Safety Tip: Never Try to Catch a Dropped Gun

Previous Post
Next Post


We’ve said it before — a few times, actually — but it bears repeating, particularly after recent events…don’t try to catch a gun you’ve dropped. Period. It’s far more dangerous to try to grab it as it falls than it is to let it hit the ground.

Virtually all modern guns are reliably drop-safe. Even with a round in the chamber, letting them fall presents far less risk than catching it and possibly making contact with the trigger.

For a good example of the hazards involved in trying to catch a falling firearm, let’s go to…a Walmart in an Atlanta suburb.

From . . .

A man is in Clayton County Jail after police said he triggered a bizarre sequence of events. When it ended, he had accidentally shot himself, along with three other customers inside a busy Walmart, all with a single bullet.

Police said it all started when a man dropped his loaded gun and as he tried to catch it, the gun went off. Now four people are hurt, and a reminder over gun safety is back in the spotlight.

First, you might be wondering why the man’s gun wasn’t in a holster. We certainly are.

“He had a loaded firearm that was not in a holster in his waistband that fell,” [Sgt. Akeem] Turnbull said. “He attempted to grab the firearm, and while handling the firearm, discharged it, and struck him in the leg.”

Carrying a handgun without some kind of holster that covers the trigger is asking for trouble. Oh, and never mind what the ballistically challenged reporter wrote. The dropped gun didn’t “go off.”

The brain surgeon who was carrying an unholstered gun dropped it, and then tried to catch it obviously made contact with the trigger, creating a negligent discharge. In other words, he fired the gun inside a big box store (not that he’s the first).

sweatpants warrior
Don’t do this. (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

It’s bad enough that he was struck by the round when he ND’d, but so were a few bystanders.

“The bullet ricocheted, and subsequently struck three other patrons that were inside the business,” Turnbull said. 

All three customers struck by the ricocheting bullet are female, according to police. Two are middle-aged, and one is in her 70s. 

Quite an achievement.

For conspicuously poor gun handling and an utter lack of safety skills, the as yet un-named Georgia Wally World customer has earned our Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day award.


Previous Post
Next Post


    • No he won’t, he just won’t appear. We all know the demographic that carry sans holsters, the victims may sue and win but won’t see a dime, you can’t attach a crack/heroin dealer’s earnings nor seize his bank accounts because he deals strictly in cash.

  1. Fired 1 bullet and hit 4 people. That’s impressive marksmanship, especially since he wasn’t even aiming. /s

  2. Is he in jail because of reckless actions or because he was a prohibited person with a gun? Georgia has permitless carry but still wouldn’t apply if a felon.

  3. Doesn’t everyone stuff his pistol into the waist band of his favorite pair of sweatpants? It marks you as one of the Kool Kids, down in the ghetto! Doubly so when you wear your sweatpants down below your arse.

  4. On the other hand…When anyone tells you that little thingy in a Glock trigger is the “safety” you are talking to an accident waiting to happen…One trigger snag while such a firearm is in motion or a trigger snag from an object moving towards the firearm can make it go bang. When it goes bang it is going to shoot something in the way whether it be your behind or your once mr. happy or some object or someone else.

    • IF you understand HOW a Glock works (not the only handgun in thw world with such a “safety” mechanism in the rigger) then you should have no problem with your “Glock”. Glock is a NATO “listed” firearm and 48 country’s issue the Glock 17 as standard issue to their miliary. I have successfully carried a Glock with a trigger “safety” since 2000 (currently a G29 for 10 years) and have never shot myself OR anyone else that I did not INTEND to shoot. “Haters gonna hate” is a REAL thing, safe practices unfortunately are not. More people have been killed or wounded by “unloaded” or “I thought the safety was on!” firearms than all the accidental shootings from all Glock models with the trigger “safety” combined. Know your firearm, practice REAL gun safety and keep firearms out of the hands of idiots and we will ALL be safer… Just sayin’…

      • Because your good at safe gun handling, probably also good at safe knife handling, safe not walking into doors, etc.

        I myself have cut myself, and walked into doors. I’ll go with a nice purty thumb safety on my semi-autos and a nice sweet 15 lb trigger on my revolvers.

        …also I let my wife cut vegetables. My fingers are much happier as a result 🙂

        • Years of experience has taught me what the open part between the door frames is for, I DO practice knife safety with both my locking blades AND my Kabar since I keep a really sharp edge on all of my blades, I love to eat and prepare my own veggies because I prefer things cut in a particular way, a finger nip now and then is just part of the process. Your proclivity for the “thumb safety” is your choice and probably a good one for you.

