Thursday, May 05, 2016

TX: School Shooting was Done with Single Shot Derringer

On 2 May, 2016, a 15-Year-Old student shot himself, accidentally, at Kimball High school in Dallas.  He dropped the pistol after the shooting. Another student took a picture of the dropped pistol, which made its way onto numerous social media. The pistol had been carried in a front pocket.  It was reported that the bullet went through the student's hand and across the top of his leg.  It was not clear if it penetrated the skin of the leg.  No one else was hit.  From
DALLAS - A student was taken to the hospital Monday morning after shooting himself at Kimball High School in Dallas.

Dallas ISD said the student “inadvertently shot himself with a single-shot revolver at the end of first period.” He went to the hospital by ground ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries.
 From the
A 15-year-old student accidentally shot himself in the hand and leg in a Dallas classroom after bringing a loaded .22 caliber pistol to school on Monday.
From the picture and the dailymail ID of the caliber, the pistol is clearly *not* a single shot revolver (a contradiction in terms), but most likely an IAR Butler copy of the Colt #4 derringer, chambered in .22 short.  Here is a YouTube video of the IAR Butler being demonstrated.

 Link to video of IAR Butler copy of Colt #4 derringer

 I believe the derringer to be the Butler copy because they were quite common.  The poor resolution of the the social media makes absolute identification difficult, but the hammer shape and the color of the frame makes the Butler the likely candidate.

Without more details, we cannot be certain how the accident happened.

A likely scenario is that the young man was fooling with the pistol in his pocket, and had cocked it.  Once cocked, he decided to uncock it, but attempted to do so while it was in his pocket, to avoid detection.  He likely used his off hand to steady the pistol while he activated the trigger while attempting the uncock.  Then he lost control of the hammer, and the pistol discharged, the bullet penetrating his off hand and injuring his leg.

Whether more details will be released that might confirm the above speculation, is uncertain.

Copies of Colt #4 derringers are still offered in percussion kits in .31 caliber.  They are legally sold through the mail.  At least some of them have been converted to .22 rimfire through the use of a barrel insert.  The converted pistols do not have an extractor  for fired cartridges, so a rod is used to extract the fired cases. 

A common problem with the pistols was main spring breakage.  I saw one pistol where the owner had substituted a rubber band to power the hammer.  He reported that it worked satisfactorily.

 ©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch  


Anonymous said...

I think it is a complete misidentification. Look at the barrel hold down screw, then look at the position of the hammer and the shape of the hammer and the brass frame. It looks to me like a black power Ace from FIE. and is probably a 36 caliber, black powder cap lock. I used to have three of them. In the picture it appears to me the hammer is striking on top of the barrel. where the cap lock nipple would be. whom ever called it a 22 caliber first is wrong. as far as I know ace's come in 36 and 44 caliber. the colt replica strikes the round inline with the back of the barrel. inline with the bore. the cap lock is a muzzle loader. I did not see anything to allow the barrel to be released to reload a rim fire. I would ask you to look at the picture again.

Wireless.Phil said...

Daily Mail link broken.

Dean Weingarten said...

The Daily Mail link should be fixed now.

It could be a percussion version. The picture is fuzzy, and the hammer looks more like a percussion version. The Daily mail reported it as .22 caliber, but they have made mistakes before.

Anonymous said...

Very few reporters know the difference. If you want to see them get weak in the knees just let them see a gun. most of them are anti gun. I'm beginning to think that being an air head is a requirement to be a reporter.