Thanks to my friend Scott B. for sharing this story.

A shooter was unloading his handgun when this happened. From what Scott relayed to me, was that the shooter cups the ejection port to catch the round to save time from picking it up off the floor. Now to clarify, this was not a malfunction. It was not a FTF and the primer was never struck. What happened was that during the unloading process the shooter’s hand covers the ejection port. The round most likely ejected into the hand but since the hand was so close to the ejection port it got caught between the slide and barrel.


Take a look at the picture below. You can see the primer lacks any hammer mark. However there is a clear crease from the edge of the slide cutting into the headstamp of the casing. If you look at the photo at the very top, you can see the bullet has a vertical line cut into it as well.

By cupping the round as it ejected out and it getting caught on the slide as the slide tried to close, the round went off in the shooter’s hand.

Here is what Scott relayed to me:

The following is a story relayed to me. I do not have first hand knowledge of this, but I do trust the source.

The pictures are of a recovered case and projectile after a shooter attempted to eject a live round during an unloading evolution. The shooter covered the ejection port with his hand and attempted to capture the live round rather than letting it eject freely from the ejection port. The round was trapped, under pressure of the recoil spring, in-between the edge of the ejection port along the edge of the breach face and the front of the ejection port on the right side of the slide.

There is a noticeable linear denting on the nose of the projectile and an obvious strike point on the rear of the case and the primer. The projectile could not escape and the resulting effect was for the case to burst. The pressure from the burning propellent was absorbed by the shooter’s hand. He will not be able to make this mistake again.

It is a sobering lesson for many shooters. No one ever really believes that this could happen to them.


I have seen some people use this technique in USPSA. I have seen people eject the round and catch it in the air as well. Be careful and pay attention. The scenario above could be considered a sheer accident. However if the shooter did not use that ejection method then there is less likely of a chance such an event would have occurred.


  • Hoplopfheil

    “He will not be able to make this mistake again.”

    So, the shooter’s hand was blown completely off? Spooky.

    • Aerindel Prime

      Also…hard to belive. I had a round blow up in my hand when I was a kid. Got a scar where the brass cut my hand but no real damage. Since there is no actual mention of the damage to the hand other than vague ‘spooky’ wording I suspect that is what happened this time too.

      • Vhyrus

        It it well known that the power from a bullet comes from the barrel controlling the force into a single direction. Unless he had his while hand wrapped tightly around the bullet I highly doubt there was any serious injury. Lack of any significant amount of blood on the bullet or the casing is also highly suspect.

        • oldman

          Most likely serious burns but little shrapnel damage is my guess.

          • Crisis Resolution Security Ser

            Amen, amen.

        • Norm Glitz

          The bullet was trapped in the case by the closed ejection port. That’s why the brass blew out in multiple directions.

      • JimK

        Completely blown off probably not, but since the bullet is also stuck the round probably does more damage than having the pressure blow forward and outward.

        • FarmerB

          Yes, if the bullet cannot “pop” out the front of the cartridge, then pressure is going to build considerably. You can see from the mess of the case that the burn must have significantly constrained to cause that dramatic a burst.

          • Wyatt Earp

            Is any of the case missing? I don’t see it, if it is. The slug seems pretty much intact, too.

            If the injury were severe, I would think there would be blood all over.

          • FarmerB

            Why would the slug not be intact? Even if the case is intact, it takes a lot of pressure to make it slit like that – normally, if one split opens up, the pressure should rush out there. This really blew.
            Why no blood? Good question, but probably not that surprising. I’d expect the blast wave going out tended to send the blood outwards. If the guy had his hand cupped over the ejection port, the pressure probably propelled the gun away from his hand anyway.

        • noob

          yeah, I suspect there might have been tendon damage at the worst – which can permanently reduce dexterity.

      • Nicholas C

        If you look at the head stamp, it was a .40s&w cartridge.

        • Poplicola Publicola

          What if you don’t look at it? What is it then?

        • SPQR9

          This kind of event seems to happen most often with .40 S&W in 1911 frames but of course can happen in other setups.

      • PersonCommenting

        I guess it depends on if he enclosed the round. Ive had a firecracker go off in my hands before but my hand was open. If i would of wrapped my hand around it like some people do it would of blown my hand apart.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      No way.

    • No, they mean the RO beat the shooter until his hands fell off for putting their range in the newspapers for a stupid ND resulting in minor injury.

      • Hoplopfheil

        That’s at least a PLAUSIBLE story. πŸ™‚

  • Disarmed in CA

    Nice move, uh, Lefty?

    • Keiichi

      If he’s a righty he would have been catching the round with his left hand… so… righty?

      • noob

        a bitterly ironic nickname eitherway

  • Lee Ferguson

    That imprint on the primer is from the ejector the extractor let the case slip this is from a bad extractor. This happened to me and my hand was on the back of the slide.

    • 10x25mm

      The extractor

    • Dougscamo

      I’ve seen it happen with an ejector on a Glock under the same scenario. Quit cupping after that event.

  • Edeco

    Yikes, good to know. I’ve been practicing ejecting snap caps and catching them from the air, but just because I thought it cool. Must be safer too πŸ˜€

  • Ark

    I see. I’m in the habit of doing the same thing when clearing my carry gun at the end of the day. I may transition to allowing the round to drop onto the bedspread or something instead of cupping the slide.

    • M1911

      Why are you clearing your carry gun at the end of the day? Just put into your lockbox while loaded.

