That Could Never Happen To Me...Could It?

Discussion in 'Training & Safety' started by Balota, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Balota

    Balota ... but I used to play keyboards.


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  2. Balota

    Balota ... but I used to play keyboards.

    Negligent discharge. As one member pointed out in a related thread, there is a legal distinction between negligent and accidental discharge.

    I would not dispute that distinction. But I find the word negligent to be more descriptive of the common factor among most reports of unintended discharges.
    1 a : marked by or given to neglect especially habitually or culpably
    b : failing to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances;
    2: marked by a carelessly easy manner.

    The definition in Websters describes the common conditions that lead to the subject of this thread. In particular, 1b and 2 clearly define the error committed by many, possibly most, people who have caused a negligent discharge. Complacency in a habitual action (a carelessly easy manner) causes a person to fail to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstance.

    I am ashamed to admit that I am among that group.

    Recently I was cleaning my new revolver after a trip to the range. After cleaning, I did some dry fire practice to acclimate myself to the long heavy trigger pull. I was sitting on the floor in my living room watching a hockey game. As I practiced, I would take aim on a small object with a solid backstop behind it and proceed to practice as smooth a squeeze as I can do. After many repetitions, I reloaded the gun. I set it down and proceeded to clean my carry gun, which was also used at the range. Finishing that, while watching hockey, I reholstered my carry gun and continued to watch the game. Between periods, I resumed my dry fire practice… only it wasn’t as dry as I had hoped.

    A 357 Magnum bullet struck the small round knob on the door of my entertainment center about 3 yards away. It penetrated the door frame and stopped in the middle of some old photos that were in a box behind the door. My best estimate is that the bullet passed about 12 inches above my toes as my legs were extended along the floor in my sitting position. It struck about 1 inch to the right of the glass door and about 2-3 inches to the left of my TV.

    I was stunned and my ears were ringing very badly. I could not hear my son’s first call to see if I was OK. After several seconds, I could hear him call and responded. He was not sure if I had just shot myself or if someone else had shot me. He was getting his gun to come see what needed doing when I responded. My ears are still ringing slightly and the event occurred 2 days ago.

    Besides the injury to my entertainment center and the ringing in my ears, I have also taken a hit in my self-confidence. I will continue to carry every day. I will continue to practice at the range and shoot IDPA matches when I can. I don’t know how to explain it, but something feels different in my head or my heart. I’m working on forgiving myself. Hopefully when I get that done my head and heart will start feeling right again.

    How many mistakes did I make? I can see several. I imagine you all can see several also. Here are the main lessons learned for me:
    1. Every single time I pick up a gun, I must check to see if it is loaded.
    2. Every time I load a gun, I must either holster it or put it in my lockbox. (My policy is all my guns in storage are loaded and ready if needed.)
    3. Dry fire practice must be a focused activity, not something to be multitasked. Distracted practice does not accomplish anything.
    4. Dry fire should be done in a room with ABSOLUTELY NO AMMO of any caliber in it.

    Did I get anything right? I did manage to choose my aiming point for dry fire in a safe direction. I did recognize how huge an error I made and am trying to learn from it. Maybe I can even help someone else to break their complacency with this thread.

  3. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

    Balota, not going to beat you up over this. seems like you're doing well enough doing it to yourself!

    glad no one was hurt. we are human and make mistakes. i think you covered all the bases quite well in what happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

    i fully believe it will happen to all of us at some point if we handle guns long enough. the hopeful part is that we are able to learn from our mistakes and the only thing hurt is our pride.

    i admire your courage to post this incident so that others may learn as well. it takes a lot of guts to admit a mistake like this in front of a lot of strangers. you sir have my respect for making this post. God Bless ya brother!:)
  4. Pasquanel

    Pasquanel Proud to be an American Supporter

    Familiarity breeds complacency add the distraction of tv and well you know the rest. Brace yourself because you're about to hear from many who also assume it could never happen to them.

