Self-Inflicted Injury from Negligent Discharges

We know it happens. What we don’t know are the specifics because there are no records of how many people shoot themselves accidentally each year.

What we do know is this; had the gun been pointed in the safest possible direction no injuries would have occurred and had something not pressed the trigger to the rear there would not have been a discharge. The Primary rule of Safety #1 is simple, point the gun in a direction where no one would be injured if the gun is discharged. So how many times have you pointed a gun at yourself or others, intentionally or not? If you say never I’d have to call BS because it happens, and the more you handle guns the greater the change you will. We never do it on purpose but it happens nonetheless.

glock_01[1]This man felt his gun rise in his holster as he sat down in the car so he gave it a good firm push to reseat it in the holster. He had oiled his holster so it was nice and flexible and soft. Holsters are not intended to be soft, they are meant to be firm so the trigger is guarded at all times. The gun discharged and hit his buttock/hip area and he was very lucky. Negligence? I would say so. As the story originated it was discovered that the man tried to sue the gun maker, Glock, for negligence.

Unfortunately for Glock they do have a feature that can place an inattentive operator at risk of the results of negligence . . . not Glocks negligence however. To field strip a Glock you have to uncock the gun first and the only way to uncock a Glock is to release the trigger, and this is when things can go crazily wrong even for the most experienced handler.


Glock Unintended Discharge
by a U. S. Marshal, author unknown.

Well….I’ve always heard it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”.

My number came up and I paid a hefty price.

Last Friday I was preparing to go shooting the next AM with a buddy of mine.

I had just put a new a-grip on my Glock, and was going to clean it after my wife and I finished our movie. Crash is an awesome movie BTW.

I put the weapon back together and inserted the mag. I did not pipe a round because I knew I was going to strip it later. I went upstairs and put the weapon in the tool box in the garage.

About and hour later (mid-night or so), I returned to the garage to finish cleaning and getting gear together for the morning. I picked up the Glock, dropped the mag and prepared to remove the slide. I done this literally thousands of times in the last fifteen years, but this times things were a little different. I grabbed the slide getting ready to push the take own pins and pulled the trigger……BANG!!!!!

Apparently I DID pipe a round an hour prior. My shooting bud attributes it to force of habit, but why the hell didn’t I check the chamber before pulling the trigger? Should that be force of habit too?

Not only did I set off a .45 in my garage, but it passed right through my left hand……Yep….I *******ing shot myself point blank. I’m still having a hard time getting my head around what I did. I was SO angry at myself.

I have always been uber safe with any firearm, but one lack of procedure changed everything. I’m really taking this hard, and all the “it could have been worse”, “accidents happen”, and “thank god you didn’t lose your hand statements really don’t help. I guess I’m getting over it, but it still seems very surreal to me.

Here are details….I know you all are morbidly curious, and I don’t mind telling…it’s kinda like therapy for me. I DID NOT hear the shot (nor did my ears ring afterwards), and it felt sorta like catching a fastball right in the palm of your glove. I have a very clear image, and suspect I always will, of the hole in my hand…perfect .45 diameter not bleeding….yet. I took a few seconds, and then the arterial arch in my palm cut loose.

Blood like you wouldn’t believe. I think the fact that I was a Paramedic in a former life helped me out here. I walked into the laundry room and grabbed a towel to wrap it up, call up the stairs for my wife to come down. I remember thinking “if I go get her, I’ll mess up the carpet on the stairs”. No lie.

She came down half asleep and kind of grumpy, and I told her “I just put a bullet in my hand”. Said she was calling 911 and according to her I responded “That would be a good idea..” My wife is neo-natal RN, and can remain cool as a cucumber. This helped me out too I think.

I went back into the garage, put my blasted hand on the floor kneeling on the towel and proceeded to open my ever present jump-bag with the other.

I opened a US issue trauma dressing with my teeth, and proceeded to wrap my hand. Those dressing are the schiz nit by the way. My wife later told me it was very “Die-Haredesque”……I do remember cussing at myself the entire time…I have never been that angry before…..

Four cops, the shift sup., a pumper truck and an ambulance later I was off to the ER. I didn’t feel any pain until I got in the ambulance. The endorphins shut down and it hurt like nothing you can imagine. No tickets from the cops, but did have to ask which weapon I did it with.  My garage looks like an arsenal pre-range trip.