  • catfishb52

    Remind me to retrieve the round from the ground rather than save a few seconds by catching it.

    • Flounder

      In many competitions you aren’t allowed to retrieve stuff from the ground. Although they do usually let you retrieve mags, but sometimes you aren’t allowed to retrieve them yourself, an RO has to do it, and good luck getting them to pick up one random round of yours.

      It’s a stupid rule but it exists.

      • I’ve never heard of that rule. Heck at a Nationals after dropping a mag at the start of a stage, I nearly out ran the RO trying to find enough ammo to finish the stage. At least that is what the RO told me after the fact, I was too fixated on finding a magazine to notice the RO.

        • Scott Meredith

          That RO is a dumbass then. If you are bombing a stage and need to retrieve a partially full mag off the ground, it’s his job to get the hell out of YOUR way. RO’s like to make comments like that to shooters when the RO screws up. At Area 1 last week an RO got caught downrange (not paying attention) scoring targets when the shooter had to run back uprange to shoot a popper he left behind. RO tried to tell him he shouldn’t have tried to go back for it. (I’ve got my NROI cert, I try hard NOT to be those RO’s πŸ˜› ) Now, that’s totally different issue than what M1911 is saying, but still.

          • To be fair to the RO, he was policing the prize table entry, and when I did the usual “I’m XXX” his comment was more in jest “Oh I remember who you are, you nearly outran me running up range to get a mag after you dropped one.”

      • M1911

        No, that is just not true. You can always recover your mags after unload and show clear, and you can always recover your loaded round (if you can find it in a reasonable amount of time).

        There are some matches that are “lost brass” matches. You aren’t allowed to recover your brass — this is to ensure that the match moves along quickly. Note that this doesn’t apply to revolver shooters shooting with moon clips — they can recover their expended brass and moonclips.

        • DeathFromTheShadows

          Ive been to matches that list no ground recovery, so YES it is true

      • Charles

        Yeah, they use to try to tell me that crap when I was shooting skeet. I picked up my empty shells anyway and hell with them.

        • ErSwnn

          Then you broke etiquette and displayed a lack of respect for other shooters. When you’re not shooting you should be still and silent, both distract other shooters.

          • 9911kelly

            So showing etiquette is more important than safety, regardless of how rare this malfunction is?

          • ErSwnn

            What are you complaining about?? My post is not in reference to the unloading discharge, it’s about picking you hulls during a shotgun competition. Look…one post up from mine.

          • 9911kelly

            I wasn’t complaining. Nothing I said was a complaint.

            If picking up shells from the ground prevents an accident like described in the story, then that’s the safety aspect of what I was talking about. And that does indeed have to do with the unloading discharge.

          • Toast

            ur so dumb lol

          • 9911kelly

            I haven’t called anyone any names. I’m better than that.

            QUOTE: “the shooter cups the ejection port to catch the round to save time from picking it up off the floor” END QUOTE.

            So this means that had it hit the floor rather than the shooter catching it as it was ejected, it wouldn’t have gone off with his hand right there around it. And as a result, he might have had less or no injury…correct?

            How hard is that to understand?

          • DeathFromTheShadows

            For some of these “nimrods” understanding went down the drain when they were toilet trained, hence the term Anal comes to play

          • 9911kelly

            I agree. I don’t know what was so hard to understand about not catching shells as they’re ejected. I know shotguns and shotgun shells came into the discussion, but I’d say it’s not smart to catch any kind of shells after they’re ejected, regardless of if they’re shotgun or not.

          • ErSwnn

            Good Lord….think this through just a bit.

            Shells on the ground ARE NOT THE PROBLEM NOR CAUSE OF THE EVENT. The issue you are stuck on is a separate issue from the topic of the article. The shells are a side conversation.

            But so long as we insist on some argumentative tangent…how would shotgun hulls on the ground cause someone to severely damage their hand while unloading a semi-automatic handgun in a risky manner? Swear to (deity of your choice) I cannot see the connection.

            Toast is correct.

          • 9911kelly

            I didn’t say shells on the ground are the problem, did I? No, I did NOT say that. I only said that picking them up off the ground is safer than trying to catch them as they are ejected, etiquette or not.

            My whole point is that it’s better to pick the shells off the ground than to have it where “the shooter cups the ejection port to catch the round to save time from picking it up off the floor”, like the story CLEARLY said.

            Therefore, it’s SAFER to pick them up off the ground/floor, despite whether it distracts other shooters, than to have the round go off in or near his hand.

            Very simple.

            Yes, I did indeed think it through based on what the story actually said, and based on what you said about how picking shells up off the ground distracts other shooters and is poor etiquette.

          • Charles

            Poor etiquette in who’s opinion? Why would that person’s opinion be more valid than another’s? Those hulls belong to the shooter, and he can retrieve if he wants. That is all there is to it.

          • 9911kelly

            It’s poor etiquette according to ErSwnn. And yes, I agree with you.

            Not to mention that it’s safer picking them up off the ground, rather than trying to catch them as they eject. That would apply regardless of whether it’s a shotgun, handgun, or rifle. It obviously wouldn’t apply to a pump action, bolt action rifle, single shot, etc. But it would a semi-auto.

          • ErSwnn

            Indeed one can retrieve them. As soon as the round is over. In who’s opinion? Every other shooter on the line. Go, shoot some trap/skeet. And pick up the hulls during the match. No, seriously, go see how this works.

