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Reader Paul M. writes:

I thought it would never happen to me, but last night it did. I accidentally discharged my Mossberg 930 loaded with buckshot in my one-bedroom apartment. Fortunately, there were no injuries and the damage was contained. The accident was a combination of thinking it was unloaded thinking the safety was on and not being familiar with the sensitivity of this particular trigger. That’s the only way I can rationalize it . . .

I’m not new to guns; it just happened. The shot went through my bedroom wall straight into the back of my refrigerator where all the pellets stayed. I was not in shooting position and I believe that might have resulted in cracking the gun’s stock. I had never fired this gun before.

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After the accident, I was panicked, anxious and mad at myself — I felt an awful feeling. I guess my neighbors didn’t hear it or they just dismissed what they heard because police never showed up. I spoke with my apartment manager and maintenance man this morning. They came out and were actually as cool as you can be in this sort of situation. I’ll have to pay to fix the wall and replace the fridge, but hopefully that’ll be the end of it.

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Suffice it to say I learned a harsh lesson last night that I vow never to repeat.

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233 Responses to My Negligent Discharge

  1. Hmm… I was going to make a comment about making sure the gun is pointed in a safe direction but I guess the 2nd (or 4th?) rule would apply here.

    Always check to see if its loaded. And then check again.

    Also, good to see the Newcastle was spared. Now THAT would have been a tragedy.

    • Yeah, he got off easy. As a gun owner, I can forgive the ND. As a beer drinker, I never would have forgiven the alcohol abuse.

      • Did very good, not only did you miss the New Castle but also the Rex Goliath…
        oh look, the hot sauce made it and the sirracha sauce!

        • I’m not going to let him off that easy. First of all, Newcastle is crap beer. I say that as I drink PBR but I am not defending Blue Ribbon. I had a 23 oz, Lagunitas Hop Stoopid earlier today so I know what good beer is. Second, why the hell is that Rex Goliath red in the fridge? Dude! Do you drink alone? I do… but Dude! If you open a 750ml of red, you better have a dinner date to share that with and if you and your friend can’t kill that soldier, you need a new friend…or better tasting wine, but I like the big co…uh…chicken. And you don’t chill red…unless it is sweet red and if that is then you have more issues to deal with. Third…You loaded the gun and if you didn’t…you didn’t unload it. You pressed the trigger. You learned your lesson so I am not helping you any further but I read all the sympathy comments and I have to say bullshit to that. And for all the guys saying that you should never defend yourself therefore never load a gun that you have not trained with…bullshit to that too. It aint rocket surgery guys! 1) load gun. 2) Point gun at bad guy. 3) Safety off. 4) Press trigger. It seems that the problem is that it is harder to prevent negligent discharge than how to shoot the damn thing. It was brave of Paul to share his brain fart with us but that doesn’t change the fact that this is so easy to prevent if you ARE NOT NEGLIGENT!

  2. It appears you missed the beer, phew.

    Seriously, thanks for sharing this ND story. Always gives me a cold chill, for I know I’m just one or two steps away from a ND if I get complacent about checking and rechecking a firearm is empty before I start handling it, or when I do not intend for it to be fired.

    I take you simply assumed it was not loaded, rather than actually checking to make sure?

    • I’m also not ashamed to admit that I have caught myself being lackadaisical before in my safety around firearms.

      Typically, I open the gun safe, check the chamber, and then proceed to handle the firearm. I have caught myself before saying “Oh, well I KNOW its unloaded because I only keep gun X loaded…”

      This is how accidents happen.

  3. At least the Sriracha was spared. And Rex Goliath. Thank heavens none of the condiments in your fridge were seriously injured.

  4. Looks like that Strawberry jelly got really jammed. Don’t understand about the stock though, as shotties can be fired one handed–maybe you just uncovered a pre-existing defect.

    • Can be fired one-handed when held properly; held casually, the shottie might easily have done a Newton’s Third at about forty miles per hour (think un-guided missile) and struck something solid.

  5. oh man, not good bro. Glad no one got hurt, and don’t want to grill you, but man… I sure am tempted to.

    • What…do you believe in Karma? Let him have it. He put it out there. Maybe he needs an ass whoopin’. Don’t you think he kind of expected to get reamed? It could be therapeutic…for both of you.

  6. When you have near tragedies barely averted it does give you a much clearer thought process and a sharpened memory. You will never treat guns quite the same way again, which is very good. I don’t now and mine was during my youth, many decades ago, and I remember it like yesterday.

    I am so glad no one was hurt. Walls and a refrigerator can easily be replaced and I have replaced many in my days after hurricane, flooding, and tornado damage. Health and life are quite something else. Glad you are not hurt and will never do that again.

    Best to you, Paul M!

    • ” You will never treat guns quite the same way again, which is very good. I don’t now and mine was during my youth, many decades ago, and I remember it like yesterday.”

      Wow, same here. 10 years old and doing something dumb. BANG!

      Thought I was being careful to. 30 years later I haven’t forgotten that harsh lesson or how fortunate I was no one was hurt or any real damage was done. I can’t blame an adult either, I knew better and had no business messing with that firearm.

      • I was 12 and at first thought I was shot, then the ringing in my ears lasted for days. Now over a half century later, it seems like yesterday. I’ve never handled a gun the same since and plan never to again. Check, re-check, and check again. It is like making measurements before cutting,..measure, measure again, and measure again before cutting a very expensive piece of teak ebony and life is worth so much more.

      • My only ND was when I was eleven – with a Daisey® long BB gun, but my index finger was covering the muzzle.

        Lesson learned, in spades.

        • I read a story (which I’m unable to find online) about two men in the Old West, I think a lawman and a circuit-rider judge, who shot up their hotel bed in an effort to kill all the bedbugs….

    • Amen. I still keep the shell casing around and shake my head everytime I come across it. For while afterward I would actually verbalize chamber checks and hammer down commands to myself while handling.

