Biloxi, Mississippi (Ammoland) Experience is the best teacher, but sometimes a bad experience can maim or kill you. For instance, if you are struck by a ricocheted bullet or large bullet fragment in the face or throat it can cause serious harm. If a bullet pierces an arm or leg and cuts an artery you going to be in trouble.
Fortunately, such back splash or ricochet incidents are indeed rare. The reason for this rarity is because the vast majority of military, police, and sport shooters understand the hazards of live fire and follow Universal Safety Rule #4 “Know your target, what is around it, and what is beyond it.”
For three decades I have been actively involved in the use of and training with firearms. Often I am shocked to see (watch video or read about) someone engaging in a behavior that is unnecessarily risky or hazardous.
Case in point, somehow I was made aware of video floating around the gun blog world featuring a guy shooting at a car tire with a shotgun. I watched the video expecting it to be a “shock” or “blooper” video wherein the shooter was peppered by the birdshot he was firing. Fortunately for the man in question, the tire he was shooting at was loose, as in it was freestanding and not secured to a vehicle or immobilized. The #8 birdshot struck the tire, knocked it over and some embedded in the tread.
Over twenty years ago I was informed (I saw the pictures, read incident report, talked to instructor) of a ricochet incident the happened on a range on which I had previously trained. A shooter was struck by a 9mm FMJ bullet in his upper arm. The projectile passed completely through and fortunately did not sever the brachial artery. Medical care was given and training was halted to investigate and determine what happened. The victim had been engaged in a shooting exercise with a number of other students and the bullet came from the downrange direction.
The subsequent investigation determined that pistol rounds were indeed being redirected or ricocheted in any and all directions by the impact berm. You see, the berm had been constructed by stacking hundreds and hundreds of discarded car tires and then filling/covering them with dirt. This berm building technique was extremely popular and seemed a great idea thirty years ago.
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