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I thought I'd share my recent and very sobering experience...I was responsible for an accidental discharge at the range last week and despite the fact that I know I'll be opening myself up for criticism by even mentioning this on a forum, I want to understand the circumstances of the event better so I can improve my safety in the future. Just to clarify, my definition of an accidental discharge may be different than yours...here's mine:
Accidental discharge (AD) may occur when the trigger of the firearm is deliberately pulled for a purpose other than shooting - dry fire practice, demonstration, or function testing - but ammunition is unintentionally left in the chamber. A Negligent Discharge (ND) is a discharge of a firearm involving culpable carelessness. I know there'll be some consideration of these definitions and by the time you're done reading this, you'll probably want to add your own definition. Here's what happened during the AD event: I was shooting an indoor IDPA-type event (note: This wasn't a strictly sanctioned IDPA shoot; several IDPA rules were modified to make it easier for the participants...safety rules were not modified however. I completed the course of fire and was instructed by the RSO to clear my 1911 .45ACP and pull the trigger to drop the hammer. I dropped the magazine, ensuring the gun was pointed downrange and pulled the trigger. Like any working 1911 with a live round in the chamber, the gun went bang and the bullet safely entered the backstop after perforating a hostage target. I was shocked that the gun fired (although I shouldn't have been since I failed to open the slide and ensure the chamber was clear...) So was the RSO and we both discussed the event afterwards. I've been thinking about the AD and why it happened when it obviously should not have and besides the primary causal factor of my failure to clear the chamber before pulling the trigger, there were several secondary factors that lead up to the primary factor....and I'm not making excuses here, I'm just saying what occurred prior to my AD.
1. Due to some confusion with the starting time of the event, two of us came two hours late and I almost turned around and went back home (18 mile drive) but as the range owner encouraged us to shoot the event, we stayed and played.
2. I'd shot exactly ONE IDPA event previously with my carry gun, a Kimber 1911 Crimson Carry II with the laser grip and 7 round mag. Due to the course of fire layout, my magazine capacity was lacking and I'd not practiced mag changes so my times suffered. At the second event, I decided to shoot my Fusion E-6 with 10 round McCormick mags, a change from before but at least I wouldn't have to do a mag change.
3. When I shot the course of fire that ended with the AD, I thought I'd be clever and line up two targets to gain the time advantage of a shoot-through so I stepped to one side and got two targets with one shot. I went through the remaining targets, ensuring that I had two shots in each target.
4. When I did my walk through, I counted the number of targets, calculated the number of shots I'd need to avoid a mag change (unless I missed) and came up with exactly the capacity of my mag - 10 rounds. So, when I did the shoot through, I actually had fired nine shots total.
5. At the completion of my run, I pulled the now-empty mag, pointed my 1911 downrange and pulled the trigger. Bang.

I realized after the fact that I'd not been practicing correctly to ensure safety while shooting IDPA. Most of the time, I simply stand at the firing line and carefully take aim then fire. I usually fire until the mag is empty and the slide locks back before reloading. I'd seldom (if ever) dropped a mag before it was empty so I'd gotten in the habit of simply assuming the pistol was empty when the slide locked back. I always took the obligatory glance into the chamber but it was so automatic that I doubt if my brain would ever register that it was an empty chamber I was looking at...or not! I also would never pull the trigger on an empty chamber. If I was done firing (slide locked back), I'd drop the mag and with two hands, release the slide lock and let the slide close slowly with my other hand. Then I'd lower the hammer with my non-firing hand, again, slowly...before securing the pistol in it's case. So, I wasn't used to going through the clearing process dictated by the IDPA course and my current habits, though safe enough with the style I used when I normally shot, didn't allow me to adapt to the change. While nobody got hurt, I was definitely rattled enough to think about this for some time and I think what I learned was that it's super important to learn different methods/processes and practice them...those little surprises in life remind us once in a while. Key words (for me!) LIVE AND LEARN!
 

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Than,s for sharing this with the forum. It takes guts to put your mistakes out there for other people to learn from.


Jim
 

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As long as you learned from the experience ... at least you are man enough to own up to your mistake ...
 

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Glad to hear nobody was hurt,
I have been present for two unintended discharge incidents one this year and neither by me,
I am very deliberate and methodical about handling arms ( I think this explains my actions ) and am lucky to be able to learn from others mishaps
Thanks for sharing
 

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I dropped the magazine, ensuring the gun was pointed downrange and pulled the trigger.
This is why there are Four Safety Rules and not One and why we endeavor to ingrain them to the point that even if we aren't consciously thinking about them (which we should), we still do them. The fact that you had the muzzle pointed in a safe direction ensured that the only thing damaged was your pride. So you can beat yourself up a little bit - but not too much.

Thanks for the reminder that we have to constantly fight complacency.

P.s we can quibble about whether this was an AD or ND. I'd call it an ND as I think an AD generally has to contain some element of mechanical failure. If you pulled the trigger, it's an ND. But I don't see that it really matters what it is called.
 

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Exactly right. Jeff Cooper gave us four rules, not one, because human beings are fallible. Because you followed the rule to keep the muzzle in a safe direction, nobody was hurt.
 

