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View Full Version : Scary Range Incident Tonight - or "Sudden Fear of Guns"


gvf
November 20, 2007, 10:45 PM
Tonight at the range I frequent, the guy two stalls down from me - about 15' away- had been consistently shooting a 30.06 S&W rifle. I was shooting a revolver & my Glock. While reloading the revolver one of the shots from the guy sounded weird, and there was a cloud of smoke around him when I looked over - thought he had switched to Black Powder rifle. No, he was staring at a hole in the ceiling where his 30.06 was pointing, muttering "Holy Sh--". His rifle had discharged with his hand nowhere near the trigger, went thru the tile-ceiling, through the 2nd flr and into a the concrete-looking building ceiling - maybe ricocheted somewhere else, don't know. He said the round before - while he was aiming at the target - had seemed like it might be Unintentional Disharge, but he wasn't sure what had happened; so he had raised the gun to examine the breech and while sliding the bolt back forward: Bang! - Hand was far away from trigger. Range owner was nice and didn't blame the guy after - and said trigger was shot when he examined his gun.

I shot the 6 in my gun and took off. Later, I thought if the guy had pointed the weapon slightly at an angle to his left, I would be have had an exploded head, or if the round had ricocheted back down in a certain angle, a hole in the top of my skull.

I really realized how important it is to NEVER POINT A GUN AT A PERSON NO MATTER HOW SAFE YOU THINK IT IS - EVEN FOR ONE MOMENT - no matter where your hands are, no matter how far away from the trigger, no matter what you believe as far as its being loaded or not - NO MATTER WHAT!!!

I also was thinking of carrying my Glock unchambered and my revolvers with an empty chamber. Or selling them all. In short, I'm suddenly afraid of guns.

I think I'll go out and take a walk with one of my guns on the way it usually is (chambered). Get some confidence back.

Quite a freaky experience....

Lurch37
November 21, 2007, 12:30 AM
Glad to hear your ok. I think this is one of those times when you could "what if" yourself forever. Many times I have had say a close call while on my Harley and upon getting home I start the "what if" thing. I have also had a couple at my range. Scary yes, helpful at times too, maybe makes a guy stop and think about things a little more carefully. But something you cannot dwell on.

Hemicuda
November 21, 2007, 06:01 AM
I'm sorry... I understand the AD/ND (in this case, AD, since it was a mechhanical failure...)

what I DON'T understand is your newfound fear of guns...

I'm an OTR semi driver, and I haul 7 and 8 axle 14,000 gallon, 161,000 pound trailers loaded with explosive/flammable liquid... routinely, someone (usually in a tiny car... quite often "hybrid" cars, try to commit suicide-by-truck on my bumper...

by your way of thinking, I should be scared crapless to drive...


Hmmm... I think I'll fire up the 'Cuda and go for a cruise!

dbsoundguy
November 21, 2007, 06:59 AM
Glad you are ok...sounds like you have a higher power over you..
I used to be a firefighter/E.M.T.....i have seen things happen that i would never want to do again, but after some time you get through it..

Billy Sparks
November 21, 2007, 07:04 AM
He said the round before - while he was aiming at the target - had seemed like it might be Unintentional Disharge, but he wasn't sure what had happened

I don't think I follow what you are saying.

You are right it could have hurt you IF aimed wrong and it went off or your car could kill you if the wrong thing broke at the wrong time or someone else is not paying attention....etc. The bottom line is you got scared (as we all would have) but to think "well I better start carrying unchambered" or sell your guns is a little over reaction.

