It is inevitable. If you continue to shoot, you will experience a malfunction sooner or later. Even when they occur, you can still get back in the fight rather efficiently if you know how to clear the three most common types of malfunctions.
- Misfire – the click when you pull the trigger
- Stove pipe – failure to eject
- Double feed – the mother of all malfunctions
In the video below, you will learn how to clear each of these malfunctions. I encourage all to practice these techniques. These can be practiced at home with the purchase of “dummy rounds” or “snap caps” to set up the different types of malfunctions. NEVER practice these techniques with live ammo unless you are at the range and comfortable doing so.
Clint Smith, one of the best trainers in the business, demonstrates 3 common types of malfunctions, how to set them up with your weapon and how to clear them efficiently.
- Take special notice or his muzzle direction during the entire time of clearing malfunctions. Where was it pointed? Down range. Always at the bad guys! When doing these drills, always take note of your muzzle discipline and make corrections if needed.
- Also notice where his trigger finger is. During the entire time of clearing his weapon, his finger comes out of the trigger guard and goes straight. His finger does not re-engage the trigger until after he is done clearing the malfunction and is back on target. ALWAYS know where your finger is.
A shooter can avoid malfunctions by:
- Buying quality ammunition from reliable sources. If you reload your own ammo, use a sizing gauge to confirm all your rounds are consistent and follow recommend powder measure for your caliber and bullet type.
- When you seat the magazine into your semi-auto handgun, do so firmly.
- When releasing the slide during loading or reloading, do NOT slow it by “riding” it forward. Pull the slide back all the way and let it fly. It’s the momentum of the slide that seats the cartridge properly and ensures the slide is in battery.
- If you have been shooting a lot or using your handgun in a wet, dirty or dusty environment, be sure to give it a periodic, proper wipe down and then re-lubricate it. This does not replace correct cleaning of the firearm after a shooting session, but it involves standard field disassembly, wiping and brushing down all the components and lubricating them before reassembly.
- When shooting, be sure to maintain a proper grip. A weak grip may not allow the slide to travel the full length during recoil.
Clear & Present: 3 Must-Know Malfunction-Clearance Drills
Clearing Semi-Auto Gun Malfunctions