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I witnessed an accidental discharge at the match yesterday

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Jeff22, Nov 11, 2012.

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  1. Jeff22

    Jeff22 Member

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    shot in an indoor USPSA match at my local club yesterday.

    One of the shooters had an accidental discharge. He's new to action type shooting, and got a little ahead of himself and was trying to move and release a magazine at the same time while his finger was in the trigger-guard, and he put a round into one of the prop walls used as part of the stage design.

    This resulted in an instant match DQ. He was quite mortified. However, to his great credit, he had a good attitude about the whole event, took it as a learning experience, and stayed for the rest of the match and helped paste targets.

    (I guess a few of the guys worked with him a little bit after the match was over)

    New shooters often try to go too fast before they're ready. Sometimes this results in an accidental discharge. In this case, there were no negative results because he had good muzzle discipline and kept pointed in down range, even though he did manage to shoot a wall . . .

    (He was using 115 grn hollowpoint ammo in a Springfield XD. After some searching, his bullet was found lying on the floor. The hollow point cavity was plugged with particle board and the bullet did not expand or deform in any way)

    Make sure that your basic safety & marksmanship & gun handling skills are reasonably well developed before you attempt to shoot IPSC/USPSA or IDPA type matches.

    Safety is a major concern. Some people get way too nervous at their first few matches and forget about keeping their finger off the trigger unless on target and ready to fire, and keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times. Another issue is courses that involve movement, or opening doors or windows. Be careful not to sweep yourself with the muzzle when opening doors.

    Make sure your basic skills are strong before you try to shoot in a match OR forget about trying to be fast, and just focus on being safe, accurate and smooth.
     
  2. Jeff22

    Jeff22 Member

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    formal training can be a good thing . . . sometimes

    One of the shooters in my pistol club is a young guy (just turned 21) who is athletic and coordinated and naturally "fast" HOWEVER he hasn't been shooting very long, and doesn't practice basics enough. When he come to a match, he's faster than h*** but he can't hit anything. For certain he jerks and bashes on the trigger, and I suspect that he sometimes forgets to look at the front sight. After watching him shoot a match a few months ago, I noticed that he also squeezes his whole hand while firing ("milking") rather that moving the trigger finger independently as a unit. I don't think he does that all the time, but only when he's trying to go really fast.

    What he needs to do is a basic shooting course like MAG 20 (what used to be called "stressfire") or Gunsite 150. But he doesn't see it that way, and would instead rather try to find a competition oriented class to go to . . . which I think may not correct his problems.

    Now I am NOT necessarily suggesting that he has to spend lots of money flying out to Arizona or someplace to go to an expensive shooting class. But I think some degree of formal and structured training is a good thing for any shooter, as long as the training is competently delivered and relevant to the goals that the shooter is trying to accomplish.

    There are LOTS of sources of training out there. Lots of good instructors, and lots of instructors who aren't so good. You have to do your research before you spend your money. But attending a good class when circumstances permit can greatly accelerate your learning curve.

    (I've been going to a class a year since 1980. I really enjoy it and it's made me a better shooter. In 2013 I hope to go to a Gunsite 150 pistol class down in Boone County, Indiana.)
     
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    That's a great cautionary tale! I've seen a variety of those sorts of goofs -- accidental shots, muzzle violations, dropped guns (mostly this). Ironically, I've even seen it every once in a while from Master class shooters. We ask people to do complicated multi-part tasks and actively try to occupy their brain with COF instructions, twisted up target arrays, props to operate, movement schemes, and so forth, and of course all of that is done at flat-out speed. That drives the safety functions -- and actually the shooting mechanics as well -- largely into the realm of unconscious habitual action.

    Every so often that creates a perfect storm of factors which tricks those habitual trained responses into making the wrong choice, or even over-runs the brain's ability to keep them in the right order (gun on target, THEN finger on trigger!) and something unfortunate happens.

    That's why we layer safety so thoroughly, so that errant shot always goes into the berm -- or the safety officer is right at the shooter's elbow to sound the alarm when the muzzle is heading the wrong way.

    And this is also a great (though painful) moment to see into the character of a shooter. The great ones are the folks who acknowledge their error, apologize, and then stick around the rest of the day to help paste targets and assist their squad. That's a class act.
     
