According to Noonan, Kedra was shot in the chest during a training exercise at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Complex on the 1100 block of Conshohocken Road around 4:45 p.m.
Sources say he was in a classroom for a demonstration of how to break down and clean his service weapon. They say an experienced state police firearms instructor was handling a gun that somehow misfired.
The bullet hit trooper Kedra in the chest.
Now there are a few mechanical malfunctions that could lead to this, such as clearing a live round from the gun and getting the primer wedged between the slide and the extractor. Still that generally will just cause a round detonation, not somebody getting a bullet in the chest. Occam’s Razor says it’s what we’ve all seen before, it was likely a striker-fired service weapon that needs the trigger pulled with the gun in battery for the slide to be released from the frame.
This is why S&W added that little widget that disconnects the sear with the slide wide open. Still when I tear down my M&P I just pull the trigger like any other gun once the take-down latch is turned.
Of course that’s not ALL that I do. First I drop the magazine and lock the slide back. Then I look down the magazine well and look to see that it’s empty. Then I look down into the chamber and see if it is also empty. I sometimes stick my pinkie in there to verify, but most times I have all the lights on so I can clearly see an empty chamber. Often people will do multiple racks of the slide JUST to be sure. I don’t always do this, but when there are other people around I ALWAYS do.
Also while all of this is going on I have the gun pointed in a safe direction. Not “safe” as in there is nobody there, but SAFE as in I am as close to 100% sure as one can be that if a round were to be discharged it would come to rest without doing any damage I can’t live with for the rest of my life.
Gunnies can appear to have obsessive compulsive disorder sometimes. They check a gun handed to them right after their friend who knows more about guns than they do just cleared it in front of them. They check guns at the gun store where policy states that all guns being displayed are unloaded. Even after they have cleared the gun, or even filled the chamber with a dummy round they STILL follow the safety rules as if that gun was ready to go.
Even when I remember taking my gun off the night before and putting it in the safe fully loaded, I still check to see if it is fully loaded before I holster it the next day, or even an hour later if I happen to be re-arming for some reason.
Same goes for the gun you JUST cleaned and set aside unloaded. Guns don’t magically load themselves….but it can’t hurt to check again…or again.
We get uncomfortable when somebody sweeps us with a gun we KNOW is unloaded, sometimes we get into arguments about this.
Seems pretty silly right? Still how many times do you think this instructor has cleared his weapon? How many times do you think he’s torn it down for cleaning or demonstration? Hundreds? Thousands?
There is ALWAYS that ONE time when you aren’t paying attention, or skip some crucial step. That’s the beauty of the Four Rules. #1, there isn’t any ambiguity. The NRA rules are great, but I don’t like them as much. Rule #3 “ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.” Bugs me. Yeah I guess if I’m carrying my gun I’m “using it”, but I’m really not. I have a few guns locked in the safe that are loaded, is this a rule violation?
The four rules work for ANY time you handle a gun. Doesn’t matter if it’s a wall-hanging gun that you can’t even find ammo for, or the gun strapped to your chest as you jump out of a helicopter into a war zone. (Hell it even applies to you if the services demands you jump out of the chopper with your chamber empty!). If you are handling a gun, this is how you handle it.
Further you need to break at LEAST TWO rules for things to get really bad. This instructor was treating a gun like it was unloaded, and it wasn’t. If that was that NOTHING would have happened. I once had a friend hand me a gun he thought was unloaded. It wasn’t. When I opened the action a live round popped out and we had a little “oops” moment, but that’s it. No damage, no harm, no foul.
I’ve been swept with a loaded gun. It SUCKED, but that’s it. No harm, but there was a foul called on the range.
Now keeping your finger off the trigger is irrelevant if the gun is INDEED unloaded. I do dry fire practice. I’ve never bought a gun I haven’t dry fired. I have guns that need a trigger pull to disassemble. I store unloaded guns with their hammer/striker at rest. It isn’t a big deal.
Still in this situation there was a gun treated like it was unloaded. The trigger was pulled when the instructor DID NOT WANT THE GUN TO FIRE. The firearm was pointed at another human being when all of this was done, and now he is dead.
I feel the need to post this just to say to everybody NEVER GET COMPLACENT! NEVER BREAK THE FOUR RULES! It doesn’t matter if you just went through your NRA basic pistol class, or hunter safety class and have never even fired a live round, or if you are a veteran police trainer who is teaching a class for the millionth time.
I could say “It only takes one mistake”, but really it takes at LEAST two, still you can see how fast we added up to three in this story.
Don’t every get complacent! Be safe out there!