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Old November 18, 2012, 02:59 AM   #1
warnerwh
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Are there documented cases where a SA pistol was to blame

What I want to know is are there documented cases of people shooting someone accidentally while using a SA gun because of the short pull? I don't care if it is Leo's or civilians or military. Thank You
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Old November 18, 2012, 05:08 AM   #2
mete
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Shooting someone accidentally means you have violated a basic safety rule !
There are many different types of triggers and using a trigger you don't have experience with can cause problems.
Short pull triggers can be light or heavy ,that makes a difference.
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Old November 18, 2012, 10:27 AM   #3
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There are many cases of unintentional deaths caused by improper handling of weapons. I would certainly imagine that single action firearms are some of the statistic.
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Old November 18, 2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
What I want to know is are there documented cases of people shooting someone accidentally while using a SA gun because of the short pull?
The problem is with the "documentation". Newspaper reports are notorious for errors of fact and errors of omission.

For instance, there was a dolt who lived in Jackson, Michigan, who was carrying a ".44 Magnum", before there was a law allowing concealed carry in MI. He was "showing" his gun to a friend in his kitchen and "it went off", killing his own infant son, which begs the question: How did it "go off" without being cocked? One can reasonably make the assumption that the fool had cocked the loaded gun and the very light (comparatively), trigger was pulled resulting in an unintended discharge and the child's death. Thus you have a possible scenario of just what you seek (death related to single-action cocking), but was not "documented" as such.
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Old November 18, 2012, 01:27 PM   #5
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I assume you mean where a gun was cocked and the person holding it unintentionally touched the trigger while it was pointed at someone and they ended up shooting them without meaning to. I assume that's what you mean.

Yep there are many such cases. But I'd have to dig to find them. Others may recall some specifically.

At the end of the second world war the U.S. military wanted to move away from the 1911 to a da/sa sidearm in part due to accidents where soldiers pointed the 1911 at folks, without the safety being on, and unintentionally set it off (the U.S. eventually got the Berretta 92). The German military had issued the Walther P38 to it's troops before the war began with it's long heavy da first shot to make it harder for "accidents" to occur. This was because some had with the Luger.

After the war the da/sa guns became the dominant service sidearms around most of the globe. Didn't stop some from cocking the hammer and inadverdantly shooting some.

In the 70s there were cases where cops held suspects at gun point with a cocked service revolver (this used to be common) there were a few cases of "unintended discharges" and lawsuits followed. Some departments went to dao revolvers as a result. Others simply tried to train officers not to hold folks under a cocked wheelgun, an extremely bad practice.

NYC when it first adopted the Glock as a service sidearm requested and got a heavier trigger pull than the standard on the trigger (the NYC trigger) in an effort to avoid "accidental discharges". They had a history of such with both revolvers and da/sa pistols.

So yes there is a long history of this.

You see in the movies and TV all the time people point a gun at someone and say "Stop right there" or somesuch, and then cock the hammer to emphasize how serious they are. They then wave the gun around or use it to point at things. In real life folks sometimes do that as well and someone or something gets shot.

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Old November 18, 2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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There are probably thousands of incidents especially with the 1911 and the military.
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Old November 18, 2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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And 100 years of history.

You can't blame the action, the trigger doesn't pull itself.
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Old November 18, 2012, 06:30 PM   #8
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While the responsibility for an AD will ultimately be on the the user, it is much easier to have an AD with a SA gun. There is plenty of documentation to back this up. A major reason you won't see very many SA handguns allowed in the miliary or LE.
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Old November 18, 2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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While the responsibility for an AD will ultimately be on the the user
Unfortunately there aare several court cases that have established otherwise.
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Old November 19, 2012, 02:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
While the responsibility for an AD will ultimately be on the the user, it is much easier to have an AD with a SA gun.
This is a debatable point.

Quote:
There is plenty of documentation to back this up. A major reason you won't see very many SA handguns allowed in the miliary or LE.
The transition to da/sa pistols and away from sa pistols began before the Second World War and continued after it. The main reason had to do with training large numbers of men in a short period of time. Armies found that it was safer to do so with da/sa guns.

Law enforcement basically found the same thing. To arm a good many people who were not particularly interested in guns but were required to carry one and train them in safe gun handling they found that a da/sa gun worked best. They did not have the money for additional training.

