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Discussion Starter #1
About seven years ago my favorite uncle accidently shot himself in the gut and died in six minutes. I know how long it took because he was able to call 911 and the cops arrived in six minutes. He was placing the pistol into a fanny pack in order to carry concealed on his daily run. He had been carrying like this for at least two years before this accident.

Since then, my family has had a "pistol taboo". You know, hunting rifles are ok, but who in the world needs hand guns? Well I bought a Glock 23 in .40S&W a few years ago, and the more I learned about hand guns, the more I wanted a 1911. As my circle of shooting friends became larger, I realised that ,IMO, the .45 is the ideal self defense caliber, and ,again IMO, the 1911 is the ideal .45. So I'm picking up my Kimber Custom CDP in two days, and I'm sure I'll be a regular on these boards.

But I'm nervous. My uncle was a sportsman from day one. My whole family grew up on a ranch in Colorado, where guns and gun safety were second nature. This uncle taught me gun safety, and whooped my butt when I was young for covering someone with a muzzle! I gotta assume he was usually safe, but obviously lazy at least once. But the first ND that I hear of in our family kills a man?

How does this happen? What are the safeguards I must practice with this new weapon? I'm used to the Glock now, and honestly, even though after shooting thousands of rounds in IDPA and practice COF's, still carry concealed without a round in the chamber.

Any advice (no sympathy)will be considered and appreciated.
 

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What did he do? safety off finger on trigger? I mean no disrespect but why should you be scared because of the negligence of your uncle the glock is no safer than a 1911 in my opinion if your going to
accidentally shoot yourself I think a glock would be just as easy as a 1911.
 

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If you are scared of buying a gun for safety reasons, don't buy it. Try some out first or take up golf.

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"Even the most normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats"
Mencken
 

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A Glock would be easier to have an AD than a 1911. 1911's have a manually operated safety.

AD's happen because of carelessness. I know one local shooter who's been shooting for a long long time. He recently had an AD while practicing draws. He was reholstering his gun, which happened to be off safe and somehow his finger was on the trigger. It's something he's done thousands of times, but obviously he screwed up big time. Luckily his pocket knife wasn't in his usual pocket and the bullet bounced off the knife, breaking the blade.

The best thing to do is not take things for granted. Always exaggerate movements like flipping on the safety. Don't just flip it up, make sure it is fully engaged. Stuff like keeping your finger well clear of the trigger and trigger guard.

I hate who ever came up with the term Negligent Discharge, it sounds too politically correct. ND make it sound like you purposely pulled the trigger and not cared where the bullet went. It's usually an Accidental Discharge where you didn't even realize what happened.
 

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I'm probably preaching to the quire for the most part, but (for the experience challenged), something I used to stress over and over when I taught Boy Scout Merit Badge:

"It't not IF you will have an AD, you WILL have an AD sooner or later, if you shoot on a regular basis". "Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Remember, a safety is a mechanical device that can and will fail".

I've had several and I am the safest person I know. Best, Joe
 

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I also had an AD a year ago and that was after 20+ years of handling them. Luckily I treat an unloaded(I thought) gun like a loaded gun and the AD was'nt toward anyone. I think your uncle believed the gun unloaded. Thats a terrible story for your first post. But now its out of the way. And you can choose to be a safe operator of one. With help if you need it here or in gun safety classes. You know what I used to do which I don't anymore. When you look at a gun at a gunshop. My trigger finger goes to the trigger guard. Not to the trigger like I see many do during an inspection of a gun. Practice this as your first step in intentional safety and expert handling technique. Because whether realized or percieved you will look like a real pro in this first standard. I mean unless you intend to shoot it at the counter or wall of the gunshop. Good luck!
 

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I agree that the glock would be easier to A.D. than a 1911. With a manual safety, grip safety, and a finger off the trigger safety.....you'll be just fine.
 

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Sorry to hear of your family's loss.

take the time to familiarize yourself with and to gain confidence in any pistol, 1911 or other, and you'll do fine. As pointed ouot, the 1911 is safer than many, the arguments of marketers, salesmen, and beaurocrats aside.
 

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What BillD said. Things you do to increase your safety should not be at the cost of your safety. Regardless of gun type, there is no recall on bullets shot. It takes only one screw-up to ruin your life or the life of another. Pretty much everyone has had an ND of some sort, the question is whether they occurred in a place of safety or not. One of the safest NDs I ever saw was by an instructor explaining trigger pull. The gun was pointed safely down range at a gun range. He and everyone had hearing protection on. He was looking at the students when the gun discharged and needless to say, it gave him quite a start! That is an example of an ND under the best possible circumstances. The only thing harmed was his ego and the backstop. From there, it only gets worse. The only thing worse than killing yourself in such an event is to kill a loved one.

