Malfunction Clearing


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allaroundhunter
December 4, 2012, 01:33 AM
Okay, you are doing defensive training with a handgun with a magazine capacity of 15 and the following occurs:

You pull the trigger and hear a "click". You think that you have fired about 10 rounds from the current magazine.


What course of action do you use to get the gun firing again? For your response use the manual of arms that you wish, preferably that of the gun that you use for defense.



I will go into why I am asking this after a few posts come in.

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CZ57
December 4, 2012, 01:41 AM
I take it you're talking about SA/DA pistols. If 10 jumped to mind on the round count after the click, I would use a DA pull for a second strike on the primer. If it's a SA or striker fired pistol, Tap, Rack, Bang. ;)

RetiredUSNChief
December 4, 2012, 02:11 AM
A "click" signifies to me that this is a misfire and not a squib.

For simple target shooting, all the training I ever had with this involved waiting about 30 seconds with the gun still pointed in a safe direction. This is to see if there is a delay in firing, so don't shirk this time delay.

After 30 seconds, and while still maintaining the weapon pointed in a safe direction, eject the failed round.

Personally, I would unload the weapon and inspect it for the reason(s) why it misfired. It may be the ammunition or the pistol...usually an inspection of the cartridge primer will give you a good clue.

Sometimes you may find that, for whatever reason, the weapon did not chamber a round. And sometimes you may find that your count on the actual number of shots fired is woefully inaccurate and the gun slide simply didn't lock back on the last shot.


Now, I suppose a key point here is your pointing out that this is "defensive training" with the handgun. Meaning, the training is supposed to be with some sort of realistic defensive scenario, not just paper-punching target shooting.

Personally in this scenario, if it's a double action pistol, pull the trigger again while maintaining your site target.

I've seen some defensive training still having you wait 30 seconds. Tap the magazine to verify it's fully seated. Roll the gun to the right about 90 degrees. Rack the slide to eject the round and chamber another. Immediately access your target again.

Some defensive training does not have you waiting the 30 seconds...because in a real defensive scenario, you cannot afford that time. So you train like you fight so you will fight like you train.

I'll leave it up to discussion here as to other recommendations.

thefish
December 4, 2012, 02:18 AM
Okay, you are doing defensive training with a handgun with a magazine capacity of 15 and the following occurs:

You pull the trigger and hear a "click". You think that you have fired about 10 rounds from the current magazine.


What course of action do you use to get the gun firing again?



I will go into why I am asking this after a few posts come in.
We are assuming that:
1. The 15 round mag was loaded to capacity?
2. the slide on this does indeed lock back on the last shot?
3. This is a gun we are familiar with it's operation?

If so, I'd go with Chief so far. 2nd pull, then rerack.

allaroundhunter
December 4, 2012, 02:24 AM
We are assuming that:
1. The 15 round mag was loaded to capacity?
2. the slide on this does indeed lock back on the last shot?
3. This is a gun we are familiar with it's operation?

Assume:
1) That the magazine was loaded to capacity
2) The firearm is one that you are familiar with (so if your firearm typically locks back on an empty mag, then yes)

Also remember, I did not say you know you fired exactly 10 rounds. "You think you have fired about 10 rounds".

thefish
December 4, 2012, 02:27 AM
OK, so if this is truly a defesive situation, I would *edit*, swipe safety, pull again. If no fire, move, tap, rack, and shoot again.

Or if carying another mag, move and reload.

Skylerbone
December 4, 2012, 02:30 AM
Depends on the situation. There may be time to wait, tap rack, use the pistol as as a striking tool, evade with the muzzle on target or reach for a back-up gun. A lot to consider in a split-second or so. I was always taught to wait and probably do not practice malfunction tests as rigorously as I should.

mljdeckard
December 4, 2012, 02:34 AM
I tend to stick with the advice contained in the following clip. Your main focus should be on training how you fight. I suppose if I carried a DA gun I might get in the habit of a second trigger pull. I just don't see it happening very often that if the firing pin hits the primer once, and it doesn't detonate, and you hit the same primer again with the same pin in the same spot, it WILL. I really think it's better to jump to the rack. Note that Clint puts the emphasis on not overthinking it. It's not like you're going to have time during a gunfight to go through a multi-tiered process to decide WHICH action you want to take. He also places the emphasis on making sure that through the process you follow all safety rules.

I feel like I should add, the most likely reason for a malfunction is that someone or something nudged that mag release. Tap, rack, bang.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfyULpEhmug

VINTAGE-SLOTCARS
December 4, 2012, 03:10 AM
Tap/rack/safety off/ bang

Shawn Dodson
December 4, 2012, 07:00 AM
I use a nondiagnostic approach to clearing malfunctions. It's faster than examining the pistol and attempting to diagnose the problem and then making a decision about which technique I should use to clear the specific problem. I perform the following immediate actions in the order listed:


Tap, Roll & Rack. (This immediate action will clear the majority of malfunctions. In addition I "roll" the pistol to the right about 90-degrees simultaneously when I rack the slide so I can use centrifugal force and gravity to help clear the action.)

If Tap, Roll & Rack doesn't get the gun running then I immediately attempt to perform a Combat Reload.

If, while attempting to perform the Combat Reload, I can't put the fresh magazine in the magazine well, then I immediately place it between the ring & pinky fingers of my firing hand, lock the slide open, rip the "depleted" magazine out of the gun, rack the slide quickly three times, then finish the Combat Reload.


I can perform these immediate actions in total darkness without the need to look at the pistol. I can also perform them while on the move (such as moving to create distance, moving to cover, or just moving to make myself a moving target, and not have to look at the gun while I'm moving.

Plan2Live
December 4, 2012, 07:07 AM
Tap/rack/safety off/ bang Oh, I hope the threat hasn't stopped by the time you get to bang. How about Tap-Rack-Ready and if the threat still exists then bang.

Back to the OP, are we assuming we have another 15 round mag at our disposal? If so, wouldn't it be more prudent to do a mag change if the top 2/3rds have been expended?

My biggest question is why have you fired 10 rounds and still having to fight? Need more practice? :what:

Shawn Dodson
December 4, 2012, 07:14 AM
I would use a DA pull for a second strike on the primer. If it's a SA or striker fired pistol, Tap, Rack, Bang.

I wouldn't bother with two different techniques because it increases your decision-making under stress and the chance you'll make the wrong decision.

I suggest Tap/Rack for both pistols. Pressing the trigger a second time when the problem won't be solved by a second strike doesn't get the gun running as quickly as immediately performing Tap/Rack. Remember, Tap/Rack solves MANY problems. Whereas pressing the trigger a second time may solve ONE problem.

Shawn Dodson
December 4, 2012, 07:20 AM
Oh, I hope the threat hasn't stopped by the time you get to bang. How about Tap-Rack-Ready and if the threat still exists then bang.

Just eliminate "bang" altogether. The immediate action is "Tap/Rack" (or for a pistol with slide mounted manual safety "Tap/Rack/Safety Off"). It takes about a second to perform when you've instilled it as a conditioned response.

Double Vision
December 4, 2012, 07:59 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfyULpEhmug


That was a good lesson! "Don't IBM it" - I love it.

Sam1911
December 4, 2012, 08:11 AM
Shawn's got it!

1) Tap, Rack, (reassess the threat), "BANG" as necessary.
2) If the "Rack" step does not clear the empty case (misnamed "double-feed" jam), lock back the slide, rip the mag, rack to clear, insert fresh mag, rack slide, reassess the threat, etc.

1911 guy
December 4, 2012, 09:08 AM
Tap, Rack (assess), Bang

If that fails,

Rip, Strip, Reload

BSA1
December 4, 2012, 09:35 AM
It just so happened I had this happen to me several times at the range yesterday. Since I demand my firearms used for SD/HD go bang every time I pull the trigger my main concern was why it occurred, not what to do after it occurred.

When my gun went click I kept the gun pointed down range for several seconds in case it was a hangfire. I then ejected the round and inspected the primer. I then rechambered and fired it a second time.

I didn't do a second hammer strike without inspecting the offending round first as safety and preventing damage to the gun are my primary concerns. Until I positivity identify the cause of the ftf's (which I am focusing on a weak hammer spring for now) I will not use this gun.

I know some owners consider failures to feed/fire/eject as part of the nature of the beast with semi-autos. IMHO a properly tuned semi-auto matched to ammo that has proven reliable in it should be as reliable as a revolver.

I suspect this is not the answer you are looking for but I put safety and avoiding damage to my gun as my top priorities.

Sam1911
December 4, 2012, 09:51 AM
I suspect this is not the answer you are looking for but I put safety and avoiding damage to my gun as my top priorities.
And that's a very tricky issue. When shooting in a defensive situation, safety and avoiding damage to your gun are clearly not at all your top priorities.

And you should certainly "train like you fight" and vice-versa.

However, there is often a reluctance to risk the damage from firing a round after a deep-seated squib so that can be a distraction from realistically effective training.