The bullet (a Black Talon no less..) shattered my ring finger meta-tarsal, and ‘removed’ two others. It destroyed the flexor tendon of my ring finger, almost separated my pinky tendon, and exited the right side of my wrist just above my watch band. There was a definite exit hole, but the blast force blew the side of my palm WIDE open about three inches in length. I didn’t even see the exit wound until I removed my watch for the FD. Anyway, nine hours of surgery, three screws, a tendon graft from my forearm and about two-hundred sutures later I was put back together. My surgeon said if anyone has to get shot in the hand, this was how to do it. No nerve damage….whew. Physical therapy twice a week for God knows how long, and the surgeon expects at least 80% function back.

I’ve included a pic of the round. Snap-On tool boxes are quite literally bullet proof. The jacket separated from the slug when it hit the box, that’s why the slug is flat on one side. If the mods permit, I’ll post pics of my hand too…..it’s pretty burly, and will drive the point home.

Thanks for listening. My wife thinks I’m crazy to post this, but it really does help me feel better. Remember….check the chamber twice, then check it again.

And it continues to happen over and over, this one from 2009. Wound Exit Macro  332

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously people, how hard is Rule #1 to follow? This ER picture is from 2014.

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Another ER pic, this one a Border Patrol agent stripping his gun in 2013. Exit

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glocks are good guns although this is a design weakness in that it assumes that the user will not be stupid, complacent or lazy about the Rules of Safety.

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


 

Old Guys Tales (OGT) and Guns

I’ve been using this line for several years while teaching because it appears that many people still fall for the empirical statements about guns. For the most part when someone says this is the BEST, or the MOST ACCURATE gun ever or the MOST POWERFUL cartridge it is pretty much guaranteed they are giving an opinion and are most likely WRONG. Much of this wrong information is passed from those who write on forums/blogs on the internet and since they write on the internet they are self-pronounced experts. I teach the use of firearms, I do it a lot, almost four days a week all year long and I’m not an expert, just a well trained and practiced individual. With that experience I have seen a ton of guns, most chosen for all the wrong reasons and based solely on Old Guys Tales. There are literally hundreds of these OGTs and like most tales they need to be seen in the light of reality.

OGT: Women should carry tiny lightweight revolvers because they are light and simple and never, EVER fail.
Pink RevolverFACT: I find this OGT to be literally offensive to women because what the tale state is that women are weak and stupid. The fact is women can shoot pretty much any gun any man can with the proper knowledge and technique and as has been proven over and over in my classes the ladies are often much better students and shoot better than their male company. I can count on two hands the number of people I know who can perform defensive shooting drills effectively with a revolver. When the revolver fails, and eventually it will (Google “revolver cylinder lock failures”), you cannot fix it, the failure then becomes life or death if it happens when you need the gun to work. tap-stroke-200 It is a 200 year old design and the simple question you should ask yourself is, are there any 200 year old technologies you would bet your life on?

If you’re one of those OGT revolver believers try these drills and see how well you do.
Place one round in the gun. At 10 yards draw and fire three rounds into an 8” target in 6 seconds . . or if 10 yards is TOO much,
Place one round in the gun. At 7 yards draw and fire two rounds into an 8” target in 3.5 seconds.

Now tell us how a revolver is the best gun for women or for that matter anyone.

OGT: The .45 ACP is the BEST round and will literally knock people to the ground.
FACT: There are not ANY handgun rounds that will knock someone to the ground. It is a low pressure 100 year old designed cartridge. To be able to have enough energy to knock someone down the shooter would also be knocked down, simple laws of physics apply. The myth of the .45 was developed in WWI when it replaced the .38 Special and has been passed down for three generations. Due to the weight of the bullet it often has excessive recoil which hurts the shooter from getting subsequent rounds on target quickly. Put into a tiny, plastic semi-automatic it gets even worse. If you ask the ER Doc what caliber was the person shot with they will most likely tell you they have no idea because the damage is the same regardless of caliber. d722be689df41422f8e3d8cd3f34363e[1]

If you’re one of those OGT .45 ACP believers try this drill. At 7 yards draw and place two rounds in a 3” circle in 2.5 seconds. If you can do that on demand consider yourself in the top 5% of shooters in America.

OGT: Carry a gun you can hit with, even if it’s a .22 because a hit with a .22 is better than a miss with a larger caliber.
dsc03042FACT: This is a false argument often used by people who have had no training or real skills. Yes, certainly a hit is better than a miss however unless placed in the absolute perfect place the .22 is only going to really piss off that determined adversary. There are only two ways to stop the determined bad guy, a Central Nervous System hit or rapid blood loss. Unless you are in the top 1% of shooters in the world counting on a CNS hit is a lot like buying $20 worth of lottery tickets each week, it just never pays off. The best way to convince the BG to stop is to put as many rounds as possible, as fast as possible into the upper part of his/her chest and the bigger the wound the more rapid the blood loss. Generally speaking at some point the BG might decide to stop the aggression when they see blood spurting from their chest.