          • Charles

            No, seriously, I do that. If they say that breaks their concentration, then they are not of the class of shooter that needs to be there. Go put your big girl panties on, and step up. A true champion shooter will not be affected by that. That kind of stuff separates the true shooters from the wantabes, who make up excuses for their poor scores.

          • ErSwnn

            I’m doubting your skill level. Do you shoot trap or skeet regularly? Maybe a league or such? if not then you are without experience or knowledge. Again, go shoot trap and pick up the hulls during “Change” and tell me how it goes.

          • Charles

            Hey, get out of here. I quit shooting skeet, because it became boring. It became so boring, that I started missing a bird, which would ruin an other wise perfect 100. Started with trap, and shot perfect scores, but would drop about 4 birds off the 27 yd handicap. Then became enthused with sporting clays, with scores in the low 90’s. What really agitates the skeet snobs, is when I would leave the Browning Ultra at the house and bring a beat up Ithaca Mod 37, and still shoot the same scores.

          • ErSwnn

            I bring out an old High Standard Riot 20 from time to time.

          • Charles

            Hay Swan, if you shoot around Beaumont, Texas, we can meet and dust a few birds, if you want.

          • ErSwnn

            I’d join up with you in a heartbeat. I’m half Texan almost. Learned to haul hay outside of Gilmer, Big Sandy to be precise. Spent a fair amount of time near SA as well…but as a kid, Gilmer. Texas has a soft spot in my heart.

            So, the invite goes out to you as well. Ever get to Crivitz Wisconsin drop me a line and we can beat each other’s brains out (figuratively) at Noquebay Sportsman Club.

            Show ya how it’s done Hoss. Or do ya prefer Bubba? BillyJoeBobRay?

            Anyway, we have our differing opinions about this and it’ll be up to the RSO to tell us what rule is in play.

          • Charles

            Really infuriates a couple immature shooters, when I pick up hulls from a pump. Of course, there is no picking up with my O/U’s. And I am still baling and picking up square bales. No round bale mess for my horses. Real cute on the redneck names, but I have a college education.

          • Havaneiss Dei

            Texas is a soft spot in your head. Hahaha, jk. But seriously: every honest person knows the best shooters come from Mississippi.

            Gotta keep the record straight.

          • ErSwnn

            Why does the name have the word sissi in it?

            Now, if only we could find an honest person in Mississippi.

          • Charles

            Why do you have a problem with people picking up their hulls off the ground? You pick them up as you step out of position and no one is shooting.

          • ErSwnn

            It breaks concentration, it’s that simple.

            I take it you don’t shoot much, particularly competitive shooting.

            And no, it’s not because the range sells the hulls. Most of those are unsuitable for reloading. You are welcome to retrieve them AFTER the shoot. Ask those who reload, many mark their hulls. I’ve shot at a lot of ranges and have never, ever, been denied the ability to get what’s mine after the round.

            Go shoot some trap…and stop at each position during “Change” to pick up empties. See how that goes over. Now, be sure you’re at a real shoot, not something thrown together by a bunch of friends.

          • R.L. Barnes

            I shoot very often, thank you; and, it would NOT break my (or my friends’) concentration. You are either ready to shoot, or your not! Please, don’t start looking for excuses, and/or passing the blame, for your possible mistakes, toward someone else. When you shoot, you need to be thinking about nothing but what you are to be doing with the gun, shells & targets. Block everything else (the world around you) OUT of your mind.
            This is NOT golf!

          • R.L. Barnes

            I’m not insisting on “some argumentative tangent”; but, there CAN BE a potential safety risk in allowing spent shotgun shells to be left on the ground: they, potentially, can cause someone to SLIP, on the empty shell hulls, while they are otherwise focused on shooting, possibly resulting in serious injury.

            Plus, like the man said: they (the emptys) are the property of the shooter (they paid good money for the shotgun shells); so, the shooter should be allowed to retrieve his/her property.

          • Charles

            He is one of those skeet shooters that think you should never pick up a shell after it hits the ground. The reason that was put in place, is because the skeet clubs pick them up and sell them. There is no reason a man cannot pick up his own shells, as he shoots them.

          • Charles

            Etiquette be damned. That shit is for snobs. I am politically incorrect and shot circles around those snobs, anyway. The snobs would get mad, because on a whim, I would leave my Browning Ultra at the house and bring a beat up 870 to the range and shoot 50 straight. Picking up my ejected rounds when I stepped off the spot. No one was shooting then, they were waiting. If that bothered or affected their shots, they had a poor mental game. If you don’t like it, tough. Go put your big girl panties on.

          • ContrarianView

            What an Alpha Hotel you must be on the skeet field. After a round of your rude behavior and (I”ll bet) trash-talking, it would be a pleasure for me as an RSO to send you home. If you care that much about your hulls, use a shotgun with extractors only, no ejectors.

          • Charles

            You’re another one for sure. haha. Clay birds are fun, without all the bull. When I am serious, I will shoot one of my O/U with extractors, but when just having fun, I might have an old Ithaca Mod 37,or a time or 2, a Rem 870. It disgusts some of the snobs, such as you, to see someone work a pump that fast on Station 1 and 7, with nothing but dust. If a RSO ever told me I was going to have to do something that was not involving safety, he has an all day job ahead of himself. lol.

