Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!
PaulW

Sh!t Happens, even to experienced shooters

Recommended Posts

I have been competing in USPSA for about 20 years. Worked hard at it and made GM in open around 2005.

 

Well embarrassingly I made a big mistake at the steel challenge match Sunday and shot myself accidentially in the leg. A 9mm 135gr JHP went in my upper right thigh, exited my lower right thigh, entered my upper calf and came to rest on top of my ankle. The quick actions of my squad mates, my wife, and other competitors was incredible. We had a Doctor and two paramedics shooting and spectating that came to my assistance immediately.

 

So I am 110% responsible for this accident, the gun did what I told it to,  but given a few days I think several things contributed to my accident. 

1. I still think I can shoot at a GM level without practicing like I use too.

2. Gun and rig was a setup I have only used 5 or 6 times.

3. Fatigue...I worked with my hands a lot the day before and my hands were very stiff and sore.

 

It is easy to fall into the "I've done this so much it's second nature". I am, as most shooters are, extremely safety conscious. But under pressure we do silly things especially when we are pushing ourselves.

 

So I am extemely lucky that I did not hit bone, ligaments or any arteries. I should heal pretty quick and make a full recovery, however I am extremely lucky.

 

So I wanted to share this in the hopes that shooters will evaluate their training techniques and just as a reminder to be careful. We play a game with real guns and real bullets.  We take calculated risks everyday, like driving, but mitigating these risks and evaluating ourselves is good from time to time.

 

I look forward to getting back on the range soon but I will be making a few changes as well. Also it would be wise for ranges and or match directors to have trauma kits readily available for these types of accidents.

 

I have so many people to thank that helped me, including my awesome wife who was on with 911 before I hit the ground. 

 

Thanks for reading and be safe out there!

 

DVC-

Paul Whitacre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow,, Most people make excuses as to why it happened,,bad gun,bad draw, but not You..

Sorry get well soon..

glad you had help

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ouch...that's gonna hurt in the morning.  I'm glad it wasn't more severe!

 

Good deal to evaluate afterwards and see what you think happened.  I agree that everyone should slow down and evaluate what they do from time to time because it is easy to get caught up in "the game", so to speak.

 

I'm sorry it hurt you and cost you time off the range, but I am glad it wasn't more severe.  I hope you have a full and speedy recovery, Paul and thank you for sharing your story and info.  Kudos to everyone that helped you in your time of need.

Take care of yourself!

Mat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow.    That's a wakeup call.

 

Thanks for posting it, Paul ...

 

And good luck with your recuperation   :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you elaborate on how the AD actually happened? Was it while holstering? Or during the draw?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes of course. I was on our 2nd stage my 3rd run. I was shooting a 5" M&P M2.0, you know the one with a manual thumb safety that I was not using, in a bladetech doh holster. Buzzer sounded and it felt like the gun went off as soon as I touched it but I was clear of the holster. Only plausible scenario at this point is I got my finger on the trigger WAY to early. The Police still have the gun and I will examine it closer when I get it back.

Edited by PaulW
Spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, PaulW said:

Yes of course. I was on our 2nd stage my 3rd run. I was shooting a 5" M&P M2.0, you know the one with a manual thumb safety that I was not using, in a bladetech doh holster. Buzzer sounded and it felt like the gun went off as soon as I touched it but I was clear of the holster. Only plausible scenario at this point is I got my finger on the trigger WAY to early. The Police still have the gun and I will examine it closer when I get it back.

 

Are you sure something in the holster couldn't have hit the trigger by some odd reason?  I know it's hard to fathom considering you are drawing the firearm up and out, so it would have to push back on the trigger, but you never know.  Maybe something, somehow dropped down from your belt or the holster felt apart or something really weird happened and as you were drawing it actually fell against the trigger and caused the firearm to discharge.

 

I'm not trying to make excuses.  It is possible you put your finger in the trigger guard as soon as you pulled from the holster and something made you pull back.  But I would definitely examine the holster too and make sure nothing dropped or disengaged in the holster or even a bolt/screw/whatever could have dislogged at the very same time you were drawing and just happened to lodge against the trigger and the trigger guard as you were drawing and was enough to discharge the firearm somehow.  Just a thought.  Never hurts to research this type of stuff.  Especially since you said you only used this setup 5-6 times.  Like I said, never hurts to check all avenues just in case.

 

Get better soon!

Mat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points Mat and I will look for sure. I know I would rather not think it was my dumb self but will look at all scenarios for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, PaulW said:

Good points Mat and I will look for sure. I know I would rather not think it was my dumb self but will look at all scenarios for sure.

 

Of course.  I would feel the same.  But I would want to make sure it wasn't something that happened with the holster at that time and it wasn't you and then you go to use it again, for practice or a match, and have the possibility of it occurring again due to not checking it over thoroughly.  I don't recall if you said what holster it was/is, but maybe compare yours to pictures of brand new ones to ensure all bolts/screws/spacers are there and in their correct place.  During the situation, it could easily be overlooked that something like that caused it and fell out of the holster or something and onto the ground while everyone was tending to you and removing you from the scene.  I'm sure no one thought to look for something like that afterwards, especially if they may have thought, as you did, that you may have caused the incident.

 

So, there could have been the offending piece lying on the ground and no one noticed.  So, if you compare your current holster to factory pictures to ensure it is all together and the way it should be (or to someone else that has the exact holster that has no issues), then you can tell.  Anything can happen.  It may not have been you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may also want to consider the potential for the AD to happen if a sub standard trigger job was done to the M&P. The stock parts on an M&P trigger can be modified to make it feel much lighter and crisper which can also result in disabled safeties and or marginal sear to striker engagement. If the striker block safety was disabled and the sear to striker engagement was marginal a decent amount of slide to frame movement when the striker is cocked could lead to the striker slipping past the sear leading to an AD. This is especially true if you are using a kydex holster and doing an aggressive hand smashing down on the grip type of draw. 

