No, there is no such thing as an “accidental discharge”

Let’s lay out a scenario.

A firearm owner decides they want a different trigger on their Glock 34. So they purchase the parts and attempt the installation themselves. Thinking they got it right. During drills, the firearm is misfiring. Then when they holster the firearm with a round chambered, the firearm discharges in the holster.

Accidental discharge? KR Training would like you to think so. The scenario above was reproduced from their description:

The student who experienced the accidental discharge was using a Gen 4 Glock 34 with an aftermarket trigger installed (Pyramid Trigger) and an OWB paddle holster. During the drill, he had several misfires occur, which he cleared and continued with the drill. When he holstered, with finger off the trigger, the pistol discharged in the holster.

There’s a reason many of us say “there is no such thing as an accidental discharge, only negligent discharges”. If a firearm goes off on its own with no manipulation of the trigger, something about the firearm is defective. In the above scenario, it’s the trigger assembly.

If a firearm discharges without any manipulation of the trigger, someone is to blame for that. If the firearm is brand new and such a discharge occurs when the owner is putting the first magazines through it, the negligence is on the part of the manufacturer. If it’s used, then it’ll depend on the chain of custody for the firearm to determine who should have known the firearm was defective – e.g. the prior owner, the shop trying to sell it, etc. And during continued ownership, if the firearm malfunctions, it’s the owner’s liability for failure to properly maintain it.

Accident means there is no one to blame.

But there is ALWAYS someone to blame when a firearm malfunctions and discharges, whether the trigger is manipulated or not. In the above scenario, that would be the firearm owner. If a gun armorer performed the trigger swap, liability would rest with them.

And that there is always someone to blame is why we say “there is no such thing as an accidental discharge”.