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Old June 21, 2021, 06:56 AM   #1
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Who here has ever had an "accidental" firearms discharge?

Dry-firing exercises can be quite dangerous in the home if you are prone to forgetting things.

Hypothetical scenario:

You may have a pistol or revolver at your home that you keep loaded for security. At times you may want to practice dry-fire exercises. Of course you have to first take the ammunition out and be sure the gun is clear, right? We all know that. So, let's say you are in your bedroom and you take the ammo out of your revolver that you keep in the nightstand drawer for security.

You want to use a dry-fire target, the wall's light switch. So, you remove all the ammo from your gun and place it on your bed. You visually check each chamber, let's say it's a revolver, and close the cylinder. You practice dry-fire a while then decide to reload the gun to put it away. Ok, you reload the gun but the telephone rings. You place the loaded gun down on the bed and go answer the phone. Five minutes later you come back and decide you want to practice a little more. You pick the revolver up, aim at the light switch, smooth double action squeeze and BANG!

The lights go out in the room. You see a flash. Your eardrums are punctured.

Luckily you only destroy a light switch, a plate, the metal wall box and put a hole in the wall. You find the .38 slug lying on the carpet right behind the wall in the hallway. The bullet damage caused the circuit breaker to trip.

Nobody is hurt. You were at least smart enough to practice with nobody else home. You are scared to death. Your poor heart is racing a mile a minute. You couldn't believe you could ever be so stupid, you think to yourself.

What happened? You have been handling firearms for decades without incident. Yes, you FORGOT the gun was loaded!! Yes, you FORGOT to clear the weapon once more before that last spur-of-the-moment "practice". You wonder if you even trust yourself around guns anymore.

What habits could you have practiced, even if you are absent-minded, to have prevented that scary unintended bang?

Would it have been prudent to take all the ammo out of the gun and placed in another room such as kitchen drawer? Then when you reload the gun you say no more dry fire practice. You simply and promptly put the gun where it is normally stored.

I found this link:

There’s been stories where after someone finishes dry-firing and makes their weapon only practice “one more time.”

They made their weapon HOT then simply and suddenly forgot about it. Some people have a case of short-term memory loss.

Does your dry-fire practice target have a safe backstop behind it?
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Old June 21, 2021, 07:03 AM   #2
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That's not an AD, it's a ND.

The only *accidental* discharge I've had was the first time I fired an 1899 Krag: when I closed the bolt, the worn sear slipped and fired the round. Fortunately I was following safety and had the muzzle downrange. Immediately cleared the rifle and didn't mess with it any more until it had been to a smith.
Isn't it amazing how many people know exactly what everyone except themselves is doing wrong?
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Old June 21, 2021, 07:26 AM   #3
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I see. Negligent discharge is on account of human brain malfunction. Accidental discharge is on account of mechanical trouble with the gun.

The person dry firing INTENDS for the trigger to be operated. He in his right mind does not intend for the gun to go bang. But in his erroneous state of mind he forgot to clear the gun again before depressing the trigger. Something disrupted his train of thought and he deviated from his normal habits of gun handling. We can train for 100's of hours in firearm safety but none of that training can prepare us for a moment of forgetfulness.

Gun handlers must NEVER trust their memory for one second.

Dry-firing is very counterintuitive if you are not experienced at it. Most people do expect, and intend, the gun to fire when the trigger is intentionally depressed in most trigger-depressing situations.

Last edited by AlongCameJones; June 21, 2021 at 07:31 AM.
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Old June 21, 2021, 07:40 AM   #4
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Years ago, I had a high end Pellet 10 meter target pistol come in. It had a 6 way adjustable trigger that could do down to mere ounces. First time I loaded it, I had it pointed to the ground and went to sit down. Bingo, someone from the factory had set it all the way down. Not blaming them, It was ND, and lesson learned. Later loaded it up and found out just a slight bump would set it off)
(By the way, I only EDC DAO guns)
Kind of scary, if it were a powder burner, it could have taken off the whole end of my foot.

Thankfully it was a "Wad Cutter" pellet used for target shooting and traveled downward and did not hit bone. After the Doctor took it out and I was leaving he said Good By and added. "

Hey, don't shoot yourself in the foot."

Last edited by Carl the Floor Walker; June 21, 2021 at 04:13 PM.
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Old June 21, 2021, 08:33 AM   #5
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I see. Negligent discharge is on account of human brain malfunction. Accidental discharge is on account of mechanical trouble with the gun.