Statistics are unclear whether it helped cut down on ads or not. This is because with the transition to semis, cops at least, tended to shoot more.

If the gun is mishandled it is easy to have an unintended discharge irregardless of the type of trigger. But for the untrained some type guns may be easier to set off when the person holding it don't want it to.

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Old November 19, 2012, 04:48 AM   #11
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That is very interesting the military personnel had the problem of accidentally shooting someone they were holding at gun point. This shines a whole new light on my opinion of DAO handguns. I still don't like them but it appears they are a good idea.
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:57 AM   #12
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When discussing the military 1911 incidents...

Keep in mind the sheer numbers of people, length of training and previous handgun experience of the users. During WWII, tens of thousands of young men were plucked from their daily lives, taught some very basic skills and sent into theatre to fight the enemy. Many of them had little or no firearm experience and add the additional stress of combat, it isn't hard to imagine some accidents occurring with the weapon.

Are DA/SA or DAO semiauto triggers safer? Probably.

However, SA revolvers are safer than any of them. (The trade-off is not worth it though.) Equally, it's easier to teach a person to be a better shot with a 1911 than a M-9 because of the better trigger. Which is one of the reason the military stuck with the 1911 for so long even when newer and "better" designs came along in later years.
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Old November 19, 2012, 12:23 PM   #13
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Most civilians and LEO's for that matter don't have enough training to maintain proper trigger control or trigger finger placement when in a high adrenaline life threatening situation. Fine motor skills are gone. I've seen many shotgunners spend hours shooting clays with no problem but take them out in the field and the first pheasant that flies you had better duck because with the excitement of the moment their training goes out the window.

For a defensive sidearm a DA/SA or DAO is a good idea. A long 10 or 12 pound pull gives your brain a chance to catch up to itself.
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Old November 19, 2012, 04:09 PM   #14
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I do remember reading of some cases where an LEO was holding a perp at gunpoint while another LEO cuffed him and then the perp was shot when the LEO dropped the hammer with the decocker (while still pointing it at the perp). There were also a number of reports of officers unintentionly shooting perps when the Glock was first being adopted. There is a video on Youtube showing a female LEO holding a proned out perp at gunpoint and letting off a round right next to his head. The looks on everybody's faces is priceless. Poor training and high amounts of adrenaline has much more to do with this problem than gun design. I never quite understood the "advantage" of having a decocker on a pistol.
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Old November 19, 2012, 08:21 PM   #15
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consider

Remember that virtually all of the long guns that I can think of as used as service weapons or not, are essentially "SA" and rely on a manual safety.

The issue with handguns is that they can be manipulated/handled so very easily, and muzze integrity is easily compromised.
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Old November 19, 2012, 09:18 PM   #16
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A properly maintained weapon will not go off until the humnan factor is introduced. About 15 years ago just to prove a point I set up a 1911a1 in a pistol vise aimed at ballistic jell target round in the chamber hammer cocked. It set there for 6 monthes and never went off by itself.
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Old November 20, 2012, 10:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
I do remember reading of some cases where an LEO was holding a perp at gunpoint while another LEO cuffed him and then the perp was shot when the LEO dropped the hammer with the decocker (while still pointing it at the perp).
There was one here (Lexington, KY) where the officer did not use the decocker but tried to lower the hammer by pulling the trigger and using his thumb to control the hammer fall. He didn't. A dead suspect, racial unrest, and a cop's retirement all followed.
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Old November 21, 2012, 10:40 AM   #18
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It more about training and knowledge then about the type action of the gun.

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Old November 21, 2012, 10:46 AM   #19
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A U S Navy ships surgeon wrote an article on injuries due to AD of 1911 pistols during his service in WW2.
He'd treated about sixty such injuries, and almost all were due to insufficent training of younger officers.
Another factor was loosely fitting replacement parts of pistols hurriedly refurbished to fill the need for sidearms.
Similar problems were encountered during the Vietnam era.

