Accidental discharge

Accidental discharge

This is a discussion on Accidental discharge within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm Very Curious. Which pistols can discharge when they fall from a 3-4' piece of furniture and land on the floor? AH...

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  1. #1
    Member Array abandonhope's Avatar
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    Question Accidental discharge

    I'm Very Curious. Which pistols can discharge when they fall from a 3-4' piece of furniture and land on the floor?

    AH


  2. #2
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    Usually poorly made pistols, most modern firearms incorporate some means of preventing accidental discharge using hammer/firing blocks, stiffer firing pin springs or other design elements to prevent firing unless trigger is pulled.
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    Member Array Wastelander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    Usually poorly made pistols, most modern firearms incorporate some means of preventing accidental discharge using hammer/firing blocks, stiffer firing pin springs or other design elements to prevent firing unless trigger is pulled.
    This. One way to tell, by make/model, is that California requires a drop test for this very thing. If it passes California's drop test then it won't discharge when dropped. Just about all pistols will pass.

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    Senior Member Array CCWFlaRuger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wastelander View Post
    This. One way to tell, by make/model, is that California requires a drop test for this very thing. If it passes California's drop test then it won't discharge when dropped. Just about all pistols will pass.
    ^^^^^^^^

    Except that, according to Boyle's (Murphy's Law is actually a little different, and states that if there are more than one way to do something and one of those ways is completely wrong, someone will do it the wrong way) Law, "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong."

    That is why every manufacturer states in their documentation that no mechanical safety measure is fail safe, and the only sure way to not have an accidental discharge is to not have the gun loaded.

    So, at the very least, don't drop your gun.
    Last edited by CCWFlaRuger; September 4th, 2010 at 07:09 PM. Reason: spelling
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abandonhope View Post
    I'm Very Curious. Which pistols can discharge when they fall from a 3-4' piece of furniture and land on the floor?

    AH
    Good question! Is this a trick question? ADs (or NDs as we like to call them) only happen when your pistol is NOT under your control. I sincerely hope I've simplified your question. Always have your pistol under your control and nothing bad should ever happen. Accidentally only happens when you're not paying attention.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    To provide a more mechanical answer to your question, any firearm design that separates the potential energy source (mainspring/hammer or striker) from the primer whenever there is not a deliberate action to pull the trigger ought to be safe from an inertia discharge. Commonly, this is called being "drop safe", but the same factors that can set off a dropped gun can also come into play if the gun is physically bumped from behind, say, during a disarm/retention attempt, or if something strikes the back of the gun while it is in the holster. A blow to the front (muzzle) end can also cause an inertia discharge, and I believe the CA drop test has the gun land muzzle first.

    So, inertia discharges are potential issues even when one does not lose control of the gun by dropping it. I'll give you that...

    So, what's inertia-"proof" (again, noting that no mechanical system is 100% reliable)? Any gun with a correctly designed firing pin block (like SIGs, Series 80 1911-pattern pistols, &c.) or a striker block (Glocks, M&Ps, &c.). You'll see this feature advertised when available, because of course every manufacturer wants his gun to be lawyer proof. The SIG classic P series guns were among the first of the modern service pistols to be designed inertia-safe from the ground up, if I recall correctly, though they are far from the only ones.

    I believe one of the Ruger recalls (somebody back me up on this---SR9 or LCP, I think) was due to a potential inertia discharge issue, so just because a gun is of recent design does not guarantee it is drop safe.

    What is not drop safe? Shotguns, most rifles/carbines, and older revolvers all connect the hammer through the firing pin to the chamber, so they can have inertia discharges. This is why most folks advocate keeping defensive rifles and shotguns loaded but with an empty chamber. Somebody else will have to chime in about any striker-fired guns with inertia discharge issues, because I am just not that into that type of gun.

    Did you have particular models you were curious about?
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    Member Array abandonhope's Avatar
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    Ram Rod: I haven't dropped any of my guns. And I agree that most incidences labeled AD are ND. But theoretically, if the gun goes off without the trigger being squeezed, that would be an AD, right? Anyway, not a trick question.