I had the sear wear out on an M&P and did not catch it. Drew and had a dead trigger, racked it, shot two rounds and as I was transitioning to the next target, the pistol fired and my finger was not on the trigger. Had an AR that slam fired, basically doubling. Those were both ADs.

At a match, pistol on table, scooped with my left hand and flipped the pistol into my right and my trigger finger was not straight. I fired the pistol unintentionally. ND.
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Old June 21, 2021, 10:24 AM   #6
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I was taught that dry fire practice occurs only in a room with no ammunition.

That 'should' prevent the OP scenario of 'one more practice'.
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Old June 21, 2021, 10:58 AM   #7
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Been there and done that !!!

What happened? You have been handling firearms for decades without incident. Yes, you FORGOT the gun was loaded!! Yes, you FORGOT to clear the weapon once more before that last spur-of-the-moment "practice". You wonder if you even trust yourself around guns anymore.
IMHO; The longer you work with tools, yes, including firearms, you have to watch out for getting "complacent". It mostly comes from having too many birthdays. It is natural and to some degree, it will happen to us. .....

Regardless of how you to label, if it's not planned, you lost control. When it happens and after you stop beating yourself us, do whatever it takes to learn and not forget, the lesson. I am fortunate to teach it, during or safety classes.....

God has looked out for this fool as I have come too close to hurting something or someone. I'm still blessed with having all my fingers and toes although I have my share of scars and burns. ......

Say your prayers and:
Be Safe !!!
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Old June 21, 2021, 12:10 PM   #8
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Everybody here already knows how to safely handle firearms so I'm NOT going to repeat any safety advice.

Just going to say this even happens to folk like Massad Ayoob who tells the story on himself:

It also happened to a guy that was the MN State Pistol Champ at one time.
He was visiting a friend and the guy brought out a 1911 and told him to try the trigger pull on THIS gun. He aimed it at the TV set, which was on and the spouse was watching it, pulled the trigger and you know the rest.
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Old June 21, 2021, 03:13 PM   #9
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I'm guessing your example is more autobiographical then hypothetical?

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Old June 21, 2021, 03:43 PM   #10
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I've been watching some online videos of dry-fire practice in the home lately. Mr. Gun Blue talks about using a wall switch as a dry-fire target.

As I was doing that, I did remember the unintentional discharge my mother had way back in 1981 while cleaning and inspecting the family's home defender, a Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver. She cocked the gun with the gun loaded. Why, I don't know. She tried to decock the hammer but BANG! It slipped out of her fingers. Fortunately the only damage was two bullet holes in two adjacent drywall walls near the corner of the bathroom. The gun barrel should have been pointed downward toward the living room desk where she was sitting. My father had picked this gun up from a police sale a year earlier and my mother was fairly new at gun handling. I'm not sure if she ever got any formal firearms training. Gladly there never was another firearms mishap with my mother again. She would still own and keep two handguns for security for the next ten years until she passed away in 1991. She's now resting in peace.

Whether you are new to guns or have been handling them for 75 years, you can never eve be "too safe". Even trained police officers have done dumb things to cause unintentional firing.

Here's my take: I have changed some of my habits.

The ammunition will never again be in the same room as the gun I'm inspecting, cleaning, repairing, working on, practicing drawing from a fanny pack or holster or function checking. The ammo will be immediately removed from the gun and placed in the kitchen drawer and counted. Before squeezing the trigger to do a function check, the gun will be cleared ONCE MORE and the barrel will be pointed downward at my bed since I regularly service my guns in my bedroom at my PC desk. There will be no more placing the ammo on my bed, my desk or on the table with my gun cleaning supplies. I have three guns normally containing ammo as personal security weapons: two d/a Smith revolvers (one 5-shot .38 Spc. + P regularly stowed in a fanny pack for legal concealed carry), one 7-shot .357 in the bathroom medicine cabinet and a Remmy 870 police pump 6-round shotgun with magazine extension. The ammo will be taken out, counted and immediately placed in the other room drawer. There are no children in my home. Any firearms I have sport are never stowed with ammo in them.

