gun violence
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I confess. I dropped my carry piece one morning last week. It slipped from my grasp and tumbled to the floor as I reached for it to holster it for the day. Fully loaded, it landed on some unfolded clothes in a laundry basket (procrastination really paid off in this case).

Despite my initial impulse to try to catch it, I pulled my hands away as it fell. I knew better than to try to catch a falling gun. The only damage was momentary and the only casualty was my pride.

For the past twenty-five years, my fellow trainers and I have always cautioned both new and experienced shooters not to try to catch falling guns. Clearly it’s very tempting to try recover a gun that’s slipped from one’s grasp. All of us have tried to catch dropped objects for our entire lifetime. When it comes to guns, though, it’s critically important to resist that temptation strongly.

Humans are fallible and dropped guns happen. Guns sometimes come out of holsters a lot easier than people expect when they haven’t gotten the proper grip while drawing. Other times they can fail to grasp the gat securely when accepting a gun that’s being handed to them. I’ve seen guns fall off tables on the firing line and others tumble as a disabled, older, or just plain clumsy shooter stumbles and falls during a movement drill.

Some people worry about dropped guns discharging when they hit the ground. If you’re using a modern handgun, outside of some older models, a few Derringers or a Cowboy-style guns, handguns will almost never discharge when they hit the ground, no matter the orientation. Even in the aforementioned groups of not-so-drop-safe guns, discharges when dropped are very unlikely.


But they can happen. Frankly, you shouldn’t be carrying a gun that might kill you if you drop it. Take the “gentleman” at a doctor’s office in Peoria back in 2019. He carried a Cobra Derringer in his coat pocket. As he was wrapping up his appointment, he dropped his coat and it landed with a “bang.”

The round went through the chair and narrowly missed his femoral artery as he was still mostly seated. Fortunately he lived, but the Illinois State Police pulled his carry license for a time.

If you’re using a non-drop-safe handgun at a range, you should be very careful with it, especially when it’s loaded. In Cowboy Action Shooting, they leave an empty chamber under the hammer to help ensure any dropped guns don’t go bang. That’s a good rule for all of us when using guns that don’t have safety mechanisms to prevent a discharge if a dropped gun lands on the hammer.

A far more dangerous scenario occurs when attempting to recover a dropped gun as it’s falling, inadvertently pulling or pressing the trigger while trying to catch it.

What’s the first rule of gun safety? Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Muzzle control is kind of hard to do with a falling gun.

What’s the second rule of gun safety? Keep your finger off the cotton-pickin’ trigger. With little difficulty someone can break both rules unintentionally with potentially horrific consequences in trying to catch a gun that’s falling.

So the next time you drop your piece, the safe thing to do is…just let it fall.

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  1. the video, the fbi statement…notice how they avoid saying the agent pulled the trigger when he grabbed for the gun, and the witness says the gun went off when it hit the floor, making it sound like the gun fired by its self. the fool grabbed it and pulled the trigger.

      • yes, and that’s another thing. He should not have been drinking alcohol and armed. If an ordinary citizen did that its basically a crime and they get (arrested possibly) ‘charged’ with something if they get caught. This guy is an FBI agent, the FBI knows about it, he does it and he gets chewed out a little and maybe reprimanded (maybe even fired) but his record is clean and he gets to continue with his life without a criminal charge.

  2. Great tip! I admit that the occasions when I’ve fumbled things for various reasons I use my foot to slow the impact (risk of damaging the floor or my sights, that is) but only if I’m wearing shoes. Nothing about my shoe will get in the trigger. As an instinctive reaction, it’s far better than reaching out with my hands!

  3. Yup. The guy I trained with always said there were six iron rules: Cooper’s four, plus “don’t try and catch a dropped gun,” and “don’t shoot the instructor, because he will shoot back.”

  4. The NAA Mini-revolvers are susceptible to negligible discharge if dropped, if the hammer isn’t *properly* positioned for carry…


    Banning AR-15 style firearms should now be a legal impossibility because of a factual concession by the ATF. The ATF made a concession that, when combined with the Supreme Court’s common use test, means GAME OVER for semiautomatic gun bans.

    • Booger Brain lives in his own ignorant fantasy world. Just as the corrupt Supreme Court reversed itself on a 50 year right and a Constitutional right for a woman to choose to have a child or not so too they could easily reverse themselves on the gun issue. and probably will because of public outrage over the mass slaughter of U.S. Citizens and children while at school with assault rifles. Remember too in Colonial times many areas of the country did permit abortions but history seems to matter little to the corrupt Supreme Court which has never had any credibility.

      And of course there is also the disingenuous standard operating procedure of the corrupt Supreme Court when they simply refuse to hear a case so they can dodge the heat and the error of their former decisions by letting the lower anti-gun courts take the heat in regards to gun ban laws.

      But what would Booger Brain know about Supreme Court History? Nothing.

