According to IDF data, in 2016 there were 66 weapon safety incidents, in 2017 the number of those incidents dropped to 46, and since the beginning of 2018, only 11 incidents have been reported, according to Makor Rishon.
One of the most important steps the army has taken to reduce the number of weapons accidents is the introduction of the Mek-Porek, an orange, L-shaped piece of plastic that fits into the rifle’s chamber and prevents a bullet from being fired by accident. In 2014, the IDF issued an order forbidding moving with weapons without this plastic device.
“This is a means whose only function is to give an indication of whether there is a bullet in the chamber or not,” a senior infantry officer told Makor Rishon. The cost of the device is low, and it is pulled out as soon as the weapon is cocked, thus not delaying soldiers’ quick response when they encounter a threat.
According to the IDF order, the Mek-Porek may be removed from the weapon only during training with live fire, operational activity, or in specific sectors where it was decided that the device need not be used.
Bullets have been fired unintentionally when the weapon is being unloaded, cleaned or as a result of recruits’ horsing around.
“We prefer not to use the term ‘playing with weapons,’ but to call it ‘weapon delinquency’ instead,” the infantry officer said. “It emphasizes the Army’s position that this is a violation for all intents and purposes. Anyone who messes with their weapon needless is a criminal.”
“We believe that everything can be prevented,” the officer stressed. “There has been a decrease in incidents, but even if only one person is killed in a year, we won’t sleep quietly at night.”
The army also prohibits soldiers from carrying their weapons with a loaded magazines during non-operational periods.
Soldiers are also encouraged to report on their bunkmates who use their weapons for “fun,” such as games of Russian Roulette.