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Make no mistake, we appreciate fine cleavage with the best of ’em. But believe it or not, decolletage can cause problems. In fact, it can be downright dangerous. And we don’t just mean when your wife catches you checking out someone else’s display as she walks past your table on your anniversary. No, it turns out an unwise showing of one’s assets can actually get someone shot…

News comes from Tennessee via of a near-tragic cleavage-related injury:

(Bristol, TN Police Department) Sgt. Chester “Chet” Emery, 47, and his girlfriend, Kelly Crandell, 46, were shooting a .22 caliber pistol at the Shooter’s Edge firing range in Piney Flats when “a piece of hot brass went down the front of her shirt,” causing her to jerk back and discharge the weapon, a news release from Capt. Keith Elton states.

When Crandell, also of Bristol, Tenn., accidentally fired her weapon, according to the report, it then sent a single bullet through Emery’s wrist and struck him on the right side of his chest. Emery, who also works as a firearms instructors (sic) at Shooter’s Edge, was listed in stable condition at Johnson City Medical Center Monday evening.

Yikes. Who says .22 ammo can’t penetrate?

So let this be a lesson, ladies. While we certainly appreciate your wanting to look your best – believe us, we really really do – high collars are the way to go when shooting. A hat with a bill’s not a bad idea either, come to think of it. Save yourself a nasty hot casing burn – not to mention lame “rack your slide” double entendres. Save your significant other a helicopter ride and keep the girls under wraps at the range, OK?

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  1. Certainly there is nothing wrong with this advice, but it occurs to me that this was more a case of poor gun control than anything else.

    I’ve seen (and had) hot brass land many places, including down shirts, in my hair, between safety glasses and my brow, etc., and never have I or those I shoot with ever reacted by jerking backward and squeezing off another round in a random direction.

    I wonder if this was their first time shooting?

  2. I read of another similar accident when a woman at a range experienced a hot casing going down her halter top and burning her. She jumped and shot herself in the leg.

  3. I have had casings land in my collar before, from both 9mm and .40cal handguns (maybe 9×18 rounds too, but I can’t recall a definate time for that like I can the other two). They are hot, but not third degree shoot myself or another shooter in panic to get it out hot. And they cool down pretty fast when touching skin, especially if you let them move around a little.

    Not to be macho, but I usually finish the magazine before removing the casing, since I figure if it can happen in practice where I am dressed specifically to reduce the chances, then it can happen in life or death situation. So I try to ignore the discomfort of being burned and still hit the target. Worst I ever got was equal to a bad sunburn, in a really small area.

    Now, I have had a recently discharged 7.62x54r casing go down my shirt, I wasn’t the one who fired it even though it came from my gun on a new shooter I was helping. That was many magnitudes hotter, and made me do the get the casing out dance.

    But according to this story is was a .22 and most pistols are .22lr or smaller (.22sr). Probably shooting the cheaper target loads too. I have a single shot bolt action .22 rifle that requires manually removing the shell and replacing it with a new one after every shot. Maybe it is because they are still in the barrel for a few seconds before I eject it, but these are never more than warm. So seems like she was more startled than burning alive.

  4. Trying to come up with an explanation for her reaction
    One possibility is that she either was not wearing anything under the shirt, or her bra was very loose, and hit a – shall we say – tender spot. Even a spent .22 casing on that area can result in some instinctual reactions.
    If she then instinctively grabbed for it with her strong hand and he was on her left, I can see how the incident happened.
    There may be other possibilities, but that’s what comes to mind.
    Nonetheless – poor muzzle control is poor muzzle control.
    We guys may contribute to the cleavage-on-the-range bit with our – interest – in some of these “girls with guns” photos… just sayin’.

  5. Among the people I shoot with, the shimmy & squirm associated with dislodging the casing is referred to as “The Hot Brass Dance”, and it’s been performed by both men and women.

    No NDs so far.

  6. I’ve personally seen this happen at a range in the Bay Area of California. The woman in question (blonde with V-neck t-shirt and flip-flops) was shooting a .22. A “hot brass incident” resulted in her putting a round dead-center into a man standing next to her.

    Fortunately for him, the group I was with had two doctors and a trauma nurse among their number. The victim, a veteran of Vietnam, awarded a PH for being shot in combat, was found in the men’s room, trying to mop up the entry wound with paper towels. He was embarrassed that he was shot by a blonde with a .22. Tough guy all the way ’round.

    It had to be explained to him that he wasn’t going to “walk this off” and the MD’s and nurse called in an evac chopper to rush him to the hospital, where he was on the table for more than 5 hours as the surgeons found and patched up all the holes in his guts.

    Since that day, I’ve been an absolute zealot with students and guests about:

    1. No plunge necklines or half-buttoned shirts for either sex.
    2. Shoes must cover the entire foot. This is a Big Deal with women in the summer. Want to spend time on a range ladies? Get some real shoes. “Real shoes” means boots, preferably leather, at least ankle-high. Those silly flip-flops? They’re not shoes, real or imaginary.
    3. Safety glasses must be wrap-arounds.

  7. ““a piece of hot brass went down the front of her shirt,” causing her to jerk back and discharge the weapon”

    If she can’t control her impulses, then she shouldn’t have a gun. Almost every time I’ve gone shooting with a girl I’ve seen hot brass fall down their shirt – yet even the one who’d never fired a gun before put the gun down before pulling the brass out.

