Follow-Up to The Safety Sin

28-Feb-09 – 16:50 by ToddG

From Dan Burwell of Burwell Gunsmithing, who was present when the AD reported in The Safety Sin occurred:

I have known of the shooter for a couple years now, have met him a couple times, never shot with him before, but know he is a very active competitor as is his wife. I see them at every major match I go to. His wife was in a class with my wife so the girls talk every time we meet.

The shooter in this incident was in my squad I was the shooter in the hole when this happened. I was watching the shooter intently when this occurred from a distance of about 5-7yds on his left hand side(he was a lefty). He was not in any sort of hurry did not appear rushed in any way. He had just finished shooting one string and had to reload for the next and did so just as calmly as the guy before. But when he inserted the gun in the holster it discharged, I was quite shocked at what I had just watched and more impressed with his muzzle control after just getting shot, he kept it pointed down range the whole time and gently set it on the ground for the RO to clear while he was falling to the ground. I can tell you there was no possible way for an RO to have stopped this from occurring none whatsoever. I was also impressed with the reaction of the S&W match staff, they had a paramedic on this guy faster than most could figure out what had just happened.

Now as to the dumbass stuff. I have heard of people shooting themselves before. In fact a couple years ago it happened during one of our local matches. I was the SO on the next stage over, so I did not witness it first hand. I have to admitt at that time, I pretty much had that thought that that guy was just a dumbass, probably in a rush and screwed up. This time having witnessed it first hand and knowing the shooter, the thought that this guy was a dumbass never crossed my mind. Not even once. My thoughts were more along the lines of “we play with fire; and if we play with fire sooner or later we are going to get burned.”

The best any of us can hope for is that when we do have that AD that no one looses thier life over it.

(reprinted with permission from

  1. 3 Responses to “Follow-Up to The Safety Sin”

  2. Sometimes I wonder. As shooters; holstering our weapon is second nature. I cant remember ever thinking to my self “I need to practice some holstering drills”. Maybe this is something we should get into our mind set and skill set, Proper manicured holstering skills. Lord knows Iv never really thought of it before this story. I personally will work with the wife and myself on this occasionally to attempt to prevent this kind of accident.

    By Locobombero on Mar 1, 2009

  3. You’re dead on the money, there. Personally, I have drilled reholstering for years and I always do it the same way. Step one is taking my finger off the trigger and putting it into the register position. Step 2 is bringing the weapon down out of the line of sight. Step 3 is bringing it into the centerline of my body where I again do a “where is my finger?” check. Step 4 is slowly and deliberately inserting the weapon into the holster.

    I watched video of myself shooting a drill where I don’t recall using any dedicated mental attention to reholstering because I was too busy cursing at myself for missing a shot…but even on autopilot I went through the process I just described.

    While it’s good that I have enough muscle memory to do that, it’s also a warning that when handling a firearm you need to be in-the-moment at all times. Having the muscle memory programmed in is great…but our primary safety system should be focused attention on what we are doing at all times.

    By John_Wayne777 on Mar 16, 2009

  4. We often see an influx of new shooters at our matches when the weather breaks and this year was no exception. While running the timer, I observed something that bothered me, which was that many of the “newbees” were having trouble getting the guns out of their holsters and had to push with the index finger in the area of the holster which is the same area as the trigger of the gun. I later found out that these are Black Hawk Serpa holsters which are popular as they are readily available and affordable. I was also informed that there are mixed feelings and even some controversy regarding this design, and while I have no doubt that if used as the manufacturer intended, it looks good on paper, what I observed is that the design will ingrain, if not corrected, the immediate action response of pushing on the trigger area with the index finger to correct a holster problem. That this is an unintended consequence or a training issue does not change the worst case scenario.

    By Kevin_Schlier on Mar 25, 2009

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