To Catch Or Not To Catch?

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CSeverance's picture
CSeverance
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To Catch Or Not To Catch?

Something interesting posted in Tactics and Training column of American Handgunner:

"I thought it was dead, gone, outta here and busted — thoroughly busted. But apparently not. Catching the ejected round, that is. And by “catching” I mean either letting it pop up in the air and catching it, or letting it drop into a cupped hand held over the ejection port as the slide is withdrawn. I recall catching the round, particularly via the latter method, as pretty much SOP back in the ’80’s. Sometime in the mid-90’s, at least in law enforcement firearms training circles, it pretty much became verboten.

The reason given at the time, and one I still believe is valid, is there is a possibility your cupped hand could wander too close to the ejection port, interfering with the round’s path out of the pistol. Sometimes that interference, coupled with the force of the extractor pulling the round backward, could wind up with the round’s primer being thrust powerfully into the ejector. This might cause a detonation of the round, and the likewise predictable injury to the owner’s hand.

Another possibility is the hand over the ejection port could cause the round to partially stay in the chamber while at the same time the user fails to lock open the slide. When he lets it go, it moves forward under spring tension, capturing the round in such a way the forward-moving extractor hits the primer. In fact, these exact sequences of events have happened. Several cops in just my neck of the woods have seen these things or experienced them, so it’s now a known risk.

What Should We Do?"

For the Rest Of The Story: http://americanhandgunner.com/to-catch-or-not-to-catch/

CSeverance's picture
CSeverance
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Personally, I have always

Personally, I have always thought it was not smartest move an operator could do. smiley

The ability to shoot straight is that part of national security which affects the individual more than any other. - Merritt "Red Mike" Edson; CMOH-USMC

Jay Kuca's picture
Jay Kuca
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Joined: Feb. 27th, 2011
A couple of years ago, at a 3

A couple of years ago, at a 3-gun match in Lincoln, a shooter was given the command to unload and show clear on his handgun. He dropped the mag on his 1911 and racked the slide with his hand on top of the slide, directly over the ejection port. He momentarily lost his grip on the slide. The gun went bang, the shooter went "Ouch!", and as he took his left hand off the slide, a bunch of us noticed that it was bleeding.

We scratched our heads for a while, trying to figure out what had happened. That's when we noticed a ruptured cartridge case on the ground. Upon examination, we noticed an odd looking rectangular shaped indentation on the primer. We concluded that, when he racked the slide to eject the chambered live round, he drew the slide back just far enough to partially extract the round. Then, when he lost control of the slide, the ejector struck the primer, and the round detonated outside the chamber.

His hand looked really nasty. There were powder burns and cuts from tiny fragments of the ruptured case.

Don't let this happen to you. When you're given the command to unload and show clear, do it slowly, deliberately, and safely.

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Brian Gonsalves
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Joined: Feb. 19th, 2011
This is not how this happens!

[quote=Jay Kuca]

We scratched our heads for a while, trying to figure out what had happened. That's when we noticed a ruptured cartridge case on the ground. Upon examination, we noticed an odd looking rectangular shaped indentation on the primer. We concluded that, when he racked the slide to eject the chambered live round, he drew the slide back just far enough to partially extract the round. Then, when he lost control of the slide, the ejector struck the primer, and the round detonated outside the chamber.

 

[/quote]

This is not how this happens!  As I pointed out in the post Charlie dug up, 

I have seen this happen a couple times and heard of it many more.  All that I have seen or heard of were 1911 style guns in .40, 9mm or .38 super.  it is caused by the the primer hitting the ejector.  In these caliber the extractor is set loose to make the guns run.  If the round slips off the extractor it can move out of position as the slide is pulled to the rear.  The ejector will then hit the round in the center (primer) of the case as opposed to the outer edge.  In the ones I have seen you could see the square outline of the ejector.

While it's ALWAYS better to keep your hand clear of the ejection port.  Pulling the slide back slower, with gun canted to point the port toward the ground, and let the round fall to the ground prevents this.

Also while you may think it looks cool to flip a round into the air and catch it, but consider that you are yanking the slide back with even more force to get it to fly into the air and now the ejection port is facing up to your face. 

I've ejected (and picked up off the ground) thousands of rounds and never had one blow up while unloading.  Knock on wood!

The ejector is in the frame, if the shooter lost control of the slide the slide would move forward due to spring pressure, moving the round away from the ejector not into it!  This happens as the shooter retracts the slide quickly to eject the round.

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Ty Hamby
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Joined: Feb. 23rd, 2011
I catch, Being a southpaw the

I catch, Being a southpaw the ejection port is naturally pointed down. Gripping it normally pulling the slide back slowly. There is no chance of any boom. Its the flippers or slam openers that worry my. My catch technique rules supreme. 

"Unnecessarily restrictive engagement requirements by default is the hallmark of a lazy or flat out terrible stage designer." ~ unknown

CSeverance's picture
CSeverance
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Joined: Feb. 16th, 2011
One of our own had an

One of our own had an 'experience' with catching some time ago. It took me a bit of searching to find his post. See his story at:
http://nvsa.info/node/1369

The ability to shoot straight is that part of national security which affects the individual more than any other. - Merritt "Red Mike" Edson; CMOH-USMC

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Brian Gonsalves
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Joined: Feb. 19th, 2011
See my post a couple posts up

See my post a couple posts up as to what causes this!

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