Let's play a game

It’s called “spot the mistakes”.  I’m posting a quote, absolutely unedited from a thread at TFL regarding Accidental/Negligent Discharges of firearms.  I honestly didn’t read the whole thread, because this particular line just…well…jumped out at me.

Was sitting on the toilet playing with my new fangled Para-Ordinance 1911 with 13 round magazine. 

To make a short story shorter I accidentally fired it into the wall tiles. Bullet penetrated the tile but never made it past the wall. Typical thought the gun was unloaded but due to the hammer being back after working the slide I decided to dry fire instead of release and ease the hammer down. 

Owned one other 1911 since than, but have never been a big fan of the safety mechanisms on 1911s.

I have several thoughts here, not the least of which is “spellcheck” but that being said, let’s begin at the beginning.  “Sitting on the toilet playing with my gun”.  I’ll call that strike 1.  Sitting on the can is probably not the best location to be inspecting your new heater.  Take care of business, then go futz around with your gun.  Strike 2 comes when he “thought the gun was unloaded” because the the hammer was back after he racked the slide.  What?  You took the exact action necessary to load your firearm and then you thought it was unloaded?  So then of course instead of doing the smart thing and dropping the magazine, then running the slide to eject any live rounds, he decides “must be unloaded, let’s dry fire the thing.”

Finally, strike 3 is the last sentence, where he blames the ND on the mechanical safeties of the 1911.  That just bugs me to death.  That ND happened because the chap in question committed a series (not one or two) of firearms handling errors that led directly to a bullet hole in something that didn’t need a bullet hole.

Now, I’m not trying to make this guy look bad, which is why I’m not posting his name or linking to the thread.  But I wanted to post the exact content of his post specifically because it shows the lack of logical process that can lead to an ND – this guy was lucky he didn’t injure someone.  Have some patience, wait until you’re at a more…appropriate place to hand your firearm, and for crying out loud learn the manual of arms on your guns, people.  Here’s the safe procedure for dry firing a firearm:

  1. Finger off trigger
  2. Eject magazine/open cylinder and eject rounds
  3. On a semi-auto, rack the slide and look down the chamber to insure no rounds remain.
  4. Lower the slide/close the cylinder.

Now your gun is safe to dry fire.  Always remove the ammunition feeding device before dry firing your gun.  If your gun has a magazine disconnect safety, then your gun is broken and you should get a gun that isn’t fundamentally broken from the factory.


  1. The other thing I’m finding interesting is that I dont know of a Para that has a 13rd mag…. I may have missed it, but I am not aware of a 13+1 that they produce…..

  2. This is why I bitch about safeties. They lull people into poor gun handling habits because said people will rely on the safety to prevent accidents.

    Back in the old days, sure – guns weren’t designed like they are today. Today’s guns can be dropped, slapped, kicked, and hurled and still not go off. They’ve gotten the engineering down pat that the only way the gun will fire is to pull the trigger.

    If there’s a design issue with the gun that causes the trigger to get pulled at the most inopportune times, then no amount of safeties are going to fix that problem. But that’s generally not the case.

    It’s the one thing I love about my Glock. The safeties require me to do one thing and one thing only to disengage – pull the trigger. With my other firearms, I still practice engaging and disengaging the safeties because if I ever need them, that’s not the time to learn I forgot to take the safety off.

    I’d prefer it the pistol jut not fire until I pulled the trigger. Is that too much to ask?

  3. My sister once held her holstered .357 with the muzzle pressed against her solar plexus while she fiddled with something at the butt end of the arrangement. I, rather panicked, called her on it, and she gave me an “oh, quit your stupid worrying” look and said, I quote, “Yeah, yeah, every gun is loaded, but it’s not loaded.”

    I think if she pulls that stunt again I’m going to take the gun away and punch her right in the mouth.

  4. Robb is absolutely right that there is no substitute for good gunhandling skills. And Joanna, just send your sister to Caleb’s School of Gunhandling. I’ll fix her most ricky-tic.

  5. Oh yeah, Para did/does make a 13 round 1911 in .45 ACP. IIRC, it was a sort of Commander sized gun with a double-stack magwell.

  6. Interesting, the only one that I knew of that sorta fits that description is the P14, which is a 14+1

    on another interesting note however, my P16-40 will feed rounds from my P14 mags, and will fit 17 rounds into the 16round mags as long as its loaded on an open slide…. but the .45cal’s will not fit into the P16 mags, although both will load into either magwell…..
    its interesting what you figure out when you have snapcaps and 2 similar guns sitting on the table in front of you….