    • A Glock has 3 safety’s according to the Glock Armorers course I was in. 4, if you count the one between your ears.

  5. Hmm. Hollow points also ricochet. I think she was thinking Glaser slugs when she mentioned “safety ammunition”.

      • Just another feature of ‘no training’ constitutional carry, enjoy!

        I’m guessing this is another incident that will not be listed in the NRA’s ‘The Armed Citizen’.

        • So you support things like poll taxes and literacy testing? Sounds like you belong to the klan. Another uber right non civil rights liking white boy.

        • Miner49er,

          For all we know that boob is a gangster, felon, and moron. If that boob is a gangster-felon-moron, he is just as likely to harm people any number of ways.

        • A few years back there was an FBI agent who did a backflip while dancing, dropped his service weapon, and NDed when he picked it up…
          Tell us more about how training requirements make everything better.

        • Anonymous,

          Don’t forget our favorite DEA agent!!!

          Now, of course, dacian the demented dips*** and MajorStupidity would tell you that ONLY “professionals” and “properly trained” people know how to carry/use firearms . . . but then, both of them are uneducable morons, as well.

          Training don’t help a moron.

        • Lamp,
          We should show grace to those poor federal heroes. They’re just good people, salt of the earth, doing the best they can under difficult circumstances…it’s completely normal that federal agents who train and shoot for free would occasionally endanger our lives with their negligent and criminal disregard for basic firearm safety.

  6. Yeah well that’s you get for carrying a effing striker fired pistol. Yeah sure the pull is the same and easier to teach douche bags but you lose that extra margin of safety having that heavier first pull of a hammer fired DA/SA like my Sig P229. You aren’t squeezing off a round with that gun by grabbing if it falls, unless you were a galactic idiot and had the hammer pulled back into single action configuration because you were trying to be cool as if you were carrying a 1911 or some retarded BS.

    Yeah I’m not a fan of strikers or GLOCKS for that matter if one wasn’t to notice and changing my view is like teaching a pig to sing. Don’t because you’ll only waste your time and annoy the pig.

    • At least you accept that you’re a pig. That’s the first step. It puts you on the road to recovery.

      • They have a 12 step program for that. It starts out with….Hi, I’m Mark and I’m a pig. HI MARK!!

        I’m getting better all the time.

        • That’s what they tell you in those programs so you’ll keep coming back. I bet you still donate money to the NRA too.

        • Hell no, I don’t give the NRA a damn red cent of my money, not until Wayne LaPierre is GONE along with the other scumbags.

    • My P938 is also considered drop-proof, but my reflex action would still be to catch it. I just don’t see pushing the safety down AND pulling the trigger with an accidental grab.

    • that’s you get for carrying a effing striker fired pistol.

      So, blame the GUN and not the fucking MORON that lacked the intellect to properly secure it… Sound familiar? I can hear the Defense now, “your Honor, this deadly weapon had been blood starved for SO long that it literally leapt from the defendant’s possession and, in spite of his efforts to STOP it, was able to accomplish its evil deed… IF only it had a REAL “child proof” safety this could have been avoided.

      • No, I blame the moron for carrying a gun that fires easily like a striker. People drop things, it happens. Is the guy a moron? Probably and he’s even a bigger moron for carrying a striker knowing he’s moron.

        That’s like brake checking fulls-size pickups all the time driving a Ford Pinto.

        • But a Pig would have to admit my striker fired tupperware is safer than a Pigs because the Pig still has a round chambered. The ONLY gun that can’t ND is one in condition 3.

  7. That appears to be an S&W Shield. Those have an extra trigger safety selector. Even if the guy didn’t want to protect the trigger itself by using a holster, carrying with the trigger safety engaged should still have prevented an ND. If he was IWB’ing without a holster AND without utilizing the trigger safety, then the only way he was ever going to learn to be smart about it would be experiencing the ND. Too bad he shot others in the process and how will be experiencing jail.

    • I think that is a file photo and not the actual perp. Some student of hogwarts ..I presume there is at least a belly band there.

    • Blessed be Saint Browning and his foresight. Even if the gun is carried Condition One, as it should be, and the thumb safety is set to fire, there is still the grip safety. Even if the gun hits the ground the 1911 has a massive half-cock notch that is hook-like and traps the hammer before it can strike the firing pin. Studying an x-ray view of the firing mechanism provides a great view of a great design. All hail, Saint Browning.

