Safety Tip: Don’t Try to Catch a Falling Gun

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Some things seem so obvious they don’t need saying. But 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.” Let’s add this one to the list: Don’t catch a falling gun. While that advice seems worthy of a forehead slap, be careful. You need to think about that one.

Thanks to evolution, homo sapiens are hard-wired to catch things. This lightning-quick unconscious ability enabled humans’ hunting success and prevented us from being killed by hard objects flying through the air.

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…bang. 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 potential danger of catching a falling firearm.

Also, remember this: a gun is just a thing. Things can be repaired and/or replaced. Humans, less so. If you drop your $4000 Nighthawk Custom Border Special onto the concrete, dent, ding or scrape it…oh well. Fecal matter happens. If you could afford the gun in the first place, you can probably afford to bring it back to its full, original glory.

If, that is, you’re alive to do so.

Those are conscious thoughts which can help block the subconscious catch it reflex. The best way to head this one off at the pass? Practice. Unload your firearm, safety-check it, assume your shooting position and then…drop it. No need to intentionally damage your firearm; drop it on a carpet, a pillow, a patch of 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 your target as much as possible.

You have been warned.

The Four Rules of Gun Safety



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  1. Just as millenia of human existence conditioned our “natural” reflexes to catch objects falling from our hands, centuries ( of handling firearms conditioned our reflexes to grab for falling firearms….because the firearm had a substantial probability of discharging against a hard object/surface. The so-called “drop-safe” technology has existed, in common, for only few years.

    It is not the value of the firearm that created the natural reflex, but the centuries of firearm handling prior to the days of “drop-safe”. Even the dropping of an exposed knife blade has the potential of bouncing, and causing injury. Protecting against unintended damage is simply in our DNA.

    It will be generations before firearm owners in general develop a natural instinct to allow firearms to be safely dropped without risk of discharge.

      • How many more firearms were not drop safe in 1911? And how many folks actually used and carried a drop safe 1911 on the regular?

        Much as I hate to stroke his ego Sam has it mostly right. Guns simply have not been routinely drop safe until fairly recently.

        • XZX, let me introduce you to the Colt 1911 Series 80, released in 1983. The Series 80 introduced a firing pin block that prevented the firing pin from moving forward if the trigger isn’t pulled, thus finally making it drop safe 72 years after its initial adoption. Some people don’t like the extra action the trigger needs to perform to release the firing pin block, so they stick with the older Series 70 or remove the safety.

      • “AFAIK, 1911s are 100% drop-safe since introduced. ln 1911.”

        Possibly so, but….

        If only one injury or death is prevented, it is worth mandating all firearms be equipped with specific features that guarantee drop-safety.

        If history teaches us anything, it is that history teaches us nothing. The public, the plebes, the vassals and serfs, those lacking the skill to rule over others, must be protected from themselves.

        If it were not so, those needing protection from themselves would be in positions of power to protect others from themselves.

        Not to mention that depending on others to make one’s life safe is the opiate of the masses.

        From the skill of the ruling elite, to the mendacity of society bent on fecklessness.

        • “This right here is what happens when you spin Sam up.”

          And the bastard makes it all sound so simple and *reasonable*… 🙁

        • “This right here is what happens when you spin Sam up.”

          As if spinning Sam up is somehow worse than spinning up Minor or those other dudes with noodles for brains who do nothing but copy-paste faux “studies” as proof of something-something.

          At least Sam is cogent. And we need more of that in this era. More Sam. Less of the other dudes. Thanks!

        • “This right here is what happens when you spin Sam up.”

          Let’s see, time stamp 16:37. It that’s local or close to it for Sam, then it’s happy hour, and IIRC, he enjoys a good martini now and then. Salud!

      • The real problem is striker fired Tupperware.

        Most non-striker pistols are safe to catch, 1911s have a grip safety, single and double action autos and revolvers require many pounds of pressure to discharge.

        The ‘catch a gun, kill a bystander’ phenomenon has only appeared in the last couple decades, coinciding with the striker fired nonsense.

    • I have seen someone drop a knife and reflexively grab it. I took her to the emergency room for several stitches in the yoke of her thumb/forefinger. A little deeper could have meant a lot of physical therapy.

