On Handling Accidental Discharges

A whole lot of internet ink is wasted on the topic of discharges of firearms under unintended circumstances – let’s call it unintended acceleration – but for guns. In almost all cases, it’s entirely possible to actually avoid the situation entirely – like develop floor mats that do not catch the end of the accelerator pedal. And in other cases, if one actually knows how to drive, do not panic the car can be put in neutral, use the parking brake to slow the vehicle.

That is again if one knows how to drive instead of wanting to sue someone for a situation that could have been avoided… but I digress.

If one was understanding the metaphor, I was referring to disassembly of Glocks and “knowing what to do” implies pointing the gun in a safe direction just in case of personal idiocy or factors outside one’s control.

Example A of this awesomeness is MrGunsNGear who has experienced a verifiable and true “accidental discharge” through the use of what is now deemed subpar lower parts kit. When shooting his rifle the weapon fired on reset of the trigger – which is a design problem if the trigger is not a Fostech Echo.

He handled it like a boss and by ensuring that he was following the four safety rules to the best extent possible, loosed the round downrange without further incident. Check out this paragon of gun safety and the footage below:


TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.


  • Edeco

    I’ve been saying this for a while, that a discharge can be accidental but not negligent if one controls the situation otherwise. Strictly speaking it happens all the time, someone takes up the slack on the trigger, goes too far too early in their breathing cycle, cartridge is wasted but nothing more.

    • Lyman Hall

      Ruger SR series triggers are very easy to do that with. But I hit the paper.

    • ExMachina1

      But no matter what the circumstances, there will always be that insatiable faction of internet Judgy McJudgepants who insist that no matter what happens it’s still “negligent” because you chose to run component X or ammo brand Y.

    • M.M.D.C.

      My little Mark III 22 pistol has a very light trigger. I’ve had several accidental discharges with it; all when I was tired at the end of a range day, all simply a matter of pulling the trigger a bit before I meant to and all with the gun pointed downrange.

      The four rules of gun safety are meant to work together. If one is violated then the others should cover for it.

    • Vizzini

      Did I seriously just have a post go into moderation because of using c*ck on a gun blog? (maybe in conjunction with n*pple? It was about an incident with a percussion cap rifle! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

      • Edeco

        There was a really innocuous word triggering it a few weeks back… which was funny due to the implied scenario wherein it might be obscene. Can’t recall now.

        • Vizzini

          It’s that percussion cap rifles are so very, very sexy. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • The_Champ

        Haha that’s pretty funny. Might as well add deep penetration, lube, discharge, bang, balls, and rod to your repertoire, and see how those fair with the mods ๐Ÿ™‚

    • iksnilol

      Happened to me. Took up the slack, let go because I changed my mind, tried again and I forgot that the trigger was basically a hair trigger now (2 stage which didn’t reset) and tried to take up the slack again.

      Messed up my score but nothing worse than that.

    • 1911a145acp

      What you describe is the DEFINITION of a negligent discharge.In the scenario you describe- there was nothing accidental about it, nothing broke, the firearm was functioning properly, YOU were pulling the trigger and caused the gun to fire when you did not intend for it to. That the gun was pointed down range and at the berm doesn’t change that fact that an unintentional round left the barrel.The terms are not interchangeable, that people use them incorrectly causes confusion and leads to dangerous situations in which proper corrective action is not applied, FURTHER compromising safety. What was wasted was a teachable moment and an opportunity for serious reflection on one’s trigger technique and safety habits and ideology.

  • some other joe

    Psssst. “Knowing how to drive” does not absolve a bad designer of liability in offering an unsafe product on the market. Lousy floormats or lousy trigger packs are both unacceptable risks and user skill is not a mitigation plan.

    • Pete Sheppard

      Exactly, but the point is a proper mind and skillset can prevent disaster until the dangerous condition or equipment can be corrected ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Renato H M de Oliveira

      If one was understanding the metaphor, I was referring to disassembly of Glocks and โ€œknowing what to doโ€ implies pointing the gun in a safe direction just in case of personal idiocy or factors outside oneโ€™s control.

  • kirk_freeman

    Mine was a slam fire of an 870 at Shootrite. Down behind cover doing one handed loading drills. I load one round 12 gauge Remington #00 into breach and close up weapon, no fingers on triggers, it discharges. Hits nothing but a big hill/small mountain in Alabama. I was shaken but as I was following the 4 rules, no harm.

    • Matt Taylor

      Sounds to me like that is way more weapon malfunction than AD/NG.

      • kirk_freeman

        Weapon malfunction is an accidental discharge.

        • Matt Taylor

          Pretty much anytime you use the term accidental discharge it involves the unintentional discharge of a firearm by the pulling of the trigger. Whether that be when you forget to empty the weapon or pulling the trigger when you’re not meaning to.

          Semantics of course. My initial remark was more in support of you having not had an AD on your “record” but dealing with a faulty weapon. Take it how you will.

  • USMC03Vet

    That is a weapon malfunction. There is no accidential discharges.

  • GetALawyer

    Aaannnd . . . Lawsuit from Critical Capabilities for slander, loss of profit, etc etc etc in 3, 2, 1 . . .

  • RocketScientist

    I normally don’t like to be this guy, but this post was borderline incomprehensible. That first paragraph especially; I had to read it 2 or 3 times to parse out exactly what the writer was trying to convey. I know you guys don’t go in for aggressive copy-editing, and that’s fine most of the time. I’ll trade a few typos or minor mistakes for more content and more frequent updates any day. But when a post reads more like one half of a casual text conversation and you struggle to figure out what the writer is trying to say, its a different story. Take this opinion for whatever it’s worth (ie, not much).

    • Edeco

      This might be the rare example of a writer paring down too much and using tortured sentence structure to save space. I bet if he keeps writing he’ll get smoother, if nothing else due to it being a path of lower resistance.

  • Nunn Yabizz

    Around 1:14 in the video am I wrong in thinking that that rifle is loaded? If so this guy is begging for a negligent discharge, he’s certainly not keeping that rifle pointed in a safe direction.

  • Russell W.

    If you handle firearms enough you will eventually have an incident. This could be as small as thinking the gun is unloaded but in reality it is and you discovered this by clearing to.

    Now with the video, shouldn’t the problem have been discovered by a function check? That being said parts fail and could have developed during the course of fire.

  • 1911a145acp

    Thank you for sharing and reminding us that safety must always be of the utmost concern when shooting, especially in training and recreational shooting. You can never be lax. The consequences for lax safety when firearms are involved can literally be life or death. If the weapon had demonstrated no issues BEFORE like this with the trigger, then indeed this was a true accidental firing. However, if a weapon demonstrates an issue that indicates improper function, or symptoms that could lead to an AD and those issues are ignored, a discharge that occurs after that could hardly be described as accidental. Had the operator attempted to fire additional shots ( thankfully this experienced shooter did not ) after the serious trigger problem presented itself- those discharges could NOT, in my humble opinion be described as “accidental”.