Negligent Discharge at Home


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dk-corriveau
December 22, 2005, 02:02 AM
Ok, so about 2.5 hours ago I had my first negligent discharge. To make it worse, it was in my house. Like everyone on this list who has never had an ND, I assumed that it would never happen to me. Well, moderators please forgive the language, that is bull sh#t! It will despite what you think. This was without a doubt my fault and was the result of me being too confident with my gun handling skills and mixing some alcohol into the picture. As a result, I put myself, my family, and a family friend at risk. :cuss: :banghead:

The incident:
My wife and I attended a Christmas party tonight and I was carrying as usual, a Para LTC 1911 in an IWB holster. Over the course of about 3.5 hours I had ~5 drinks, 4 beers and a mixed drink to be exact. When we returned home, we talked with our friend who was watching our 17 month old son. After a few minutes of chit chat, and before our friend left, I engaged in what is my normal procedure, drop the mag, disengage the safety, rack the slide with the chambered round ending up in my hand and then drop the hammer (I know you can see it coming).

I make it a general practice to load/unload my gun before/after leaving the house. I do not feel the need to keep a loaded gun in the house, but I do like to have a gun on hand just in case. We live in a very secure gated community, but I recognize that anything can happen. That being said, I like the security of having a gun on hand when I am out and about. Likewise, I make it a practice to shoot all my ammo when I hit the range, so that I have no rounds possibly in my non-carry guns when I return home.

Anyway, I surmise that I disengaged the safety and racked the slide before dropping the mag, resulting in a live round being chambered when I dropped the hammer, despite there being a loaded round in my hand, resulting in the ND. :banghead: :cuss: After the round went off, I immediately dropped the mag, racked the slide and placed the gun in its normal storage spot without touching the trigger and checked to make sure that everyone was ok. Fortunately for all involved, including those not in the house, everyone was ok. After some investigating, the round ended up inside an air duct after passing through the drywall. It was at ~30 degree downward angle from my chest, entered an interior wall at about my mid thigh and would have ended up in the basement. There are no exit holes on the other side of the wall or in the basement. I pushed a rod through the hole and can see the rod where it entered the air duct and it looks like it didnít leave. Unfortunately, I can not track down the bullet without braking down the HVAC to be 100% sure. I am yet to find the spent casing.

Aftermath:
My wife and son are safely asleep right now, which I am very thankful for. I do not know what I would have done if anything happened to one of them or any other innocent bystander for that matter. Bottom line, I feel completely terrible and sick to my stomach.

I am posting this as a warning to everyone new to guns and especially to those who are comfortable with guns. If you would like to contribute to with what you would have done, post ND, please feel free. I do not need a load of posts about alcohol and guns, lesson more than learned. I would also welcome posts from folks who had NDs at home and how you moved on from it. Itís only been a hand full of hours, but I am not sure when I will be able to pick up another loaded gun. The gun in question is currently unloaded, gun and mag are both empty, so I am not concerned about that. But I am questioning my general judgment and if I am qualified to have guns around. Lord only knows what my wife will have to say in the morning.

Thanks for reading.

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grimjaw
December 22, 2005, 02:10 AM
Been there, done that. (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=165697)

Glad you're all OK. Consider it a kind of Ghost of Christmas Future kind of thing, where you got a look into what could have happened.

jmm

RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY
RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET
RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET

dk-corriveau
December 22, 2005, 02:12 AM
Thanks for the reply. I couldn't agree more.

crashresidue
December 22, 2005, 02:24 AM
Mine was in combat - back at the fire-base. Very similar situation, identicle results - no one hurt, me with a load in my shorts!

The fire-base got probed that night, so I didn't have long to ponder my actions - hearing "Gooks in the wire" will move you through any ptsd.

Glad you and yours are safe!

In my industry - it's "live and learn - or you won't live long!" It also applies to weapons.

Gentle winds,
cr

gremlin_bros
December 22, 2005, 02:27 AM
first thank god you and your family are safe and uninjured.
second is this i applaud you on taking responsability for the nd. it takes a real man or woman to stand up and say hey i messed up it was my fault not the gun or anothers fault. it was mine and nobody else.
third i would like to thank you for sharing the story with us. on a personal note if i am going to partake in alchol i do not have a gun to much danger of somthing going wrong no mater how incontrol i think i am hence i usaly drink ginger ale at partys and usally my friends know why i dont drink and they support my stand.

dk-corriveau
December 22, 2005, 02:33 AM
Thanks for the posts. Gremlin_bros, that is my new rule !00% no questions asked! It's unfortunate that I learned it this way, but I will never forget it! :banghead:

torpid
December 22, 2005, 02:35 AM
Like everyone on this list who has never had an ND, I assumed that it would never happen to me.

I always assume it can easily happen to me, and therefore I am very focused and deliberate when gun handling, to check my concern of becoming too comfortable, and possibly lax.

.

dk-corriveau
December 22, 2005, 02:40 AM
Topid,

Please don't get me worng, I am not normally lax abou gun handling. That being said, it still happened to me and it can happen to you or anyone else on the list. I hope it doesn't, but it could.

