PSA: Always Follow the Golden Rules of Gun Safety

Warning: PSA contains graphic images of an injury.

While some gun owners see the golden rules of gun safety as a bit of a no-brainer – why wouldn’t you follow them? – there are plenty of instances where it becomes clear they’re not followed by everyone. This includes a certain trigger found to have an issue of allowing the gun to fire when it shouldn’t: a number of the cases of injuries from said trigger problem occurred due to the gun owner not respecting the rules. Incidents pop up in the news periodically as well, in fact one just took place right before Christmas this year involving a muzzleloader.

Think of this as a beginning-a-new-year PSA: know, respect, and follow the four golden rules of gun safety. 1) Treat all guns as though they are loaded. 2) Do not point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. 3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re on target. 4) Know your target and what is beyond it. There are several versions of the rules out there but the gist remains the same regardless of phrasing.

There are far too many instances of people breaking the rules and/or behaving in a blatantly reckless manner with firearms. It happens in countless YouTube videos, at your local range, and at events attended by supposed professionals.

The following came from the Facebook page “Active Self Protection” and is the explanation that was given for the series of images to follow: “Here’s the aftermath of a negligent discharge of a 185gr Hornady XTP. While attempting to de-cock a 1911, his finger slipped off the hammer allowing it to discharge into his left palm, which was pressed over the barrel. The bullet passed through the palm, half expanded, passed through the interior door liner, and then hit the exterior door metal and stopped, leaving the deformation in pic 2.

He applied self-aid with a tourniquet he had in the trunk of the car and got to the hospital. Imagine driving to the hospital in that much pain!

He does get to keep the fingers, at least for now. The pinky had all the nerves severed so he will never feel with it again. Most likely he will have to have it removed later on down the line if it causes him more problems.”






TFB Staffer

TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.


  • andrey kireev

    Just as I was munching on my bacon = ,

  • PeterK

    Serious question: Is there any reasonable reason to do this without first unloading the weapon safely?

    • manBear

      Or any reason – at all – EVER – to jam the muzzle into your hand (or any other part of your body)? Was he actually trying to blow half his hand off?

      • PeterK

        Well obviously keep the muzzle away from things you don’t want to shoot, but why was he trying to de-cock the thing at all? Makes no sense to me.

    • Edeco

      Yeah really. IDK, can’t think of any.

    • FrenchieMedic

      Yes, to shoot in double action, he was most likely going to holster his weapon

      • FrenchieMedic

        However it needs to be done very safely and by pinching the hammer instead the way he did it. I don’t recommend doing that

        • Nicks87

          Really no reason at all to drop the hammer on a 1911 with one in the chamber. Totally pointless.

          • mosinman

            Nope, like you said above, the 1911 isn’t DA

      • Nicks87

        1911s are not double action.

      • Phillip Cooper

        Then he’s doubly an idiot.
        I carry my 1911 in Single Action. Why? Because the damn thing was designed for that to be the ONLY safe way for it to be carried.

        Also, they are single-action only. While there are bastard child variants that do DA, they’re by far the exception.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Bucking for permanent disability during a jobless recovery?

      • JSmath

        We had a guy in our POL squadron at (an AFB in America) who wanted to claim disability and medically retire because the moron NDF’d his Springfield XD right through the middle of his left palm, because he “was trying to disassemble it for cleaning”; Would spend his time at work complaining about how his hand got in the way of him doing his job.

        Knew a dozen guys personally at that base alone who owned similar striker/polymer guns (shocker right?) and none of us ever pointed the damned thing at ourselves while disassembling, nor could anyone ever figure out what made him think it was okay to either click the trigger while aiming into his own hand, or that it made him some kinda war hero to be that damned stupid.

        • Doug73

          The “disability lottery”. It’s the newest thing in America. Doesn’t matter whether it’s Social Security disability, workers comp or VA-related. LOTS of people want some of Uncle Sugar’s “free money”. And they ain’t beyond exaggerating their claims if they think it’ll get them closer to being a lottery winner.

          In February a major newspaper will be running a cover story on massive fraud with VA disability. I can already feel the ensuing butthurt when some people refuse to believe that plenty of vets are getting money they really shouldn’t be getting. Some are like the guy in your squadron, who aren’t really “disabled” but sure do like the idea of free money. Many of the rest are standard, routine “disability” cases like sleep apnea, “back pain” from vets who worked a desk job and never spent even a single day deployed, questionable tinnitus, etc.

          You give money away freely and without enough checks and balances, and people WILL take advantage of such flaws in the system.

    • Kivaari

      Yes. Some people desire to carry a 1911 in the loaded, hammer down mode. I’ve done it. I never shot my self while doing so.