Obviously, if in a gun fight you experience a malfunction, the LAST thing you want to be doing is standing there peering at your gun wondering exactly why it didn't go "BANG."

otasan56
December 4, 2012, 09:54 AM
I'd go with post #2.

The Lone Haranguer
December 4, 2012, 11:16 AM
There are several scenarios where you might get a click instead of a bang, not all of them involving failure to fire the cartridge in the chamber. There may not be a cartridge in the chamber, for example. In the middle of a gunfight you don't have time to diagnose what happened. So immediately go to the "Tap-Rack-Assess-Bang If Necessary" drill. Tap the magazine by striking it with the heel of your hand, to be sure it is still seated. (A loose magazine might have caused a misfeed.) Rack the slide, to (hopefully) feed a new cartridge. Assess the situation (quickly!). Firing the gun should be a conscious decision for every shot, not automatic or reflexive. Bang (fire again) if the situation still warrants it. Unless the gun is actually empty or has suffered a mechanical failure, this drill will take care of everything but a failure to extract. If it still fails to fire after all of this, reload the gun. Of all the arguments to carry a spare, loaded magazine, this is near the top, second only to actually running out of ammo.

The Lone Haranguer
December 4, 2012, 11:27 AM
RetiredUSNChief said:
After 30 seconds, and while still maintaining the weapon pointed in a safe direction, eject the failed round.
You're not wrong, but in this case not right either. This being a gunfight, or at least realistic training for one, there is no time for that. Hold a hot potato in your hand for 30 seconds and see how long that really is. :p

ATLDave
December 4, 2012, 11:33 AM
I just don't see it happening very often that if the firing pin hits the primer once, and it doesn't detonate, and you hit the same primer again with the same pin in the same spot, it WILL.

Happens a decent amount of the time with reloads if the primer isn't seated properly. Most of the force of the first strike goes into seating the primer deeper, while the second strike deforms it enough to ignite.

Never seen it happen with factory ammo.

The Lone Haranguer
December 4, 2012, 11:43 AM
The OP doesn't specify what kind of gun is being used. Maybe it's a design that doesn't allow "second strikes." Any gun using a pretensioned striker or hammer, or a single-action, will just become inert. Now, instead of trying to get back in the action, valuable time has been wasted.

allaroundhunter
December 4, 2012, 04:47 PM
Okay, with multiple responses, I will go ahead and give the rest of my story.

I was ROing at a LE match, and we had several accomplished trainers there as well. Anyways, we had two (SWAT) officers have this problem, and they responded just as most as you have said, and as their training dictated - tap, rack, *reassess*, bang. [They were using Glock 22s]

However, for one of the officers, all he got was another click and he attempted the same drill which didn't solve the problem (his mag was empty and was not engaging the slide stop).

The second officer was able to get his gun running again, but only for 1 more round until he was out of ammo. When his slide locked back, he hesitated because his mind was still in the malfunction-clearance mode and it took him an extra second to realize that he needed to change magazines.

After seeing this, one of the instructors talked with them, and when asked how many rounds they thought they had fired before their guns malfunctioned, both of them guessed "10 or so".


The instructor then said when he teaches classes, he (obviously) teaches the tap, rack, bang; but he also teaches that if you get a *click* and you know that you have fired the majority of rounds from your magazine to skip the 'tap, rack, bang', and instead eject the mag, reload a fresh one, and rack the slide. He had two reasons for this:

1. Your magazine is dry and has failed to engage the slide stop - 'tap, rack, bang' will not get you a good round no matter how many times you do it on an empty mag.

2. You have a dud round and 'tap, rack, bang' will get you up and running again, but only for a few rounds at most at which time you will have to reload and be vulnerable again.


After thinking about this, I agree with him that it has merit, but I also see its flaws.

One flaw would be that while some people are very fast at changing magazines, it will most always still be slower than a 'tap, rack, bang'. And if that is all you need to finish the fight and stop the threat, then wasting the extra tenths of a second to reload a fresh mag could be costly.

Anyone here have any thoughts on the matter?

Sam1911
December 4, 2012, 05:03 PM
That is a tricky one. Guns fail to slide-lock on an empty mag (usually because of a fouled grip, occasionally because of a bad mag or slide-stop) a lot more often than they fail to fire a cartridge they've properly chambered.

Of course, tap, rack, (reassess) ... usually causes the slide to lock back if your mag is empty (as you now have your support-side thumb off the slide-release lever) and that's your cue to grab the spare mag.

If your brain happens to warn you that you've fired "more than a few", perhaps you'll go right for the spare mag first, but I don't see many folks who do. And I think most of those I've seen do so are folks who are pretty used to slides not locking back on empty mags!

9mmepiphany
December 4, 2012, 05:09 PM
Sorry to come in late on this.

I start with a Tap, Rack Bang. If it doesn't go bang a second time, I go to an emergency reload.

I've done it enough that I know I'm hitting the bottom of the mag hard enough during the tap to lock it in (if it is going to at all) and the only reason it wouldn't go bang the second time is that either the mag is empty or the mag just isn't feeding. In either case, a new mag is needed.

allaroundhunter
December 4, 2012, 05:12 PM
Sam, that's what I was thinking, and maybe this belongs more in ST&T?

It really did get me thinking, and again, I see pros and cons of it which make it hard to decide whether to integrate it into training or not. As you said, I have slides fail to lock back on an empty mag more often than I have dud rounds (or a failure to pick up a round from the mag), so a large part of me feels like training for this type of situation is something I should make more regular.

The Lone Haranguer
December 4, 2012, 05:14 PM
However, for one of the officers, all he got was another click and he attempted the same drill which didn't solve the problem (his mag was empty and was not engaging the slide stop).

He should not have attempted the drill again when it failed to work the first time, but gone straight to his reload. It is also possible that he was "short stroking" the slide to start with, thereby (assuming there was an empty mag in the gun) preventing slide lock, or causing the next round in the mag (if there was one) to not strip off. The gun must be grasped hard and the slide slammed back and forth.

Skribs
December 4, 2012, 05:15 PM
I was amazed when I went to my first IDPA match how fast one guy went from CLICK to BANG (with a tap-rack in the middle) when his gun misfired. BANG - CLICK - tap-rack - BANG was faster than some people (probably me included) were doing BANG-BANG.

allaroundhunter
December 4, 2012, 05:18 PM
He should not have attempted the drill again when it failed to work the first time, but gone straight to his reload. It is also possible that he was "short stroking" the slide to start with, thereby (assuming there was an empty mag in the gun) preventing slide lock.

No you're right, he should not have tried it again. And he was not short stroking it, his magazine was empty and was not engaging the slide stop. His problem was that he needed a new magazine spring because he continued to have this problem (and we determined that his grip was not holding the slide stop down).

Sam1911
December 4, 2012, 05:28 PM
I was amazed when I went to my first IDPA match how fast one guy went from CLICK to BANG (with a tap-rack in the middle) when his gun misfired. BANG - CLICK - tap-rack - BANG was faster than some people (probably me included) were doing BANG-BANG.

I used to shoot in a PPC league with an older gentleman who had a bit of trouble negotiating the stairs down to the range, wore thick glasses and two industrial-strength hearing aids, and had significant hand tremors.

Yet once as I was RO on the line I caught him have a failure with his Glock. He "T-R-B'd" so fast I would have missed it had I blinked. It was like slight of hand.

You can really tell someone who's got serious time behind a pistol.

Shawn Dodson
December 4, 2012, 07:11 PM
The instructor then said when he teaches classes, he (obviously) teaches the tap, rack, bang; but he also teaches that if you get a *click* and you know that you have fired the majority of rounds from your magazine to skip the 'tap, rack, bang', and instead eject the mag, reload a fresh one, and rack the slide.

The first flaw is that it assumes the shooter will detect that his pistol went "click". The mostly likely scenario is the shooter merely realized that the pistol didn't fire when he pressed the trigger.

The second flaw is that the shooter will become preoccupied with an equipment problem and lose situation awareness of the more important tactical problem, which is fluid. Tap, Roll & Rack is immediately performed as a conditioned response whenever the gun fails to fire. It doesn't suck the shooter's attention into the pistol. If Tap, Roll & Rack fails then the shooter's mind is free to immediately decide what to do to keep from being shot, stabbed, beaten, etc., which may be more important at the moment than getting the gun running.

The third flaw is it unnecessarily increases decision-making.

His problem was that he needed a new magazine spring... The magazine follower could also be chipped where it engages the slide lock. This usually happens when an empty magazine is slammed into the magazine well.

CZ57
December 4, 2012, 09:23 PM
I suggest Tap/Rack for both pistols. Pressing the trigger a second time when the problem won't be solved by a second strike doesn't get the gun running as quickly as immediately performing Tap/Rack. Remember, Tap/Rack solves MANY problems. Whereas pressing the trigger a second time may solve ONE problem.