Any gun you choose is dangerous and can kill. If it wasn't, it would not be any good to you. You must handle it correctly each and every time. Keep in mind that even true accidental discharges that injure or kill are the result of somebody violating one or more of the rules of gun handling. The classic example is a mother who was trying to unloading a Remington (700s series as I recall, but I can't remember which) and the round would not eject. She turned the gun to get better leverage and tried again. The gun discharged, went through a horse trailer, and killed her son. The gun malfunctioned, but she pointed it in an unsafe direction.

A friend of mine suggests carrying a new gun unloaded to see how you can deal with it. While I hate the idea of carrying an unloaded gun, I think he may be on to something. I might suggest loading it with snap caps, in the chamber and in the magazine and triple checking to make sure that is what you did. Then carry it and see if the hammer ever drops unexpectantly. If so, you screwed up. If not, don't assume yourself qualified or totally safe. Many experts, lifelong shooters, professionals (such as cops) have real negligental discharges and it was because their guard went down as a result being too comfortable.
 

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I think it is best to decide which pistol you are most comfortable with and put the others away. I carry a S.A. 1911, when I was shooting multiple pistols once in a while I would fail to disengage the safety on my S.A. I think this was because I was also shooting a Glock, I also shot a 96 FS Beretta(Superb Pistol) but what if out of habit and not thinking you engage the decocker while handling your 1911? Maybe something to think about. I like my 1911 enough that I parked some nice pistols to avoid these problems.
Have a nice evening, Rabon...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Folks,
Thanks for the replies. For the record, I did say nervous as in apprehensive. I'm not scared of the gun, as I know the primary safety-the one between my ears-will be on, just as it is every morning from when I wake up.

There were a few good suggestions I may or may not practice. Probably the best was the mention of sticking to one type of gun. The Glock for example has people pressing the trigger to let down the hammer when "not loaded". I have been standing next to people who "thought it was unloaded" when pulling the trigger out of habit. TWICE. Having a more complex manual of arms with the 1911 suggests more practice will be necessary to achieve proficiency and a level of comfort.

With all due respect:

Semantics: "accident" vs. "negligent". IMO, accidents happen when you can't see out your back window and back into the parked car, or changing lanes into the blind spot and running a biker off the road. Negligence occurs when you don't check and check and check again for the loaded chamber, or are covering something you don't want to destroy with your muzzle, or touch the trigger before you want to shoot. I know what I should have done before I negligently discharged my weapon.
 

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Our neighborhood gunsmith was cleaning a 1911 and put a .45 cal hole in the web of his hand...

I found out because my friend who's family owns the strip mall had to clean up the blood on the sidewalk outside.

These stories make me fear the range.. one of these days i'll start wearing a vest when I go shooting-
 

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Dear DT2,

I'm very sorry to hear about your uncle. It must have been very traumatic for you and it's no wonder you are apprehensive. If you can get over your apprehension of the hammer being visibly cocked I'd say go with a 1911. If not just stick with your Glock or purchase a DA with a hammer blocking safety. There are also holsters for the 1911 with a strap which goes between the hammer and the firing pin.

Your uncle's tragic death also leads me to think of the inherent problems with some carry methods. Drawing your gun from Fanny packs, small of back, shoulder holsters, and crossdraw all expose you to the potential danger of sweeping your muzzle through persons and objects other than your target. A standard hip holster (inside or outside of the waistband) eliminates this risk.

Have a happy holiday season and stay safe. Gary

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"I knew a man that I did not care for. And then one day this man payed me a call. We sat and talked about things on our mind. Now this man he is a friend of mine" Friend and Lover "Reach Out in the Darkness"
 

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Did any investigation examine the condition of your uncles 1911? He may have had a thumb safety that was worn or broken that did not block the sear when actuated.

I feel strongly that if you are not going into a combat situation, you should be in what I think is known as condition "three" IE, hammer down on an empty chamber. It does not take long to chamber a round and the sound of that happening is a good deterrent. Also it leaves no doubt in your assailants mind (OR YOUR OWN!) that your gun is loaded. I have two young boys and I could never carry condition "one" whith a clear concience. I would also be worried that if someone managed to somehow take my weapon by surprise I would have time to escape or kick his balls up into his throat before he was ready to fire.

The Israelis use whats known as the "Israeli Draw", which incorporates racking the slide into the draw. If it's good enough for the quite hostile enviroment they live in, which puts them in danger of a gun battle DAILY, it's good enough for me.
Don't let some "expert" tell you the "Only way to carry" is condition one. Ask him how many gun battles he's had that he calls himself an expert on the subject...I'll accept the advice of a proven method like the Israelis before some pronouncement from the latest gun magazine "Guru".
 