      • What mass slaughter? You consider something that happens to less than 0.004% of the population per annum, almost exclusively in quantities of 1 or 2 at a time, to be “mass slaughter?” You might wanna rethink your comprehension of the English language, dipshlt.

      • @dacian

        “Just as the corrupt Supreme Court reversed itself on a 50 year right and a Constitutional right for a woman to choose to have a child or not…”

        Abortion is not a constitutional right according to a direct reading of the text of the Constitution, but it has been justified as such under the Fourth Amendment’s protection of privacy. In short, the constitutional right to abortion is found not in the Constitution itself, but only in a very loose and liberal reading of the constitution in a “living document” (as “progressives” like to call it) context. In other words, it was shoehorned in as a concession to liberal readings and implied to be constitutional when in reality it never was not even in the context of the fourth amendment. That’s all the SCOTUS did, was say its not actually a constitutional right and even at the time it was originally shoehorned in it was acknowledged it was not an actual constitutional right. So all SCOTUS did was basically, in effect, uphold the previous context that its not an actual constitutional right.

        “and probably will because of public outrage over the mass slaughter of U.S. Citizens and children while at school with assault rifles.”

        What mass slaughter?

        lets look at the actual data and not the anti-gun version of it…

        Murder accounts for just 0.1% of all criminal offenses known to law enforcement. Mass shootings (which includes school shootings) account for less than .0004% of those.

        To put it another way, being a victim of a mass shooting is more unlikely than being struck by lighting which occurs at a rate of 0.035 per 100,000 people. A person is more than 1,500 times more likely to be injured or killed by car accident, or in a fire, or by choking on food. There is no ‘mass slaughter’.

        Per the FBI UCR, rifles are the lest likely firearm to be used in any murders (which includes mass shootings – a school shooting is simply a mass shooting confined to a school).

        You don’t know it because the media and your biased and grossly and provably incorrect GVA and Trace and anti-gun sources you love so much seems to only highlight the mass shootings (which includes school shootings) carried out with a civilian grade semi-auto rifle called an AR-15 (which is not an ‘assault rifle’) making it look like an AR-15 is the only thing used in mass shootings – but when all mass shooting attempts are considered a handgun (both semi-auto and revolver) is used in over 76% of them.

        But ya know, if you used something other than emotion to think with and knew something about context and knew a little fourth grade math and actually thought for yourself and were not confirmation biased and didn’t like indulging in being kept in the dark and fed a constant stream of lies from your anti-gun sources – you would have figured this out yourself.

        Ask yourself this – where are all the victims of this ‘mass slaughter’ (mass shootings which includes school shootings) with a civilian grade AR-15 that you claim happens?

        I’ll give you the answer – they are no where because there was no ‘mass slaughter’ as you claim.

        According to responses from the anti-gun GVA, The Trace, and anti-gun politicians when challenged to present the data to justify their claims for the number of fatalities from mass shootings. They claim that some bodies were not found because they were vaporized, all hair, teeth, bone, DNA, clothing, belongings were vaporized by a single ‘assault rifle’ bullet. When the anti-gun media is asked the same thing they refer to the GVA or The Trace.

        First, it is physically impossible for a bullet from a firearm to ‘vaporize’ a body. It is an impossibility in the laws of physics and in the practical because the energy bonds holding the molecules of the human body together are simply too great and bullet impact energy (no matter what caliber) is literally millions of times less on the wide spread basis that would be needed. One would need to overcome the energy bonds holding the molecules of the human body together in order to vaporize a human body so completely as these anti-gun sources claim, it simply can not happen, period. If such were possible, considering the laws of physics, the moment the very first bullet from a rifle was fired and hit a person in a mass shooting the very fabric of space-time would have been ripped apart and we would not be having this discussion today

        Second, its very dubious that the claims of these anti-gun sources are any where near correct for the number of mass shootings. For example, combined, GVA and The Trace use the media stories to count mass shootings – its already known that a large percentage of the media stories they used were incorrect (with some being later corrected but the GVA and The Trace didn’t correct their numbers). The GVA also claims to use police reports as the justification for their numbers – well, when you use only a couple of police reports sometimes you can claim that I guess but what the GVA isn’t telling you is its their interpretation of the police report and not necessarily what the report said and also not telling you that the police reports were sometimes wrong and were later corrected but the GVA didn’t change its numbers plus the GVA refuses to reveal where it gets these reports, while using their own invented definitions to quantify what is and is not a mass shooting. For example, there are more than 100 media stores they used in 2020 that initially claimed a ‘mass shooting’ event in numbers but were later corrected for the number of victims that bought it to only two people neither of which were killed but the GVA didn’t correct its number of mass shootings.

        • correction: “For example, there are more than 100 media stores they used in 2020”

          2020 should have been 2022

  6. Common use means something new comes along that makes your AR-15 obsolete you ain’t getting one. Common use is another form of Grandfathered-In…

    A provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some “existing situations” while a new rule will apply to all future cases.

