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Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by realmswalker, Nov 18, 2005.

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  1. realmswalker

    realmswalker Member

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    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 awsome 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 takedown 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 I 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 am 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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2007
  2. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    Becoming complacent is dangerous - especially with deadly objects.

    I'm very, very glad you weren't hurt more than that.
     
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Yowww!

    Here's wishing you a complet recovery and happy you didn't blow anything else off.
     
  4. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Oh wow!!! :uhoh:

    Let me first commiserate - and also thank you in fact for posting. Sure pics are a bit gruesome but hopefully if this and they save even one shooter from repeating your experience - you will have provided a service.

    I wonder - if us long-time shooters do risk complacency sometimes - old habits - ''done it a thousand times'' deals. Sure - as you well know - should have checked for empty chamber but I have to say - IMO your worst ''sin'' - oversight if you will - has to have been lack of rule #2 - because your poor hand got in the way.

    I would stress to anyone that while Rule #2 may not be regarded as a ''catch-all'' it sure as heck is IMO the one that can avoid injury to self or another.

    Hey - not meaning to lecture - you have suffered more than enough pain - but on basis that this is a very salutary lesson to all of us - I make these points so as to better reinforce the thinking of everyone.

    Glad as all heck you have no nerve damage and looks like eventually some scars and stiffness may be all you have to endure long term.

    I think we have to regard checking for clear - like checking roadways at intersection - check once, check again - and then even check a third time - to be sure.

    Best, and thx again for being noble enough to post of your ''contretent''.
     
  5. realmswalker

    realmswalker Member

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    I guess I should have stated more clearly. This wasnt me it was an e mail sent to me about this gentlemen. I knew I missed something. sorry for the mix up. I feel kind of stupid now.
     
  6. pax

    pax Member

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    edited to add: just saw the previous post, that it wasn't realmswalker but someone else.

    ****

    Thank you for posting this.

    I'm really sorry this person has to be Exhibit 'A' for the why we follow the Four Rules!! lecture. May he heal up quickly!

    The Four Rules:

    All Guns Are Always Loaded. This means you treat every firearm with the respect due a loaded weapon, and never ever ever do anything with an 'unloaded' weapon that you would not do if you knew the weapon were going to discharge when you did it. All other safety rules follow naturally from this one cardinal rule.

    Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy (or at least, that you are not willing to shoot.) Never allow the gun to point at anything you are not willing to shoot, either; if you are handling the gun you must be conscious of muzzle direction the entire time you are touching the gun. If you must pick the gun up or put it down, you must be conscious of your muzzle direction for the entire time the gun is in your hand, including the moment when you first touch the gun and the moment when you finally remove your hand. If you cannot put the gun down without pointing it at something that shouldn't be shot, don't put it down. If you cannot pick it up without pointing at something that shouldn't be shot, don't pick it up. Consider the firearm as if it were a Star Wars Light Saber; anything it crosses while you handle it might get cut in half.

    Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target (and you have made the decision to shoot). Put another way: If you don't have a target, don't put your finger on the trigger. Since you never ever ever put your finger on the trigger unless you have a target, it follows that when taking down firearms such as a Glock which require you to put your finger on the trigger, you'd darn well better have a safe target and backstop in your home, or at least a spot in the floor you wouldn't mind patching (and where the dog never sleeps...).

    Be sure of your target, and of the backstop behind your target. Be sure also of the space between you & your target (could someone run between you & what you're shooting at?) and around your target (if you miss your target, what will you hit instead?)

    Now, as an exercise for the students: which of the Four Rules had to be broken in order to cause the ugly pictures in the first post?

    pax
     
  7. Kodiaz

    Kodiaz member

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    I don't carry concealed so I usually don't keep one in the pipe (Hurricanes are the only times I do have everything fully loaded) why did this guy pull the trigger without clearing the breech I'm glad he's ok. That was really a bad move . The second thing I taught my cousins about firearms was they are only safe when the breech is open and there is no round in the breech. The first was if you see a gun lying around leave and go home right away.


    On another point this guy made a lot of mistakes

    1. he assumed the gun was empty

    2. he pulled the trigger with no target

    3. he had the gun pointed at something he didnt want to shoot(his hand)

    That event is a total failure on his part if he would have followed one step of gun safety he wouldn't have shot his hand.

    BTW the reason I don't normally keep one in the pipe for HD is i can rack the slide faster than i can pull back the hammer. My double action shots aren't that accurate.

    Muzzle Discipline - don't point a gun at anything you don't want to destroy
     
  8. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    Don't think this kind of thing hasn't been going through my head every day since I blew a hole in my desk last Saturday.

    jmm
     
  9. one45auto

    one45auto Member

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    Your post makes me feel a whole lot better, because people are always calling me paranoid because I check, re-check, double-check, and triple-check when handling my firearms.
     
  10. azureflier

    azureflier member

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    Isn't it amazing that medical science pretty much has seen it all, and doctors can pretty much take a look at some catastrophic tissue damage/disruption and say, "Okay, I know what we gotta do to put this right"?

    Unbelievable. I look at that palm picture and think, "Some doctor had to look at that, determine what all was damaged, and then come up with an approach for stitching it all back together," and they did!

    Hope your head and hand heal quickly, man.

    And as much as I hate to say it, I still do not agree that it's an inevitability. I believe that if you open that damned gun up and check the chamber every single time you see it after having it out of your sight, you will never inadvertently fire it.

    The issue, of course, is to never let yourself pull the trigger unless you have just -- in the immediate past moment -- verified an empty chamber.