Last edited by AlongCameJones; June 21, 2021 at 03:55 PM.
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Old June 21, 2021, 07:13 PM   #11
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I remember a trainer who talked about dry practice and one of hiS HARD, FAST RULES was if anything interrupts you dry practice session you are DONE. NO EXCEPTIONS.

it makes sense to me because apparently the scenario you mention isn't that uncommon
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Old June 21, 2021, 07:32 PM   #12
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I admit that I do not do much dry fire of my firearms. When I do, it isn’t a “session.” I will dry fire to try my trigger or function check, but I don’t use dry fire as a training method. (I agree that it is a GREAT training method, but I don’t use it)

I have never experienced an AD or an ND. The scariest thing that I have ever done, and won’t ever forget, is coming home from a range day and finding that my 1928 Colt Woodsman had a live, chambered round in it. Clearly my fault, but my diligence in the Four Rules kept that from being nothing more than a clear memory.
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Old June 22, 2021, 01:58 AM   #13
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Guns and absent-minded individuals are a scary mix.
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Old June 22, 2021, 05:35 AM   #14
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Many years ago, no not a fairy story! I had a buddy, a Police Officer in Toronto, a hobby leather holster maker. I asked him to make me what he called his FBI Pancake holster. It sat on the right hip, outside the belt concealed by a shirt or a jacket.

We shot matches, in IPSC, first with 1911 Colt 45 pistols. Then I decided to go 9mm Glock 17, which we brought into Canada. His leather making work was done in his basement. He had not seen one of these plastic pistols before, his issue handgun was an S&W 4" barreled revolver.

His method of holding the handgun in the holster was moulding the thick leather around the weapon, revolver or semi-auto pistol. The finish was a deep gloss.

In the showing how this new concept pistol, loaded, unloaded, dissembled, etc, etc! And drawing from the nice new holster. I drew, and dry fired, one last time, aiming at the one window, in the basement.

BANG!! His neighbour across the street showed him this copper jacketed 9mm bullet, he found on his driveway on Monday! Rolled off the roof?

As the local gangs were starting to gather, 9mm pistols being really popular. It was not such a big deal?

My one and only ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE ever. Tony replaced his own window.
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Old June 22, 2021, 07:50 AM   #15
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Over 30 yrs ago with a BB gun I had an AD. Back then (and maybe still today I have no idea how much the quality of BB guns has changed) after a while BB guns would simply stop working well as the springs wore out or it couldn't hold air.

I tried to load a BB by shaking the gun and nothing came out when I fired so I figured it was empty (there was no way to check on this gun). Pumped the gun to dry fire it to show my friend what the air sounded like with no bullet and when I fired it fired the bb. Apparently that round either had gotten stuck or didn't have enough push to go out the first time. The BB went into the air so no injuries or anything.

I wonder if watching my BB guns fail so much as a kid is why I am so paranoid about the internal safety features of pistols. I only carry DAO or DA/SA and require a safety or I will not put a round in the chamber. MP bodyguard and Beretta's are my fav guns for this reason. People love their glocks and striker fired pistols but I just can't get used to the way they function.
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Old June 22, 2021, 10:43 AM   #16
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Had an SKS given to me to work on and while I was testing it, I loaded a round from the magazine and when the bolt moved forward the round went off. Found out it had a firing pin that was gummed up and stuck in the firing position.
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Old June 22, 2021, 12:30 PM   #17
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Negligent Discharge and Accidental Discharge are very, very different things.

But, this came up recently elsewhere and I thought you folks might enjoy the read.
I present the Idiot's Guide to Being a Negligent Pile of Garbage.
The original author was quite proud of having so many NDs without hurting someone.
They've happened a few times

>At friends apartment at college. Just bought my first pistol from a gun show (I was 18)
>Drinking with friends
>Show them my new Jericho
>Try to manually decock
>Thumb slips on hammer, ND into celling
>Upstairs neighbors too high and drunk (underage and illegal drugs) to call the police.

Second time
>At range
>Showing friend pistol
>Think gun is unloaded
>Point at ground show him how to wrack and pull the trigger.
>Forgot loaded mag in
>Shoot between his feet

Third time
>At parents house.
>Just bought a sig from a guy
>Get home
>Try swapping slides with another sig I had
>Forgot the other sig slide was chambered.
>Pull trigger
>Shoot parents wall

Fourth time
>At my new house
>Playing with a friend's 5.56 AK
>Release bolt
Slam fires round into ground

Fith time
>Showing a friend how to use it
>No idea how but a round got chambered
>Show him how the trigger works,
>Pull trigger
>Shoots round into floor in the same place as before

Sixth time
>Thought maybe the house was haunted
>Grab a sig
>Physically clear it, (racked the slide 3 times) with no magazine in
pull trigger at the same hole
>Round goes off

Seventh time
>Friend brings over a used Glock wants me to look over it
>I grab it and pull the trigger without clearing it
>Didn't even realize the thing was loaded.