Gordy Wesen
December 22, 2005, 02:43 AM
I'd say that was and AD not an ND.
negligent: marked by or given to neglect, especially habitually or culpably.
accident: nonessential quality, chance. an unforseen and unplanned event or circumstance.
I think it's important to avoid describing such things with the same language our detractors enjoy using. Having similar experience, tired after a trip, I'd say you probably won't let this happen again.

Ryder
December 22, 2005, 02:44 AM
I make it a general practice to load/unload my gun before/after leaving the house. I do not feel the need to keep a loaded gun in the house

This could not have happened if you'd left it loaded in it's holster. There are other reasons you need to keep a gun loaded besides protection from badguys. You discovered one of them.

dk-corriveau
December 22, 2005, 02:48 AM
Gordy,

I hope that this will not happen again. I uderstand where you are coming from on the terminology, but I would call this a negligent discarge b/c it involved alcohol. If it hadn't I would agree.

Ryder,

I have never given any thought to the increased likely hood of such an incident with the repeated loading/unloading of my gun in my house.

torpid
December 22, 2005, 02:52 AM
That being said, it still happened to me and it can happen to you or anyone else on the list. I hope it doesn't, but it could.

I agree wholeheartedly with you that it certainly can happen to me. That's exactly why I try to stay very aware when handling guns- because nobody's perfect. Yes, not even me...

.

Byron Quick
December 22, 2005, 02:59 AM
You just learned why muzzle control is so important. Yes, on the one hand...you screwed up. On the other hand, your other handing skilss is what prevented it from being worse.

And, yes, I've had ND's. Please notice the plural.

mcosman
December 22, 2005, 03:00 AM
There are two types of Motorcycle riders, those who have laid it down and those who will.

BamBam-31
December 22, 2005, 03:13 AM
Ditto Byron Quick. BTDT, only with a shotty. Killed some books on a bookshelf. Five pellets were imbedded in the drywall behind the shelf, four went through and ended up somewhere inside the wall.

Thank God for the FOUR overlapping rules, eh? :o

JohnKSa
December 22, 2005, 03:17 AM
I've had mine.

It's important to think things over very carefully to determine everything that may have contributed to the situation. Make no mistake about it, there are always several contributing circumstances. Be brutally honest with yourself about things you did wrong and why. Then figure out ways to prevent those mistakes and avoid those contributing circumstances in the future. This should be done after you've had time to settle down--wait a day or two.

ruger270man
December 22, 2005, 03:44 AM
cant just go through the motions.. always visually inspect the chamber, especially if you're going to be pulling the trigger :)

aaronrkelly
December 22, 2005, 04:23 AM
Glad nobody was injured - I havent done such yet but Im sure before they stick me in the ground I will also experience the unexpected ear ringing, sphincter puckering ND/AD experience.

I think it may have already been said but.......

the experience you just had is the reasoning behind me leaving my carry firearms loaded. Im not a klutz but Im all for not working the action on a loaded firearm unless its necessary......theres not much reason for it on a daily basis. At the end of the day my gun gets un-holstered then locked up while still loaded.

If your using a paddle holster (or something similiar) you may not even need to remove the gun from the holster - just take the whole deal off. My holster needs taken off my belt so removing the gun is required. Some people I have spoken to keep a cheapy nylon holster around - take gun out of carry holster, slide into cheap holster. Trigger covered, no working the action - seems pretty safe to me.

Azrael256
December 22, 2005, 04:51 AM
Glad to hear nobody was hurt.

Here's a thought for you: Try a little conditioning. I keep a snap cap in my pistol when it's unloaded, and I always drop the magazine and cycle the action when I pick it up. That way, when I don't get the positive feedback of something popping out the ejection port, I freeze, assume that something is wrong, and go to investigate the problem. I use that as an extra layer of protection on top of always visually inspecting. That, and the slide is ALWAYS locked back when I retract it. It's another habit that keeps me from chambering anything at all unless I absolutely want to.

Also, I only dry fire with a snap-cap in the chamber. There is absolutely no need for me to drop the hammer on my 1911 without a snap-cap in it. It's another step I have to go through, and it rapidly becomes habit. If I don't put in a snap cap, my brain says "no way!" on dropping the hammer.

strambo
December 22, 2005, 05:28 AM
This could not have happened if you'd left it loaded in it's holster.
I second Ryder's opinion. I keep my carry guns loaded. Extra unecessary handling leads to more chances for things to go wrong. For example, my carry gun is on as I type this. When I go to bed in an hour or so, I will just un-snap the holster with gun still inside and put it away. Chance of ND=0%.

EZ CZ75
December 22, 2005, 05:48 AM
0.1% chance, strambo. Absolutes are rarely ever reality. You are right, though, that a covered trigger makes it a touch more difficult for an AD/ND to happen.

Ryder
December 22, 2005, 05:50 AM
I have never given any thought to the increased likely hood of such an incident with the repeated loading/unloading of my gun in my house.

Then you will forgive me if I give you another reason? :)

There is a little thing called setback that occurs when a semi-auto loads a cartridge into the chamber. The bullet gets seated deeper into it's case each time. Repeated chambering of the same round is not a good thing. At the least it will affect the internal pressure enough to change your point of aim. At the worst it could blow your gun up.

My biggest worry about my negligent discharge was that my loved ones would be afraid to be around me. I felt that losing their trust would be as bad as having shot them. They know me better though and it wasn't an issue (thank goodness) but I did keep guns out of sight for a while help lessen the issue.

