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Accidental Discharges

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Spitpatch, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Guns are mechanical devices. Humans are, well....human. I am of the firm belief that when humans interact with mechanical devices, mistakes are bound to happen. Most often, the human fails. Sometimes the gun fails.

    There may be a select few firearms enthusiasts that have never experienced an unintended (better term than "accidental", since most could be prevented) discharge with a weapon. Fewer yet that have never been in proximity of one. Personally, I don't know anyone who has spent much time with firearms that can claim they have no experience with this.

    This said, I also believe that it is in the sharing of such experiences that others can be prevented. I share my experiences, and I always seek out those of others. It allows my "radar" to activate when I see a similar situation developing.

    Here's one: (I was not present, but my "radar" saved me from being present at a later one, as I will relate.) This was first-hand from the police officer that responded.

    Guy walks up to a gun counter at a big sporting goods store in Great Falls, Montana. He has a deer rifle to trade in on a new one. Hands the gun to the store guy. Store guy looks it over, sets the gun on the pad on the counter, then both walk a short distance away to examine the new gun off the rack. Enter customer #2.

    Customer #2 says howdy to the store guy, picks up the gun, asks the owner about it, sights thru the scope across the store, and kills an employee on a ladder stocking shelves.

    Ruled an accident, we all know it wasn't. Three seperate people had the opportunity to prevent it.

    Different store, (The old Larry's in Oregon City): I'm a customer at the gun counter. In walks customer #2 with a deer rifle to trade in. Hands the deer rifle to store guy, store guy examines it (exterior only). Sets the gun down on the pad on the counter, starts to walk away with Customer #2 to look at a new gun, and my temples start pounding, and tunnel vision sets in. I start walking toward the gun quickly just as Store Guy #2 picks it up. I disregard any feelings of personal embarassment as I yell, "WHOA!" All eyes on me. I ask very loudly, and with no room for debate, "Open that bolt, please!" Turns out there was nothing in the chamber, but 3 rounds of very healthy 30-06's rest comfortably in the magazine.

    Store Guys immediately assure me that they would have checked it (somehow, eventually, I guess). I then share the Great Falls story with them, but I am still made to feel that I over-reacted somewhat. Don't think so.

    Ok, fellow humans, what've you got? I have some (very few, fortunately) more.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2010
  2. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    I've been lucky i guess. I do not recall experiencing a single accidental discharge in my life of 36 years. I know thats probably hard to believe but it's the honest truth.
  3. SSG

    SSG Lane County New Member

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    Pretty much everyone I know that carries a gun for a living, or shoots alot, and has been doing so for years, has had an accidental discharge. Maybe a better term is negligent discharge..

    The same logic would apply that if one drives a car, the odds are they might eventualy get hit, or hit someone else, or just get into some type of accident.

    Most peeps feel very very stupid when it happens, and are unlikely to talk about it.

    Here is what I learned ...Treating a gun like it's loaded makes everyone much more carefull....keeping the finger off the trigger, pretty much eliminates a chance of the gun going off...but keeping the firearm pointed AWAY from people, always seems to be the last, and ultimate rule in making sure that the bullet that killed your tv, car, livingroom wall ect, doesn't turn into a lawsuit, death, jail, ect.

    Pretty much every non range, negligent discharge that I have personaly witnessed or heard of, has involved the act of dry firing the weapon, at home, gun store, ect...and some circumstances were hard to avoid...like a round that stuck in a mag deep down...but came up after racking the slide a few times...strange...

    Anyway, I have a rule now...besides the standards...

    Never Dryfire a weapon with a mag, no matter how empty it looks
    Never dryfire off the range

    The other neg. discharge that seems to be common is the guy that shoots himself in the foot, or leg when drawing....

    This is simply coming down to making sure the gun is safe untill it is presented on target...that can slow down a draw...but might save you a belly, a back, a leg a foot, by not having a finger on the trigger, untill it's on target....