Eighth time
>Friend brings over his transferable Mac 10
>I had no idea how open bolt guns worked.
>He's showing it off to me
>I put a loaded mag it and decided to try and release the bolt (I thought it shot from a closed bolt)
>Pulled the trigger for some reason
>Shot 3 rounds into my wall

Ninth time
>Be drinking white claws
>Get a good buzz going
>Decide to play with Ruger Vaquero
>Forget I had it loaded with ratshot
>Accidentally pepper TV screen with tons of pellets

Overall you shouldn't feel too bad about NDs. It's part of owning guns, and you should get used to them.
Don't even try it. It's even worse than the internet would lead you to believe.
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Old June 22, 2021, 02:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by AlongCameJones View Post
Who here has ever had an "accidental" firearms discharge?

Does your dry-fire practice target have a safe backstop behind it?
Not me, and no.

There are some things you simply don't do (or do, i.e. verifying a firearm is clear before dry-firing.)

I read stories of friends that have done stupid stuff on motorcycles (I ride) as well, and shake my head.

I do know someone that shot himself in his truck. I am not surprised. He's also a motorcyclist, and has crashed, more than once.
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Old June 22, 2021, 03:23 PM   #19
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I have done stupid stuff in automobiles and have had a couple non-injury accidents and near misses where a person could have gotten hurt if the near miss had been otherwise a hit. It was basically due to inattention or getting distracted behind the wheel. You must never daydream with a gun in your hand, a power tool in your hand OR the wheel of a vehicle in your hand. There is modern technology that tries to make cars idiot-proof like Toyota's Safety Sense that will automatically put on the brakes when you are about to plow into the car in front of you because your eyes are focused on some chick's behind on the street. I don't know how they can make safety sense technology for firearms when you are about to "dry fire" at a point on the house wall and unbeknownst to you the gun has live rounds. Maybe some flashing red idiot light indicating rounds in the chamber?

Of course, you never should mix alcohol and guns, cars or hazardous equipment. When fatigued or tired, leave guns, cars, airplanes, power tools, boats and bodies of water alone.

Last edited by AlongCameJones; June 23, 2021 at 12:11 AM.
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Old June 22, 2021, 10:25 PM   #20
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Negligent discharge is also not correct, despite how much you want to jump on board with anti gunners and use their terminology.

The term is unintentional discharged, and there are two types:

1. Voluntary unintentional discharge where you intended and purposely press the trigger with out then intention of the gun going off ie like the OP’s story or for you Glock shooters out there, chamber is not clear prior to disassembly.

2. Involuntary unintentional discharge, this is caused by startle effect, balance disruption and inter-limb interaction.
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Old June 22, 2021, 11:57 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by DPI7800
Voluntary unintentional
This seems like a contradiction to me.

Originally Posted by DPI7800
Involuntary unintentional
This seems redundant to me.

Originally Posted by DPI7800
Negligent discharge is also not correct, despite how much you want to jump on board with anti gunners and use their terminology.
As much as I don't want to "jump on board" with anti-gunners (not sure how acknowledging that some people can be negligent qualifies as this but okay), I'm also not willing to go to the point of using terminology that makes little to no sense to me. I use the term negligent because in many cases the cause was user negligence.
Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness
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Old June 23, 2021, 12:17 AM   #22
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Human brain error was the root cause in my OP scenario.

The gun functioned correctly when it went BANG! as it was designed to do when the trigger was pressed and loads were chambered. However, the gun was made to discharge a bullet under an undesirable set of circumstances without conscious human intent to fire. Dry fire training is also counterintuitive because the human mind is much more accustomed to expecting a gun to go off when intentionally pointed at an object and the trigger pressed. In army basic, we practiced dry fire only a few times with washers and dimes. Most depressing of the trigger involved live rounds going off at the range, hopefully to hit intended targets and score the firer an Expert badge. Drill sergeants didn't dare sport their Smokey Bear hats on the range as they might otherwise become highly-visible intended targets too. Young soldiers used to horseplay with their weapons too off the range by pointing them at others and pressing the trigger. I was guilty of that crap too but long grew out of it. In the army you are under such tight control and supervision when you are issued a weapon. The sergeants guard you like a baby whenever you are issued live rounds. As a civilian with a gun in the home, there is no drill sergeant in your face constantly to keep you out of trouble. Safe gun handling requires the utmost in self-discipline and mental alertness. You treat a gun like an airline pilot treats an aircraft with many innocent folks on board. Respect any gun like any body of water.

A gun (or a chainsaw) is a dumb unintelligent mechanical object. It can't read human state of mind.

The human might have even been fatigued or tired. He should have gone to bed instead of doing dry practice in that state. Try to stay away from guns if you are emotionally distraught. Fight with significant other. Rough day at work. Guns take a high level of alertness and attention to procedural detail to safely master. There's the danger of becoming overconfident when having been around firearms for a long time.

