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Old January 9, 2013, 10:17 PM   #18
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Join Date: February 21, 2009
Location: Georgia
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Double Naught Spy

It is not a "spontaneous discharge" but an accidental discharge due to impact. 1911s have the ability to discharge when dropped unless modified with something like a firing pin safety. Series 80 Colts have this, but the Colt in the incident did not.
The linked article states:
The officer was carrying a model 1991 A-1 compact .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol (Colt's Manufacturing, Hartford, CT).
According to my research the Colt 1991 A-1 has a firing pin block. Colt 1991 A-1 is supposed to be the same as a 1911 series 80 with the only differences being a matte finish and checkered rubber grip panels to save money, so as to able to sell it at a lower price (sort of an economy model).

The writer of the article contends that the strong magnetic field produced by the MRI presents a unique environment which seems to have moved the firing pin safety into a position which allowed the firing pin to impact the chambered cartridge's primer. The force of impact of the holstered 1991 seems to have been sufficient to create enough inertia for the firing pin to strike the prime hard enough to detonate it.

If the facts of the incident are accurate, I'd say that using either term "spontaneous discharge" or "accidental discharge" would be correct.
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