1911Forum banner

1 - 20 of 76 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It's with great shame and embarrasment that I tell this story, but my hope is that by illustrating my failure, someone else might be spared a tragedy.

My wife and I went to some friends' home for dinner last night, our first time out with them. As it turns out, he is a gun guy too. We had a very pleasant evening with dinner, drinks, and cigars. As we discovered out mutual interest in firearms, we also found we shared a "safety first" mindset and also a committment to never, ever drink and shoot.

Towards the end of the evening, he mentioned that he had just gotten his brother's collection of guns. As he went through the list, there were a number of items I'd never seen in person so we decided to go take a look. As he pulled them out of the cases, he cleared each weapon and handed it to me. I then repeated the action before handling it. One pistol, an HK, was loaded. My friend dropped the mag, cycled the round out of the chamber, replaced the mag, and handed it to me. Notice the flaw there? I didn't. I was fondlling another very cool piece at the time and only saw this happen out of the corner of my eye. Did I mention we'd been drinking?

Fingers always out of the trigger guards, guns always pointed in a safe direction. Thank God. Finally, we were done and putting everything away. My normal protocol to put away any weapon is to clear it again and then point in a safe direction and pull the trigger. We got to the HK, I pulled the slide, saw the chamber was empty, pointed to the floor and pulled the trigger. BANG!

I'd missed the fact that the magazine still had rounds in it. Now, my friend has 4 small children, and they were all within 25 feet of this when it occurred. As you can imagine, I got the shakes pretty bad. In the end, no harm was done to anything except our egos and the 9mm hole in the oak floor.

So here I am, a great proponent and teacher of the four rules of gunhandling, a dedicated adherent to the belief that booze and guns don't mix, and a genuine safety nut. What do I take away from the experience? Here are my conclusions.

1. Booze and guns don't mix, and that now extends to even the handling of guns, not just shooting.

2. Constant, repetitive training in the rules of gun safety saves lives. Even impared by alcohol, 30+ years of proper gun handling ingrained good habits such as always keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and finger out of the trigger guard, avoiding potential disaster.

3. Safety procedures, followed every time, work. The redundant procedure I use to put away firearms is to clear it (make sure it's unloaded) and then point it safely and pull the trigger (verifies that it's unloaded again). Step one in this case failed, but the redundancy of step two saved the moment.

4. More attention than usual is required when handling unfamilliar firearms.

5. Never trust that the gun just handed to you is safe, even if you saw it cleared with your own eyes.

I really wanted to create another account on this forum so no one would know who I am, but I thought it best to just be a man about it and take my licks. Criticize away...
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
73,398 Posts
It's happened to every one of us at some point. As a teenager I was messing with a .22 rifle and failed to remove the magazine, and pumped a round through the wall and into my sister's linen closet. Ever since then I've been doubly careful, but the truth is that's why we follow all four rules of gunhandling. That way when you break one or two rules and have a ND, hopefully following the remaining rules managed to save your ass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Thanks for sharing that story.

It bears repeating that no matter how long one has been handling firearms, it only takes a moment of inattention to set the stage for tragedy.

Matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
750 Posts
MattLarson said:
Thanks for sharing that story.

It bears repeating that no matter how long one has been handling firearms, it only takes a moment of inattention to set the stage for tragedy.

Matt
+1
Take care, and thanks for sharing.
Stay safe,
John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
Thanks for the reminder. Ther'es no reason to criticize you for being human.I guess we need to see one of these stories every now and then just to reinforce how quick accidents can happen.
One question ....... can you here me now?:biglaugh:
That had to ring some ears.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Thanks for being man enough to post the account of your accident. The fact is that a veteran firearms instructor who is stone sober and teaching a class how to clear a firearm can have this happen. Thank God nobody was injured/killed. Guns are inherantly dangerous tools if you're around them enough. How did the family react afterwords?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
734 Posts
Thanks for posting. And thank God no one was hurt. While this has never happened to me but reading your experience can only raise my heightened sense of safety when around firearms.

I won't critisize you. You know what you did and I'll wager you will never make that mistake ever again.

Glad everything turned out OK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
WOW

Glad to hear that everybody was o.k.! that was a close one. Life lesson's can sometimes be embarrasing but your post fessing up to it could save someones life in the future who remembers reading it when at a friends house drinking and looking at the gun collection in the same way.

CG.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
922 Posts
I've had one AD and one close call, about 20 years apart.

The AD happened with a S&W Model 19. I was shooting some reloads I'd been given and apparently the case mouths hadn't been sized properly because one of the 158 grain SWC lead slugs slipped forward under recoil and as the cylinder turned to bring that round into firing position the nose of the slug hung up on the forcing cone. Of course, the cylinder couldn't be rotated backwards, nor could I swing out the cylinder. Eventually I figured that if I forced the cylinder to turn the edge of the forcing cone would shave off the soft lead and once the cylinder was aligned with the barrel I could swing out the cylinder and remove the round. For some reason I thought I had to hold the trigger back to turn the cylinder. Of course, I forgot that while I was turning the cylinder the hammer was also moving backward. You can guess what happened. The cylinder moved into position, the hammer dropped and bang. The slug hit the ground about three inches from my left foot.

The close call happened about 20 years later. I was at the range for a bowling pin shoot. Normally I only load the mag (Ruger MkII .22LR), but for the competition I was also loading one in the chamber. I shot the last round of pins and I knew I'd only fired nine rounds, so I cycled the bolt to eject number 10 while holding the bolt release so it would close on the empty chamber, forgetting that I'd actually had 11 rounds loaded. I put the gun away without bothering to drop the mag or clear the chamber. I got home and started to clean my guns. When I got to the Ruger I dropped the mag, pulled back the bolt and out popped that 11th round. It scared the hell out of me to think that I'd been carrying around a loaded gun that I thought was empty.

