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Old 12-14-2012, 04:21 PM   #11
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I thought long and hard about telling the story of my negligent discharge. I've lurked here for a while and I've learned quite a bit as a result, and I know what's coming after folks read my story. Still, I'm going to throw myself on the fire. I haven't posted here before now, but I thought I'd swallow my pride and tell a story that might make others think about firearm complacency.

Like many of you, I have an extensive history owning and shooting firearms. I shoot at least three time per month and have been shooting since I was a youngster. I've taken hunters safety classes, concealed carry safety classes, and have had one on one training from qualified instructors. I have always considered myself a responsible gun owner. I carry a concealed firearm to protect myself and my family, and I take the responsibility that comes with that very seriously. That said, I was incredibly, stupidly, idiotically and blatantly negligent.

I was in my reloading room cleaning a couple of revolvers I was going to take to the range that weekend. After I had them cleaned up, I decided to get my two primary carry guns and give them a light cleaning and re-lubrication. I keep them loaded and holstered in a small safe. I unloaded them carefully and gave them a once over. I then re-loaded one of them, put it back in its holster and locked it up. The other, a small framed DAO .38 special revolver, I loaded with snap caps with the intention of working on my trigger control. I have a target tacked to my reloading room wall that I use for this purpose. I pressed the trigger enough times to be comfortable that my sight picture stayed solid throughout the long double action trigger pull. Satisfied, I re-loaded the revolver, holstered it, and placed the loaded firearm on my work bench. I then went about distracting myself with cleaning up my workspace, setting up brass for reloading, and listening to the radio.

Here's where things went south. I was ready to head into the house and without even thinking about it, I slid that loaded .38 out of it's holster, aimed it at that target, and pressed the trigger. This resulted in me negligently discharging a firearm directly through the wall of my reloading room. Ears ringing, I was absolutely stunned at my idiocy. I had, through complete negligence on my part, broken several of the cardinal rules of firearm safety. I don't think I need to list them for you all as I've no doubt you'll do that for me. As well you should. I became one of the very people I've shaken my head in disgust at over the years. Indeed, I'm the guy many of you are shaking your head at as you read this very post. I have no excuse, I was with out a doubt a legitimately stupid gun owner at that point. Some will say I still am.

The brutal truth of the matter is, I knew better, I know better, yet there is no getting around the stupidity of my actions that day. I placed that target in it's position because it had a safe backstop. But, does that even matter? The answer is a resounding no. I, like most of you, firmly believe there are no accidental discharges, only negligent discharges. I was horrified at my actions that day. I'm horrified that I would allow myself to become so ridiculously complacent about the very safety rules I've hammered into others I've been shooting with. I failed as a responsible gun owner that day. I have no excuse. I'm ashamed of myself. I learned a lesson, sure, and I've changed the way I do things, but I committed the cardinal sin of gun ownership. No getting around that.

I fully deserve all that you nice folks can dish out. I get that. I just wanted to tell this story in the hopes that someone else reads it and understands that complacency can be absolutely disastrous. Be ever vigilant, and make the four basic rules of gun safety laws in your life. I truly wish I had, and I can damn well assure you I will for the rest of my life.

I hope this reaches someone before they make the same monumental mistake I did.
This proves you are, with out a doubt, a human being!!!
I have been an instructor for about 30 years and I can tell you without a doubt you are not alone!!!!
BUT, I must correct a problem with our current instruction. There are TWO types of unintentional discharges, accidental discharges and negligent discharges.
I get really upset with the AH instructors who say all unintentional discharges are negligent, THEY ARE NOT!!!!!
A negligent discharge is when a firearm is unintentional discharges and there is death, bodily injury, or significant property damage.
An accidental discharge is when a firearm is unintentional discharged in a safe direction and there is little to no damage and no injury.
When one has an unintentional discharge you feel low as whale dodo and it does not help when everyone keeps calling it 'negligent'. If you remember to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and you have an unintentional discharge you are still making a mistake in your trigger manipulation, but if you are keeping the weapon point in a safe direction you are not being negligent.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:22 PM   #12
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I don't think there's a sole on this forum that can claim absolute perfection when it comes to the rules of firearm safety.I shared my story recently where I had not checked before taking down my sigma to clean and as I was in the process of dissasembly a round had been in the chamber and the striker let loose.Thank God the gun was pointed up and away.Dirty my skivies? You betcha! Feel like a dumb @&& for a long time and when I think back to that day? Absolutely! Do I make sure that I follow the rules of safe gun handling now? Always.So don't beat yourself up so much.Everyone's got at least one story.And welcome there's alot of good people here with alot of knowledge .You're in a good spot and we can all learn alot from each other.