      • Sgt. Stedenko

        Congrats on not shooting yourself yet.
        They make pistols with decockers for a reason.

        • Kivaari

          That’ why I ignore 1911s. I like other designs better. If I did not have Glocks, I’d go to SIGs. I don’t like 1911s for everyday carry. After 20 years of using Glocks, I just don’t bother with other pistols.

  • hking

    Seeing as how there is absolutely no reason to decock a loaded 1911, this guy had it coming. Not saying he deserved what he got, but I am sure as hell not shocked that someone stupid enough to drop the hammer on a loaded 1911 would shoot themselves and ignore the most basic rule of firearm safety.

    • Kivaari

      In my era, that was a normal way the military taught for close to combat. When in the middle of things, the cocked and locked position was allowed. In the Navy we carried 1911s with an empty chamber. In the army we couldn’t insert the magazine unless there was a threat.

  • Edeco

    Riding the hammer down, yech. I wouldn’t do it with a live cartridge, would have to be in the middle of nowhere and getting paid to try it. Maybe a valid move (with empty chamber) for guns that don’t take dry firing for whatever reason.

    • JSmath

      I’ve done rode the hammer down on a live cartridge approaching a hundred times with my SP101, and I haven’t had a single NDF while doing so. I follow a procedure pretty close to what Phillip Cooper relates, but I release the trigger at half-cock to encourage the transfer bar to fall out of alignment.

      Meticulous focus on what you’re doing makes a big difference versus being some jackass who likes to pretend he (or she) knows everything and does everything perfectly. As they say, complacency kills.

      • Phillip Cooper

        That’s exactly what I do as well, just wasn’t clear above apparently.

      • Edeco

        Wow… yikes, but OK.

  • USMC03Vet

    Just walk it off.

    • Evan

      Take a motrin and change your socks.

      • Rock or Something

        Drink water!

        • Edeco

          Put Neosporin on it.

        • USMC03Vet

          hahaha nailed it

      • billyoblivion

        I don’t think it’s his socks that need changing.

        • carlcasino

          Adrenalin pumping so hard didn’t feel a thing till the ER shot him with morphine. Man that needle hurt.

  • Simon Spero

    And now he’s a starter for the New York Giants?

    • Evan

      No wonder we got blown out by Minnesota.

  • Sgt. Stedenko

    Decocking a 1911 before removing the mag and clearing the chamber is reason to be nominated for a Darwin Award.
    No wonder this clown posts on Farcebook.

    • Kivaari

      If a person wants to pack a loaded, ready for use M1911, but not cocked and locked, lowering the hammer works fine. Just don’t have any body parts in the flight path. Better yet, buy a safer and easier to use pistol.

      • Sgt. Stedenko

        I would never consider decocking a loaded 1911 in my car or my house.

        • Kivaari

          Why not? I’ve done it hundreds of times without a ND. But in the last 20 years I’ve dumped all my 1911s, and replaced them with Glocks. I like 1911s for the history, but find Glock in 9mm to serve my purpose better than any 1911.

  • Kivaari

    There is one reason not to pack a M1911. Use a SIG with a de-cocking lever. Carry a Glock that is never cocked while it sits at rest in your holster. Too many people just have to have a 1911, without knowing how to use it.

  • datimes

    I did the 150 class 2 years ago May. Unequivocally one of the best weeks of my life. The sign I remember most said “A holstered gun is a safe gun”.

  • DanGoodShot

    Just as I was about to have some lasagna… Thanks TFB…

    • Daniel F. Melton

      Didn’t read the warning?

  • Gnarly.

    I’ll save my comments about how much of an absolute idiot the person in the pictures is for when he’s fully healed up.

  • Fruitbat44

    Someone once observed that there are tow sorts of people in this world, those who have done something dumb with a firearm and those who haven’t yet.

    Hopefully the individual in the pictures will learn from this and move on.

    Oh, and a favourite saying; any fool can learn from their own mistakes, the wise learn from other peoples.

    • dat bee tru

      the few that have ND’s do not represent the majority. there are many more than just “two-sorts” of people

      • Fruitbat44

        Hmmm . . . the reported observation was “have done something dumb with a firearm” and not specifically “had an ND.”

        Of course it can be argued that there are actually 10 sorts of people in this world. Those who understand binary notation and those who don’t.

  • jeffrey melton

    Quite a bit of damage for a 100 plus year old antique designed gun and ammo.

  • RickOAA .

    I personally wouldn’t drop a hammer on a loaded chamber, and I cringe ever time somebody points a gun towards any part of their body. Nope nope nope.

  • dat bee tru

    part of his non-dominate hand and possibly a pinky, it could have been worse.