12-34hom
December 22, 2005, 06:04 AM
Why were you CCW and drinking? It's arrogant and very dangerous.

State i live in if your consuming alcohol or wound up on other illegal substances - permit is invalid.

Some folks have to learn the hard way. Glad you & family are ok.

12-34hom.

strambo
December 22, 2005, 06:05 AM
I agree about absolutes, but this is pretty close and I hope you meant "A touch more difficult" to be an understatement.;) I can't think of a scenario where a gun in a holster made for it, covering the trigger guard can be fired in a "taking it off, putting it away" kind of scenario. If you drop it off a building maybe and it isn't CA "drop safe" :rolleyes: approved.

[rant] What I hated most about being in Iraq (other than the heat) was the constant handling of my weapons. I had to have my weapons with mag in, no round chambered in camp. Locked and loaded on missions. Cleared upon return to base. Re-cleared at the chow hall etc... So much unecessary gun handling and there were still NDs, even with all the clearing barrels and "safety":rolleyes: precautions. I've got an idea, how about if a weapon is slung and/or holstered you just let it be? Why make 300 soldiers and contractors handle their weapons in the chow line at every meal just to verify their unloaded? If I walked in with a loaded, holstered pistol would anyone be in danger? Heck, I carry one every day in peaceful civilian land, heavens forbid I have a meal in a combat zone with a loaded gun on my hip. [rant over:D ]

dk-corriveau
December 22, 2005, 06:40 AM
12-34hom,

I couldn't agree more with your comment, unfortunately it is after the fact. The drinking is the number one contributer to my ND.

Azrael256,

My normal procedure was to catch the ejected, previously loaded round in my hand before dropping the hammer. Last night I had that round in my hand when the ND happened. But because I racked before dropping the mag, there was another loaded round in the chamber that went boom. :banghead: Bottom line is that you have to positively check the chamber, not just assume that an ejected round means the chamber is clear like I did. :banghead: If I had done a physical check of the chamber with a finger with the slide back this may not have happened. Furthermore, if I just left the loaded gun in its holster and taken the two off as a pair, this may not have happened as well.

oh blanky
December 22, 2005, 07:07 AM
DK thanks for your post.

A real reminder of how this can happen is sobering.

Azrael256
December 22, 2005, 07:11 AM
But because I racked before dropping the mag, there was another loaded round in the chamber that went boom. NDs with autos seem to fall into two categories. One is the brain leaks out the ears and you pull the trigger on a chamber that you know is loaded. The second, and I think, from reading around here, the most common, is racking the slide before dropping the mag.

Just glad you're in one piece.

redneck2
December 22, 2005, 07:35 AM
Got home from coyote hunting last Sunday. Had my Rem 700 .223. As always, I check before putting it away. Live round jumps out. I had been carrying it cased in my car, and I'd have bet any amount of money it was cleared.

When I was a kid on the farm, I was dry firing a .22 lever action in my room. Popped it off maybe 3-4 times, then started doing the "Rifleman" quick rack of the action.

About the 2nd or 3rd cycle, a live round jumped out.:what: The round had hung up in the tube feed.

Only The Merciful God of Flaming Idiots saved me that time from an a$$ whipping from mom and dad.

The thing about never dropping the hammer on anything that doesn't have a snap-cap sounds better all the time

Working Man
December 22, 2005, 07:52 AM
1st off I'm glad everyone is ok.

I feel completely terrible and sick to my stomach.
You should... I hope you never forget that feeling as it will help it from
happening again.

Don't let it scare you off from guns but allow it to cement a set of rules
that you will follow for the rest of your days. Gun ownership is not a hobby
but a way of life.

If I am out somewhere I allow no more than 2 drinks with a meal in one
evening if I have my CCW . I know that is low balling it but I would rather
error on the side of caution then do the "I know better than that"
chant. I also leave my CCW loaded at all times with the hammer down (it also
has a decock if I find myself needing to drop the hammer) and only empty it
when at the range.

All that being said I believe strongly that it will not happen to everyone and I
also believe it was a ND and not a AD. I am indeed glad you posted as this
very post may prevent it from happing to someone else.

My quote is there for a reason..... its true.

1 old 0311
December 22, 2005, 07:57 AM
Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt, and the hole in the floor:banghead:

Kevin

Jubei
December 22, 2005, 08:03 AM
I'm glad that you and the family are okay, but don't forget the fear that you're feeling, it may save you from a next time.

Jubei

MDG1976
December 22, 2005, 08:35 AM
My wife and I attended a Christmas party tonight and I was carrying as usual, a Para LTC 1911 in an IWB holster. Over the course of about 3.5 hours I had ~5 drinks, 4 beers and a mixed drink to be exact.

Glad to hear everyone's OK, but what are you doing have 5 drinks while CCW'ing? No matter how high your tolerance is, that much booze will have some effect on your judgement and reflexes. What would have happened if you had to use your weapon to defend yourself and the cops found alchohol in your system?

Bullet Bob
December 22, 2005, 08:36 AM
I once shot out a window with a .357 from the second story of my home, aiming an "unloaded" gun at a piece of paper on the ground on the prairie behind the house. Holy Crap! My ex-wife came running upstairs to see if I had shot myself on purpose, but I couldn't hear what she had to say for a little while. No substance abuse involved, just my normal brain cells at work.

