Rule Number One

I stumbled upon this example of a negligent discharge at Xavier’s blog. The lesson here is that no matter how experienced you are, it can still happen. Ensuring that the chamber is empty before handling any firearm is rule number one – all guns are loaded. Check and double check to see if there’s a round in the chamber – even if you put it down momentarily and come back. Below is a gentleman’s account of what happened when his firearm discharged. Please keep his experience in mind so it is less likely to happen to you. I thank this gentleman for sharing his personal experience and Xavier for passing it on to his readers.

“Well….I’ve always heard it’s not a matter of “if, but “when”. My number came up and I paid a hefty price.

Last Friday I was preparing to go shooting the next AM with a buddy of mine. I had just put a new a-grip on my Glock, and was going to clean it after my wife and I finished our movie. Crash is an awsome movie BTW.

I put the weapon back together and inserted the mag. I did not pipe a round because I knew I was going to strip it later. I went upstairs and put the weapon in the tool box in the garage.

About and hour later (mid-night or so), I returned to the garage to finish cleaning and getting gear together for the morning. I picked up the Glock, dropped the mag and prepared to remove the slide. I done this literally thousands of times in the last fifteen years, but this times things were a little different. I grabbed the slide getting ready to push the takedown pins and pulled the trigger……BANG!!!!! Apparently I DID pipe a round an hour prior. My shooting bud attributes it to force of habit, but why the hell didn’t I check the chamber before pulling the trigger? Should that be force of habit too?

Not only did I set off a .45 in my garage, but I passed right through my left hand……Yep….I fucking shot myself point blank. I’m still having a hard time getting my head around what I did. I was SO angry at myself. I have always been uber safe with any firearm, but one lack of procedure changed everything. I’m really taking this hard, and all the “it could have been worse”, “accidents happen”, and “thank god you didn’t lose your hand statements really don’t help. I guess I’m getting over it, but it still seems very surreal to me.

Here are details….I know you all are morbidly curious, and I don’t mind telling…it’s kinda like therapy for me.

I DID NOT hear the shot (nor did my ears ring afterwards), and it felt sorta like catching a fastball right in the palm of your glove. I have a very clear image, and suspect I always will, of the hole in my hand…perfect .45 diameter not bleeding….yet. I took a few seconds, and then the arterial arch in my palm cut loose. Blood like you wouldn’t believe. I think the fact that I was a Paramedic in a former life helped me out here. I walked into the laundry room and grabbed a towel to wrap it up, call up the stairs for my wife to come down. I remember thinking “if I go get her, I’ll mess up the carpet on the stairs”. No lie. She came down half asleep and kind of grumpy, and I told her “I just put a bullet in my hand”. Said she was calling 911 and according to her I responded “That would be a good idea..” My wife is neo-natal RN, and can remain cool as a cucumber. This helped me out too I think.

I went back into the garage, put my blasted hand on the floor kneeling on the towel and proceeded to open my ever present jump-bag with the other. I opened a US issue trauma dressing with my teeth, and proceeded to wrap my hand. Those dressing are the schiz nit by the way. My wife later told me it was very “Die-Haredesque”…… I do remember cussing at myself the entire time… I have never been that angry before…..

Four cops, the shift sup., a pumper truck and am ambulance later I was off to the ER. I didn’t feel any pain until I got in the ambulance. The endorphins shut down and it hurt like nothing you can imagine. No tickets from the cops, but did have to ask which weapon I did it with. My garage looks like an arsenal pre-range trip.

The bullet (a Black Talon no less..) shattered my ring finger meta-tarsal, and ‘removed’ two others. It destroyed the flexor tendon of my ring finger, almost separated my pinky tendon, and exited the right side of my wrist just above my watch band. There was a definite exit hole, but the blast force blew the side of my palm WIDE open about three inches in length. I didn’t even see the exit wound until I removed my watch for the FD. Anyway, nine hours of surgery, three screws, a tendon graft from my forearm and about two-hundred sutures later I was put back together. My surgeon said if anyone has to get shot in the hand, this was how to do it. No nerve damage….whew. Physical therapy twice a week for god knows how long, and the surgeon expects at least 80% function back.

I’ve included a pic of the round. Snap-On tool boxes are quite literally bullet proof. The jacket separated from the slug when it hit the box, that’s why the slug is flat on one side. If the mods permit, I’ll post pics of my hand too…..it’s pretty burly, and will drive the point home.

Thanks for listening. My wife thinks I’m crazy to post this, but it really does help me feel better. Remember….check the chamber twice, then check it again.”

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Categories: Firearms, Guns

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