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Learn from my ND

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by tpalo, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. tpalo

    tpalo Member

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    Greetings, first time posting to this forum. Regretfully this is a shameful situation that I hope all who read this can learn from.

    Earlier today I had a ND with my P22 in my home. It was pointed at an internal basement brick wall with no one but myself near and there were no injuries.

    I am hoping someone can provide some insight into what happened and also learn from my errors.

    Details:

    I removed my P22 from my range bag, ironically to mark the FIRE indicator red on the safety. Weirdly I have sometimes found the P22 safety to be counter-intuitive for me. For those that do not know, for a P22 when the S is showing it is SAFE, when the F is showing it is ready to FIRE. That seems obvious, but for whatever reason I would sometimes hesitate and have to consider if the correct positioning is move it to S to make it SAFE, and move it to F to make it ready to FIRE. Dumb, but something I was aware of and decided to mark the F with red paint to be sure.

    Anyway - I removed the pistol and dropped the mag. The mag was empty as expected (I just went to the range the week before). I checked the mag, and stated, "empty mag" per my normal routine. I pulled the slide back and visually checked the chamber. The chamber was empty. I stated, "Chamber clear." This is a habit I force myself to do...say it out loud. Lighting was adequate for visual inspection. I remember it cocked the hammer as it should so I must have went back far enough for that. I distinctly remember the chamber was visually empty.

    After that I went to find some red paint and could not find it anywhere. I never left the room. I went back to my gun and decided to put it away and do it later. As stated the hammer was back so I loaded the mag (need it inserted to decock), aimed towards an internal brick wall and pulled the trigger to decock it. BOOM. I was absolutely shocked.

    This is what I believe happened:
    When I pulled the slide back to check the chamber I did not pull it back far or with much force. It wasn't just a half inch or so - I did pull it back enough to set the hammer back - but I didnt pull it back with force. I am speculating but I think maybe the round was seated on the breech face, hidden from view at my angle, and I did not pull the slide back enough to properly engage the ejector? I also had the gun on it's side at an angle when I pulled back the slide. Honestly I do not understand the mechanics or how this happened. After - once I was done shaking and explaining to my family what the heck I just did - I tried repeating the failure to eject and I could not. I tried slow slide pulls and half slide pulls...no problems, either the round ejected or fell through the mag hole as it always does.

    Some failure points....
    1. I did not physically check with my finger there was no round in there somewhere.
    2. I knowingly decocked the weapon on FIRE. This is just stupid and completely circumvented the last line of defense for something going wrong.
    3. I did not rack the slide multiple times or with sufficient force before visually inspecting the chamber.
    4. I did not look inside the chamber at all angles, a round was hanging up ready to reseat when I released the slide and I could not see it.

    I assume there will be those that believe I just did not see the round that was in the chamber. I understand how that is possible, but I personally do not believe this to be the case. I am intentionally mindful when I check...I literally think ok I am visually inspecting the chamber now, then state, "chamber clear", done.

    Any insight is appreciated. Be safe out there, thanks for reading.
     
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  2. LNK

    LNK Member

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    Glad to hear no one was injured. I hope you modify your system to make it better. At least you had the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Rule #1, all guns are always loaded.

    Perhaps better lighting to verify empty....
     
  3. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I put a hole in my wall about 5 years ago with a Glock 26 that I thought was empty.

    I didn't follow the rules. However it was pointed in a safe direction, and I was left with nothing more than an easily patched hole, ringing ears, and some shaking hands.

    We follow the rules because we are not perfect. Mitigation is a viable strategy when it comes to human fallacy.
     
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  4. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Welcome to being human! Not one of us here hasn't done something that could have been tragic; whether it's a ND, over or under charged a case while reloading, unintentionally pointed a gun somewhere or at something we shouldn't, etc. Keeping your firearms pointed in a safe direction will allow for a bit of humanity, and the only damage is ringing ears, minor holes in walls or carpets, and bruised egos.

    I have a mantra that I sing-song when on the range with the guys on my teams; "Weapon on safe, magazine out, action back, rack it-rack-it-rack it, visually and physically check the chamber(s), show all clear!"

    The guys get sick of hearing it at the end of every shooting session, but so far (knock on wood) we haven't had a ND.

    Stay safe!
     
