PSA: Be aware of your target

Of course, the full extent of that statement is “Be aware of your Target, and what lies beyond and in between”. This applies to all shooting activities, from tactical shooting, to plinking, and in this case to hunting. In a recent NBC report, a stray round entered a couples house in Washington State, and blasted all the way through it, ending up in the coffee maker on the other side of the house. The report says it was a hunters round, but honestly it could have been a person plinking in the woods, or perhaps someone drunk and acting irresponsible with a firearm. But in any case, this serves as a sober example of why we have to always know what lies beyond our targets, in any scenario, in addition to ensuring we have a sufficient backstop when target shooting. Luckily in this case no one was wounded or killed from that stray round.

Another practical lesson from this news story is how the bullet literally made it through the entire house, going through walls, coffee makers, clothing before finally stopping on the other side of the house. Take that for what it is worth, but it just goes to show that ballistics can literally go in all sorts of directions. The round eventually hit their oven and then ricocheted into the kitchen where it stopped.


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Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Nicholas Chen

    I need to read more closely. I read it fast and thought you had said “a couple houses”. I was seriously confused. How could a bullet go through multiple houses. One possibility is that they shot their own house and blame it on others.

    • thedonn007

      One house, owned by a couple. I find it hard to believe that a round fired from a distance would have done this much damage as well.

      • That rod through the hole looks too close to level to be a distant shot. It looks like a rising shot, in fact.
        I’m betting that the shooter was close by.

        • Phillip Cooper

          Without knowing the surrounding topography it’s hard to say.

          • J.T.

            Watch the video. Fairly flat topography and if anything the house is a little lower than the direction the shot came from. The shot was also very low in the wall so whoever shot it would have had to be literally right next to the house. My guess is the homeowner goofed and accidentally shot the house himself.

          • CZFan

            Thats not true at all, a .308 at 800yds has between a 1.5 and 3 degree angle of attack depending on the zero/bullet/conditions, and that is very hard to see with the naked eye in person, let alone when using a rod smaller than the hole in a picture at a funny angle and with no horizon to judge it by.

    • Multiple houses does happen. Look at suburbs and certain cities. Houses are jam packed together and a rifle round will go through several houses before stopping.

    • KestrelBike

      That bullet also looks pistol caliber? The first pic where he’s holding something in his hand next to the blender?

    • Anonymoose

      5.7, bruh.

      • iksnilol

        Luckily it wasn’t a Mosin. :O

    • J.T.

      “One possibility is that they shot their own house and blame it on others.”

      This is what my money is on. After watching NBC’s video, the terrain is fairly flat and the bullet seems to have been in an upward trajectory, which would mean the shot had to have come from right next to the house.

  • Bronezhilet


    Most, if not all houses in the Netherlands have bricked inside and outside walls. Newer houses have double bricked outside walls. Good luck getting through that with a stray bullet. (Yes, I know about windows)

    • Bal256

      I live in tornado alley and most of the houses in my area seem to be brick walled. There’s still some low income housing near me though, that look like they’re built out of paper machet.

    • Anton Gray Basson

      Had a hunter put a 375 through a double brick wall into the bar of a hunting farm I was visiting last week so yeah never say never.

    • JLR84

      Well that and you could still have bad luck and go through a window. Or hit someone who isn’t inside a house.

  • Bruce

    In my hunting ares, local ranches list their properties for hunting with the state. There are always very careful instruction about locations of buildings, terrain, and non-game/domesticated animals on the property. Every year, you hear about some moron that saw a deer and put a bullet into a house or cow. Mistakes with guns are very scary.

    • Claimed they saw a deer. I remember hearing about people in a national park that river raft that often have to duck down when hunting season occurs because hunters will just fire on motion rather then actually seeing the deer. Same with cars on nearby roads near woods. The cars often are struck by bullets from idiot hunters that should have been using shotgun slugs or buckshot and not an ar-15.

      • Double U

        Do you or your friend happen to live under bridges and/or possess a hatred for goats, say three billy goats?

        • Hunters shoot towards roads all the damn time. Just do a search. Same with rivers where people raft down them in parks and wild areas. The hunters do not make sure of their target and instead shoot at movement.

          • Bill

            A stereotypical little old lady was killed driving down the road almost a mile from the deer hunter who fired at a deer and missed a couple years ago.

    • JLR84

      I don’t understand why some people are so eager to get a deer, that they’ll take shots on things they can’t positively identify.

      • Anonymoose

        I live in the city and I see herds of deer every morning. I also see turkeys, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, and skunks in my neighborhood on a regular basis. I pray for the day when the city lets my friends and I cull these pests with suppressed carbines and bows.

        • thedonn007

          There was two guys last year that got caught illegally hunting deer with bow and arrows in the city.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Careful shooting skunks, dude.
          That can get unpleasant.
          And theres nothing wrong with possums, they eat bugs.

