Some things seem so obvious they don’t need saying. Only when it comes to guns, they do. For example, “always keep a firearm pointed in the safest possible direction.” “Make sure your gun is completely unloaded before cleaning it.” “Don’t leave a gun where a toddler can get it.”  There are other more obscure — but equally common sense-based — gun handling rules. For example, “Don’t spin a loaded revolver on your finger.” “Don’t shoot an AK-47 at a wedding party.” Oh, and add to that list, “don’t catch a falling gun.” While that advice seems worthy of a “duh,” careful! You need to think about this . . .

Thanks to evolution, homo sapiens are hard-wired to catch things. This lightning-quick unconscious ability enabled humans’ hunting success (or the other way around) and prevented us from being killed by hard objects flying through the air. Still does (depending on the size of the object).

So when you suddenly fumble a precious item like, say, a gun, you may reach out to catch it without thinking. Worst case, your finger goes into the trigger guard and BAM! Something really bad happens. To you or someone else nearby.

To counter this natural urge to catch a falling gun, first, know this: with freakish and obscure exceptions, modern guns are “drop safe.” They will not discharge simply from impacting a hard surface. Letting a loaded gun hit the deck is not dangerous — especially when compared with the danger of catching falling firearm by the trigger.

Also take this on board: a gun is a thing. Things can be repaired and/or replaced. Humans, less so. If you drop your $3000 Commander-sized Wilson Combat X-TAC onto concrete and dent, ding or scrape it, oh well. Sh*t happens. If you could afford the gun in the first place, you can probably afford to bring it back to its full glory. Provided you’re alive to do so.

Those are conscious thoughts which can help block the subconscious “catch it if you can” reflex. The best way to head this one off at the pass? Practice. Unload your firearm, safety check it, assume your shooting position, then drop it. No need to intentionally damage your firearm; drop it like it’s hot on a carpet, pillow, grass or something else that’s soft.

While you’re at it, you might want to practice quickly and efficiently picking up your gun and getting it into a firing position, while keeping your eyes on a target as much as possible. But don’t do the drop thing too many times. You don’t want to train yourself to fail. Scarily enough, when it comes to a falling gun, you already are. Trained, that is. You have been warned.

26 Responses to Guns for Beginners: Don’t Catch a Falling Gun

  1. He needs a proper holster. Could have been a real bad day for him. One thought, with a 1911 a falling gun is never a problem. Grip safety is made just for this problem.

  2. “For example, “Don’t spin a loaded revolver on your finger.”

    Don’t even *attempt* to twirl a Glock with one in the pipe.

    Unless your buddy is holding your beer and videoing it…

    • Reading that account of the incident; ‘Stayton was twirling his gun in the air, and as he attempted to put the weapon in his holster, it slipped from his hand, struck the concrete floor and fired.’, it sounds like the cardinal sin was keeping the hammer over a live round in a non-drop safe revolver. Although, it would make a lot of sense to unload any gun before pretending your Johnny Ringo.

      • But…but… but “…modern guns are “drop safe.” They will not discharge simply from impacting a hard surface.”

        It shouldn’t have went off when it hit a hard surface…

    • Normally when I’m handling them, they haven’t been sharpened yet. I’ve gotten into a very bad habit of catching falling knives…

    • Also don’t get your finger in the way of scissors cutting those dam plastic anti theft enclosures. Eight Stitches.

    • Was reading about a guy who reached out to catch a microtome blade when it fell. Needless to say, he won’t be catching anything else with that hand anymore.

    • I caught a falling knife, once. My left ring finger don’t work so good anymore. Next time I dropped a knife, I took a step back with my right foot and didn’t attempt to catch it. I DID, however, pin my left 2nd toe to the floor. On white carpet.

      Now when I drop a knife I just scream and run like a little girl.

  3. I dropped my beretta trap gun once with a round in battery. I picked it back up after it fell by the stock. Made no attempt to catch it and let it land.

  4. Why I like a thumbsnap on my iwb or own holster. I’ve seen the same thing happen half a dozen times in the last couple of years.

    The seatbelt or seat strip the gun and let’s it drop or the rung in a restaurant seat back catches the butt and pops it up.

    A couple of the guys were cops and the rest appeared to be civilians. No NDs so I would second the idea that modern firearms are drop safe.

    Kind of entertaining. One event occurred when a friend and I were discussing holsters after seeing a cop with open top OWB and I opined I didn’t like open top holster and would prefer pocket carry over one. Within 10 minutes the cop went to bathroom and dumped his glock when he sat back down.

    The law of averages rules. Sooner or later you drop a gun.

  5. It’s tough to fight that instinct. I like revolvers because it’s hard to pull the trigger and manual safeties because it’s impossible.

    • What makes you think it is “impossible?” A manual “safety” is certainly subject to failure, as with any device. Thinking that something is “impossible” makes for complacent rather than careful. Nothing is totally foolproof. That’s why we double check, rig redundant systems, and train ourselves not to catch falling guns…

      • ” A manual “safety” is certainly subject to failure, as with any device. Thinking that something is “impossible” makes for complacent rather than careful. Nothing is totally foolproof”

        Wouldn’t that logic apply to what makes them “drop safe”?

        The examples we read about and find shows that logic DOES apply. Just like it does in the example Gov. William J Le Petomane pointed out – “it slipped from his hand, struck the concrete floor and fired.”

        Plus you have no clue what modification Joe Schmuck made to his weapon and has knowingly/unknowingly made it unsafe and or not drop safe. But Joe Schmuck drops his weapon and BAM!

    • And people say you can’t count on a Taurus to fire…

      I’ve never tested the drop safety on my Taurus. Hopefully I never will.

  6. While most people who train and work with guns do so safely, there will always be a minority who flout the rules and pay the piper when it occurs. Many/most people without any firearm training have a tendency to stick their booger hook into that area surrounding the bang switch on firearms, while cognizant they have a gun in their hands. Stupid thing that, considering that pulling/tugging on the bang switch brings about a series of events which are likely to sour the day, if discharging a round was not previously intended. Firearm drops………yeah, watching it is like slow motion…..what a bitch……….pick it up. Scratches will hurt, figuratively.

    Flying slug after a bang…………..can of……….

  7. LOL. Gun just tumbles out of the car. If he didn’t notice, they probably just would have ran over it with the back tire and left it there for someone to find.

  8. What the hell kind of suicidal cop is carrying in a non-retention holster? Plain clothes means he isn’t probably carrying a taser or baton so he’s running low on methods of self defense. Some crook he’s interviewing realizes this guy ain’t got jack but a gun and the gun is in a holster that won’t help with any sort of retention (obviously it’s not even a fobus type but rather just a hole to put a gun in), so the crook jacks the guys pistol, kills him and wounds his partner before taking a wound of his own. Seems like he’s probably not the guy to partner with. Doesn’t care about anyone else enough to care about himself.

    • His right front pocket was printing like crazy during the interview.
      I’d wager money that no holster was involved in that gun drop.

  9. I guess I will have to be the first to cry foul on “with freakish and obscure exceptions, modern guns are “drop safe.” They will not discharge simply from impacting a hard surface”

    Googling “dropped gun goes off”
    When the first two PAGES produces 16 stories I am sure we can eliminate “freakish and obscure exceptions” from that.

    While they are SUPPOSED to be “drop safe” anything can (and obviously DOES) fail. There are too many dropped ND’s that say otherwise.

    As for the idiot cop in the video… Obviously, it was failure to control/contain his weapon. Where in the heck did he have it? One of his pockets? Just tucked into his waistband?

    32 years of owning/carrying/operating guns and I’ve never dropped mine and (obviously) hope I never do.

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