firearm is a device that propels out the projectile with force proceed due to the expansion of gases. Offences related to firearms are of three types that involve the homicidal, suicidal, and accidental discharge of firearm. It is the event associated with a firearm that discharges the weapon at the time that the user does not intend. 

Accidental discharge of a firearm occurs when there is a mechanical fault of the firearm. This kind of discharge from a firearm is produced due to the incompatibility between the firearm discharge and usages like the phenomenon of cocking off a round in a closed machine gun, mechanical malfunctions of the firearm, or due to training issues or negligence of the individuals.

This article briefly discusses the accidental discharge of firearms and the factors concerned therewith.

What is Meant by Accidental Discharge of Firearms???

Accidental discharge of a firearm is also known as unintentional firearm discharge. An individual or a property may be damaged due to the accidental discharge of firearms. Accidental discharge of the firearm can be defined as the discharging of a firearm or a weapon at a time not intended by the firearm user. This can also be a criminal offence in some cases.

How Does the Unintentional Discharge of the Firearm Occur??

It generally happens when an individual handling the firearm is negligent in using the firearm or the weapon and fires the weapon or the firearm involuntarily. Accidental discharge can happen anywhere, either in homes and public places. These usually happen at the shooting ranges or on hunting trips.

This can occur in many ways, including the following:

  • It occurs when someone pulls the trigger intentionally for a purpose other than to have the firearm discharge.
  • When a person tries to grip the firearm trigger and accidentally pulls the trigger causing the firearm to discharge.
  • When an individual who is not trained to handle the firearm and drops it with force causes the accidental discharge of the firearm.
  • It occurs when the firearm is detected with a mechanical malfunctioning.

Causes of Accidental Firearm Discharge

1. Improper Maintenance of Firearm

Improper maintenance of a firearm can often lead to obstruction because of the debris being collected in the firearm’s barrel, which in turn can cause it to rupture when the gun is fired.

2. Shooting at a Hard Surface

Firing at a hard surface can cause the bullet or the fragments of the surface to ricochet and injure the gun user or the bystander.

3. Improper use of the ammunition

Improper use of the ammunition involves the use of the wrong calibre or size and the use of reloaded or remanufactured ammunition.

4. Shooting while intoxicated

Impaired judgment or influence of drugs and alcohol can lead to improper use of a firearm.

Safety Tips to Prevent Accidental Discharge of Firearm

It is a must to follow various safety measures while handling a firearm. Proper training should be taken before firing or handling the firearm.

The various safety tips include:

  • One should treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  • The weapon should not be pointed at anyone or any object until the individual intends to shoot.
  • The fingers should be kept off the trigger until one intends to fire.
  • Always keep the safety on till a person intends to shoot.


Accidental discharge of the firearm can be due to negligence in using and handling the firearm. This involves the discharge of a weapon, including culpable carelessness. The accidental discharges occur in firearms that do not have the mechanism to render them safe falling from a distance, a firing pin struck forward, a sear falling, etc.

Categories: Ballistics


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