PS
a police department in one of the Northern states had an unacceptably high number of AD while using a double action S&W revolver.
They called in all these revolvers and had the single action notches ground away, making these DAO. After that they had very few if any AD so long as these revolvers were in service.
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Old November 21, 2012, 11:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
I never quite understood the "advantage" of having a decocker on a pistol.
It's so you can return the gun to DA mode. A good gun will block the firing pin before lowering the hammer. That said, I always hold the hammer and lower it myself after pushing the decocker.
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Old November 21, 2012, 11:47 AM   #21
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In all likelihood there have been NO cases of an accidental wounds of deaths in firearms history that were not related to violations of 1 or more of the 4 basic safely rules for handling firearms.

(Even back in the days of flintlocks and earlier, ALL accidents were a violation of the basics of gun handling despite the fact that the rules themselves had not yet been written)

#1 Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded at ALL times.
#2 Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
#3 Never let your muzzle point at anything you are unwilling to put a bullet through.
#4 Know your target and what is around and behind your target.

As a gunsmith I think I can say I understand the working of firearms better than most people. I earn most of my living working on restorations of antiques and recreating flintlock arms. Also, I have been doing general gunsmithing now for 44 years.

I can absolutely assure you that "documentation" of firearms "going off" in both the press and also in police and military reports are usually BS. The "documentation" is nearly always written to (A) Avert blame for negligence or (B) foster a political anti-gun sentiment in the eyes of the reader.
Just because it's "documented" doesn't mean something is true. It means it was written on a document. Nothing more.

A gun cannot "go off by itself" any more than a car can drive itself. Or a chainsaw start itself and wield itself.

A SA auto like a 1911 could possible break a sear nose or the full cock notch could be worn to a point that it would not hold, but the safety will still prevent the hammer from moving until the safety is unlocked and when that was done the hammer will fall into the half cock notch (what it's actually for on a 1911. It's NOT a safety notch!)

The only firearm I know of in which a breaking sear could cause the gun to go off is a flintlock with a fly in the tumbler. The fly is a cam designed to prevent the hammer from going into half cock when set triggers are used. If the nose of the sear was to break due to metal failure that hammer would drop to hit the frizzen. In MOST cases I’d have to say the gun still would not fire because the flint would move only about 1/8” to ¼” before it hit the frizzen and probably would be unable to make a spark, but I would not say it’s impossible. I will say it’s still impossible to have a bad accident if the 4 rules were being obeyed however. The muzzle should be pointed in a safe direction
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Old November 21, 2012, 12:34 PM   #22
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I seem to remember where Gary Spence"s son piloted a succesful verdict against Freedom Arms. Somehow, a Freedom Arms owner managed to shoot himself in the leg. Spence Law won and Freedom Arms lost.

I'm sure there are records and circumstances mentioned somewhere.

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Old November 21, 2012, 12:48 PM   #23
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To answer the original question, if what I think you are trying to find is this: does a handgun cocked (revolver, model 1911) and ready to fire in a single action mode lead to more accidental shootings than a handgun (revolver or semi-auto) that is to be fired in a double action mode inwhich the trigger pull is heavier and the trigger must travel a farther distance.
Logic would tend to sugest YES. In the panic of the moment I think a shaking finger on the trigger- pointed at a perp- might accidentally set off the firearm. Everyone has their own feeling on this, the single action is more accurate- that's for sure- but in a home invasion, at a very close range- I think a 6" barrel model 19 S&W in 357 magnum, to be fired double action, would be a very good choice for most people. That is probably how they ought to practice at the range.
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Old November 21, 2012, 01:46 PM   #24
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In general, the SA auto is better for the military, and the DA auto is better for police. This is because, in general, when a soldier points a gun at some one, it is expected he intends to shoot them, while for the police, it is expected that they shoot only as a last resort. And, for that, the DA gun is safer(provided it is in DA mode).

The German military did not adopt the P.38 because of any safety concerns about unintended discharges. They adopted it because they had a huge need for handguns, the P.38 was available, acceptable, and cheaper to make (in terms of cost and manufacturing time) than the P.08 (Luger).

The DA feature was not chosen for any safety reason, it was accepted because it gave a second strike capability to (hopefully) fire a dud round. That was a much higher concern in the latter 1930s than any safety considerations.
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Old November 21, 2012, 01:54 PM   #25
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I witnessed a Captain with a 1911,try a quick draw to impress some senoritas in Honduras.The bullet furrowed down his right leg and careened off his ankle.But we also had a Honduran 1LT who carried a Browning HP tucked down the front of his pants.The feeling, and machismo of the wild west was rampant.
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