Legionnaire
December 22, 2005, 08:41 AM
DK, glad you and your loved ones are safe; and thanks for sharing the story. It's a good reminder to us all.

My only ND happened at the range, with muzzle pointed down range, so no harm done. Since it was at the range, nobody around me knew it was unintentional! Nevertheless, quite the adrenaline rush. I have, on the other hand, put a motorcycle down more than once.

NDs can and do happen. That's why there are FOUR rules!

EddieCoyle
December 22, 2005, 08:47 AM
Mine was an AD and it happened in the house with a .30-06 :what:

I bought a filthy M1 Garand at an estate sale for a bargain price and spent hours cleaning it up. I got it clean, dry fired it, then wanted to see if it would chamber a round. It slam-fired when I released the operating rod. My bad.

The bullet (ball ammo) went through a wall, a hardwood floor, subfloor, and floor joist, then put a divot in the concrete basement wall. I'm not sure if my hearing ever fully recovered.

dk-corriveau
December 22, 2005, 09:06 AM
MDG1976

I know and I agree with you 100%. I was DUMB DUMB DUMB. :banghead:

Geno
December 22, 2005, 09:27 AM
Too many people assume, it'll never happen to me. This is exactly the reason I NEVER drink, period! It, to me, is just not worth it. Not even a sip. I want all of my faculties to be at 100% for the eventuality that they need be called upon to defend me and my family.

I am not criticizing; I have place to do that, but as my CCW and my Tactical Shooting instructors told me, "If you're choosing to carry, then you're choosing to never drink again. The alternative is the guns are unloaded BEFORE drinking, and remain locked away until the alcohol is 100% voided".

I took the lesson to heart and learned from my instructors. My parting thought, secured, gated communities can protect us from the outsiders, but who will protect us from ourselves?

Glad it all worked out right, no injuries, no death--just some battered humility and eardrums.

Edited to add:

Some here have said, it was accidental discharge, not negligent. I submit that is was negligent, not accidental. Assume for one minute that someone had been killed. No alcohol=accidental death. Alcohol=negligent homicide. That is what I have witnessed, but perhaps it is only under Michigan law.

But for my part, the prosecution would be the mild and tolerable part; losing my wife or daughter would destroy me, especially if it were my fault. Better to assume it to have been negligent and allow that thought to burn in, in the hopes of it never happening again than to down-play it.

Doc2005

Templar223
December 22, 2005, 09:29 AM
Topid,

Please don't get me worng, I am not normally lax abou gun handling. That being said, it still happened to me and it can happen to you or anyone else on the list. I hope it doesn't, but it could.


Uhm. DK:

Yeah, it's possible it could happen... but so is the possibility of life on Mars.

You violated all two big rules of safe gun handling... simultaneously, after drinking. I personally am reluctant to drink while armed and on those rare occasions, I have a one drink limit while armed - and am hyper cautious after that. Yeah, some will argue that's one too many, however it works for me. Five drinks while armed? I'd just as soon if you were with me that you gave the gun (in the holster!) to me long before you tipped the third one.

You know what you "done" wrong and the lesson will probably serve you well for the rest of your life - and serves us in the same way.

I've not had an AD or ND. I also leave the gun in the holster and handle a holstered gun (IWB, typically), not a loaded gun. I'm scrupulous about keeping my finger off the trigger. And if I pull a trigger on an unloaded gun, I literally check twice - by sight and often by feel - that the mag is out, chamber empty, gun unloaded - before pulling that trigger (while aiming in a safe direction). If I'm very tired, I won't handle a loaded gun. I'll leave it for another time if at all possible.

Next time you come home after drinking, do yourself a favor and put the holstered gun away and leave the unloading for morning.

If it makes you feel better to claim victim status by saying it could happen to us, that's fine. But if you follow the rules and are ALWAYS careful in your gun handling, it won't happen (again for you).

John

El Tejon
December 22, 2005, 09:37 AM
When unloading always look AND feel!

Glad you are O.K. Learn from this incident and the other NDs here. It is my impression of recent NDs here that people are not using their nose hooks effectively and are not feeling up that chamber.

NDs happen mostly when people are fiddling with their weapons. Don't handle weapons when there is no need; do not unload weapons when there is no need.

Like driving on the highway, the longer you load and unload, the higher your chances for an ND.

Legionnaire
December 22, 2005, 09:43 AM
Good advice in your post, Templar223, both about restricting alcohol consumption and handling a holstered gun. But from DK's tone, I don't think he ws claiming "victim status." To the contrary: he has very clearly accepted responsibility for his own bad judgment. I appreciate his humility, and the spirit with which he offered his story: so that others can learn from his error.

Someone once said: "Good judgment comes from experience. And experience? Well, that comes from poor judgment."

Best thing here is that everyone is safe.

MeanStreaker
December 22, 2005, 09:46 AM
I know I'm not perfect, but I haven't had an AD/ND and hope that my diligence will allow me to continue the streak.

Whenever I'm unloading (or putting on my rig for the day), I make sure that I lock myself in the bedroom alone. If someone knocks or the phone rings... tough, cuz they'll be waiting. Another little tip that I would offer to add to your unloading routine is to cycle the slide numerous times before locking it open and visually checking the chamber. In your scenario, you would've seen multiple rounds eject and realized you forgot to remove the mag.