 

If the trigger job is solid, then the only other variable is your booger picker being where it shouldn't be during the draw. If the gun had a thumb safety, why not use it to further prevent a booger picker induced issue from happening?

 

I don't want to beat you up about this as it is an unfortunate event and I am sure you have already gotten a lot of feedback about how to keep this from happening in the future. But not knowing the exact root cause to the AD is just as negligent as it happening in the first place. If you don't know the absolute root cause then how can you fix the issue?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a young lady that put a round from her M&P through her leg at one of Ben Stoeger's classes a while back.  It was believed to be a result of a bad trigger job as CHA-LEE suggests above.  Not saying that's what happened here, but it would be interesting to know how this particular firearm was configured (Apex kit, Burwell trigger job, etc.).

 

https://bearingarms.com/bob-o/2017/02/27/amateur-gunsmithing-nearly-costs-competitive-shooter-her-life

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! Close call! Glad no bones, etc were hit.

Speedy recovery.

Our prayers go with you...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you.

 

As for the trigger, it has the plastic trigger from Apex and the top edge of sear was just knocked down slightly and then polished. That is it, everything else stock. Once I get gun back I will be looking at it very closely. The trigger has a lot of take-up and with the Apex sear it was to light, and I have used some pretty light 1911/2011 triggers. I will try to recreate the AD with it UNLOADED to see if by chance it was mechanical. The entry hole in my shorts was just below the holster. Should get gun back next week and I will update.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An easy way to test the sear to striker engagement is to make sure the gun is unloaded, then rack the slide to cock the striker. Push and hold the mag release in then slam a fully loaded magazine into the gun. When you do this test it will allow the magazine to over insert into the grip and put a significant amount of upward pressure on the slide. When the slide moves upwards against the frame rails this should produce a worst case scenario from a sear to striker engagement perspective. After doing this magazine slam, remove the magazine and then pull the trigger to see if the striker drops. If the striker dropped during the mag slam test to the striker block then you know the sear to striker engagement isn't reliable, but your striker block is functioning properly. If the striker dropped all the way down then you know that the sear to striker engagement isn't reliable AND your striker block safety isn't functioning either.

 

I also want to point out that using a random mixture of after market triggers with a stock sear is also asking for trouble. For example, the APEX trigger is designed to work best with their sear to ensure that the sear to striker engagement is solid when cocked. It also ensures that the timing of disengaging the striker block is retained so it still serves as a valid safety. When you use a random mixture of trigger parts you run the risk of screwing up the timing of the striker block safety or having marginal sear to striker engagement.

 

Unfortunately there are a lot of "Dremel Gunsmiths" that swap trigger parts without ensuring that the work is reliable or verify that all safeties are fully functional. People commonly think that drop in trigger parts are just that with no further testing or tuning needed. I have done a bunch of M&P trigger jobs over the years using a wide range of "Drop In" parts that almost always required precision tuning to ensure reliable and safe functionality. If you don't fully understand how all of the trigger action parts interact its very easy to end up with an unreliable or unsafe trigger job. Look at how many threads on this forum alone are generated by M&P gun owners trying to deploy "Drop In" triggers and have endless problems because they really don't know what they are doing. I cringe every time I see a new thread started about that kind of stuff because its yet another potential situation where an AD can happen due to a trigger job gone wrong. 

Edited by CHA-LEE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great idea Cha-lee, I will test. The 2.0 Apex trigger with Apex sear was scary light. Plus the 2.0 sear and release is a different design. 

 

I guess we'll see closer when I get gun back. Thanks for the tips.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear you shot yourself, could be worse. 

 

Why did the cops confiscate the pistol? Did they provided a reason?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Standard protocal for the Police to take firearm as they investigate the incident. At least here in Florida it is. They took statements from several people and course it was deemed an accident.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, CHA-LEE said:

You may also want to consider the potential for the AD to happen if a sub standard trigger job was done to the M&P. The stock parts on an M&P trigger can be modified to make it feel much lighter and crisper which can also result in disabled safeties and or marginal sear to striker engagement. If the striker block safety was disabled and the sear to striker engagement was marginal a decent amount of slide to frame movement when the striker is cocked could lead to the striker slipping past the sear leading to an AD. This is especially true if you are using a kydex holster and doing an aggressive hand smashing down on the grip type of draw. 

 

If the trigger job is solid, then the only other variable is your booger picker being where it shouldn't be during the draw. If the gun had a thumb safety, why not use it to further prevent a booger picker induced issue from happening?

 

I don't want to beat you up about this as it is an unfortunate event and I am sure you have already gotten a lot of feedback about how to keep this from happening in the future. But not knowing the exact root cause to the AD is just as negligent as it happening in the first place. If you don't know the absolute root cause then how can you fix the issue?

I agree with Charlie...

This lady had almost the same thing happen to her...and it was the trigger job to blame.

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/bearingarms.com/bob-o/2017/02/27/amateur-gunsmithing-nearly-costs-competitive-shooter-her-life/amp/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A mechanical problem seems a LOT more plausible than a GM causing a problem like this ....

I can see a dumb ass doing this, but not someone with that much training and discipline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

A mechanical problem seems a LOT more plausible than a GM causing a problem like this ....

I can see a dumb ass doing this, but not someone with that much training and discipline.

A pretty accomplished shooter just killed himself this summer. Speed can kill too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Sarge said:

A pretty accomplished shooter just killed himself this summer. Speed can kill too.

IIRC, with the shooter you mention, it was not so much as speed, but him trying to do something that he shouldn't have tried to do...I.E., catching a dropped gun. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...