So you think it's faster to tap/rack then it is to pull the trigger through for a second strike and that's assuming a second strike won't correct the issue? In 33 years of shooting handguns, every time I've heard a pistol go click it was because of a high seated primer and the first strike of the hammer merely seats the primer to the correct depth and the second strike ignites the primer every time I've had it happen. I think it's fair to say that factory defense ammo is ultra reliable and the problem you're most likely to encounter with it is a high seated primer. Your finger is already on the trigger so how can it be quicker to make the assessment for tap/rack and then execute it which will require you to first release your left hand from your two handed grip and tap the magazine?

Thanks for the free suggestion but I think I'll stick with what actual experience has taught me. IMO it is much quicker to pull the trigger a second time when training with SA/DA and in my experience the second strike has made things right. If it didn't, you've only lost a second and can then go to tap/rack. ;)

EBK
December 4, 2012, 09:34 PM
Simple answer: Tap rack attempt it will or it wont fire. if it doesnt fire unload (racking the slide a few times to empty the chamber) and reload. This goes for both DA and SA guns.

I dont care why it didnt work in that situation I only care that it starts working again.

Also See this vid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfyULpEhmug

RetiredUSNChief
December 4, 2012, 09:35 PM
RetiredUSNChief said:

You're not wrong, but in this case not right either. This being a gunfight, or at least realistic training for one, there is no time for that. Hold a hot potato in your hand for 30 seconds and see how long that really is. :p

Heh! I know exactly what you're talking about.

Take another look at my answer...I covered two scenarios: target shooting and defensive shooting. Under defensive shooting, I acknowledged that the 30 second wait is not something you can afford to do. But I've seen SOME trainers still incorporating a wait time.

Would I wait in a defensive scenario? Absolutely not. The likelihood of a misfire actually going off in a delayed scenario is very slim. And even if it did go off after I ejected it, the likelihood that I would be injured by a cartridge going off outside the gun is also very slim.

;)

RetiredUSNChief
December 4, 2012, 09:49 PM
The instructor then said when he teaches classes, he (obviously) teaches the tap, rack, bang; but he also teaches that if you get a *click* and you know that you have fired the majority of rounds from your magazine to skip the 'tap, rack, bang', and instead eject the mag, reload a fresh one, and rack the slide.

Anyone here have any thoughts on the matter?


This is food for thought. I'll have to sit down and play it out in my mind a little bit, perhaps mime the actions a few times to see how this works out.

Many people are all about speed, thinking returning the gun to service the fastest way possible is the best way. This is true...but the circumstances have to permit the course of action you wish to take.

For example, suppose you were on your last magazine. This is no longer an option.

I guess I'm saying that this method should be one of the tools in your box of tools, ready to be appropriately selected and used when the time comes. No one tool will work best (if at all) under all circumstances.

And, like any other tool, you should become proficient at it.

Worthy of note is that the instructor apparently recognizes situational demands...he had a caveat wherein he said "...and you know that you have fired the majority of rounds from your magazine..."


This has been are really good, thought provoking posting. Thanks!

:):)

Infidel4life11
December 4, 2012, 11:59 PM
Tap/rack.

Shawn Dodson
December 5, 2012, 08:06 AM
So you think it's faster to tap/rack then it is to pull the trigger through for a second strike and that's assuming a second strike won't correct the issue?

The speed comes by short-circuiting your OODA Loop. The fewer decisions you have to make the faster you perform. When you press the trigger and your gun doesn't fire then immediately performing Tap/Rack will solve a greater number of malfunctions with one quick and simple immediate action. When you train so that Tap/Rack is an intuitive conditioned first response to ANY stoppage you short circuit your OODA Loop from Observe-Orient-Decide-Act to Observe-Act. You've cut out the need to "Orient and Decide" which makes you faster.

Having more choices (should I Tap/Rack or press the trigger again?) complicates your decision-making and when the gun fails to fire you'll pause to Observe-Orient-Decide-Act in order to choose the "correct" action in attempt to clear the stoppage. Under stress this seeming simple decision can cause you to hesitate with indecision because you're trying to figure out what to do. The gun didn't fire, what should I do? I see it all the time. You're an easy target the longer you stand there trying to figure out what to do next.

mljdeckard
December 5, 2012, 12:05 PM
^^I concur completely.

CZ57
December 6, 2012, 01:35 AM
I believe training is the key with any system. For me, if I carried a SA/DA, I would train by immediately following a "Click" with a second pull DA, then tap/rack if no joy.

There is one potential problem so far unmentioned. When executing an immediate tap/rack after a "Click" the "Bang" can be a serious problem in the unfortunate event that the load were a squib. In the haste to get another round chambered a squib would most likely go undetected sending the next bullet into a blocked bore. ;)

Jim Watson
December 6, 2012, 01:56 AM
The fewer decisions you have to make the faster you perform.

Agreed. Which is why I say to skip the Tap Rack and go straight to the reload.
Sure, the tap rack fixes a lot of things, but a fresh magazine with all fresh cartridges fixes more things. If you worry about gun breakage that would invalidate a reload, then you need a spare gun.

rswartsell
December 6, 2012, 01:59 AM
As all good teachers teach, tap, rack, bang.

Sheepdog1968
December 6, 2012, 04:01 AM
If a tap and rack doesn't fix it, I would most likely just draw a second pistol. Yes, you should practice a type 3 malfunction but I'm guessing it likely just quicker to draw a second pistol if tap and rack doesn't get the job done.

VAPOPO
December 6, 2012, 05:50 AM
Dont waste time attempting to pull the trigger the second time tap the base of the mag to make sure it is seated, rack the slide to clear the offending round and continue firing. If you inadvertantly hit the mag release and have an empty chamber pulling the trigger twice is not going to help you in the least.

If a tap and rack doesn't fix it, I would most likely just draw a second pistol. Yes, you should practice a type 3 malfunction but I'm guessing it likely just quicker to draw a second pistol if tap and rack doesn't get the job done. (Wrong rip the offending mag out of your pistol and either discard it or place it in your front pocket if you think you are going to need the extra rounds and perform a speed reload with your extra Mag. you do carry an extra mag right???? Remember 1 is none and 2 is 1. Murphy is always waiting in the wings to screw up your day.)

What I am seeing is that a lot of people dont know how to maintain and properly lube their carry guns. Pay attention to the owners manual as far as cleaning and lubrication. If you regularly carry you should clean and lube at least monthly, more often if exposed to excessive moisture or sweat. Magazines are the weak link in any semi auto make sure you always have at least one spare.

BSA1
December 6, 2012, 09:20 AM
Lots of good comments and points being made.

My point is when I failure to fire/eject/feed I focus on the cause rather than what to do after the click. I reject the premise that failure to feed/fire/eject as part of the nature of the beast given the gun is in good mechnical condition and matched to proven ammunition. I am sure we all agree a SD/HD must go bang when needed.

As SAM1911 and The Lone Haranguer pointed out this is trickly slope. Recently a Ruger 9mm that I have owned for 30 years started going click on the range. As this gun has always previously proven to be reliable this came as big surprise to me.

From a causation viewpoint I first suspected problems with the ammunition. However after inspection of the unfired rounds I have for now discounted this as the problem. Since the failures to fire were on double action mode only I am focusing my investigation on weak springs and replacement of the firing pin and hammer springs.

From a tactical viewpoint I agree that you should play as your train. As I trained on and carried a revolver for many years as a LEO my first instinct is to simply pull the trigger a second time. For me the best choice in a semi-auto is one with the second strike feature by pulling the trigger again. If the gun goes click again then I would go the the rack/tap/bang.

Again for me my personal standard for any firearm used for SD/HD must go through 500 rounds of ammunition with any malufunctions with either the gun or ammunition before I will use it. So if I have a malfunction that is not caused by the shooter (i.e. limp wristing, etc.) then I will not use that gun until I figure out the probable cause of the problem after which the 500 round test starts all over again.

But of course the argument can be made that all of that doesn't mean round 501 won't go click so that is why it is important I match my years with a revolver with DA/SA semi-auto rather than a Glock.

Shawn Dodson
December 6, 2012, 09:27 AM
For me, if I carried a SA/DA, I would train by immediately following a "Click" with a second pull DA, then tap/rack if no joy.

So how do you train effectively to instill this as an intuitive immediate action? If you use a randomly inserted dummy cartridge to create the stoppage then that dummy cartridge isn't going to fire with a second strike. You can make-believe it fired with the second strike but in the end you're still going to have to rack the slide to clear the dummy cartridge from the chamber. You're not programming yourself for success.

If you do somehow detect that the gun went "click" but the stoppage is caused by an unseated magazine, an empty magazine that didn't engage the slide lock, a cartridge that is truly defective, or you were preoccupied and somehow forgot to chamber a round when you "loaded" or reloaded the pistol, then your attempt to game the situation and be faster isn't going to be successful. In addition, if you've trained to perform Tap/Rack as your intuitive immediate action to clear these types of failures when the gun goes "click" then you haven't programmed yourself to press the trigger a second time for that one other failure when the gun goes "click" and you're probably not going to do it anyhow. That's what happens when you try to game it.

