Can Guns Discharge without Their Triggers Being Pulled?

Most new guns are designed in a way that provides some added safeguards to minimize risks such as negligent discharge. For this reason, a gun that’s properly maintained, especially if it was produced within the past decade or so, shouldn’t be able to easily discharge without pulling the trigger. That said, negligent discharge is still a possibility under certain circumstances. The firearms safety education professionals from Gun Safety Training Pros, the premier choice for firearms owners who want to take gun classes online, explain what you need to know about the potential for negligent discharge when a trigger isn’t pulled.

The Physics of Gun Firing

A bullet is made up of four basic parts: the primer, the propellant, the bullet, and the casing. When a gun is fired, the primer acts as a fuse and lights the propellant—and this is what contributes to the bullet’s acceleration. The bullet itself is what comes out of the barrel of the gun and heads toward the target.

The Firing Pin Block

You might be wondering about the issue of negligent discharge because of what you may have seen in movies or on TV shows. The truth is back in the “Old West,” it was very possible to make a gun negligently discharge by simply dropping or jostling it.

However, today, this is much less likely to happen, thanks to a safety feature known as a firing pin block. As the name implies, this device isolates the firing pin and prevents it from directly hitting the primer without pulling the trigger.

Most handguns manufactured today have firing pin blocks. The pin is designed to prevent negligent discharge even if a gun is dropped. In fact, the Gun Control Act of 1968 requires manufacturers to perform “drop tests” to reduce the risk of negligent discharge from random motion or pressure.

“Safer” Guns

As already mentioned, newer guns tend to be less likely to discharge negligently. Modern revolvers are often considered the safest guns when it comes to avoiding negligent discharge. This is because these guns have slide bars located between the firing pins and hammers.

Riskier” Guns

Some guns you can legally own may not have firing pin blocks. For instance, if you have an older handgun that’s been passed down through the family, it’s entirely possible it could discharge negligently if it’s dropped. This is also likely to be the case if you opt to purchase an older or antique gun. Also, “long guns” like rifles used for hunting and some guns used for precision shooting may not have safeties because they’re designed differently.

Avoiding Negligent Discharges

It’s possible for parts of a gun to wear out over time, especially if it’s used frequently. This is why it’s important to be mindful of basic gun safety and upkeep to further reduce the risk of a negligent discharge when the trigger isn’t pulled. Do this by:

• Regularly inspecting your gun, especially if it’s used often
• Doing a thorough cleaning once a twice a year
• Doing light cleanings on a more regular basis—usually after each use
• Having any worn or damaged parts fixed or replaced
• Properly storing your gun when it’s not being used

If you own any kind of firearm, your most important priority is knowing how to handle and use it safely. At Gun Safety Training Pros, our mission is to provide the finest firearms education available. If you’re looking for high-quality firearms training online, we’re the experienced pros you can trust. For more information, contact one of our knowledgeable team members today at

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