      • Dunno why the grip safety gets so much hate these days. It’s not as though it takes anything more than a proper grip which you should have on the weapon anyway, to disengage.

        I carry striker fired most of the time, but previously also carried a cocked & locked Para P-10 for more than a decade.

  8. There is a chance of getting shot regardless of what you do. Doing certain things will increase those odds and doing certain others will decrease them. But the simple fact that there is a chance IS the very reason to carry a firearm in the first place. Granted, the three women that got hurt would not have benefit much from it in this case. Dude, get a holster and a gun belt!

    This is a great example of what NOT to do.

  9. I did some approximation and math based upon 9mm and distances 20 yards and less and average fired kinetic energy for an average 9mm round …. the overall odds (averaged in one yard increments) of a single ricocheting bullet hitting and injuring three people is 1 in 15,402,132,967

  10. Stupid people do stupid things every day with all kinds of things. Chainsaws, lawn equipment, power tools, stoves, cars. Speaking of which, I’ll wager that the same elected officials that would like to take this idiot’s firearms wouldn’t bat an eye at giving him a driver’s license. As an aside, always carry in a quality holster. Rule of thumb when holster shopping: “I really like that holster. It’s perfect, but it’s expensive.” That’s the one you should buy. Skimp elsewhere. That goes for the support gear also. Belt, spare mags/pouches, light, knife, etc.

    • Ummm…gunz can “go off” if dropped. Taurus,Sig,ring of fire junk,Nambu,etc. Didn’t Ruger have one too? And S&W? I know my buddy has a Ruger 85 he sent in. Anywho I HAVE successfully caught a gun I dropped without having it “go off”. Likely usually having the safety engaged had something to do with it.

  11. Never Try to Catch a Dropped Gun

    Two things (1) TRUTH!!
    (2) The Moron at the Walmart PROVES that some people SHOULD be disqualified from carrying a gun in public.

    • “some people SHOULD be disqualified from carrying a gun in public“

      I can’t believe you’ve suddenly turned against the United States Constitution… Amazing.

      Actually, I’m thankful, it looks like we’re making progress with at least a few of you people.

      • (HINT)… I also think SOME people should not be allowed to waste air that I could be breathing…

      • And people like you shouldn’t be even allowed water pistols. Who knows what liquid you will put in there.

      • OOOH!!! Nice flex, MajorStupidity, PRETENDING to believe in the Constitution!!!!

        Except you don’t, and we all know it, and you trumpet it in nearly every “comment” you subject us to. Should convicted felons be allowed to “keep and bear arms”??? How about habitual drug users??? People with a history of domestic abuse??? People who have been “red flagged”???

        Take your “concern trolling” and put it where the sun don’t shine, you lying s***weasel. Oh, and since you get off on “homoerotic insults”?? Go back to your circle jerk. (Hint: The idea of a circle jerk ISN’T erotic to most of us, but thanks for outing yourself.)

  12. As a sales associate at an outdoor retailer I have been approached more than once looking for a holster appropriate for use while wearing sweatpants. Men do not like the idea of a belly band which is what I usually recommend after letting them know that pants with belt loops and a proper carry belt would work better. I explain that the loose fit of sweats is not conducive to drawing a weapon. You want the holster to stay in place while the firearm is drawn. I would take safe gun handling over comfort any day.

  13. If the gun was stolen, and he “accidentally” shot and killed someone, they would let him go, as long as he was an illegal alien and a repeat offender.

    • “they would let him go, as long as he was an illegal alien… “

      Fake news, his sentence was actually seven years in jail.

      “A California federal judge on Monday sentenced the Mexican man acquitted of murder in the 2015 shooting death of a woman on a San Francisco pier to the seven years he’s already spent in jail — bringing to a legal close the case that ignited a national firestorm over immigration, crime and sanctuary cities.“

      • Per your article, he was acquitted of murder and “sentenced” to time already served. So like I said, they’re letting him go. Again. Also per your article, “Before the killing…he was transferred to San Francisco…but the San Francisco sheriff released him from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for at least two more days for deportation.” Then an innocent girl died.

        Never fear. The judge scolded him really harsh like:
        “If you return to this country again and you are back in front of me, I will not spare you. Let this be your last warning: do not return to this country.”
        So, if he comes back (like he’s already done before) and kills another innocent girl, the judge will not spare him. But for now, he is being spared because….why?

