Friday, September 19, 2008

An unexpected *BANG!*

Folks, be careful of how you CCW, okay? Think through the combination of weapon, the condition in which it is carried, the type of holster, and where the holster is worn.

It is important to understand, at least in a rudimentary fashion, the lockwork and the various safety mechanisms on your weapon and how they operate. Is your firearm normally cocked? More accurately, is there enough energy stored in the ignition system when it is in its normally carried configuration to detonate a primer? If yes, what type of mechanical safeties are on your firearm? How do they operate?

For instance, many inexpensive striker-fired arms have safeties that only block the trigger from being pulled and do not block the sear (the piece that holds the striker back) from moving. A sufficiently hard jolt to one of those, combined with worn parts of softer metal, could bounce the striker off the sear causing a discharge. Even if the safety is of the sear-blocking type, how easy is it to inadvertently disengage? Just in case it is disengaged, is the trigger covered in such a way that it cannot be snagged or pulled?

Even if your weapon is normally in an inert condition (ie the lockwork is at rest, without enough stored energy to detonate a primer, such as a Glock, revolver, or double-action pistol,) be aware of the length of trigger travel and the weight of the pull required to set it off. Again, is the trigger covered by a rigid holster of kydex, some other polycarbonate, or thick leather?

The time to think all this stuff through is before you blow a hole in some part of you that you'd rather have kept intact. Remember: Your weapon's primary safety is between your ears.

23 comments:

Less said...

One thing that always irked me about the Makarov was the fact that the firing pin is floating (no spring holding it back...).

I can deal with this in an AK, but not in a pistol pointed near "important bits"...

I carry mostly 2oclock (appendix) and a good holster (NOT A SOFT ONE) is what keep that Glock trigger from going off...

Gotta say that One Source Tacticals' Ehud holster is excellent for this, BTW...

perlhaqr said...

Nyaaaaaaaaaaargh! I'm going to be crossing my legs uncomfortably when I think of that story.

Owen said...

ouch

Sailorcurt said...

Actually, the CZ-82 (which is my standard concealed carry gun) does not have a floating firing pin, but is spring loaded.

The thumb safety does not block the sear, but the firearm is also equipped with an "auto safety" which blocks the hammer from falling unless the trigger is depressed.

For something like this to happen, both the thumb safety has to be released and the trigger has to be pulled. The CZ-is a pretty safe firearm, but I'd be loathe to carry it the way this guy describes and I definitely would not carry it cocked and locked in a pocket or purse without it being encased an a good holster.

Fortunately, the CZ-82 is also DA/SA so it can be carried condition two and still be effectively employed. The disadvantage to that is that it has no decocker, so the only way to lower the hammer with a round in the chamber is to pull the trigger while gently lowering the hammer.

I avoid doing that because it's just asking for an ND. If anyone carries a CZ-82 in condition 2 regularly, I'd highly recommend using a clearing barrel or bullet trap when lowering the hammer.

Anyway, you're absolutely right about knowing the weapon, its mechanical features and how to safely carry it.

pdb said...

This post is the TRUTH.

"One size fits most" and/or cheap, floppy and flimsy holsters are catastrophes waiting to happen! If you holster your pistol and you can MOVE IT AROUND in the holster, you MUST either replace the holster or get it fixed!

I have never liked belly bands, Thunderwear or Smart carry, and while this was just a cheap knockoff, I still wouldn't use any of them.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

My Kimber 1911, designed to be carried cocked and locked, has a safety feature where if the hammer drops accidentally during let-down, using the trigger while holding the hammer, it doesn't go completely forward and hit the firing pin.

Somerled said...

Good post, Tam.

I usually carry the same two weapons with the same two holsters and don't mix it up. Just because I have seven pistols I can carry concealed doesn't mean I have to carry a different one each day of the week.

It's best to practice with a new carry rig a few days before putting it into CCW service. The only holster I have that could be considered cheap is a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster for a S&W J-frame revolver. However, it covers the trigger guard well and doesn't come out of my pocket with the revolver.

Billy Beck said...

I would have one word to say to this:

Berettarollingblock.

Old NFO said...

Ouch! As others have said, know your weapon and use a QUALITY holster, not a cheapo knock off...
I personally would never use a Smart Carry design, but that is just me. If I can't conceal with a shirt or jacket, I carry in a fanny pack.

DirtCrashr said...

Good thing I live in California, we have a mandatory Firearms Drop Test - so this is UNpossible, for our own safety!

staghounds said...

"Is there enough energy stored in the ignition system when it is in its normally carried configuration to detonate a primer", the question the DA semiauto DOES answer.

I lose, drop, break, misplace, spill, tangle, and bump into things all the time.

As long as there is some way to unleash a stressed spring, I figure I'll find it eventually.

If it's on me, it's DA for the first shot, no hammer spur, and not pointed at any part of me.

(It's still hard to beat the old Safety Hammerless, isn't it?)

And, a floating firing pin is one that is shorter than the distance between the "down" hammer face and the primer. Nothing to do with spring retracted vel non.

Less said...

Thanks for the CZ info - to quote the great Johnny Carson, "I did not know that."

One thing I never understood is why some folks get a good gun and then choose the absolute worst holster.

I don't mean to single this guy out, but seriously, it's like folks that buy a good rifle, good scope and then put soft-as-butter rings on the rig and expect it to work...

Joseph said...

I'd rather get shot in the dong than live in California.

staghounds said...

Hmmm....

What caliber?

Hollow point, wadcutter, or round nose?

Entry point and angle?

While relaxed, or, um, interested?