There are no dangerous firearms, only dangerous human minds that are impaired.

Last edited by AlongCameJones; June 23, 2021 at 12:37 AM.
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Old June 23, 2021, 12:18 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by DPI7800
Negligent discharge is also not correct, despite how much you want to jump on board with anti gunners and use their terminology.
I respectfully disagree. Negligent discharge is correct for when a firearm is fired through unintended human action, as opposed to mechanical malfunction (which would qualify as an accidental discharge). And, for the record, I have heard (and used) the term "negligent discharge" innumerable times, and I have never before seen or heard it referred to as anti-gunner terminology.

Definition of "negligent":

Originally Posted by Merriam-Webster on-line
Definition of negligent

1a : marked by or given to neglect especially habitually or culpably
b : failing to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances

2 : marked by a carelessly easy manner
Originally Posted by Cambridge English Dictionary

not being careful or giving enough attention to people or things that are your responsibility:
Guns are dangerous. Unintended discharges can hurt or kill people, which is why we are supposed to be careful when working with firearms. In that context, I respectfully submit that I don't understand how an unintended discharge not attributable to mechanical malfunction could be anything other than negligent.

* Did the gun fire? Yes.

* Did you intend to fire it? No.

* Was there a mechanical malfunction? No

* Negligent discharge. Q.E.D.
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Old June 23, 2021, 12:35 AM   #24
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Here's a poll from another forum with almost 600 responses selecting options that applied to their unintentional discharge.

Only about 12% occur as the result of the trigger snagging on something, the gun being dropped. or parts breaking in the gun. We tend to worry a lot about these kinds of incidents, but even when you roll them all together into one category, the still account for a relatively small percentage of the overall picture.

Another 14% or so are the result of the trigger doubling (the gun firing a second time unintentionally immediately after the gun was fired intentionally) which is usually not a big problem since the gun was intentionally being fired it was presumably being pointed in a safe direction at the time.

A little over 50% happen when the shooter intentionally pulls the trigger.

Another 20% happen when the shooter unintentionally pulls the trigger.

The last three categories all involve the shooter's finger being on the trigger. Which means that if you don't want the gun to go off, keep your finger out of the trigger guard-that eliminates about 85% of unintentional discharges.

Dry firing is a good practice technique and can be done safely, but it's important to understand that it's breaking the first rule of how to avoid unintentional discharges---keep your finger off the trigger.

That means that it's extremely important to implement other safety protocols and stick to them religiously when dryfiring.

1. When dryfiring, ALWAYS fully check the gun to make sure it is unloaded before starting.
*EVERY time you put it down, check it fully again when you pick it up.
*EVERY time you resume dryfiring after any kind of a break, check it fully again when you start up again even if you didn't put the gun down.
*If you are distracted or interrupted, check it fully again when you get back to dryfiring even if you didn't put the gun down.
*Always check the chamber(s) both visually and manually. If it's a revolver, be sure to check EVERY chamber carefully.

2. When dryfiring, always use a backstop of some kind. A bookcase full of books, a heavy piece of furniture, a brick wall, etc. Something that will stop the bullet if something goes wrong.

3. When dryfiring, NEVER point the gun at yourself, another person, any animal or any valuable property. If there IS an unintentional discharge it doesn't have to be a tragedy.

4. When dryfiring, NEVER have live ammunition within reach. If it's a gun that is normally loaded, unload it in another room and dryfire in a room with no ammunition in it.

5. Dryfiring requires the same unloading & safety procedure every time. If you're going to dryfire 100 times, go through the entire procedure. If you're just going to dryfire 1 time, go through the entire procedure. If you're going to do 2 sessions with a short break in between, go through the entire procedure at the beginning and then again after the short break.

6. Don't dryfire if you are tired, distracted, impaired or can't devote your full attention to the process.
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Old June 23, 2021, 02:16 AM   #25
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Personally I also believe that a person's mindset can be dangerous. For example I think some people tend to think too highly of their safety skills. They feel they are above doing something stupid or incapable of being distracted. I have heard so many times on the internet people quote "Your finger is the best safety". I think that phrase is misleading. There is much more to safety than that.
A example would be the time I shot myself in the foot with a Pellet Pistol as mentioned above. My finger WAS off the trigger. So what? It was not handled right. It was "preventable". It was Not a accident simply because the light weight Target trigger had been adjusted so low from the factory.

How many times do you see a car crash and call it a accident? In almost every single case it was "Preventable" to some degree.
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