Sam1911
December 6, 2012, 09:56 AM
As I trained on and carried a revolver for many years as a LEO my first instinct is to simply pull the trigger a second time. For me the best choice in a semi-auto is one with the second strike feature by pulling the trigger again. If the gun goes click again then I would go the the rack/tap/bang.The problem with this is that when you "second strike" with a revolver, you've brought a fresh cartridge (or an empty case) under the hammer. Everything is now set up for you to meet with success. (As long as you can count to 6.)

With an auto you're just banging away at the same dud cartridge or unextracted empty, or squeezing an out-of-battery gun if some other malfunction occurred. The ONLY possible good of this is that the dud cartridge MIGHT, possibly, maybe fire on the second strike. Every other possibility is a negative result.

That's bad odds, and bad practice.

beatledog7
December 6, 2012, 11:01 AM
Great discussion. When I read the OP, my immediate thought was to drop that mag and load a new one, rack, and continue. That was based on the facts: 1) the mag had been fine for more than a few shots, and 2) we have the stated round count of about 2/3 capacity from the offending mag, which I have found in many cases to be the same as "all of them." Further, having the slide fail to lock back is not particularly uncommon, but misfires are very rare. In my experience, so is having a magazine seat, feed several shots properly, and then suddenly be unseated. When the trigger pull results in "click," among these three the highest probability by far is that the mag is empty.

Pulling the trigger again serves no purpose that can't be better solved. How many times have you second struck a misfire round and had it go bang? For me, the answer is exactly zero, so once a round misfires in any sort of pressure situation, it's not getting another chance.

Assuming I have a fresh mag, dropping the mag that's in the pistol when the problem occurs, loading a fresh mag, and racking the slide returns the gun to a known condition and gets me back in action very quickly. If it was a genuine misfire and I still have a few rounds in that mag, there's no harm done in performing what amounts to an admin reload.

If I'm out of mags, then tap/rack/assess or tap/rack/bang is all I've got left. We all use it and teach it--and we should--but we should always remember that it might not solve the problem. Any problem it does solve would also be solved by performing an admin reload.

Besides, if I started with two fully loaded 15-rd mags, and I've fire ten from one of them when the click occurs, I can tap/rack and maybe get back into action with now four rounds. If I do an admin reload, I've solved the problem, used an extra second or two, and have 15 rounds.

Skylerbone
December 6, 2012, 11:13 AM
I don't wish to hijack but have a related question for those who participate in IDPA. Is there ever a stage requiring a dummy round or close target strike? Something like a Tueller Drill but without an initial bang? Seems most actions discussed would close the window if the threat were close range. Thoughts?

Sam1911
December 6, 2012, 11:23 AM
While I don't know of any IDPA match stages that included a dummy round ... (well, maybe one I think I recall) ... that is something we do a fair bit of in practices. And yes, any scenario where the threat is closing distance really makes the clearance operation super-critical.

Fastest way, with the highest likelihood of rectifying the problem, to get any and every auto back in the game -- TRB.

In fact, it's the massive repetitive testing of millions of folks shooting millions of rounds with millions of guns in tens or hundreds of thousands of competitions (and training environments) that has proved this very point.

holdencm9
December 6, 2012, 11:27 AM
So this has been a very interesting discussion. It seems like there are 3 agreed-upon reasons that you get a click, and 3 courses of action to debate. I always like to think of these things in terms of conditional probability, and put things in tables. That is just how my brain works. From the table you can see, that reloading a new mag, while the least fast of all options, will yield the best end-results. The tap-rack-reassess is quicker, but in 2 of the situations leaves you with a rather depleted number of rounds before having to do a reload all over again. The second-strike is likely the fastest thing you can do, but will almost never do anything for you. (I have had second strikes get rimfires to go off, but never centerfire)

You can debate the likelihoods of the various situations being the culprit, or maybe think of other possible courses of action, but to me, it seems like a good idea to reload a new mag anytime you get a click and you are "pretty sure" you are near the end of that mag anyway. Of course, if you are out of mags, that action is negated.

mljdeckard
December 6, 2012, 11:31 AM
The only time I have ever had a second strike fire any round is when I reload it so that a different part of the primer is getting hit.

Sam1911
December 6, 2012, 11:33 AM
holdencm9, your chart sums it up very well.

I think the analysis that has prevailed says that the speed of the TRB is enough faster than a mag change (uh, a "MCRB"?) -- with a high enough probability of bringing at least one good round under the firing pin RIGHT NOW -- that it is the preferred method.

If you're thinking bigger picture, taking the opportunity of the pause in firing to get a full mag in the gun is a real bonus, but that might take a second longer, and you might not have an extra second at that moment.

I'd certainly have to respect a person's reasons for choosing to train that way, but I could probably set up a scenario to demonstrate how that might be the wrong choice in some circumstances.

Of course, the same could be done for almost every choice, so everything is a weighing of risks.

holdencm9
December 6, 2012, 11:40 AM
Sam, yes I agree, especially if you can't find cover and need to get the gun going ASAP. TRB is the way to go. If you have a bit more time then a new mag might be better, but of course, that necessitates two training methods, which has been pointed out, can cause crucial fractions of a second of hesitation. Also the assumption has been that you miscount by UNDER estimating the number of rounds you have fired (which I think is usually the case) but it is also possible you OVER-estimate the rounds fired, and you think you are close to empty, in reality you have 8 or 9 rounds left, in which case you are throwing away a bunch of good ammo.

I agree that in an effort to simplify training and ingrain it into your reflexive actions, tap-rack-bang is the best bang for your buck, but like you, I don't think I would be immediately dismissive of someone who thought to drop that mag and go for a new one as their first course of action.

Shawn Dodson
December 6, 2012, 12:21 PM
In my experience, so is having a magazine seat, feed several shots properly, and then suddenly be unseated. A magazine usually comes unseated when sitting, especially in an auto, or if you've had to squeeze your hips through a tight area, or you end up in a ground fight or get pushed into a wall before you draw your gun, in which there is pressure exerted on the magazine release. When this happens you end up with a "one-shot wonder" in which the chambered round fires, the slide cycles but doesn't feed a fresh cartridge. The next press of the trigger produces "click".

One way to prevent a "one-shot wonder" is to press on the magazine baseplate to ensure the magazine is indeed seated whenever you stand up, get out of an auto or squeeze through a tight area.

Shawn Dodson
December 6, 2012, 12:26 PM
...it seems like a good idea to reload a new mag anytime you get a click... The weakness of this approach is the assumption that the shooter will detect a "click" during a fight for his/her life. Chances are greater the shooter will simply realize the gun didn't fire because it didn't recoil.

Skribs
December 6, 2012, 01:05 PM
I don't know, Shawn, the statement goes "the biggest noises in the world are a BANG when you expect a click and a CLICK when you expect a bang."

holdencm9
December 6, 2012, 01:30 PM
The weakness of this approach is the assumption that the shooter will detect a "click" during a fight for his/her life. Chances are greater the shooter will simply realize the gun didn't fire because it didn't recoil.

I am not going to argue it isn't a weakness, but I think it is a pretty safe assumption, especially with hammer-fired guns, you get a distinct sound, a visual cue (the hammer dropped and nothing happened) as well as a tactile response in your trigger finger (pulling the trigger and getting a click feels much different than having a jam of some sort and pulling the trigger when the slide is not all the way returned to battery). I know when the adrenaline is pumping it is a lot harder to discern these things though. So yes, TRB is the best one-size-fits-all plan, as I agreed w/ Sam. But there are virtues to the new-mag philosophy as well.

Shawn Dodson
December 6, 2012, 01:54 PM
Police firearms trainer Keith Jones sagely observed: "A gunfight is more like a fistfight than a tactical nuclear exchange."

You really aren't going to be paying much attention to your pistol. You're going to be focused on the person who's trying to kill you.

As I mentioned in post #46, if you train with dummy cartridges (during training I put a dummy cartridge randomly in every magazine) then when it "misfires" you're going to Tap/Rack. This will be your conditioned response. You will have desensitized yourself to the "click".

allaroundhunter
December 6, 2012, 02:34 PM
As I mentioned in post #46, if you train with dummy cartridges (during training I put a dummy cartridge randomly in every magazine) then when it "misfires" you're going to Tap/Rack. This will be your conditioned response. You will have desensitized yourself to the "click".

Unless you alter your training to include changing magazines upon a "misfire" as you approach a higher round count in your current magazine.

If you can make your response to a "misfire" TRB, then it stands to reason that you could also condition yourself to reacting to a "misfire" with a magazine change, correct?

No, I am not trying to argue, just trying to point out that we can all be wired differently or, in some situations, rewired. Yes, there is still the problem that could arise with having to think about what you are doing rather than just react, but maybe some people will be able to get just as fast with a little practice.

holdencm9
December 6, 2012, 02:55 PM
I would think that as you know you are approaching the end of the magazine anyway, assuming the threat is still shooting back or there are multiple threats, you are going to be starting to think you'll need a mag change soon anyway, so that would cut down on the time a bit. You have to be thinking at least a little. If you are ONLY paying attention to your target and using conditional response, then how will you know when your mag is out versus jammed versus dud? If you can't tell the difference between a dud round and a jam, and just TRB on everything, what stops you from TRB just because the mag went dry, even if the slide locks back that is not foolproof either.