  7. Glad you’re ok but,……DUDE! You violated like all four of the rules at once! Ouch. I’ve often considered keeping a bucket of sand in my basement for the occasional racking chores with live ammo. Just a thought. Will someone please play taps for his poor, departed fridge?

    • Not really. In his situation, the safest direction might have been through the wall into the refrigerator. In cramped confines, I’ve used major appliances as backstops for loading, unloading, decocking, etc.

      But for the other rules: F-.

      • I suspect if he was thinking “gee, if this goes off it’ll be a safe backstop” he would have been thinking enough to not touch the trigger of a loaded gun 🙂

        • Been a lot of discussions on various sites about if you could emphasize one safety rule, which one would it be. I always say do not press the trigger. And that means more than the trigger finger. Don’t let anything inside the trigger guard or even contact the trigger even if you have a 10 pound pull. Most people say Muzzle discipline but that is not possible in most situations. Bullets go through things and bounce off things and come back down. How abut the most important rule being preventing discharge in the first place?

  8. I was doing a function test on a not properly working Remington 48 and had a ND, or in this case ID(idiodic). Put a load of birdshot through my A/C cover, luckily missing everything vital of myself, and the A/C unit. I only had 1 piece of shot penetrate the second side of the wall and make it into the pantry. I found it a couple of months later in a packet of powdered gravy. I immediately ordered some snap caps, to perform future function tests.

    Thanks for sharing, Paul. It reminds us that we are ALL human, and to pay more attention. Don’t get complacent.

  9. FYI, I got a call in my office just last week, ND. Round left owner’s house, hit neighbor’s house. No injuries, thank God, but gun owner is still being criminally charged (reckless endangerment). Loss of gun rights seems likely, at least for some years.

    Nobody feels worse about it than the gun owner, who to my personal knowledge was very safety sensitive. He’s just grateful nobody was hurt.

    Four rules, everybody. Be safe.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    • I represented a veteran in a similar set of circumstances. Prosecutor refused to dismiss the charges, and after the jury trial my client was acquitted. Accidents can, and do, happen.

      This was under Georgia law, though, so YMMV.

      Reckless indicates a conscious disregard, was that an issue in the case you mentioned?

        • Yes, it is negligence, however, lets say you are driving your car, when suddenly you drop your Big Mac all over your shirt, lap, seat and floor. As you are frantically trying to minimize the clothing carnage, you swerve into the oncoming lane. Luckily, there are no other cars on the road, you recover, and go on your way. No one is injured, no one saw anything. You learned a lesson. Should you turn yourself in to the police and courts for crime and punishment?

        • @Alan Rose

          I wouldn’t be eating the Big Mac while driving to begin with; if someone is too distracted to drive, handle firearms, etc, responsibly, they have no business doing those things.

    • I hope he “loses” (he threw them away, actually) his gun rights permanently.

      He could have ruined/ended someone’s life. There will never be a shortage of these morons, endangering innocent people and helping the antis’ cause.

  10. I had a similar experience with a handgun many years ago. It was sobering, and it still drives my safety attitudes and actions, to this day. Like you, I was lucky, but I also was following Rule #1, in keeping it pointed in a direction that I had previously defined as “safe”, so nothing exited the other side of the apartment’s exterior (known to be brick masonry) wall.

    Kudos to you for fessing-up to your actions, so that we all can learn from your error(s) and hopefully prevent one or more repeats in the future.

    • Ah, but he did write, “it just happened” which is just as dismissive. He also “rationalizes it.” Those two comments are deflective. I’d rather he write, “I was drunk.”

      • ” I’d rather he write, “I was drunk.””

        Not me. Blaming the juice (or any drug for that matter) for the negligence of its user is as erroneous as blaming the gun for firing itself. “Gee, ossifer, *hic* the bottle jumped off the shelf, uncapped itself, and poured itself down my throat!”

        • I’m surprised you, of all people, could be so dismissive when it comes to the known klutziness and carelessness that is the companion of the Demon Fiend/Friend, Da Sauce.

          Most folks will admit that handling guns and shooting while drinking is not the best of ideas, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

          6 million good ole Southern boys shout “HELL YEAH!!” in unison.

        • @William, the rules of handling a firearm don’t change if you’ve been drinking. Nor do the rules of drinking. Act like an idiot and bad things happen regardless of whether you’re drinking or handling firearms.

          Contrary to popular belief, it IS possible to handle a weapon after a beer or two. Doing it whilst piss-drunk is a different animal altogether.

      • doesky2: Get off your high horse. It’s quite obvious you’ve never made a dangerous mistake.

        • Hmmmm …..I encouraged him to do some self reflection and provided a solid suggestion. To me that’s a high PONY at worst.

        • Or “what I thought was going on was not what was actually going on”. 😀

  11. Never good to hear of a ND, but thank goodness that no one was hurt except the fridge. The cost of repairs to your wall and a new fridge is tuition for learning what not to do the next time handling a firearm. So lets keep those tuition payments as small as possible, ok? Because it is real easy to have a similar situation cost you a whole lot more.

  12. Paul M. writes it was his gun, but he was un-familiar with the sensitivity of the trigger. Did he just buy the gun, or what?
    MUST keep finger OUT of trigger guard!

    • Or is this a case of he’d learned a bad habit pattern leading him to be complacent? He’d gotten away with his finger getting in and around the trigger because his other firearms have stiff triggers?

      Change is the mother of risk.

      • I was under the belief that most all manufactures refrained from retailing guns with light trigger pulls. The exception being target rifles etc., certainly not a Mossberg shotgun. Of course he could have bought it used, and the previous owner could have lightened the trigger (doubtful)

    • You’re not aware, are you, of the gun manufacturers who actually put in their disassembly instructions, “Pull trigger”.

