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UK Armed Forces Unintentional Firearm Injuries
  1. Major Tim Stansfield, ST3 General Surgery1 and
  2. G Rushforth, UK Med Group1
  1. 1OP TELIC 11, BFPO 641
  1. Queen Margaret Hospital, Whitefield Road, Dunfermline, Fife, KY12 0SU 07833 514290 timstansfield{at}


Objectives To report on the incidence of unintentional firearm discharge and injury across the UK Armed Forces and present several cases of this wounding phenomenon.

Method Munitions Incidents and Defects (MID) Cell data on UK Military Negligent Discharges and unintentional firearm injuries from 01 Jan 03 to 31 Dec 07 was categorised according to cause of injury, wound, service affiliation, incident context and weapon type. The injuries of three patients are described.

Results Over the 5 year period there were 1158 Unintentional firearm discharges, forty three (4%) of which resulted in injury. Fifty five military personnel sustained unintentional firearm injuries during the review period, more than half of which were gunshot wounds and this included one fatality. The Regular Army suffers an average of 7.7 unintentional firearm injuries per 100 000 Regular Army person years.

Conclusion Unintentional firearm injury is well recognised across the civilian and police sectors worldwide. Despite the recent tempo of high grade training and operations that currently engage UK Armed Forces this form of injury remains uncommon. We hope to facilitate discussion with the chain of command to manage the risk of these injuries.

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