A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Clear that Chamber!

Be advised, this is not Xavier's hand...... Warm regards for recovery should be directed to the actual shooter in question.
"I decided to share my accident from a couple months ago. Glock 19.

I was "sure" I had cleared it. Clip was removed and empty on the table. I reached across the table aiming at the wall to drop the hammer so I could complete disassembly and was resting my left hand on top of the slide, slightly forward such that (apparently) the edge of my palm was down in front of the muzzle.

The huge loss of skin must have been from the muzzle blast. Well, the pictures speak for themselves. The wound is now closed and looks pretty good, but the nerves have not completed healing and the hand surgeon says it will be another two months before my hand and little finger feel normal again.

I share, hoping that my experience will help others realize that no matter how old you are and how many years of experience you have, it just takes a momentary lapse of concentration to do stuff like this ... or worse.

Like I told my understanding wife ... nothing anyone can say will teach me anything more than I learned the hard way. But fire away if you must. I am just hoping this helps someone else learn / re-learn the easy way ... never let anything or anyone make you lose your concentration and focus.

And no I don't blame the Glock. This is MY fault and my fault alone. The Glock is not a hard weapon to clear."



Anonymous Bob in Houston said...

Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch

12:37 AM  
Blogger Laughingdog said...

My first gun was a Glock 26, and it continues to be one of my two regular carry guns. But over the years since I bought it, as I acquired other firearms, I have grown to dread one thing about it: you have to pull the trigger before you can field strip it.

Every time I have to clean that thing, I cycle the slide three times after dropping the magazine, and stare at the back of the empty barrel for at least a five-count before finally pointing the barrel at the rack of TV trays. As cautious as I am, it still makes me cringe when I do it, because I know there are people out there far more experienced than I am that still managed to put a hole through something in their home that shouldn't have had one.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Story sounds fishy to me cause Glocks don't have hammers.

1:56 AM  
Blogger nature223 said...

that brings to mind the main problem I have WITH the Glock family of firearms...using the TRIGGER AS A MEANS OF TAKEDOWN MAENS YOU WILL DO AN A.D.
sometime..always ALWAYS ALWAYS,point in a safe direction when safing,and DE-SAFING a firearm,never trust a peice of metal no matter who made it,to inherent bad luck and human falibility,and error.
I've got a few A.D.'s toi my credit myself..very luckily,they took place in old construction buildings and hung up in the walls.
best thing,check the chamber...after you've checked the chamber a few times before,you attempt a service or take down procedure.
hope the shootee heals ok,seen worse,he got VERY lucky indeed,few more degrees he could've wiped out a few really needed tendons,and some serious fine muscle control.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

"No matter how many years of experience ...", "drop the hammer," "clip," well I don't know how much experience this gentlemen has, but he obviously has no training. Lesson learned: get competent training before playing with firearms. It's tough to shoot yourself when you always have your weak hand on the grip in a normal firing grip when releasing the striker on a glock, for instance.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Hamid said...

Its always the 'empty' gun which fires.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Glen said...

Why is it EVERY time I see the, "i shot myself" pictures or read the "i shot myself" story it is a Glock?

I know he says he does not "blame" the Glock.

I will do that for him. I have shot a Glock, and I don't want one, never have, never will.

I am sure someone somewhere has shot themselves with a 1911, but not near the times I read about it with a Glock.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Maybe some people should just have revolvers....

Xavier, have you ever heard of filling up a 5 gallon bucket of sand to use as a clearing port in your home as extra assurance? You know, you clear your Glock (unlike this fellow) but just as an extra safety measure when you pull the trigger to disassemble you keep it pointed at the sand bucket.... just curious your thoughts on that.

But uh yeah.... if he had cleared it, and if he hadn't put his hand in front of the muzzle (2 mistakes on top of each other) then no problemo.

12:28 PM  
Blogger ASM826 said...


The one person I know that shot himself did so with an STI race gun.

The guy who runs this forum:
did it with a 1911. The pictures as well as his story are a cautionary tale.