        • Nick

          Morgantown WV started an in-city bow hunt a few years back. The rules were pretty restrictive and you had to get a permit, but it was hoped to help with the deer population in town.

          I live a bit south of there now, and every morning I leave for work there are at least a half dozen roaming through town. Many times they’re in my yard.

      • myndbender

        Buck fever can definitely take a deadly turn

  • derfelcadarn

    We could, could of all day long. It could have been fired intentionally by a religious zealot of any number of persuasions.

  • Bill

    A guy negligently fired a round of .45 ball literally through my house from his property several hundred yards away. I live in a cheaply built crib of particle board and drywall. Fortunately we were gone when it happened.

    Deer season here is a couple weeks of duck and cover zigzag running, and shot cows.

  • anonymouse

    As a European I was initially utterly baffled by this story.

    Then I remembered that you guys build your houses out of papier mâché rather than proper stone or brick and then it all made sense. Well not the gun part, that still baffles us Europeans.

    • Just say’n

      Yeah, but balloon framing *should* hold up better in a serious earthquake, as it can buck and sway instead of crumble and crack.

    • 5flytyr .

      Don’t worry about “getting” gun ownership,you’ll understand when the muzzys come to enforce their “sharia law” and chop your heads off. You’ll BEG to have one and plenty of ammo too…..

    • Zebra Dun

      Easy to baffle Europeans, isn’t that what Hitler said?

  • Hensley Beuron Garlington

    Bullets penetrate deeper and go further than most people realize. Again, I still blame the portrayal of firearms in movies, games, and other media for that ignorance. This is a great PSA and kind of compliments the earlier posting about Hickok45’s ballistic testing.

  • Zebra Dun

    One of the basic rules of firearms safety.
    Number 4 to be exact.

    1. Always Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction

    2. Firearms Should Be Unloaded When Not Actually In Use

    3. Don’t Rely On Your Gun’s “Safety”

    4. Be Sure Of Your Target And What’s Beyond It

    5. Use Correct Ammunition

    6. If Your Gun Fails To Fire When The Trigger Is Pulled, Handle With Care!

    7. Always Wear Eye And Ear Protection When Shooting

    8. Be Sure The Barrel Is Clear Of Obstructions Before Shooting

    9. Don’t Alter Or Modify Your Gun, And Have Guns Serviced Regularly

    10. Learn The Mechanical And Handling Characteristics Of The Firearm You Are Using.

    I am a hunter, I have hunted Deer also, as well as Rabbits, squirrel, Turkey and doves.
    This time of year when I horseback ride even on my own little patch of land I wear a hunters safety orange vest. There is a bell attached to the saddle to warn deer and deer hunters that I am a bell not a deer or hunter..
    I have been tempted at times to paint in large orange letters on the side of the horses the logo “HORSE” before I let them out into the pasture.
    As it is in all things, the vast majority of hunters I know and meet are some of the nicest, safest of gun handling people I have ever met.

    There is of course that 1% of people who are just terminally stupid.

    • uisconfruzed

      Agreed, except for #9. I can’t leave well enough alone.

      • DaveP.

        It’s more a caution against Wile E. Coyote and his Dremel of Doom. I’m not even a gunsmith and I’ve seen trigger ‘jobs’ where the slightest bump can cause the hammer to slip off the sear, a 1911 where disengaging the safety made the hammer fall, “sportered” shotguns with the barrel cut off on an angle… on one of the other gun blogs there’s a picture of a Springfield Armory pistol with the trigger guard cut off, and I’ve seen one of a Glock with the guard completely removed… buddy, there’s just a lot of folks out there who haven’t let ignorance stop them.

        • Zebra Dun

          I once owned for a short, short time a Bubba gunsmith Llama semi automatic .22 lr pistol.
          He sanded and polished the trigger or sear so it would have a “hair trigger” when you shot the little gun it went full automatic until it emptied it’s magazine.
          Quite an experience I tell you!
          I had a very good quality Colt revolver once that had the same treatment done it had to be sent to a gunsmith just to get it back in time to shoot without shaving lead from the cylinders.
          There are modifications that serve a purpose and there are modifications that are stupid.
          Rule 9 was dealing with the stupids.

        • uisconfruzed

          I WON’T have them folk out to shoot!
          I’ve seen a few scary things myself.

      • Zebra Dun

        That is the difference between a student of firearms handling, and knowledgeable Nimrod and a Bubba gunsmith.
        I bet sawing off the barrel with a hacksaw, or duct taping a laser sight to the weapons is what they had in mind.

    • Eric Atkinson

      All of my firearms are “in use” except when cleaning or maintenance is being done to them. A unloaded firearm can not perform its intended function, so my firearms are loaded.

