Ricochet - Sometimes it hurts.

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May 21, 2010
South Dakota
So, every night when I come home from work, I grab the XDM 9 and shoot a couple hundred rounds. I do this with every firearm I get to ensure my familiarity and proficiency with it. I shoot paper, cardboard, and steel. I have been doing this for a couple weeks with the xdm.

Last week, a buddy of mine gave me some targets. They were the "popper" style targets that sit on the ground, and fall over when shot. These particular targets were worked over at close range with an ar15... heavily worked over. They were riddled with holes. A red flag went up. Mistake #1 was ignoring the red flag. I figured I would just stay a "safe distance" away from them when I shot them. I've shot them about 300 times probably, and as with all the steel I shoot, I angle it away from me so ricochet's go somewhere else besides at me.

Tonight, I stepped up to 25yds from the targets, and started in on my practice session. 5rnds into the magazine, *BANG* *ting!* *WHACK* "YEEOWW!"

Sure enough, a piece of that bullet came back and hit me in the leg, just above the ankle. Within a few seconds, I could see I took a good deal of the round, and that it was more than a light abrasion. I could still feel everything, and all my toes, ankle and what not still worked fine. It stung a bit, to be sure, but it appeared that nothing major was going on. No heavy bleeding, and no "numbness." I can walk on it, though I figure it best to put it up and leave it alone for a while.

I scrubbed the wound with peroxide as well as anti bacterial soap and water. Put on some antibacterial cream and a bandage. Hopefully that will take care of it. I figure I'll go to the doctor tomorrow and get a tetanus shot... since I haven't had one for a while. Other than that, I'll keep and eye on it to make sure infection doesn't take hold.

Stupidity hurts sometimes... but I'm not so prideful as to not share the experience in the hopes that someone else may benefit from my stint of temporary retardation. Bottom line is this: If you are going to shoot at steel, it better be HARD (ar500 or better) and it better be angled away from you and not have ANY dimples or imperfections. Certainly no HOLES through it. I did NOT do my duty as a responsible shooter in this case. I got a little too lax in my range setup and did not fully think the situation over. Thankfully nobody was hurt but me, and thankfully it doesn't look too bad. However, a gunshot wound is not that fun... this I can assure you. Use your head boys and girls. This could have been avoided, if I would simply have taken notice to what I already knew.

This sucker penetrated about 2" of my flesh and exited, hitting me in the shin as hard as anything ever has. I shudder to think what the result would have been if taken in the neck, or chest... or anywhere else... for that matter.

Makes me wonder how those guys that do the plate racks in pistol competition at such close range can get away with not catching some lead!

Humble pie, is just a little more bitter than I recall. ;)

Fire away gents... although it appears my skin is nowhere near as thick as I originally thought. hahaha Be that as it may I assure you whatever comments you have, I'll be able to take. The pictures were after it had been cleaned up a bit. It looked very much more "hollywood cool" prior to that. ;)


Cripes Almighty. You're right - sometimes stupidity hurts, and it looks like you got one heck of a lesson.

Let me be the first to say that I'm glad it wasn't worse, and that you're still here to tell the tale. (and hopefully take it to heart!)

Please, even if it feels better tomorrow, definitely go see a doc. There might be a chunk still stuck in there, ya know?
Another reason why i am not fond of steel targets lol wow man power to you posting the pics, ive had 22 lr ricochet past my head before, but since then i am more careful on what i shoot, btw i shot a car battery once yes it was completely dead and wouldnt hold charge, battery acid flew back and a tiny drop landed in my eye, my vision was pretty screwy, and still after a year isnt back to what it was before..
Yeah, going to get a tetanus shot tomorrow. Last one was about 12 years ago.

... and the lesson was definitely taken to heart. ;)
Red socks were soooo December! Lol

Glad you're ok friend, and thanks for the lesson learned! Be safe.
Go see a doctor tomorrow. Tetanus shot for sure, but that's a deep (through) puncture wound and an infection would be a bad eventuality, IMHO. Get it taken care of now before you have a big angry-looking red spot all around it.

Damn, before I saw the pics I thought you had gotten whacked by a piece that hurt but bounced back off. That sir is a through and through!