  13. Well in hindsight you shouldn’t of had a gun loaded in your home in which you have never shot before.

      • Duh?
        I have a new (to me) shotgun at home. It won’t get loaded until I get it to a range to evaluate it.

        The only reason to have a loaded gun in the home is defense. How can you safely defend yourself with a gun you have no familiarity with?

      • I buy a large number of firearms, not a single one of them is ever loaded until I’ve checked them out at the range.

        Now, I don’t need them for defense. It’s not as if I have one 12 gauge for example, but a round NEVER goes in one of my firearms until I’m at the range.

    • Years ago I purchased a used Mossburg 500, took to the range, loaded a shell, worked the pump and Boom! No trigger press, it fired on going into battery. I managed to repeat this feat 3 times then decided it definitely needed a trip to the gunsmith. That was enough for me, any gun I buy now, new or use, I don’t want it’s initial loaded function test to be in the house.

      Another time I purchased an AMT Backup that simply would not fire at all. Between guns that fire on going into battery and those that won’t fire at all I take everything to range first for a safety and function test. As someone else said, it’s not as if I don’t already have a rifle, shotgun and handgun for practical work, I don’t need the new gun to go on duty the minute it’s bought.

    • And boy, will he ever remember that sound for a very, very long time. Reminds me of Rick Grimes shooting that “walker” in the tank turret!

  14. Thanks for the true confession. Always helpful to remind ourselves- yes it can happen to me. Odd thing about flying, accidents is that tend to clump in two groups- newbies, then again in the very experienced. Why?

    Complacency. Obeying the rules and keeping yourself safe for years and allowing the attitude to develop that you’ve done this thousands of times, you’ve got it down. Than somehow, you skip or leave out one of those things that kept you safe all that time…

    • That’s why in aviation they are referred to as mishaps and not accidents. Accidents imply there was no way the situation and outcome could have been avoided. Very few incidents fall in the accident category. By and large they are the result of human error, failure to follow procedures, supervisory error, maintenance malpractice, or equipment failure. In this case human error and procedural compliance failure would seem to apply.

      But mishaps or near mishaps like this are why many of the military aviation organizations do true confessions. So those who have been involved in what could have been a tragic mishap can share the experience and hopefully prevent others from making the same mistake.

      You didn’t have to share this but you did. Good on you. Hopefully it will keep someone else from doing it. But part of cowboying up to admit it, is taking your lumps. You’re an idiot, now fix your wall get a new fridge and NEVER let it happen again.

  15. First and foremost-Congrats on having come through it with no legal entanglements or injuries to yourself or others. Having come frighteningly close a few times over the years, I can empathize. That being said I slide that baby back more times than necessary every single time when working a semi pistol as well as the bolt gets pulled back multiple times on the rifles without question after removing the magazine from either. According to some around me, once or twice is good enough……..Maybe For Them…….history demonstrates that when it comes to firearms, safety is paramount. Be safe. Moleon Labe.

    • This. I have unfortunately had an undesirable .45acp/drywall interface due thinking I had cleared the fire arm, but had not. My corrective action became working the action numerous times in redundancy, because mental BS does happen. It’s now second nature. If i haven’t racked a a slide at least twice, I feel like i’ve done something wrong.

  16. So if you’re getting shot at you should hide behind a refrigerator door, apparently.

    • Refrigerator, yes. Refrigerator door, no.

      Except you’ll never have enough time to hide behind the refrigerator. Got to Plan B.

  17. There are two types of shooters – those who have had a ND and those that haven’t had one yet. Muzzle Control is king.

    • Of all the rules! Brother and I handling a malfunctioning (wouldn’t shoot!) ancient .22 single shot, 4 hands on the gun, none anywhere near the trigger, and, yes, it “went off”. Reason it was loaded? Because we were ready to shoot it, in fact had tried. No finger near the trigger. We had all the bases covered, and the only one that mattered was muzzle control, it was pointed toward the ground, downrange.

      FYI, the gun was a hand-me-down from near 100 years ago, visible wear on the bolt, was retired within seconds, is now waiting for a “gun buyback” so I can stick those fruitcakes with paying me so they can go to the trouble of safely disposing of it for me!

    • There’s a third type: one with an IQ higher than their shoe size who can comprehend removing a mag and looking into a chamber EVERY time they handle a firearm.

      • Yup… this.

        I have loaded guns at various places around my house but I /always/ follow the 4 rules when actually handling one until it is clear.

        Guns don’t just “go off”.

      • I agree. Sorry, but guns don’t go off by themselves… it isn’t a random scenario that pops up upon handling guns.

        Plenty of people go a lifetime without a NG. I’m not saying this to rag on Zimmerman, but people need to stop acting as though everyone screws the pooch like that.

    • Muzzle control only works if you are the only person within 10 miles or you are on the range. Do not let anything contact the trigger…period! No wonder you think everyone will eventually have a negligent discharge.

  18. I suspect this happens more often than most people realize. Like masturbating, not many folk will admit they do it. Same goes for negligent discharges. LOLZ!

  19. Besides my inclination to want to grill you on the 4 rules, particularly ‘every weapon is always loaded’ and ‘keep your finger off the bangswitch until you are on target and aware of background’ – I have to say, I would have never admitted it. I would have patched the hole in my wall and replaced the fridge. And felt like a dumbass the whole time (which sounds like you are humbly doing so, so hopefully lessons learned). But man oh man…. No bueno hombre. No bueno.

    but I guess this is the ‘truth about guns’ and you sure told the truth. Braver man than I.

      • You are indeed correct there, WB. I thought I was careful though. I’ve seen too many stories of ND’s by good people to think I’m immune. I own a 930 SPX too, coincidentally. Honestly, I would have literally shat myself on the spot, which it sounds like he didn’t, so definitely a braver man than I. Any ND story is a reminder to maintain our fundamentals, so we all do gain a little from his honesty.