Thank you for posting and I'm glad no one was hurt. Although this was an ND, take the constructive comments posted to heart and learn from your mistakes. As you were man enough to be this honest, I have no doubt you'll be fine...

jer1949
December 22, 2005, 10:01 AM
My wife has watched me pull my carry weapon out of it's holster, drop the mag, rack the slide and then very cautiously look UP the mag well, down the barrrel and then up the mag well and then down the barrel. No.....that wasn't a hiccup on the keyboard. She has asked me several times why the compulsive behavior?

But compulsive or not, that is my SOP EVERYTIME I unload. This is due to doing the fact that I did the same thing that dk did, but I was driving my pickup down the road at the same time as I was unloading the .25 auto I was carrying at that time. If it had not been for a very muscular GMC steering wheel, I would have a very obvious scar on my left thigh. The bullet actually lodged in the outer rim of the steering wheel after it glanced off of the spoke. I dug that bullet out of the wheel and carried it in my pocket with my change for years and years.......just as a reminder of what a serious brain fart can cause.

I will not slam you for the alcohol......enough others have already done that. And Iam very glad you and your family were not hurt.

Babalouie
December 22, 2005, 10:07 AM
My son and I shoot IPSC and having shot for years has sealed in some important safe gun handlling practices. First, there is a designated safe area in our house that is in a closet with a conrete wall...it is the only place where a firearm and ammo is allowed to be handled. Cleariing a weapon always includes "unload and show clear"...get into the habit of always always looking into that the chamber and seeing clear. Only then can you be confident of "slide forward, hammer down". In addition, except for the safe area, no ammo is allow in the same room as the firearms, ever. My son, who is 15 and a junior IPSC shooter, and I swap range officer duty when at home (I am a nationally certified range officer). Here is our routine: whenever a firearm touches our hand we show clear to the other person, always and without fail, its obnoxious and was tedious at first but now its habit. We even have a penalty: cost you 2 bucks if you don't show clear! When I unload my carry weapon and my son is home I have him visually and verbally supervise me as we do in IPSC.

That being said I will tell you I am terrified of guns. As a clinical therapist I have helped several families cope with accidental firearm fatalities. All you need to do to make these practices part of your life is to look at a few crime scene photos and work with some grieving families.

I would also encourage everyone to go to a USPSA club and shoot some and see how guns are handled. It is amazing to me how sloppy most people are with firearms compared to anyone who has shot IPSC. It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on!

So, to recap: 1) Weapons and ammo handled only in a designated safe zone. 2) No ammo in the same room as a firearm except in the safe zone. 3) VISUALLY inspect the chamber EVERYTIME a firearm comes into your possession, even when it has been handed back to you from a person you just handed it to. AND INSIST that anyone you are with does the same. 4) Have another person stand behind you in the safe zone and supervise the unloading/loading process. When your spouse or teen are involved in this they see and experience the respect you have for firearms...this is a safer practice than doing it alone, it makes you accountable, trains others in safe gun handling and makes everyone part of a safer home. BTW our safe zone is a closet because the restricted space makes it impossible to unintentionally turn around with a weapon in hand. My son will stand outside the closet behind my back inspecting the process looking over or slightly around my shoulder, he is shielded by my body. If he isn't sure he's seen clear he ask me to show clear again. We are both quite anal about this and its been great for our relationship.

Thanks for having the stones to post dk-corriveau! And remember, guilt is the belief you screwed up, shame is the belief that you are a screwup... You'll get past this and be a better man for it. You are not a screwup.

hso
December 22, 2005, 10:28 AM
dk-corriveau,

Glad no one was shot and my compliments on having the good sense and courage to talk about it. It reflects well upon you that you called an ND a Negligent Discharge and acknowledged that you were responsible for what happened and that you know that it was wholly preventable. Now you can find ways to prevent the incident, and others like it, from ever happening again.

I had something much more stupid happen to me and I "moved on" by dissecting what I had done, discussing the incident with my wife and detailing what I had done improperly, going over the changes in gun handling that would prevent this from happening again and asking her to go over those changes and advise me if anything could be done to improve upon those measures. The ground rules of the analysis were laid out by both of us with the following basis agreed upon - gun's don't shoot themselves; the gun didnít fail, I did; guns were still going to be in the house unless the results of our analysis indicated that there was no safe way for me to handle firearms; there were practical solutions to the problem resulting from my negligent gun handling.

I involved her for several reasons. As my partner in our home I could not not involve her in improving the safety of our home when a recognized hazard was identified (even if my behavior was the hazard), as my wife I wanted her to have confidence that I wouldn't make excuses and sweep the incident under the rug discounting it as a freak accident (that would have gotten me tagged as the "freak" by her), as an intelligent responsible adult I wanted her analysis of what I did wrong and what I did right and what could be done to prevent this type of problem ever happening again.

All this allowed us to get beyond the fact that I screwed up.

Now to the pragmatic question of what to do to prevent an ND in the house.