          • DeathFromTheShadows

            We have run more than a few apha henry’s ike you off the range and out of the club for abject disrespect of those paying to keep the club alive

          • Charles

            Nope. No disrespect. I pick up my hulls, immediately after shooting, and no one is in position. The hulls are my property, and I am going to retrieve them.

      • BudHall

        This is seen at various shotgun ranges/matches. But, seldom see it on rifle/pistol ranges/matches.

    • BDub

      Just catch it in the air.

  • Y-man

    I learnt to turn pistol upside-down [Still holding grip in right hand, twisting hand, firearm pointed in safe direction…] then pull back on slide with cupped left hand: round drops neatly into cupped hand…
    Of course, this means that mag had already been removed and stowed in pocket or some other place first: cannot hold mag and do the racking together…

    • FarmerB

      Yeah – you can. IIRC Swiss army teach you to put magazine between little fingers of grip hand and then rack slide into cupped hand with ejection port facing down. Suits the military because the RO can inspect the pistol and (normally) empty mag at the same time. Easier with single stack. πŸ™‚

      • Y-man

        True. One can do that.
        But usually – when I need to clear loaded Pistol, I also then have to return ejected (unfired) Round into Magazine- I HAVE to holster Pistol to do that… Need two hands.

  • Jeremy Star

    If I turn my P229 and P320 sideways and rack the slide, I can catch the round in the air. My little pistols tend to just let the live round fall down the magazine well, and my PX4 just throws it in a random direction. I tend to just rack my pistols with the ejection port facing the ammo cup at the range, that way I don’t have to worry about chasing round. I have never covered the ejection port with my hand. It always sounded like a disaster waiting to happen.

    • noob

      that was in the MGS 4 trailer (although he was checking the chamber on a rifle). Old snake would be proud.

  • Brad

    When I took the Glock armorer course years ago, the instructor showed a picture of an officer that tried to put his hand over the ejection port to catch a round. The round came halfway out when the ejector hit the primer, setting the round off. The pic was of his hand. It was hamburger having the round blow up basically in his palm.

  • Will

    Didn’t this person understand that inorder to do this you must move the slide all the way to the rear and FULLY engage the slide lock lever?
    But you are absolutely correct. EJECT the chambered round. It’s only one round and bending over to pick it up is safer and good exercise.

    • AKβ„’

      If its a cheap,training round..why risk thousands of dollars at the E.R. for what amounts to like 5 pennies?

  • Albert Ramirez

    I saw that happen at a match I was ROing, the guy covered the ejection port as he was unloading and either the ejector or the edge of the slide creased the primer enough to cause it to go off. The case blew out the bullet got a crease in the nose from the barrel hood and he got one piece of shrapnel that went all the way thru his pointer finger and a piece stuck in his thumb. I was the one that took him to urgent care but despite the flesh wound, he received no lasting injuries. It was an STI 2011 the only damage it got was the extractor spring broke.

  • Keiichi

    Wow. This has me reconsidering my usual unloading method when I put my carry pistol away at the end of the day.

    Thanks for the cautionary tale, .

    • Marcus D.

      I only unload my carry gun when I shoot it or unload it for cleaning. I just take it out of its holster and place it on the dresser until morning. [Then again, I have no children or grandchildren in the house, so I don’t even have a gun vault.] Why would you unload it at the end of the day? It won’t work too well if it is empty.

      • Not everyone is comfortable with putting loaded firearms in a safe/vault/case/whatever.

        • noob

          oh my god, I just imagined what would happen if somebody had a ND with 00 buck when the muzzle was inside the safe. it’s a steel box with your head in it and the shot would just keep bouncing…

          • I’ve heard tell of a poor soul who put a loaded P08 on one of those trigger guard hanging racks in his gun safe and managed to hit the trigger, at which point the pistol proceeded to spin around the post, firing itself from the recoil pulling the trigger over and ocer until all eight rounds had careened around the safe and ricocheted all over the place. No injuries, fortunately, but several thousands of dollars of damage to the other rifles, shotguns, and pistols in the safe.

          • Phillip Cooper

            Sounds like BS.

          • I saw it in an article in a magazine (Guns & Ammo, I think?) many years ago, so I can’t personally attest to the accuracy of it, but it’s hardly a wildly implausible thing; Rule #3 exists for a reason.

          • gregge

            Taofledermaus or Demolition Ranch or one of those other Youtube outfits might try that.

          • noob

            Iraqveteran8888 has a Bump Board that he uses to bumpfire pistols. Maybe he could rig it up so that the pistol can be dropped on it remotely? the hard part is when the pistol spins – even if the plane of rotation doesn’t intersect your body, you’d want to make sure that no rounds escape upwards into the greater community.


          • Sunshine_Shooter

            That sounds really fake, but interesting to watch. Who really keeps a P08 loaded?

          • Havaneiss Dei

            Never, ever underestimate the ability of others to accomplish seemingly impossible feats of stupidity.

          • Brasstard

            Sounds like someone needs to try and recreate that on YouTube

          • I’d upvote that video. All you’d really need to do is rig up a way to remotely drop a pistol.

            And, y’know, stand very far away.

          • Wiliam Deitrick

            Years back LB PD had a detective hang his semiauto on a coat hook while attempting to take a crap – gun unloaded itself – At least he was in the right place when his sphincter opened up!!!!

          • Yikes! Talk about your confirmation of Murphy’s Law.

            “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

          • Jeff Knox

            I seem to recall a CSI episode years ago with that as the weird hook event in the opening, except it was kids goofing off in an abandoned building or something.