  20. For a second I thought it was another RF post about Colion…….. Get it? ” my negligent discharge”!

  21. Well duh…glad you didn’t kill someone. Or yourself. I guess you must have the BEST landlord in America too. Stay safe.

  22. 1) Hardware store. Plastic mesh.
    2) Spackling putty. Smallest one you can find, because you’ll never do that. Or maybe just once more. 😀
    3) Cheap plastic putty knife, $1 or less.

    Total; under $6, and some time to get over it and forgive yourself. If you don’t nobody will.

    Don’t ask me how I know.

  23. The first step on the road down to an ND is that it can’t happen to you. The step after that is neglecting one or more of the four rules. I don’t know how many arguments I have had here and in person about the safety issues with certain firearms not to be named. The response has usually been I am the safety on the gun. Yes, you (we) are, and the humanoid is the weakest link in the safety chain.

  24. No gun in my possession is ever loaded in my home if I have never fired it.
    Which is rare, since my range is 25 yard from my back porch.

    But, if I am not totally familiar with a weapon, and if it is not one that will be used for home or self defense, it is not loaded. And nothing stays chambered. If I have time enough to get the gun, I have time to rack a slide. The only exception to this rule ever, has been a revolver.

    Now.. all that being said, I’ll give you three guesses HOW I came to be so strict about this…

      • Somewhat, I was in high school. I had to make a new spindle for the tv stand in wood shop.

        EDIT: To clarify, I was in high school, the ND happened at home. My father was out of town, and I had to repair it before he got back.

  25. That looks so much like my refrigerator, I almost ran to the kitchen to check things out.

    Then I remembered: I don’t keep my Sriracha sauce in the fridge. It’s in the Hot Sauce Cabinet. With the other 51 hot sauce bottles. Not counting the dry rubs and curry. Curry DEFINITELY abides in the fridge.

    • If we had upvotes here, I’d upvote for hot sauce collections. And I always trust someone a bit more who is with the sriracha. Amen.

  26. Thanks for the story. All I can say is “There but for the grace of God go I.”

    Most of you know I carry a SIG P238 every day. I’ve been carrying it less lately because my new job disallows it, and I haven’t reached the comfort level yet to do it anyway. But I’m still wearing the IWB holster, because my pants are cut for it and I get tired of hitching them up when I don’t have it. So anyway, my SIG now basically lives in my Remora, which gets carried from the house to the car and back again every day, for about a month now. A few days ago, at home, I slid it out of the Remora to put it in my IWB to go out for the evening. As I did, I glanced at it and discovered the safety was off. I have no idea how long it had been like that, but knowing the lightness and short travel of the trigger, it was a clarity-inducing experience. It was a reminder to check it, every. single. time. No exceptions.

    For myself and all of you, I hold this wish: May all your reminders be of the non-explosive variety.

    • First thing I do, every single time, when I pick mine up. Push the safety up and make sure it’s up there and locked. 20 years of 1911s taught me that 🙂 .

    • I carry my P238 around the house. One time I noticed that the mag was loose, like the release had been slightly bumped just enough to let slip. Now part of my every-few-hours-reach-behind-and-check includes that the mag is seated as well as the safety on.

  27. And I vow never to repeat it either. Hopefully many can learn from this. Thanks for the share. Can’t be easy.

  28. Well I bet that was a tense 60 minutes or so waiting to see if the fuzz showed up.

    I personally would have patched up the wall and quietly bought me a new fridge (I think you lucked out a third time there) (the 1st luck having the round not entering another appointment and the 2nd luck being nobody called the cops)

    Don’t know what the hell you were doing but you definitely need to re-evaluate all aspects of that night and put in place proper procedures because you screwed the pooch multiple ways that evening. There are plentiful Snap Caps for 12ga for one glaring thing. I was on the internet search for 8+ months trying to chase down the uber-rare AK74 snap cap. You don’t have that excuse due to plentiful 12ga Snap Caps.

  29. I know this sounds like ‘nothing’, but when I got my LCP, I had a ‘negligent dry fire’, which actually spooked me enough.

    It was late at night and the first day I had gotten it; I was trying to disassemble it and reassemble it, and when holding trying to grip it to get the slide off, I heard the hammer go ‘snak’. Even with the LCP’s mile long trigger pull I managed to do that. And, it’s my bad and I consider myself lucky.

    I knew it wasn’t loaded, but immediately I recognized that it wasn’t “okay” for that to have happened, even so. In my opinion, a hammer should never, ever fall unintentionally.

    I considered it a wake-up warning shot when working on unfamiliar guns; or guns at all, really.

    Presence of mind when working on these things is important. We all make mistakes, sure. But yeah, it can happen to anyone.

    @Paul – if you’re reading – I gotta ask. How did your ears fare after that?

    • That’s the way to have one, if you need to…

      I’m sure I had a few inadvertent trigger pulls with unloaded guns… that I’ve verified are unloaded.

  30. Don’t beat yourself up… Those of us who have done it have all learned a valuable lesson and yes, you will never forget it.

  31. A while back I looked into solutions or at least ways to mitigate the damage of a ND. 10 years ago there was little on the market for the civilian. But then a company came up with a ballistic “pad” in several designs. Not terribly expensive, one use pays for itself. Especially if one thinks of the possibility of harming others or police involvement. Worth checking out the video with John Farnam.

    http://www.ravelingroup.com/safedirection.html

  32. Thank God none of the pellets hit any of the bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale in the refrigerator.

    On a more serious note, Paul M. deserves serious derision from us. People, it isn’t complicated. Before you pull the trigger on any firearm in conjunction with cleaning, dry fire practice, showing the firearm to someone, whatever, empty the magazine or cylinder, CYCLE THE ACTION THREE TIMES, visually verify that the magazine/cylinder and feed mechanisms are empty, and visually look into the chamber to verify that the firearm is unloaded.

