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Accidental Discharge of Firearm at Shooting Range

Event Summary

On October 24, 2017 at approximately 1410 hours, I experienced an accidental discharge of my Glock 19 at the firearms range. My intent for being at the range was to clean the weapon. I emptied my firearm prior to entering the range but neglected to empty the magazine, and out habit, replaced the magazine back in the firearm. When I cycled the slide in preparation of removing it for cleaning, I pulled the trigger, thus causing the accidental discharge.

When the accidental discharge occurred, I was in the range and at the cleaning table. The firearm was pointed in a safe direction. The round entered the back-board of the cleaning table creating a hole in the wood, otherwise there was no further damage and no injury. The range officer was present during the event.

I have been handling firearms for 42 years, not only as a Police Officer, but an instructor and hunter. The error that I made was a violation of basic firearms safety and could have ended in injury, or worse. My complacency was my error.

 

Lessons Learned

  • Always adhere to the rules and policies.
  • Never be complacent when handling firearms, even with 42 years of experience.
  • Give your full attention to the at-hand task.

 

Changes as a result of that experience (what would you do differently?):

  • I will “always adhere to the rules and policies”.
  • I will “never be complacent when handling firearms, even with 42 years of experience”.
  • I will “give my full attention to the at-hand task”.

 

Full Report

Accidental Discharge of Firearm at Shooting Range

 

 

Employer Information

What was your level of involvement in the near miss/incident? Directly involved

Type of Law Enforcement Agency: Local – Police Department

Type of Police Department: City, Town, or Village

Agency Size – Sworn Staff: 250 – 499

Approximate Population Served: 100,000 – 499,999

Region of Country:

West – Mountain (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, UT, NV, WY)
 

Involved Personal Information

What was the involved person’s duty assignment at the time of the incident? Sworn – Specialty Unit (K9, SWAT, Task Force, etc.)

Was the involved person a supervisor? Yes

Years of experience in law enforcement (at time of incident): Greater than 15

Approximate age of the involved person (at the time of the incident): 51 – 55 years old

Sex: Male

Ethnicity: Not Hispanic or Latino

Race:

  • White

 

Incident Information

What type of call or activity was the involved person responding to or engaged in? Training

How was the call or activity initiated? Training

Please classify this incident: Almost resulted in officer injury or fatality

Date of near miss/incident: October

Date of near miss/incident: 2017

Approximate time of incident: 1410 hours

What was the involved person’s initial assessment or impression of the call or situation?

  • Thought it would be routine

How many officers were at the scene at the time of the near miss/incident? 2

Did this incident involve a pursuit? No

Event Summary:

On October 24, 2017 at approximately 1410 hours, I experienced an accidental discharge of my Glock 19 at the firearms range. My intent for being at the range was to clean the weapon. I emptied my firearm prior to entering the range but neglected to empty the magazine, and out habit, replaced the magazine back in the firearm. When I cycled the slide in preparation of removing it for cleaning, I pulled the trigger, thus causing the accidental discharge.

When the accidental discharge occurred, I was in the range and at the cleaning table. The firearm was pointed in a safe direction. The round entered the back-board of the cleaning table creating a hole in the wood, otherwise there was no further damage and no injury. The range officer was present during the event.

I have been handling firearms for 42 years, not only as a Police Officer, but an instructor and hunter. The error that I made was a violation of basic firearms safety and could have ended in injury, or worse. My complacency was my error.

 

Environment Factors

Did the near miss/incident occur indoors or outdoors? Indoors

At what type of location did the near miss/incident occur? Firing Range / Shoot House

Was the involved person aware of any previous calls for service or incidents at this location? Not applicable

What were the lighting conditions inside? Well lit

 

Subject Information

Did the involved person encounter a subject(s)? No

 

Lessons Learned

What type of accident or incident was averted?

The accidental discharge of a firearm that only resulted in minor / insignificant damage, could have been so much worse. It could have easily resulted in injury or worse.

What risk factors almost led to or did lead to you or another officer being injured or killed?

  • Complacency
  • Deviation from Policy or Training
  • Distraction
  • Human Error

What protective factors contributed to you or another officer not being injured or killed?

  • None of the above

Lessons Learned:

  • Always adhere to the rules and policies.
  • Never be complacent when handling firearms, even with 42 years of experience.
  • Give your full attention to the at-hand task.

Changes as a result of that experience (what would you do differently?):

  • I will “always adhere to the rules and policies”.
  • I will “never be complacent when handling firearms, even with 42 years of experience”.
  • I will “give my full attention to the at-hand task”.



How relevant are the lessons learned in this incident to you and/or your agency?
3.75 avg. rating (78% score) - 4 votes

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