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September 2014 #2: Grab Your Body Armor – We’re Heading Back to the Not-O.K. Corral

1. Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps. Gear up for some serious bloodshed this time, folks, so if you’re squeamish, take a pass and come back next week. Everyone else, put on your body armor and hunker down.

We aren’t headed into a combat zone. We aren’t facing hostiles, terrorists or criminals. Just us plain old domestic weapon handlers and gun owners, which sometimes are all it takes.

A. First to loose an errant round is a lance corporal, one of a trio who were standing watch at an ammunition supply point. According to the report, one of the lance corporals was “showing the other sentries how the single/double action works” on the 9mm pistol. He succeeded admirably, assuming that by “works” you mean “fires a round into a water heater.”

B. Next up is another lance corporal, although I think “next down” would be more accurate, since the following cases don’t involve water leaking out of a metal tank, they involve blood leaking out of humans.

The lance corporal had bought a new weapon, and the next day, he was “conducting weapons familiarization and cleaning late into the night” (yes, your Risk-O-Matic should be sounding off right about now). A half-hour after midnight, he was trying to clear the weapon and “thought he had removed the magazine.” Pulling back the slide, it slipped out of his grip.

Ker-blammo! Since his hand was partly in front of the barrel, he lost a chunk of flesh.

When it comes to loaded firearms, Yoda would say, “There is no think, only know.”

C. Next down is a private first class taking part in some drills for the combat marksmanship program. After finishing one series, he “felt slack in the trigger and assumed it was caused by a weapon malfunction or obstruction.” He then proceeded to see how many of the rules of firearm safety he could break in two seconds. He didn’t put the weapon on safe, lowered it toward his foot, and kept his finger on the trigger. He removed his hand from the hand guard, which made him tighten his grip with his shooting hand. Six weeks off work and a month of light duty.

D. An E-5 yeoman was on leave visiting his uncle. During the alcohol-centric part of the visit, he figured it would be a good time to show off his personal weapon, which was loaded. As he handed it to his uncle, his uncle’s finger “slipped into the trigger guard.”

Ker-blammo! Gunshot wound to the thigh and a broken femur for the yeoman.

“The firearm is equipped with a safety,” the report said, followed by those sad phrases, “Required: Yes” and “Used: No.”

If there was ever a time you’d want a weapon on safe, wouldn’t it be when you were handing it to someone who’d been drinking?

E. That last mishap was just after Thanksgiving. Let’s finish off by ruining Christmas and New Year’s, as well, courtesy of an E-4 from a carrier. He was at home, cleaning a supposedly empty pistol, and shot himself in the heel. Obviously, he hadn’t put the weapon in the safe mode, either. He got to spend Christmas in the hospital, and didn’t get back to work until the new year, ideally with some resolutions involving you know what.

2. That’s all for this installment, folks. No ear plugs or Kevlar required next week.

Got a Funnies-worthy yarn? Need to get something off your chest? We welcome your feedback:

Read the author's blog, "Beyond the Friday Funnies." If you have a question about some of our odd terminology, become an insider by studying up on our Glossary. And if you have even more time to kill, here's the exhibit list from the Summary of Mishaps Museum.

Last Revision: September 12, 2014