    Do this every time you pick up the gun after you have set it down — especially if you have left the room.

    • I would add PHYSICALLY verify that is unloaded. Im in the practice of dropping the magazine, racking the slide once and observing the round exiting the gun, racking the slide several more times, locking the slide back and visually inspecting for rounds, physically sticking my finger into the guns action to check the barrel is clear.

    • “DERISION”? Nice job! No one will ever tell their story here again, and there will be no more useful reminders that we are imperfect beings.

      Nice job, wartass.

  33. Well, you’ll never let it happen again, that’s for sure.
    Never had a ND, but I once pulled the slide off a pistol I was breaking down and had a live round fall in my lap.
    Never, ever, EVER again.

  34. Paul M: I had a close call too. It only takes one to open your eyes. You won’t do that again!

  35. Glad Everything worked out okay and nobody (your EGO excluded) got hurt.
    “Keep your Booger Hook Off the Bang Switch”

    Cheers!!

  36. Thanks Paul M for the candor. The best lesson is learned and no one was hurt. There but for the grace of God go we all.
    But still, you did kill a refrigerator in cold blood.

  37. Whenever I first pick up a firearm, instead of taking the time to pull the charging handle or bolt, I just point it at my foot and pull the trigger.

  38. The photos are a good visual indicator of how little spread you get from a shotgun at home defense distance.

  39. Even Ted Nugent had an accidental discharge. Sorry not calling it neglect discharge. Accidents happen because your not paying attention. Same difference. I’m not suckered into PC terminology.

    • An AD can be due to circumstances that are out of the control of the shooter, or not easily foreseen: e.g. you cock a gun and discover the hard way that the sear is too worn to hold the hammer back, or you own an SKS and there’s an earthquake.
      There was a 1911 gunsmith in north Phoenix who 5-10 years ago modified the trigger pull on a gun to be so smooth that it went full auto. The first discharge was intentional. The rest were accidental.

      An ND requires the shooter to do something stupid, like this guy who pulled the trigger on a loaded gun while pointing it at a wall.

        • At the time, the Phoenix ATF branch was too busy smuggling straw purchased rifles into Mexico in a failed effort to disparage gun rights.

  40. You should have blamed it on a home invasion, like a libtard would have. Then you could threaten the landlord with a lawsuit for poor security and get a new fridge for free. Always ask yourself, what would a Democrat do?

  41. It’s a sickening feeling that will last forever. I know it well. My Remington 700 went off while I was unloading it before getting off my tree stand. It was pointing at the sky thank God. I had leather gloves on and thought I might have touched the trigger with the tip of one of my fingers without me feeling it.

    Nevertheless, I felt awful for weeks until I learned that the rifle had a defect. To unload a 700 you have to take the safety off. Apparently this particular gun could go off by itself when the safety came off. I got rid of it and told the FFL the situation. He told me he knew about the problem and that mine was not the only one. He planned to have the trigger group replaced.

    This made me feel a lot better but the damage (or for the better) had been done. I have never ever handled a firearm the same again. They are always loaded.

    • They recalled most of the 700s built in the past many years due to bad triggers. When I heard the news, I tossed my 700’s factory trigger and put in a Timney. It sounded better than waiting ten months for them to fix it.

      A manufacturing flaw definitely counts as an AD, not ND, so you’re forgiven. 🙂

    • “It was pointed at the sky thank god”. You do realize that what goes up, must come down. Now sure, it is preferred to putting one in yourself, but not really all that great. Definitely NOT a safe direction.

      • I was up on tree and my buddies were already at the bottom waiting for me. That was THE safe direction.

        • Absolutely. Angels. Planetary alignments. Faultless Friday. Or maybe you managed, in the middle of a CF, to do the one thing that saved you from a life-twisting disaster.

          Whatever you call them, most of us have experienced them at one time or another. There seems to be a hidden hand that steers you away from disaster.

      • Actually, it’s quite safe. The bullet comes down tumbling at terminal (bad wording in this case) velocity. It might leave a nasty bump on the head, but it shouldn’t prove fatal.

        Mythbusters did the experiment several years ago.

        • You would have to fire the gun exactly vertical. Kinda hard to do even when you are trying to. Much harder to do in a ND by accident. I think even the Mythbusters reached this conclusion. Its also simple physics…

        • No, it is not “quite safe.” Apparently you didn’t listen very closely to them because you only came away with about 5% of what they said (the rest was warning how it could be dangerous).

      • Projectiles fired at angles close to vertical do not come back down at gunshot velocity. They expend all of their kinetic energy on the way up, then accelerate downwards until they reach terminal velocity. At that point acceleration stops, and they impact the ground at terminal velocity, which for .30 caliber bullets is around 300 fps. Enough to bruise or break skin, but definitely not enough to seriously injure.

        Of course, firing a gun into the air at less than vertical angles can be lethal. But sometimes, straight up is the safest option.

        Smoothbore shotguns are even safer to carry pointed upwards. Their projectiles’ lack of spin stabilization means that they do not maintain a proper projectile trajectory like rifles or handguns, and their low mass decreases their kinetic energy. Couple this with the lower BC of spheres compared to bullets, and you get lowered terminal velocity.

        At trapshooting competitions, you are expected to carry your shotgun pointing either a few feet ahead of your toes or nearly straight up in the air. I have seen a handful of NDs at trap competitions (always while the shooter was on the line), and none of them have injured anybody. The bunker, on the other hand…

        • This happened here, near Richmond, last July 4. A man and his son were walking to a lake, named after the housing tract, Brandermill, in Chesterfield County, VA. On the way, a bullet entered the brain of the boy and killed him.

          The physics were as you described: LESS THAN VERTICAL. One wonders about the celebrations in Arab countries, where AKs are fired into the air like fireworks. In cities. Somebody, sometime, is getting killed.

