One In A Million – Bullet Triggers Race Gun (Not A Negligent Discharge)

    Joel Turner Jr. is one of the Army Marksmanship Unit competitive shooters. I’ve RO’d him a number of times at the FNH USA 3 Gun Championships. Joel recently posted a video on Facebook showing a one in a million accident where the bullet triggers race gun.

    For those readers who do not have a Facebook account, here is what happens in the video. Joel Turner Jr. appears to be trying to shoot one round, reload while there is still a round in the chamber and fire a second round. At the sound of the timer buzzer, he draws his race gun out of his race holster. Aims and fires the first shot. Then reloads with a fresh magazine.  Well when he inserts the magazine there is still a round in the chamber and the gun goes off. He still presents the firearm as if to fire the next round when he realizes what had just happened. Luckily it was caught on camera in slow motion so once the race gun is presented back on target, the magazine falls out along with a loose round.

    I have seen numerous videos and have seen it happen in person where a shooter is going so fast that they inadvertently have their finger on the trigger during a reload. This is typically the reason for a negligent discharge. Add on top of that the light weight polished triggers of a race gun make negligent charges even easier if you are not 100% committed to keeping your finger off the trigger. Now I looked at this footage a few times. He trigger finger was not on the trigger at all during is reload process. So what could it have been?

    2011 are not exactly drop safe which is why in 3Gun matches only certain striker fired guns can be dumped loaded and be considered safe without needing to engage a manual safety if the gun has one.  With 2011 race guns you have to either empty the gun entirely or flip the safety on and then dump the pistol. Could this have been the issue? Could the gun have been faulty and somehow the slamming of the magazine caused the pistol to fire? Not according to Joel Turner Jr.

    Round popped out from the top of mag inside the grip while inserting. This allowed the bullet to hit the sear/disconnector. You see that round fall out with the mag(why the mag didn’t seat in the first place). So not an unsafe gun, just a one in a million chance accident.

    When you watch the video above, you can see the magazine drop out of the grip along with a loose round.

    If the slamming of the magazine had caused the ND, then how come the magazne didn’t stay inserted and chamber a new round? Not sure how the round came loose but it you look closely at the reload maybe the round had come loose a little bit on the draw out of the mag pouch. Had he indexed the first round with his finger, perhaps that would have seated the round back into the magazine properly? Joel Turner Jr. tried to replicate the accidental discharge by slamming magazines into the gun. However it would not repeat. So it is not a slam fire. But a freak happenstance where a bullet was unseated in the magazine and tripped the sear disconnect in the pistol.  If I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t believe it was possible.

    Edit: Thanks to a reader he had this to add.

    I have been working on 1911 series pistols over 30 years.

    The article states “Round popped out from the top of mag inside the grip while inserting. This allowed the bullet to hit the sear/disconnector.”

    The sear and disconnector of a 1911 series pistol is in the back of the frame and the trigger stirrup pushes rearward on the bottom of the disconnector which in turn pivots the sear engagement from the hammer hooks.

    I believe the round made contact with the hammer stirrup (back of magazine well) and not the sear/disconnector. (See attached picture outline)

    Nicholas C

    Steadicam Gun Operator
    Night Vision & Thermal Aficionado
    Flashlight/Laser Enthusiast
    USPSA competitor

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]