Anonymous said...

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

I'm thinking 2 femoral arteries + much else in that region...

The man is lucky,that his last concious thought wasn't: "oh shit, I'm going to bleed ou...."

Heck, he might have fainted and THEN bled out from even what he had.

John B said...

I'm carrying in an uncle mike's IWB holster. I carry a Smif 457 .45 compact. I walked thru the basic Judo course at the police academy, and tossed over a couple students to keep my hand in. I only remembered I was still carrying toward the end.

It is kind of Chamois-y for my Peace of mind tho....

jesse said...

Ouch, I almost always carry in a Comp-tac CTAC, but will occasionally resort to using a SmartCarry. I've never quite worked up the nerve to carry chambered with it like that though.

Somerled said...

One thing the original post touched on--the guy didn't have a cell phone. One can have the finest weapon in the most secure holster, but if there's a firearms-related injury to anyone, including a perpetrator, it isn't going to work out well for the carrier if he or she can't call for help.

And sometimes a license holder may be able to avoid using lethal force if they can use a phone to call for help. Some aggressors will back off the second a cell phone appears.

Andrew said...

I am uncomfortable with everyone lumping this cheap-ass knockoff in with SmartCarry and Thunderwear. I own one of each, and they do not suffer from the apparent flaw in the "bargain" holster of this story.

Weetabix said...

I've always wondered how you use a SmartCarry or Thunderwear without pinching and jabbing the precious tenderie bits.

Andrew - how do you sit down? Do you have to wear loose khaki type pants or can you stick with regular jeans?

I'd not want a SmartCarry to become a universal "decocker."

Eric. said...

Hmmmm, my two cents worth. First, the guy is an idiot for buying something like this for "cheap". Second, he wants to carry in C1, but in DEEP carry mode. Why?? If you wish to be in deep carry mode, does it really matter that you are ready to go RIGHT NOW. You first have to get the damn thing out!! Makes sense to be a little safer and carry deep, but use the DA mode. Really not all that long of a trigger pull. Hate to say it, but you are responsible for your own actions and this guy got what he had coming. Think next time. I know that it is fun to carry, just because you've got the CCW permit, but think about why, where and how--especially HOW are you going to be safe. Not only safe for you, but for those around him. What if he had been bending over and the gun had gone off in a different configuration. He might have shot someone else, maybe a family member? THINK. Always think.

Anonymous said...

The Israeli method - with its unchambered gun - is a VERY safe alternative to locked and loaded insofar as AD's/ND's.

Here's what I'd say to the common carrier:

In all truth, you will probably never even have to draw your gun on a human being. Most of the time you'll be able to avoid trouble and walk or run away. But if even in that very rare case you do feel forced to draw your gun, it is highly unlikely you will have to fire it. And even if you do have to shoot your gun in true self defense, it is highly likely you'll have the time to do, repeatedly.

Now I must be honest, there is a very, very small chance you may be surprised and end up in actual or immediate hand-to-hand combat where you can't draw or fire your gun. You are not really prepared for this. If you draw your gun there's a big chance it will be taken away from you, and the first thing the BG is gonna do is to pull the trigger. This might be the one time you don't want to expose your gun. Better to escape somehow, then draw it.

The bottom line is this my friend. By using the Israeli method you will be protected in all but the rarest circumstance, a circumstance you are little prepared to handle anyway, and in a situation where any weapon you use may well be used against you. At the same time you will greatly reduce the very real, incredibly more likely tragedy of an accidental discharge that will hurt or kill you, or a loved one.


The Israeli draw is a good alternative that you should consider.

It uses gross motor skills that are not likely to fail under stress. You will not have to fumble with safeties. You will simply draw, load and fire, just as fast. Best of all, this is a simple skill that has been taught to millions of ordinary citizens - men and women - and that is known to be fast, safe and reliable under stress.

Most new carriers can learn to draw, rack and fire 3 to the head (at close range) in 1.5 seconds or less, fast enough.

A professional is different. What you may never face, he faces everyday. And he is trained to take the risks. He may well have to draw and fire in a close combat situation. He knows how to retain his gun. He has a backup gun. He has Mace. He has a fighting knife. He has a comealong. And often even a bulletproof vest.

He is paid and trained to take risks that you will do your best to avoid. He goes forward when you should go back. As it should be. He may choose to carry locked and loaded - take the risks of an AD/ND - because is he paid and prepared to do so. You are not and probably will never, ever be.

My friend, this is not a pretty picture. With your inexperience you may choose to carry "locked and loaded" cause that's all you've heard from the forum gunslingers. You may choose to risk fumbling under stress, plus the GREATLY increased chance of an accidental discharge. If you do draw your gun in close combat and even manage to make it off safe, you face the very real risk of being disarmed and being shot with your own gun.

Or you can choose the Israeli method, which greatly improves your chances of survival overall from all causes, accidental or intentional. Do know that you're not alone - although the method was designed for easy and reliable use by millions of ordinary citizens, more and more professionals carry this way too.

If you hear that "locked and loaded" is the ONLY way, you have been badly misinformed. Don't be intimidated into a practice that for the inexperienced CCW carrier is intimidating in itself. Some of you - rightfully - are bothered by the increased accidental risks of "locked and loaded" to the extent that you don't carry, and choose to leave your gun at the bedside for HD.

Don't let this intimidation stop you from carrying!

The Israeli method will allow you to carry in relative safety from accidents, but still retain the ability to engage your gun very quickly, reliably and effectively in all the sensible conditions in which you choose to use it.

Tam said...

"...more and more professionals carry this way too."

Name one.