  8. My second-most funniest story from Okinawa happened on a Marine range back in ’73. I don’t remember specifically which range were were shooting on.

    I worked in a Navy personnel office on Torii Station Army Base and our department head decided that he wanted all of us clerical type people .45 qualified (maybe because he was concerned that chucking our typewriters at invading Viet Cong couldn’t guarantee us a OSS).

    I was in a lane to the immediate left of a young sailorette, one of the first non-medical WAVES assigned permanently on Okinawa. She had just started in working in our office a few days earlier and in WAVE boot camp they then didn’t weapons qualify so it was her first time with any gun of any kind.

    Being a female type sailor, her dungaree blouse buttoned from the reverse of the men’s, so the opening gapped to the left instead of the right. While we were shooting rapid fire one of my ejected hot brass flew into the gap in her blouse, and then wedged deeply into her cleavage (she was VERY well endowed).

    She was quite surprised, upset, and vocal… and waving a .45 around in one hand while she danced across the range grabbing at her chest with the other. I was the only one who knew what happened, and I was dying laughing while everyone else scattered until things got back under control. I think the range Gunny put his retirement papers in the next day. Just couldn’t handle these new-fangled ideas about women on the firing line.

    She eventually forgave me, and a few months ago we celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. (She’s since learned much better range manners, and I try not to give her any reason to regret going with me 🙂 )

  9. I am very pro firearms, by all law abiding citizens. But I will step into this thread full force. First, most of these posts have already judged the two parties involved by only reading a news article given out right after the incident. At a time when the investigation into the incident has hardly begun let alone finished. Did ANYONE follow up on the investigation or just still running with the first piece of information given by the media? As pro firearm advocates have people not learned about the media and its desires fir ratings and their own agendas?

    That being said, I will state the following. I live in California now after forced retirement from Bristol Tennessee Police Department and the military. I served 27 years in the military and 17 years as a police officer, most of which was with BTPD. I was forced into retirement due to wounds I suffered in combat in Iraq 2005. I have known Chet Emery since 1990. WE are close friends and have always been close friends since I met him. Chet is one of if not the most safety minded people I have ever met when it comes to firearms. I have been shooting for over 45 years, firearms instructor for over 30 years, gunsmith, Armorer, combat veteran all around the world. I have been in shootouts, been shot at, been blown up twice. So I KNOW what I am talking about. Chet and myself have been partners, worked cases together, hunted with him on hundreds of occasions, he was with me in a shootout one cold February night in 1996 that left my partner dead and two suspects wounded. Chet was right there. I trust this man with my most precious of things, my children. I would let NO ONE but Chet go to my house, tell my children what had happened and have him take my girls to their mothers. Chet and myself have worked side by side for years. I never, ever had to watch my back because I knew he had it covered as I had his. We have shot just about any type of weapon available to police and civilians, side by side. We served on the SWAT team together. Chet is a decorated Marine AND police officer. Together Chet and I have trained together and trained others in the use of firearms. From experienced police to raw civilians. NEVER, EVER ONCE DID I SEE CHET DO ANY UNSAFE ACT. I WITNESSED HIM STOP MANY SAFETY INFRACTIONS DURING. TRAINING. Do firearms accidents occur? YES. Just as accidents from thousands of other sources. Do YOU or have you EVER had an accident if some type?? I know I have. But yet people crave the desire to taunt, make fun of, misinterpret and Monday morning quarterback ALL that they do NOT have all if any of the details. Myself, I was informed within the hour if the incident. Before I made rash judgments ,I was on the phone to the hospital ER where Chey lay injured. At that moment he was in CT where they located the projectile. He was on IV fluids and had a chest tube in. I talked to another officer who was there with him and had TALKED to Chet personally. This officer has known Chet as long as I have. He gave me the details of the incident and stated that the INVESTIGATION by the Sullivan County Sheriffs Department was still ongoing.


    I stand by not only CHET but all the police, firefighters, EMS and ALL THE MILITARY AND FEDERAL personnel I have served with through a very long career. These people are heroes and not ZEROS, that you make them out to be.

    Now I have had my say. I will testify on what I HAVE stated here before ANY court. Anyone else here want to make the sane declaration? ??

    • Well said Harold, Chet is a good friend of mine and was my neighbor for a number of years. Simply put, accidents can happen to anyone! If she had doused him with boiling water due to being stung by a hornet it would not even be a topic of discussion….

  10. Shooters Edge and all other such facilities should have a very strict dress code when stepping on the firing range. One good reason is to protect skin from being burned and causing unsafe reactions and another good reason is to not distract your instructor. I am a female shooter and I have always been taught to keep muzzle pointed in a safe direction no matter what happens and to not touch that trigger no matter what until I am ready to fire. Never try to catch a dropped weapon because you could accidently trip the trigger.

    • I live in the area and this is the range I use. The staff at Shooters edge does a great job of providing a safe environment without taking the fun out of it. These guys are all pros, and with that being said stuff happens. They have since set aside such a dress code but there will still be risk. One simply cannot plan for and avoid all negative situations, just a classic case of bad stuff happening to good people. The internet gun community can be quick to attack any situation in which a firearm was allegedly mis-handled and proceed to spew endless amounts of rhetoric about firearm safety as if it is their duty to society. Firearm safety is a facet of personal responsibility, giving a didactic lecture after the fact accomplishes nothing of value.


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