    Recently I received as a gift from my wife a Kimber Crimson Pro Carry 2.
    We had a thaw last week and my swinging steel target was exposed, so home alone I decided to run a few through the Kimber and to just get the overall feel of this handgun. I really wanted to get the feel for the trigger so in between magazines I would let the hammer down to half cock and re cock it and gently squeeze the trigger. At one point the gun was at half cock and all I did was touch the trigger and the hammer fell! I was stunned so I attempted to recreate this phenomenon and it did take me a while but I did recreate it several times. I then retrieved another 1911 and was able to do the same with it. Then came the realization at how many times in my life I had slowly lowered the hammer on a 1911 to half cock thinking this was totally safe!
    Truth is if you pull the hammer to half cock np, but if you let it down slowly you might be able to hang it on the very edge of the sear and that could be a very big problem!
  5. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

    I am glad a very important lesson has been learned........even if it was the hard way. I am also glad no one was hurt. I am still completely freaked out whenever I think about it.
  6. trip286

    trip286 New Member

    I came very close to doing the exact same thing. Was dry firing my revolver while on the phone. It just so happened that out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something funny on top of the dresser. Didn't seem to be enough brass. It wasn't. There were 5 rounds sitting on the dresser instead of 6.

    I'd pulled the trigger 4 times. The next chamber was the live one. I'd noticed the discrepancy before pulling again.

    The lesson I took away from it? Even when doing something like a simple dry fire, you don't do it distracted. In fact, you don't handle guns while distracted at all, ever.

    Glad everything is okay. Like Axxe said, I'm not going to beat you up. You're doing a GREAT job of it!
  7. kryptar19

    kryptar19 New Member

    It happened to me before.

    I was trimming a grip sleeve on a pistol. After I finished, I reloaded the gun(it was being used for carry). I went to the bathroom, and when I came back picked up the LOADED pistol. I decided to do some dry fire drills. I had forgotten that I reloaded it.... I shot a hole through the bedroom mirror and into the wall.

    It took me 2 weeks before I touched another gun, and even longer before I started carrying again.

    I know exactly how you feel Balota
  8. Pasquanel

    Pasquanel Proud to be an American Supporter

    What scared me the most was I had assumed I was doing right for a very long time and even though I was on the range and on target what happened showed me what could have happened!
    Thank God it never did!
  9. Balota

    Balota ... but I used to play keyboards.

    Normally, right after I load a gun, I either put it in my holster on my person or I put it in my lockbox. That was a procedural error that created the opportunity. The distraction of the TV was all it took to convert an opportunity into a fact.

    The scary thing is that the living room is actually about the best place for my dry fire practicing. I just need to discipline myself to do ONLY THAT until I'm done. Then head back to my bedroom to load up and lock up.
  10. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    First, props for having the guts to publicly say "Folks, I screwed up". Personally, I think of it as "Sharing of scars". As in- see this scar? Let me explain how I got that, so that YOU don't get one just like it.

    Have unloaded a S&W Model 10, closed the cylinder, set it down, and while working on something else a few minutes later, noted that there were FIVE cartridges in the dish. FIVE? Looking on floor for the 6th round, under the bench, etc. After hunting for several minutes, broke open the cylinder- and there was Mr. Six. Had bumped against the cylinder release, and had not slid all the way out.

    I HAVE had what I would call an AD, as opposed to an ND. Tube fed 22 pump. Unloaded by removing tube, poured rounds out. Replaced tube. pumped action twice, ejecting two rounds. Pumped 3 more times- no more rounds. Was checking function- pump, click, pump, click, pump BANG.

    Somehow a round had hung up in the tube, and not fed out with the others. Muzzle in safe direction, no harm- but scared the crap out of me.

    Folks- as the Sgt used to say on Hill Street Blues- Let's be careful out there....
  11. VoxRomantic

    VoxRomantic Member

    Never had an AD but for the for grace of God go I!!!!!!!!

    I had a couple of near AD's I caught at the last second!!!

    Mental lapses that could have cost my dearly, but didn't........

    My close calls were all distraction issues too!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  12. MaineMan

    MaineMan New Member

    Thanks for sharing that with us Balota, I'm glad no one was hurt. It took a lot of guts to put this out on FTF so others can learn for your experience.
  13. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

    AD vs ND has been a long running debate between my brother and I. My opinion is that an AD is a mechanical failure and an ND is all other unintentional discharges. His opinion doesn't matter.

