The Most Common Types of Negligent Discharge


The Most Common Types of Negligent Discharge

In this video, Paul Harrell talks about negligent discharges, you know, with firearms. And although we would all prefer if it had never happened to us, the fact is that no matter how good you are or how much practice you have, chances are very good that most gun people will fire a gun unintentionally — negligently — before their time on Earth is done.

The key to safety in those situations is muzzle discipline; treat every gun as if it may go off at any time, thus do not point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to shoot.

Paul describes the most common types of negligent discharge and how to avoid them.

Up front, some definitions.

  • Accidental discharge: When your gun is fired when you didn’t want it to.
  • Negligent discharge: When your gun is fired when you didn’t want it to — because of something you did wrong.

Paul’s idea of the most common types and causes of negligent discharges include:

  • Failure to properly engage a manual safety.
  • Failure to properly manipulate an exposed hammer.
  • Failure to keep track of how many rounds have been fired from a revolver.
  • Failure to remember which way a revolver cylinder rotates when you partially load a revolver.
  • Failure to remove a round from the chamber of a semi-auto pistol.
  • Unintentionally chambering another round when you remove the round from the chamber of a semi-auto pistol.
  • Failure to check the chamber of ANY type of firearm.

Safety is up to you and everyone who handles any firearm, and I try to be pretty fastidious about gun safety, mainly because 1) I was taught that by my father, and 2) I have experienced two negligent discharges of my own. (Both were me being stupid and pulling the trigger when I shouldn’t have. Neither caused injury or serious damage to property.)

Be safe.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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