Let it go.

Bullet Points

As I was learning proper handgun manipulation skills, an instructor said, when unloading, just let the cartridge fall on the ground, don’t try to catch it in your hand.  He explained by covering the ejection port with your hand, you could inadvertently cause and open breach detonation.  Yeah right!  I ignored that piece of advise.  I mean, rolling that cartridge into your hand looks so cool.

A few years later; I was on the range practicing when I had a malfunction with my pistol.  I was shooting ammo I had reloaded.  This particular cartridge, the brass case was not properly sized (we were learning about brass that had been fired in Glock barrels) and did not chamber fully.  It was stuck pretty good.  I got a good grip and popped the slide, the cartridge came loose.  Unfortunately, to get the grip I needed to hang on to the handgun, my hand was covering the ejection port completely.  BANG!  My initial thought was I had somehow pressed the trigger.  Then I looked at my hand.  A big chunk of brass was stuck in my palm.  I’m not going to cover all the damage, I’ll just say it hurt, a lot.  After my trip to the ER, I did my investigation of the event.


These are the remaining parts of the cartridge I was able to recover.


My education about this phenomenon was not yet finished.  Sometime later, the same thing happened again, I had another one.  Least you think I am a slow learner,  I was sure to place my hand behind the ejection port, I got bit anyway.

This past summer I was able to capture this shot from a student in one of my classes.  It depicts the same events that caused my mishaps. This one was almost a disaster.  As you can see, the nose of the bullet is against the edge of the ejection port.  This was caused by the hand blocking the cartridge from ejecting cleanly.  The rear of the cartridge has moved inward putting the primer dangerously close to the ejector.  If you keep moving the slide to the rear, and the cartridge continues to move inward, the ejector becomes a firing pin.  Had I not been watching, and stopped the student, this could have been bad.



We still hear too many cases of injuries due to this.  When unloading or clearing your handgun, “LET IT GO!”  Stop covering the ejection port or trying to catch the round.  Let it fall to the ground and pick it up later. Gun safety is not a joke.  It’s not just about the four firearms safety rules.  If you are new to gun training, let Custom Tactical Services help you with  Gun Safety Courses.