Glock Safety Action Trigger (courtesy us.glock.com)

“A key mistakenly placed in a holster released the safety and activated the trigger on a school resource officer’s gun on Monday, causing the gun to accidentally discharge a bullet into a sidewalk at York Comprehensive High School, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office.” Regular readers will know that this is not our first bite of this particular negligent discharge (ND) apple. We covered the RSO’s ballistic faux pas in Passively Constructed Negligent Discharge Story of the Day: How’s That Whole School Resource Officer Thing Working Out for You? And now, thanks to charlotteobserver.com, we get the “real story” behind the Palmetto State incident. Ready? So . . .

The department began its investigation immediately after Prescott’s standard-issued Glock 22 gun accidentally fired an hour before the start of the school day on school grounds on Monday.

Not to go all Ellen Foley on you but—STOP RIGHT THERE! Didn’t the Observer say an errant key “released the safety” of the RSO’s gun? Glock’s don’t have safeties. Well, not external safeties. Glocks are all striker-fired guns with a “safety action trigger.”

Glock safety action trigger revealed (courtesy us.glock.com)

As writer Anna Douglas doesn’t seem to have personal knowledge of Glock handguns, or access to the Internet, or a telephone with which to call a Glock armorer, here’s the relevant bit about said safety action trigger from Glock’s website [picture above]:

The trigger safety is incorporated into the trigger in the form of a lever and when in the forward position, blocks the trigger from moving rearward. To fire the pistol, the trigger safety and the trigger itself, must be deliberately depressed at the same time. If the trigger safety is not depressed, the trigger will not move rearwards and allow the pistol to fire.

In other words, a key would have to press down on both parts of the trigger at the same time for the gun to fire. You’d probably be able to use a key to discharge a Glock provided you applied enough force in the right direction. Murphy’s Law? We report, you deride. Here’s how the sheriff’s office say the ND went down:

The sheriff’s office says [Officer Dave] Prescott first retrieved a gym bag from the passenger seat of his car before turning to walk towards the school.

In the video, the deputy can be seen placing the bag over his shoulder and closing the patrol car’s door.

The accident happened just after Prescott places his hand near his gun, attempting to place his keys in an open pocket of his bag.

During the sheriff’s office investigation, deputies found that Prescott was likely holding one of his keys between two fingers and mistakenly wedged the set of keys in his holster, not in his bag.

Prescott’s holster is an older model with an area just large enough for an item to slip into and become lodged against a gun’s trigger.

The sheriff’s office says it is in the process of replacing a handful of holsters like Prescott’s.

According to this (let’s face it) tall tale, Officer Prescott had a set of keys in his hand. He was holding one key between his fingers like he was about to insert it into a car’s ignition or a lock. He then jammed the key (one singular) into the bag to, you know, to put his keys away. Who does that? I’m thinking nobody.

Safariland 6280 SLS Hooded Level II Duty Holster (courtesy policeplus.com)

Now what about this “older model” holster thing? Let’s assume the sheriff’s office means ye olde leather holster with a button safety strap, like the Safariland 6280 SLS Hooded Level II Duty Holster above. What are the odds that you could jam a single key between the leather and the firearm to engage both triggers simultaneously with an equal amount of pressure? What are the odds that you’d do it by mistake?

When the incident happened, Prescott’s gun was not malfunctioning, said Undersheriff Maj. Robert Hudgins.

The accidental firing was a “freak anomaly,” he said.

The school district is eager for Prescott to return, Hudgins said, adding that he is “well-thought of at York Comprehensive High School and they miss (Prescott).”

At least one e-mail from a community member was sent to the sheriff’s office and the school, he said, and all comments about the incident have been supportive and understanding that it was an accident.

Yeah, well, time to read the comments below this post. And yes, Prescott’s going straight back to work at the school where he showed some kids his loaded gun and pulled the trigger (IMHO). As for the Observer, I’m going to give them a Mulligan. Seems someone on staff isn’t quite as gullible as the entire article (up to the last two ‘graphs) indicates.

The sheriff’s office has received requests, including one from The Herald, for documents related to Prescott’s disciplinary record and training.

Hudgins said the department is working on fulfilling those records requests.

We’ll ping the writer with this story to see what comes of that. Meanwhile, watch out for those “freak anomalies.”