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  5. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Dad was a big believer in, rack it rack it rack it, I don't use it very often I'll usually just lock the action open and physically inspect the chamber but if that's not convenient or impossible I will rack the weapon like that. Especially if it is in low light conditions.
     
  6. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    There’s no need to check with your finger, Racking the slide multiple times doesn’t verify anything, and there’s no need to view the chamber at all angles.

    Look into the chamber at an angle that allows you to get a good clear view of it. Good lighting helps.

    Sticking your finger into the chamber is just awkward and is asking for the slide to slam shut on your appendage. Racking the slide multiple times doesn’t do anything if there’s a round stuck in the chamber and the extractor is just slipping off the round. Review the chamber at the best angle possible. No need for review from “all” angles.
     
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  7. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to THR, and we're glad nobody was hurt!
     
  8. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Thank you for sharing. These story's are valuable for the members.

    I often use this thread from forum member PcolaDawg when folks want to go down the Condition 2 route with a single action auto. I believe PcolaDawg is a safe gun handler, but accidents do happen. Anything we can do to identify potential unsafe actions and avoid them is good information.

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...l-confess-a-horrible-sin-in-the-hopes.441761/
     
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  9. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    Well, that's the great thing about the four rules, you gotta violate at least two of them to have your accident turn into a tragedy.
     
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  10. Zendude
    • Contributing Member

    Zendude Contributing Member

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    Sounds like the extractor did not grab the cartridge that was in the chamber and there might have been some soot on the back of the cartridge. That’s what made it difficult to see when you pulled the slide back.
     
  11. jar

    jar Member

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    orig.gif
     
  12. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Thanks for sharing. Allowing others to learn from our own mistakes takes humility, and it is appreciated.

    Uh, that's called dry-firing. It's darn near essential for getting competent with firearms, particularly pistols. That wasn't the mistake (although your tale illustrates precisely why all dry-fire should occur with the firearm aimed at something bullet-catching-ly solid and not towards anything living). In fact, a regular dry-fire routine will greatly increase you un-conscious competence when it comes to things like clearing firearms.

    And even if you are just clearing the firearm, your tale illustrates the value of the "if clear, hammer down" range command/procedure used in some gun sports. You thought the gun was unloaded. You were getting ready to put it away. If you had just de-cocked the gun, you would have stored a loaded firearm that you didn't think was loaded. That's a dangerous situation. By dry-firing the gun, you are proving that it is empty. The key is to really make sure it is empty first.

    I think your hypothesis of a round being held by the extractor is the most likely explanation. Assuming that there is no defect in the ejector, a vigorous single rack should be good enough. A second or third is my habit, usually in rapid succession.

    There are no "magic words" that one can recite while unloading a firearm to make it safer. In fact, if you are habitually making declarative factual statements, it is quite possible that you will cross up your own brain and literally tell yourself (and convince yourself) that something that is false is, instead, true. I would drop the chanting of phrases while unloading and focus on having my brain more engaged.

    If your brain was in critical-thinking mode during the unloading, you might have asked: Where did the round in the chamber go? You thought the gun was loaded. You dropped the magazine. You looked in the chamber. Where did you think the round went? If you didn't see anything pop out, what did you think happened to it?

    If this question didn't occur to you at the time, that tells you something deep about the real root cause here... you were focused on a process, but your brain wasn't engaged.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  13. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

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    I think it's entirely possible to see what you want to see, if the whole process of visual recognition is not engaged. In other words, a man looks at a chamber with a stuck round and says, "Chamber clean!". This is especially true if the lighting conditions are suboptimal, so the brain must reconstruct the image. In 2001 a Boeing 737 landed onto a Metroliner at LAX, which was holding for takeoff. It was at night. NTSB tested the conditions later and found that pilots saw an airplane if they expected it there, and did't see it if they thought it wasn't there. You literally can see an empty chamber if you aren't focused on the recognition of what you're seeing! Sounds incredible, doesn't it?
     
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  14. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    And a physical inspection of the chamber is just one more simple layer of safety that helps ensure focus on the task at hand to prevent that... especially on a range with multiple people, each in their own world.

    That’s what I do, but I digress...

    Stay safe.
     