    I'm mostly curious about pistols. I'm an amateur at this but I have read that old 70 series 1911s with the safety off might fire when dropped. I envisioned it being possible with something that was rimfire and with revolvers if the hammer snagged,pulled and released. I suppose i have believed along the lines of what the MasterSgt was saying. Most modern handguns won't fire unless the trigger is pulled.

    I'm just asking for some expert opinions because...well, I hear a lot of stories in my line of work. Most start with, "i was standing on the corner minding my own business when these two dudes..."

    Appreciate all the input.

    AH

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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    Regardless of whether you know it's drop safe or not. Never, ever, ever, ever try to catch a falling pistol. One stray finger is all it takes to pull the trigger. Like has been stated, most new, quality pistols are drop safe.
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    About 20 years ago I was at the former Don's guns on 96st in Indy. Two guys and a girl came in and were put on the lane next to me. They REEKED of pot, and booze so I left. 10 minutes later the chick dropped some Saturday Night Special POS she was using and shot herself. She bled to death before the EMT's arrived. It was about 4 feet.

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    Distinguished Member Array ripley16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abandonhope View Post
    I'm Very Curious. Which pistols can discharge when they fall from a 3-4' piece of furniture and land on the floor?

    AH
    Possibly a Makarov with it's free floating firing pin.

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    Modern fireamrs are designed NOT to do this--but I wouldn't trust any of them enough to test that.
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    You need to state what type of surface the handgun is being dropped on. That has some importance. I think even the rock bottom cheapest of handguns/pistols would pass a "drop test" from that height if dropped onto carpet or even your average wood floor.
    Dropped onto concrete the outcome might be different.
    Series 80 Colt 1911s have a firing pin block in order to pass a CA. drop test. I believe that Springers use a lighter weight Titanium FP with a heavier firing pin spring in order to accomplish the same task.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I had a RIA 1911 compact that was dropped from waist high 36" hit on a tiled concrete floor on the muzzle,almost perfect up and down when looking at the hole in the tile,and it fired,I put a heavier Firing Pin spring in it afterwards
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  14. #14
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abandonhope View Post
    Ram Rod: I haven't dropped any of my guns. And I agree that most incidences labeled AD are ND. But theoretically, if the gun goes off without the trigger being squeezed, that would be an AD, right? Anyway, not a trick question.
    Theoretically?
    We should hope to never get to that point with anything mechanical. If a gun goes off without the trigger being pulled, then it's an anomaly. If you drop your pistol and it does go off, then it's still a ND because it wasn't under your control and you were in effect negligent in some respect otherwise it wouldn't have happened. We are no court of law here, and I judge no one by any means. Any loaded pistol or firearm in your presence demands full control.
    You have control of your vehicle while driving sown the road...........somehow your passenger side tire rolls across a glass shard, a nail, or other foreign object that punctures it and you have a flat or blowout.....subsequently run off the side of the road (best case scenario) and hit a utility pole or highway sign. That's an accident since your equipment was up to par (hoping there's plenty of tread on the tire). Dropping any pistol no matter what 'inherent' safety devices may be involved is still no accident. Could anyone honestly call a Colt series 70 pistol less safe than any other pistol on the market? I'd say no. Back in the day, there may have been those questionable as to meeting some of the more stringent or current manufacturing specs in order to rule out most of the end user "accidents" that could quite possibly occur. Firearms manufacturers can only attempt to make up the difference from a liability standpoint through their legal obligations in marketing a product. The end user still takes full responsibility. Responsibility is a big word and means so much. It's also the single word that will define the difference between accidental and negligent when it comes to firearms. Don't let the media fool you into thinking of different terms......'accidental' shootings only happen because of negligence. I've seen and read a lot of them. It's always sad to see or hear, but they all come down to someone's irresponsibility. "Accidental" discharges are no accident. Maybe someday they'll name a scientific law after me...kind of like Einstein and Newton. I could only wish.

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