This is not as bad some, worse than others. Be sure, ripping you hand open is minor compared with possibility that you strike your wife or child in the next room.

Have a plan and a process that you use every time. The bucket of sand is a good one. Reach up under the gun to pull down the the takedown pins, so that nothing is in front of the muzzle but the designated backstop.

The final rule, the one that saves you after you have broken the others, is muzzle control.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Nature223...not to start a flame war, but maybe, if you have a few AD's to your credit, you need to look to your technique?

Samuel....I have heard of this as well. It may be a good idea; that way if you have a ND the bullet is trapped safely instead of possibly going through various body parts of yourself or loved ones. But is a 5 gal bucket big enough?

7:04 PM  
Anonymous OrangeNeckInNY said...

I hate Glocks. Talk about your ugly guns. There's nothing pretty about them. The lines are all wrong.

If a Glock were a ship in Star Trek, it would be a Borg Cube and a 1911 would be the Enterprise.

Anonymous, just because you can't see the hammer doesn't mean that it doesn't have one.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous AndyJ said...

I have a scar on the side of my hand that this gentleman will have soon. Mine was the result of a gun that I KNEW was unloaded and I was racking it to lock the slide back to show the gun to a friend. I am not a novice to the gun scene, having handled and worked with guns for over 40 years, even being a gunnersmate in the Navy. But the old saying "Familiarty breeds contempt" is really true. You have to be aware 110% of the time when handling weapons. My father always told me that a machine doesn't have any brains and will kill or injure you anytime that YOU forget the safety rules and are not aware of what you are doing. And for Bob in Houston, I don't know if it is just me, but there was no pain, and considering the Coumadin that I am taking, there was very little blood loss. I was more embarassed for being so stupid and not being aware of what I was doing at the time.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Revolver Rob said...

Ouch. I think this is one of the things I dislike about most modern models of firearms. One should never have to pull the trigger on an "empty" gun to disassemble it to clean it.

Remember rule 1, THE GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED. If this had been adhered to, I think that the gentleman would still have that part of his hand that is gone.

Even with that said, I still feel that pulling a trigger to disassemble a gun is a BAD idea. Give me something that the slide has to be racked on to disassemble, just that much more, extra insurance.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Mark Horning said...

I've never liked Glocks.

Lousy ergonomics, crappy triggers, and "the safety is on the trigger" is the absolute dumbest thing I have ever heard of.

Pulling the trigger to take down the weapon is the second dumbest thing.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time I take down a Glock I check the chamber again just before I pull the trigger. Having to pull the trigger forces me to be absolutely positive that the gun is empty.

I consider this to be a good thing and I don't see anything wrong with the idea that you have to pull the trigger before you strip it.

If you follow the rules the gun goes click. Anything else is just an excuse so you can blame the gun rather than yourself.

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Orygunmike said...

Phone books. We all have them, and usually they just take up space and collecdt dust

I have taped a couple together, making total thickness 4-5".

I use this as my "safe direction" when cleaning and clearing my Glocks.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous ScottJ said...

What I was taught years ago was that if you're about to pull the trigger for any reason and haven't eyeballed an empty chamber in the last 30 seconds or less then check again.

And even after that you point somewhere that would be not as big a deal if it went bang.

Poor guy. The mental scar will be harder to heal that the one in his hand.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Vote For David said...

Joseph, 6" of sand is plenty for most anything you would want to fire with one hand. Anything from .22 to 12ga. stops but FAST in un-compacted sand.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Glenn B said...

Wow - I get to agree with another Glen even if only with one N. I too see the Glock as a problem gun in that it requires one to action the trigger in order to take it down. Sure the fault of the guy who shot himself is large, but so too is the fault of Glock for manufacturing a pistol that requires you to do what the fireamrs safety rules tell you not to do - keep your finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot. I'll bet Glock has that printed in their instruction manual somewhere - that very same rule - maybe in slightly different wording but the same rule. When I get back to NYC I'll have to check my manual - then again I guess I do not have to wait - here is what Glock has printed on their website:

"3. Keep your finger out of the gun’s trigger guard and off the trigger until you have aligned the gun’s sights on a safe target and you have made the decision to fire."