90 Responses to “Mistakenly Placed Key” Caused SC Glock 22 ND. Or Not.

    • ironic that you would say that: former Charlotte mayor, Anthony Foxx, is now sec of transportation for Barry. Dept of transport probably gave grant money to the PD. Let’s do some more math here . . . . .

      I went to school with Foxx’s wife. She is hot.

  1. “A key mistakenly placed in a holster released the safety & activated the trigger on a school resource officer’s gun . . .

    That is one irresponsible key! Fire that key immediately! Er, I mean discharge that key! Oh wait . . . I mean, terminate that key’s employment!

  2. I can see how one could take a very long car key with that setup and get the trigger to pull. The little trigger safety in the middle really doesn’t help in that situation (it’s more of a combination drop safety with the striker blocker).

    What I really want to know is whether or not the SRO did any trigger “customizations” to lighten or shorten the trigger pull. A Glock already has a short and light trigger, and just maybe: a long, heavy DAO trigger may have avoided the problem…

    But then we get into the issue of the police not being able to hit what they shoot at and needing short-light triggers to get the Jeff Cooper “surprise break” and avoid recoil flinching from their heavy caliber weapons. Jeff Cooper’s “surprise break” is a terrible way to cope and deal with the recoil response, IMO…

    • “… might have avoided the problem.”

      Or is there extant the possibility that the problem was in fact avoided…?

      There. I’ve fed my pet peeve for now.

      • I didn’t know it would be acceptable for me to reply to people because they did not use the Oxford comma or used the improper possessive form for a singular noun ending in -s. It’s Illinois’s stupid gun laws, not Illinois’ stupid gun laws. Now I feel better. (I would never do that to any commenter here, but you opened the door for me to address my pet peeves.)

        • I used to call myself the “Self-Appointed Chief, Internet Apostrophe Police” but I’ve thrown my hands in the air and given up. It’s too much like trying to hold back a tsunami with a feather.

        • I spect that if I’m not the worst grammer offendor and misspeller on this site i must at least be in the top 5. Damn good thing we don’t have a test at the end of these comments sections. Or the beginning.

    • Why would that be? I have been using the surprise break since I learned it thirty years ago. Works to perfection for me. Always has.

  3. The re-enactment should be the silliest video since Rose Mary Woods demonstrated how she accidentally erased 17 minutes of the Nixon tapes while practicing Hathayoga. Pure comedy gold.

  4. That’s the thing about trigger safeties. If something is snagging the trigger, there’s a good chance it’s snagging the trigger safety as well. So it doesn’t do much for ND prevention.

    • Couple of things. There was the guy–reported here–who shot himself when the lip of his (old) holster bent in and depressed the trigger on–wait for it–his Glock. He was in his car and reholstering when his gun discharged, causing an ultimately fatal leg wound. Then there was the three year old who shot his (cop) father in the back when he found the weapon on the floor in the back seat of the car. Second, there is no requirement that “both triggers simultaneously with an equal amount of pressure” be depressed. There are any number of flapper triggers out there, including Ruger, Springfield and Glock, and the little flapper takes virtually no pressure at all to depress. And when depressed, the trigger is released. This is in fact why it is so critically necessary to have a holster that completely covers the trigger in this type of mechanism; otherwise it is no different than a single action trigger without the safety on. It is one of the reasons I won’t own a Glock (the other being that I just don’t like shooting them–not ergo for me). Glocks are undoubtedly drop safe–but they are not safe from inadvertent manipulation of the trigger (an issue Springfield addressed with the grip safety). Here, try this. Take a Glock, hold it with two fingers at the bottom of the grip, and slide a stick the size of your thumb into the loop of the trigger. Better make sure it is pointing in a safe direction, because it will most certainly discharge.

      So COULD this happen? Yeah, it certainly could, and even if it is only one in a million (I think the odds are significantly less), then it is not “impossible” and a “cover-up” of a bad mistake by a LEO. So there.

        • Yes, I remember this one, but it wasn’t the one I was thinking about. Anyway, it proves what I was saying about flapper safety devices. I remember another one where they guy died in a parking lot in front of his kids when his Glock shot him.

        • I’ve never understood the purpose of the second “through” in “through and through.” I mean, once it’s through, isn’t it through? Kind of like the “and ever” that some people put at the end of the “Our Father.”

