When the unthinkable happens to you - self-inflicted gunshot wound

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by SynapticSilence, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. SynapticSilence

    Battle Ground, WA
    Well-Known Member

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    Ever since my negligent pistol discharge and injury yesterday morning, I’ve been pondering whether to post anything here. I’m embarrassed, feel stupid, and am kicking myself for violating the cardinal rule of handling guns — never be in a hurry. Someone referred to me once in my trading feedback as a “legend of the forum.” Well, that wasn’t really accurate in the first place. But it’s in no way accurate now. I think I have to go back to square one after negligently (not accidentally) shooting myself in the foot.

    I hadn’t been able to go shooting for at least three months due to health problems, but finally felt great on Monday. So I was transferring a few pistols from my safe to my range bag to take with me. I was clearing each of them and finally got to my CZ 75D PCR 9mm. I checked the chamber and, to my surprise, noticed it was loaded, which meant I hadn’t unloaded it when I moved it from my bedside table safe to the main safe. Mistake number one. I was also in a hurry to get out the door. Mistake number two.

    As I prepared to clear it, I accidentally dropped the fairly stiffly sprung slide (new gun) back into battery. Mistake number three. What I also didn’t notice was that in pressing the slide back and seeing the round in the chamber, I must have also cocked the pistol somehow. Mistake number four. And when the slide dropped, my grip slipped with the result that I painted my left foot with the barrel. Mistake number five. Also, when the slide dropped, I must have had my finger in the trigger guard, because the firearm suddenly discharged, sending a 9mm Underwood 90 grain XTreme Defender bullet traveling at 1420 FPS through the right top of my left foot, through a couple of large bones in my foot/ankle, and out the left side of my foot just above the pad on the bottom. Mistake (big mistake) number six.

    The initial moment of disbelief following my first negligent discharge in over 55 years of firearms handling was quickly followed by a whole bunch of pain. That , however, was quickly replaced by an adrenaline-fueled mental rush telling me to assess the damage I’d done to myself. Of course, I was home alone. mistake number seven. And I realized I didn’t really know where my cell phone was. Mistake number eight.

    A visual check showed the round had gone through the top of my shoe, my sock, and the top of my foot. I was bleeding like a stuck pig all over the floor, but I found no signs of arterial bleeding. So I managed to hobble into my office down the hall, retrieve my cell phone, and call 911. The 911 operator instructed me to stay calm, made sure I hadn’t been trying to kill myself, directed me to keep pressure on it, and alerted the Sheriff and an ambulance to respond to my house. I took myself out on the front porch to wait on them. They arrived within minutes.

    It wasn’t until they arrived that I realized the bullet had gone through and through. They got me in the ambulance while the deputies secured my gun (keeping it until I’m out of the hospital) and closed up my house. Then off I went to the Emergency Department at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center where I was evaluated and whisked off to surgery to assess the damage and clean out the wound.

    For some reason known only to god, I missed every single artery and tendon in my foot. I missed the flexor tendon in the top of my foot by a mere millimeter. If I’d hit it, I wouldn’t have been able to raise the front of my foot. I missed both the arteries by a whisker. And I didn’t damage a major nerve. Interestingly, the flutes on the nose of the solid copper Underwood bullet essentially acted like a drill, boring a hole through two of the larger bones in my foot before exiting out the left side. The surgeon said it was a perfect line from entry to exit, so much so that a straight metal probe stuck through the entry wound went through my foot without a single obstruction. He also ran a length of sterile gauze soaked in antibiotics all the way through to “floss” my foot by moving it back and forth to remove bone chips and any debris from my shoe and sock that may have been dragged into the wound. Additionally, he had to enlarge the entry and exit holes to about 2-3” to effectively flush and clean the wound out.

    So now I’m in the hospital until at least Thursday. The greatest danger now that things have been cleaned up is the risk of infection, so I’ve been on IV antibiotics since admission. They’ll be taking me back to surgery tomorrow to close the wounds as much as possible, since as they are now they might never heal by themselves.

    The pain has been well controlled by Oxycodone. I won’t be able to bear weight on it for several weeks at least, but presumably I won’t have any lasting physical restrictions. And I count my lucky stars that I somehow came through what is certainly the most insanely negligent and severe physical injury I’ve had in my lifetime — All because of a cascading series of mistakes that had me clearing a gun in a hurry that should have already been cleared in the first place.

    I hope forum members can read this and see the severity of the injuries I caused myself and learn from it. I’m not setting myself out as an example of anything except perhaps an arrogant fool. I had convinced myself that this could never happen to me because of all the years I’ve had handling firearms without incident. Mistake number nine, the mistake I hope this story impresses upon everyone who reads it. It can happen to you and possibly will the moment you convince yourself you’re immune from being constantly vigilant about following all the rules of firearms safety.

    As far as I’m concerned, I’m back to square one in terms of proving myself to myself. And proving myself to my amazing wife, who probably has been more traumatized than I have as a result of my own stupid impatience to get to the gun range. Feel free to comment here. I’m open to anything, including scathing remarks about my lack of discipline. That’s because there wasn’t a single thing accidental about this. The proper term is negligent, one I have to now fully embrace before I allow myself to pick up a gun again.

