This is a discussion on Accidental Discharge: What I can learn from this. within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First of all, I'm thankful that there were no injuries! Second, thanks for sharing the story. It's a chilling account and reminds me to be ...
First of all, I'm thankful that there were no injuries!
Second, thanks for sharing the story. It's a chilling account and reminds me to be extra cautious whenever preparing to dry fire.
"It's a big gun when I carry it, it is also a big gun when I take it out” – Clint Smith
First, I am thankful that in all of these incidents, no one was hurt. Next, I am glad that I read all of this thread! Very important lessons in gun safety as well as awareness in ballistics. I realize it is important to know just how far these rounds can go! These real world accounts show the difference from shooting at the range. Thanks to all who added their own learning experiences to this thread.
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Glad you're okay and no one was injured. (Do we have a "sigh of relief" smiley?)
Not ragging on you -- it takes courage to admit when you've goofed -- but your first post did ask what you can learn from this. I'm going to take exception to some of the other posters, a little bit, but mostly I'm just building on what they said. Please forgive if it sounds preachy, which is not my intent. The idea is to learn & improve safety!
Checking by both sight and feel to confirm unloaded is good and excellent and should always be done. But it is not enough. Everyone makes mistakes, and that simple check should never be the only thing standing between you and disaster. Even after you've checked, it is still necessary to follow all four of the universal safety rules.
How can you follow the Four Rules and still dryfire?
The Four Rules:
- All guns are always loaded.
This rule primarily means that the safety rules always apply, even to a gun you have just checked, and that you never do anything with an "unloaded" gun that you would not be willing to do with a loaded one. This rule does not mean that you never unload your firearm and it does not mean that checking the firearm "proves" it's unloaded & therefore the other rules go out the window. Rather, the rule means that you always treat the gun, regardless of its status, with the same cautious respect you give a gun that is absolutely known to be loaded and ready to fire.
As this applies to dryfire, it also means that before you ever touch the gun, you're going to be certain that the circumstances are such that if there is a round in the chamber when you pull the trigger, the absolute worst that could happen is minor and acceptable property damage. Of course this doesn't mean that you actively want to shoot whatever you choose for a safe backstop during your dryfire routine! It simply means that you're aware that you could make a mistake about the status of the firearm, and that you are willing to accept the consequences of that mistake should it occur.
- Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
This rule means you must be aware of your muzzle direction the entire time you are handling the firearm, whether you are set up for dryfire or not (see rule one). Don't sweep any of your favorite body parts. Consider the firearm as a Star Wars lightsaber, and pretend that anything it crosses will be cut in half.
As this applies to dryfire, this rule also means that you should not point the gun at your TV screen unless you're willing to replace the TV and whatever's behind it. It means that you never point the gun at the cat, or out the window, or in any other direction that will cause more damage than you are willing to accept should a discharge occur.
A long time back, I talked to a man who had put a round smack between the eyes of a "glamour portrait" of his wife she had given him for his birthday. His ND was the most expensive one I ever heard of: it took a trip to Hawaii to repair the damage. (Don't be that guy. Choose targets for dryfire that won't cause grief.)
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target (and you have made the decision to shoot).
"Duh" moment here: This rule applies off the range as well as on it. After all, a target isn't just a piece of paper with rings on it. A target is a deliberately-chosen spot which is an acceptable place to put a bullet.
As this applies to dryfire, and also to disassembling Glocks & guns with a similar manual of arms, this one means that you ALWAYS pick a target before touching the trigger. Okay, that sounds obvious ... but how many times have you "felt out" a trigger or disassembled a Glock without first deliberately aligning the sights on the most-acceptable place in the area for the bullet to land? (What bullet? See rule one...)
Before you ever, ever, ever touch the trigger for dryfire, pick a target that you are willing to destroy if you goof. If there is no such acceptable spot in your dryfire environment, don't dryfire there.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
If you are not sure that the backstop behind the target you have picked for dryfire will definitely stop a bullet of the most powerful round your firearm is capable of firing, don't dryfire at that target. This should save spackle costs, because you'll never find yourself having to repair three rooms' worth of sheetrock following one ND.
So that's the Four Rules and how they apply to dryfire. By the way, dryfire itself is incredibly dangerous, and perhaps the most common cause of NDs among experienced shooters. Here are a few ideas to make dryfire safer. Note that these are mostly just ways to get your brain engaged and prevent an unintentional breaking of one or more of the Four Rules. Simply following the Four Rules is enough, but these ideas should help you follow them more reliably.
- NEVER dryfire while distracted. That means: no TV. No telephone calls. No radio. No interruptions and no distractions!
- NEVER dryfire while there is ammunition in the same room as you. The classic pattern for a dryfire-related ND is to finish dryfiring, reload without thinking, and then take "just one more" dryfire shot with the now-loaded gun. By getting the ammunition entirely out of the room, you break that cycle and make it impossible to reload without thinking about it.
- ALWAYS speak aloud when you reload the firearm: "This gun is loaded. This gun is loaded. This gun is loaded." By saying it out loud, three times, you make sure that your entire brain is engaged during the reloading process.