          • I refuse to acknowledge CSI: Miami as anything other than absurdist comedy after one episode where they had a hyperbolically terrible CG journey inside the mouth of a corpse on an exam table, followed by the line, “…Wisdom teeth don’t lie.”; when we saw that, everybody in the room laughed their brains out on the floor for like ten minutes.

          • FarmerB

            OK, you’ll have to explain that one to me…

          • Phillip Cooper

            I had the same feeling the first time I saw the cast.

          • ErSwnn

            CSI? The same show that never has a gun run empty AND solves mysteries in a few days with the most sophisticated equipment in the world?

            Yeah, might want to not use that as a reference.

          • 1911a145acp

            NRA rules state “no loaded firearms in storage ” Good rule. My personal rule is that if it is not under my direct physical control, no loaded rounds in chamber. I can pick it up and chamber a round about as fast as I can pick it up and take a safety off. Guns in storage are separated from ammo that is stored else where- not even in the same safe. Guns that are intended for home defense or self defense may have a loaded mag but never a round in the chamber. Just my 2 c

          • 1911a145acp

            I have seen the aftermath of just that- except it was heavy birdshot from a twelve gauge stored on the bottom. Owner was moving guns around to get a gun from the back and the charging handle from an A-5 auto shotgun was pushed down and into the trigger guard of a short barreled turkey gun- Mossberg I recall. The shot went through the particle board shelf and hit a GLOCK and a 1911 on the top shelf. destroyed the GLOCK polymer frame, destroyed the mag and grips on the 1911. destroyed the light and dehumidifier in the safe, shredded the carpet and peppered everything with lead shot and lead dust.

        • Marcus D.

          I am not talking about any or all firearms, just the ones one might expect to use for home defense, the first of which would in many cases be an EDC. So what you are saying is that some people are comfortable carrying around a loaded firearm all day, preferably with one in the pipe, but that they are uncomfortable when it comes out of the holster? That they would prefer, at 0 dark hundred when something goes bump in the night, while in the grip of a massive adrenaline dump, to try to locate a gun and a magazine (or worse loose rounds for a revolver), then try to load that gun in the pitch dark? That sounds to me like an accident just waiting to happen. Plus there is the time factor involved in accomplishing these complicated steps in such circumstances. And this is to say nothing of the fact that, at least for semi auto pistols, unloading and reloading rounds often leads to bullet setback. Why would anyone want to take such risks?

          • Β―_(ツ)_/Β― I’m just the reporter, not the newsmaker; I keep a handgun in the kitchen just in case.

        • carlcasino

          ALL of MY Guns are LOADED until proven otherwise and even my G’Children understand that logic.

        • Sarg88

          We all know the, Treat all firearms as if they are loaded rule. That being said, All my firearms ARE always loaded, those in the safe and out!!! If I wanted a paperweight I’d get a rock. Lol.

        • Dan

          Not everyone is comfortable carrying with a round in the chamber. But everyone should work up to that comfort level, as you should with locking up a loaded firearm.

      • DaveGinOly

        After carrying during the day, when I get home, if I don’t continue to carry, I put my pistol into a level 2 holster. Then, if necessary, I move the holstered pistol with me from room to room as I go about my business in my home. The holster protects the trigger so I can’t even put my finger in the guard, and the security keeps the pistol in the holster now matter how its carried – it will not slip out even if carried upside-down.

    • Be careful with that; the more often you chamber a semi-auto cartridge the more likely it is to alter the headspacing by pushing the bullet further back in the case. It’s not super common, but it does happen and it can cause all manner of nastiness if the bullet from that accidental kurz round doesn’t make the jump to the rifling successfully.

      • Jarhead0369

        Bullet “set-back” changes the internal dimensions of the cartridge. It’s the smaller internal space creating an over-pressure and destroying the gun which is the problem.

        • Crisis Resolution Security Ser

          True, otherwise 45 Colt would destroy a 454 Casull.

      • J.K.

        Re-chambering soft point and hollow point rounds can also deform their shape, affecting their ability to expand.

      • BrotherLazarus

        Depends on the make and model of what you’re carrying–more accurately it depends on the feed mechanics of the make and model of what you’re carrying. Steep feed ramps are more likely to deep-seat slugs than shallow feed ramps.

        I have to cycle my carry ammo through after two chamberings, after the third or fourth my 1911 will deep-seat pretty much anything (including full metal jackets) and I’ve gotta downcheck them.

        Got an entire box of JHP I’ve gotta dispose of (properly) because of that–if I’d caught the seating faster on the last pass, I would have burned them off at the range instead.

        • If you don’t reload, ask around– I wouldn’t rely on dinked-with rounds for personal defense, but it’s a trivial effort for someone with a bullet puller and a single stage press to at least return those to range blastin’ usability.

          • BrotherLazarus

            I don’t reload, sadly… I neglected the tools for reloading when I first started getting my gunsmithing tools together; and the friend that reloads works so many hours I can’t just drop them off with him. I’ll check in when I build his .308, I wouldn’t mind actually getting some use out of the ammo; even if it’s just range time.

    • telecomesq

      Same here!

    • Shayne Jenkins

      No worries there… My carry pistol becomes my home defense pistol at the end of the day. An unloaded gun is useless…

      • Keiichi

        My carry pistol is a Sig P938, and when I get home I go to the safe and get my Glock 20 w/ CT light/laser for home defense, and load it. Then I unload and lock up the Sig.

