They say it eventually happens to everyone. The only hope being that, when it does, nobody gets hurt. I am speaking about an accidental discharge of a firearm. We've all read those news articles. People cleaning their guns (seriously, cleaning a LOADED firearm?), Plaxico Burress...the news is rife with stories of accidental discharges. You can go on YouTube if you'd like to see what an accidental discharge looks like, or what the results of an accidental discharge can be. Needless to say, it's not the thing one would want to advertise. I consider YouTube videos on the subject to me more like PSAs than anything else.
Well, having been around guns since the age of 15 and being a firearms owner for more than 20 years, I thought I'd heard all of the stories and learned my lessons from others' mistakes, so it could never happen to me. Well...
I have a gun vault that is both keyed and coded with a four button electronic lock that I keep at my bedside for home security. I have always kept a pistol at my bedside for as long as I've owned one; no sense in having a weapon for home protection if you can't reach it, right? Over the past few months I have been on a firearms kick. I sold one pistol to purchase a new one and bought a new rifle as well. So I have been quite involved in both the research of the particular items I was considering as well as updating myself on information relevant to the sport. One of the things I took the time to do was take a Firearms Safety Training Course. So I am not one to rest on my laurels and go on what I already know. I strive to always learn. "Learn something new every day;" my mantra.
Given the recent spate of local break-ins, I've taken home security a bit more seriously. I decided to take the step of actually inserting a loaded magazine in my home defense weapon. Given the amount of time it takes to slap the magazine in and rack the slide back to load a round, I thought it best to take at least one of those steps away from the process in the event of an emergency. Also considering that it is a completely locked storage gun vault, there is NEVER going to be ANYONE that would have access to this pistol and have some sort of an accident. Needless to say, I felt confident.
Now what I forgot to keep in mind is the fact that I'm a very touchy feely guy. I prefer to learn hands-on rather than from a book. Remember that new pistol I mentioned earlier? It's a Sig Sauer P229R, and it's got their SRT - or Short Reset Trigger - installed from the factory. Basically what it does is allow the weapon's trigger to reset with a shorter release, so your follow up shots will require less of a release and pull on the trigger. So I set out to learn just how much of a difference it was from the factory trigger.
I don't have to point out that there is a video on how to make videos on YouTube, so of course there's a video on the differences between the two styles of trigger mechanisms available for all to see. The video was indeed quite informative and so my next step was to check out MY Sig and verify for myself that my trigger was indeed an SRT. So off I went to my trusty Winchester gun vault. This was when I made my two HUGE mistakes: 1) forgetting that I now keep a loaded magazine in my gun and 2) neglecting to check to make sure that the gun was clear. I pulled the trigger to drop the hammer. This was not the BIG problem you see, because I do NOT keep one in the chamber. Now, had I done THAT there would have already been a hole in my wall...but back to the trigger. I kept the trigger back so as to capture it in single action and then I proceeded to rack the slide. Here's where it gets surreal. I noticed that as I racked the slide back it felt a bit odd, in fact, a bullet just loaded into the chamber. Still keeping the trigger pulled, I gasped and realized that I now had a loaded gun in my hand. I froze, mouth agape, thinking momentarily about what to do to disarm this weapon. It was then that I promptly dropped the loaded magazine. Now keep in mind the Sig P-series firearms DO NOT have a magazine disconnect so this pistol was still HOT with one in the pipe. I then proceeded to rack the slide back and ejected the live round from the chamber. I had just watched four videos on YouTube of accidental discharges; don't even try to tell me it almost happened to me...but it did.
It was then that I realized the true scope of what happened; that I almost had an accidental discharge. And in my opinion it was just as bad. The next few hours were spent reliving those moments. Almost shot a hole through my guitars, my flat screen TV, and who knows what else after it would have exited my house. Plus what about all the flack I would have gotten from local LE or hurt someone?
So needless to say, I no longer keep a loaded magazine in my pistol, not at least until I surpass the learning curve with this firearm and have NO REASON to ever pull it out unless I plan on using it or taking it to the range.