only half of the story. Proper, safe handling of firearms is equally important. Please study the following basic safety rules. Learning and following these rules will help insure safe handling of firearms, and help prevent accidents.

As a responsible supplier of firearms, Charter strongly urges you to learn and practice the following safety guidelines. Additionally, we encourage you to complete an approved firearm safety training course.

Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

Think of it this way: "When the action is open the firearm is safe - When the action is closed the firearms is always to be considered loaded." Simply put, when the action is open the firearm can not be fired.

Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.

A safe direction is any direction where an accidental discharge will not cause injury or damage. In a house or other type of building, the safest direction is angled down toward the floor with the muzzle of the weapon pointed toward a corner.

Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

It feels natural to place your finger within the trigger guard. But this is an unsafe practice. The best place to rest the trigger finger is above the trigger guard along the frame of the firearm. The only time your finger should be on the trigger is when you are ready to shoot. Learning this habit will help prevent an accidental discharge.

Always know your target, backstop, and beyond.

It's always important to know what your target is, but it is just as important to know what lies beyond your target--and what is going to stop the bullet. You must remember, that a bullet can and will travel a considerable distance, and you are responsible for the actions of the bullet. It's important to get familiar with your ammunition. Some have more power or velocity than others, even when used in the same firearm.

Always store your firearms away from unauthorized persons.

It is very important to store firearms in a safe place. You must make the firearm inaccessible to anyone who may not know how to operate it safely. This may include children, the mentally disabled and elderly people with any form of dementia. In addition, ammunition should be stored separately from the weapon.

Always be sure the firearm is safe to operate.

Before engaging in any type of shooting activity, be sure the firearm is safe to operate. This is especially important if the firearm has been in storage or otherwise unused for an extended period of time.

When cleaning a firearm, be sure no ammunition is present.

The most common response after an accidental discharge is, "I was cleaning the gun, and it went off!" When cleaning a firearm, be sure there is NO ammunition present. Keep the ammunition in another room until you have finished cleaning the weapon and are ready to reload.

Never accept a loaded firearm.

If you are offered a loaded firearm, DO NOT accept it. Have the person handing it to you either unload it or place it down for you to retrieve. Either of these actions will help prevent an accidental discharge, which could cause injury or death.

Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting.

Even though this seems like a common sense rule, some people will not admit when they are not in complete control of their actions. Just like when drinking and driving, your judgment and reflexes are impaired, and the likelihood of an accident increases greatly. We cannot stress this enough-JUST DON'T DO IT.

Always keep the firearm unloaded until you are ready to use it.

This rule is primarily for gun storage. An unauthorized person getting hold of your firearm is always a bad situation, but it will be far less dangerous when the gun is unloaded.

A Note about Self Defense

This is a variation on the "ready to use" rule. Obviously, an unloaded firearm is useless in a self defense situation. Therefore, when you carry a firearm for this purpose, it is loaded and considered "in use" whether or not you fire it. This underscores the need for proper, safe handling of your firearm.

These are only some of the many important safety rules for proper firearm handling, but they are among the most important basic guidelines. If you have further questions or concerns, consult your local firearms instructor, as well as the manual which came with your firearm.

You can also find firearm safety information at the National Rifle Association website:

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