08 December 2008

AD: an After-Action Review

Well, this post hurts my pride, and was something I hoped to never have to post about.

At approximately 2140EST on 06DEC08, as I was clearing my normal carry sidearm (a Taurus Millenium Pro in .45ACP) in preparation for cleaning it, it discharged, sending one round of .45ACP JHP through one interior wall and 2X4 and through the exterior wall and siding, exiting the structure.

I KNOW I kept my finger off the trigger. Without a doubt in my head, I did- I'm very good about that.

Since day one this weapon has had extractor issues. It will extract a snapcap without problem. However a loaded round of 45, no matter the make, will hang up on extraction every time. The extractor won't even fit the rim of the cartridge well enough to hold the round in place with the slide off the weapon.

What I SUSPECT happened:

I dropped the mag, racked the slide, and failed to confirm extraction/ejection. dropped the slide and either had a slamfire, or put my finger on the trigger.

Lessons learned:

-drop the mag and put it away.
-rack the slide, observe the chamber, and account for the chambered round. I normally do this to the point of being OCD about it.
-BE OCD about it. EVERY time.
-NO, I am NOT "Good enough" to do this without ammo anywhere in the room

Weapon is going back to the manufacturer for a full going over, and the extractor WILL be right this time.

So in review, the problem was a combination of mechanical failure and wetware complacency.

As well, I failed at least 1 of the 4 Laws:

2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy

On examining the entry and exit holes in the exterior wall, I find that I was about 10 degrees on the lucky side of going through an apartment building about 75 yards from my house. While possible the heavy and slow 45ACP hollowpoint would have struck the siding and embedded itself in it while doing no further damage, it's not something I would want to risk.

I got VERY lucky. This can NOT happen again.

I shook, hard, for three hours after the event, keeping my ears pricked up for sirens and the like. Heard nothing, have kept an eye on the news, and noone's been hurt. Yes, I would have owned up to it had someone been.


Michael said...

Thank God nobody got hurt! I can only imagine the disbelief that must have been going through your mind immediately afterwards. I'm sure that .45 ACP sounds like a Howitzer indoors. Did you sleep at all after the event?

JAFO said...

I am indeed soo very happy noone got hurt.

Disbelief? Try shock. As in, medical shock- my arms and legs were literally freezing cold (the house was 68 degrees).

The discharge wasn't as loud as you would think. Speculation from gunnies on forums that you'll be dazzled by muzzleflash and deafened by the report after a shoot are much ado about nothing. While this wasn't a dark room so I can't comment on the flash, the report wasn't too bad. I could hear just fine after.

I had to be up at 0400 the next day for work. I stayed up till 0100 and finally made myself a medicinal vodka tonic to calm a bit (not something I do often, for the record). Got about 2 hours' sleep, which is about all I get on this schedule anyway.

MightyDingus said...

Dude, I told you it was a mechanical failure that was the root cause. Yes, there were wetware issues by not checking to make sure the round actually came out, especially since it's an ongoing problem, but the primary cause was mechanical failure of the weapon. I wouldn't touch that gun again until it comes back fixed from the factory.

The important thing here is that no one got hurt. Make sure you learn from this mistake and never repeat it.

Tam said...

"At approximately 2140EST on 06DEC08, as I was clearing my normal carry sidearm ...

...Since day one this weapon has had extractor issues.

I am asking this in all seriousness: Why are you CCWing a gun with known function issues?

JAFO said...

quite honestly, it functions fine under fire. I've NEVER had a stoppage in 600+ rounds.

I also had no idea this was possible. Live and learn.

Mikee said...

Caulk - the homeowner's best friend. Spackle - for inside walls.

I own a Glock and have been concerned with the need to pull the trigger before disassembly for cleaning. I have gotten into the habit of making sure I point downward at an exterior (rock) wall when doing this in my house, in case I somehow fail to clear the gun before pulling the trigger.

A bucket of sand in the garage might be a good idea....

batteryguy said...

Good that everyone is OK. I carry the same model and have gone thru the same amount of ammo w/i 25 rds. No issues yet, but I have discovered the problem about having your finger on the trigger when you set the manual safety. Fortunately, that's not something I do.

Yabusame said...

I don't know what to say, I'm shocked. But I know these things happen sometimes (not to make light of the situation).

I grew up seeing a repaired hole in my parents bedroom furniture. Apparently the same thing happened to my dad as happened to you, though I don't know what firearm my father was cleaning at the time. I can imagine my mother wasn't too pleased. I'll have to ask them about that when I see them over christmas.

Be safe! Check, then check again...

Mykal Banta said...

Dear Sir:
I have done the same thing, more or less, once. I was working the slide once on a Browning Hi-Power, checking how well ammo fed after buffing the fed ramp a bit. thought for sure I had emptied mag AND chamber and pulled the trigger to de-cock it. One left in the chamber, though. Thank God I, by habit, was pointing muzzle down and away. Shot the couch and scared the crap out of my dog. Bullet lodged itself in the under drywall but did not exit outside. Like you, it gave me a serious rattle. Had a seat, smoked a cigarette with shaky hands. That was about 12 years ago. My guess is it will only happen to you the one time.

The news is you only do that once.

Crucis said...

It's a lesson well learned and I'm happy that it was learned without injury. When I was shooting a lot of IDPA, the Range Rules for clearing your weapon were to always drop the mag and check the chamber before releasing the slide and letting the hammer down. I saw one ND on a Glock that failed in this fashion---cartridge failed to extract.

I use a 5-gallon bucket filled with sand for clearing my weapon. Haven't had to dig any lead out yet, thank God!