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Gunnery Network

Shot My Own Leg Ė It Can Happen To Anyone
A small chronicle on the event by EuroSIG

Dec 16th, itís one of my weekly shooting Sundays. Itís a cold day with a light wind and temperatures around Ė 4į C. I was quite eager to go as I hadnít been to the range for a few weeks and got some new ammo and a new thigh holster I wanted to try out.

I took my trusted SIG P226 with me along with me freshly acquired toy, a SIG P228 because that one was gonna get some T&E as well.

So I start at one of the standard ranges, set up my shooting table and homemade rifle/pistol rest. Put some targets out at 10m and 25m and started with the ammo.

The gun shop talked me into some 124gr semi-wad cutter rounds manufactured by Hardy & Fields (a totally unknown brand to me). I opted for SWC as they make rounder holes when killing paper targets. The first 5 rounds I put through my P226 at 25m are absolutely crap. There was one failure-to-feed, and they spread like it was buckshot.

The second and third runs prove to be more favorable, better grouping but now I have one with a failure to extract. But at 10m the smallest group measured 3 cm.

As I also brought my P228 along (bought it secondhand), I switched to that one in order to find out how it aims when the human factor is eliminated as much as possible (i.e. use the pistol rest). I started with S&B 115gr FMJís, grouping was nice, and everything worked fine. When I switched to the SWC it was a total cluster fuck. I started off with some FTFís, than in a next batch a bullet got stuck in the muzzle and the shot didnít even go off. I guess it was set so weakly into the shell that due to the slide locking up if moved forward through its own inertia. This made the shell settle deeper in the chamber hence the no-fire.

So although they grouped quite nicely, Iíll be definitely trading them in for some good olí FMJís at the gun shop.

As I was a bit frustrated about the poor performance of this ammo I decided to go to the practical range. Two of my shooting buddies were already over, so I just got on the wagon. Put on my gear and went for the firing line. I bought a Safariland Kydex thigh holster the day before for my trusted 226 and wanted to try it out.

So I started with some dry pulls in order to get the feel of the holster and walked to the shooting position. Load and make ready. Put the mag in and chambered a round. Didnít decock, as I wanted to squeeze off some nano-seconds. Run number one and two went just fine. A bit slow to my feel, but hey, I still had some ammo left, so why not go for a third try.

Load & make ready. Put mag in, rack the slide, start holstering the pistol: KABOOM!!!

My first thoughts were fuck, this isnít happening. This canít be happening to me. After all these years of training, practice, matches.

Then immediately afterwards I look into two startled faces. Luckily for me Iím part of a breed endangered with extinction over here, the Army Reserves. As the other two guys havenít got a clue on what to do and how to act, the drilled in autopilot kicks in. I tell guy Nr 1 to call 911 and guy Nr 2 to sort out my gear and put everything in my shooting case, as I start undoing my boot for some wound assessment.

Initial thoughts when looking at my foot: great I count one entrance and one exit wound, some band aid and Iíll be back next week. So I ask guy Nr 1 to get his first aid kit out and put some field dressings on my foot. In order to make his job easier I put my boot back on and get up and walk to his van to take a seat. While heís taking care of my foot, I start to get a burning sensation around my right knee. As I get up out of the seat I notice a nice bloodstain on it.

Ah shit, guys, I have another wound, get the first aid kit out again. I pull my trousers down to look at a nice entry hole at the right side of my knee. We put a field dressing on that one also and drive off to the clubhouse as the ambulance has arrived.

I get out off his van and walk to the ambulance, cops standing by. So they start asking whoís being shot. Thatíd be me officer. Big eyes of disbelief (he mustíve been thinking: the guyís still walking?). I get into the ambulance, onto the stretcher, take of my boots and undo my trouser (I wouldnít want them to cut up my shooting trousers). So they take a look at the wounds and decide to leave everything bandaged up the way it is, as the bleeding seems to be stopped. By now my right leg looks doubled in size from the knee down. They take my blood pressure and put me on a small monitor used to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood and your heartbeat. Both of which are fine, saturation level of 100% and a steady heartbeat of 65.

I make a final statement to the cops and off we go to the hospital. Arriving in the ER I get a first shot of antibiotics and get my foot/leg X-rayed. This reveals that the bullet has lodged itself in my foot, close to the ankle and has fractured part of a bone. Great, I think, now I also have to wear a plaster cast. I go into surgery in the afternoon and the next in my room the surgeon comes by to tell me what a lucky sun of a gun I am because the bullet didnít enter in my knee, traveled past my shinbone and didnít crash through my foot. Only risk weíre facing the first few days is compartimentation, being the fact that the muscles might get swollen which would mean major surgery and cutting open the wound track from top to bottom and getting rid off all the torn up muscles.

All in all, everything turned out to be quite ok, Iím back home now and looking at 4 to 6 weeks of convalescence.

So to finalize, just some random thoughts:

Pain: I never had any excruciating pain throughout the entire ordeal. Right after the shot there was so much adrenaline in my body that I felt absolutely nothing. Only moments later I felt like a burning sensation at my knee and more like a throbbing pain in the rest of my lower leg.

Currently there is no real pain either, more this throbbing feeling, caused by the fact that my swollen shin is pressing against the plaster cast and by the surgery performed to remove the bullet.

Blood: Due to the place where the bullet hit me no major arteries were hit and there was relatively little blood loss. Due to the proper use of the field dressings the initial bleeding stopped fairly swift.

First aid: Iíd advice everyone in the shooting community to get some sort of training (be it basic or elaborate) on gunshot wounds. You never know, it might come in handy someday. For all those weekend warriors, ROTCís, National Guardsmen, Armed Forces Reserves whoíre also into shooting: pay attention when that medic is giving his class on wounds, traumas, shock, Ö even if it is the godzillionst time youíre attending. It is these frequent refreshers that make you act instantly when the occasion might happen. For those not in the military, try to find a local chapter of your Red Cross community that works with people simulating wounds. This definitely is an added thing to the training. Believe me, IT IS!

Final remark on first aid, make sure you have an ample amount of field dressings and pressure bandages with you when youíre at the range. Especially if youíre into some high speed practical shooting.

Stay safe.


About the Author: EuroSIG is an I-SIG Member and fellow Gun Nut from across the pond.  The good news is he is recovering and should be back to "Normal" soon.



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