Tanzer
November 21, 2007, 08:03 AM
Many of the things we do for hobbies carry some inherent risk. I love working with wood. I once had my watch unbuckle while ripping a board. The hanging band caught the table saw and darn near pulled my wrist into it, but the blade guard stopped it.
Once off Point Judith, a notoriously rough spot of ocean in our area, I accidentally allowed the wind to get behind the mainsail on our sailboat. This is known as an accidental "jibe". The boom slammed from port to starboard, and the mainsheet caght my wife right across the chest. How much force was involved? Enough to push a twelve ton boat at 8 Knots! She was shaken, but because we use safety measures offshore, including safety harnesses designed to keep you from going overboard, she was okay. The point? fun/adveturous things come with some risk, but safety minded and experienced participants enjoy the sport and do everything possible to keep safety first.
The range is no different. We have many members, and I know most of them. If someone comes in that I don't know, I introduce myself and start a short conversation. The reason? Just a short conversation can give you a feel for their capacity/experience. I'm not an official range officer, but a respected member, and sport a little yellow stripe on my ID. I got in good with the executive committee in order to do this, so that I wouldn't seem like a busy-body if I gave suggestions (like this guy should have had) on the firing line. Similar things have happened at our place, and will in the future, but they will be kept to a minimum because we take every safety precaution we can.
I wouldn't just blow it off, not in a million years, but you can't enjoy this sport if you're in fear. In any such sport, there are absolute rules. In shooting, the "barrel down range" rule is paramount. Enjoy your sport, and don't feel bad about reminding ANYONE about that rule. Use that incident as an example. Draw an orange line around the hole in the ceiling as a reminder to others while you're at it.
Just my two cents.
Chalk it up and have fun - safe fun.

gvf
November 21, 2007, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the comments - I see this in the light of day as a good example of the need for safe-handling (which the guy thankfully was doing, at least by not pointing towards people - actaully it was just me and him by that time of evening). In other words: it was a good lesson.

But a question: he had the gun pointed at the ceiling to check the breech - so anyone in the range was safe. However, if the 2nd level was a space someone could have been in, anyone up there would not have been at all safe. I don't know if it was useable, we looked right into it just moving a tile, so maybe it was just a "false" ceiling in one warehouse-like building. Say you didn't know one way or the other - and your gun developed a problem and you had to examine it: should you try to do that with gun pointed only towards the target area itself, as the post above suggests. Seems if you can keep it pointed into range and still examine carefully that 's the safest. (I'm not criticizing the guy, he kept me safe by pointing up - for that I'm grateful - I'm just making sure for myself, should I have a dangerous problem with my guns some day.)

clem
November 21, 2007, 10:43 AM
GVF,
Cars crash, air planes crash, boats sink, on and on............!
We just need to be carefull and enjoy life.

Tanzer
November 21, 2007, 11:58 AM
First, I'm surprised that an indoor range allows high powered rifles in the first place. Your backstop must look like hell. I'd think there should be a bench rest with a mounting clamp (or two) nearby. Safely attached to the shelf, and with the rifle mounted securely, it would seem that everyone could be a bit more at ease, and the guy could have two free hands to check out the problem.

Ali Baba
November 21, 2007, 12:17 PM
This may influence my choice of handgun. I'm about to buy my first one, and I am trying to decide between a 1911 and a Glock. Is it true that the ONLY way a Glock can fire is if the trigger is pulled? This story also got me thinking about staying away from a 1911:

http://www.ajronline.org/cgi/content/full/178/5/1092

Apparently a series 80 safety didn't prevent a discharge here. Is it true this would not have happened with a Glock? According to my understanding of the workings of a Glock, even if the MRI disabled the firing pin safety on the Glock, the partially cocked striker does not have enough energy to set off a primer if released without a trigger pull.

Can somebody with more experience weigh in on this? Thanks.

gvf
November 21, 2007, 03:35 PM
A Glock is manufactured to fire as a DA Revolver would: the trigger must be pulled, and the firing-pin otherwise will not release against the primer. The exact mechanism on the Glock others could tell you of. There are aftermarket trigger-blocks also for a Glock if you want. I use one: Saf-t-Blok- a plastic insert that fits behind trigger exactly, and that springs off a yard to the side if you want it out quick (or if the spring ever failed, you'd just push it out with trigger finger). Takes less than half-second to eject, move finger a hair and it's on trigger. You don't need it - but gives added sense of security if you want it. I use it mostly as it works well also if gun was ever taken away to make it useless to attacker. By the time he figured out why it wouldn't fire you could be gone.

Another choice for you would be an actual revolver - don't know if that interests you.

Raytracer
November 21, 2007, 05:01 PM
RULE 2!

This is definitely a ND not an AD.

Any time you have a hangfire or slam fire - or any other anomaly with a firearm - you keep it pointed downrange until it has been cleared.

"Up" is not a safe direction: even if you'd been outdoors, there's a reason we don't fire guns into the air.

Glad you're okay, don't let this spook you. Just follow rule 2 and even if your Glock decides to spontaneously go full auto (which it won't), you won't have a problem.

