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How Does a Firearm
Recall Work?

By Dan S. Defense

From the Ruger LCP to Colt 1911, Gun Recalls Happen but How Does a Firearms Recall Work?

When people ask me how "how does a recall work?" I often look for the affected firearm and then tell them how to handle to process of the recall. Since recalls happens all the time, it is important for folks to know how a recall works--independently. It is important to realize that firearm recalls happen and no vendor is immune to them.

This article will take the mystery out of this process and look at how a recall works. Since firearms by their nature are dangerous tools, understanding how a recall works and then taking it seriously, as an action item to be addressed as soon as possible. In this article we'll see how a recall works, how to know whether a firearm that you own is affected by a recall, what you need to do. By the time you finish reading this article you'll be able to answer the question "how does a recall work?"

A potentially dangerous problem is found:

A given firearm vendor discovers a flaw in a design or materials that can cause serious harm to the user or people around them. This can be discovered in-house (i.e. via extended testing) or more commonly via the customer base which reports the problem to dealers or the vendor's customer service. As data comes in, it is assessed for severity and commonality. If the problem affects, or can potentially affect a large number of users, a recall process goes into affect. A responsible vendor acts quickly and gets the work on the recall underway with deliberate speed and efficiency.

Vendor publishes a recall notice:

The vendor's engineering team describes the problem and a statement is issues, typically via legal and PR and then written as clearly as possible. The vendor proceeds to share this information with dealers and customers. A recall notice is dispatched and published on-line. A set of affected models, mostly accompanied by a range of serial numbers or model years is set forth to scope the scale of the recall. Often you'll see recall notices in gun publications. Responsible vendors, such as Ruger, even append advertisements to states that that given model is affected and then what to do.

Immediate Action:

You must immediately stop using the affected firearm. Unload it and store it safely until you can follow the recall notice. I sometime hear people who don't take recalls seriously, thinking it's just a silly legal trick for covering someone's behind--it is a foolish and dangerous approach. Recalls are costly in many ways. Not only the monetary cost of the recall itself but damage to the firms reputation. No one wants to issue a recall for fun. When you hear, read or see that you firearm is affected by a recall--stop using it.!

Shipping the firearm back for repair:

Firearms can't be shipped via the post office, unless you have an FFL and you must ship your firearm with FedEx or UPS. Make sure your firearm is unloaded. Then check again and only then pack it and go to the UPS or FedEx branch in person. Tell them you need to ship a firearm back for repair. Fill the paperwork, insure your firearm and be sure to take the receipt that include the tracking information.

Waiting for your firearm:

The vendor can take a few weeks to repair and send the firearm back to you. Go to the web site of the vendor and see if there are any updates on the recall and estimated time for repair. Try to avoid the temptation to call customer service and ask for an update. Think of all the other folks that want to do the same. It won't speed things up. Only call if the estimated return date goes by and you hear nothing from the vendor.

Getting your firearm back:

You'll get notification that your firearm is about to get shipped back to you. A tracking number is typically sent to you and you need to be sure to be home to sign for your firearm. By law, the package can't be left outside your door, nor can a firearm be shipped to a PO Box. This makes sense and you should be happy to get your firearm back in good working order.

Who pays?

Typically, you pay for the shipping back to the vendor and they pay for the parts, labor and return shipping. This doesn't seem fair but I think it is a fair division of costs. It doesn't happen every day and it's a way to help the industry that designed, built and followed through on its warranty.
I hope this article is not only interesting, but is also a contribution to your personal safety. The next time someone asks you "how does a recall work?" you'll know the answer yourself.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!

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