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Not to worry. Top level competitive shooters don't get by milking the grip or jerking the trigger. A good instructor is going to diagnose those problems in the first few shots and get him on track. Practical shooting technique relies on the same fundamentals whether it is taught with a focus on maneuvering through a match stage or facing down a group of thugs on the street.

    It sounds like he might not really be ready for a high-level comp. class anyway. Some of them have minimum ranking requirements so the instructor DOESN'T have to spend half the class solving that kind of basic problem.
     
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Shooters almost never see it that way...it is a mindset which goes back to the time of Socrates. They do not know, what they do not know (badly paraphrased).

    I specialize in teaching the fundamentals of grip and trigger management. It is the basis on which you can branch out into competition or defensive use. But no one thinks they need it because everyone thinks they know how to hold a gun and press the trigger straight back.

    I refer my teaching method as Shooting Made Simple, but the first thing I explain is that simple isn't the same as easy...or even intuitive

    I would suggest that money spent on shortening the learning curve is money well spent. It is much cheaper than the time and ammunition you'll spend unlearning back habits.

    Unfortunately, that is wisdom that is lost of new shooters...even though it is obvious to seasoned shooters.

    This is truly a matter of leading a horse to water
     
  6. Jeff22

    Jeff22 Member

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    the advantages of formal training

    Several months ago I made a comment in a post in the "Competitive Shooting" subforum on THE FIRING LINE about the potential benefits of formal training for new shooters, particularly shooters planning to compete in USPSA/IPSC and IDPA matches.

    This unleashed quite a fire storm from people who didn't think formal training was necessary or useful and questioned my motives for suggesting such a thing.

    This response was a surprise to me -- I've seen lots of good discussion on THE FIRING LINE but this one went sideways quickly . . .
     
  7. Detritus

    Detritus Member

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    Not a surprise to me at all, a number i've heard repetedly is that maybe 5% of shooters will ever actually take actual firearms training (CHL courses don't count). maybe twice that many consider taking a course but never do, and the rest beleive that there is no need for them to take a class. Many I would go so far as to say that they are insulted by the very idea that they might need or benefit from any form of training. :rolleyes:

    as stated the old line 9mmepiphany mentioned about "They do not know, what they do not know", accurately sums up the majority of shooters.

    Of course when you start narrowing the sample, say by limiting the discussion to folks who are active competitors, the numbers shift a bit with a higher bias towards having taken some level of training.

    An additional factor is that even within the competitive shooting community, there are some that will object to the idea of an established "competition shooting class" for fear that it will somehow get morphed or co-opted(sp?) into a requirement before a shooter is allowed to compete, and all that could follow out of that...

    personally i wish that there was a class or better yet monthly (or other regular interval) clinic on improving skill/handling for USPSA or IDPA (with no bias toward one or teh other) style competition, local to me. I know that my skills are deficient and want to improve them, and the class I took last month while helping some left me with some questions that i feel can only be answered hands-on with another more expereinced shooter, preferably an instructor.
     
  8. tuj

    tuj Member

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    We had an ND at our local bullseye match a few months back. Basically the rapid fire commands were being given and the competitor fired during the 'Ready' series, resulting in a round into the ground. Match director warned the competitor, but ultimately no harm, no foul, and we let him reload 5 shots for the rapid fire string.
     
  9. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I saw an AD once at a pin shoot at our local range.

    We start with low ready, gun touching the ready-table.

    Horn went off to start the round. Immediately "BANG".

    RO stopped the round immediately. One elderly gent managed to put a round directly through the ready stand in front of him. He had his finger on the trigger when the horn went off and "jumped" from the sudden sound.

    He packed up and was done for the day.

    That table is still in use, but now it has a label. Written on the table in sharpy was "LARRY WAS HERE" with an arrow pointing at a 9mm diameter hole. Underneath that is a smaller written piece, "keep your bugger hooker off the boomswitch!"
     
  10. Jeff22

    Jeff22 Member

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    About once a year I see somebody get DQ'd from a match for safety reasons.

    The most common DQ I have observed is in an instance where somebody inadvertantly sweeps their support hand with the muzzle while the support hand is opening a door or a port in a window or something. Sometimes that's the competitor being in too much of a hurry, and other times IMHO it's a result of poor course design.