Note they did not say until you have made the decision to take down the pistol. I know it was foolish or accidental or negligent or maybe all three for the person to have shot himself in the manner described but that does not free Glock, in my mind, of what I believe to be a major design flaw in their pistols. A design feature, by the way, that seemingly (at least in my understanding), in combination with handler error, has led to many accidental discharges over the years since the first Glocks hit the market.

All the best,
Glenn B

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Bonzo said...

Bravo for being willing to take responsibility and not blaming the weapon. Any weapon is a machine, and does only what we tell it to. Pulling the trigger is how one gets a Glock to go bang - pretty much every time, with a Glock. The four rules are there to keep bangs from being blood. One needs to break AT LEAST two rules to have a firearm "accident."
May you heal well and fast and never repeat the experience. Thanks for sharing!

9:40 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...


6:11 PM  
Anonymous Tom Stone said...

I picked up a safety tip at a class that was worth the entire cost of the class.When clearing a semi auto,drop the magazine,eyeball the chamber,then stick your pinky finger in the ejection port and use your sense of touch to confirm the chamber is empty.The Santa Rosa Ca PD got rid of their Glocks several years ago because of the numerous AD's resulting from this design flaw in the Glock.Proper training of the officers would have been another appraoch,but this was Santa Rosa...

9:43 PM  
Anonymous cranky said...

The only thing that happened here is that this man did not actually check the status of his pistol before pulling the trigger, despite any claims to the contrary.

How hard can it be to clear the chamber before pulling the trigger? Do it twice if you somehow can't remember doing it the first time.

Set aside all the unnecessary details clouding the man's story, and all the puffery labeling the Glock as inherently unsafe because -surprise- it has to be uncocked prior to disassembly, and you're left with the meat of the matter: This was preventable. It didn't have to happen to him, and it doesn't have to happen to you.

He's lucky. Carelessness such as his sometimes demands a higher price.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous cranky said...

To amend my earlier comment, I do think the Glock IS much less safe than other handguns. It's always cocked, with a light trigger, and no manual safety.

You wouldn't want to holster a cocked, loaded 1911 in condition zero, counting on the grip safety to keep you safe, but that's how you carry a Glock.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

W-O-W I am completely amazed at the Glock blame going around. Not a Glock owner, but have shot then numerous occasion and appreciate them for what they are. Shame on anyone who dogs the gun and not the man. Bullet in the chamber of any ANY gun and a trigger finger and the covering of something you're not willing to destroy are the fundamentals.

Own guns long enough and you'll have that sick in the stomach moment at least once where you damn near lit on off at the refrigerator.

Or so I've heard.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a negligent discharge tonight after clearing a chambered round... without releasing the magazine. I've done this a hundred times in the past month since I purchased the gun: release the magazine with my right thumb and catch it with my pinky & ring finger before it fully leaves the handle, pull the slide back and catch the ejected round in mid air with my left hand, then point the muzzle in a safe direction and pull the trigger so that it will remain in the "unshootable" postition for the sake of safety. Tonight I somehow failed to release the magazine, so after catching the previously-chambered round and setting it down, the next round had take it's place unbeknownst to me. I pulled the trigger of what I was SURE was an empty gun and sent a .40 cal Hydra-shok through my bathroom ceramic tile and into the sub-floor where most of the copper and lead fragments were lodged. I only handle the gun when my housemates are away so thankfully no one was at risk. I thank God I did not hurt someone else or myself. I cannot begin to explain the HOLY-CRAP factor that comes with a negligent discharge. You're faced with your own incompetence, the resulting damage, and the glaring truth that no matter how minimal or severe the damage is it could have been much much worse. I will never handle a gun so absent-mindedly again. An experienced shooter friend once recommended vocally stating each step of the unloading process consistently each time so that it becomes a conditioned and self-regulating habit. That is my plan of action. In the mean time, the leftover replacement tiles are setting in fresh mortar and my lips are sealed. PS: Yes Glen, it's a Glock.

1:12 AM  

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