    Only way the 2A survives is for Gun Control to be abolished like its sidekick Slavery. And from the looks of things on this forum and elsewhere that ain’t happening, grandpa.

    • @Debbie

      I think you miss the meaning of ‘common use’.

      Basically; It means ‘arms’ (in this context firearms) use/functionality that is not ‘usually destructive/dangerous’. In other words, the ‘common use’ standard in the cases, for example, Heller and McDonald and Bruen, was never restricted to a specific ‘platform’ or style or type. For example, if a new semi-auto firearm comes along that makes the civilian grade AR-15 ‘obsolete’ the new semi-auto firearm is still a ‘common use’ firearm because semi-auto firearms (e.g. ‘arms’) are in common use. ‘common use’ is also inclusive of those arms the people can use to resist a tyrannical government or use for defense which goes back to the inherent right pre-existing naturally before governments and the constitution (e.g. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”).

      In the legal environment – civilian firearms are limited to those devices/firearms that are not ‘usually destructive/dangerous’ as defined by government (e.g. those under the GCA were considered ‘usually destructive/dangerous’, even though some were not really but more feared to have been possibly as later exemplified with the NFA, for example, supressors). Semi-auto firearms have a very long history of not being ‘usually destructive/dangerous’ in their common law abiding daily uses of hunting, sporting, defense, every day carry/possession and use.

      All this focus on AR-15 is unwarranted in trying to define ‘common use’. Sure, it may be said in court cases that the AR-15 is in common use, but that’s only because court cases have to deal with the specifics of the case and gun grabbers like to throw around specifics as it relates to styles and types so of course AR-15 is going to be mentioned.

      So lets say a ’40 W Phased Plasma Rifle’ comes along next month and makes the ‘explosive bullet fired’ semi-auto firearms ‘obsolete’, are the firearms (e.g. your AR-15) actually ‘obsolete’? In terms of ‘technology advancement’ yes in a way but in terms of functionality then no in terms of ‘arms’. But would the ’40 W Phased Plasma Rifle’ be a common use ‘arms’? Yes it would if, using today’s ‘common use’ standard, its semi-auto only.

      • Clarification: “But would the ’40 W Phased Plasma Rifle’ be a common use ‘arms’? Yes it would if, using today’s ‘common use’ standard, its semi-auto only.”

        But would the ’40 W Phased Plasma Rifle’ be a common use ‘arms’? Yes it would if, using ‘common use’ standard, its semi-auto only AND is not ‘usually destructive/dangerous’ (e.g. doesn’t vaporize the bad guy but rather just puts holes in him and stops him like a bullet would) in lawful uses.

      • correction: “…‘explosive bullet fired’…”

        should have been …

        ‘explosive fired bullet’

  7. we have a saying in the meat cutting business is pretty similar a falling knife has no handle

  8. If you carry a Glock or copy cat type weapon it has no manual safety and chances are you will snag the trigger and accidently fire it when you drop it, holster it, carry it or handle it.

    The 1911 has been noted for going off when it hits a concreate floor muzzle first, this is why Colt invented the passive firing pin safety that was actually invented in the 1940’s but forgotten about and not put on the 1911 until 1980.

    Why did Colt wait so long to implement the passive firing pin safety?

    It loused up the trigger pull and when Colt did put it on in 1980 1911 owners howled in protest and started buying copy cat versions of the 1911. Colt finally realized they were losing so much money on a weapon no one wanted they brought the previous series 70 version back much to the cheers of Colt 1911 lovers.

    I might add accidental discharges with dropped FN High Powers also was why Browning retrofitted a passive firing pin safety to the High Power and this resulted in cracked slides because there was only 1/16 of an inch of metal left underneath the firing pin stop plate.

    I believe if I remember correctly the now defunct Sterling Co. was sued out of existence because of its guns going off when they were dropped which resulted in people being shot.

    The Colt Junior pocket pistol was noted for firing when it was dropped. It had no inertial firing pin.

    The older Star pistols would also fire if dropped because they did not have an inertial firing pin.

    There were many other pistols in the past which also would fire if dropped, to numerous for me to even remember anymore. The above mentions were just a few I remember.

    • Except, of course, for the millions upon millions of people who carry exactly these weapons each and every day without any adverse effects. If you ignore those millions of people, then, yeah, a dozen or so each decade have an issue.

      Oh, BTW, anything and everything you think or say is worthless.

  9. There’s a former u tuber who demonstrated how to test your new build for drop safety. I was going to post a link, but it looks like the whole shebang is gone. Where are you MGB? Very helpful stuff there.

  10. “If you’re using a non-drop-safe handgun at a range, you should be very careful with it, especially when it’s loaded.”
    cutting edge, that. if i had a pre b i’d totally be rethinking my range procedures.

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