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Old 12-14-2012, 09:25 PM   #13
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Your 100% right Sig. ive learned over the years what can happen will happen"**** happens"

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Old 12-15-2012, 01:32 AM   #14
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Hey guys,
I appreciate the positive responses I've gotten on this post. To be honest it was a relief to get it off my chest. I've been carrying that story around for a while now. Like I said, hopefully it'll be a wake up call for someone. I thought for sure something like that just happens to other people. But, I suppose everyone that does something like that thinks the same thing.

JimRau,
You make a good point about the difference between negligent and accidental discharges and I can even agree with your point. Even so, I still feel like a horses backside every time I think about it. I filled the hole on the outside of the building and left that target, bullet hole and all, right where it was as a reminder.

Thanks again everyone!

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Old 12-15-2012, 01:36 AM   #15
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Yes we need reminders of what can be

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Old 12-15-2012, 12:37 PM   #16
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deadeye, You may now stop beating yourself up and forgive yourself. You made all of us take a look at our own handling procedures. You may have even saved one of us from a similar mishap today. Thanks for sharing.

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Old 12-15-2012, 01:57 PM   #17
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I had one too. I had just bought a P17 Enfield rechambered in 308 Norma. I noticed that the feed from the magazine box to the chamber was not quite right. I chambered a live round with the rifle across my knees with the muzzle pointed at the CLOSED DOUBLE GLASS SLIDING DOORS. I snicked off the safety with a live one up the pipe. I pointed the rifle in that direction because there was no one that a stray round could hit in that direction, and I could see down range for ever. Well boys and girls I got a big surprise. The rifle went off and the double sliding glass doors fractured into a million little bits. (cost me 850 bucks to fix it) I live in the interior of Northern Canada in the bush so there was no danger of hitting any one with the stray round. I have bears sitting in my drive way and moose walking through the yard frequently. I hunt off my back porch with a loaded rifle and a cup of coffee. Unknown to me the trigger group and safety had been messed with by a shade tree gunsmith. This was stupid stupid stupid on my part. I guess this was an accidental discharge but still very stupid and expensive.

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Old 12-15-2012, 05:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by deadeye View Post
Hey guys,
I appreciate the positive responses I've gotten on this post. To be honest it was a relief to get it off my chest. I've been carrying that story around for a while now. Like I said, hopefully it'll be a wake up call for someone. I thought for sure something like that just happens to other people. But, I suppose everyone that does something like that thinks the same thing.

JimRau,
You make a good point about the difference between negligent and accidental discharges and I can even agree with your point. Even so, I still feel like a horses backside every time I think about it. I filled the hole on the outside of the building and left that target, bullet hole and all, right where it was as a reminder.

Thanks again everyone!
Deadeye, I can honestly say been there, done that. My dad and I found out the hard way that if you chamber a round in a Jennings J22 with the safety on, it will go bang. This happened because we wanted to test the pistol before he left for a TAD assignment in FL, and the owner's manual was not included with the used pistol when it was bought. If we had waited for the manual, we would have known that the fireing pin sticks out, into the chamber when the safety is engaged. No one was hurt, but we both had the sh!t scared out of us.

I have always felt that the lessons learned from an "Oh s4!t" moment tend to last longer than the ones that are learned in 1,000 "ata boy" moments. The 2 downsides to experience are:

1 It can lead to complacency instead of dilligence.
2 You always get experience right after you need it.

Thank you for having the stones to share the story of your AD. It may prevent someone else from having the same happen to them, and learning the lesson the hard way. Don't beat yourself up over it.

Jim. Good post, and you make some very good points. Accidents do happen. Some people need to learn this. Just because you can figure out what went wrong, it doesn't mean that it was a ND. I agree that s$!t happens, some of us are living proof of that. Myself included.
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:45 PM   #19
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Good and humbling thread, OP. Regardless of how experienced we are, all of us are susceptible to a brainfart. In any dangerous undertaking, parachuting, flying, scuba diving, or handling lethal chemicals or guns, complacency kills.

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Old 12-16-2012, 03:07 PM   #20
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Deadeye, I can honestly say been there, done that. My dad and I found out the hard way that if you chamber a round in a Jennings J22 with the safety on, it will go bang.
The J22 that I have cannot chamber a round while on safe, the slide is locked.
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