Joe

Powderman
November 21, 2007, 08:08 PM
GVF, just remember the four basic safety rules, and you'll do fine--just like the poster above mentioned.

I have had two instances where AD's occurred--and they WERE AD's, not ND's. Both were on Bullseye pistol ranges.

The first was at Kenmore Range, WA State. During a hardball match, my ball gun decided to go full auto. A 1911 firing ball ammo going full cyclic is no joke.

Result? Four holes in the target, one in the backstop, a profusely bleeding hand from five rounds of .45 ball helping to dig the hammer spur into my hand. I will say this--it fired about as fast as an MP5! Thank heavens for a tight hold.

As soon as you load, make safe and holster, or keep the weapon pointed downrange.

riz238
November 21, 2007, 11:04 PM
While the incident at the shooting range was no doubt unnerving, I think the '06 shooter was most likely being less than honest about the AD.....make that ND. In other words, my guess is that the shooter cranked off a round unintentioally, and yes, negligently, and said what people usually say in such situations, "It just went off!" (Gunsmiths may also be familiar with "it came that way" or "my friend tried to take his gun apart...")

In my years of shooting with military, law enforcement and civillian shooters, I have never seen a true "accidental discharge," though I have seen my share of "negligent discharges." (I am not saying true AD's do not happen - though those I am aware of usually involve competition guns, old guns, etc.) There is no need to carry with an empty chamber. Heed the advice above - follow the sacred four - and you'll have no concerns about your own gun "going off." Hopefully the shooters in the lanes next to you are equally safe.

JohnKSa
November 21, 2007, 11:17 PM
Is it true that the ONLY way a Glock can fire is if the trigger is pulled?True of most modern designs.

With the Glocks (and some other similar striker-fired pistols) there's an added measure of safety provided by the fact that the striker is only partially cocked until the trigger is pulled.

Capt Charlie
November 21, 2007, 11:25 PM
With the Glocks (and some other similar striker-fired pistols) there's an added measure of safety provided by the fact that the striker is only partially cocked until the trigger is pulled.

Very true. Here's an animated Glock's workings (http://genitron.com/Glock23/IntGlock.html) that shows this nicely.

CGSteve8718
November 21, 2007, 11:27 PM
Agree with raytracer and rizz. If something was up and he was inspecting it, he should have unloaded it first and kept it pointing downrange.

Also agree with not being so spooked as to give up our great hobby.

TexasSeaRay
November 21, 2007, 11:40 PM
While the incident at the shooting range was no doubt unnerving, I think the '06 shooter was most likely being less than honest about the AD.....make that ND. In other words, my guess is that the shooter cranked off a round unintentioally, and yes, negligently, and said what people usually say in such situations, "It just went off!" (Gunsmiths may also be familiar with "it came that way" or "my friend tried to take his gun apart...")

In my years of shooting with military, law enforcement and civillian shooters, I have never seen a true "accidental discharge," though I have seen my share of "negligent discharges." (I am not saying true AD's do not happen - though those I am aware of usually involve competition guns, old guns, etc.)

Count yourself fortunate. I've seen numerous genuine ADs.

The biggest offender? The pump-action shotgun. During my time as a federal firearms instructor, I used to demonstrate why NOT to leave a round chambered in your shotgun while it is in the trunk or riding in the brace/rack, etc. Also showed "after" pictures.

I've also seen my share of bolt-action rifles that AD when the bolt is slammed forward--believe it or not, we saw it in more brand-new-out-of-the-box Model 70's and 700's than anything else. In the service, we used to completely break down the bolt and firing pin mechanism to clean ALL cosmoline and packing oil out so that everything could move freely on its own rather than hitched to dirt, grit or grime that had accumulated.

The one gun that I have never seen truly AD despite superhuman efforts to get it to do so would be the Glock 17. We were testing these out in consideration for our agency right after their introduction. I dropped them out of helicopters from upwards of 500', dropped them on concrete, dropped bricks and concrete on them, dropped them in water, fired them in water, buried them, even set one on fire. Could not get it to AD.

ADs do happen. So does cranial rectitus, and I've had THAT happen to me on exactly one occasion. Scared me so bad . . . gun was pointed in an absolutely safe direction (the shooting can), but it still scared me.

Whether the 06 shooter had an AD or a momentary case of cranial rectitus, who knows? I'm sure most of us have seen both. Fact is, he had the gun pointed in a safe direction and for that we should all be grateful.