      • While I understand, tree stands are usually in the middle of deeply forested areas. With significant canopy cover to break the fall of the bullet(s). He knows it was less than great. He posted his ND as a helpful reminder to others. Ragging on someone’s candid revelation is like saying, “you’re stupid to tell us about this.”

        Except he wasn’t the stupid one.

        • Thanks. Many years have passed after the event and I am now sure that this was a gun defect. I have replayed the incident in my mind thousands of times and it always played out the same way. The moment that the the safety started moving forward, the gun went off. It was not of my doing and I feel slightly relieved about that. And no one was injured and no property was destroyed. I was in the middle of a huge pine forest miles from anywhere.

          Then again, I never got over the feeling of abhorrent failure that I felt during the weeks after, until I found out that the gun was defective. That stays with me to this day, and most importantly, I learned that guns, like any other machinery, can break and when they do can unleash a crapstorm on your life.

          Be careful!

  42. The accident was a combination of thinking it was unloaded thinking the safety was on and not being familiar with the sensitivity of this particular trigger

    What a crock of sh!t. I’ve held lots of guns that I had little or no familiarity with (every time I hold a model for the first time, actually), and many of them didn’t have safeties. But the triggers on them never went click, because my finger was on the side of the frame where it belongs.

    That quote sounds like an admission that the OP thinks its okay to finger the trigger, if the gun’s unloaded and/or the safety is on. With that mindset, this is the first of many.

    • I was going to go there at the bottom but you beat me to it.

      This is nothing more than lackadaisical firearms safety practices, period. It was only a matter of time.

      Props Paul for sharing, I assume you will re-evaluate. Hopefully, someone reading this will do the same without putting their New Castles in harms way.

      And how in the hell did you manage to get away with telling your property manager? You might not have heard the end of this.

      • Yeah, I think I would have hung around in that apartment until the property was condemned!

      • “And how in the hell did you manage to get away with telling your property manager?”

        First and foremost, I would NOT have told anyone what happened.

        Second, I would have repaired the wall myself … or at least paid an outside handy-man to repair it after I removed enough additional material such that the hole could have been due to someone punching the wall or something similar. As for the refrigerator, if all you did was make a hole in the back of it, I would have repaired that myself as well. Then, when it is time to move, take the refrigerator with you and graciously pay the property manager for a replacement without any explanation … and then either keep the refrigerator or take it to a dump.

        Pro tip: if you are going to take the refrigerator to a dump, make sure you stop by the closest State or National Forest first and put lots of additional holes in it and then proceed to the dump!

      • I was literally going to also call the collective attitude here about this dangerous behavior “lackadaisical”, then saw your comment.

        You, and JasonM are two of the only people here taking this seriously. The majority of the posters here disgust me. If that went through a wall and killed a neighbor, would they be joking then?

  43. If he has learned his lesson oh so well, will he now pay the full price of tuition and turn himself into the police? Or does the tradition of overconfidence and shortcut-taking continue? Only the next case of involuntary Frigidaire- slaughter will tell.

      • Nope. You’ve read many, many of my posts. You know full well I’m all for community involvement and civic duty, but not to the point that I’m either usurping someone else’s authority or relieving them of their obligations. If the residents, management, and ownership of that apartment complex are content with a property where a shotgun blast doesn’t even warrant a phone call to the police to investigate, then that’s their business. I can’t save everyone, especially from themselves.

        Let the next reckless shotgun blast result in a splatter across the wall of a red chunky stew that isn’t three day old Hamburger Helper leftovers, for all I care. After all, if they don’t, then why should I?

        I keep and bear arms to protect myself and my family from a certain category of dangerous people. Likewise, I bought and built my homestead in a place to protect us from another category of dangerous people, which would include this IGOTD, as he should have been designated.

        These couple of posts just about mark the outer boundary of my interest in this man’s criminal recklessness. So it’s all you from here out to defend his lack of dilligence or to attack my lack of acquiescence. Knock yourself out, or better yet, have a blast.

  44. I have a side-by-side at home, made by the Bridge Gun Company many, many, MANY years ago for a hardware store chain that no longer exists. The barrels have been cut to 20 inches, from what I believe was 28. The triggers react to gnat flatulence, the safety disengages if you even think about touching it with your thumb.

    Knowing all this, I was an idiot. I loaded both barrels, like an idiot. I closed the breach. I was handling the firearm and it’s with stock slipped. I tried to catch it and hooked a finger into the trigger guard. The rear trigger tripped the firing pin on the left barrel. I put a round of 00 Buck into the crappiest couch in the world. My cats likely received some permanent hearing damage. In lucky I didn’t Boondock Saints one of them. That weapon is never loaded, unless I’m at the range.

      • You are absolutely correct. It was a lesson learned, along with “don’t load guns from obscure or unknown manufacturers that may be four times my age unless I’m at the range” and “wow, that couch CAN stop buckshot”. Also, the recoil of a high brass 12 gauge shell broke the lifter (second time it’s been broken).

        I don’t shoot that gun unless I brought enough rope.

    • I’m often not completely serious, but often I am. I appreciate it when people relate these stories. They serve as reminders to us all: SAFETY FIRST.

      That was serious. I thank those who’ve told their stories about NDs. If you think it could never happen to you, you’ve taken the first step towards your very own ND.

      • My concern is not for his or my own embarrassment, but rather the legal jeopardy one can put oneself in by admitting to a potential felony on the social networking sites.

  45. While I haven’t personally been the cause of any ND I have been around for 2 of them
    The first was taking a buddy deer hunting on our farm I was driving across the field in my truck with him when I hit a hole…his 30 06 with his finger where it wasn’t supposed be went off I could only hear buzzing for about a day

    The second was my cousin clearing my old pump 22 one round right into the floor

    Believe me I don’t want another

    • Sounds terrifying. I guess I’m lucky, as the only ND’s I’ve ever witnessed were people at the range. Two of those were the result of macho jackwagon boyfriend/husbands trying impatiently to teach their sweeties handgun handling. I don’t know of any handgun designed to accommodate four nervous hands jerking and jostling about simultaneously. So I’m blaming operator error.

