First Time Shooter

Firearm Safety

Firearm Safety Information

Whether it’s introducing youth to the benefits of hunting and shooting sports, or maybe you’re a first-time gun owner, a lifetime of enjoyment ALWAYS starts with learning, understanding, and practicing the basics of firearms safety.

Shooting Henry rifle

Inside every Henry Repeating Arms user manual is an expanded list of rules and guidelines to follow for your safety and the safety of those around you. Those rules are as follows:

General Firearm Safety Rules

  1. Always Point Your Firearm in a Safe Direction
    NEVER point a firearm at anyone or anything you do not intend to shoot, whether or not it is loaded. This rule is particularly important when loading, unloading, or field stripping the firearm. ALWAYS control the direction of the firearm; if it fires accidentally, injury, death, or damage to property can be avoided. NEVER SHOOT ACROSS A HIGHWAY OR ANOTHER ROADWAY.
  2. Always Treat Every Firearm as if it is Loaded and Will Fire
    Do not assume that a firearm is unloaded – always check for yourself. Never pass your firearm to another person until the cylinder or action is open and you visually check that it is unloaded. Keep your firearm unloaded and safely stored when not in use.
  3. Always Keep Your Finger off the Trigger Until you are Ready to Shoot
    You should also take care to ensure that other objects do not touch the trigger. This is true even if the safety is activated.
  4. Always be Sure of Your Target and What is Beyond
    A bullet could travel through or past your target for up to 1½ miles. Always be sure your backstop is adequate to stop and contain bullets before beginning target practice so that you do not hit anything outside the range shooting area. If in doubt, don’t shoot! Do not fire randomly into the sky.
  5. Never use Alcohol or Drugs Before or While Shooting
    Your vision, motor skills, and judgment could be dangerously impaired, making your gun handling unsafe to you and to others. Further, do not use your firearm if you are on any medication that impairs, even slightly, your mental or physical ability.
  6. Always Seek a Doctor’s Advice if you are Taking Medication
    Be sure you are fit to shoot and handle your firearm safely.
  7. Never Shoot at a Hard Surface Such as a Rock or a Liquid Surface Such as Water
    A bullet may ricochet and travel in any direction to strike you or an object you cannot see, causing injury, death, or damage to property.
  8. Never Discharge a Firearm Near Flammable Material
    Flame and sparks erupt from the firearm when discharged. They could start a fire or cause flammable liquids to explode.
  9. Always be Aware of the Possible Risks of Dropping Your Firearm
    Some parts of the mechanism could be damaged. You may not see the damage, but it could be severe. The firearm may discharge and cause injury, death, or damage to property. If your firearm has been dropped, have it examined by a competent gunsmith before using it again.
  10. Always Keep and Carry Your Firearm Empty in the “Safe” Position
    The safety mechanism on your firearm should only be deactivated when you intend to shoot.
  11. Never Cross Obstacles Such as Fences or Climb With a Loaded Firearm
    Always make certain your firearm is unloaded before crossing a fence, climbing a tree, jumping a ditch, or approaching other obstacles.
  12. Never Transport a Loaded Firearm
    Keep all firearms unloaded during transport, even when stored in a holster, gun case, scabbard, or other container.
  13. Never Walk, Climb, or Follow a Companion With Your Firearm Cocked and Ready to Fire
    When hunting, hold your firearm so that you can always control the direction of the muzzle.
  14. Never Leave a Loaded Firearm Unattended
    Someone, especially a child, may fire it and cause injury, death, or damage to property.
  15. Always Instruct Children and Non-shooters to Respect Firearms
    If you teach your children to shoot or get them trained by a qualified instructor, be certain they know how to use the firearm properly and always supervise them closely. Always stress safety so that your children or others will not fire a rifle when or where it is unsafe to do so.

Firearm Safety Shooter

First-Time Owners

If you have little or no experience in the safe handling and operation of a firearm, we strongly urge you to take a firearms safety course from an NRA Certified Instructor or someone with equivalent qualifications before using any firearm. Visit the Resources section below to find an NRA Training Course near you, or contact your firearms dealer, law enforcement agency, or local sportsman’s club for more information.


NRA Course Finder – Start here to find an NRA-certified safety course in your area.

NSSF Where to Shoot Map – Find a local range or club using the NSSF’s interactive map.

NSSF Project ChildSafe – Before introducing firearms into a home with children, we suggest reviewing the information set forth by the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe to do so safely and responsibly.

NSSF Gun Home Storage Considerations – With or without children in the home, the NSSF can shed light on the many options available to you as a gun owner for proper storage in the home.

IHEA-USA Course Finder – Interested in hunting? Most states require completing a hunter’s safety education program as a prerequisite for obtaining a hunting license. The International Hunters Education Association (IHEA-USA) provides courses and instruction affiliated with the Fish and Wildlife agencies in all 50 states.

Youth Shooting Sports & Hunting Instruction – We are proud to support a long list of organizations and programs that provide instruction for safely passing down America’s shooting sports and hunting traditions to future generations.

Special thanks to Tommy Sapp for allowing us to share his book about children’s gun safety, “Bubby and Ali Learn About Gun Safety”.

For a complimentary PDF version, click here.
For a paperback version to support the author, click here.

Henry Safety Products

Otis Shooting Bundle
Henry Ear Shield
Henry Shooting Glasses
Formable Hearing Protection

Henry Partners in Safety

Henry Repeating Arms is proud to support the following organizations and programs in the name of responsible gun ownership and firearms safety education:

Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program
Project ChildSafe
Youth Shooting Sports Alliance
Boy Scouts of America
National 4-H Shooting Sports


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The Henry Guarantee

The Henry Guarantee

From Founder & CEO, Anthony Imperato

“When you choose to spend your hard-earned money on a Henry, you have my personal satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty for the life of the product. Your 100% satisfaction is of utmost importance, and our award-winning customer service team is empowered to do whatever it takes to make sure you are happy with your Henry.”