Gunsmith shoots off pinky finger

This is a discussion on Gunsmith shoots off pinky finger within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Pinkie shot off in gun shop mishap July 6, 2010 3:03 pmThayer Evans wrote: A gunsmith at a League City gun shop lost his pinkie ...

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Thread: Gunsmith shoots off pinky finger

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array ErnieNWillis's Avatar
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    Gunsmith shoots off pinky finger

    Pinkie shot off in gun shop mishap
    July 6, 2010 3:03 pmThayer Evans wrote:
    A gunsmith at a League City gun shop lost his pinkie when a handgun mistakenly thought to be unloaded went off.

    League City Police Sgt. John Jordan said the accident occurred about 5:25 p.m. Thursday at The Arms Room, 107 Landing Blvd.

    A Friendswood man told police that he had brought his 9 mm Smith and Wesson handgun to the store to have a gunsmith look at it.

    The gun owner told police that he never carries his weapon with a round in the chamber and checked to make sure it was unloaded.

    The gun owner said he took the pistol out of his holster at the store and removed its magazine before handing it to a woman who worked at the store, Jordan said.

    Both the gun owner and the employee told police she too checked the gun and didn’t think it was loaded, Jordan said.

    While she was off helping another customer, gunsmith James Howell took the gun to look it over. He pulled the gun’s slide back to make sure it wasn’t loaded and then put its magazine back in the weapon, the gun owner told police. While the two were talking, the gun fired and a bullet struck Howell in the left hand, severing his little finger.

    “Basically, the gunsmith somehow or another loaded a round back in to the chamber,” Jordan said.

    Howell, 62, of Pasadena, was treated at a local hospital.

    League City police investigated the shooting and ruled it to be an accidental discharge.

    Messages left for Howell and the general manager of The Arms Room were not immediately returned Tuesday.

    Jordan said the incident underscores the importance of gun safety.

    “Obviously, any time you are handling a gun you need to make sure that it is clear and unloaded,” Jordan said. “That’s not what happened this time. One of our basic firearm safety rules is to treat every weapon as if it were loaded. That wasn’t followed.”

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array dsee11789's Avatar
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    “Basically, the gunsmith somehow or another loaded a round back in to the chamber,” Jordan said.

    ooh ooh! I know the answer! Pick me! Pick me!
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    Indeed: "While she was off helping another customer, gunsmith James Howell took the gun to look it over. He pulled the gun’s slide back to make sure it wasn’t loaded and then put its magazine back in the weapon,"

    And then he let the slide go forward thus loading a round. AFTER--
    "While the two were talking, the gun fired," all by itself.


    It just takes a second's worth of inattention.

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array ctsketch's Avatar
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    he probably put the magazine back in and released the slide without even thinking. in any case, if he had been following the rules of gun safety..this wouldn't have happened? Accident? no...negligence, he put a loaded mag into a firearm and pulled the trigger.
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    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    Checked chamber but then put loaded magazine back into gun with slide back. Releases slide and next thing you know BOOM.

    Check, Check, and Recheck.

    Good thing it was only the tip of his pinky and not in the back of someone's head.
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    Distinguished Member Array bladenbullet's Avatar
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    wow...theres a guy who handles guns for a living...i know it increases the odds but...wow...

    from experience and the business i'm in i can tell you that anything done very repititiously can trick the brain into thinking youve done one thing and have actually not done it or have done something else altogether...

    although this seems to defy logic in the gunsmiths case...it doesnt surprize me...anything is possible and we all need to be extra careful...ive been there...made my mistake and hope i never do it again...

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    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Agreed. If you don't want one chambered then clear it, let the slide forward and then load a magazine. This rather attentive fellow mixed a couple steps up if I had to guess.
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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    He pulled the gun’s slide back to make sure it wasn’t loaded and then put its magazine back in the weapon...
    There are two ways that the magic bullet became chambered.

    First being what most folks would think and is most common; The guns action was opened, looked at by eye, the magazine inserted and the action closed...Thus stripping the top most round and chambering it.
    Followed by the handler putting finger to the trigger, and pulling it (!).