  46. I remember the first time I went deer hunting at age 16. I had an old 12 pump that I’d borrowed and thought I’d figured everything out on. Midway thru the day I saw a big set of ears behind a bush. I said to myself as I aimed the shotgun if only it was rabbit season I’d have that sucker and just barely touched the trigger only to find out it was off safe all morning. I got lucky because that big set of ears was actually a four point buck but it was a few years before I told that story.

  47. This is exactly why i prolifically use snap caps.

    there are two, and only two circumstances in which ammo gets near my guns:

    1: I am at the range, and it is pointed down range

    2: I am loading it to put it into “hot” mode for defensive use. safety goes on, it gets holstered, i don’t poke at it.

    There is NO REASON to use live ammo to test the weapon action, perform cleaning work, perform maintenance, etc.

    • Words to live by!

      All my ammo is locked up except for ammo in the defensive weapon(s). I have a very specific place and no other where I deal with those weapons when I have to unload them. It’s the safest place, it’s always done the same way. I have no distractions.

      AND, most important! All my other guns have FLAGS in the chambers. These plastic $0.50 flags are priceless and idiot proof. BUY some and put them in you guns. Some guns already come with them when new.

  48. 1. I treated it as though it was loaded except I thought it was going to be a dry fire.
    2. Didn’t want to destroy the ceiling and small portion of the roof but did.
    3. I put my finger on the trigger with the full intention of hearing the dry fire click, took about a minute to hear anything after that.
    4. After the plaster and roof, the sky and gravity was my back stop.

    20G Savage Double 311C, dissasembled checking the ejection mechinism with the separate barrel only. Got distracted snapped the barrel on, didn’t even have the fore grip attached.
    Put the butt on my thigh (sitting), wanted to analyze the trigger pull weight and crispness of break but lost all the scientific data along with the bird shot that exited the barrel.
    I was 15.
    For 45 years since, I personly have abided by my added rule number five that has served me well.

    #5. No Exceptions! Ever!

  49. CONGRATULATIONS! You broke at least 5 rules in a row, ALL AT ONCE.

    You probably shouldn’t own a firearm. You should stop and think just how lucky you are that you didn’t kill a neighbor, or worse yet a neighbor’s child. I’d recommend an air rifle.

    • Andy,
      Have you ever been in or almost got in a car accident that was or would have been your fault? If you haven’t, kudos, keep it up.
      How about anybody else.
      1/2MV^2 applies to both
      2 tons @ 50MPH
      and
      115gr @1,100 FPS

    • Give thanks and praise! The new edict from Pope Andy has blessed us!

      Seriously. There are only a few steps from your present jackassery to true adulthood. The judgement? Easy to get past; all that remains is for you to do something really stupid, and realize that all of us are human beings, and humans make mistakes.

    • Thank you; one more person (only about 4 or so of us so far) that takes this seriously.

      There are a lot more people here living up to the (antis’) stereotypical gun owner than I previously thought.

      This person – and anyone here defending him because they’ve done the same thing – has no business handling firearms.

      • Me thinks you doth protest too much. Got a hidden ND in your past?

        No one is defending him. You’re just being sanctimonious and pompous. Lighten up.

        • None whatsoever, Lefty. It’s not rocket science; remove the mag, rack the slide, lock it open and inspect the chamber. If that’s too tough for you, don’t handle firearms.

  50. One of my older coworkers was an ironworker in his youth. He told me a story once about giving signals to a crane operator who was lifting a huge (heavy) steel frame dozens of stories into the air.

    His foreman asked him “You’re not gonna drop that, are ya?” He replied “Haven’t dropped one yet.”
    The foreman asked the same of his partner on the other side and the reply was “Dropped one once. Won’t do that again.”

    I think the same could be said for ND’s. Thank God no one was hurt. This could have been very, very bad.

  51. Dan’s fridge is looking a little sparse. Must be single or not home much except to execute walls. Good he missed the beer

  52. You refer murdering bad man….burger hookey, trigger thingey , no touchy stuff……Kudo’s on the confession.

  53. You got to play the lottery! Cause if you had hit the sirracha sauce the damage would have been a lot worse.

  54. Rule 1. EVERY gun is loaded, ALWAYS!
    Rule 2. Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
    Rule 3. F.O.T.U.R.D. Finger off trigger until ready to destroy.
    Seen too many photos with their digit on the go button.

  55. You likey da cocksauce? Glad no one was hurt. I’ve had an ND. Fortunately no one was hurt from mine either. It really sucks, but it’ll teach you.

  56. It’s funny how TTAG worries about comments on the (hourly) MDA stories and how they’ll make gun owners look when they show up in searches: how will it look when they happen upon a bunch of people joking about unsafe gun handling and acting like it’s the most normal thing in the world?

    Yes, that’ll dispel the myth of the stereotypical gun owner, and how none of us are properly-trained and worthy of owning guns.

        • @Matt

          Why don’t you do what you do best and frantically remove them all, then?

        • I couldn’t figure out why you were so upset about having one comment deleted, talking about deleting “them all.” But then I figured it out. I looked back through your comment history, through at least four name changes, and the common thread that runs through them all is that they are virtually all non-contributory, and many are downright obnoxious. And what’s more, I recognized at least two of your older names as ones for whom I had deleted comments in the past. One of them was so obnoxious that I actually banned it entirely. So I guess that explains your ire. But have you ever considered that the problem might be you?

          Raylan Givens pretty well covers this one, from Justified

        • No. Safety is not harping. Saying the same thing over and over and over again is harping. Don’t pretend you don’t know the difference. No one accused you of being stupid. Just being an asswart about it.