You've already indicated that you understand that someone carrying/handling firearms should not consume alcohol. Let's be explicit about this so there's no confusion. Nothing that impairs your judgment or motor skills is compatible with handling firearms. This obviously includes alcohol, but should include medications that make you drowsy or have any intoxicating effect and don't forget severe fatigue.

When handling a gun prior to shooting or holstering the slide/cylinder should be open and the chamber visible. You've got that one already.

If you're going to put the weapon anywhere except in your holster you should look at the chamber and at the cylinder/mag well to visually verify that they are empty. You should then stick the tip of the small finger into the chamber to verify by touch that the weapon does not have a round in the chamber.

If you are going to drop the slide on an auto that you think is unloaded, before you drop the hammer, rack the slide at least 3 times. This insures that if you have failed in verifying the chamber is clear or if you have failed to verify that the mag is empty you will eject any ammunition that could be negligently discharged. If a round pops out during this process stop and lock the weapon open and go through the entire verification and slide rack process again.

If you're putting the gun away don't put the magazine in the weapon. This prevents a round from a loaded magazine from getting into the weapon.

If you are going to pull the trigger to relieve spring tension on the components point the gun straight down into a 5 gallon bucket of sand. Should the weapon discharge the sand will soak up the bullet and no damage to the home (or owner) will result.

If these things become ritual then they should prevent a ND from occurring and minimize the damage should one occur in spite of all the measures taken to prevent it.

MikeJ
December 22, 2005, 10:39 AM
Just a couple of comments:

1. Very glad that you and everyone else are ok.

2. My definition of an AD vs. a ND is; an AD is due to mechanical failure - I had this happen once at an indoor range on a Beretta .380 I had rented. I inserted the mag, racked the slide to chamber a round, dropped the slide as you normally would and the pistol discharged. A ND is due to human error, plain and simple.

3. I realize that this can happen to anybody but I still believe from watching numerous people handle guns that some are just inherently more lax about safety. I have, in fact, refused to go shooting with some people after having watched them handle their weapons.

4. The person that introduced me to firearms said something that has always stuck with me and I want to pass this along.

"Guns were invented for one purpose and that is to kill."

Remembering this statement helps me to always keep guns in their proper perspective.

5. Finally, my wife and I have an agreement; she personally doesn't like guns at all but indulges me and has even purchased a gun or two for me.

Our agreement, as long as I handle them responsibly, no problem. If I do something irresponsibly, i.e. a ND, there will be no more loaded guns in our house. You better believe that keeps me on my toes.

Model520Fan
December 22, 2005, 10:46 AM
I have never given any thought to the increased likely hood of such an incident with the repeated loading/unloading of my gun in my house.

I presume you will now. When I was once working fairly long hours while carrying a Series 80 Colt, I made it a practice not to remove my gun from the holster. Even an extreme need for sleep increases the possibility of error, possibly more than five drinks would.

In general, I do not handle guns much more than necessary. I also find that revolvers are a little easier to handle safely than autos, although they are almost as easy to leave a round in.

Perhaps a safe might make it easier to put away your gun without playing with it.

Best wishes. Probably most of us have screwed up at least once. Most of those who survived have figured out how to keep it from happening again.

dk-corriveau
December 22, 2005, 10:51 AM
Thank you all for your posts and support, I’ve needed it. This has been a very unpleasant experience and one that I will carry with me forever.

Templar223

If it makes you feel better to claim victim status by saying it could happen to us, that's fine.
I am not trying to claim victim status. I think I have been pretty clear from the start about who was responsible for this….ME! I am not saying this to make myself feel better, I am saying this as a word to the wise.

With regard to my comments about it happening to anyone, I worded myself poorly. A more correct way of putting it is that anyone can cause an AD/ND. They don’t happen to you, you cause them to happen (excluding those caused by a mechanical failure of some sort). You are not the victim, you are the cause. Some people are safer than others, but that does not exclude them from the possibility of it happening.

Hso

Thank you for your comments about the discussion with my wife. We have already started it and I have shared with her some of the comments I have received here. I plan to make this an ongoing discussion so that we can make sure our procedures address any changes that may arise in our lives. Needless to say, there will be changes to our gun handling policies around the house and in general for that matter.

thatguy
December 22, 2005, 10:52 AM
Saying ND is a real bad habit. If you're ever involved in an accidental shooting that involves lawyers don't let the other side hear you say that you were negligent as this is a legal term that means "I was totally at fault so you may now sue me for everything I own or will ever own and I am guilty of any criminal charge the anti-gun prosecutor cares to charge me with."

I know that it's all cool and hip in some circles to say ND instead of AD but it's a very risky thing in our litigious culture.

johnnymenudo
December 22, 2005, 10:56 AM
The more often you do something habitually, the more likely you are to become lax, and that's when accidents can happen. The odds will also catch up to you as well. It sounds like you empty your gun every night as routine as brushing your teeth. Anytime you handle a gun in the house it creates risk that you will actually fire a round into your house. ;) I would leave it in the holster, and put it away for the night. If safety is concern get a safe.

Thanks for sharing.

JM

gremlin_bros
December 22, 2005, 11:05 AM
one last thought from my earler post.
decockers are wonderfull things if thier an option on the gun you carry.

Hollowdweller
December 22, 2005, 11:15 AM
I was taught to never click a gun. So far I have never had one go off on me.

