Compared to other species, we humans have always been at the cutting edge when it comes to the utilization of tools. Crows, elephants, dolphins, octopuses, chimpanzees and some other monkeys use tools in an effort to improve their chances of survival, to either find food or defend themselves from predators.
But we have been designing, building, and continuously upgrading our tools since time immemorial. We have become apex predators long ago, and some time in the 9th century, we learned to make an explosive concoction known as gunpowder.
It paved the way for what we refer to today as firearms. We’ve come a long way since, and we’re now at the point where almost every single firearm model that makes it out of the factories simply works.
But despite our technological progress, there are still guns out there that are more dangerous to the operator than whoever is on the receiving end of the barrel. Here’s my list of the Top 5 Dangerous Self Firing Firearms.
Table of Contents
The Remington 700 is the most common bolt action rifle in the world, as there are possibly more Remington 700 rifles in circulation than any other rifle of the same type in any country. And it’s even more prevalent in the U.S. of A than anywhere else.
The Remington 700 is a whole family of bolt action rifles manufactured by Remington Arms and was introduced back in 1962 as an update to the company’s M721 slash M722 slash M725 series which all came out in 1948.
Since its introduction, the Remington 700 has had a lot of different variants produced with varying specifications, materials, stock designs and calibers. These variants include the Model 700 ADL, the Model 700 BDL, the Model 700 CDL, the Model 700 Safari, the Model 700 SPS, et cetera.
Initially made for hunters, some variants of the Remington 700 have been adapted for use by both the military and law enforcement. The Remington 700’s military and police version is the M24 Sniper Weapon System, with its military designation given to it by the United States Army after its adoption as their standard issue sniper rifle in 1988.
Another version of this bolt action rifle is the M40 and it was the Marine Corps that gave it that designation when they purchased 700 Remington Model 40X rifles during the Vietnam War. The Model 40X was a variant of the Remington Model 700 designed for target shooting and varmint.
All military and police versions were built using the Remington 700’s action, and the fact that they’re still available to this day means they are mostly good rifles that have stood the test of time. But why are they on this list?
Well, it’s because all Remington 700 rifles manufactured up to 2014 have a trigger with a design defect that can cause some of them to have an accidental discharge when the safety is taken off with the gun’s chamber loaded. This does happen even if the operator’s trigger finger isn’t on the trigger.
There are reportedly only a small percentage of Remington 700s affected by this design defect, but more than a few people have already been killed. Thousands of customer complaints and lawsuits had been filed against big green but the company just swept all of those under the rug. This was until the company lost a landmark class action lawsuit where they were required to replace the defective triggers of some 7.5 million Remington 700 under a recall.
Remington Arms to this day denies that the triggers were defective, but it is one of the reasons the company has been in financial trouble for a while — they’ve had to pay hundreds of settlements out of court all related to this defective trigger.
If you have a Remington Model 700, check if there’s a letter V stamped on the trigger. If there is, that means your Model 700 is one of the rifles that Remington have fixed a long time ago. If there isn’t then you should take it to a competent gunsmith and have him install a Timney two stage Trigger with Safety.
Everyone these days knows what a Glock is. With very few exceptions, all Glocks are modern pistols with a steel slide and a polymer plastic frame that is designed to be thick to accommodate double stack magazines which give these handguns a high ammo capacity.
The Glock 17 carried by most law enforcement officers is lightweight but superbly powerful, able to empty its magazine with 18 rounds of 9mm in a little under nine seconds. It is robust and highly reliable as it is guaranteed to fire each time the bang switch is pulled.
And unlike traditional magazine fed pistol designs like the 1911 and the Browning Hi Power that have external manual safeties, Glocks don’t have a single external manual safety, which, depending on who you talk to, can mean the difference between a thug getting neutralized, or a CCW permit holder accidentally shooting himself or a bystander.
Most factory Glock pistols have a trigger pull that weighs anywhere from five to six pounds — half the pull of the first shot of almost all DA SA semi automatic handguns. This feature allows the operator to draw and shoot in one smooth motion without needing to mess with manual safeties.
The operator can fire quickly in the worst possible circumstances when getting that first shot off is of utmost importance. The lack of manual safety in such situations can be a life saver, and people in the law enforcement found this appealing.
Now I can hear some fanboys saying that even though Glock pistols don’t have an external manual safety, they incorporate three internal safeties designed to prevent accidental discharges if dropped or bumped.
The Glock’s only safety is its trigger blade safety which disengages the three internal safeties simultaneously when the trigger is pulled. And as long as the trigger isn’t pulled, the gun won’t shoot. Sound design, isn’t it? Yes, but there’s a little problem though. In high stress self defense situations, it can be difficult to keep your finger off the trigger.
And then there’s also the issue of having to pull the trigger to disassemble a Glock pistol. Indeed, there are cases of people who accidentally shot themselves or someone else because they totally forgot to drop the loaded mag before doing the disassembly.
Personally, I like carrying Glocks so I have nothing against it. But it doesn’t change the fact that, objectively speaking, Glock pistols are some of the most dangerous firearms in the world especially when whoever’s holding it doesn’t have a clue how its trigger safety works.
3: Taurus PT 24/7
This isn’t the first time we made a video about issues concerning reliability and safety that have plagued certain Taurus pistol models, especially ones that were produced before 2016 and have been discontinued a while back. One such pistol was the Taurus PT 24/7, and like all Taurus pistols, it was marketed as a really affordable polymer framed full size pistol.
The PT 24/7 had a street price of $350.00, which was a really good price for what it was — a striker fired handgun with second strike capability, a DA SA trigger, and a three position safety lever which also worked as a decocker.