  15. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    My 2 cents, some possible steps to make your clearing process more robust:

    After my range session, I remove the magazines and store them out of the firearm. Then I verify the chamber is clear, visually and by racking the action (slide, bolt, lever, and etc.) multiple times, pointed downrange. Then, for .22s that don't like to be dry fired, i will inert a snap cap. Then I point the firearm downrange safely and dry fire the firearm. Back home, I repeat the clearing, then take down the firearm for cleaning, no need to pull trigger for this (I have no Glucks). We all make mistakes, but we can learn from your sharing. It is appreciated, tpalo.
     
  16. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I had mine 10 years ago with a Jennings J22 that I "knew" I never left loaded. Decided to dry-fire it "just one time." The chamber wasn't loaded.

    The magazine was, and it was in the gun when I racked the slide to set the striker.

    No one else was home, and the gun was deliberately pointed at a heavy piece of wood furniture. Strangely, I never found the bullet hole (it had pierced cushions before hitting wood.)

    The spent shell is still sitting on my desk.
     
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  17. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I have the same "trophy" in my closet where I keep my shooting stuff. I purposely only roughed over the bullet hole with patch. The shell sitting on shelf, the rough "you dang idiot" patch next to my gun cabinet.

    I'm lucky I didnt hit the plumbing next door in the guest bathroom. I'm blessed it was a jhp 9mm and must have lodged in the insulation somewhere instead of a neighbor's house or car.
     
  18. Tactical Lever

    Tactical Lever Member

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    Just a note on "multiple rackings" that some people have mentioned. If your ejector is broken, you short stroke the slide, or the extractor didn't grab the rim (rough chamber, bad spring, broken claw, too stiff...), you still have a loaded gun.

    Relying too much on the flawless working of a little mechanical device that can fail in a number of ways.

    Rack it once, lock the slide, and take a few seconds to properly check the chamber and bolt face.
     
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  19. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

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    My incident was with a 12 gauge. Putting it away after a trip to the trap range, I inserted an A-Zoom snap cap and pulled the trigger to relieve the hammer spring (I hate leaving a gun cocked for no reason). Anyway, BOOM.

    What the...?

    Looking things over, there was the snap cap on the table. I had actually inserted a Federal shell. It was almost the same color as the snap cap. Nothing against Federal, but I don't buy their stuff anymore.
     
  20. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    You had an AD, not an ND. The term negligent discharge is way over used. You did nothing that even comes close to qualifying as negligent. If we keep misusing the term "negligence" when it is an accident the gun control crowd is going to pick up on that and try to prove the very act of owning guns is negligent behavior. It isn't negligence until proven so in a court of law.
     
  21. Tactical Lever

    Tactical Lever Member

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    Leaving a gun spring compressed won't do any harm. Working them is worse. I probably have one or 2 that have been compressed for a couple decades.
     
  22. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I disagree respectfully on the semantics of “accident” VS “negligent” with following point:

    if a firearm malfunctions and fires unintentionally, such as the reports of a Rem 700 firing when the safety is disengaged and the trigger isn’t touched, it’s an accident. If a sear breaks while firing and the gun doubles-triples- or empties the magazine, It’s an accident.

    If a firearm fires because a person didn’t clear the chamber of live ammo using any one of the myriad ways of checking the gun’s condition before putting a finger in the trigger guard and pulling the trigger, it’s negligence.

    And negligence is not just a legal term in Blacks Law Dictionary, these are within the definitions according to Webster’s Dictionary.

    I get the bad press angle, we gun owners get enough of it as it is...but ya gotta call it what it is.

    Stay safe!
     
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  23. Russ

    Russ Member

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    I had a ND in 1990.My last so far. My BHP with the mag disconnect had one in the chamber and I didn’t realize it and I shot a round into the carpet. My father who was ther flinched and told me not to tell his wife, my mother who heard the shot and came running. We all lied to her, nothing happened. She walked on where the bullet hit and said the floor was uneven. Don’t think she knew but who knows. Hahaha! Scared the bejesus out of me. Now I rack it rack it and look. Scary stuff. Now I’m super double careful. Thank God no one got hurt.
     
  24. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Regardless of whether the level of care used (which is the primary test of negligence) was negligent, I am strongly of the view that most negligent discharges are also accidental discharges. "Accident" doesn't mean "unavoidable" or "without fault." It just means "without intending the action or result." We call a car collision a car accident (unless someone was trying to crash the car), even where it was negligence that caused the accident.
     
  25. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    Yup. Plus, it's not even possible for many folks to check with their finger on a .22.
     
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