Get a gun of substantial caliber, 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP. Take regular training from a professional instructor and practice . . . a lot. To test your levels of expertise try the Bill Drill. At 7 yards draw and fire six rounds into an 8” target in less than 3.5 seconds. If you miss try it again and then reconsider the fallacy of Old Guys Tales.

In the violent encounter from first shot to last shot is most often 2.5 seconds or less.

If you miss the BG keep in mind you own that bullet and are financially if not criminally liable for any damage it may do. One shot will not guarantee your survival and the odds are more in your favor if you increase distance from the BG. Shoot fast, be accurate and win the fight.

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


 

Time for Training

You own a gun, for self-defense. Or you are going to buy a gun, for self-defense. The focus starts based on a need and then it seems to go awry, you don’t know how to shoot a gun safely or accurately BUT you have a friend or family member who is willing to teach PLUS there is the internet and none of them are professional firearms instructors.

.train1177The shooting sports industry is equipment driven, gun sales represent the highest percent of each dollar spent yet training and instruction represents the lowest amount spent. Why is that? If you were to go buy your first race car, clearly a dangerous tool to operate would you not consider learning how to drive correctly from a professional? Yet every year Americans buy $4 Billion dollars worth of guns and only spend $12 per person for training and instruction. Being in the business those numbers do not make any sense.

Self-defense is the use of force to counter an imminent threat of violence. Such force can be either armed or unarmed. In either case, the chances of success depend on a large number of parameters, related to the severity of the threat on one hand, but also on the mental and physical preparedness of the defender. If you are not prepared what will be your chance of success? Simply owning a gun does not mean you are prepared to defend yourself any more than owning a violin makes you musician.

Being prepared means being trained in a professional manner AND practicing your training on a regular schedule until that which you have learned becomes second nature and you can perform it without thinking about it. It also means continuing to train to improve on your skills on an ongoing basis. No, you are not a Special Operator preparing to conduct a mission BUT if you carry or own a gun for self-defense the end result is just the same, your life or your loved ones life will be at risk and if you fail in your mission life can possibly be lost.

If you’ve spent thousands of dollars for equipment, ammunition and other shooting related costs is it unreasonable to spend a few hundred annually for training? Going to the range, standing motionless shooting at a circle on a piece of paper is not training; at best it is practicing bad habits that will be so engrained in your memory and very difficult to unlearn. Learn correctly now. There are many qualified instructors out there and I have personally found I can learn something from almost all of them AND if that one thing I learned saved my life or another life it would be worth every penny I spent on it.

Training BudgetOR you can lock your gun up in the safe because you’re really not ready to defend yourself or others.

FACTS from NSSF
$9.95 Billion spent on guns and ammo annually.
Only 2.39% of that, $237 million, is spent on training.
$493 per shooter spent on shooting, $12 on instruction and training.

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training


 

Evolution of Handgun Designs

I have my favorite gun as do most people; mine seems to change occasionally when something REALLY strikes my fancy. During the Beginning Pistol class we actually go through a modified presentation of the history of handguns including all frame sizes, action types and calibers giving a new shooter a broader understanding of where we have come and why.

Below is a list of guns that have lead or have changed significantly the design and function of handguns. My new favorite is included because I’m writing the article. Would love to hear your comments on these guns and if your favorite is not in there tell me why your favorite has significantly changed the design and function of handguns upon its release.

1836 Colt Paterson

1836 Colt Paterson

 

Colt M1873

Colt M1873

 

Smith & Wesson Model 10

Smith & Wesson Model 10

 

Colt M1911

Colt M1911

 

1915 Colt Woodsman

1915 Colt Woodsman

1935 Browning Hi-Power

1935 Browning Hi-Power

 

1938 Walther P38

1938 Walther P38

 

1953 Ruger Single Six Convertible

1953 Ruger Single Six Convertible

 

1955 Smith & Wesson Model 29

1955 Smith & Wesson Model 29

 

1965 Smith & Wesson Model 60

1965 Smith & Wesson Model 60

 

1975 CZ-75

1975 CZ-75

 

1975 Smith & Wesson Model 41

1975 Smith & Wesson Model 41

 

 

1975 Beretta 92

1975 Beretta 92

 

1982 Glock G17

1982 Glock G17

 

1984 Sig Sauer P226

1984 Sig Sauer P226

 

2014 Sig Sauer P320

2014 Sig Sauer P320

There you have it, almost 200 years of handgun development.

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training