    • ErSwnn

      Not judging your choice but…why unload it everyday?

      Two things here. If you carry then you understand a need for a weapon. Unloading it takes away your advantage. Homes get robbed.

      The other thing I see is…everytime you interact with the gun you are creating a situation in which something….usually human error…can go wrong. Simply taking off the gun and stowing it gives less potential for an accident. Unload, then later reloading involves a lot more manipulation and therefore increases brainfarts and malfunctions.

      • Keiichi

        I was taught, and agree with the idea, that one should store firearms and ammo in separate locked locations.

        A loaded gun in a locked safe isn’t significantly more ready or useful for defense than an unloaded one (neither is handy); I do have a different choice of home defense pistol that is more appropriate for the role (so no concern of not being able to defend myself); and if – however unlikely – someone breaks in when I’m not home and gets to my guns, none will be loaded and no ammo will be available for them to misuse.

        That’s my thinking, anyway.

        As to the safety risk, your concern is reasonable, but on balance I’m confident enough in my attention and care when handling my guns that my other reasoning wins out.

  • Keiichi

    Also… what’s an “unloading evolution”?

    • noob

      when you do a new activity in addition to the old stuff you have done previously in the session it is called a training evolution.

  • Spencerhut

    I tell people not to do this over and over as an RO and everyone acts like I’m some jerk. It won’t happen to me . . . BS. Just don’t do it.

    • SPQR9

      My recollection is that NROI specifically ruled this a safety violation. I’ll need to look to see if I can find it.

      • Christine Guinn

        I’d be interested to see if you find it. This is one of my pet peeves. It would be nice to have a ruling to back it up.

        • SPQR9

          I’m looking for the piece that stuck in my mind. I think it was in an issue of Front Sight in the last year or two.

          • gregge

            Better than the piece stuck in your hand. πŸ˜‰

      • Scott Meredith

        Nope. Just recertified (literally over the weekend) and it is not in there.

    • Christine Guinn

      Me too. I cringe ever time someone does this when I RO.

      The “flip & catch” may look flashy and “hot-dogging”, but at least my hand is nowhere near the ejection port.

    • Scott Meredith

      I’ve got my NROI cert too, and just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s up to you to tell people not to do something that isn’t forbidden in the rules. Yeah, you’re going to DQ the idiot that tries to catch it and sweeps himself, breaks 180, etc. And yeah, there are too many guys that try to do it and shouldn’t. They probably think you are a jerk because it’s not up to you to give your personal suggestions to shooters as an RO, not because you aren’t right.

    • TheWolvesbane

      In the German armed forces unloading your pistol in this way is part of shooting doctrine.

      During basic training you are taught to put your hand over the slide when unloading, to catch the bullet as it is falling out, to prevent the possibility of losing the bullet. (we have extremely strict regulations when it comes to ammunition, and losing a single round of ammo would have severe consequences)

      Now this is only ever done with the slide manually locked in the rearward position, yet still, we do it the same way as the guy the post is about did it, in essence.

      • S. Plankenberg

        Also, that method appeals to that German sense of tidiness in all things.

  • Charlie Victor Alpha

    Extractor hit that primer perfect, crazy.

    • Spencerhut

      Not at all, happens way more often then you think.

      • Charlie Victor Alpha

        How about, it happens more than I’ve ever observed.

    • John Cheek

      Yep, was thinking the crease looked just like the tip of the extractor hit. I don’t usually release the slide on unload but lock it on the slide lock, keeping it open. Of course, I’m not shooting compitition either.

  • DIR911911 .

    “He will not be able to make this mistake again.” . . . most chill inducing sentence on TFB

    • Blake

      Right? Are they saying his hand had to be amputated?

      • Bad Penguin

        Doubt that it was necessary to amputate the hand however the it probably broke a few bones as well as cut some tendons. Sever hand injuries usually result in some level of loss of use of it.

        • DBCHeadoc

          Without chamber pressure, the explosion and the bullet would be relatively tame. Probably some burns and minor scrapes

          • Canarsieboy

            Then why on Earth won’t the poor bastard be able to make that mistake again?

          • Dan

            Sounds like presumption on the authors part. The fact that they didn’t describe the injuries tells me they have no idea the extent. They just wanted to drive home the point that this is very dangerous to do, and why. I do think they should have worded it better for the sake of journalistic integrity.

          • Toast

            yup. prolly just some burn and a bruise. could have a hole too tho and some brass shrapnel

          • S. Plankenberg


            What’s the big secret?

          • Canarsieboy

            Don’t know why some people are trying to refute my point. I wasn’t there. They weren’t there either, yet appear to have 1st hand experience on the authors use of the English language! lol

          • DeathFromTheShadows

            MASSIVE muscle memory, His hand will be pulling away before he even starts to reach for the round

          • Norm Glitz

            If the bullet was captured at the front end of the ejection port, and the back of the case by the rear, there would have been plenty of pressure. That what ruptured the case in several directions.

          • S. Plankenberg

            It’s like when small arms ammunition cooks off in a fire.
            Contrary to what almost everyone thinks, it’s not the bullets that fly away, it’s the casings. Sometimes at enough velocity to penetrate tissue.
            A lot of firemen aren’t even aware of this.

            So whatever injury the the guy had to his hand would have been mostly due to the flying brass, with some flash burning for good measure.

