negligent discharge

How To Avoid A Negligent Firearm Discharge

Negligent firearm discharges happen more often than they should. And very few times do they end without damage to property or person. That's why it's important to understand what a negligent weapons discharge is, what it entails, and how you can always avoid one.

What is a negligent firearm discharged?

A negligent firearm discharge is any time a firearm in your possession discharges a round that you did not 100% absolutely intend to happen. In the world of firearms, there is no such animal as an accidental discharge. It doesn't exist. There's negligence and then there's intention. In either case, you are completely culpable for the effect of that discharge.

How to avoid negligently discharging a firearm under your possession

Rule #1: Always Keep Your Finger Off Of The Trigger Until You Are Ready To Fire

If you are not touching the trigger of your firearm AND it's within your control, there is an extremely low chance it will negligently discharge. Until you know that the firearm is unloaded (see Rule #2), always assume it is loaded and leave the trigger alone.

Rule #2: Treat Every Weapon As If It Is Loaded

Hey, did I remember to load my firearm?” It's a simple question. Ask yourself this question every single time and assume “yes” is the answer until you open the receiver or cylinder and manually inspect for brass or live rounds.

1. Eject magazine.

2. Rack the upper receiver back and lock it in place.

3. Inspect inside the barrel for brass and live rounds.

You can also apply this to any firearm you come across – at any time. Always assume it's loaded. Never take for granted that someone may not have loaded a bullet while it has not been in your possession.

Rule #3: Always Unload Your Firearm Before Maintenance

prevent gun from going off

Regular weekly handgun maintenance is a must for concealed carriers. It needs to be an intimate part of your weekly or monthly routine. Never put a gun away dirty. That way, when you go into your gun safe and pull out a firearm, you already know it's clean.

Did you load it after you got it out from the safe? Always ask Rule #2.

Rule #4: Carry In Such A Way You Don't Need To Touch The Trigger

If your pistol is in your pocket or purse, that's a bad move. Any time you can't take physical control of the pistol or revolver grip instinctively, you're setting yourself up for failure.

Get a high retention concealed carry holster. It's the responsible choice to ensure you have complete control over your firearm. And never touch the trigger unless you want a bullet to come out.

Rule #5: Know What Is In Front Of And Behind Your Target

The real world doesn't always offer 100% clear visibility on this but it's your responsibility to take responsibility. In the world of training and practice, you have no excuses. There's no such thing as you didn't see someone wandering behind the target line. Does it happen? Yes. And those people are held legally culpable for discharging their firearms. Never be one of them.

You can never undo the damage a bullet does.

But you can prevent putting your bullet there in the first place.


About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.