      • “I have seen someone drop a knife and reflexively grab it. I took her to the emergency room for several stitches in the yoke of her thumb/forefinger.”

        Not goodski. Not goodski atall.

  2. Do you own a Series 80 1911 design?

    Here is how I heard it – someone calculated that if you dropped a 1911 from 30 feet and it landed exactly on the muzzle, the momentum of the firing pin MIGHT cause it to impact the primer, which COULD cause a discharge.

    in an epic display of corporate spaghetti spine, Colt said “o dear o dear”, and the Series 80 was born. Think about next time you are trying to get that fiddly little %$//_==$ pin blocker to reassemble properly…

    No actual historical incident needed to alter the safest design extant…

  3. Catch a falling gun and put it in your holster,
    Exanguinate by end of day.
    Catch a falling gun and put it in your holster,
    The ambulence is on its way.

    • “Catch a falling gun and put it in your holster,…”

      Wow. Someone with a long memory. Nicely done.

      Wish I had written that.

      I probably will.

  4. I had a 1903 Colt .32 acp. It had a hammer that was buried in the gun. When you chambered a round the hammer was at full c%ck. It had a manual and grip safety. Was it drop proof? Does anybody know?

    I bought a West German Walther PP police pistol in .32acp on the surplus market. I heard, I didn’t have interwebz then, that it was not drop proof.

  5. …modern guns are “drop safe.”…

    Unless you’re a plainclothes FBI Agent showing off your moves on a crowded dance floor…

  6. @jwm
    “xzx. This right here is what happens when you spin Sam up.”

    I appreciate xzx; otherwise it has been a boring day.

  7. Step away from anything dangerous that you drop. Firearm, knife, hand grenade or glass. You can figure it out later.

    • Kick away the grenade and hit the deck feet facing the grenade… 🙁

  8. When practicing dropping guns (empty), dropping mags for reloads (all empty), or twirling your cowboy single action(empty), I was given simple advice. Stand facing the foot or side of your bed with your legs against it. Mistakes go “plop” and you don’t have as far to go to pick stuff back up. That matters after fifty!

  9. @Geoff “I’m getting too old for this shit” PR
    “And makes it all sound so simple and *reasonable*… ”

    Sometimes I scare myself about how easy it can be.

  10. Midgets have less accidents dropping their gunms. Possums even more so. It’s hard to get your dropped gunm to go off when dropping it from 4 inches. My suggestion is for all humans to cut off their legs, just to be safe. After all, ‘ If it saves just one life’. Well, and their hands too. You cant catch it if your mittens are gone.
    Safety First

    • Osprey can carry a 10 pound fish a few miles from lake to nest. Well, if they don’t get stolen from us by pelicans or bald eagles. That’s why osprey carry now, by the way. It’s also fun to drop a fish on a parking lot a mile away from any water, or in a fancy swimming pool with water features and a kid’s pool slide. Just watching the humans as they scratch their heads, or try to catch the fish with a net…now that is entertainment!

      But you probably don’t want an osprey to drop his gun while on the wing. Holster retention FTW!

      • We like to travel 1-2 states away and spend long weekends visiting places, just to get away and see what’s there. We were in Fort Wayne, IN over a July 4 weekend, and had stopped at a new shopping plaza near the Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve, to lay in a few supplies. Daughter and I were in the vehicle, while Mama was in a store. We saw a blue heron fly overhead, and dump a big load on the sidewalk, not 10 feet in front of the entrance to a fancy shop. The high brick façade had a couple large white splotchy streaks on it, and we figure he was making a game out of it. We would have laid a wager on Mama’s chances, but she had gone into a neighboring store that appeared to be unmolested. We did get a good eyeroll and deep sigh out of her when we told her about it, though.

        • When the sht flys high through the Eagle Marsh sky
          The crowd stands by a cheering
          Cold hearted, fish fed
          Blue Herons
          His gut had made him bad friends

  11. Practice drooping your gun….seriously?

    That is quite possibly the most moronically ridiculous advice I have ever read.

