A person with his finger on the trigger

Can a Gun Go Off Without Pulling the Trigger?


Guns are complex tools that have experienced substantial evolution throughout time, both in terms of new models and safety. Although the safety of modern weapons has been improved, the fear of an unintentional discharge still exists. Continue reading to learn if your gun can fire even if you don't touch the trigger.


The Science of Gun Firing


A man pointing  a gun with his finger on the trigger

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The four fundamental components of a gun are the primer, propellant, bullet, and case. The primer serves as a fuse and ignites the propellant when a gun is fired, which causes the bullet to leave the case. When a gun unintentionally discharges, it is known as an accidental discharge. Most modern firearms such as modern revolvers have a gun safety that acts as a firing pin block to prevent the firing pin from slamming into the primer, thereby preventing an accidental discharge.


Can a Gun Fire Without a Trigger Pull?


A person pointing his gun with his finger on the trigger

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In this day and age of technology, it seems unlikely that a shooting would happen accidentally—unless someone pulled the trigger. However, there are some allegations involving shooting incidents where witnesses swore that the gun fired without the trigger being pulled. 

Accidental discharges frequently occur as a result of the shooter's negligence. For instance, the shooter might have known the gun needed to be oiled, was old, or was already having problems, but they still chose to use it, which caused an unintentional discharge that injured someone else. This is known as a negligent discharge. Many accidental discharges are caused by negligence. 


7 Ways to Prevent Accidental and Negligent Discharges


Ensure that you adhere to the following guidelines to avoid an accidental or negligent discharge:


1)  Use the Gun Safety


A person holding his gun close to his body with his finger on the trigger

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You don't need to be an expert in guns to understand that the gun's safety is its most crucial feature. Unless you are firing, the safety of the gun should always be engaged. Although gun safety can prevent an accidental discharge, keep in mind that it can sometimes malfunction, so do not rely entirely on it to avert mishaps.


2)  Always Assume That the Gun Is Loaded


The wisest course of action for a gun owner is to assume that the gun is always loaded. There are several instances where gun owners disassemble and fire their firearms only to find that there is still a round in the chamber. Even the most experienced gun owner could experience this.


3)  Always Point the Muzzle in a Safe Direction


A man and woman wearing shooting gear with the mans finger on the trigger

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Whether the trigger or a mechanical problem is to blame, there is always a possibility of an accidental or negligent discharge. Because of this, it's imperative to always direct your gun's muzzle away from potential victims of injury. Never point a gun at a person or something else that isn't the intended target. 


4)  Refrain From Touching the Trigger


Even with gun safety on, it's always a good idea to exercise caution. Therefore, unless you intend to fire whatever it is you are pointing your gun at, simply keep your finger off the trigger.


5)  Keep an Eye on Your Surroundings

 A man pointing a gun with his finger on the trigger

Credit: Envato Elements/ rawf8


When it comes to gun safety, it is imperative to be fully aware of what is happening around you and who may be close by. There have been too many unfortunate occurrences when someone unintentionally injured or killed someone else because they weren't paying close attention. Therefore, when handling a gun, make sure that you always pay attention to your surroundings.


6)  Do Not Improperly Modify Your Firearm, and Have It Serviced Regularly 


Guns are mechanical tools that should only be used in the manner for which they were intended. Any attempt to improperly change a firearm's safety or trigger is exceedingly risky. Additionally, because firearms can be damaged, it is important to have them regularly inspected and repaired by a licensed professional.


7)  Safeguard Your Firearm

 A man with his gun in his pants and his finger on the trigger

Credit: Envato Elements/ rawf8


To minimize accidental discharges, one easy but effective precaution you can take is to always securely store your weapon when not in use. For instance, simply slipping your firearm into your waistband raises the risk that it will fall out or that you will accidentally rub against it and pull the trigger. To lessen that risk, think about using a holster for your firearm.


What Should You Do if Your Gun Accidentally Fires?


What should you do if a gun accidentally fired a round? Although the mandatory drop tests required by the Gun Control Act to prevent unintended discharges have made modern weapons safer, such events are still possible. In such a situation, follow the steps below:


1)  Evaluate the Situation

 A man looking at his phone with a lady lying on the ground in the background

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The first thing you should do after a gun accidentally fires is to evaluate the situation. This entails making sure nobody is injured. If someone is hurt, immediately dial 911. Move on to the gun if no one was wounded. Make sure the gun won't fire again. Before storing the gun in a place where it won't endanger anyone, be sure the chamber is empty.


2)  Accept Accountability


No matter how serious the situation is, you must move forward and take responsibility for your actions. This involves taking care of the damage, injuries, etc.


3)  Make Sure That It Never Happens Again

 A man holding his gun with his finger near the trigger

Credit: Seattle Weekly


Accidents do happen, but they can be prevented. Discover the reason for and details around any unintentional discharges. This will stop something similar from happening in the future.




As firearms are mechanical tools, they are prone to malfunction just like any other tools and can discharge even when the trigger is not pulled. To avoid an accidental or negligent discharge, be sure to follow the above precautions. While you're here, have a look at the EasyShot shooting targets to safely and effectively practice precision shooting. Our paper shooting targets ensure your safety at all times.


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