2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Deputy shoots self in leg.. lessons learned

The Columbus Dispatch

Deputy sheriff accidentally shoots himself in the leg
Monday, August 17, 2009 7:15 AM
A Franklin County deputy sheriff accidentally shot himself yesterday morning at the Downtown county jail, deputies said.

The deputy, whom officials did not name, was trying to holster his gun when it fired about 6:45 a.m. The shot went through his right leg, and he was treated at Grant Medical Center.

I hope this is not a career ending event for this deputy, either due to physical injury or reputation. While not an everyday occurrence, incidents like this do happen unfortunately. We have all seen the video of the DEA officer shooting himself in a school classroom. Sometimes being in a profession or environment where weapons are commonly used or found builds a false sense of security or familiarity with them that can sometimes lead to these incidents. Sad but true. Anyone who has ever told you that they have never pulled the trigger when they didn't mean to has either lied to you or just not had their turn yet. Whether with or without ammo in the weapon, everyone will make this mistake at least once. The trick is learning how to deal with it.

Just in case you are the one person who hasn't seen this yet. I do not agree with his reasoning to remove his weapon in the first place when he could just as easily used inert training weapons as well.

Not a whole lot of detail here but I would venture to guess that one of two things happened:

1. A piece of clothing or equipment got in between the trigger and the holster during the holstering, causing the ND

2. The deputy had his finger on the trigger when holstering

Either way, the object in between the trigger and the holster will push on the trigger when the pistol is forced against the holster and cause it to discharge in a great number of weapons without external safeties such as the Glock and SIG which are commonly used in law enforcement.

The debate for and against external safeties is an on going debate. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that I am against most external safeties on pistols. I think external safeties, while useful, install bad habits and a false sense of security in novice shooters. I believe that the shooter is the primary safety and as long as the weapon can only be fired by a deliberate pull on the trigger, most situations can be handled safely with a weapon. No weapon is 100% safe when loaded and it is up to a trained operator to handle the weapon in such a way to mitigate any safety issues present. Now with some weapons, such as the 1911 platform, you cannot get away without using the safety to utilize it properly. Such as with weapons such as the Glock without external safeties, the main thing to remember this is proper training in the use and handling of the weapon is the key.

With this in mind, I would like to offer some basic advice when using holsters:

  • Only use a holster that was made for your weapon.
  • Practice using your holster until you are familiar with its use, how it rides and any retention mechanisms you will have to use.
  • Never do a "blind" return to your holster when possible, always visually watch your pistol return to the holster to ensure that a piece of clothing or other object does not enter the trigger guard area.
  • Practice proper weapon handling techniques with your pistol (using snap caps if possible) and get in the habit of keeping your finger out of the trigger guard unless shooting (one of the "big 4" firearm safety rules)

This all reminds me of a scene from the movie Blackhawk Down..

Steele: Sergeant, what's the meaning of this?
[Thinking he's talking about the unauthorized pig picking]
"Hoot": Just a little aerial target practice, sir. Didn't want to leave 'em behind.
Steele: I'm talking about your weapon, soldier. Now Delta or no-Delta, that's still a hot weapon. Your safety should be on at all times.
"Hoot": This is my safety, sir.
[He holds up his index finger and bends motions as if squeezing a trigger and then walks off]
Sanderson: Let it alone, sir. He hasn't eaten in a few days.


Kevin Delaney said...

So... after reading that post i wonder if you have ever had an accident. I told you about mine but I never did actually ask you.

Huey148 said...

Hi I'm Pete and I've had a ND....Hi Pete

Since we're getting everything out in the open, 199?, qualifying with the M9 at Camp Perry up on the lake. Course of fire included a mag swap during one run, bang bang bang slide locks back, drop the mag, insert the next one, release the slide by the slide stop lever (didn't knwo better back then) and KABOOM! Had my finger in the trigger area, worse yet, my arm was definitely out of the lane markers. Round went somewhere out in the lake where it shouldn't.

Luckily with all of the other shooters going at it at the same time nobody noticed. Even with that I still managed to qual "expert" that day ;-).

Anonymous said...

another good thing i found to do when reholstering is to keep your thumb on the hammer. try pulling the trigger while you thumb is putting a little presure on it. it won't work, but this only works on a firearm with a hammer of course ;-)