Any idea how much of the bullet hit you?
Yikes, I wasn't picturing entry/exit material when I was reading the text. That's rough.

Glad you're still walking. Hope you have a quick recovery, and never shoot battered steel again (though I bet you will never go down that road again).
Any idea how much of the bullet hit you?

I'm not sure. Judging by the size of the entry and exit holes, I'd say about 1/3 to half of it. Felt about like someone hitting me in the shin with a broom handle as hard as they could.

(though I bet you will never go down that road again)

No sir, I will not!
I would at least get an X-ray. Getting hit in the ankle where there is nothing but bone and tendon can be very painful and can take several months to heal. That is no flesh wound. You really don't want an infection. Keep an ice pad on it until you can see a doc.
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Damn! That's some epic stuff.

Note to self, no steel targets for me ... (not that I have ever shot at one) but that is gonna be one gnarly scar.
I was lucky enough to only get hit by flakes from the jacket and powdered with lead. I was shooting an 8mm mauser and I hit the steel stand that my target was on. A jacket flake took a little chunk out of my elbow but other than that all I had was black dust all over my clothes with little jacket flakes here and there. Mine didn't hurt at all because it went numb but I can testify that it hits you so fast that it really does feel like someone just smacked you with something.
Go to the doctor. Yes, you might get some hassles over this. You could loose your foot (or worse) if it becomes badly infected. Take advantage of "modern medicine".
I see a market for some new items of Kevlar clothing . . .

Thanks for posting this; I, for one, would not have thought there would be a danger in using a pierced/dented steel target. You just can't be too careful. Hope you heal up okay.
Makes me wonder how those guys that do the plate racks in pistol competition at such close range can get away with not catching some lead!

The OP stated that the steel targets he shot at were worn and pockmarked, evidently from close-range rifle fire.

Steel targets are an acceptably safe target to shoot with handguns, even at relatively close ranges, so long as they're in good condition.

However, once they show serious signs of wear and tear (the target bowing in like a bowl, or showing serious cratering from heavy use), the chances of something like this begin to climb.

I've been shooting Steel Challenge matches on a nearly weekly basis for two years now, and have yet to witness anything as severe as the injury the OP has posted.
Ricochet and injury noted.

You shoot 200 rounds every work day? I buy my 9mm at about $22/100 in bulk. That adds up to nearly $9000 a year in ammo (assuming 200 work days/year).

Sure wish I had an ammo budget like that!

Now, go get your wound checked out by a doctor.
Yeah, lately I have been going through about 200 a day. I have a source for PMC bronze 115gr FMJ's for $200 per thousand. Like I say, I have been doing that for a couple weeks with my XDM. I missed a few days, so I've got about 3000rnds down range in the last couple weeks.

I shoot a LOT. My round counts are measured in thousands. Its for this reason that I'm thankful that this is the worst I've received thus far.

As for the doctor... they aren't going to tell me anything I don't already know. I have antibiotics I'm taking and I'm heading in to renew my tetanus shot. That should have me covered. I don't like doctors or the medical sector at all. I'll avoid them if I can.
Welcome to the club. I got my "permanent jewelry" on Mother's Day. When I was in the ER the doctor said that bullet fragments are usually presumed sterile in cases like that because they reach very high temperatures when they impact and deform. They gave me a tetanus shot just in case but no antibiotics or anything for the fragment they left in my arm. Didn't need anything, apparently, because it healed up very quickly with no infection or complications.

Glad I'm not the only one! :neener:
I know in illinios if you go to the hospital with a gunshot wound you will get a visit from the cops.:eek: Im not sure if a family doc would have to report it. So you might just want to limp in on a "twisted anke" to get your tetnus shot. i wont bore you fellas with the details of how i know.
Yeah, and everything else is illegal in illinois too. Well, except corrupt politicians apparently. Cops? What are they gonna do, press charges against me for ricocheting a bullet into myself? Don't think so. I don't need a cop any more than I need a doctor... and I need a doctor about as bad as I need a kick in the face.

Nobody really asks questions about a tetanus shot anyway. I'm due for one. None of their damn business why I'm limping.
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