    I myself know that I generally have my gun's chamber loaded, so I know that touching the trigger is a no-no.


    -flier
     
  11. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    Mechanical things WILL bite

    OUCH!
    Without a doubt, YES.
    Just because you are paranoid DOES NOT mean that the machine is not out to get you. :D
     
  12. joab

    joab Member

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    'Nuff said
     
  13. Spot77

    Spot77 Member

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    And I was thinking to myself, "Dag, he types well for having only one hand to use!"


    The rules are even WAY more important (can they really be any less important?) when you own more than one gun. Keeping different guns in different
    "conditions" can easily lead to accidents.
     
  14. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Member

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    Wow...........
    An honest gentleman. I was going to ask permission to blog your accident RW, but I suppose it's in the public domain now. I wonder what forum it first appeared on.....
     
  15. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    "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?"
    =================================

    I do not consider it a good sign that he could still be asking this question after shooting himself in the hand as a direct result of FAILING to perform a chamber check. I have heard of slow learners, but... .

    I have long made it a habit to double check (visual and tactile) chambers before dropping a hammer while performing administrative gunhandling. The instructors I knew who taught that practice to military special operators had a term for tactile chamber checks that Art's grammaw would definitely not approve of, but the mental image helps with recall, no doubt that's why they did it. Pictorial examples like this sure help reinforce the habit.

    lpl/nc
     
  16. Missashot

    Missashot Member

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    I know this story and the graphic pictures will help me to stay safe and to think twice and check the chamber many times when handling my guns. :eek:
    My most sincere wishes for a speedy recovery.
     
  17. ALASKACAJUN

    ALASKACAJUN Member

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    :what: wow, he wrote all that with one hand... :what:

    - Clint
     
  18. CAS700850

    CAS700850 Member

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    Stories like this one give me a serious case of the heebie jeebies, because it was almost me. After a range trip, I was sitting in front of the television, Blackhawk Down on the screen, and I was preparing to strip the Glock for cleaning. Just as I was about to pull the trigger, (with the barrel pointed in a safe direction, the mattress of our guest bed), I recall realizing that I was not the last person to handle the gun, I'd let another shooter fire off a few rounds to try it out. I quickly jacked the slide and watched in horror as a loaded round flew out of the ejection port and landed at my feet.

    there's really no such thing as too careful with firearms.
     
  19. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Member

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    I am glad non of my flub ups ever turned out this bad. This will certainly refresh in my mind why we follow the rules.

    As for one comment from another poster:

    "2. he pulled the trigger with no target"

    You have to to take down a Glock. That is one of things I do not like about them. The gun has to be in a "discharged" state in order to remove the slide and being as there is not a decocker or a hammer that you can "ride down" you have to dry fire it.
     
  20. Gimme.50

    Gimme.50 Member

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    I had a round go off in my AK a number of years ago. I had just finished cleaning it, slapped in a fresh mag, raked the bolt and BANG, right into the brick wall in the living room. Fortunately, I was home alone and nobody was hurt, but the round blew a chunk out of the brick wall, and fragments of brick and bullet. I lived in an appartment at the time, and my first thought was "Oh crap, the cops will be showing up any second!", but they never did. I just couldn't figure out what happened, I knew I didn't have my finger on the trigger as my left hand was on the rifle's forestock, and I was raking the bolt with my right. After a little research, I found out it was something known as a "Slam fire", caused by the apparently soft primers in the Norinco ammo I was using being set of by the full force of the bolt slamming home. It scared the hell out of me, but made me very aware of safe handling techniques.
     
  21. Biker

    Biker Member

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    There are many ways to shoot yourself. The first handgun I ever bought was an old three-screw Ruger Blackhawk in 45 LC. I always kept it loaded because there were no kids in the house. One day while packing my gear to go shooting, I picked the gun up, still in its holster and didn't notice that the retaining strap wasn't fastened. Somehow, it fell out of the holster and must have landed on the hammer. Short story, ears ringing and stunned, I looked down to see the revolver on the floor, then looked up at the ceiling.
    Judging by the bullethole in the ceiling, that big ol' slug must have missed my chin by an inch or less.
    To this day, even with the new Blackhawks, I always rest the hammer on an empty chamber.
    Biker
     
  22. beaucoup ammo

    beaucoup ammo Member

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    Thanks, Pax

    For posting "The Four Rules." Complacency...the worst enemy of all. That's what put me in a wheel chair and/or crutches for the rest of my life.

    It's the reason the majority of accidents happen within a mile or two of home. People put themselves on auto pilot thinking they know the area like the palm of their hands, and don't concentrate.

    Thanks for the reminder. No matter how old we are..how long we've been doing something...it's always good to review the basics.

    Take Care
     
  23. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

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    I believe that this was originally posted on Glocktalk about a week or so ago.

    Sawdust
     
  24. pax

    pax Member

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    ID Shooting ~

    Go look at the Four Rules again. Even if you have something like a Glock, that needs to have the trigger pulled during disassembly, you still need to pick a safe direction -- a "target" you are willing to shoot, and a backstop.

    If you don't have both a decent spot to deliberately point your gun, and an adequate backstop, you should not put your finger on the trigger. No matter what kind of gun you have or what you intend to happen when the trigger is pulled.

    pax
     
  25. Bobo

    Bobo Member

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    I'm a new, first time gun owner. This thread came at a perfect time for me, and really gives me a lot of motivation to religiously follow the safety rules. :eek:

    Thanks for the graphic story and photos illustrating one of the many possible disastrous results of failure to heed the rules. I have a much deeper respect for firearms and their danger if handled improperly.:)
     
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