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Most gunnies are more than familiar with the four rules of gun safety. And if you talk to RF for more than about five minutes, you’ll probably hear that in his estimation, there’s one safety rule that rules them all: always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction. It makes sense when you think about it. No matter what else may happen, as long as the gun isn’t pointed at someone you don’t want to shoot (as in a defensive gun use situation), at least no one will get hurt. But sometimes, depending on where you are, finding that safe direction can be difficult or darn near impossible . . .

Such as when you live in an apartment building. A building like the one Ashley Redden lives in.

Ashley’s really proud of her gun. So proud, in fact, that she wanted to let her neighbors admire it, too. And probably fancying herself as a certified Safety Suzy, she wanted to be sure that the gun wasn’t loaded before she presented it to them for their viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, Ashely doesn’t own a clearing barrel.

(B)efore she went downstairs, she aimed it at the wall to see if the gun was loaded when it discharged, the report stated.

Yep, we could also have just as easily classified this one as a passively constructed negligent discharge story. Because if you believe the gun just “discharged” on its own when Ashley pointed it at the wall – a wall she shares with a neighbor – we have a bridge in Ketchikan we’d like to sell you.

According to the report, the man said he was lying in bed when he heard a gunshot and felt something hit his ankle.

Fortunately, the un-named neighbor wasn’t seriously injured. Redden, on the other hand, has been charged with reckless endangerment (which you’d expect) and vandalism (which you probably wouldn’t) by the Murfreesboro, Tennessee 5-0. And guilty or not, she’ll be getting a little something from us to commemorate this important milestone in her life (other than a framed print of that mugshot for her fridge). Wonder of the neighbors ever got to see her gun….

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  1. If my apartment wasnt the walkout-basement level (with 2 sides concrete and ground, concrete pad below me) I would for sure have a clearing bucket. If you live in a middle floor apartment you might not have a totally safe direction to point when loading/unloading.

    • I just can’t understand the clearing bucket mentality. If it’s your gun then you should be able to clear it without discharge. No excuses.

      • Its like insurance. Malfunctions and negligence (however rare) happen. If Im loading a gun, its pointed in a safe direction. If Im unloading the gun, its pointed in a safe direction. If you live where up, down, and all sides go into other peoples dwellings, you need a clearing bucket to have a safe direction.

      • I have seen guns go off when People were trying to clear/load them because of stuck firing pins And out of spec sear connections… never be complacent.

      • Right. I’m betting you don’t normally point your gun at your wife or kids when clearing it. Understand now?

  2. How can anyone do that? Knowledgable about firearms or not..Checking to see if it is unloaded by aiming and pulling the trigger at a wall? In an apartment?

    And did she tell the cops to interview the firearm, to ascertain why it choose to go off on its own, without permission? Will the pistol be charged?..Because that is as absurd as hearing people say “it just went off on its own” or anything among those lines. And the media repeats it, as if I could say after being pulled over on a traffic stop “It was my car, it just went off on its own, blowing the speed limit, and it didn’t even care officer.”

    • i wouldn’t put it past anyone who points a gun at a wall and pulls the trigger to seeing it is clear to continue doing so until they hear a click click click click click.

    • Couldn’t tell you. That’s a classic that’s worked for me for, well, forever. I would only add that I remove the ammunition source first, even if I “know” it’s empty.

      People have been known to ND even after locking open the slide, ejecting the chambered round and inspecting the now empty chamber, only to chamber a fresh round inadvertently from the unremoved, not unloaded, magazine upon releasing the slide.

      • Fully retracting the slide to observe the chamber without removing the magazine first. It’s a VERY common practice. I work at a gun store, and removing the mag first is something that I go out of my way to stress to all customers.

  3. She looks like one of those girls that is too pretty to be smart. A friend of mine called them 9+1 girls. Before they (and we) are born, they walked thru the buffet line of life and could pick from the list of math, music, athletics, science, height, beauty, courage, etc. And the 9+1 girls pick 9 pretties and 1 giggle for their allotment of ten things. We have all met one, and they are gorgeous to look at, but dumb as a bag of hammers.

  4. Pulling the trigger as a way to discover if you gun is loaded seems a bit counter productive. The recommended racking of the slide a few times should be considered as a quieter, saner alternative.

  5. Gotta agree on the clearing barrel thingie

    What is supposed to be so hard about removing your magazine and pulling back the slide WITHOUT touching the trigger.

