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.