A man was wounded in the leg by a gunshot at Sig Sauer Academy Wednesday morning and was transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, though police said the injury was minor.
The man was in stable condition after he accidently fired a pistol at his leg and into the ground during a training session at one of the academy’s shooting ranges, according to Epping Fire Chief Donald DeAngelis and Epping police Sgt. Stephen Soares. He is believed to have had his finger still on the trigger as he attempted to put the pistol into its holster, according to Soares. The discharged bullet then grazed the man’s leg, Soares said. No one else was harmed.
Fire officials received a call reporting the accident at 12:56 p.m., but the man was already being treated by Sig Sauer’s on-site paramedic team before Epping police and fire officials even arrived. The man was then transported by Epping fire to the hospital, officials said. Exeter Hospital paramedics also assisted. Sig Sauer has multiple shooting ranges at the academy location in Epping. The company’s headquarters is at Pease International Tradeport in Newington.
This looks like a recognized case of “user error.”
Typically, this sort of incident occurs when shooters needlessly rush to re-holster their handgun. That is a phenomenon I’ve never understood. I’ve never heard of a single good (not absurd, unrealistic hypotheticals some yahoos can dream up) excuse for a civilian to attempt to re-holster as quickly as possible.
If you are ever involved in a deadly force situation where drawing your gun is legally authorized, there simply isn’t any good reason to rush to jam it back in the holster. If there is an active threat, your gun should be out in a ready or firing position. If the threat goes away, you should be scanning for other potential threats, and then, and only then, do you slowly, reluctantly, look the gun into the holster.
It doesn’t have to be a long contemplative stare, but if you draw a weapon, you need to quickly glance down to make sure that something hasn’t obscured the holster mouth. You can then slowly, reluctantly, ease the weapon into the holster. If you shoot a hammer-fired handgun or are intelligent enough to install a striker control device (“Gadget”) on a Glock, your thumb should be on the back of the hammer/slide. It will tell you if something is caught on the trigger, depressing it, by attempting to move the hammer or SCD to the rear so that the gun can fire. That is your cue to arrest your re-holstering attempt, carefully remove the weapon, and clear the obstruction.
Likewise, if it has been a long day and you’re having a bit of a brain freeze, the slow, reluctant re-holster will clue you in that your index finger is on the trigger when it makes contact with the holster, again sending out a mental alert that something is wrong, and you need to immediately stop attempting to re-holster your weapon, carefully remove it fully from the holster, and get your finger clear of the trigger guard before attempting to re-holster it again.
I’m sure there are probably a handful of outlier examples where someone was completely distracted and still managed to shoot themselves during a slow, reluctant re-holster, but I’ve not seen or heard of them myself.
No one has ever won a prize being the first person back in the holster.
Take your time, take it slow, and be safe.