Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Negligent Discharge

Any one of us can have a negligent discharge. Get out of sequence and pull the trigger on a weapon we think is empty. Like a car accident, it's a statistical possibility.

I especially don't like the Glock takedown procedure for this reason. To take off the slide for cleaning, you pull down two small pins that protrude from the frame just under the muzzle, then pull the trigger.

What could go wrong? Lots of people cover the muzzle with the palm of their hand as they depress the release pins. When the trigger is pulled, it is pointing at the middle of their hand. I reach up from under the frame, pull down on the pins, point the weapon into a bucket of sand, and pull the trigger. I have had the slide fall off into the bucket. I have never had a round in the Glock, but I still won't cover that muzzle with my hand.

Here's a story from a U.S. Marshal. He got interrupted, left the firearm in an unknown state, came back to it thinking it was unloaded and didn't check. He put his hand over the muzzle to release the slide and pulled the trigger. He got lucky. The round buried itself in his toolbox. Surgery repaired a lot of the damage to his hand.

I think this happened about a decade ago.

The bullet (a Black Talon no less..) shattered my ring finger meta-tarsal, and 'removed' two others. It destroyed the flexor tendon of my ring finger, almost separated my pinky tendon, and exited the right side of my wrist just above my watch band. There was a definite exit hole, but the blast force blew the side of my palm WIDE open about three inches in length. I didn't even see the exit wound until I removed my watch for the FD. Anyway, nine hours of surgery, three screws, a tendon graft from my forearm and about two-hundred sutures later I was put back together.


Dave H said...

And that's why we follow -all- Four Rules, kids!

lelnet said...

Can't have an ND if you're following the 4 rules.

Of course, that's why I for one refuse to buy a gun for which there _exists_ a routine operation which can't be performed without breaking at least one of the 4 rules.

Erin Palette said...

What generation is your Glock, BP? I ask because your takedown procedure is greatly different from the one for my 3rd Gen G26, which is:

Drop Magazine
Rack slide to eject round
Pull trigger
Move slide back partway
Pull down on pins
Remove slide from frame

Makes me wonder if they changed the procedure sometime between generations.

NotClauswitz said...

I really-really like that I don't have to pull the trigger on my P245 (and P220), and it disassembles very easily.

Borepatch said...

Erin, this wasn't my post, it was co-blogger ASM826. I'm partial to 10-by-God-11, but that's just me.

Old NFO said...

OUCH!!! And yes, four rules...

Erin Palette said...

Sorry, BP; I redirect the same question to ASM.

Although now I am curious what a "10-by-God-11" is. If you meant 19 and typed 10, that's got to be embarrassing. :P

Goober said...

Here's a good one - did you know that sometimes the extractor claw on a bolt action rifle, especially a worn one, will "miss" the case rim when you open the bolt, and fail to extract a live round?

So that if all you do is a visual check of "yup, no round in the action!" slap it shut, squeeze the trigger to relieve the firing pin, and blow a hole in your floor? Or, in the case of my good friend, through the bay leaf palm roof of the hunting lodge in Africa?

That is why when I teach someone how to handle a bolt action rifle, the "make safe" drill always, always, always includes sticking your pinky finger up into the chamber to make sure there isn't a round left up in there.

The fact is, many things can go wrong. Many failure points may occur at any point in the process. The last and only line of defense to prevent "my extractor failed to eject the round properly" from becoming "I just shot my Dad in the face because my exxtractor failed to extract the round properly" are the 4 rules.

That would be "you". Think. Stop, think. Pay attention. Follow the rules.

ASM826 said...


No, the takedown is the same. Imagine pressing the slide back with the palm of your hand, pushing down the pins with your thumb and forefinger, then pulling the trigger with the muzzle resting centered in your hand. It works fine, you can catch the slide every time, and it's a dangerous Four Rules violation that occasionally catches up with someone.

Dave H said...

That would be "you"

Maxim 15: "Only you can prevent friendly fire." (From The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Efficient Mercenaries by Howard Tayler.)

abnormalist said...

I try to think of firearms much in the same way I think of my chainsaw or table saw. Treat it with respect ALWAYS because when you become too comfortable it will cut (blow) your freaking hand off before you can even think about it.

Familiarity causes comfort
comfort causes laziness
laziness causes injury

be familiar, but never comfortable.

Knucklehead said...

I have a nephew who blew a hole in his palm exactly this way. The round also went through the nearby bathroom door on a trajectory that might have hit someone at the sink.

Chuck Kuecker said...

I've had Glocks for 15 years, and you only have to pull the trigger before releasing the slide if the trigger is in the forward position.

Of course, in order to check the chamber, you have to pull the slide back - which sets the trigger forward.

It's impossible to have a live round in the chamber in a Glock with the trigger to the rear, as far as I know - a forward trigger to me says "ready to fire". It's the one irritation I have with the design - even after checking the chamber with the magazine out, I always am nervous about pulling that trigger to release the slide.

Differ said...

Considering Glock sued S&W over the Sigma design, the Glock procedure should be the same as the S&W SD series which evolved from it:
-unload and clear the weapon
-dry fire the action (pointing in a safe direction)
-place web of dominant hand at top of grip
-curl fingers over top of slide
This pulls slide far enough back to allow movement of the slide release pins
-use other hand on top of slide to push down on pins
-release squeeze of dominant hand and slide moves forward under control of other hand and is removed.
At no time does anything need to be in front of the muzzle and the slide is never out of control.

Erin Palette said...

@Differ: That's basically what I was trying to say, only with more clarity.

I can't for the life of me see WHY muzzling oneself must be necessary, or why people think they need to pull the trigger while racking the slide.

Jefferson Selvy said...

Schlock For The Win!

TOTWTYTR said...

I think this is a fairly common occurrence. For it to happen one has to "clear" the chamber without first removing the magazine. The gun also has to have no magazine disconnect. Not that magazine disconnects can't fail.

It seems to happen with Glocks more because of the field stripping procedure, BUT it can happen with any semi auto if the proper conditions exist.