        • “So like I said, they’re letting him go“

          First, he clearly didn’t commit murder which requires premeditation.

          I agree he’s a bad actor who should be deported.

          But the fact is he was arrested, and went to trial, and he spent seven years in the pokey.

          Call it what you will, but he was an involuntary guest of the government for seven years because he was arrested after the shooting.

        • “he clearly didn’t commit murder which requires premeditation.”

          Yes because “someone” (wink, wink) stole a backpack out of a vehicle, and promptly left the most valuable item (the gun) in a park wrapped in a shirt. Now what sort of thief would do that? Then this poor, unlucky, repeat criminal was just innocently trying to pick up a shirt he sees laying on the ground, so he’ll have some clothes, and he just “accidentally” fired the double action P239 which was wrapped up in the shirt. Yeah, that’s the ticket! I’m sure you believe every word of it too.

          You have to believe it, or at least pretend to. Admitting otherwise would be admitting that open border policies are stupid, which they are. Illegal immigration is an extremely important strategy for the Democrat Party despite hundreds of them turning up dead since the puppet assumed office. They obviously don’t care that they’re getting killed. It’s a numbers game for them. Let’s not forget about all of the rape going on with the young ones. Remember that one time a young illegal died and they tried to blame it on Trump? Clowns.

          “But the fact is he was arrested, and went to trial, and he spent seven years in the pokey.”

          He spent seven years in jail because there was a five-year delay over concerns about his mental health. He was acquitted of homicide charges in 2017. His punishment for being deported five times and killing a girl was time served for illegally possessing a gun.

          But next time, that judge is going to stick it to him! Next time!

      • That article pretty well covers what Dude said. He was acquitted of the murder, but held on other charges for several years. Now he is being deported, AGAIN. So, he IS an illegal alien and IS being let go.

        “He had been deported five times and was on track to be removed from the U.S. again when he shot Steinle.”

        “Before the killing, Garcia Zarate had recently completed a prison sentence for illegal re-entry to the U.S. when he was transferred to San Francisco to face a 20-year-old marijuana charge. Prosecutors declined the case, but the San Francisco sheriff released him from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for at least two more days for deportation.”

        He should have been in Mexico all along, but he returned to the US repeatedly to commit crimes and do bits of time here and there. Eventually he killed someone and was acquitted for that killing. He then did bits of time for related and unrelated charges.

        • Miner49er doesn’t understand what context means and is confirmation biased. Its a waste of time trying to explain it to him.

        • No, Miner understands completely.

          It’s just that his predilection for lying kicks in, and he’s powerless to stop it.

          He’s a compulsive liar, bordering on a pathological liar.

          “Compulsive liars are people who lie compulsively, or habitually. This means that they tell lies even when there is no real need to do so. The lies are often outrageous and impossible to believe, but the liar still insists they are true. Most compulsive liars are not pathological liars. Pathological lying is a type of mental health problem.”

          “Most” are not pathological liars — which means that some are.

          Dacian is a textbook example of a pathological liar — he continues to lie even after he realizes that we know he is lying.

        • There’s gotta be a way to post that as a GIF; some posters have managed to crack the code.

          EDIT: I posted “Alabama Man” above, and it came through as a direct video. What the … ?

      • Oh!! ONLY seven years in jail for an intentional (or at least criminally negligent) homicide!! Now THAT’S Leftist “justice”, innit, MajorStupidity!

        Go fornicate a rolling deep-fried breakfast pastry, you creep.

        The defendant WAS an illegal alien. He WAS in possession of a stolen gun (no way that happens legally). He DID attempt an armed robbery. He DID shoot and kill an innocent young woman in the process. BUT he got seven actual years as a sentence . . . of which, in KKKalifornia, he will be unlikely to actually serve more than three or four.

        WHY are you such a lying, Leftist/fascist propagandist, MajorStupidity?????

        By the way, your Leftist/fascist delusion is getting worse by the day. Is that TDS getting to you, or what?? Baby Jeebus on a pogo stick, MajorStupidity, but you are a farce of a caricature of an actual rational human being.

  14. “…Georgia Wally World customer has earned our Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day award.”

    I’d stretch that award out to a lot longer period of time. Just sayin’

    He also rates an award for being able to injur/shoot 4 people with a single 9 MM round, quite an accomplishment considering it didn’t blow out anyone’s lungs.

  15. Dropping a gun like the Glock is double dangerous as anything entering the trigger guard on the way down with set it off as the trigger safety is a complete joke and does not work period.