- ALWAYS put the gun away when you are done dryfiring. Don't leave it lying next to your chair. Don't leave it on top of the bookshelf. Get it out of sight and out of easy reach. If you've been practicing your draws, don't put it in your holster; instead, put it entirely away for awhile. If you have not been practicing draws and you do decide to put it in your holster, leave the room where you were dryfiring and stay out for at least an hour, making a conscious decision to keep your hands OFF the holstered gun and taking yourself out of the dryfire area into some other environment where you will not be tempted to handle the firearm again. What's happened is that you've just conditioned yourself to believe that the gun is unloaded and won't fire when the trigger is pulled. Your conscious mind knows better, of course, but your subconscious mind does not and neither do your muscles. So get the gun out of reach and set the circumstances to force your conscious mind to engage before you can pick the firearm up again.
Hope this helps. Stay safe!
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Thanks, Pax. I like your amendments to the four rules.
Sig 226, 228. Glock 19, 23. Smith Model 60,and 1911. XD45 Tactical. Mossberg 930 SPX.
How we behave as gun owners is important. Posturing and threatening does not serve us well in the public eye.
It's great that everyone is being so supportive but....
I don't mean to chastize, but I'm going to make sure that someone says it....You made a bonehead mistake. A big bonehead mistake. I have to agree with the poster above who pointed out that there's no such thing as an AD - this is a prime example of negligence in one of it's many forms.
I hope that you learned your lesson though. Let me shoot completely straight with you - I would not feel safe around you after an incident like that. You got freaking lucky, and I hope (for yours and everyone else's sake) the lesson sticks.
That all being said, one of my buddies had an ND and I refuse to hang out with him anymore. He's a tragedy waiting to happen. Carries and handles when he gets drunk. Shot a big boy out of his very nice, $1200 custom tuned Springfield Armory 1911 into the floor about 7 inches directly in front of my left foot. I have zero tolerance for ND, and everyone else should as well. It's as irresponsible as drunk driving to me.
STAY SAFE BROTHER. They're always loaded.
Pax's dry firing tips are where it's at. You've got to make a mental disconnect from unloaded dry firing condition, to loaded-I'm going to destroy the TV condition. For me, I put it back in the safe after dry firing. Then it's going to get cleared and loaded coming back out.
So I think the better rule is "treat them as if they're always loaded." That statement IS always true.
Yes indeed, no gun is a toy. No gun is something to just sit around and play with...until it's unloaded. It's not a gun if it's unloaded,it's just a block of metal.
Never ever ever consider a gun safe to play with, even when it's unloaded! This is something many of have learned by doing just what the OP did or by almost doing it. The OP has some real guts as most of us would never admit it. I applaud the OP for his honesty, sometimes being thrashed by peers is the best way to learn, You're a big man OP. Let this one go, don't beat yourself up over it, you got off easy. Let the lesson learned sit on top of your head for the rest of your life, let the mistake go.
If I gave a crap about what you think about my guns.....it was early this morning and I already flushed it!
Glad no one was hurt, and remember that ALL guns are loaded....ALL the time.
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government--lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." --Patrick Henry
NRA Endowment Member
Ah, yes, the hole-in-the-wall club. I must admit membership in that one myself, and yes, it was due to dry-firing while tired and distracted. The difference is, I selected as my target a place in the wall that would stop anything fired from a handgun, thanks to quality brick on the outside, providing that one extra margin of safety.
Now that I live in a house with cedar shake exterior walls, I don't have the luxury of a safe default backstop, so I have to be all the more careful.
To add a little bit, before dry-firing a revolver, I don't just open the cylinder and look; I point the muzzle at the sky, hit the ejector rod, then COUNT the daylight through EACH chamber. Yes, there is a reason I typed those two words in all-caps.
The man thing is, don't just "go through the motions" of checking the chamber. Be very conscious of every step.
You can't be too careful, when ensuring a gun is unloaded and cannot harm someone. It can pay to stick to the routine, to ensure the steps overlap and double-check each other, and to both visually and physically ensure it's unloaded.
mojust, I'm glad everything is okay.
It probably hurts even more for you to come back and read the comments on here. Hopefully someone that reads your post will avoid the same type of accident.
I don't do much dry firing, but when I do, it is only immediately after I check the chamber. I just can't bring myself to dry fire a gun unless the last thing I did was look in the chamber. That means I can't even draw from a holster and dry fire.
I went to the GCO convention in Atlanta a few months ago, and they were a few candidates for the Georgia governors race there. One of the Republican candidates admitted to having an ND, and he made the comment that guns are "like horses, if you spend enough time around them, you will have an AD" (he was comparing NDs to getting kicked by a horse). I thought that his comment was silly and pretty dangerous to our cause.
I strongly disagree with the notion that NDs are inevitable. This type of thinking inclines people to oppose defensive carry in certain situations, because lawmakers may consider that the risk of NDs outweighs the benefit of CC in schools or parks or wherever.
NDs are caused by someone making a very specific mistake, and violating fundamental rules of gun safety.
Glad no one was hurt, hope you learned your lesson. I learned it about 8 years ago.