Smart and safe handling helps keep negative press away from us.

Jeff

wayneinFL
November 22, 2007, 01:40 AM
Very true. Here's an animated Glock's workings that shows this nicely.

neat.

Tanzer
November 22, 2007, 09:55 AM
gvf,
It's been a few days. How are you feeling now that some time has passed?

gvf
November 22, 2007, 10:47 AM
I've been CCWing since - doesn't seem to be any continuing severe anxiety around my guns. Just a wariness. It was a sobering experience the other night, and was probably good to see in the long run: the best safety class is to see a real dangerous event, and thankfully no one was hurt. It's harder even with a handgun than a long gun to keep that barrel from pointing around where it shouldn't I think: really takes the conscious intent to PAY ATTENTION. I have to always remember that. I did carry in my usual way, and am not going to suddenly change my protocol - or get rid of my guns. That was just an initial fear-reaction. I do things safely after all. I was not the problem in the event I witnessed.

One friend I mentioned this story too had a better/worse one: as teenagers, one of their friends came over to their house and a shotgun was lying out, fully loaded, that someone was about to take out on their property and use. He had gone to the bathroom or something first. Their young friend picked it up and - not realizing it was loaded - pointed it just to the right of a couch a family member was sitting on, and pulled the trigger. Blew out the French Doors and nearly the family member!

Thanks again for asking.... I appreciate it!

Raytracer
November 22, 2007, 12:11 PM
Fact is, he had the gun pointed in a safe direction and for that we should all be grateful.
TexasSeaRay, I don't mean to be contentious here, but he did not have the gun pointed in a safe direction, he just got incredibly, unbelievably, lucky.

went thru the tile-ceiling, through the 2nd flr and into a the concrete-looking building ceiling - maybe ricocheted somewhere else, don't know.

Even though the gun went off without the trigger being pulled (I'll give him the benefit of doubt here) it was a Negligent Discharge. If someone had been walking upstairs, they would have been killed. A ricochet could easily have caused major injury or even a fatality.

Just because a gun is malfunctioning doesn't mean it won't fire. We must remember to keep it pointed in a safe direction until it has been made safe. If you have a steel bullet trap 50 yards away, that's your best bet. If you're hunting on a flat plain, the ground will have to do.

The only time "up" is a safe direction is when you are on the top floor of a multi story structure and don't know what is below you. Even then, there may be a better alternative.

gvf, glad to hear your doing okay.

Joe

Hawg
November 22, 2007, 12:47 PM
None of us is guaranteed another day on this earth, not even another minute. Death can come anytime and it can come quick without any warning whatsoever. You cannot dwell on the what if's or the close calls. It was an unfortunate accident but you weren't hurt. Forget about it and move on.

Silentarmy
November 23, 2007, 02:26 AM
That link to the MRI vs 1911 incident was very interesting! I recently had an MRI and I left my carry gun locked in the glove box of my car as a courtesy to the hospital. I would never have thought that the Magnetic force in there would pull a gun across a room and fire it! Spooky! I guess Carrying a Glock is a + if you have the issue of carrying in an extreme magnetic environment.

Tanzer
November 23, 2007, 07:50 AM
That link to the MRI vs 1911 incident was very interesting! I recently had an MRI and I left my carry gun locked in the glove box of my car as a courtesy to the hospital. I would never have thought that the Magnetic force in there would pull a gun across a room and fire it! Spooky!
Interesting but just about inevitable. The magnetic part of MRI is a magnet so strong that it aligns the body's Hydrogen atoms according to their polarity. The resonance part is a sonic disruption that knocks them out of whack. The image is created by receptors that measure the time it takes for the magnet to re-align them. That's one powerful magnet. Serious injuries have ocurred when metallic objects were hurled across the room. Any MRI tech needs to be certain that nothing with magnetic properties is present. A plastic framed gun would have had similar results. It is kind of strange that it actually discharged, though.

Hardtarget
November 24, 2007, 12:08 AM
I have been very close to two VERY scary unintended discharges. Both times the day was over...right then! A little later,(a day or two), after time to think about the event, I saw the lesson. Next time I could go hunting/shooting I was already ready. You learned the lesson presented. Internalize it and make it part of your everyday life.

Oh...and thanks for passing that lesson to us.

Shoot safe.

Mark.