View Full Version : CCJA Safety Alert! Fumbled Gun: Drop It!

Tom Perroni
October 15th, 2009, 10:59 AM

This could happen to any one of us as an Instructor or Shooter! This was forwarded to me and I wanted you to read it!

Stay Safe & Shoot Straight!

Fumbled Gun: Drop It!

"A local serviceman was killed today after being shot during a training accident." That was the lead off by the talking head on the evening news. Based upon that statement you would assume that the person in question was negligently shot by another serviceman. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. I watched the television report via the Internet and nowhere in the story were the hard facts about the situation reported.

However, I am in possession of the facts of the case as the man who died was a member of the parent command of the unit I serve. The instructor cadre, of which I am a part, was briefed on the incident by the command's safety officer.

What occurred on that fateful day follows. The serviceman was shooting a pistol qualifications course. During one of the stages shooters are required to shift the gun from their dominant shooting hand over to their non-dominant or support hand. This was where things went wrong.

The man lost control of his pistol, how or why doesn't really matter. It's an imperfect world and stuff happens. Rather than letting the pistol fall to the ground he reached out to grab it. The M9 service pistol was in single-action trigger mode (safety off) as he had just fired two rounds.

When the shooter grabbed the pistol it was inverted with the muzzle pointing back toward his chest. One of his thumbs found its way into the triggerguard and the weapon fired. A single full metal jacketed 9mm round passed through the center of his chest cutting a vital artery. He died on the range.

The knee-jerk reaction from some of the safety officers was that this would not have happened if there had been more dry fire or holster training. That just doesn't wash. You don't practice the proper way to drop a pistol with dry fire.

Two main factors caused this tragedy to occur. First and foremost is human nature. You've been catching objects since you were in kindergarten or earlier. If something starts to accidentally fall, you reach out and grab it. Everyone does this. We're pre-wired to do it.

The second factor is that, although there was a lengthy briefing prior to commencing live fire, nowhere in the safety brief did the Range Safety Officer ever discuss what to do if you last control or fumbled with your pistol. Couple that with the fact that military personnel are generally ridiculed and often punished for dropping a weapon and you have a recipe for disaster.

Whether you are an individual shooter, trainer, or range safety officer you must understand and address the dropped/fumbled gun possibility. The issue isn't such a big deal with long guns but when dealing with handguns it is definitely a situation that must be spoken to.

It is really as simple as this, if you fumble your gun, let it go. All modern firearms have passive safeties to prevent 'drop firing'. If your pistol is too pretty or too fragile to be dropped you shouldn't have it our on the range. Bottom line, we don't catch fumbled pistols. Drop it!

October 15th, 2009, 11:01 AM
It is really as simple as this, if you fumble your gun, let it go. All modern firearms have passive safeties to prevent 'drop firing'.

excellent reminder. Better to be embarrassed by a dropped pistol than someone getting killed or injured.

October 15th, 2009, 04:20 PM
Good Advice, pistols added to the list along with straight razors!

October 15th, 2009, 05:17 PM
A terrible "teaching moment," but an important lesson.

October 16th, 2009, 08:54 AM
Wow. Something I had not given much thought to, but will keep in mind. Anyone who's ever been in the service knows what a no-no it is to drop your weapon. Author of that piece is Paul Markel who is a "full-time Small Arms and Tactics Instructor for the U.S. Military."

October 16th, 2009, 07:51 PM
yeah that sucks.
I think thats why some guns have a heavy trigger. like a S&W sigma, approx 10-10.5 pounds. Only way you gunna pull that trigger is by force.

October 16th, 2009, 07:54 PM
I will say that I believe this is pretty good advice...