CZ57
December 6, 2012, 08:24 PM
Ultimately I think the shooter has to go with his own level of confidence in his ability to function in a crisis. Personally, I have never had a malfunction because I improperly seated a magazine and before I carry any pistol, I know the magazine has been firmly seated as well as the functional status of the pistol being 100%.

Like I said before, in 33 years of shooting handguns I have never had a round go "click" that wasn't the result of a high seated primer where the first strike merely seats the primer without igniting it and in ALL cases where that has happened a second strike set the round off and I've never repositioned the round for second strike since combat pistols are designed to strike the center of the primer, hence the term "centerfire". I wish some fellow handloaders would chime in because the same issue applies to handloads. Rounds with high seated primers have and do escape the factory just as a worn priming tool will sometimes fail to seat a primer to its proper depth. A simple check would be to run your thumb over every primer in every round you load into your defensive pistol to make sure they are slightly below flush with the cartridge rim.

With the reliability of factory ammo it is not likely, but it's also not impossible to get a factory round that failed to get a powder charge. A primer generates enough force to push the bullet a fair distance into the bore. So the example of a shooter executing a lightning fast tap-rack-bang in competitive shooting is actually a poor example because more than one shooter has heard or experienced "click" because the round didn't have a powder charge and simply ejecting the empty case and chambering and then firing a fresh round into an obstructed bore is going to result in injury from minor to major and possibly death.

The statement about being a target with a pistol malfunction while your assailant proceeds to shoot you violates one of the basic rules of defense shooting where you failed to fire from cover. So if you don't possess the confidence that you can handle stress under fire, maybe an immediate course of action for you should be tap/rack. Speaking only for myself and using a SA/DA pistol, I'm going to immediately pull the hammer through for a second strike based on my experience where it's always worked. For those that carry a back-up piece that's a pretty sound decision. In that case if I did and didn't get ignition from a second strike, I would immediately go to the back-up pistol.

As far as instructors go, my first question to any of them would be, have you ever been in an actual gunfight? If they hadn't, I'd probably seek training elsewhere because I am already aware of most of the theory. Also, you might consider that tap/rack was born out of single action pistolcraft before DA autoloaders came into common usage. Most instructors advised against second strike because in an actual gunfight, clumsiness in attempting to pull the hammer back manually before firing again could result in a slip of the thumb. With a DA autoloader your finger is already on the trigger and since I'm convinced that there is a bout a 95% chance that you're going to get ignition on the second strike, I'll take those odds. ;)

allaroundhunter
December 6, 2012, 08:39 PM
As far as instructors go, my first question to any of them would be, have you ever been in an actual gunfight? If they hadn't, I'd probably seek training elsewhere because I am already aware of most of the theory.

One was an operator with army special forces (read 1st SFOD-D) with 4 recent tours to the middle east and the other was recently retired Marine SF who had served during the first gulf war and also had 5 deployments in the 2nd gulf war.

9mmepiphany
December 6, 2012, 08:39 PM
I can see both sides and both are valid to a certain extent, the big difference is the time needed to perform each task. (When I used to carry a DA/SA SIG, I'd also press the trigger again, it is a natural response as you think you didn't pull it through the first time)

Lets say, to remove a variable, there is no lag in becoming aware that you have gotten a click instead of a bang. Comparing a magazine change to a TRB(A), with shooters proficient with each technique, the TRB is at least twice as fast (if not closer to thrice as fast) as a mag change.

In a mag change, besides bringing the gun in and pressing it back out, you'd have to slow down to index, insert and ram the magazine home. With TRB, it is just letting go with the support hand, rotating the strong wrist, slapping the bottom of the inserted mag, rotating back and racking the slide as the gun returns onto target.

The question becomes, how much do you increase your chances of the TRB getting your gun running again as opposed to tripling the time for a magazine change

the statement goes "the biggest noises in the world are a BANG when you expect a click and a CLICK when you expect a bang."
That isn't meant to be taken literally, just figuratively. You really won't hear the click as much as notice the lack of the sight jumping in recoil

Jim Watson
December 6, 2012, 08:45 PM
I recall a comment by M. Ayoob on the subject.
Discussing policemen killed and wounded on duty, what was the one thing they could and should have done to preserve themselves?
ANYTHING.

Freezing up is hazardous to your health. Any effort to deal with the situation is better than nothing.

BSA1
December 6, 2012, 10:28 PM
I’ll chime back in with some personal observations.

First of all I am at heart a wheelgunner for a number of reasons. BUT I enjoy shooting most all types of firearms…handgun, rifle, shotgun nor am I naive about the common use of semi-auto handguns for SD/HD.

I am well aware of all the advantages/disadvantages of wheelguns vs. semi-automatics. I am also very knowledgeable of the different subtypes; i.e. single action, double action revolvers, single action, double action, striker type, etc. semi-autos.

As a LEO I am well familiar with the experiences of shooters when in actually shooting situation. A very common experience is the shooter continuing to pull the trigger after the gun has quit firing (i.e out of ammo, malfunction).

When it comes to my abilities and how I think I will respond I am brutally honest with myself. As a wheelgunner for over 35 years (I carried a revolver on duty well into the ‘90’s) I am trained to simply pull the trigger again if the gun goes click. For me personally this means that under stress (I think trying to save yourself is a understatement about being under stress) I will most likely revert to the handgun training I have practiced much of my life…simply pull the trigger again. I suspect many users of semi-auto do the same thing although they will not admit it.

This also means that you youngsters have an advantage over me when it comes to use of the semi-automatic handgun as many have never fired a wheelgun and do not have the same habit to break.

Notice I do not necessarily consider pulling the trigger a second time a bad habit provided when mated with the right firearms. As I prefer a revolver stopping to perform the tap, rack, bang drill isn’t a desirable ingrained habit. Like CZ75 even when my Ruger failed to fire on the double action pull of the trigger it did fire the second time. Beating the odds…maybe but that is also why I will not carry a striker fired handgun for SD/HD.

All of that said inserting some dummy rounds during range practice sounds like good advice which I shall start doing. Although it is hard to teach a old dog new tricks in my case it may not be entirely hopeless.

Again I would point out this is from the viewpoint of a die hard wheelgunner. Thanks to all for a very good discussion.

allaroundhunter
December 6, 2012, 11:43 PM
BSA1,

Very good points to be sure. I am one of the "younger" ones that you referred to. I have shot wheelguns occasionally, but the ratio of rounds I have put through a semi compared to those that I have put through a revolver would be close to 5,000:1 if I were to guess. If I were to start carrying a revolver and have a failure to fire, I really am not sure how I would react. All of the training that I have had have ingrained TRB into my muscle memory. I hope that I wouldn't try that with a revolver, but I wouldn't discount it either :o

Sam1911
December 6, 2012, 11:52 PM
One shooting pal did TRB a revolver in competition. She cut her hand on the rear sight badly enough to startle the SO.

Skylerbone
December 6, 2012, 11:58 PM
These are the threads that wash away the grinding 9 vs. 40, Glock vs. King Kong nonsense!

I didn't start reloading until around age 14 and even then on a limited basis. Having stuffed some six-figure count over 25 years I'm proud to say I've yet to experience a high primer or a dud primer in all that time. While I admit there must certainly be faulty components in the system somewhere none have (yet) found their way to my bench. Why am I strutting so proud? Only to also admit that a sudden click would be wholly unexpected. I've trained for it but it seems in the wrong manner, having never designated a default response. This was clear in my first posting here about choosing an option to fit a dynamic situation.

So...going forward I will defer to prevailing wisdom and practice TRB as an automatic first response with dummy rounds while moving. Eliminating indecision coupled with judicious practice will be faster in the long run.

Misc. points, yes its called centerfire but no, the pin strike isn't always centered. I was taught to lay a straight edged ruler across the base to check primers so that nothing gets by. I've quit with progressive presses and so loading blocks, scales and eyeballs insure even powder charges. Cover isn't always available which is why I've never seen it as a "basic rule". Use it if available to your advantage.

Thanks to all for an excellent discussion. I am resolved to shoot less and train smarter.

allaroundhunter
December 7, 2012, 12:59 AM
These are the threads that wash away the grinding 9 vs. 40, Glock vs. King Kong nonsense!

Well I'm glad I brought something positive to the table. Thanks for a great and thoughtful discussion guys, I hoped we could have a good one with this, and y'all haven't disappointed in the least :)

CZ57
December 7, 2012, 01:10 AM
Skylerbone, a properly seated primer should be .006" below the case rim and my experience with high seated primers has been with factory loaded ammunition but I often read of high primer reports in the reloading section here and ammunition and reloading sections elsewhere.