        • This was the story (I guess I blended two stories together, the price of getting old):

          Apparently, that was the problem in the case in Fredricksburg, VA, described at WTVR.com:

          The father, a 45-year-old Spotsylvania man, was in his minivan with his children waiting for his wife to return a DVD to the Redbox outside the Giant Food Store in Harrison Crossing when he was shot, said Captain Elizabeth Scott with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

          The wife said she heard a pop and when she ran back to the minivan, her husband told her he thought he’d shot himself, said Capt. Scott.

          When a Spotsylania County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on scene minutes after the shooting, the man’s wife and others in the Giant parking lot were trying to revive the man.

          The deputy reported the man suffered significant blood loss and was already unconscious when he arrived. The man was later pronounced dead at Mary Washington Hospital, said Capt. Scott.

          She said the initial investigation indicated when the man tried to unbuckle his seat belt, he hit the trigger of his .40 caliber glock and shot himself in the hip.

          It is unclear whether the man carried his gun in a holster or his pocket. The family friend says it likely was loose in his pocket.

          Such a tragedy. It cost him his life. But he gave a valuable lesson to others who might be tempted to carry a handgun without a manual safety loose in a pocket.

          Update. It was probably in his waistband, not his pocket. See updated:

          Investigators said Wednesday that the gun the victim was carrying was not housed in a holster and that they think the gun was simply tucked into the waistband of the man’s pants.

          The victim’s wife said she believes that when her husband went to adjust the gun, which had likely shifted and become uncomfortable, the gun accidentally discharged.

      • Here is another glock and cop NDI and apparently this happens kind of incident happens more often than you think. Goes in the restroom to take a #2. Takes his gun off the belt and uses the coat hook to hang his glock up on the door. Cop fumbles gun, hook depresses “safety” flap and trigger and fires the gun. Recoil continues to fire the gun like its on a giggle switch. No one gets hurt but there was a lot of splaining to be done. Trigger flaps are not safeties, they are drop safe mechanisms. A safety guards discharge when unintended objects enter the trigger area. Grip safeties, manual slide safeties, and other non flappy things are safeties.

      • Seen the police chief ND video yet? He was in a pawn shop, pulled out his Glock (not sure which model) to show it to the guy at the counter. When he went to holster it, the little plastic catch on the drawstring on his windbreaker had dropped down in the holster. It caught behind the trigger. As he pushed the gun in the holster,the elastic stretched. When the trigger broke, he shot himself in the leg. All caught on the store security camera.

        I’ve always preferred a safety to be located somewhere other than the trigger. Sure, a trigger lever reduces time/thought process needed to draw/fire, but I’ve always hated the idea that a single motion can fire the weapon. Give me an HK grip safety any day…

    • That is exactly why Glock’s “safe action” trigger is anything but. The part about the pressure on both the safety and trigger needing to be the exact same is just more of farago’s ignorance. Anything that snags the safety and pushs rearward will fire the weapon. That’s just the way glocks are.

  5. I do not own any sort of Glock, have never fired a Glock and have never looked closely at a Glock.

    However, from the diagrams it appears to me that were something to push the “safety” in a bangward direction, said “safety” would come to rest against the bang switch and that further motion of both would ensue even were the “safety” to be the only object upon which force was being directly exerted.

    It looks to me as though pretty much anything apart from a drop which coud actuate an un-safetied trigger would actuate this trigger irrespective of the “safety.”

    Am I mising something? The Glock “safety” appears to me to be as bogus as “It wasn’t me! It was the one-armed key!”

    As an aside, would a key not be pushing in the non-bangward direction, unless he inserted it from the bottom of the holster?

    • “… would a key not be pushing in the non-bangward direction …”

      Exactly right.

      Sure, just about any object within the trigger guard will make the gun go bang if that object moves toward the backstrap of the pistol. But, and it’ s a ginormous but, I don’t see how a key would move backwards in the trigger guard because there is no room between the holster and the pistol for a key to make its way into the trigger guard much less move the trigger!

  6. Anybody remember the Off Duty Detroit PD’s ND with an M&P that killed the young lady in Detroit? The story morphs and changes over time to the last incarnation where she was doing an “exotic dance” on the floor behind the officer. The story just does not make sense that a holstered gun would twist around and hit her.

    That said, I still mostly like the safeties on my normal carry auto pistols. Working on a farm and in the woods, there are too many weird things (like grasshoppers) that have ended up in my holster.

