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This could happen to any one of us as an Instructor or Shooter! This was forwarded to me and I wanted you to read it!

Stay Safe & Shoot Straight!

Fumbled Gun: Drop It!

"A local serviceman was killed today after being shot during a training accident." That was the lead off by the talking head on the evening news. Based upon that statement you would assume that the person in question was negligently shot by another serviceman. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. I watched the television report via the Internet and nowhere in the story were the hard facts about the situation reported.

However, I am in possession of the facts of the case as the man who died was a member of the parent command of the unit I serve. The instructor cadre, of which I am a part, was briefed on the incident by the command's safety officer.

What occurred on that fateful day follows. The serviceman was shooting a pistol qualifications course. During one of the stages shooters are required to shift the gun from their dominant shooting hand over to their non-dominant or support hand. This was where things went wrong.

The man lost control of his pistol, how or why doesn't really matter. It's an imperfect world and stuff happens. Rather than letting the pistol fall to the ground he reached out to grab it. The M9 service pistol was in single-action trigger mode (safety off) as he had just fired two rounds.

When the shooter grabbed the pistol it was inverted with the muzzle pointing back toward his chest. One of his thumbs found its way into the triggerguard and the weapon fired. A single full metal jacketed 9mm round passed through the center of his chest cutting a vital artery. He died on the range.

The knee-jerk reaction from some of the safety officers was that this would not have happened if there had been more dry fire or holster training. That just doesn't wash. You don't practice the proper way to drop a pistol with dry fire.

Two main factors caused this tragedy to occur. First and foremost is human nature. You've been catching objects since you were in kindergarten or earlier. If something starts to accidentally fall, you reach out and grab it. Everyone does this. We're pre-wired to do it.

The second factor is that, although there was a lengthy briefing prior to commencing live fire, nowhere in the safety brief did the Range Safety Officer ever discuss what to do if you last control or fumbled with your pistol. Couple that with the fact that military personnel are generally ridiculed and often punished for dropping a weapon and you have a recipe for disaster.

Whether you are an individual shooter, trainer, or range safety officer you must understand and address the dropped/fumbled gun possibility. The issue isn't such a big deal with long guns but when dealing with handguns it is definitely a situation that must be spoken to.

It is really as simple as this, if you fumble your gun, let it go. All modern firearms have passive safeties to prevent 'drop firing'. If your pistol is too pretty or too fragile to be dropped you shouldn't have it our on the range. Bottom line, we don't catch fumbled pistols. Drop it!
 

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Thank you for an excellent reminder.

If you practice enough, you will drop a gun at some point. The last time I did was at an LFI 1 class. I got in too big of a hurry and being that my hands were sweaty, I was tired and the temperature was warm, we had the makings of a disaster.

I managed to catch my pistol, but I should've let it go. The only factor that helped save my rear, in this case, was that I dropped a Single Action Autoloader with the safety on. As soon as I caught the gun I realized what a mistake I had made. I'm just thankful that I got lucky and no rounds discharged. One of the Instructors saw what happened, but I commented to them that I should've let the gun hit the ground. I guess they figured I made a mistake and knew better, so they could let it go, as I was already chastising myself.

Thank you for posting this, as it may help to prevent a tragedy in the future.

Biker
 

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When I read this, I immediately thought of the analogy of how many times has roofers dropped a hammer and tried to catch it before it fell off the roof, only to follow the hammer off the roof them self. It happens! The cliche' of roofers is "If you drop your hammer, let it go. Don't chase it off the roof!"

Very good post! I've always believed the thing to do if you get a case of the "butter fingers" is to just let the gun go to the ground! But it's hard to do when instinct says "catch it!"

This post should bring that issue from the dark recesses of the subconscious up to the level of conscious thought whenever you are training or on the range.
 

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Bottom line, we don't catch fumbled pistols. Drop it!
:hand10: Agreed! tragic story.

