Negligent Discharges--how do they happen?

Negligent Discharges--how do they happen?

This is a discussion on Negligent Discharges--how do they happen? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm curious as to how these negligent discharges actually happen. The descriptions are always so vague ("it just went off"). Is it a forgotten round ...

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Thread: Negligent Discharges--how do they happen?

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    Member Array Todd_Ohio's Avatar
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    Negligent Discharges--how do they happen?

    I'm curious as to how these negligent discharges actually happen. The descriptions are always so vague ("it just went off"). Is it a forgotten round in the chamber? Do some guns fire when dropped, or the hammer is caught by a wandering thumb or piece of clothing? If it's happened to you or someone that's told you "the real story", please fill us in on how this happens so that we all can learn from these experiences and not let it happen to us.


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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Negligently.


    sorry, couldn't help myself.
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    VIP Member Array pittypat21's Avatar
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    Finger on the trigger when it shouldn't be, gun was not cleared before handling.

    Sometimes the "Went off while I was cleaning it" lies don't actually happen when somebody's cleaning their gun.
    phreddy, Bad Bob, Once and 1 others like this.
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    Distinguished Member Array phreddy's Avatar
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    You have to dismiss about at least 90% of the causes you read in the news. Most people are just trying to cover their hind end. Modern well-maintained firearms almost never just "go off". If they did you would be hearing about massive recalls from the manufacturer. It is possible for a firearm to malfunction, but that is a very small portion of the nd's.
    pittypat21 and tacman605 like this.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd_Ohio View Post
    I'm curious as to how these negligent discharges actually happen.
    Varies by which negligence is the cause, of course. And humans are inventive and creative in that regard, if nothing else.

    I'm sure many of these stories are skewed simply because the one in the know hides the actual truth of it. "Just went off" can be a nice way to smooth things over, if not overly effective at doing so.

    Some drop it. Some fiddle with it to point of failure. Some blow the reholster. Some fail to execute the four gun safety guidelines religiously. Some have a "finger" problem while doing things other than actually firing for cause. Some attempt to clean the gun without first engaging the brain. Some clear the gun with something less than the full steps required to clear, or fail to double-check that the steps worked.

    Myself, I've come close a couple times, in which I didn't first drop the magazine prior to racking the slide to eject the chambered round. This has occurred at the range, when my mind was more on the firing drill and lessons learned than anything else. But I retained muzzle control, went through the steps again, ended by visually confirming and sticking my finger into the chamber. Safe handling, layered procedures, double-checking ... it all helps. But, as was clear in these instances, so does repeated performance, again and again, until it's truly second nature. I'd been shooting less lately, and got a bit complacent. Didn't fire, but was able to catch myself in each of those couple instances prior to disaster. I'm sure many situations we never hear of go roughly this way, in which something got close but didn't go so far as firing.

    Over the years, I've had two or three holsters that were something less than perfectly reinforced around the mouth, such that reholstering was a bit of a pain. Since I prefer semi-auto SA/DA or DAO pistols without a manual thumb safety, it can get a bit concerning when the gun doesn't easily reholster the first or second shot at it, given the risks of hanging up on a finger, clothing or the sweat shield of the holster. (Those less than well designed holsters are no more, though. Far safer to have a well-designed unit, in this regard.)


    Quote Originally Posted by phreddy View Post
    Modern well-maintained firearms almost never just "go off". If they did you would be hearing about massive recalls from the manufacturer. It is possible for a firearm to malfunction, but that is a very small portion of the nd's.
    On my Rem 700, I'd had a Jewell HVR trigger installed professionally, but then adjusted the pull-weight down a bit low. On one occasion, bumping the butt of the rifle a bit hard caused the cartridge to fire. Negligence on my part for dialing it down that low, and I suppose even negligent for not waiting to chamber the next round until I was positioned down over the gun, on-target and ready to fire. Never happened again, once I new where the cutoff spot was. Bummer to have found it, but there isn't really another good way to find it. Knowing it, I was able to add just under a half-pound of pull back into the adjustment and avoid the situation again. A nice lesson.
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    VIP Member Array cphilip's Avatar
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    Something got in between the Guard and the Trigger and pulled it.

    Drop fires are as rare as Unicorn testicles.

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    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    I read a news story about a police officer who pulled her dry cleaning out of the trunk of her car and her service pistol just went off. Turns out her Sig was loose in the trunk and loaded. A clothes hanger caught in the trigger wand fired the gun when she pulled out her clothes. Lesson- always keep a gun in a proper storage system. A hard case or a holster protects the trigger. A loose in a purse or a pocket won't cut it.

    I've seen many photos of pistol wounds down the side of the leg and into the calf or foot. Be careful when holstering a pistol. Keep the trigger clear of fingers, clothes, or stray holster parts (thumb snaps, soft corners...). Also, keep the trigger clear when drawing. Finger indexed on the frame until the muzzle is turned down range.

    These are simply detailed accounts of people violating the basic safety rules of firearm safety. The rules are pretty simple, but daily life make a us complacent. This is one more reason drill sergeants always stress, "attention to detail".

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    Distinguished Member Array phreddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post



    On my Rem 700, I'd had a Jewell HVR trigger installed professionally, but then adjusted the pull-weight down a bit low. On one occasion, bumping the butt of the rifle a bit hard caused the cartridge to fire. Negligence on my part for dialing it down that low, and I suppose even negligent for not waiting to chamber the next round until I was positioned on-target and ready to fire. Never happened again, once I new where the cutoff spot was. Bummer to have found it, but there isn't really another good way to find it. Knowing it, I was able to add just under a half-pound of pull back into the adjustment and avoid the situation again. A nice lesson.
    That was why I said "almost never". Most of the news stories seem to place blame on the weapon. One of the great things about this forum is when people share their stories so that others can learn from them.

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    Member Array RockinRiley's Avatar
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    +1 to finger on the trigger! Also read a lot about snap caps!
    First rule of firearms, always treat as loaded!

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    Here's a thread with a few examples that I posted to about a month ago.
    Fess up...Accidental discharge
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    Finger on the trigger or something catches the trigger. What I have seen and read about are:

    1) the person intentionally pulls the trigger when he thinks the gun is not loaded (and failed to check if it was loaded before he pulled the trigger);
    2) the person stumbles while holding the gun and his finger was within the trigger guard;
    3) the person drops the gun and then tries to grab it instead of letting it drop;
    4) the person makes a mistake unholstering/reholstering;
    5) something other than a finger pulls the trigger (kind of rare, but it happens - a soft leather holster collapses in the trigger area; the poster above describing the trunk incident).

    The majority fall under #1, and 2 - 5 are the long tail.

    Don't think it won't happen to you!
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    Member Array Zero_'s Avatar
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    I've had one in my life time, and I honestly don't know what step I missed. It was such a routine procedure to drop the mag, rack the slide to unload the gun, pull the trigger to release the slide, pull the takedown lever, dismantle, and clean. I had done it 100 times before, and I always point the gun away from anyone when pulling the trigger. For whatever reason, this time, there was still a round in the chamber. I don't know if I racked the slide first and then dropped the mag, or just never racked the slide to unload the chamber. I missed one of those steps. Put a round through my living room wall, through the bedroom and into the other wall. Luckily no one was hurt, just minor wall damage, and scared the **** out of me. Lesson learned, and no one injured.

    Don't get too routine with clearing a weapon, when something is repetitive, and routine, you devote less brain power and can make a mistake and not even notice.

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    Is this a trick question?
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    They happen when something mistakenly makes its way in front of the trigger, behind the trigger guard, and pressure is applied.
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