      • Zebra Dun

        These rules were no doubt written by a committee and re written by the company lawyers.
        An Unloaded gun is a hunk of metal, not a good hammer and a poor paper weight.
        Every weapon in my house is not loaded, only those that are left loaded for immediate use are kept loaded and secured from prying hands.
        Those loaded are always known to be loaded by everyone who needs to know, those who do not need to know do not know where they are kept.
        Children are the main danger some cannot be taught or expected to be firearms safe and disciplined.

  • tt_ttf

    I have to agree that looks hinky – low trajectory, big damn hole and a short stubby bullet

    That looks like a pistol round from very close to the house

  • Grindstone50k

    TIL Keurig is a great backstop.

  • DIR911911 .

    why do dynamic entry when you can shoot through the walls , 308baby

    • Rooftop Voter

      50 BMG, even better.

  • Dave P.

    Overall the point is still valid. The year after we came to this state, a couple of idiots were on a hill shooting their Kmart-bought AK at targets they had stapled to a piece of plywood. The plywood was their only backstop. About a mile downrange, there was a waterpark. Anyone see where this is going? I remember the DA asked for 2nd degree murder, but the defendants might have pled to manslaughter.
    Bullets that miss the target and don’t hit a backstop, especially rifle bullets, can travel absurd distances and still kill. Know your backstop.

  • This is why when the stuff hits the fan, your roof and walls are unlikely to provide cover unless you have sand bags in the plans and you have on hand material to effect repairs. Someone unloading 90+ rounds of even 5.56 at you inside your house is going to cause a lot of damage, especially if they hit something holding gas or a natural gas line.

    Even worse, image 90 rounds of 12 gauge slugs.

  • Gunny

    The slug he is holding is no hunting round, it is a Full Metal Case bullet and appears to be about 9mm so I seriously doubt that it came from a hunter. Also looking at the rod inserted into the bullet hole to determine ballistic trajectory, it appears to be very close to the ground with a flat or rising trajectory not angling in from a skyward arc and that tells me this was no stray bullet. In my opinion either someone really doesn’t like these people and sent them a message or they shot their own home in some twisted scheme to shed a bad light on guns, shooting and hunting. Just my own observation and opinion, take it for what it is worth!

    • uisconfruzed

      Have you heard the warnings about what happens when you ass-u-me?

      -The rod through he wall is probably around waist height, look at the window height on the door next to it.
      -I’ve found my 7mm lead tipped Spitzer hunting rounds look like flattened FMJ after going through barriers.
      – It’s obvious this home suffered a drive by gang visit.

      • Gunny

        I didn’t assume anything, I made an observation and formed an opinion based on the very poor photography and limited information presented. Also I have and shot a number of different 7mm caliber firearms and I can tell you that a Spitzer fired from any of them including the slow ass 7-30 Waters doesn’t look like the slug he is holding when it hits anything solid, like the wall of a house.

  • Zebra Dun

    We re roofed a house out in the country one job and there were three spitzer style bullets found stuck in the roof, they penetrated halfway in at about a 45 degree angle.
    It was an amazing five foot group!

  • Zebra Dun

    I will speak for myself.
    I am not an expert, a professional nor do I claim to be a brave or smart man.
    I am a former Corporal and an infantry field MOS Marine.
    Unless we were actually under arms for reasons due to the situation or orders all our weapons were kept under lock and key either in a rack or the armory.
    Per Unit S.o.P.
    My son grew up with firearms as did me and my brother.
    I received my first firearm at 12yrs old a .410 shotgun to hunt rabbit and squirrels with my father. My father was a US Army WW 2 Veteran
    My son got his first firearm at the same age a .22 lr youth rifle for the same reason, at 14 he got a Ruger .22 lr pistol.
    He is currently a Former Marine Staff Sgt an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran.
    My brother and his children regular hunted deer, rabbit and squirrels with firearms they owned when they grew up. My brother is a retired former Master Sgt of the Marines and a Gulf war veteran.
    Two of his three children are former Marines.
    My grandsons are firearms trained the oldest at 14 has received a Christmas gift last year of a single shot 12 ga shotgun to hunt rabbits and squirrels with.
    At 11 yrs old he received permission to shoot my .45 1911A1 which he enjoyed greatly.
    He has since been trained in the shooting and safe handling of all my weapons.
    All my son’s, and grandson’s are weapons aware and firearms safety trained.

    NOW, I am not speaking of your children nor my children and grand children I am speaking of the average normal non firearms conscious children that are the normal children in this nation who can or perhaps cannot be trusted with a loaded firearm lying about.
    Those who are weapons trained and firearms aware have friends who perhaps are not to be trusted around firearms. In the news just today a child was shot dead with an unsecured, loaded firearm just lying about in the city near us.
    The rule against unloaded firearms is written for these children and their friends who may pick up a loaded weapon and shoot it.
    I keep every weapon but the two assigned as ready self defense unloaded and under lock and key.
    The two that are loaded are kept under secure lock and key also.
    That is weapons safety.

    You may do what ever you wish with your weapons and children.