  7. Caleb: I bet you would. She could use someone to put the fear of God in her. She still has guns filed under “Whoa cool check out this cool new toy I bought!” instead of, you know, “This is awesome but it’s a deadly weapon and I need to treat it as such, with respect and deference.”

    She sometimes reads this site. It’ll be interesting if she sees these comments.

  8. The biggest safety he forgot to use was the one above his neck.
    I like how he pull s a whole string of rule violations then blames the type of gun. The safeties on the 1911 are the whole reason I bought my RIA 1911.

  9. The P13-45 is a sweet little gun, same one I keep in my bedside table, and the only one that I consistently worry about on dropping the hammer (everything else is double action). Two hands to drop it, every time, because I do not want a bullet in my thigh, floor or ceiling. The neighbors might complain. Still, though, one of the nicest heaters I’ve ever handled.

  10. tommy, why are you lowering the hammer on a loaded 1911-style pistol? If you need to unload the gun, then just drop the mag and run the slide. If you want the gun in proper condition for self-defense, just engage the thumb safety.

  11. When it’s not on my hip, I like it as hard to ND as possible. When it’s on my hip, it’s cocked and locked.

  12. Well, “as hard to ND as possible” would be unloaded. I guess I’m more of a “loaded gun is loaded” kind of guy, so I just use the manual safety on my 1911.

  13. “When it’s not on my hip, I like it as hard to ND as possible. When it’s on my hip, it’s cocked and locked.”

    I don’t mean to sound like an jerk, but your fear is irrational if you’re handling it correctly. If you want it as hard to ND as possible, then you should be in condition3: empty chamber, hammer down, mag inserted. It’ll only take a rack of the slide to be ready to fire. I actually tend to agree with you on the making it as hard to ND as possible. But trying to get to condition2 wrongly seems to fly in the face of that. From 1 to 2, the hammer itself would engage the grip safety when you pull it back (with your thumb) and then you can press trigger to drop hammer. The P13 has a halfcocked notch and it’s impssoble to drop onto the firing pin if you’re not on the grip safety (which you won’t be if you’re doing it right–the only time the grip safety is touched is when the hammer does so when you pull it back). Seems to me, the safest would be to either keep it in condition 1, or to drop the mag, eject the loaded round, reinsert said round into mag, drop hammer, then reinsert mag. In condition 2, you’d have to recock hammer to fire anyway, I don’t really see the benefit of speed versus condition 3.

    I never understood the irrational fear of 1911 safety. It has TWO! It absolutely will not do anything that you don’t tell it to do. And safetied M16s are carried the same way! Just because you don’t see the hammer (it’s inside the receiver) doesn’t mean it’s more “safe” than a ready to drop hammer of the 1911 with safety on.

    /end comments from random stranger. Here’s to internet anonymity! Seriously, I apologize tommy if I sometimes come off as an anonymous @$$#— on the internet; it ain’t intentional. THe keyboard gets wordy. Yeah…the keyboard…I’ll stick to that. Long time lurker here–I just had to comment because it’s about 1911s, and even more specific, P13s!

  14. Bottom line on gun safties. Either it’s a gun or it isn’t. Any gun capable of firing a bullet into a target will be capable to fire a bullet into something you don’t intend to shoot.

    Tommy, I gotta advise against putting a 1911 into condition 2. The gun isn’t designed to be in that position, and all it takes it one finger slip to turn lowering the hammer to dropping the hammer on a loaded chamber.

    Also I forget if the para’s have a drop safety, but unless your gun has a cross-block actuated by the trigger or the grip safety, if you ever happen to bump the hammer while it’s in condition 2 the gun WILL GO OFF!

    Read a scary story about a man with a Colt Officer’s ACP with no cross-block (Series 70) gun was in condition 2 in a coat pocket. He turned around and his weighted pocket swung out and bumped a wall….not very hard mind you…and he put a hole in his wall.

    1911s should be condition 1 with the safety off, condition 3, or not loaded at all. That’s the safest way to keep them.

  15. I know Caleb draws a readership with considerable experience and knowledge, so I figure that’s why he gave the abridged version of the dry-fire procedure. If anyone’s new to the craft, here’s the omitted steps:

    3.1. Look down the chamber again.
    3.2. Look down the chamber again.
    3.3. Stick a finger in there to be SURE there’s no round chambered.
    3.4. Look down the chamber again.

    If there’s ever a time to voluntarily develop OCD… =)

  16. I always look down the mag-well too just to double check I indeed DID drop the mag and that there are no rounds in it if there is a Mag present.

    Mr. DEA Glock Fo-tay showed us all the good clearing the chamber of a gun does when you drop the slide on a loaded magazine.

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