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There is no margin for error when it comes to handling firearms. We all know this fact, but once you realize you are human and capable of making terrible mistakes in an instant, it becomes very sobering. There are many who believe they are above such oversights and who will flame you for being negligent, but they too could experience a momentary lapse in judgement one day.
It can happen in an instant and it's hard to stay high and mighty when it happens to you.
Stay diligent
 

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This is one of those things that you hate to read about happening, but you need to read about to try and learn from someone else's mistake.

It was good no one was hurt. (pride doesn't count)

It's good that you pointed in a safe direction to drop the hammer to show clear.

I believe that this is also one of those things that the worst critic and the person hardest on the offender, IS the offender.

I think this is one of those things that you will always remember and never repeat.

Good luck and keep safe.
 

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That took courage.I had several unintended discharges shooting 1911 patterns and a browning high power due to nerve damage in my shooting hand so now all glocks I own ny plus trigger 12lbs and no 1911s.
 

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Much to much thinking for you, It sounds like brain overload, and a failure under stress.

+ to many things you say you never practiced for or the mid stream changes you made.

I must ask why the RSO didn't catch the mistake ???

Bottom line your OK and a rather large person in my book for sharing your event.

Also a good lesson for folks as to what can happen under a little stress.

Glad you made it through.
 

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sorry, but I totally disagree with your definition "accidental discharge". there are no accidents, no car accidents, no accidental pregnancies, no accidents only negligence. (the closest thing to an accidental discharge would be a gun in a drawer going off, and that could probably be traced to a design or manufacturing flaw.) if there's a finger and trigger and no brain involved, it negligence.
the good news is that this is why we have ranges and competitions. practice, practice.
I'm glad you posted this. writing the post let you think it over. public confession is good.
be safe. have fun.
 

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Thanks for sharing. Hopefully we will learn something from your mistake and not make it ourselves.

I am not trying to be critical or beat on you, but one thing did occur to me as I read your account. I think you said that at the range you usually shot until the mag is empty and the slide locks open. Yet, in this instance, you dropped the mag and thought the gun was empty. If it had been, shouldn't the slide have been locked back? That should have been a big red flag that the gun was not empty. I totally understand how in the heat of running the course, you just missed that. Just reinforces how important it is to never lose focus when handling firearms. A lot of people have been killed or injured by "empty" firearms.

Again, thanks for having the courage to openly share your experience. Who knows, it may save a life.
 

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Thanks for sharing. I was at a range yesterday. No issues, but thinking back, My son and I didn't talk about the 4 rules before we started like we usually did. Maybe we need to make sure that we start doing that again. Thanks for sharing. We all needed that.
 

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I have spent a substantial portion of my life doing work that involves mishap analysis. Rare, very rare, is it that a single mistake is made that results in the mishap. It is normally a string of errors. The layers of safety we are taught in handling guns work very well. Thanks for sharing your story.
 

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Thanks for the telling on yourself. I believe many who think they are 'too experienced' to have an AD will have one. It's amazing at how some folks just have to pull a trigger to 'check for empty'...I guess is how it could be described.
"I thought it was unloaded" is often said while ears are still ringing and a bit of smoke is in the air.
I've heard many stories of AD's and I think it's good to hear them and retell them. It stays in the mind.
I heard of an AD where a pistol was brought into a gun shop. The owner UNloaded the revolver but I'm not sure if he was outside the LGS or inside [which would be an ERROR].
He asked the gunsmith behind the counter to check the trigger pull. I think a trigger job was the discussion. Smith aimed revolver up at ceiling after insuring it was unloaded, and tried the trigger pull several times. He then was distracted by someone, put the revolver down on the store gun mat on the counter in front of the owner. Smith walked away for a few minutes, and came back to check the revolver's trigger again. Aimed at ceiling, discharged a 44 mag round into ceiling.
Owner had reloaded the pistol thinking the smith was through. Owner was chewed out for loading the pistol INSIDE the store, and SMith was embarrassed as he should have been for NOT CHECKING THE PISTOL BEFORE PULLING THE TRIGGER AGAIN.
Several 'ERRORS' but that's what happened according to a friend in the shop at the time.
 

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I have a Taurus .40 auto that went bang on me at the wrong time. I had been out on my place checking timber out and had come into the house when it happened. I took the pistol off and layed it on the bed to change clothes. I took the clip out and layed it on the bed,then I pulled the slide back to check chamber,nothing came out.Like some idiot I pulled the trigger and it fired. The shell did not eject because I had held the barrel down. The hole is still in the wall besides the bed as aa reminder. I'm 73 yrs and that was the first time that happened since I was about nine when I let a hammer slip trying to unload a .410 single barrel. Let me tell you twice in a lifetime is too much. You can never be too safe,after that bullet leaves the barrel you cannot call it back.
 

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Great thread.
Thanks Akboater ... :)
 

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I've done it, when I was 25 or 26, I just cleaned a CZ85 9mm, put a loaded mag in it and chambered a round.Put the gun down and did some other things.

"Forgot" that I loaded the gun, I was playing around with the "cocked and locked" mode on it, then decided to "dry fire" it to function test it, BANG skipped a 9mm off the concrete floor. It was a blatent violation of Rule #1, Assume all guns are always Loaded!
 
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