    Full color pics follow. Squeamish people need not apply. On the entry wound, you can see what appears to be a whitish bone running top to bottom. That’s actually the flexor tendon I mentioned. When I flexed my foot while the wound was unwrapped, I could watch it move up and down. Another reason they need to close my wounds tomorrow is that exposed tendons tend to die quickly. This is apparently not a good thing.

    Again, this was the first negligent discharge I’ve had in over 55 years. But one is more than enough. Don’t let this happen to you.
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    GOG, gryghin, ATCclears and 63 others like this.
  2. 40isforme

    Well-Known Member

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    Man I hope you get better! We all make mistakes and I'm gonna make sure I'm extra careful with my guns next time around. That Underwood man that's some nasty ammo!
  3. Dyjital

    Albany, Ore
    Flavorite Member Staff Member Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thank you for sharing and being comfortable enough here to be vulnerable and share.
  4. Alexx1401

    Get Off My Lawn!!
    Silver Supporter Silver Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Damn! Well "if you can't be good be lucky" as the old line goes. Looks like you really got lucky that it did not do some kind of permanent damage. Here's hoping you heal completely. I know I will be thinking of this when I get ready to go to the range next. Glad you were brave enough to share it.
  5. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle
    Well-Known Member

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    Sorry you had to experience this. Get well soon!
  6. Stomper

    Plata O Plomo....
    Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter Gold Supporter 2018 Volunteer

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    I’m glad you didn’t lose your foot! :eek:

    Recovering from a grievous injury involves mental attitude as much as physical therapy/healing time. Try not to get “down” on yourself, just glean what you need for your learning.

    Be well, and wishing you a good and speedy recovery! :s0155:

    BTW- in case you haven’t, you REALLY should name that big toe “Uncle Fester”. :D ;)
  7. jmh119

    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Well-Known Member 2018 Volunteer

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    Thanks for sharing! Here’s to a speedy recovery.
  8. AndyinEverson

    Everson, Wa.
    Moderator with a Black powder affinity... Staff Member Silver Supporter

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    Bet you are not kicking yourself with your left foot....:eek::D

    Seriously though....I hope you recover quickly and thank you for posting....
    Let this be a reminder to all here.
  9. Meridian7750

    Portland Area
    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thank you for that straightshot of reality.
    Very sobering...
  10. Reacher120

    Nullius in verba Bronze Supporter

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    Ouch! Hoping you have a quick and uneventful recovery. So much to be thankful for (including it wasn't from that J frame .357!) Thanks for making us all slow down and double check our own procedures.
  11. nammac

    I-5 Corridor - West of Portland
    Constitutionalist Platinum Supporter

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    This is a stark reminder that we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent in any aspect of firearm handling. One less than diligent act can cascade into literally shooting oneself in the foot.

    Thank you for sharing and reminding us all to never relax in our routines. May Father pour out His healing power upon you, providing you with a speedy and complete recovery... Amen...
    Sharpener, Xaevian, Pete F and 17 others like this.
  12. LuckySG

    Banks, Oregon
    Lucky Sporting Goods in Banks, OR 2018 Volunteer

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    Speedy recovery to you, and thank you for the humility shown in your write up.
    Sharpener, Xaevian, Pete F and 15 others like this.
  13. Camelfilter

    State of Jefferson
    Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporter

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    Damn! Heal up both mentally and physically!

    A sobering reminder for us to treat every time handling firearms deliberately and by the book. No cutting corners.

    Thanks for sharing, for sure.

    ...and yup, I’ve stored some of ours after a range trip in the storage safe loaded out of pure laziness (we do storage and “ready” safes).
    Xaevian, etrain16, guitarguy and 13 others like this.
  14. Ura-Ki

    SuperCub Moderator
    Moderator Staff Member Silver Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    DAMN! Proof that we all make mistakes, were are only human after all!
    A very stark reminder to all, Accidents can be grievous!
    Hoping you have a full recovery!
    Xaevian, SparksFly, etrain16 and 15 others like this.
  15. Swiss_Cheeze

    Active Member

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  16. AirResq

    Well-Known Member

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    Even the best can have a very bad day. Glad it wasn’t any worse. I doubt there is anyone on this site that hasn’t made a simple error that could have been costly. Thank you for sharing.
  17. Certaindeaf

    SE Portland
    Sniper Bird! (What Retch Sweeney would say) Bronze Supporter

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    You blew your godamn big toenail off too! lol, just kidding.
    Thanks for your well written testimony and warning to all gun folks.
    Get all healed up soon!
  18. Nick Burkhardt

    Nick Burkhardt
    NE Oregon
    Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing. I wish you a quick and full recovery.

    I am glad for you that the flutes of the solid copper 9mm Underwood 90 grain XTreme Defender bullets did not do the extensive damage that they advertised. I imagine that any decent expanding hollowpoint would have blown a larger hole out the bottom of your foot and caused more fragmentation damage as well.

    I think that I will be switching back to HST soon.
  19. Lilhigbee

    SE Portland
    Visit Target550.com Gold Supporter

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    I gave you a Like for telling the story, and telling it well, not for having it to tell. Best wishes for a complete and speedy recovery!!
  20. dogface2000

    Vancouver area

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    Man that sucks brother. Prayers out to you and a speedy recovery.

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