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partdeux 04-07-2012 02:35 AM

Sobering night at range
Our local club has a .22 plate shoot every Friday night. Lot of shooters, lot of activity, everybody on guard for safety. We've even taken to splitting the roles of the person running the shoot from someone recording the results.

Before a shooter is allowed to step away from the line, magazine out, bolt locked open.

New shooters get lots of help and attention with safety... But one of the club's more experienced top shooters managed to shoot himself tonight. Especially scary for me, because I was sitting approximately 5' away from him, with the muzzle loosely pointed in my direction. Luckily, his leg provided the backstop.

Yes this is the same club where the young boy dropped a slide of a gun while it was pointed straight at me a couple of weeks ago...

Back to to our experienced shooter. The person running the event double checked the slide was locked open. Even my wife said she saw it was open... BUT, nobody checked the magazine was out. He was carrying a sweatshirt, his .22, several magazines, and a medicine bottle (that's a concern of mine). Pure speculation on my part, the magazine wasn't empty, he fumbled with all the crap in his arms, slide got released, and his match grade trigger needed to be breathed on and it released the hammer.

2 RN's and an EMT shooting with us. The .22 passed through his medicine bottle, the sweatshirt, his pants and landed in his leg. Even tho it was somewhat in a dangerous area, it apparently did not hit an artery.

EMS can not come in until LEO ensures the room is clear. He walks in and says, "are there any firearms here?" LOL Most but not all were all ready put away, we confirmed any that were still out were completely cleared.

Like I said, def a sobering night. Club needs to take a step back and review the safety procedures, especially with so much activity going on.

RufusTFirefly 04-07-2012 04:50 PM

Coming from an aviation/pilot background... I can offer this:

When any activity involves the potential loss of life or limb, PROCEDURES have to be in place, not just rules.
You can't simply rely on people's good faith and common sense to follow the rules.

If you want to help ensure that necessary steps or procedures are complied with, it helps to have a checklist of sorts,
and to enunciate those steps as you do them. In other words, if the range would encourage (or even require) their members to [for example]
turn to another range partner as they're getting ready to leave their lane, and say "Magazine out"... "Bolt open" while showing
said firearm's empty magazine well and open bolt to the range partner. The second person verifies, and acts as a backup for the actions of the first.

All that said, yes, I do understand that accidents sometimes will, and do happen no matter what. But you can adopt methods and procedures that stack the deck in your favor.


Axxe55 04-07-2012 05:12 PM

i believe incidents like this will happen from time to time. they shouldn't but they will. carelessness and complaincency happen. sometimes we go through the motions, because we have done it so many times. maybe as gun owners, we need to take a step back, and go back to the basics and review them. as Rufus said, not just rules, but procedures. even though my range is on my property, and usually it is only me there shooting, i still act as if there were other people around and practice safety.

partdeux 04-07-2012 06:56 PM


Originally Posted by RufusTFirefly (Post 764436)
Coming from an aviation/pilot background... I can offer this:

And your aviation background should also have taught you that most accidents are a chain of events, and it's really important to recognize the chain of events happening and stop it cold.

This was exactly that, and entire chain that went south. As I play back the entire situation in my head and look at each of the events, each trigger by itself would have probably been ok, but in sequence, not so much.

Question for the safety experts, because most everybody does this, me included.

As we finish or get bumped out of competition, the slide is closed on the firearm before putting it back into the carry case. This puts the firearm in a potentially dangerous status. This is typically done at the portable table behind the firing line.

RufusTFirefly 04-07-2012 08:08 PM


Originally Posted by partdeux (Post 764527)
And your aviation background should also have taught you that most accidents are a chain of events, .

partdeux: You're absolutely correct! Yes, usually if ANY of the links in the chain are broken, the accident/incident would likely not have occurred. The trick is to have a safety mindset or culture that is always on the lookout for those links, and be able to recognize when a dangerous trend is happening. Everybody on the range should also be a safety officer, and have the authority to say "STOP!"


partdeux 04-07-2012 10:42 PM

It's really easy to look back on the events and say should have done something... Even now, things happened so quickly, and I had actually turned away not understanding the potential danger. I think back, hearing the firearm discharge, muffled as it was, and not putting together that was the wrong time to hearing a bang. It wasn't until he stumbled right next to me that I begin to understand WTH had just happened. Because of who it was, made it even more surreal. Complacency has no business around firearms :(

Rick1967 04-07-2012 11:08 PM

I have started shooting IDPA quite a lot lately. The range rules for IDPA are the same at every event. There is a safety officer with the shooter at all times. When the shooter is done shooting the safety officer asks, "Are you done shooting?" If the response is "Yes" The shooter is told to "empty and clear." That is when the mag is dropped and the slide is locked to the rear. Then the Officer looks to see that the magazine is not in the gun and that the chember is empty. The next comand is "Slide Forward". The shooter lets the slide close. Then the order "Hammer Down" is given. This is the last chence to have an accident because the trigger is actually pulled and the gun attemped to be fired. Then the order "Holster" is given. The entire time this is going on the muzzle is pointed at the backstop. We have never had an accident at the club where I shoot.

orangello 04-07-2012 11:18 PM


Originally Posted by partdeux (Post 764090)
Luckily, his leg provided the backstop.

Some "retraining meetings" and a review of procedures for such a crowded event might help, but i would have to have a picture of the leg with wound blown up and printed on large paper to put on the backstop area & maybe a few small ones around the bench & tables, at least for a while.

This is one part of the reason i like to shoot solo or with no more than a couple of friends and on private land. I'm not sure my or my friends' safety measures are as good as they should be, so it is easier for us to watch each other when there aren't very many of us.

That said, a buddy of mine almost was about to chamber the first round on MY SKS when we informed him the boresight was still hanging out the end of the barrel. :rolleyes: I'm waiting on that guy to shoot himself in the foot; he has already had two ND's that i know of, one in a moving car (now has holey door) & one that scared the bejesus out of the meter reader. We are all hoping the boy learned something from his recent national guard training and will be reinforced at his monthly drill.

partdeux 04-07-2012 11:54 PM


Originally Posted by orangello (Post 764696)
i would have to have a picture of the leg with wound blown up and printed on large paper to put on the backstop area & maybe a few small ones around the bench & tables, at least for a while.

I really like that!

mountainman13 04-08-2012 12:01 AM

I personally would count that as strike two towards maybe I should find a new place to shoot. I realize accidents happen etc. But after a certain number of accidents its time to consider other options before you catch a bullet.

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