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Impact discharge - actual experiences?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by BaltimoreBoy, Aug 15, 2012.

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  1. BaltimoreBoy

    BaltimoreBoy Member

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    There are various threads about the possibility of an accidental discharge when dropping an autoloader.

    But actual incidents seem to be few and far between.

    Q. In the corporate experience of the membership, how realistic are such impact discharges in the case of inexpensive blowback operated autoloaders?

    (I have a 30 year old example of such and don't want to find out the hard way.)
     
  2. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    If they do not have a device to impede the firing pin, they will fire. I have a 39 and a 59. The decocker, when left down, is a safety. If the hammer is dropped and the lever is put back horizontal, the handgun will fire if the stars are aligned and it is so dropped. If it is dropped with decocker down it can still fire.
    Knock on wood, I ain't never had one.
     
  3. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    This depends entirely on the type of pistol, and whether it's carried with the safety on or off. Some pistols do not block the hammer when the safety is off and the trigger at rest, meaning a drop can cause it to strike the firing pin and discharge. Others have flaws that can cause a cocked hammer or striker to dislodge on impact. Bottom line: you have to know how your individual gun works, and whether it's prone to any of these problems.

    Firing pin blocks are nice, but not absolute necessities. On many designs, the firing pin return spring alone is more than sufficient to make it drop-safe. On other designs, the firing pin simply lacks enough mass / inertia to trigger the primer on its own.
     
  4. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    I have personal knowledge of only one. A shooter reholstered a Glock in a competition type rig (Ghost, as I recall). He did not "lock" it in properly and it fell out and discharged when it struck the ground.

    Before the Glockophiles get their panties all bunched up, the shooter admitted removing the FP safety and performing other modifications to achieve a sub two pound trigger.

    He lost about six inches of intestine.
     
  5. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    .... ?
    /B
     
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    A number of older exposed hammer autoloaders will fire if the chamber is loaded and the gun is dropped on the hammer while it is down; the hammer rests on the firing pin, which rests on the primer of a chambered round. One notable exception is the Model 1911 and similarly made pistols; they have a firing pin too short to reach the primer unless it is driven forward by the hammer falling. Called an "inertia" firing pin, it protects against firing if the pistol is dropped on the hammer, but not if the pistol is dropped on the muzzle and the firing pin moves forward of its own momentum. To protect against that, newer autoloaders have a device that blocks the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled.

    The latter problem was almost unknown with the 1911 until the advent of full length guide rods, which resulted in a huge increase in reported muzzle impact firings.

    Quality modern revolvers, on the other hand have hammer block safeties or transfer bars and are safe against firing if dropped.

    Jim
     
  7. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    You know, despite its age and origins, the original Makarov pistol was actually very forward-thinking in terms of safety and features. It features a decocker safety, and even with the safety off the hammer is blocked from impacting the firing pin until the trigger is pulled. It does not have a firing pin block or return spring, but it has passed numerous drop safety tests, including California's. It also has a very smooth, if slightly heavy, double-action trigger pull. For a gun designed in the 1960s, it was way ahead of its time.
     
  8. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Every gun imported into this country must pass an 8' drop test to a hard surface without discharge. Most modern domestic firearms require mush more abuse to get a discharge. Unfortunately nothing is idiot proof as idiots are too ingenious. Modifications or simple mechanical wear to any firearm safety system compromises the system and failure to maintain the firearm properly has occasionally resulted in accidental discharges.

    Any single action pistol with a hammer and without a firing pin safety or hammer block or lock that is cocked and then dropped is subject to discharge if the hammer is bounced out of engagement with the sear or the sear breaks when the hammer is struck with enough force.

    Accidental discharges from dropping a firearm are rather rare because most of the time the safety systems work as designed.
     
  9. BaltimoreBoy

    BaltimoreBoy Member

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    Thanks all.

    (Corporate experience - that's just a flowery way of saying "What do you guys know about this?")
     
  10. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Depends on the specific gun.

    Are you sure about this? I highly doubt the truth to this, particularly since the word "gun" is used, which include rifles and shotguns.

    All I knows is I have a P64 that was imported from Poland that is not dropsafe. I determined this by my own inspection before I even read about actual occurrences. And there are many shotguns domestic and foreign that aren't dropsafe.

    This hit the news, yesterday. No mention of the make of gun involved. But this should make it clear that not ALL guns made or imported here can handle an 8' drop. How far did this gun drop? 2 feet?
    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/15/police-moviegoer-accidentally-shoots-himself-in-the-rear/
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  11. coalman

    coalman Member

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    Absent a FPB, it's realistic, but statisticslly improbable. Impact angle and force have to be right. None of that matters once it happens to you.
     
  12. skipsan

    skipsan Member

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    Here's a long thread from another forum describing an AD with a 1911-type
    (old Springfield with steel fp) pistol. Minor injury when the pistol was dropped from belt-high onto a hard surface.

    http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=217601&highlight=Accidental+discharge

    Here's another thread desribing drop testing done on 1911s, that shows pretty conclusively that
    a 1911 will fire when dropped from reasonable heights.
    http://www.10-8forums.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92823#Post92823ww
     
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