    • Amusing to see a bunch of Glockaholics fabricate a story when the incident was caught on video. There’s a reason why Glock Leg Syndrome is so named — Glocks are less safe than handguns having either a manual external safety (which is not located on the trigger) or a long, heavy double-action trigger pull.

      We need a gun control law requiring anyone who carries a Glock to wear a large Glock logo sewn on visible parts of his clothing, front and back. That will give others a chance to give such a person a wide berth, hopefully out of ND range.

  7. shit happens. do we report every time a police officer has a car accident? hell for that matter do we report every time a citizen has a minor fender bender? no.

    not a big deal. as i said, shit happens. the double standard is the problem.

    • Heard of this one? There are two types of negligent discharges: the one that’s happened to someone else and the one that could happen to you.

      These posts are a good reminder not to get too complacent with gun handling.

      • i could also be abducted by clowns on a tuesday in may. doesnt mean i need to hear about every clown abduction ever.

        once or twice is good, past that its simply paranoia.

        i have not had a ND happen around me, i tend to not stay too long if i see a violation of any safety rules. it makes me…well…paranoid.

        • I don’t know man. CCTV footage of a clown abduction would be hilarious. Trying to cram the victim into their tiny car and shit.

    • Speaking of Kop Kar Krashes:
      Last night, I almost T-boned a cop car on my bike. I was riding in the crosswalk (technically a no-no) and I saw the cop approaching at a high rate of speed and slow down a little as he neared the crosswalk, but he also technically broke the law, because you’re supposed to stop before the crosswalk, at the “limit” line. I was glad I had my hands on the brakes, because he didn’t. I was going about 0.01 MPH about a foot from his door when he turned on his lights and siren and sped away. Whew!

        • I was pedaling my bike. I had my hands on the brake levers, having seen him coming because I try to pay attention. He was very probably already in pursuit, and slowed down enough to minimize the risk of speeding through the crosswalk and into cross-traffic, which had the green. My complaint was that he ignored the limit line and got out into the crosswalk right in front of me, obviously to check that the intersection was clear. If I hadn’t noticed him and had blithely trundled on through the crosswalk, my front tire would have bounced off the side of his still-moving car, knocking me teacup over tinkettle, which would have been a less than ideal course of events.

          OK? 🙂

        • Addendum: I guess the thing that most got my attention, and I’ve neglected to mention, was during that moment when we were both hesitating, the whole car lit up like a Saturnalia tree. Also, I should have marked the post OT (off-topic) because there were no firearms involved, other than peripherally in that the cops are always packing.

        • Oh! I now see the source of your confusion, and it’s my fault. PoorNegligent sentence construction:
          “you’re supposed to stop before the crosswalk, at the “limit” line. I was glad I had my hands on the brakes, because he didn’t”
          correction:
          “you’re supposed to stop before the crosswalk, at the “limit” line. I was glad I had my hands on the brakes, because he didn’t stop at the limit line.

          I now surrender myself for my forty lashes with the wet noodle.

  8. Is this possible? Yes.

    Is it plausible? No.

    Hate me if you will, but I’m going to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

  9. There was a case of a windbreaker cord lock getting caught in the trigger of a Glock as it was holstered, boom! I suppose it would be possible if you were holding a key ring in the same hand as the pistol and the key hung on the holster lip?
    If true, this is a rare accident and if not, well, we will probably never know the truth.

    • Yup. That was well witnessed and repeated safely. It was the bungee cord plastic adjuster thingie on a standard issue rain coat. Not the exact same holster as seen above tho.

  10. I think it is possible. That’s why I have a SA XD. You have to hold it properly before it discharges and you can keep a round in the chamber with no manual safety and it will be okay.
    I can’t blame the cop on this one, he gets a pass. It might not have been the key, it could have been any object.
    Time to lighten up.

  11. “During the sheriff’s office investigation, deputies found that Prescott was likely holding one of his keys between two fingers and mistakenly wedged [something that-didn’t-belong into the trigger guard at the moment, pushed the trigger back, and discharged the gun]”.

    There. Fixed that for ya.

  12. “Paid administrative leave.” How can I get one of those jobs where when you fvck up so bad that you endanger innocent bystanders, you get “punished” with a paid vacation?