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Massad Ayoob states in his safety video that there are two types of people that have ADs/NDs: f***ing idiots and people who know what they're doing, but due to the fact that they handle weapons so often, the odds stack up against them. Your uncle was obviously the latter; handle weapons long/often enough the odds are you will have an accident. I'm sorry that his cost so dearly. I haven't had one... yet, though I certainly haven't been shooting as long or as often as many. Best anyone can do is remain vigilant and never let oneself become complacent.
In my opinion, when handled properly, the 1911 is just as safe, if not safer, than just about any handgun out there. One thing I was taught that may apply in this instance is that when holstering a weapon, place your thumb on the hammer. If you've had a brain-fart, or something ain't right and that hammer moves, you can STOP, fix the error, and go clean the stuff outta your shorts.
Again, sorry about your uncle.



[This message has been edited by ChrisS (edited 12-06-2001).]
 

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Accidents happen primarily for two reasons: 1) ignorance, and 2) carelessness. Your uncle wasn't ignorant -- he knew the safety rules. But he evidently became careless. That's easy to do if you carry every day. That's why you must never be on autopilot when you are handling a gun. EACH AND EVERY TIME you handle a gun, you must stop, clear your mind, and think about what you are doing.

One of the reasons that I teach Basic Pistol classes is that it helps remind me of the basics of safety. If you think about the NRA's big three rules of safety, you'll see that you'll have to break multiple rules for something bad to happen. We're human, which means that we will make mistakes. But you'll have to break multiple rules (i.e., multiple simultaneous mistakes) for something bad to happen.

1) keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

As long as you follow 1), then if you do have an ND, no one gets hurt. That's the definition of a safe direction.

2) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

If you keep your finger off the trigger, it is very unlikely that the gun will go off. And if you mess up this rule, but still have the gun pointed in a safe direction, then no one gets hurt.

3) Keep the action open and the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.

If the gun is unloaded, then it can't go off.

M1911
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This is great stuff. I appreciate the kind words about Uncle John. He did leave behind three kids.

He obviously was careless, and maybe foolish to carry cocked and locked in a fanny pack. It does seem as if the best solution to constant muzzle control is a holster that directs the muzzle down.

I also will take under advisement the empty chamber carry method. I haven't heard that about the Israeli's, but definitely respect there battle conditions.

So: For me to get past some apprehension:practice, a good holster, practice, and maybe don't carry condition one.

Thanks again guys.
 

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Sorry about your Uncle John. Your story has made me think about a lot of little things. The main one, using a fanny pack or carrying in a coat pocket even with a pocket holster. I never gave it much thought about the direction the muzzle is pointed in while in either. Also, like Fudgedaboudit wrote, I have 4 very young children, and with their ability to disobey me at all times they can, I would not want to carry condition 1 around them. Now when I'm with my oldest, 11, out in the woods hunting, that's a different story. But they have that "Herd Mentality" when together and get kind of wild. Besides, the wife won't allow me to carry around her or the kids. I respect her wishes on this. I just hope I never have to say "Told you so"
 

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DT2, you obviously have the knowledge and understanding. Well ahead of your apprehension which can't be fully understood by many of us. I think that is a terrible incident which you can never forget. So I say choose anything because you're surely smart enough to grasp the function and safe handling of any of them. Sorry if my earlier statement seemed I was jabbing or anything. It surely was'nt my intention. Though I have heard of 1911s going off when dropped or trigger engaging the sear when grip safety not squeezed. It is something that does happen I guess. But a bad poorly maintained example will show itself to you. Especially by what its wearing, like a low price tag.
 

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I will get flamed for this but this is exactly why I would never carry a 1911: the standard carry mode is "cocked and locked". The round must be chambered, hammer cocked, safety on. All the .45 lovers point out ther are two safeties (grip and thumb) ptotecting you but it is not really true.... the grip safety goes away the minute you put your hand on the gun. You are betting your life on a single safety and a 4.5# trigger pull. I consider this dangerous because I have seen sear-block safeties fail and I have seen sears shatter. So, I don't consider the 1911 to be safe enough to carry.

But, since you aren't carrying, you can still handle a 1911 safely. Just make sure to NEVER rack the slide and bring a round up until you are standing in the range with the muzzle pointed at the target. Don't try to "thumb lower" the hammer down on a live round (just drop the magazine and empty the gun before you set it down). Don't ever trust the thumb safety for security and never point the gun at any person if it is loaded. If you follow these rules, you can't possibly have a problem.
 
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