Discharge in Auto Accident

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Hazwaste, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    Updated 2/22/21 afternoon to note that the pistol did not discharge. The noise and smell of burning powder was likely due to seat belt tensioners, which use an explosive charge to pre-tension the belt. I learn something new every day. :)

    Wife and I were in an auto accident yesterday (both of us are sore but ok so far). Had to make an emergency stop to avoid hitting someone who drove across from one side road to the other on the 2-lane highway we were on. Fortunately I had already slowed to 40 MPH due to the person in front of them crossing over first, so I was able to avoid hitting the 2nd car, but it was very close.

    Unfortunately, a guy in a pickup truck who had been tailgating us rammed into us pretty hard, probably 10-15 MPH. I was wearing a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield M2.0 in a DeSantis 019H9 scabbard holster on my heavy Levi's belt on the right side (I was driving). The S&W discharged into the floor when we were rear ended (!!!). Fortunately neither my wife nor I were hit.

    The S&W did not come out of the holster in the accident.

    Has this ever happened to someone else? I've heard of cheap or old handguns sometimes discharging when dropped, but this isn't a cheap or old handgun, bought in 2017. I'm appalled at this, and what could have happened if it had not been pointed straight down and away from my leg. As it is, the shock left a good sized bruise on the side of my leg.

    I'm contacting Smith and Wesson and DeSantis in the morning.

    By the way, the person who caused the accident by pulling out in front of me left the scene.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  2. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    This holster? https://www.desantisholster.com/mini-scabbard/

    I suppose anything is possible, and while I have seen reports of striker fired guns dropping their strikers due to a hard impact, most don't fire due to the firing pin safety, which are typically quite robust.

    Another possibility is something - your elbow perhaps - drove the gun deeper into the holster and the trigger guard leather molding pulled the trigger causing the gun to fire.

    Both issues are possibilities, but also extremely unlikely.

    On the other hand, the striker fired folks don't like to acknowledge this, but even with a partially cocked striker, there is enough energy to fire a round. However, as mentioned above, the firing pin safety on nearly all these guns typically work very well.
     
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  3. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Just as a data point, here is a post from a guy that hit an F-250 at 45MPH while riding a motorcycle.

    He was carrying a SIG P220 (hammer fired DA/SA pistol) in a Mitch Rosen IWB holster. The gun didn't discharge and remained in the holster.

    https://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?72074-carrying-on-your-scoot
     
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  4. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    That's the one.

    My hands were both on the wheel, so no chance of my elbow touching either the pistol or the holster.
     
  5. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    The DeSantis Mini Scabbard.

    It's easier for us if you use the name of the holster rather than the product number (which nobody knows, except possibly the guys at the DeSantis warehouse).
     
  6. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

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    I've been in three serious accidents (still suffering from the consequences) where idiots ran into me at speed. In none of them, did my Glock 26 go bang. YMMV. Holster was a Galco Matrix.
     
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  7. whughett

    whughett Member

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    That’s one for the books. Lady Luck or your guardian angel was with you that day.
     
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  8. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    That seems very suspicious- all things considered, the impact should not have transmitted thorough the back bumper and all the way through the vehicle to a pistol secure in a holster attached to a person sitting in a padded seat enough to cause it to fire.
     
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  9. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    Yet, that's exactly what happened. What is your suspicion?
     
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  10. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    I'll try to make it easier next time.
     
  11. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    It was surreal. We were disoriented after the impact for less than a minute, and then realized that that bang wasn't the airbags, which hadn't gone off, and we could smell gunsmoke.
     
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  12. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Any modifications to the gun? Aftermarket trigger, striker?

    Is the striker channel clean? Any accumulation of debris around the firing pin safety?
     
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  13. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    The internals are clean. Only modification is a Crimson Trace laser.
     
  14. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    The G forces in a "mild" vehicle accident will beggar the imagination.
    There's a possibility that the seatbelt "grabbed" the holster and flexed it enough to deform around the trigger just enough to discharge it.
    Maybe.
    Perhaps.
     
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  15. glove

    glove Member

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    Was the safety on?
     
  16. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    Maybe. I'm at a loss. If that is the cause then that's going to put an end to me wearing one while driving.
     
  17. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    It does not have a safety.
     
  18. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I think you are on to something. The seatbelt may have been coming over the top of the pistol. When the belt locks due to the sudden inertia change, a serious force could have been imparted on the gun, as if it was dropped. Or flexed the frame enough to let it slip and discharge.

    I hit a grand marquis in my mustang in a very similar situation. He tried making a left u turn from the onramp to my right. T-bone at 65mph. The forces in that were tremendous, enough to buckle the floor, firewall, and roof from a right headlight area contact. I was bruised from the belt. And i even braced myself and hit the airbag. I also received a concussion, though prior ones make that pretty easy. I was not carrying.

    I carry now, but not with a loaded chamber. If I dont have time to rack the slide, I figure I should probably not be drawing the weapon.
     
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  19. AK103K

    AK103K member

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    If nothing seems apparent, maybe call S&W and run it by them. Maybe send them the gun and holster and see what they think. I would think something like this would pique their interest.

    How tight is the retention in the holster? Any chance the gun came up enough that the trigger was exposed and some of your clothing got in there and the gun got pushed back down on it? I know its a reach, but weird stuff happens in car wrecks.

    Personally, Id stop carrying that gun until I found out though.
     
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  20. AK103K

    AK103K member

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    Unless there was something wrong with the firing pin safety, I don't see anything letting the striker loose that would fire the gun, other than the trigger being pulled. Thats why those safeties are there.

    The only way to bypass that on a Glock, is to load the gun with the trigger down. Not sure if that's the case with S&W, if ts possible at all, and most arent aware of it with the Glocks, nor do I know anyone who does it. But that does allow the gun to be loaded with the firing pin safety bypassed and the gun isn't drop safe. Nor do I believe the striker is tensioned at all either.
     
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  21. Hazwaste

    Hazwaste Member

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    Agreed and am calling S&W in the morning.
     
  22. viking499

    viking499 Member

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    If it is a gun only issue, at your side may be safer then somewhere else in the car not knowing what direction it is pointed in during the next accidental impact.
     
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  23. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    That may be drastic just yet.
    I've got some emails out to SAE & forensic engineers I know about energy levels in a 10-15mph collision.
    Your holster was not tested to 5, 10, even 15 G--all of which are possible in such collisions. You are smacking together objects over a ton with significant kinetic energy.

    @BigBlue 94 joggled a memory in me--one of the issues about 10mph collisions is that even belted passengers separate from car seats during the collision. This is one of the forces an airbag has to arrest, and part of why they have to deploy so rapidly.
    IIRC, the 'trigger' impact for airbag deployment is in the 16-18mph range. That's something I'm asking actual engineers about.

    But, back to dealing with impacts. If you are separated from the seat, the predictability of how the locked seat belt, the car seat, the center console (if any) all gets a bit random.

    Since you did not mention powder burns, I'm guessing the holster bent away from your body during the crash. The shoulder belt could have been lifting the grip while the lap belt flexed the holster enough to hit the trigger, or set it loose enough that momentum did the rest.
     
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  24. LightninST

    LightninST Member

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    Scary:feet: Glad you are both alright :thumbup:
     
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  25. Electricmo

    Electricmo Member

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    My guess would be seatbelt somehow helped to get trigger pulled. This might make a case for a safety.
     
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