        • I’ve had my run ins with Matt and been moderated…once, but the way you just busted Billy boy there makes me appreciate TTAG slightly more. Couldn’t reply directly to Matt’s post but it would have gone something like this….
          BAM!

  57. I will tell my ND story, y’all can flame me if you wish.

    I was 21, temporarily living in my mother’s travel trailer in the Nags Head NC area while working a summer tourist area job.

    I took out my Ruger Security Six .357 Magnum to practice dry firing. I unloaded the cylinder (CCI aluminum case JHPs), rechecked it, proceeded to dry fire. When I was done, I began wiping it down with an oily cloth. I had a set pattern from this point on:

    1. Wrap cylinder with cloth.
    2. Pull trigger six times.
    3. Open cylinder.
    4. Load cartridges.
    5. Close cylinder.
    6. Final wipe.
    7. Store firearm.

    Due to inattention, step #2 ended up after step # 5. The stage was set for a catastrophe. As I was pulling the trigger the first time, it occurred to me in slow motion that I had screwed up, but before that thought could be transmitted to my hands, the discharge happened. I had the firearm pointed up in a safe direction. Once I overcame the decibel stun of having a .357 Magnum fire inside a travel trailer without the benefit of hearing protection, I went outside to survey the damage. No one dead or dying, no one outside at all investigating the noise. No evidence of a bullet leaving the trailer. I went back inside to check that damage. As y’all might be aware, travel trailers are not built out of the sturdiest of components. The bullet first pierced the bottom front corner molding of an overhead compartment door that folds down to make a hanging bunk, which we used only for storage. It then entered a thin 2 or 3 inch mattress. And stopped right there inside the mattress. I extracted the non deformed bullet and separated copper jacket out of the mattress. I was elated that my mistake had not exited the trailer and injured or killed someone, even if it had been aimed up and away from any potential target. I was then disturbed that my supposed self defense ammo had performed so poorly. I went to the hardware store, puttied the hole, and didn’t tell my mother until several years later.

    • Interesting, thanks. Glad no one was hurt. And I would have taken the same approach regarding telling my mother. So did you abandon step 2 in your process after that?

  58. Dennis –

    Try putting a GLOCK 21 back on a pistol rack after removing the magazine but not clearing the chamber.

  59. I appreciate your candor and willingness to help us all learn from your errors. Thank you.

    (This is also why I never use “safeties.”)

    Nice photos, too.

  60. I can’t say this would happen to me. I stow all my firearms loaded I know, I know do not do this, but in knowing my pistols and other weapons are loaded my first act is to unload the weapon then handle with care. If someone wants to take a look at my firearm I go through this act and unload it, then show him or her that it’s is empty and explain to them how to safely handle it. I don’t give a shit if he or her has been in ten wars and is NRA with shooting medals, I still insist that it is pointed safely and don’t fvck with the trigger! No probelmo. Be safe out there and always trust no one.

  61. “…combination of thinking it was unloaded thinking the safety was on and not being familiar with the sensitivity of this particular trigger.”

    So you basically broke all the safety rules ans shot a hole on the wall…

    • It doesn’t make you smarter when you tell people things they already know. It just makes you more irritating.

  62. HAHAHA thats sort of funny, every time I check and show clear, I always dry fire into the fridge, I figured its least likely object to let a round through. that and its against the wall in my apartment that is facing the woods.

    never discharged, but very interesting to see this tested.

  63. Thank you for the true confessional. This is the kind of sharing that helps keep safety in the forefront of our minds.

  64. This happened to me once, but I was lucky enough to have been outdoors and lucky enough that the discharge was in a safe direction. I was pulling a shotgun from its case. I had left it loaded and for some stupid reason drop my booger hook in the trigger guard. My wife was with me. Now I’m kind of insane about checking the loaded/unloaded state of my weapons and muzzle sweeps.

  65. If there was ever a better example of the rule that once a post goes over 100 comments it has pretty much played itself out, I would not be able to find a better one than this discussion.

    TTAG should consider selling sedatives.

  66. I’ve never had a ND, however I recall my father did once when I was a teen long ago. It was with a 12GA. It was in the middle of the night and he took it out and stepped outside because there were a pack of coyotes around our house. He must have been really tired because he thought the chamber was empty and discharged a round into the ceiling. He always told me that you never point the gun at anything you don’t want to shoot and always point it in a safe direction when you “relieve” the trigger. He did actually that and fired it in a safe direction and woke everyone up in the house. The next morning I got to climb around in the attic and around the fiberglass insulation inspecting the damage. Luckily the shot sprayed into several timbers and never made it to the roof – so no patchwork needed. Regardless, he learned his lesson and all of us did too.

  67. Huh, interesting timing.

    I actually had my first negligent discharge less than a week ago. I had just finished cleaning a new-production Zastava M57 Tokarev in my garage, and was putting it back together. After racking the slide a couple times to spread the oil a bit and check the function of the hammer assembly (damn thing is stiff), I placed a magazine in the well (it has a mag disconnect), pulled the trigger, and soft-dropped the hammer with my thumb. Then, because of course I did, I racked the slide again, and pulled the trigger. It was at this moment that I realized I had inserted a magazine with rounds.

    Now, lucky for me, I had the presence of mind to keep the firearm pointed away from anything soft and fleshy. The round impacted the garage wall about a foot and a half away from the bench, after passing through a roll of paper towels. The wall took the Russian surplus FMJ round in stride; it barely chipped the concrete, which, in hindsight, I found ballisitcally interesting. Aside from the world suddenly sounding like it was underwater, I was none the worse for wear. Just like the author, I was more furious with myself than anything. Oh, and the wife wasn’t too happy with me either.

    Lesson learned: magazines with ammunition have no place on the workbench. Oh, and I have also developed a dislike of magazine disconnects.

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