BSA1, thanks for the excellent post. I started with wheelguns as well and am glad for it. It kept me from having trigger issues when I started shooting DA autoloaders.

allaroundhunter, good thread. Thanks fro getting it started. ;)

1SOW
December 7, 2012, 01:14 AM
[QUOTE]If your brain happens to warn you that you've fired "more than a few", perhaps you'll go right for the spare mag first, but I don't see many folks who do. And I think most of those I've seen do so are folks who are pretty used to slides not locking back on empty mags! [/QUOTE

If I'm in a "match", I know if I've got spare mags or not. It's fast to reload with CR Speed holsters lined up on the waistband.

For concealed carry/SD it's often not as easy to do. Where's the spare mag? In a pocket? IWB holster with clothes in the way?
If I've fired 10 or more rounds and trying to fire again, reassessment is not high on my list, bang is. Tap, rack BANG on-the-move if possible. New mag if S.H. and there is time and no place to run.

JRadice45
December 8, 2012, 11:46 PM
I will mention something I think a few folks will benefit from as I have not seen it mentioned yet. During normal range shooting or even training I would caution the shooter from going to a tap rack drill without first figuring out what the problem was. If you are training specifically for malfunction clearance drills with setup dummy rounds in the mag that is one thing, but to have a malfunction when you are not specifically training for it I caution you to be weary as I have seen numerous people do the following with some embarassing and even catastrophic results.

Ingredients to this disaster were pistols chambered in 45 auto, 45 acp ammo, 40 s&w ammo, and lack of attention to detail. The mags were loaded with 45 auto with one round of 40. Most of the time when the 40 chambered and hammer was dropped the worst that happened was the slide did not cycle and an odd report. Clearing the pistol resulted in a split/fishbellied 40 case hitting the range floor and sounding like a bell. The 40 fired because the extractor was able to hold onto the round as the firing pin hit.

The other thing that can happen in the above scenario is when the firing pin strikes the round the 40 gets pushed off the extractor and lodges in the barrel. When a tap rack bang is performed the result is a spectacular boom from the 45 slug hitting the live 40 cal round causing it to detonate leaving a 45 case in the chamber, 45 slug in the barrel taking a reverse impression of the 40 headstamp, and the now empty 40 case in the barrel. The results of the sequence of events often cause a burst barrel bent slide & frame or worse.

Just a reminder to look before you leap because the above can be a very expensive mistake!

Sam1911
December 9, 2012, 08:23 AM
During normal range shooting or even training I would caution the shooter from going to a tap rack drill without first figuring out what the problem was.

And herein lies the heart of the conundrum. What we're really trying to do is to instill a reflexive response to any failure. To create a path of action that we ALWAYS perform without any thought or analysis of the situation. So that, almost before our brain has processed that the gun has choked, we've got it back up and running.

We really can't stand there peering at the gun wondering if that was a dud, or a squib, or maybe was that somehow a .40 in my .45? That kind of introspection is the "natural" reaction we're trying to train out of ourselves.

And to do that, there has to be no "normal range shooting" wherein we practice a more sedate and cautious manner of gun-handling.

So it stands to reason that we all must be doubly careful to have the very best practices in our loading and equipment management to reduce goofs like loading .40s instead of .45s.

And it is accepted that realistic and sound training for the very deadly dangerous possibility of a gunfight carries with it some elevated risks for injury or damage to equipment. The more realistic, more directed, and more effective the training, the higher those risks probably are. (Look at Southnarc's work as a good example of that, outside this discussion.)

JRadice45
December 9, 2012, 09:45 AM
All I am saying is be aware of what you are doing. If you decide a constant conditioned response is of the utmost importance and you have the means to buy another firearm once you destroy the one you were shooting more power to you.

I prefer to run drills specific to malfunction clearing so I can perform malfunction clearing duties with a bit more certainty that I am not about to damage myself or equipment. when my firearm does fail to operate as designed I want to know why so it can be avoided altogether.

Whenever shooting you should be accustomed to what is going on all around you, including making sure your firearm is making similar reports as you are used to hearing. If you hear a pop or pop fzzzz instead of a bang, I for one wouldn't tap rack assess. Sometimes the bullet will lodge in the bore far enough away from the chamber that it is possible to chamber and fire another round and severely damage your firearm.

People can try to be as careful as possible but reality is we are all human, and humans make mistakes.

With this information I am not trying to sway someone into a different method of training, all I am wishing to dois give some insight so you can come to your own conclusions.

Be well,
- Jay

9mmepiphany
December 9, 2012, 10:33 AM
All I am saying is be aware of what you are doing. If you decide a constant conditioned response is of the utmost importance and you have the means to buy another firearm once you destroy the one you were shooting more power to you.
The problem with not training to a conditioned response or training to evaluate before performing the correct response is that you will commonly default to the wrong/easier response under pressure.

Now that you see fewer revolvers, I see fewer folks catch their spent shells when reloading, but it is too common to see people catch an empty magazine when they should be letting it fall or gently seating the next one (which often causes it not to catch). Babying your magazines during a reload is extremely dangerous in defensive training...and would be the natural follow-on behavior to not clearing a "click" reflexively

mljdeckard
December 9, 2012, 05:31 PM
Of the reasons to consider which technique to use, I'm not adding "What if you load the wrong cartridge into the magazine?" To the list. In 30 years of shooting, 18 years of carrying, and nine years in service, never once has this happened to me.

ATLDave
December 10, 2012, 04:55 PM
And it is accepted that realistic and sound training for the very deadly dangerous possibility of a gunfight carries with it some elevated risks for injury or damage to equipment. The more realistic, more directed, and more effective the training, the higher those risks probably are.

This is a great point. And it necessarily follows from it that different people will logically want to accept different levels of risk in their training. Those who seriously expect to face pistol gunfights on a routine basis - perhaps LEO's in high-crime areas, or diamond merchants routines carrying a million dollars worth of gems on their person - would sensibly accept more risk in training because of their heightened risk of a stoppage in a gunfight.

But for an average civilian, those risks may not be worth it. Let's say such a person has a (artificially large) 1% chance of ever needing to draw/present a handgun in anger. Now let's subtract all of those instances where the mere brandishing/presentment of the firearm ends the situation. Now take out all the circumstances where the assailant(s) run or fall at the first shot; obviously, a FTF doesn't change the outcome there. And take out all the circumstances where, due to surprise, overwhelming number of assailants, etc., the civilian simply cannot prevail, regardless of how well his gun functions. Then take out all the circumstances where the gun runs flawlessly. Finally, take out all the circumstances where the difference between a .75 second non-diagnostic clearance and a 3.5 second clearance doesn't change the outcome.

Once you go through all that, you probably end up with something like a .00001% chance of the method of clearance making any difference to a regular civilian; in fact, it makes me wonder if it has ever mattered in real life even one time.

Compare that to the increased risk of a squib-fueled kaboom, or other mishap on the range, that may come from the kind of training required to completely ingrain a non-decisional approach. For some folks, it may be far riskier to
"train properly" than not.

Sam1911
December 10, 2012, 05:13 PM
Once you go through all that, you probably end up with something like a .00001% chance of the method of clearance making any difference to a regular civilian; in fact, it makes me wonder if it has ever mattered in real life even one time.
An interesting point which will probably bring up the idea of "the stakes" =/= "the odds," so to speak.

However, another aspect of this is that those of us who compete with handguns certainly have the same desire to build high-speed reflexive reactions to failures as do serious defensive-minded gun toters -- but we probably face that situation 100s of times more often than a purely defensive shooter who almost never even draws his/her weapon.

In competition one preforms thousands of draws, many tens of thousands of shots, and every competitor with any serious time on the range has experienced more than a few malfunctions.

And for such people the fairly low risk of possible gun damage is certainly of lesser concern than the inability to perform a malfunction clearance operation in the minimum time required. We wear safety gear and understand that guns are replaceable. Heck, we're putting many times the cost of a new gun downrange in ammo costs (to say nothing of match fees) every year as it is. It becomes sort of analogous to not wanting to drop your mags on the ground because they might get scratched, dirty, or dented. It's a tool, it will wear out eventually and might get damaged in use. That's acceptable.

For the more casual user or collector who's looking at the gun itself as the big investment and who's primary concern is protecting the gun itself, that wouldn't be the way to look at it.

otasan56
December 10, 2012, 05:26 PM
I am very adept at handling my G17 under just about all conditions. One thing for sure - my G17 has never once had any kind of malfunction - in 23 years of competition shooting.

Sam1911
December 10, 2012, 05:29 PM
One thing for sure - my G17 has never once had any kind of malfunction - in 23 years of competition shooting.Ok...that's just PHENOMENAL! Get that thing gold-plated or something! Every gun hiccups sometime, for some reason -- but if yours never has, ever, WOW, that's AWESOME!

But how do you practice malfunction-clearing?

ATLDave
December 10, 2012, 05:45 PM
However, another aspect of this is that those of us who compete with handguns certainly have the same desire to build high-speed reflexive reactions to failures as do serious defensive-minded gun toters -- but we probably face that situation 100s of times more often than a purely defensive shooter who almost never even draws his/her weapon.