    Training accidents...is probably the last on the list....cops, military, and even civilians, will use live rounds in training...and we have all seen peeps stack a door, and waive that MP5 or shotgun across the guy in front of them...tons of military accidents to the point where in Vietnam 25% of all military casualties were from their own guys...today they say it's around half that...even so...you have a 1 in 8 chance of getting killed by your own peeps in todays military...not acceptable...

    It seems the real solution to this is really discipline and vigilence, taking a professional attitude toward the handling of weapons.
  4. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Northern Idaho Member

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    I have been present during an unintended discharge. I call it unintended because the shooter was at the range, hand the handgun pointed down range with no finger on the trigger. He racked the slide and the gun went off. It cycled once but did not fire the second shot thankfully. Immediately he dropped the magazine and cleared the pistol. Nobody was hurt, just a little surprised by what happened.

    I personally have not experienced an AD. I know that everyone says "There's those people that have had an AD and then there's those that will have an AD." I am not naive enough to say it will never happen because anything is possible and I can't say I've never had one with absolute certainty until I am taking my last breath but I am extremely anal about safety. I work around a very high volume of guns daily (gunsmith) and we have a rule of no ammo except in the test fire booth. Same goes for home, carry gun gets set in the night position and left there (no kids yet). If I want to practice dry aiming or dummy functioning, I leave the live ammo in a different room, grab my plastic red snap caps, empty magazine, empty gun, and go the different room with it. I lock the slide open and verify the gun is unloaded visually and physically with my pinkey finger in the chamber before proceeding. All my guns are loaded until I verify that they are otherwise. They are all kept loaded in the safe but nothing in the chamber.
  5. mstrmom42

    mstrmom42 Vancouver, washington New Member

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    Hey everyone, Im a new gun owner within the last year and reading some of these stories makes me really think about what could happen if you are not totally in the game. Every time I have my gun out I go thru safety in my head and I hope I NEVER take short-cuts or forget that. I am teaching my girls the same thing, to always respect firearms and think before they react.
  6. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Northern Idaho Member

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    No gun is immune to an AD but some are more prone toward it. A good example is semi-auto pistols. Most autoloaders are still capable of firing with the magazine removed. Ruger has tried to prevent this by putting a magazine disconnect safety in the gun but it can still happen with the mag inserted. It really comes down to how careful the user is.
  7. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    My son and I were shooting the .45 and .40 when he had finished (unaware of the fact he had a full magazine) after shooting 4 of the 8 rounds. Was standing in the spot where we shoot.

    Gun was pointed down but be damned if he touched the trigger. It was on the Ruger P90 which did have a very light trigger. POW! Shot into the dirt between the two of us. I since have rid myself of that gun.

    1. Gun was NOT pointed in a safe direction before I could unload it for him.
    2. His finger WAS on the trigger.
    3. Scared the **** out of him ( me too )

    I personally have not had an AD in my 28 years of life *looking for wood to knock on*.
  8. pokerace

    pokerace Newberg Well-Known Member

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    Years ago I had a rem. in 308, i was out hunting had the gun on my hip pointing up
    flipped the safety off and it fired.Scared the **** out of me.
  9. Tilos

    Tilos Idaho Active Member

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    I'm at the biggest gun store in an eastern state and customer comes in with 12ga pump shotgun.
    The shop OWNER racks the slide open looks over the gun, makes an offer, pays the guy and he leaves.
    The OWNER closes the slide, opens and closes the slide again, points the shotgun at the ceiling and pulls the trigger.
    From the floor with my ears ringing I see a lot of confused people staring at each other.
    Yes, there was a 2nd floor but it was not penatrated...bird shot.

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  10. SSG

    SSG Lane County New Member

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    Stories -

    1) Talking to a friend on the phone...heard a small pop...he accidentally shot his 45 through the couch, through the wall, across a busy street, and best we could guess, lodged in the old folks home on the other side.

