4 May 21
“I’d say it’s impossible, but the Commandant trained the word out of me.”
During Urban Rifle training last weekend, a student using a Kalashnikov experienced a UD!
The rifle was slung, muzzle down, and the bullet (7.62×39) hit the gravel in front of his feet and expended itself
harmlessly, but we were all startled, as this student is an LEO and very experienced.
Examination of the rifle quickly revealed that the trigger-pin was missing!
It had come loose and fallen out of the rifle at some point. Neither the student, nor I, noticed!
Of course, we run a hot range, so carried rifles are always in carry mode. “Carry-mode” means bolt forward on a chambered round, fully-charged magazine inserted, manual safety in the “on” position.
I advise students to physically check the position of their rifle’s manual safety often as the rifle is carried, to be sure the safety lever has not been inadvertently brushed to the “off” position.
We typically sling rifles (two-point sling), muzzle down, across the front.
With the trigger-pin thus missing on this Kalashnikov (unknown to the Operator), he put gentle upward pressure on the manual safety lever to insure that it was “on.” When he did, the rifle discharged!
His fingers were nowhere near the trigger.
It was a single discharge, with the empty case stovepiped, having failed to eject.
I’m not sure I quite understand the mechanics of what happened, but I witnessed a nearly identical event several years ago with an M4. That time, the culprit was a blown primer that had made its way into the trigger mechanism.
Our gun-handling procedure is redundant, and for good reason!
With the vast majority of UDs I’ve been asked to investigate, the cause is an errant finger in contact with the trigger at an inappropriate time.
“Defective” weapons are extremely rare. Incorrectly “modified” weapons are a little less rare.
In any event, we require careful and continuous “muzzle consciousness” of all students, as well as fingers always being in the right place.
In this case, the rifle discharged unexpectedly and unintentionally, even though no pressure was applied to the trigger.
Yet, there was no personal injury, because the muzzle was simultaneously pointed in a relatively “safe” direction at the instant the mishap occurred.
So, we were all startled, but none the worse for ware!
When the trigger-pin was recovered and replaced in the rifle, the Kalashnikov in question resumed normal
I don’t think it is possible to handle deadly weapons “safely.”
I think we can handle them carefully!
Even so, no guarantees attach, as we see!