Also true. Sometimes, it is worth some additional risk simply in order to do something enjoyable. Many people (at least the kind of people I like) tend to get enjoyment from learning to do new things or acquiring greater proficiency. So, for those people, it may be worth accepting some risk just because it furthers their recreational goals. That's OK.

I merely was trying to point out that a stridently-held position that "everyone needs to clear malfunctions in X manner, even though that manner is not maximally safe" isn't analytically sound. Some people need to always clear in the fastest and most reliably manner. Some people need to always clear in the safest way possible. And some of us are in between.

otasan56
December 10, 2012, 05:54 PM
I have made special underpowered rounds where the bullet leaves the barrel, but the cartridge case stovepipes or stays in the chamber. I take my practice loads and mix these weaker rounds in with them. Mix them up and then load the 17-round magazines. When the malfunction happens I get a little practice in jam clearing.

9mmepiphany
December 10, 2012, 06:31 PM
I found out how ingrained my TRB has become yesterday at a local IDPA match.

The COF was a drill which required moving around the perimeter of a square and shooting at 3 targets (1 round each) while moving in the three directions. Then they added a quick run to a 4 popper array...all shot in Limited Vickers (limited number of shots allowed) The COF required 3 reloads, each magazine loaded with 6 rounds.

On the last array, I got a click instead of a bang. Without a thought, I got the pistol running and fired off the last 4 shots...when finished, I don't remember the Tap at all and barely remember the Rack

RetiredUSNChief
December 10, 2012, 10:08 PM
OK, the subject of safety has come up a few times in this thread, with respect to clearing misfires.

We've already established that there is a difference between the more sedate target shooting response to a misfire and the more realistic self defense training scenario. The difference being that self defense training simulates a "life or death" situation where the risks of being injured/killed by an attacker are judged to significantly outweigh the risks involved with speedily clearing the faulted weapon.


ANALOGOUS NAVY EXAMPLE:

The military conducts training ALL the time. As a retired Reactor Operator aboard submarines, I can tell you that casualty training is a part of life. Let's take the scenario of a reactor scram as an example. A reactor scram happens when the control rods are dropped to the bottom of the core, which shuts down the reactor.

This is analogous to a misfire of a pistol, because the reactor is shut down for some reason and must be rapidly restarted (called a Fast Recover Startup). A FRSU is usually performed at sea instead of a normal reactor start up (which takes significantly longer) because the risks to the ship due to the loss of propulsion significantly outweigh the risks without propulsion.

But such training is NOT without controls and procedures which ensure safety is maintained during these evolutions.


MY QUESTION:

Not having actually attended any such self-defense training courses myself, what training techniques do self-defense course instructors use to safely conduct this training?

I can think of a few, but I'd like to hear from people who have either attended such training, or who have given such training.

Sam1911
December 10, 2012, 10:20 PM
Not having actually attended any such self-defense training courses myself, what training techniques do self-defense course instructors use to safely conduct this training?I'm not quite sure what you're asking for, here. Are you wondering if defensive shooting trainers go to some additional lengths to make sure folks have the right ammo in their gun, or that their ammo doesn't include a squib load? If so, I've never heard of an instructor who was teaching anything beyond the most basic of gun safety and operation take class time to investigate to any great degree what ammo the students bring.

A few do specify that they only allow factory ammo in their classes, and a perception of higher quality-control in production is probably high in their list of reasons for that.

Every credible instructor requires eye (and ear) protection, as a matter of course, and I can't think of any further special protective means might be valuable when practicing malfunction clearance drills.

Most just DO it, and any minor level of risk that someone might "kaboom" their gun specifically because of a TRB that becomes a TR(BOOM) is accepted as a remote but not life-threatening risk.

RetiredUSNChief
December 10, 2012, 10:35 PM
I'm not quite sure what you're asking for, here. Are you wondering if defensive shooting trainers go to some additional lengths to make sure folks have the right ammo in their gun, or that their ammo doesn't include a squib load? If so, I've never heard of an instructor who was teaching anything beyond the most basic of gun safety and operation take class time to investigate to any great degree what ammo the students bring.




Well, if I were to set up a self-defense training course, the first step of the actual "drill" scenario would be to set up the initial conditions. Part of this would include factory ammunition. The basis for this is that factory ammunition eliminates unknown variables necessarily included if everybody used their own handloaded ammunition.

The basic assumption is that factory loaded ammunition is statistically less susceptable to misfiring than hand loaded ammunition.

(No slight on quality handloaders...this just takes that factor out of the equation.)

To simulate a misfire, one or more "training rounds" may be inserted into the magazine(s) by the instructor. The magazines would then be issued to the shooter, who would have no idea which (if any) magazine had training ammunition in it, nor how many rounds.


This training scenario would actually produce a predictable (to the instructor) misfire, which the shooter could then demonstrate proficiency in clearing using the trained techniques.

The odds of a mishap are minimized by using factory ammunition, such that an actual misfire with a live round would be very small.

Sam1911
December 10, 2012, 10:45 PM
That's about the extent of the preparations I can imagine making for "safety" in this kind of drill, but I'll caution that factory ammo does not (of course) eliminate the risk of squibs or other such issues, though it may give the perception of reducing that risk to one degree or another over "Joe Average's" handloads.

The "ball and dummy" drill where someone else is loading your mags for you is certainly a classic. Very useful for this kind of training.

RetiredUSNChief
December 10, 2012, 10:57 PM
Yeah, misfires do happen with factory loads, too. I was thinking of the "Joe Average's" handloads.

:):)

I wouldn't mind taking a self-defense course or two sometime. It sounds like fun (any opportunity to shoot sounds like fun) and I'm quite sure I'd learn a lot.

Bobson
December 10, 2012, 10:58 PM
1. Check ejection port.
2. If FTE/stovepipe/jam: strip mag, tilt, rack, reinsert mag, rack.
Or
2. If misfire (no jam evident): tap, rack.

Thats how I was trained with my duty weapon, a G19; and that's what I carry off duty.

Sam1911
December 10, 2012, 11:04 PM
1. Check ejection port.
2. If FTE/stovepipe/jam: strip mag, tilt, rack, reinsert mag, rack.
Or
2. If misfire (no jam evident): tap, rack.
The nice thing about a real good "TRB" is that you can skip the observation/decision step for at least 1/3 of the #2 concerns there. By sweeping firmly across the top of the slide as you "Rack" you'll strip a stove-piped case out of the ejection port as you get your racking grip on the top rear of the slide.

It still doesn't address a failure-to-extract (that everyone calls a "double-feed") but it does allow the 1st Response ("TRB") to deal with all of the most common malfunctions.

Most instructors don't go for a diagnostic approach first, preferring the shooter deploy the primary response and then diagnose only if that doesn't work.

Bobson
December 10, 2012, 11:07 PM
Good to know, Sam. Thank you.

Arp32
December 10, 2012, 11:42 PM
I really like holdencm9's clean & simple chart, but 9mmepiphany hit on one missing element: the improperly seated magazine.

I shot my very first IDPA match last month (exciting!), and was shocked to experience at least 3 malfunctions in the four stages we shot. All the failures were in the middle of the magazine, not the first shot or a failure to lock open on empty. I was shooting a 5-year old Colt gov't model with 3-4,000 rounds on it. The gun rarely has any kind of malfunction, at least before I went to IDPA. Normally I shoot at a very relaxed pace at an indoor range (no drawing or double taps!), or out in the desert with my buddies.

Anyway the IDPA match was a total blur between trying to remember the course of fire, running and shooting, and fast magazine changes, but after a while I realized "hey, why the heck am I having so many $&(/ malfunctions?" My buddy, who introduced me to the match, was convinced it was because I wasn't shooting a Glock (which is apparently some kind of magic gun that cures all issues).

Afterwards, I tried to think if what I was doing different that was causing roughly one malfunction every 10-15 rounds. Only thing I could think of was the rushed magazine changes - I must not have been seating them fully. I've seen new shooters do that, but it hadn't happened to me until I did a timed mag change under stress.

Anyway, shot my second match last week and made a concerted effort to slam those magazines home. Didn't have one malfunction all day, and I scored a lot better, too.

I guess this is a long way of saying it helps to try shooting under stress. It points out a lot of things you wouldn't expect about your technique (or lack thereof).

9mmepiphany
December 11, 2012, 02:15 AM
Only thing I could think of was the rushed magazine changes - I must not have been seating them fully. I've seen new shooters do that, but it hadn't happened to me until I did a timed mag change under stress.
This is highly unlikely if it is occurring in the middle of you cartridge stack...an improperly seat magazine will fail on the first shot.

The other observation is that, while I'm not personally a huge fan of the Glock, most failures I've seen during IDPA match do seem to involve a 1911. If you are going to continue to shot your 1911 in competition, I'd advise having it checked out/tuned up by a knowledgeable 1911 pistolsmith who understands the requirements on action shooting

allaroundhunter
December 11, 2012, 02:34 AM
I must not have been seating them fully. I've seen new shooters do that, but it hadn't happened to me until I did a timed mag change under stress.