Believe it or not, the only time I have ever dropped my pistol, I used the top of my foot to semi break the fall on it's way down and all was well. I didn't want the weapon to hit the concrete and possibly discharge the chambered round. Afterwords I thought it was kinda risky, but it was a knee jerk reaction and at least I didn't try to grab it. Hindsight, It may have been better to let it hit the floor, but it was my new stainless Colt Officers ACP and I couldn't just let it get trashed on the concrete.:blink:
 

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There are those who would try to argue a "common sense" factor here..."Of COURSE you should drop the weapon...why wouldn't you?"
But ask any military personnel - of ANY length of service - how hard the DI's pound a "grunt" to "NEVER- EVER drop your weapon! Your weapon is your lifeline!!" This training will cause nearly ANY recruit to instinctively grab for a weapon that's slipped from his grasp....
But.....like the earlier-posted hammer analogy...and installing TV antennas on roofs....."if it drops....let it go.....if you follow it, it may be the last 'trip' you take"....:dead:
 

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it is really as simple as this, if you fumble your gun, let it go. All modern firearms have passive safeties to prevent 'drop firing'. If your pistol is too pretty or too fragile to be dropped you shouldn't have it our on the range. Bottom line, we don't catch fumbled pistols. Drop it!
truer words could not be spoking h/d
 

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This is heart-breaking. As much as it hurts to read this story, this is one of the many reasons why I benefit so much from this forum. You all expose valuable thought processes that I'd normally never consider.
 

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That's a great tip, especially for teaching newbies who are not used to holding or shooting guns. It should head off any accidents at the range... or in bathroom stalls.
 

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Oh Man I hate to read a story like this one.

Yes, we sure are pre-wired to always attempt to catch objects that we accidentally drop.
 

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Very sad. The range officer at frontsight went over this exact thing in some training 2 weeks ago. First time I had ever thought about it.
Also, made sure we didn't bend over to pick up anything (dropped mags or ammo) while on the firing line. Puts your head in a bad place.
I almost picked up a dropped mag on day 2, had to catch myself.
Hard habits to develop/break - we want to catch falling stuff and pick up stuff we drop.
 

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Great subject. I am going to be taking my friend to the range while in Las Vegas. Will have to add that safety lesson.

When I was on my honeymoon in Australia I got to climb Ayers rock,the tours bus driver would not let you take anything with you because several weeks prior a Japanesse tourist was killed when his hat got blown off his head and he was looking down while chasing it ran off the side of the mountain. One hell of a way to go.
Ayers Rock, Uluru
 

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P.S No 911 out there!! :dead:
 

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Thanks for the reminder.

Maybe something good can come from this tragic event, such as others learning not to grab for a dropped weapon.
 

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This is heart-breaking. As much as it hurts to read this story, this is one of the many reasons why I benefit so much from this forum. You all expose valuable thought processes that I'd normally never consider.
I absolutely 100% agree. I've learned so much since joining a few months ago.
 

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It's a very sad story but an excellent reminder to LET IT GO !!!!
 

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I understand how easy it is to forget, for but a moment, the natural instinct to reach for a falling object is...:blink::redface:...one has to be 'on his game' every second one is handling a firearm.
A needless tragedy.:frown:
 

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I imagine that one would be especially eager to catch a fumbled weapon if you were standing in a place where a dropped weapon would be difficult to recover. In that case, having a backup gun on you would make it easier to let your primary fall.
 

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Thanks for posting this. It hadn't crossed my mind before. Tragic too.

The issue isn't such a big deal with long guns
I disagree. Although is might be harder to shoot yourself with a long gun, if you were to drop it or fumble around, you might be able to shoot someone else. I have fired a few rifles with triggers that were so light they made me uneasy.
 

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Great post and a great reminder.

We always tell our students to "let it go" for the reasons mentioned.

Once upon a time, I dropped a knife. I instinctivley reached out for it and stuck it right into my left hand below the thumb. Had to go to a surgeon and get it sewn up. I still have the scar.

Since most guns are "drop" safe, the odds are better for it to hit the ground. Trying to catch one can disengage safetys, or put fingers where they dont need to be and let muzzles cover what they dont need too.
 
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