    Second though which also occurs is that the gun was never actually cleared across the many times it was handled and 'checked'.
    The guns extractor in some manner malfunctioned (e.g. dirty, worn or chipped/broken face) and by that never removed the chambered round.
    This is how a DEA agent with a Glock did himself at a school 'Gun Safety' discussion in front of young children, teachers and parents.

    This becomes even more probable when the casing ('brass') of a given round is actually dark colored including even being black in coloration.


    Source - Hornady TAP FPD Ammunition

    This is why when I speak to students no matter what their background, I always advise and SHOW how to do a _tactile_ touch check using ones pinky to physically inspect the chamber immediately following a visual.


    Image source - http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=45627

    A lesson that could have saved this 'gunsmith' his own pinky.

    - Negligence
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Ooooh Ooooooh!!! I have another possibility!!!!

    What if the reason it went to the gunsmith in the first place was a broken extractor? How many of us at one time or another have just dropped the magazine and cycled the slide a few times?

    ETA: No fair!!! Janq posted while I was writing!!!
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    VIP Member Array ctsketch's Avatar
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    well, he's lucky it was just his pinky
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  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    Ooooh Ooooooh!!! I have another possibility!!!!

    What if the reason it went to the gunsmith in the first place was a broken extractor? How many of us at one time or another have just dropped the magazine and cycled the slide a few times?

    ETA: No fair!!! Janq posted while I was writing!!!
    Yep...I've seen people do this on the range especially so with rimfire casings be they fired or intact rounds.
    Handler works the slide/bolt a few times thinking that they are 'clearing' the chamber only to do nothing at all.
    Then they look all surprised upon effort to chamber a new and _second_ round to result in a jammed up gun.
    Also revolver shooters new to autoloaders fail at this as well for lack of specific handgun experience.

    Unfortunate and totally avoidable, IF only the handler was taught to ALWAYS without fail physically check the chamber.

    - David Blane believes in 'magic bullets', and by that gun 'accidents'
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    While the two were talking, the gun fired ...
    They wrote that like it's a magic gun, that it fired itself without someone's finger on the trigger. Hard to strike a finger when the gun's pointed in a safe direction, too. And it's hard to end up with a loaded gun when it has been physically and visually checked ... by two people no less. The thing about overlapping procedures is that (a) they need to occur and (b) they need to overlap.

    May I continue to be retentive in the extreme when it comes to handling firearms, particularly around others. Haven't had an ND yet, and I jolly well don't intend to if I can help it.
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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    The muzzle of the gun should have been pointed in a safe direction - especially after he put a loaded mag in it.

    Negligent handling, basic rules violations (1, 2, and 3).

    Notice how the accident happened because of multiple rule violations. They offer layered safety such that this could only happen because he broke several all together.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Sooooo............can one still gunsmith without a pinkie finger? I kinda like all of mine. I think I need them all even if some of them don't pull their weight all of the time. Besides....my pinkie fingers are my best booger pickers. None of the others fit right for deep fishing.
    Shot off a finger! Wow! Any idea how much that would hurt? Then after the ER visit, coming home to clean it off the wall? Geez!
    I guess things like this are made to be reminders for all those who still haven't shot themselves (by accident) with an unloaded-loaded gun. Complacency is for losers. We carry a pistol, we clean our guns, we dry fire, we disassemble, and some of us work on them professionally. Know when to separate the ammo from the gun. Make good habits around firearms. Lessons learned are all to often unforgiving. Learning life lessons from others' misfortunes may not be the ideal way to go, but it does demand attention, even if you've been employing your best safety habits for a long time. Every now and then we are reminded of how things can go wrong, and how fragile we are. Sometimes a missing finger can be replaced surgically. Thing is, there's got to be most of the finger left in order to do so. A finger shot is pretty much history.
    We do monthly safety topics at work as reminders. Sometimes videos or pictures of previous industrial accidents that have happened to others. Let this be the monthly safety topic for July.........firearms safety, gun handling, and where's the ammo. Keep your body parts, and never shoot yourself or anyone 'accidentally'.

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    VIP Member Array Old School's Avatar
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    Angry

    You may not want to shoot yourself however you do not do it by accident you do it by neglegently handling the firearm and causing it to fire. It is operator error.
    "Violence is seldom the answer, but when it is the answer it is the only answer".

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