  13. I can’t believe I’m the first to say that if his gun had an oft-maligned grip safety, this wouldn’t have happened.

  14. If you havent had a ND or close to one, you havent carried a weapon 7/24/365, IMHO. I judge ND on where the round went, am less stressed out if its a good backstop. Not that i encourage any occasion.

    Its why i favor manual safety sidearms, and long heavy pull revolvers.

    • Really? That is possibly the weakest excuse I have ever heard. “Well, I carry everyday, so a negligent discharge is bound to happen at some point.” BS. It is “negligent” for a reason. I am a strong advocate for Constituional Carry, but you make a point for safety classses and training being a requirement.

    • Uh… no. The gun should be in your control, and it and associated equipment should be well-maintained. While technically anything that CAN happen WILL happen given enough time, that time should increase well beyond a human’s life span when he or she uses proper techniques and equipment.

      There are PLENTY of people who have not had a firearm discharge when unwanted despite carrying religiously.

      • Yeah, what’s that quote? “Today, 99,999,965 legal gun owners shot no one.” (of course, I picked that number from vague memory, so please correct me.)

  15. Over the years there have been way to many “accidental discharges” from Glocks for my liking. I kind of doubt this story but I would not own a Glock any more.

  16. For what its worth the holster example in the article is wrong… “Let’s assume the sheriff’s office means ye olde leather holster with a button safety strap, like the Safariland 6280 SLS Hooded Level II Duty Holster above.”

    The Safailand mentioned, doesn’t have a button safety strap, it has a rotating hood strap. It also isnt leather, but hard plastic.

  17. I don’t have a Glock. I have a Sigma. Works the same. Anything gets into the trigger gaurds and it can go bank. The gun is designed to go bang if you pull the trigger. No matter how you pull the trigger.

    No one was hurt. Let’s hear from AI people that have had ND’s. Did they go to jail or lose any of their rights?

    • I cracked a tile in my old house with a 357. I wont go into details but I am very lucky the damn thing didnt richochet out of the house. I was seated and had it pointed at the ground at a very steep angle. It was late at night in a populated area and I live right across from an elementary school. The result? nothing. no cops, no calls, no one cared. I doubt anyone who heard it even knew what it was or where it came from.

  18. “The key caused the gun to fire”……that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Whatever Buckwheat…..anyone who knows anything about the issue
    knows your blowing smoke.

  19. I can see exactly how this could happen and it doesn’t excuse it, but just like airplane accidents there is always a lesson or two to be learned.

    The guy gets out of the car. He slings his gym bag over his shoulder. The gym bag is now in contact with the holster. He has his car key grabbed by the key handle.

    Now, modern car keys are perfect for this. Take a Honda key for example. They have a very long and flat metal part, and the handle is large and comfortable – perfect for prying stuff.

    The guy goes to stuff the key in the gym bag and misses. He instead stuffs the key in the holster, in between the leather and the firearm. The key catches the front of the trigger guard, turns into it and starts to lever against the leather on the holster. You now have a perfect trigger pulling mechanism being leveraged against the leather on the outside of the holster. Pressure continues to be applied until the key rotates past 90 degrees and fires the weapon.

    The odds? astronomical. Could it happen? For sure.

    • Of course, it’s Politically Incorrect to teach your Screaming Poop Machine™oh-so-innocent little darling, “This Is Not A Toy.

  20. What gets me is if any civillian who had this happen while CC’ing would not get a pass. I guarantee if this happened even remotely near a school or out in public someone would be in jail or would no longer be in possesion of their weapon or their CC liscense. That double standard crap that allows cops to get away with what otherwise would be an actionable offense to a civillian is significant to what contributes to my disdain of law enforcement and government in general. This is not one of those situations where a police officer is in a situation where their life is in danger and he/she does something that you could look back on and in hindsight pick apart. This may have just been an accident but that alone is rarely an excuse we can fall back on and expect leniency.

    • They don’t give you much chance to actually see the money shot in the 3 seconds or so of the one surveillance video that they did show; to me it just doesn’t seem consistent with what they said, but I’m suspicious of the cops and the MSM anyway.

  21. As a 30+ year NRA Police Firearms Instructor and 25+ year Glock Certified Armorer….I’m calling BULL SH!T on this one.

  22. This is why I won’t carry a Glock or similar gun. I prefer an external safety at least or the “half cock” of a 1911.

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