Canadian Special Operations Forces Command statement on the Summary Investigation into a small arms weapons incident that occurred on November 5, 2020

Statement

June 30, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Summary Investigation into the unintended discharge of a holstered pistol during a Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) training event on November 5, 2020 is complete.

The investigation found that the procurement process and execution of the training event were not contributing factors to the incident, and that no technical failure occurred within the pistol. The pistol functioned as per the requirements as demonstrated by the weapons technical experts who trialed thousands of rounds without a reoccurrence. The probability of this same incident reoccurring is assessed to be extremely low.

The investigation concluded the primary probable cause of the incident was due to a partial depression of the trigger by a foreign object combined with simultaneous movement of the slide against the pistol frame that then allowed a round to be fired whilst the pistol was still holstered. The investigation also determined that the previously issued holster employed at the time had not been modified for the new pistol. While the investigation concluded the use of a holster not specifically designed for the new weapon was found to be a contributing factor, it determined the use of any other holster would not necessarily have prevented the incident.

The investigation made several recommendations in the areas of further improvements to the process when procuring leading-edge equipment, fielding improvements and weapon system modification.

Central to the decision on the way forward is ensuring our members’ utmost confidence in the effectiveness and safety of their equipment and weapons. As such, the Command assembled a working group consisting of operators, weapons experts and procurement specialists to develop and assess a number of options.

CANSOFCOM leadership has directed a safety/risk assessment be conducted by a third party before taking a final decision on a way forward. This safety/risk assessment will take a number of months to complete.

Contacts

Media Relations Office
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333
Email: mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

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