However last weekend my wife was shooting my M1 and the bolt closed instead of locking open and she pulled the trigger and it went off before she handed it back to me:fire: Luckily it was up in the air but I read her the riot act about dry firing:cuss:

Colonel
December 22, 2005, 11:58 AM
RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY

Not to niggle, but IMHO, this is "RULE I" ... if you follow this one rule absolutely religiously, there's just about no way anyone can ever get hurt...unless the gun blows up. It's not always easy to obey absolutely, especially with handguns and CCW, but definitely worth striving for 100%.

Glad everyone is OK, and thanks for sharing this embarrassing episode with the board.

Atticus
December 22, 2005, 12:09 PM
I would also welcome posts from folks who had NDs at home and how you moved on from it.

To be honest, I'm not sure that you ever do...which is not all bad. Mishaps with guns are not at all like mishaps with other tools. Most folks won't tell you to get back on the horse and ride....they will tell you to give up horse riding period. And those riders who have not fallen from the horse will think you a fool. You (and I) endangered other people's lives as well as our own. That's not something that is acceptable or entirely forgivable. In my case, I permanently injured my hand, and likely my ears. Our credibility is forever damaged...so accept that, and ensure that it will never happen again. That's about all you can do. Your future actions are your only defense against the past.

GRB
December 22, 2005, 12:49 PM
dk-corriveau,

Thanks for posting. It is always nice to see people who care enough about the shooting community to post not just about their great shooting, or gunsmith skills but, also about their bad experiences, specially when caused by themselves, such as NDs.

I am also quite happy that you brought up one of the CARDINAL rules of safe gun handling, albeit without quite saying it exactly: Gunpowder and alcohol (and mind altering drugs) do not mix. I call BS on anyone who wishes to say otherwise by saying 'hey I took an aspirin, or I took my blood pressure meds, or I took this or that and it did not effect me. You guys should be mature enough, even any kids reading this, to understand what I mean; I won't argue the point that I know is right.

For as long as I can remember, not mixing alcohol or other mind altering drugs that would likely impair mental and or physical functioning (such as prescription barbituates, prescription stimulants, other prescription meds, or illicit drugs) with firearms has been chisled in stone. It is a real pity that in today's world, where most of us have to have it however we want it, such rules were changed to be more liberal. If anything, firearms safety rules should be conservative to the extreme when it comes safety.

I'll admit to not always following that rule myself over the years, but in recent years I decided to follow it almost religiously. Not because I have ever had an ND while under the influence of alcohol, just because I prefer never to do so and I figure to have tempted fate too many times in the past.

Good to see you pass on this information to the rest of us. maybe some others will see the light too.

Thanks,
Glenn B

pythonguy
December 22, 2005, 03:39 PM
I feel bad for you over what happened, dk-corriveau, but I think you are handling it very well. Even better, the forums members, while sympathetic, didn't just pass it off like its a natural occurrence if you handle firearms. Its a sobering experience for dk-corriveau, and all the rest of us, no pun intended. Most importantly, no one was hurt, although I'm sure your nerves must be shattered.

thatguy
December 22, 2005, 06:25 PM
Another thought: What are the legalities of drinking while packing in your state? Some states flat ban alcohol consumption while carrying. At the very least I would question the wisdom of five drinks while carrying.

Also, packing at a Christmas party? Really necessary? Is this a high risk environment?

CAPTAIN MIKE
December 22, 2005, 06:55 PM
A negligent discharge CAN and probably WILL happen to everyone who feesl confident about his or her familiarity with guns. It is just statistically likely.
HOWEVER, by being absolutely a Creature of Habit when it comes to our firearms, we can usually reduce the chances.

It is interesting that with two exceptions you did what you always do. The two exceptions are that you racked the slide BEFORE dropping the magazine and even more importantly, that you DRANK while carrying. That was dumb and led directly to the other mistake.

Thank God your spouse and child are safe, and that no pet or friend or family member was in the bulllet's path. The other good news is that you will NEVER forget this incident, and because of your paranoia of it ever happening again, it probably won't.

Good luck !!!

sherpa
December 22, 2005, 07:44 PM
after i go to the range i field strip clean and reload as soon as possible, i will not have an unloaded gun in my house. my guns are loaded until the last round has been fired and i have to reload. i work at have a loaded round in the chamber and ready to fire. therefore no mistakes, no ad or nd. 66 years old very cautious a gun is always loaded even when i have checked the chamber, always booger picker off the trigger unless you want something to dissapear or bleed.works for me, so far.

CGofMP
December 23, 2005, 12:41 AM
First and MOST importantly, I am glad you and all your household is uninjured and safe. You learned a valuable and potentially deadly lesson today the HARD way. There is happiness to be had here in that nobody got hurt and nobody died.

Having said that it MUST be said:

I had ~5 drinks, 4 beers and a mixed drink to be exact

FIVE drinks.

I know you expressed not wanting to be beat up over the alcohol, but the fact of the matter is that you were flat out stupid.