Prior to its release, most DA SA pistols that used a decocker were steel framed hammer fired pistols that were much heavier. With the exception of the Walther P99, the PT 24/7 was unique and practically unheard of, especially considering that the Walther P99 was $200 more expensive, give or take.
In addition to its budget friendly price, some of the Taurus PT 24/7’s selling points include its fit and finish, pointability and great ergonomics. It had good balance and pointed naturally, and it also had a little palm swell and a nice checkering on the grip which made it a hundred times more comfortable to hold, aim and shoot than the Glock it was made to compete with, the full size Glock 17.
As a handgun with a D.A.S.A. trigger, when the Taurus PT 24/7 is cocked, it could be decocked using its external safety slash decocker. When decocked with a bullet chambered, the pistol’s trigger is in double action mode. The DA trigger pull was heavy as pulling it did two things: it would cock the striker to release it so it would strike the primer of the chambered cartridge, discharging the bullet.
The slide then ejects the brass, pulls a fresh cartridge from the mag and returns to battery, and the gun is back in single action mode. Whenever a chambered round has a hard primer and won’t go off, the trigger could just be pulled repeatedly until it ignites the primer, something all handguns with second strike capability are designed to do.
But that decocker, no matter how good it sounded, is the reason why the PT 24/7 is on this list. There are a lot of documented reports of that decocker randomly resulting in accidental discharges when it is engaged with a loaded chamber. If you have a Taurus PT 24/7, you should really think about getting rid of it.
2: Winchester Model 1911 SL
There were not a lot of semi automatic shotguns in circulation when Winchester introduced their Model 1911 SL in the year 1911. The SL in the Winchester Model 1911 SL stands for self loading, because it was Winchester’s first attempt to throw their hat into the auto loading shotgun ring. Designed to compete against the Browning Auto 5, Winchester’s Model 1911 SL initially looked promising but would inevitably fail due to its flawed design.
With available chamberings in 12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, and 28 gauge, there were approximately 83,000 of 1911 self loading shotguns made by Winchester. To this day, a lot of them continue to be available and can still be purchased at gun stores and gun shows across the U.S. If you’re looking to buy one, or if you’ve already purchased one, and you don’t know how dangerous these 1911 shotguns could be, then you should be really careful.
The root of all design problems of the 1911 self loading shotgun was Winchester’s mediocre attempt to imitate certain attributes of the Browning Auto 5 without infringing on any of John Browning’s patents. Browning had been very thorough when he filed all the patents on the Auto 5’s design, and one of the patented parts was its charging tab, which may sound trivial but we’ll get to in a bit.
To compete with the Auto 5 for real, the 1911 SL had to be designed like the Auto 5 — i.e. a long recoil action shotgun. The bolt and barrel are locked together when moving to the rear after a shell is fired. This ejects the spent shell which, on its way back to battery, will also automatically chamber a new cartridge from the magazine, prepping the weapon for another shot.
But the one big difference between the Auto 5 and the 1911 SL is how either shotgun is loaded. That patented charging tab on the bolt of the Auto 5 that I mentioned earlier, as trivial as it sounded, is a pretty important part which unfortunately for Winchester, is something they can’t use so as a work around, to charge the 1911 SL, the shooter had to compress the reciprocating barrel, which wasn’t easy to do.
Many owners of the Winchester 1911 SL instinctively had to rest the shotgun’s butt on the ground so they could use both hands to push down on the barrel, cycle the action and unload the gun. What usually ended up happening was the gun would discharge into the owner’s face, killing him in the process. This poorly designed way of cycling the action and its resulting accidental discharges which caused so many unnecessary deaths is how the shotgun earned its moniker “the widowmaker”.
I used to be one of the guys who loved the SIG P320. The US Military adopted it as their standard issue sidearm in 2017, giving it the military designations M17 and M18. It became wildly popular as a result, even after a video showing a P320 having an accidental discharge made the rounds online shortly after the US military’s adoption.
SIG P320 detractors and fans alike set out to determine the root cause of the accidental discharges and not too long later, it was discovered that when both the handgun’s frame and slide hit a hard surface at a 30 degree angle from a certain drop height, the inertia from the drop pushed the trigger rearward which in turn resulted in an accidental discharge.
The trigger’s mass turned out to be a little too heavy, and it resulted in a lawsuit being filed in 2018, which ended in a class action settlement in early 2020. SIG Sauer issued a recall of sorts called the Voluntary Upgrade Program to fix the issue. All SIG P320 owners are eligible for the program and upon sending in their pistol, SIG Sauer will install a striker, a sear, and a trigger all with a reduced physical weight while adding a mechanical disconnector.
But to this day, cases of the SIG Sauer P320 having accidental discharges continue to surface online, a huge lot of which are well documented within law enforcement circles. Most police departments opt not to make their complaints on the SIG P320 public, but those that do make it out online do confirm there may be inherent problems with the design that cannot be alleviated by SIG Sauer’s Voluntary Upgrade Program.
Case in point, the Wyoming Highway Patrol quit issuing its troopers Sig Sauer P320 pistols some time in 2020 after one of the weapons accidentally discharged. Troopers lost confidence in their standard issue SIG Sauer P320 after one patrolman’s sidearm had an accidental discharge. No one was hurt, but not all police departments are as fortunate.
Just a few months ago, a Milwaukee police officers’ union filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging that the department’s standard issue sidearm, the SIG P320, can discharge without the trigger being pulled.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an officer named Adam Maritato, who was shot in the leg with a fellow officer’s SIG P320 two years ago during a struggle with a suspect. The plaintiffs say the incident is just one of at least three cases in which a Milwaukee Police officer was injured by a SIG Sauer P320’s accidental discharge without the trigger being pulled.
And that’s all for this video. I’m sure you know of other firearms that are also dangerous. If you feel like they should have been included in this video, let me know by commenting down below.