Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Negligent Discharge - Concealed Carry

Read the article from A Keyboard And A 45.

H/T: Syd under "A Negligent Discharge Disected".

I'm with Syd. There's no such thing as an "Accidental Discharge". It's negligence, no matter how pure your intentions.

Summary of the event: guy goes to work with a .45acp 1911 in the pocket of his leather jacket. He takes the jacket off and slings it over the back of his office chair. Gun goes off, he takes a single round through both legs, and the bullet bounces around the office. Exit, not walking, but bleeding a lot. Permanent limp, criminal charges pending.

While I have no intent to vilify the poor guy ("JS") who suffered ... literally ... from his own actions, I can only conclude that even he doesn't really know the condition of his pistol. It's clear that there was a round in the chamber, but he "thinks' the hammer was down. (Condition 2)

Given that the 1911 has an inertial hammer, I'm thinking he was wrong about that. Perhaps the hammer was at half-cock, but more likely it was at full-cock. He (the self-victimized guy) said he had the gun in the jacket, stuffed in his pick-up, 'for months'. No telling what combination of bumps and pushes this un-holstered pistol may have endured, but the scenario is likely it was in Full-Cock, safety on (Condition 1) and he didn't realize it.

There's a lesson ... or two ... or three ... to be learned here.

First lesson: Be completely familiar with the gun you carry.
(First Corollary: don't carry if you are NOT fully familiar with the gun.)
(Second Corollary: if you're going to carry, check the condition of the gun every time you pick it up.)

Second Lesson: Consider that a gun which is not carried in a holster is always ready to fire.

Third Lesson: Never trust a safety.

Fourth Lesson: If you don't know what you're doing, if you're not always consciously aware that you are packing a deadly weapon, don't carry. You shouldn't be afraid of your gun, but you should treat it with great respect.

There are very few ways in which a 1911 carried with the safety on will discharge without your finger on the trigger. This was, apparently, a Series 70 1911. It doesn't feature the disconnect.

Still, it has a grip safety and unless that grip safety was pinned back or otherwise de-activated, it's hard to understand how it fired.

There are too many unknowns here to confidently analyze the incident, so I'm not willing to jump to conclusions here.

But there are a couple of points which bear mentioning.

First, I have been guilty of a Negligent Discharge. I knew the conditions, and I still let it happen. Thankfully, the gun was pointed in a safe direction and I was under the watchful eye of a Range Officer in a USPSA match. I can happen to anyone.

Second, this reminds me of another story.
An Oregon Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) was exiting a vehicle when the drawstring of his raincoat got tangled up in the trigger-guard of his Glock. (See Part 1 here, and part 2 here.) This resulted in a Negligent Discharge, and he shot himself in the leg. It's a situation which could have happened to anyone ... it's consistent with the trigger-safety which is typical of ALL Glock pistols (just another reason why I don't like Glocks ... see Lesson 3.)

No conclusions. You pays your money and you takes your chances. But it's important that we all be aware in the many ways that we can shoot ourselves in the foot. Literally.

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