    The last time I saw somebody DQ'd for an accidential discharge, it was a new shooter attempting to go WAY too fast on a classifier stage. He ended up shooting a conex that formed one of the walls of that shooting bay.
     
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    YIKES. You have bays with connex boxes for walls? Corrugated steel with all those angled surfaces -- and steel that won't stop bullets? That's kind of scary!
     
  12. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Member

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    I've been at two matches where there were NDs, both resulting in injury to the shooter.
    The first one happened right in front of me, and was a case of the shooter making a procedural error, brain-freezing in agony over the mistake, and attempting to reholster very fast (with finger still on trigger) before the SO could yell stop. Just made a mistake, and unfortunately tried to correct it too quickly in the wrong way. It took us a few seconds to realize he'd been hurt (leg and foot) and I remember his reaction which wasn't pain, but more mortification and he said "I'm too experienced a shooter to do this!".

    The second one happened in the next bay over (not the same day as the first one!) so I didn't see it happen, but was a very experienced shooter who just tried to go a bit faster than his skill level while turning and drawing. Some people blamed the holster he was using, a controversial-to-some kydex one with a retention button near the trigger. I don't think that was the cause, but make of it what you will. I think he simply made a mistake while trying to go really fast.

    Both shooters recovered, although both needed surgery and the second guy was more badly injured due to the bullet path. I try to be careful, but those guys could be any of us if mistakes are made.
     
  13. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Jeff22,

    I appreciate your observation and comment about the fired 9mm JHP not expanding due to it filling up with partical board.

    This might be a useful for comment on the Handgun General Discussion forum.
     
  14. rodregier

    rodregier Member

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    <firestorm on>

    In Canada, you receive instruction, shoot and pass live fire exercises based on it before you are deemed qualified to participate in IPSC competition. It's called the Black Badge course.

    http://www.ipsc-canada.org/training.html

    <firestorm off>

    Of course, it's still possible to have a negligent discharge in spite of any instruction, but the probability is reduced.
     
  15. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    I was at a local match once and some guy had an AD in his car while unloading his hollow point carry rounds. He was disqualified and left before the match even started.
     
  16. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    Lol what about the guys who sweep everyone behind them?

    I've only seen it twice. Both times was mostly due to poor stage design.
     
  17. waktasz

    waktasz Member

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    um...what?!
     
  18. Fanfare Ends

    Fanfare Ends Member

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    "That table is still in use, but now it has a label. Written on the table in sharpy was "LARRY WAS HERE" with an arrow pointing at a 9mm diameter hole."

    Harsh! ( : >)
     
  19. Jon_Snow

    Jon_Snow Member

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    They should have been sent home. There is NO stage where you ever have an excuse for sweeping ANYONE, EVER.
     
  20. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    There's an old saying that every gun owner should know. FESTINA LENTE. Make haste, slowly.
     
  21. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    there is also a saying...

    ..that you should define your terms clearly, and understand them. As someone once said, "words mean stuff".

    That is an ND, not an AD.

    Sure sounds to me as if he had an ND.
     
  22. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Accident relates to intention. Negligence relates to standard of care. One can have accidents that are the result of negligence, and accidents that are not the results of negligence. One can be negligent without causing an accident. Car accidents are often deemed to be caused by negligence, but sometimes not.

    Words do indeed mean stuff. And the words "negligent" and "accidental" are not mutually exclusive.
     
  23. ClickClickD'oh

    ClickClickD'oh Member

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    I've seen three NDs at IPDA matches. Two of which were guys trying to reload 1911s with an overhand slide rack while their finger was still on the trigger.

    pack it up and go home guys... then reconsider your super slick feather light triggers for working guns. I kind of keep a watchful eye on new shooters coming in with custom 1911s now.
     
  24. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    If a firearm goes off because the frigger is pulled, that is not an accident, and cannot be an accidental discharge, because the firearm performed exactly as designed. If the shooter fired without intention to fire, he had a negligent discharge. If the firearm malfunctioned, leading to a discharge- say, a damaged firing pin that initiated a shot when a round was chambered without the trigger ever being pulled- that's an accidental discharge.

    John
     
  25. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Oh jeez here we go again with the AD vs ND argument. It doesnt really matter. A round left a gun that was unintentional. Lets learn from it, take the warning and quit arguing semantics.
     
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