As 9mmepiphany said, that is highly unlikely considering your malfunctions were occuring mid-mag. A failure to seat a magazine will cause problems with the first round, or the mag will just fall out; it shouldn't cause problems halfway through.

What might be happening, however, is that you might have been hitting the mag release just enough to drop the mag slightly.

Arp32
December 11, 2012, 10:26 AM
I won't argue with you guys because I don't have a clear recollection of exactly what I was or wasn't doing in that first match. All I know is that when I made an effort to slam the magazine home, I had no malfunctions. I could have nudged the magazine release, but I tend to doubt that given that I've never done that inadvertently to my knowledge.

With all due respect, since the gun is normally flawless, I'd say operator error is most likely to blame (how's that for a unique sentiment on the board!). I think maybe I'll try and recreate the malfunction this weekend just to satisfy myself.

In any case, tap, rack, bang worked just fine.

Shawn Dodson
December 11, 2012, 11:08 AM
Once you go through all that, you probably end up with something like a .00001% chance of the method of clearance making any difference to a regular civilian; in fact, it makes me wonder if it has ever mattered in real life even one time.

It's a matter of battle readiness. How ready do you want to be? Would you rather have the skill to clear stoppages quickly and not need it or or need the skill and not have it?

holdencm9
December 11, 2012, 11:45 AM
It's a matter of battle readiness. How ready do you want to be? Would you rather have the skill to clear stoppages quickly and not need it or or need the skill and not have it?

I just think you maybe somewhat missed the point in ATLDave's post. It's all about risk acceptance on both ends. If you think (rightly or wrongly) that your risk of needing to clear a stoppage in a split second is crucial, then you are probably willing to accept the risk of pulling the trigger behind a squib load. Of course we could debate all day long the relative risks...but I think it is pretty safe to say that kabooms are more likely than needing to clear a malfunction in a life-or-death situation someday. That's all he meant. For some, they know that, and accept it. Others do it for matches, and accept it. Heck, it is fun to TRB super-fast! But others may not understand the risks of some failure drills and OVER-estimate the risk of an actual stoppage in a firefight that they might find themselves in. So in the interest of everyone involved, it is good to point that out. We don't want some new shooters to come read this thread and think "my goodness! I have to start practicing lightning-fast tap-rack-bang drills!" and go out and hurt themselves.

The "would you rather have it and not need it or need it and not have it?" rhetoric only goes so far. In some issues, it makes sense, like carrying an extra mag, you probably will never need it, but it is zero risk to carry it. Carrying a gun is itself an assessment of risk. I don't have any more concern than the next guy that I will need it, but after studying the risks and learning safe handling/carry techniques, the risk is near zero, and it is worth it to me to carry a weapon. But I think if we don't stand back occasionally and assess these things, we just carry and train blindly for any perceived possible risk, real or not, then the training may suffer, because you can spend more time worrying about more likely scenarios, and we may be perceived like overly-paranoid gun nuts by some and it does nothing to further our cause.

9mmepiphany
December 11, 2012, 12:41 PM
I could have nudged the magazine release, but I tend to doubt that given that I've never done that inadvertently to my knowledge.
Just out of curiosity, do you normally ride the thumbsafety with your strong thumb?

Where do you usually place your support thumb when shooting?

ATLDave
December 11, 2012, 01:09 PM
I just think you maybe somewhat missed the point in ATLDave's post. It's all about risk acceptance on both ends. If you think (rightly or wrongly) that your risk of needing to clear a stoppage in a split second is crucial, then you are probably willing to accept the risk of pulling the trigger behind a squib load. Of course we could debate all day long the relative risks...but I think it is pretty safe to say that kabooms are more likely than needing to clear a malfunction in a life-or-death situation someday. That's all he meant. For some, they know that, and accept it. Others do it for matches, and accept it. Heck, it is fun to TRB super-fast! But others may not understand the risks of some failure drills and OVER-estimate the risk of an actual stoppage in a firefight that they might find themselves in. So in the interest of everyone involved, it is good to point that out. We don't want some new shooters to come read this thread and think "my goodness! I have to start practicing lightning-fast tap-rack-bang drills!" and go out and hurt themselves.

The "would you rather have it and not need it or need it and not have it?" rhetoric only goes so far. In some issues, it makes sense, like carrying an extra mag, you probably will never need it, but it is zero risk to carry it. Carrying a gun is itself an assessment of risk. I don't have any more concern than the next guy that I will need it, but after studying the risks and learning safe handling/carry techniques, the risk is near zero, and it is worth it to me to carry a weapon. But I think if we don't stand back occasionally and assess these things, we just carry and train blindly for any perceived possible risk, real or not, then the training may suffer, because you can spend more time worrying about more likely scenarios, and we may be perceived like overly-paranoid gun nuts by some and it does nothing to further our cause.

holdencm9, you have explained my thinking far more eloquently than I could have done myself.

ATLDave
December 11, 2012, 01:17 PM
It's a matter of battle readiness. How ready do you want to be? Would you rather have the skill to clear stoppages quickly and not need it or or need the skill and not have it?

See holdencm9's recent reply for a well-explicated explanation. I would add only this:

There are many things that are good to have. Getting those things requires the expenditure of resources and/or the acceptance of risk. It is not possible to acquire all good things, because of resource constraints or the acceptance of unacceptable levels of risk. So you have to choose what resources to allocate and what risks to accept.

Blindly accepting risk for something that one may very, very unlikely to need is unwise. I could "train" to learn how to rappel down cliff faces, on the theory that someday that might be my only avenue of escape from some rampaging horde. But given my actual lifestyle, that's so unlikely that accepting the risks inherent in learning how to rapel vastly outweigh the risks of remaining unskilled in that area. Now, I may decide that rapelling would be fun, in which case the analysis may shift. Or I might have chosen a different occupation for myself, in which case the analysis may shift dramatically. But sitting here today, "training" myself to rapel would not be rational.

In fact, training myself to rapel would be like taking out an insurance policy where the premiums exceed the coverage. It would be crazy. Training oneself to a fast TRB is not as crazy, but for many people it is like taking an insurance policy for an extraordinarily unlikely event with non-trivial premiums. Those resources might be better directed elsewhere.

Unless ingraining a really fast TRB is fun. Then the acceptance of risk - like the acceptance of risk that is inherent in going to a shooting range - may make a lot of sense.

Skylerbone
December 11, 2012, 02:10 PM
I gather from what I've read that a quick default to TRB is necessary in training to make it "stick" and that it's a barrel of fun compared to getting stabbed or shot.

As I mentioned, I honestly don't ever expect to need it because I've yet to, except when learning the drills. Purposely loading dummy rounds should ready the shooter consciously for the procedure and if there is concern about an intended live round not going bang and causing damage you can load a full magazine of snap caps or dummys.

I've noticed Hornady has taken to adding 1 additional bullet in each of the last 8 boxes I loaded last week so it seems I've got some training fodder at the ready.

Arp32
December 11, 2012, 02:15 PM
Just out of curiosity, do you normally ride the thumbsafety with your strong thumb?

Where do you usually place your support thumb when shooting?

Usually thumbs facing target, support thumb high and outside strong hand thumb (say 10 or 11 o'clock as viewed from shooter), strong hand thumb on safety.



EDIT: Not having my 1911 handy when I posted the above, I tried an "imaginary" grip and completely misspoke... Weak thumb is actually just below the slide stop lever, strong thumb is high riding the safety. Sorry for the added thread derailment.

9mmepiphany
December 11, 2012, 04:08 PM
Sounds like you're clear of all the controls

Shawn Dodson
December 12, 2012, 10:13 AM
Blindly accepting risk for something that one may very, very unlikely to need is unwise.

Where’s the risk?

Given the frequency in which Tap/Rack is performed as the primary immediate action in the event of a stoppage I’d expect there to be reports in which the risks associated with Tap/Rack are actually realized.

But there aren’t any that I'm aware of. Why? Because in training the risk of a squib/hangfire is virtually eliminated by the use of a dummy cartridge to insert a “misfire” stoppage.

In addition the risk of encountering an actual squib/hangfire with live ammunition during training is pretty low – so low that’s it’s an acceptable risk given the fact that Tap/Rack quickly clears many types of stoppages IN ADDITION to the highly unlikely, “highly risky” defective cartridge.

ATLDave
December 12, 2012, 10:33 AM
In addition the risk of encountering an actual squib/hangfire with live ammunition during training is pretty low – so low that’s it’s an acceptable risk given the fact that Tap/Rack quickly clears many types of stoppages IN ADDITION to the highly unlikely, “highly risky” defective cartridge.

OK, that's a different argument, and one that makes sense to me. Now you're arguing probabilities, which is logical. Whether you are right or nor is an empirical question, though perhaps not one readily answered.

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