    Am I doing something wrong if I am capable of that?

    • I don’t know about the particulars of this case. What I hear all too often is that someone ejects the magazine and figures the firearm is unloaded at that point — without ever clearing the chamber!

      In other words they “clear” the magazine and fail to “clear” the chamber.

      Pro tip: after you eject the magazine, cycle the action three or four times while keeping your finger OFF of the trigger. On that last cycle, lock the action open and then visually inspect the chamber to guarantee that the firearm is empty. Then — and only then — is it safe to point the firearm in a known SAFE direction and squeeze the trigger.

      As JustYourRandomEuropean mentioned, it isn’t rocket science.

      • Why are we cycling the action three or four times for no reason whatsoever? Just lock the damn slide back and visually inspect.
        Too easy.

        • Steve,

          I cycle the action multiple times in case a cartridge is stuck in the chamber … although technically speaking the only way you could cycle the action with a cartridge stuck in the chamber is if you broke your extractor so cycling the action multiple times with a broken extractor probably wouldn’t help. I also cycle multiple times in case there was a cartridge stuck in the magazine (that didn’t feed the first time) or in case I inadvertently “short cycled” the action and a cartridge in the extractor didn’t actually eject but instead went back into the chamber.

          Having said all that, sure, you should be able to cycle the action one time to visually inspect the chamber and be good to go. For me, the negligible extra effort and time it takes to cycle the action two or three additional times is worthwhile to guarantee that the firearm will not go “BANG” when I pull the trigger.

        • Yeah, I’m comfortable enough with the visual inspection that the 3 racks (even with hopping on one foot while whistling) isn’t necessary. Sounds a little OCD to me.

        • and take the time to check with end of little finger inserted into chamber- in case you get faked out by dim light into missing seeing the shell stuck in place.

          Do it every time you unload a gun, check it safe to hand to another, and check it safe when getting it handed to you, even over the counter at LGS…

          good habits save lives, bad habits take lives.

        • Pursuant to Penal Code section 26850, prior to taking delivery of a handgun from
          a licensed firearms dealer in California, an individual must correctly perform a
          safe handling demonstration with the handgun he or she is acquiring.

          from page 45- of the Handgun Safety Certificate Study Guide:

          for a semi-auto:
          1. remove the magazine
          2. lock the slide back
          3. visually and physically inspect the chamber

          (the rest of the steps are for a locked gun)

        • You rack the slide multiple times for a couple reasons:

          1) if you’ve forgotten to take out the mag, the stream of rounds ejecting from the gun is a good reminder and

          2) it encourages you to vigorously work the action, avoiding short cycling, etc.

          The clearing procedure I was taught was
          1) remove the magazine
          2) work the slide at least three times
          3) lock back
          4) visually and physically inspect the chamber, breech face, and mag well

          I’m still thinking of making a clearing barrel, just for peace of mind.

        • I don’t know whether I was ever taught that, I learned to shoot with a revolver, but that is what I have always done, and there are some good reasons here. One I have always considered is making sure the action is free and working properly, ie hasn’t picked up some sand or grit interfering with the function.

  6. Your susposed to look down the barrel before you pull the trigger that way you see if abullet came out. Every one knows thatl

  7. If you teach your gun to HATE the wall, it’s just going to happen.

    I teach all my firearms respect and tolerance for construction features of all kinds.

  8. I was totally paranoid about this back in my apartment-living days. There was no way to know what kind of stupidity might be happening on the other side of that wall (well, sometimes the squeaking and thumping gave it away). And I’ve seen enough sheetrock to know that when push comes to shove, it’s a lot more sheet than rock.

    • A 55gal barrel of sand in your apartment living room will work about as well as setting up that hottub there. The basement floor will stop everything that falls.

      • Place 55gal barrel of sand in your apartment living room and you will find it in the basement all on its own. (Unless your apartment living room floor is thick concrete.)

  9. step one drop magazine. step two rack slide 5 times. step 3 hold slide back and inspect barrel to ensure nothing stayed jammed before releasing a final time. I’m always amazed that people find it impossible to follow those 3 steps.

  10. If the mag is out and a round ejects when you pull the slide back, why do you have to do it 4 more times before observing the chamber?

    • Good question. I drop the mag, and cycle the slide back, and engage the stop. I’m pretty sure I can see if the chamber is now clear, without repeating step 2 4 more times.