    Contrast this with say a 1911 with a passive firing pin safety and grip safety and manual safety. If the hammer is down, probably no acd or if the gun is locked and cocked again probably no adc because even if the safety gets knocked off you still have the grip safety in operation as well as the passive firing pin safety. Anything entering the trigger guard will not set the gun off as in the case of the unsafe Glock design.

    Heavy double action/single action guns like the Sig P226 and Beretta M92 or even a modern revolver will probably not fire either when dropped unless they are at full cock in the single action mode, then they are as unsafe as the Glock when dropped as anything entering the trigger guard on the way down will set them off.

    • “I carry a Glock on my waist every day. I have now for 4 years. A friend told me they were known for going off when dropped, so I looked into it. Boy was he wrong.

      “A Glock has 3 internal safety features: Trigger safety, firing pin safety, and drop safety. The trigger safety requires a finger on the trigger to pull it. The firing pin safety blocks the firing pin until the trigger is pulled. The drop safety holds the firing pin in the rear until the trigger is pulled.”

    • @dacian;

      “Dropping a gun like the Glock is double dangerous as anything entering the trigger guard on the way down with set it off as the trigger safety is a complete joke and does not work period.”


      any gun will fire if the trigger is pulled with the ‘safety’ disengaged. The Glock is no more “dangerous” in this respect than any other gun.

  16. Idiot was carrying his gat in his pants with no holster per news on local radio. It slid down inside his pants and in trying to push it back in place when he pressed the “function key” and lit himself up and a few other patrons. The Atlanta area has been rather active recently in a ballistic fashion, so much so that I am now carrying more spare ammo when I am out and about.

  17. “Virtually all modern guns are reliably drop-safe.”

    They have to say virtually because early production Sig P320 pistols are still out in the streets.

  18. Something tells me that the gun owner wasn’t legal. Anyone who was legal already knows to conceal carry your pistol in a holster of one type or another. Sticking it in his pants waistband with no holster sounds more like a felon carrying a firearm. Might be why he’s in jail?
    Need all the details on this one IMO.

  19. This idiot is 29-year-old Michael Walton. He was charged with reckless conduct. He and the other three were hit in the leg. Two of the women hit were treated on scene and one went to the hospital, Walton went to the hospital too. There were no life-threatening injuries.

    He didn’t actually drop the gun. The gun was in his waistband, it began slipping down his leg inside the pants. He attempted to grab it and in doing so pulled the trigger.

    I could not find him listed in the current active inmate roster for the Clayton County Jail where he was supposedly taken, so he was probably bailed out.

      • OK, found him in the Clayton County Jail roster:

        Jail docket number: 202221354
        Charge: RECKLESS CONDUCT
        Intake: 08/21/2022 at 11:03 PM
        Released: 08/23/2022 at 03:02 AM
        WALTON MICHAEL DAMIAN – age 29
        10936 BIG SKY DR
        HAMPTON, GA 30228

      • That might train you for the next time that you drop your gun.

        Or let it slip out of your waistband and slide down towards your jewels.

    • You train your self to not do something the same way you train yourself to do something – by either not doing it or doing it with practice.

      Its not actually a “an unconscious, immediate reflex” to catch something dropping (falling). Its a learned reflex because we had a reason to do it, we know we are doing it when we do it and its that knowing that lets us coordinate eye and hand movement in multiple axis dimensions to catch a falling object. Its a deeply ingrained skill we acquire by practice, for example, we learned to catch a baseball from different angles. We just do it without relating it to the mechanics involved by thinking about them after we learn to do it with some practice then it becomes part of what is broadly refereed to as ‘second nature’.

      You learn to not catch a falling gun the same way you learned to catch a falling object, by practicing not catching it and that practice can be conscience driven in your safety procedures by reminding your self (being aware of) of safety procedures like you did (or should have) when you first started using a firearm and including not catching a falling gun as part of those safety procedures and let that be part of your learned ingrained skill.

      “Definition of second nature

      : an acquired deeply ingrained habit or skill”

      About 75% of the human race is really bad at catching falling objects.

        • same concept of not grabbing for it though like one would do with a dropped object – try to not catch it in this case. And Gary wanted to know “How do you train yourself not to try to catch it?”

        • I’m with ya. Even though this guy is a complete moron, it’s just gotta be hard to restrain oneself from grabbin’ for a firearm that’s headin’ towards your package, if’n you know whut I mean (and since you’re a guy, I know ya do)!

Comments are closed.