We're all human. We all make mistakes. It's only by following basic gun safety rules that mistakes don't turn into tragedies.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
300 Posts
Thanks for sharing. Scary moment I'm sure.

Most of us have had them. I had a very similar event that resulted in a hole in the ceiling when I was 19 or so.

Tis a good wakeup call, and a good reminder. Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Glad no one was hurt! I've been lucky to never have had an AD, but I've come close a couple of times because of lapses in attention. Because of this I've adopted a simple rule: when a gun is not immediately needed and is transported or stored the magazine comes out. I still have to double check the chamber, but this rule eliminates one potential source of problems.

BC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,307 Posts
thanks for sharing. i am very glad you and all present were OK in the end. it never hurts to share and hear what can go wrong out there as well as what goes right, as we all are never too old (or young) to learn from someone else's situation or one of our own.

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
649 Posts
Thanks for reminding us to be safe.

I don't have an AD story, but I was in my local gunstore a couple years ago and asked to look at a used Ruger 45-22 the had in the display case. I pulled the bolt back to check that the chamber was clear and out ejected a live round! The mag was full too! The store owner was Extremely upset. Seems that their son had taken the gun out back and shot it the day before.
Always check those chambers, even in the store!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Thanks for posting. You're a better man than me. I don't think I'd have the nerve to tell that story, but I'm glad you did. When I took my CCW class, the instructor would cycle the slide 5 or 6 times after clearing the gun before he pulled the trigger or handed it to someone else. I thought it was a little excessive at the time, but for some reason I picked up the habit anyway. I feel a little OCD when I do it, but I think I'll keep the habit.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,375 Posts
Good story and it makes me want to renew my safety habits. My ND
experience actually happened with one of those 8mm blank firing pistols.
I was chambering a round: Pointed in a safe direction and cycled the
slide. BOOM! Now this was a non-firing, plugged barrel, stage prop
Beretta. To this day I don't know why it went off. Either a slam fire
or did I put my finger on the trigger? Since I don't know for sure,
I assume it was my mistake. I will never forget that feeling. Neither
will the 30+ people that were in the room with me. :rolleyes:

But this thread makes me ask an honest question. Maybe I am doing
something different than "the professionals"? I don't automatically
pull the trigger on guns I know are empty. If a hammer is available,
I will ride it home. Am I wrong?

Regards,
Greyson
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
872 Posts
I'm sorry that this happened to you, I'm sure that you were very humble and embarrassed at that moment. How do you say, "I'm sorry for just putting a hole in your floor"? You also sound like an extremely conscientious, safe gun handler.

I had 1 AD with a Marlin 39A .22 rifle, when I was about 11 years old. My Dad and I were walking along the riverbank, plinking at cans and other junk. I'd lowered the hammer on a live round, as we were beginning our walk home. Soon, we spied another potential target, and while I still had the gun pointed skyward, I began to thumb the hammer back. My thumb slipped off, and the round fired, missing my Dad's head by about 2 feet. As the thought of what might've happened had the gun been pointed at my Dad began to sink in, I began to bawl like a baby. That incident is still vivid in my memory (I'm 53 now), and it's shaped my gunhandling practices ever since.

The only thing that I might suggest to you, is that rather than clearing the gun, pointing it in a safe direction and pulling the trigger, you lower the hammer manually. Even with a round inadvertently chambered, though, your practice of pointing the gun in a safe direction did save you the tragedy of having someone injured, which is the main priority in a situation such as this. I bet it won't happen again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,307 Posts
i have tried riding the hammer down on a number of guns (after being well checked to make sure chamber is empty) and am not comfortable with that method so it is: drop mag, clear gun, check chamber (usually more than once), point gun in "safe" direction and pull trigger. just more at ease and works better for me. if there is a round in the chamber a pulled trigger or a slip on the ride down is probably gonna get the same ending so my primary focus is on having mag out and an empty chamber.

each of us has to do what works well for them in the end.

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Why pull the trigger? I'm not sure I'm following that. My procedure is to eject the magazine, rack the slide a few times, and then stick my pinky into the chamber to ensure nothing is in there, followed by not putting a magazine back into it. On some of my firearms I just keep the slide locked back and/or chamber open for convenience when checking for clear.

Congratulations for attention to the rules of safety though, and not harming anyone in the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,307 Posts
for me it pull the trigger to lower the then cocked hammer before transporting and then storing the gun in the vault with slide forward as i don't leave them stored with slide back. just how i store them. at times when going to the range i will carry them with slide locked back after being checked at home. at other times the slide is forward and hammer lowered and then checked again just before 1st mag goes in.

basically just picking up on how they first appeared to me at the range shop (on self lying closed) and how they were immediately checked before being handled by anyone there shopping for a gun.

the first thing i do when picking up a stored gun (even though i know i stored it empty) is pull the slide back to check for a round in the chamber. also do this with any gun i am handling.

be safe, shoot well.:rock:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
I did something similar about 30 years ago. Made a neat .45 hole in the middle of a Bronco dashboard and windshield. The boo boo consisted of checking the already checked chamber of a 1911 carried in condition 1 (loaded mag, empty chamber) and pulling the trigger to drop the hammer afterward. What a shock. BE CAREFUL!!! The other safety rules saved me also, but I did launch a round into a rural hillside a half mile or so away. I never pull the trigger to drop a hammer anymore, don't even dry fire my guns. My 1911s all (well most of them) have the long hammer surface for safe lowering.
 
1 - 20 of 76 Posts
Top