      • +1 Slide locked back, visual/tactile check of chamber -> sufficient in just about any situation you can throw at someone

        • I would argue at least twice is necessary, to once more assure the magazine is out. Habit patterns are important, and should consider that you might not be completely in control of yourself for a variety of reasons. You might have just shot a few people, for example. Or, 25-odd years ago in the boonies outside Ellsworth AFB in SD, an Air Force guard at a missile silo reached the end of his shift, was clearing his rifle after an 8-hour shift in below zero temperatures. The instructed procedure was 1) drop mag 2) rack action ) 3 pull trigger. He’d done it a thousand times, but with a frozen brain he reversed 1&2, shot his partner and best friend dead as a post. If he’d racked it 2 times, even, maybe he would have noticed the second round dropping.

    • Racking the slide 4 times ensures that if there is a cartridge jammed it may release. The 5th time is when you fully inspect. Sure you can rack once check once, but the 4 times i’ve found is a good way to ensure. most discharges come from negligence (I thought it was unloaded or i thought I checked it). 4 slides means you did check it, one time you might have “forgot”

  11. Guilty or not? Really? If the court determines that this news report is wrong you’ll still smear her?

    • Well, sounds like the only way she is not guilty of anything is if there is a bullet hole in the opposite wall, as well, where the bullet entered her apartment. Legal eagles are at work determining just what she is guilty of.

  12. The issue of accidental discharge is even greater when loading a firearm in an unsafe area such as an apartment. A bucket of sand may suffice for a typical pistol caliber, but failing that, a corner wall jamb, fireplace, or exterior wall may have to do. I had an old Nazi era Browning Hi Power discharge while I was loading it one day in my upstairs apartment. I had it pointed at an exterior wall and into the trees beyond it. Nobody was injured, and I managed to repair the interior wall myself. Curiously, the exterior siding showed no exit hole. My gunsmith was suspect of my claim until he took the gun into the back of his shop and repeated the accident.

  13. First off, I don’t think it is a great idea to be showing your firearm to all of your neighbors. Second, there is usually a safe place to aim your firearm, even in an apartment. How about in the upper corner of a room with an outside wall, in the upper corner of the outside wall ? IF a ND should occur the bullet would likely not hit anyone. And finally, as everyone else said, not really that difficult to clear a weapon. Drop the magazine and rack the slide. Lock the slide back for good measure. No need at all to pull the trigger. Not rocket science and pretty basic procedures for anyone that knows anything about safe firearm rules. Amazing (and scary) how many people that own guns don’t follow these simple procedures though.

    • “Likely not” is actually unacceptable, at least for your own home where you will be doing it repeatedly. A bucket of sand can provide “absolutely not” without much trouble. If that offends your sensibilities, buy a potted plant.

    • Robb, there’s an old saying that goes:

      “No matter how good she looks, someone, somewhere is sick and tired of her bullshit…”

      • In this case, likely her neighbor! With a minor scratch, I guess she could make it up to me somehow.

  14. Apartment dwellers would be well served with a clearing *bucket*, in lieu of a barrel: dry beach sand weighs about 12.76lb/gallon, so 50lbs of sand will be just under 4 gallons, more than sufficient per this demonstration.

    Testing My Clearing Bucket:

  15. The reason I see no need to work the action multiple times is because some guns (like non-top break single action revolvers) need to be inspected properly (unless you pull out the cylinder) since you can’t see the entirety of the feeding path at once like you can on a semi auto pistol.

    If you’re clearing a semi auto and don’t notice a loaded magazine still in the gun, you’re being negligent. Clearing a gun is more than just a repetitive, unconscious action. If you’re not paying attention to the magazine and chamber then you’re not doing an important step.

  16. I am a long time gun owner and have never had an accident with a firearm. I was taught early on to be. Not everyone is taught but if anyone ever suggested someone had to take a class to acquire a firearm every person on hear would scream about 2nd amendment rights. How about instead of publicly shaming and making negative comments about someone, you try to actually contribute by educating people on how to be a responsible gun owner and proper unloading and checking a firearm. Clearly this individual had an accident and will be dealing with this for a long time but how are you helping anyone with this article? If a non gun owner was to stumble upon this they would use this as another argument to restrict firearm ownership. I have read way too many articles about “responsible gun owners” who have been trained (military and law enforcement included) who had a negligent discharge which is far more disturbing to me. Glad all of you people making negative comments about someone’s intelligence and looks are perfect. I used to enjoy this site but won’t be back.


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