    2) SWAT guy comes over, cop friend hands him a Benelli, he points it at the ceiling fan, checks out the trigger...destroys the ceiling fan...roof still leaks to this day...12 OO little holes in there somewhere...

    3) Guy comes home from IDPA, excited to tell his wife about it, checks the gun, had been dry firing in the garage...throws an empty mag in to demonstrate a tactical reload...ends up shooting the big screen, goes through wall, and lodges in house next door...wife wasn't impressed. Turns out when emptying the mag, the last round got stuck with the follower deep it mag, looked empty...after about ten 'racking of the slides', the follower popped up...loaded the chamber.

    4) Friend takes his kid hunting...opening day...rounds fly over his head...another hunter shooting anything that moves in the bushes...he never hunted again

    5) Concealed training training class...person with new Glock draws and shoots themselves in the leg.

    6) Eugene SWAT trying to capture a guy with a shotgun, active shooter thing...sniper, with spotter, ends up seeing 'some guy' run around the house...shoots his own SWAT guy...

    7) At the range...gods knows how many peeps grab their gun and touch off a round, not really on target but as they present the firearm, have the trigger on the trigger, and it goes off like 3 feet in front of them

    8) Guy 'cleaning' his gun in the down stairs apt...keeping the muzzle up for safety...shoots the lady above him, in her bed...she died.

    9) Sheriff and excellent martial artist was 'cleaning' his gun in the bathroom, he died...not sure how 'accidental' that was.

    10) War zones.... most everyone carries weapons to the left...in a line on patrol..gunshots erupt from the right....some guys behind other guys swing their rifles around and shoot the guy in front...others go prone, hit the dirt, rifle goes off hits the guy in front of them....

    11) Brandon Lee, in the Crow...idiot armorer, somehow put live rounds in one of the extras guns...Brandon was killed in one of the last shoot out scenes...

    The list goes on...

    It seems the difference between the 'accidents' and 'screw ups' we typically hear about are the ones where someone got injured or killed...vs the ones that went into the tv, the wall..ect that no one admits to...

    At the upper levels of training regimes, live fire training is almost necessary for those that have to 'get into it' for a living, and for firearm disarm training great care has to be taken to make sure firearms are unloaded, best to use dummy guns, but not as realistic..weight, feel ect....really gets scary when people take real guns and shoot wax/simunition at each other...hope that a live round didn't get thrown into the pile

    For me it just keeps coming back to the same old adage...you never ever point a gun at at a good guy, and if you do...you better make sure, you have really, super, duper checked the gun, he checked the gun, mags are left in the truck, no live rounds with in a million miles...ect..
  11. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    Same here. Only .243. Borrowed gun, I was with the owner. Hunted all afternoon, quit at sundown. Went to unload it, and bolt wouldn't open (old style Rem).
    Thank god I pointed it in a safe direction before I took the safety off. I think I killed a couple roots in a ditchbank is all.
    The owner sent it in to Remington for the safety retro-fit.
  12. CharlesAFerg

    CharlesAFerg Beaverton Active Member

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    I had an RPD go off on me after a 5rd burst once, and I wasn't even near the trigger.
  13. jordanvraptor

    jordanvraptor Oregon City, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I picked up my new rifle from my gun club's FFL and immediately check the chamber because of old Marine Corps training and I was the first to take it out of the box. The club's FFL guy says its always a good idea since they have found three weapons with rounds chambered.
  14. spengo

    spengo GLORIOUS CASCADIA Active Member

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    So far I've never had an ND or AD either. Always check the chamber before I handle a firearm that is supposed to be empty. Always press check my carry gun before I holster to make sure it's not empty. (had a friend once who carried with an empty chamber for 3 days before noticing!) Always press check before doing dry fire practice to make sure I see that brown (or whatev color you have) snap cap. Oh yeh, and make sure to keep your trigger discipline when you draw/pick up a gun. ND-ing into the ground will get you DQ-ed from any shooting competition for sure. Aaaand of course follow the other usual safety rules we always hear. :)
  15. Tactical SS