          • ErSwnn

            Yeah, the photo defintely says tame.

            This is the second time I’ve heard of such an accident. The other one, someone I knew, resulted in some fairly serious injuries. Just about took off his trigger finger.

    • Thomas Acquinas

      Exactly what I was thinking. Great minds travel in tight circles.

    • Crisis Resolution Security Ser

      Sneer inducing.

  • SPQR9

    There has been discussion of this accident scenario for many years in pistol disciplines such as USPSA.

  • 22winmag

    Can someone please film this with a dummy round and post it or point to an existing video as such?

    I’m having trouble picturing exactly what was done to produce the force necessary to put such a phenominally deep and broad indent across the primer and case.

    Also, I’m sure there are a lot of variables with different guns and extractor/ejector positions and designs. It’s kind of mindblowing that the model or even style of handgun was not identified in the article (not to mention the use of the phrase “hammer mark” instead of “firing pin indent”).

    • Mike S

      I’ve been trying to imagine the same thing, but considered that the marks were probably made in two stages. The first impact was just deep enough to ignite the primer and the explosive force from the ignition resulted in the deeper indentation.
      Also troubling to me is how someone could think that action could possibly be reasonable. Since I haven’t been to any competitions in over 40 years, I don’t know what kind actions are attempted for the extra couple of milliseconds, but I can’t even figure out how you can cup one of your hands over the ejection port while unloading. Going to youtube to watch, maybe find something. I’ve always had both hands busy with the different parts of the pistol when unloading. (also, not enough coffee yet)

  • Scott Meredith

    I’ve been catching my ejected rounds for a couple years now when unloading and showing clear during USPSA matches. You’ll see a lot of open shooters doing this, with a slide-racker it is extremely easy to control the path of the round when you rack the slide. I’d prefer not to waste my expensive and carefully loaded Open-Major ammunition on the range. I’m also not going to run the risk of picking up someone else’s ammo (that’s usually littering the ground at a match). Obviously, covering the ejection port to catch the round results in risking trapping it in between the slide and the chamber and blowing your hand off. The guy doing this must have also been racking the slide back and letting it slam forward instead of controlling it, which also contributed to this. Catching the round as it arcs through the air does NOT run that risk. You will see some people trying to do this to look cool, reaching wildly for the round and sweeping themselves or others, which is also stupid and gets you a DQ. I’d agree that clearing your gun as described in this article IS a bad idea, but lets not pretend that catching a cartridge in the air is the same thing.

    • Wyatt Earp

      I mark my ammunition, so I always get MY brass and ammunition back.

  • BDub

    That crease (and the little square impression) looks like a mark from the extractor coming down on the primer.

    • 22winmag

      No way in hell the extractor makes that deep of an indent based on the force of the slide’s forward momentum.

      My money says most of that indent was made by the explosive force of the case blowing back when the bullet had nowhere to go.

  • asm826

    This happened to a buddy of mine, too. “Unload and show clear.” He covered the port with his hand, the primer detonated on the extractor. A couple small pieces of brass in his hand, a fair amount of bleeding, and a lesson learned. He was shooting a Glock 19, but it wasn’t the gun, it was unsafe gun handling.

  • Victor Au

    Thanks to this PSA I’ve now learned to let the cartridge fall to the ground when I eject. That’s a lot of energy in there to wrap your hand around.

  • Lyle Hutchins

    This thought in CLEET, and in the Academy, also in the Cherokee Martial’s training at the Range and classrooms! Some think they are “Hot Shit” catching the last round in the air! Martial’s will kick you off the Range for this crap!!

  • Jeff Knox

    Todd Jarrett has a nasty scar on his left hand via this method. Ask him about it. He’s not shy about telling the story. Still, it’s the way I have always cleared a 1911. Probably not going to change.

  • JJ

    Looks as though the extractor hit the primer from the marks on the case, not the slide port itself. I too have done this technique at the range clearing a malfunction but always push the slide stop up to lock the slide open at the same time while turning the pistol to the side.

  • Matheus Grunt

    I always carefully eject a chambered round, never let it fly out to catch it. That’s just, silly to me.

  • Jarhead0369

    Many instructors (like Massad Ayoob) will not allow catching the round for just that reason. I learned the lesson the easy way (from him) rather than the hard way, and adopted the same rule for my classes. It’s better than an injury and getting the surgeons and lawyers involved.

  • darbywing2 .

    “and the primer was never struck”? B.S. No one proof reads any more. That, or it is more important to mislead and to hold the reader that much longer to increase advertising revenue.

    • Jason Adams

      What they meant was that the firing pin hadn’t struck the primer. It is obvious that a sharp edge in the ejection port of the slide had contacted the primer very rapidly and detonated the round. The depth of the indentation can be misleading as the the round was obviously captured in the port when it went off and could explain the depth of the indentation.

      • darbywing2 .

        Do you really think they meant that; or that they purposefully mislead in order to get readers to continue reading? You are right that the firing pin did not hit the primer, and that was explained in the next paragraph; but I doubt that it was an oversight of improper terminology or just poor, inaccurate writing; but rather a lie of omission for the purposes of extending the readers time at their website.

        • Jason Adams

          I see what you are driving at now. But I was intrigued by the possibility of the cute/cool way to impress your friends by cupping the ejection port when ejecting the chambered round and having a sharp edge connect with the primer of a round that shouldn’t be in the slide anymore. They failed to get the slide lock engaged before they let go of the slide and like I said, I bet someone needed a change of underwear.