  12. If you drop a chambered Glock with a plug behind the trigger you can catch it without harm. If you are a moron who berates how to make your own Glock Trigger Plug and you drop a chambered Glock and you pull the trigger catching it don’t say your dumbazz with an extra hole in it was not warned.

    • you might get a case of Glock Walk, or worse yet, Glock Cock or Glock No Cock.
      I’ll stick to my Smith and Wesson Third generation pistols.

    • “a plug behind the trigger“

      You can’t be serious. That’s your plan for safety?

      Mr. Fudd is correct here, I’ve had my S&W 6906 since 1988, hammer down on a chambered round, no issues.

      A West Virginia hillbilly led the way for the redesign of the third generation autos.

    • “If you drop a chambered Glock with a plug behind the trigger …”

      Since the urge to catch a falling gun is instinctive, how would you instinctively know that you dropped it with the plug in place or not?

      Putting anything inside the trigger guard besides your finger is an incredibly bad idea.

      • I think the Gock block goes behind the trigger?
        At any rate I think Gadsden Flag is right, use the whole inner tube and make it a necklace.

        • *snort*

          Glad you’re back, possum. There is an “improved” Glock block that fills the entire trigger guard with an impression in the center for the trigger. I think it’s also a stupid idea.

          ” …use the whole inner tube and make it a necklace.”

          “Necklacing” with a tire is a whole ‘nother thing.

  13. @Osprey
    “More Sam. Less of the other dudes.”

    Oh, please.



    Oh, please don’t stop.

    • Hehe, I thought you might like that! BTW, even when I’m not posting, I do enjoy your whimsical play with words.

      • “…even when I’m not posting, I do enjoy your whimsical play with words.”

        Happy to be here, grateful for the opportunity, proud to serve.

    • THAT’S what that thing was on that tree branch the other day! You know, it clocked a vulture before it landed in that tree. Good shooting!

  14. Here’s a challenge: in EVERY major shooting sport – USPSA, IDPA, ICORE, etc – a dropped gun is an AUTOMATIC DISQUALIFICATION.

    So, if you haven’t yet actually dropped if,
    but feel it’s getting out of firm control, do you:
    A) try to regain control, and perhaps accidentally touch the competition trigger; or
    B) drop it (safely), but get DQ’ed, forfeit your time and fee, and get sent home in shame?

    Seems like THE RULZ strongly encourage the unsafe choice

  15. …and this is why most gun clubs won’t let you draw and fire from a holster!
    But where are you supposed to practice for your CCW, now that NJ has finally started issuing CCW permits? I know, I know, “Practice at home,” but by practicing at home rather than at a gun range, you’re violating two of the four fundamental rules of gun safety:
    1) “Every gun is always loaded.”
    2) “Never point your gun at anything you’re not willing to kill or destroy.”

    Chamber flags are great, but they don’t usually fit in a holster.
    Practicing with blue guns (training guns) can only get you so far.
    So you have to violate rules 1 and 2 at home if your gun club won’t let you practice drawing.

  16. Fortunately, working in construction, I’m hardwired to not try to catch any thing at could hurt me.

  17. Most people have 2 hands and 2 feet.

    It has been a few years since we were able to grab, let alone catch, anything with our feet, but they do make good interference for items approaching the ground.

    Anything wrong with that idea? Asking for a friend 🙂

    • I went to work at a meat packing plant and they stressed do not put your foot out if you drop your knife

      • Yep, I could see that might be a good idea! 🙂
        With only 5 toes per foot, practice would be hard.

  18. I will usually use my foot to arrest the damage caused by the fall but will not catch it. My problem with the video is this gun bent over, sticking his head beyond the firing line which is a big no-no in my training. As far as training goes, check the weapon, then check it again. Put it down, leave the action open. As for rule #2, when I dry fire, I aim at corner of the room where I know there are at least 2 2×4’s (if not more) to at least slow down the bullet. So my dry fire holster draw will be at a corner of the room. If you are tired, been drinking, or not focused on the task, don’t do this.

  19. @hawkeye
    “If that’s local or close to it for Sam, then it’s happy hour, and IIRC, he enjoys a good martini now and then. Salud!”

    More and more, it is “then”. Having to more frequently rely on Champipple. And sometimes MD 20/20.

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