    The debate with my brother started when he got a Colt Commander from his neighbor. He was busy showing me how safe the 1911 was as we were going through the various safeties. He successfully showed me the magazine safety, the manual safety, and was showing me the grip safety when a loud bang and a scream were heard. He had put a new hole in his bedroom floor. His only saving grace was that the firearm was pointed at the floor. His wife was on the other side of that wall working at her sewing machine. Had the muzzle not been pointed at the floor she would have been in the direct line of fire.

    So now you know why my brother's opinion doesn't matter. He doesn't have the courage that Balota showed by admitting his mistake. My brother refuses to admit that he screwed up. He forgot all about the round in the chamber.
  14. eatmydust

    eatmydust New Member

    Glad to hear everybody is OK. Thanks for sharing. NO ONE is immune.

    I think hearing tales like this is important for all of us. We achieve a certain level of proficiency and begin to take certain things for granted. You can never be too safe when handling firearms and the safety rules never change.
  15. duddie10

    duddie10 New Member

    I only can say i hope it never happens to me. I live on the third floor. I always unload and lock my live ammo away in the safe and use the orange plastic snap caps. I wont dry fire with out putting them in and locking the gun room up. Even then ill press check every round. I cant aford a nd. The odds of some one getting hurt is up 3 fold for me.

    Sent from my SPH-D710 using Firearms Talk mobile app
  16. towboater

    towboater Well-Known Member

    I would venture to guess that 98% of AD's are caused by 100% intentional trigger pulls.
  17. TexasGunner

    TexasGunner New Member

    You learn form your mistakes..... Fortunately no one was in the line of fire.

    I myself had a ND this last year. My brother had stopped by my office and I was showing him my XDs .45. As always I dropped the mag and I un chambered the round in the tube before I handed it to him. I never hand a loaded gun to someone when I am showing it to them..... Anyway we sat there talking and talking about the difference in trigger pull between that and our 1911's, when he handed it back to me. Assuming that it was still unloaded I racked the slide to demonstrate the trigger pull. BOOM!!!!! WTF just happened?! While talking I never saw my brother put a loaded mag back in the gun. I shot a hole through the side of a cabinet and through a solid 4" wood block that is an engraving jig. The round then bounced off of the top of the cabinet and landed between us.

    I cannot believe I shot off a .45 + P right there in my office. The room was filled with the smell of burnt gunpowder and ther was a fine dust that covered everything. The pressure the gunshot created blew dust off of the drop ceiling all over everything.

    Shame an embarrassment about some up that event. It shook me up pretty damn bad and I didn't conceal carry again for at least a month. Nothing is more horrifying than a boom when you are expecting a click!

    My case was extreme negligence which I have learned a valuable lesson from. I'm just glad that none of the stories here end with someone accidentally being shot.
  18. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

    There is a saying that is very true among IDPA shooters. It's not if you get disqualified for a ND, it is when you get DQed for a ND. The most common ND is when showing clear. You just shot a perfect round. You are looking at all the downed targets. You drop the magazine and forget to clear the chamber.

    I went to the 2011 IDPA world championships. A shooter who qualified for the world championships had a ND just like I described. No one needs to scold an experienced shooter after a ND. They are beating up themselves.
  19. seancslaughter

    seancslaughter New Member

    I have only ever witnessed 1 actual accidental discharge the other 3 I saw were all negligent and 1 of them killed a member of my battalion when we were in Iraq in 03-04. The AD was when a battle buddy was leaning into a car searching it with his weapon slung under his arm as he was backing out of the vehicle some piece of the car that was just dangling got stuck inside the trigger guard and pulled the trigger popping a round off into the ground and making us all hit the ground like "WTF was that?"( We carried in condition Black as we had been attacked several times while doing vehicle checkpoints) The one ND where one of our guys was killed was when a group of our battalion REMFs were cleaning weapons and one of them put a cleaning rod down the barrel dislodging the round that was in there and pushing it back into the bolt which released slammed shut discharged the round took a chunk of his finger and hit PFC Sahib( the only Arab in our unit) dead in the chest killing him. That dude was sentenced to like 5 years for negligent homicide
  20. trip286

    trip286 New Member

    Question for the jury...

    If you drop a rifle from a tree stand and it goes off (about a 12-15' drop) is that a negligent discharge or an accidental discharge? Obviously it's negligent firearms handling...