    Tactical SS Washington Member

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    I've never had or been around an unintentional discharge. I've made it such a habit to check the chamber first thing it's just automatic now. I was over at a friends house and his dad has a rather nice collection of guns (including a never fired Tommy Gun). He was handing me different firearms after he had done a safety check right in front of me, but as soon as he handed them to me, I did my safety check as well. It only takes a few seconds at most and it can prevent a lifetime of pain/suffering.
  16. Keane

    Keane Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    First, a definition:
    Negligent Discharge: Someone pulls the trigger with a round in the chamber, whether they knew it or not.
    Accidental Discharge: The firearm goes off on its own due to mechanical malfunctions.

    I had the latter about a year and a half ago (there is a nice sized thread about it here). Here is a video of the cause: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3c5dYFrCBI

    Basically I was reloading my 1911 in the car (finger off the trigger) and dropped the slide onto a live round (finger off trigger, safe direction, all that). The 1911 malfunctioned allowing the hammer to drop on a full chamber! Now, this was the FIRST time this malfunction occurred, though afterwards it would happen quite reliably.

    The video shows the hammer stopping at 1/2 cock, however numerous times it would drop all the way down.

    In my case, it was a strict maintenance of the 4 rules that kept me alive, and only cost me a center console on my daily driver.
  17. 56kninja

    56kninja Portland Member

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    I've shared this story before. And this is a negligent discharge on my part.

    I was out shooting one day. Decided to try bump firing. It was fun. I turn back. I carry the gun naturally towards the ground, barrel angled so that it's aimed at the dirt. I pull the trigger so that the hammer can relax(no logic behind this one) and that I can be sure it's empty. I didn't even hear the gun go off, all I feel is a jerk in my arm, the ground exploding about 6 inches from my foot, and dirt flying in my face, covering my glasses.

    And that was about the last time I ever told myself "I'm too experienced with gun safety for it to happen to me." The gun is always checked, always now.

    Now whenever I shoot, the bolt is cycled several times after firing to make sure everything is out. And of course I make sure it's clear by checking.
  18. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    An older fellow I worked with back many years ago was out deer hunting with some friends. They stopped the truck on a back road, jumped out after seeing a buck but the buck spooked and was gone in a flash.

    Guy got into the passenger side of the truck, put his 30-06 barrel down on the floor and "BOOM" Shot the starter right off the engine. They had to push start the truck to get home.

    This occurred back in the 1960's I believe, with an old stick shift Chevy Truck.

    I was working on an old Colt 380 auto for a friend. It had a concealed hammer and was difficult to take down to clean. But I got it cleaned and then without thinking, put in the magazine, racked the slide and promptly put a hole in the block wall of my family room. I had that patched up and painted before the wife got home from work. This AD took place in the 1970's.

    I have never had anything close to an accident since then. Finger off the trigger, gun is always loaded and check it 2-3 times. Once scared out of your wits will make you a believer and extra cautious.
  19. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    I watched a firearms instructor hold her finger on the trigger while activating the decocking lever on an H&K USP 9mm. Luckily it was still pointed down range...she chalked it off that there was "something wrong with the pistol". To this day I disagree.
  20. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    All I can say to those of you who claim you are too safe to ever have a negligent discharge is good luck. I am safe around firearms. I am familiar with guns. I grew up with them in the house. I have owned them for a lot of years. I have had LEO training and gunsmith training with them. I have at least four factory armorers certification as well as a trade degree in gunsmithing. And I have had one. Complacency kills. Maybe you look when you rack the slide but don't finger the chamber (if anyone was at the last Redmond gunshow for the ND there, that was what caused it). Maybe you forget to drop the mag when you rack the slide to empty a gun. Maybe you could have swore you emptied a gun. Any way you slice it, ND's happen. You can violate any one of the four rules of gun safety, and you get embarrassed. If you violate more than that, someone gets hurt or worse...