Check this out please: http://www.beerboozebooks.com/bal.htm That chart gives you an idea of how much your BAL is affected by the number of drinks you consumed. Subtract .01% from the Drink/Weight Index for each hour from the start of
the drinking period to the point in time you want to measure the BAL. I guarantee you that unless you had been out a lot of hours you were over the top. Legally you are under the influence at .10 USUALLY - of course this varies from state to state Colorado, for instance you are legally impaired if your alcohol level is .05 percent

If you are going to carry a firearm or if you are even going to have one available to you, you MUST act like you are the 87 pound designated driver. That means NOT ONE DRINK when you are doing ANYTHING with firearms. I know this will offend some of the folks around here, but the price of having the slightest edge taken off of your common sense by any substance is unaceptable. This is gonna be infinitely more important should the need present itself to clear leather and point the weapon at a suspect. If you have been drinking you are going to make stupid decissions and maybe shoot someone that does not need to be morgue material. Spouse, kids, loudmouth, another harmless drunk? No, I am sorry there is NO place for alcohol around firearms.

Knowing when to keep the goods locked in the safe is critical, whether alcohol, temper, argument time, or ANY other time when you are not 100 percent is the time to spin the dial to LOCKED.

The chances of doing something stupid are greater than your chances of getting attacked when you have been doing drugs or drinking.

Things like this can give us all a bad name.

I am sorry to be so rough on you, you did the right thing by fessing up like a man and taking the blame solely on yourself, questioning your qualifications and 'confessing' to your 'friends'. My hope is not to make you walk away from guns or to make you feel like an a-h, but instead to be bluntly honest about how seriously you screwed up when you figuratively mixed nitro and glycerine...

So what did your wife have to say? What about the sitter?
Any police involvement?

mbt2001
December 23, 2005, 01:29 PM
Then you will forgive me if I give you another reason? :)

There is a little thing called setback that occurs when a semi-auto loads a cartridge into the chamber. The bullet gets seated deeper into it's case each time. Repeated chambering of the same round is not a good thing. At the least it will affect the internal pressure enough to change your point of aim. At the worst it could blow your gun up.

My biggest worry about my negligent discharge was that my loved ones would be afraid to be around me. I felt that losing their trust would be as bad as having shot them. They know me better though and it wasn't an issue (thank goodness) but I did keep guns out of sight for a while help lessen the issue.

I have never heard this before.... Every time I turn around, there are more and more reasons to not use an auto as a carry gun.... Have to rotate clips, choose between condition 1 or condition 3...

Guns don't care about mistakes. They don't feel sorry afterword. Be careful out there. Everytime you hold a gun, you are holding the power of death in your hand.

pythonguy
December 23, 2005, 04:27 PM
CAPTAIN MIKE said:A negligent discharge CAN and probably WILL happen to everyone who feels confident about his or her familiarity with guns. It is just statistically likely.

Exactly what statistic's are you referring to? If it was so likely as you say then I think we'd have read about it from the anti's as well as the NRA. Not to say it doesn't happen, obviously it does, but likely? I don't think so.

strambo
December 23, 2005, 05:11 PM
MBT2001, You don't have to rotate magazines if they are good quality. Set back isn't a problem if you don't load/unload your gun excessively (like every day). My carry guns stay loaded unless I go to the range or dry fire. I don't do either of those things as much as I should so they stay loaded for weeks.

Set back CAN occur especially if the same round is repeatedly chambered. It doesn't usually happen after few times though, especially with well-crimped factory ammo. Certain calibers are more prone to it like .357 SIG. This is because of the really short neck, less surface area to hold the bullet. You can visually see if a bullet has been set back, just compare it to another that hasn't been chambered.

AVESguy
December 23, 2005, 06:18 PM
dk

You've gotten some very good comments. It brings up many aspects of carry that I think about constantly and am in continual learning mode, which is a good thing. In addition to the others berating you about drinking and carrying (very bad idea, but enough said), and about constant loading and unloading and bullet setback (great comments), I can only add one thing.

Now that you have seen the light about constant loading and unloading, and its inherent risks. Get a small bedisde safe like a GunVault or mini-Ft. Knox, that will hold your pistol in the holster. This will enable you to keep a loaded pistol in your house safely and securely, yet accessible, and minimize handling other than range time. I try to handle the loaded carry gun as little as possible, keep it in the holster, and put it in a bedside safe when not being carried. If I have to load or unload the chambered carry round more than two times, I put it in the pile to be fired at the range and swap it for a new one. I don't mess with the loaded carry mags, they are separate from range mags. I am a nut about gun safety and minmal handling of the carry gun. For the very reasons you have been given by the other members here on THR.

Good thread, lots to think about, thanks for 'fessing up.

AVESGUY

Jeff Timm
December 23, 2005, 06:31 PM
A gentleman of my acquaintance kept a backup bucket of kitty litter in his bedroom. He used it as a clearance barrel, as he was a Federal Agent for one of the Alphabet agencies. I asked him about it, he said it beat a hole in the floor all the way to the basement.

Geoff
Who is thinking seriously about it and rethinking his opinion of chamber blocks. :uhoh:

mterick
December 23, 2005, 06:58 PM
I heard of this sort of thing happening at a firearms retailer near me. Someone went into this store with his rifle and a round in the pipe from deer hunting the previous year. The man had the rifle on the counter and intended to dry fire, but BANG!!!. No one was hurt.

Thanks for this post! You may have saved someone's life by telling your story.
Mark Erickson

coylh
December 23, 2005, 07:55 PM
The inside of a gun safe makes a great "safe direction".

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