  • Jason Adams

    I have done a lot of loading and I have pressed live primers from empty cases slowly and carefully of course with safety glasses on. The one thing I have learned is it is not the depression that fires a primer it is the speed at which it is stricken. Yes this is good advice but I would have been very interested to know what type of handgun was involved and how burnt was the shooter’s hand and did they go to the hospital or just wrap their hand and go on with the day. Yes it probably didn’t even involve stitches unless some of the cartridge had lacerated some of the palm. But I bet they needed a change of underwear.

  • Crisis Resolution Security Ser

    I don’t believe an unconfined round like that would do much to your hand. It’s not much more than a pop.

    • Norm Glitz

      It was confined in the ejection port. That’s why the case blew out like that.

  • 1911a145acp

    I have been unloading autos in this manner for nearly 40 years. The proper unloading technique requires the shooter 1st EJECT the magazine and then turn the ejection port parallel to the ground and SLOWLY and carefully retract the slide to the rear with the left hand while the fingers of the left hand are cupped loosely over the ejection port, continue pushing the slide to the rear and apply the slide stop. The live round will be ejected into your palm, not into the dirt or onto the concrete or asphalt. If you forcefully and quickly retract the slide and the live round in not fully ejected as is the case with the palm held too close over the ejection port- the primer can strike the ejector or the edge of the ejection port or the face of the extractor with enough force to cause a detonation of the live round. This was and is a somewhat rare but understood phenomenon with Colt Commanders that have an extended ejector or Gov’t models that had an extended ejector installed to “help” ejection. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence in other auto pistols. I believe what is more often happening is the round is not fully ejected and the slide slips out of the shooters hand or is allowed to close forcefully when the cartridge is NOT yet clear and is trapped in the ejection port at the top of the slide or forced into a primer up condition as it is being pushed up by the next round in the mag, when the mag was not removed first in sequence as it should be. Cupping the hand too close does not allow the round to be pushed out by the ejector and when the extractor releases the cartridge it is now oriented in a way that the primer can be struck by a sharp edge.

  • Jeff

    Or just don’t release the slide until the round is clear. Better yet, lock it back.

  • PARAMEDIC70002

    I want to see the hand, and any other flesh affected. Professional curiosity. The report seems to suggest that the shooter is forever maimed and unable to use the hand.

  • Bill Buxton

    I let mine fall to the ground.

  • Chris Vaillancourt

    drop the mag, clear the chamber, pick both items up from the ground..

  • Douglas Gerber

    Sure it looks cool popping your round out and catching it but what’s happening with the muzzle? Blocking the ejection port to save bending over for $0.20 and losing function in your hand doesn’t seem like a fair trade. I rarely even pick up the ejected round while in competition. It’s just the cost of doing business. Learned it at Gunsite Academy training, Thanks Col. Cooper!

  • Joseph H.

    what ‘handgun’ was he using, just curious as the article didn’t say

  • Tim K

    This is poorly written. The primer was clearly hit……just not by the firing pin. I’m sure that is what they meant……but its not what they wrote.

  • Ohiogunr

    Looks like the imprint of the extractor nose on the primer / case.

  • ThePontificator

    That’s gonna leave a mark.

  • S. Plankenberg

    So, what were the extent of his injuries?
    Why be so vague about it?

  • Justy

    Surprisingly tabloid-like for TFB. If I had to stop everything I’m doing on a regular basis because someone somewhere in the world screwed it up and/or got extremely unlucky, I’d have to stay at home and starve to death because of the crippling fear of choking to death (~5000 deaths per annum). I also doubt the results were as grave as described in the story (especially with it being a second-hand affair, pun not intended), a ruptured handgun casing by itself is far from a pleasant affair, but shouldn’t result in any permanent disfiguration – given proper use of eyepro, of course.

  • dltaylor51

    My buddy holds the ejection port up to his mouth and catches the unfired rounds,I better tell him to rethink this tactic.

  • pismopal

    The worse thing that can happen will happen. ( Murphy)

  • atmar

    ive seen a round go off from the ejection style also…..the ejector hit the primer

  • Quisno Rodonovich

    I never had that problem in vietnam the enemy never made ridiculous rules to unload by only common sense on your part.

  • cisco kid

    Looks like a combination of the bullet being pushed down into the case and compressing the powder charge followed by a strike on the primer from a projection in the gun. It is also possible the he had a high seated primer as well and yes sometimes you get factory ammo with high primers as well. If the bullet had not compressed the powder charge the case would have just blown off the back of the bullet. I have see this happen more than once. Due to the fact that the case shredded it points positively to detonation and I have seen this as well especially with Mac 10 9mm guns.

  • Just1Saddletramp

    Would be interesting to know what make the pistol was. Obviously it wasn’t a 1911.

  • dang


    I believe the case would have exploded even if the projectile could have gotten blasted free unencumbered. Was he racking the slide and trying to catch it? With the hand that was holding the pistol against the slide racking? Seems stupid to me.

  • Geoff Mallette

    I was at an indoor target range and asked about picking up my brass so I could reload them and was told that I could and even pick up some extra but not to sweep the entire floor. This was in Maryland.

  • DeathFromTheShadows

    This was a NEGLIGENT MISFIRE mishandling caused the round to go off, Furtherm from amount of damage to the case head I would look at the recoil spring tension, I suspect that it is after market “extra power”