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Old July 10, 2014, 09:20 AM   #1
sherman123
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Is it damaging to a pistol to do malfunction drills?

Mainly I'm just wondering about racking the slide 3 times when tap rack does not remedy the issue? I've heard dropping the slide on an empty chamber was damaging but wasn't sure if the malfunction drills would cause some issues. I'm mainly asking about GLOCKs but am curious about other pistols as well.
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Old July 10, 2014, 09:45 AM   #2
ATLDave
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Dropping the slide on an empty chamber is harmless in most guns. In 1911's with bullseye-grade trigger jobs, there is some risk to the sear/nose engagement surfaces (and not every agrees that risk is serious). With a modern pistol? Drop it all you want.

But racking the slide 3 times? What's that supposed to accomplish?
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Old July 10, 2014, 10:33 AM   #3
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I sure hope it doesn't do damage.. or my 30 year old pistols would all be worn out by now.
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Dropping the slide on an empty chamber is harmless in most guns.
Done in moderation. With no cartridge feeding to slow the slide, it will impact the breech face at a much higher velocity. Do it enough times, it will start to peen metal.

Moreover, there's usually no good reason to do it.

I cringe every time I see some dood pull that with a new gun at a gun shop. Ain't his to subject to abuse.
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:20 AM   #5
45_auto
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Quote:
Mainly I'm just wondering about racking the slide 3 times when tap rack does not remedy the issue? I've heard dropping the slide on an empty chamber was damaging but wasn't sure if the malfunction drills would cause some issues. I'm mainly asking about GLOCKs but am curious about other pistols as well.
If you're doing your malfunction drills correctly then you're NOT dropping the slide on an empty chamber. You should be racking the slide open AND closed by hand, which has MUCH LESS impact than letting the recoil spring bang the slide closed on an empty chamber.
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Old July 10, 2014, 12:26 PM   #6
Sam1911
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Quote:
But racking the slide 3 times? What's that supposed to accomplish?
Pretty standard procedure during advanced malfunction clearance. ("Remedial action" malfunction clearance.) So something that a "Tap-Rack-Bang" (immediate action) didn't fix.

Drop the mag or tear it out if stuck, rack the slide/bolt to dislodge any empty case or live round hung up in the action, rack the slide/bolt to extract any empty or live round still stuck in the chamber, and rack it once more to give it another shot at anything that might be still jammed up.

This is done FAST -- as fast as possible -- to try and get a badly jammed gun back into action during a gunfight (or simulated gunfight, or competition).

You won't be damaging a fighting gun in any way by practicing important drills like this.
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Last edited by Sam1911; July 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM.
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Old July 10, 2014, 12:29 PM   #7
Comrade Mike
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You'll be fine. Put it on the same level of harmful as dry firing. You'll get bored before you hurt the gun.
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Old July 10, 2014, 01:01 PM   #8
45_auto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atldave
But racking the slide 3 times? What's that supposed to accomplish?
Standard Class 3 semi-auto malfunction clearance drill. One of the first things you'll learn in any pistol class, or look it up on the internet in about a zillion places.
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Old July 10, 2014, 01:04 PM   #9
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If racking the slide three times or dropping the slide damages your gun, get a more durable gun.
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Old July 10, 2014, 01:05 PM   #10
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Failure to fire drill, not so much.

Failure to extract drill can damage extractors and magazines.
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Old July 10, 2014, 02:41 PM   #11
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I know that I may be wrong, and if so that's fine. I will own up and take the jabs, but I have heard this
Quote:
With no cartridge feeding to slow the slide, it will impact the breech face at a much higher velocity.
many times before, and I just don't buy it. I simply don't think that stripping a round off of a magazine and chambering it is going to slow the slide down enough to make any noticable difference. The slide cycles over and over as a gun is being shot, and if the gun functions properly the rounds should be feeding smoothly and slowing the slide down very minimally. I realize guns with steep feed angles will slow it down a bit more perhaps, like a 1911, but I just can't accept that dropping the slide release on an empty chamber will really slow a slide down enough to prevent theoretical peening.

Does anyone have any numbers from a reputable source that actually reflect a difference in slide cycle speeds with and without a round being chambered? Are there any gun smith types here who have actually seen peening or damage caused by this activity?

All that being said I think doing this
Quote:
I cringe every time I see some dood pull that with a new gun at a gun shop.
to a gun you don't own in a gun shop is really poor form. So is dry firing without asking also for that matter.
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Old July 10, 2014, 02:44 PM   #12
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Thanks, Sam1911 and 45_auto. I've adopted the Ben Stoeger view, which is not to try to be "non-diagnostic," especially after a TRB failure. So I had forgotten about the "rack 3 times" thing. I have never encountered a jam that didn't clear after 2, but cleared on the 3rd. Maybe such jams occur, but I'm a little skeptical.

Last edited by ATLDave; July 10, 2014 at 02:52 PM.
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Old July 10, 2014, 07:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 460Kodiak
Are there any gun smith types here who have actually seen peening or damage caused by this activity?
Have you ever heard of Jerry Kuhnhausen, Hiriam Yeager, or Springfield Armory?

Quote:
"Remember that a finely tuned sear has an engagement surface that is only about .009" to .010" wide, and, being this thin, is very easily damaged. It's both practical and wise to hold the trigger back (holding the sear out of the way) whenever the slide is cycled for any reason. You automatically do this when firing the pistol."
- Jerry Kuhnhausen, The Colt .45 Automatic
Quote:
Further, the lower lugs on a match fit barrel take a lot of impact when they contact the slide stop, and without the buffering effect of the round feeding into the chamber, you increase wear on your barrel by slamming the slide on an empty chamber. It's not the end of the world if the slide drops on an empty chamber, but it's not a good habit to develop either. It is the sign of an amateur 1911 handler.
- Hiriam Yeager
http://www.springfield-armory.com/wp...1911Manual.pdf

Page 20

Quote:
Notice: The slide of a 1911-A1 pistol should never
be released on an empty chamber; especially one
which has had an action job. Releasing the slide on
an empty chamber causes damage to the breech
face on the barrel and undue stress on all action
parts, including the hammer and the sear. This will
ruin the action job performed on your pistol.
How about Nighthawk Custom:

http://stevespages.com/pdf/nighthawk_1911.pdf

Quote:
NEVER RELEASE THE SLIDE AND LET IT FALL ON AN EMPTY CHAMBER! This can cause the hammer to inadvertently
follow the slide down when it closes. The slide should drop only on a loaded magazine.
It's kind of like flicking the cylinder open or closed on a revolver. May not cause any immediately horrendous damage, but it's not a good idea.
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Last edited by 45_auto; July 10, 2014 at 07:28 PM.
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Old July 10, 2014, 07:58 PM   #14
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If dropping the slide on an empty chamber can (maybe?) cause problems, why not buy two packages of A-Zoom snap caps and use a "loaded" (with snap caps) magazine? That might help reduce any possible or potential damage a little.

(I once had a friend who reloaded load up some dummy rounds for me -- with no primers or powder, but bullets in the brass. I used these "rounds" for that sort of drill. Somewhere along the line, I misplaced those rounds, so will have to call on another friend who reloads if I can remember...)

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; July 10, 2014 at 08:13 PM.
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Old July 10, 2014, 09:22 PM   #15
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Ah! Good info 45Auto. Thanks for providing it. So the experts say in 1911's it's a bad idea. Fair enough, and since I am not an expert I accept that. However, I'm still interested if anyone has personally seen damage from this though or has actual slide cycle velocity data that shows a difference.
Quote:
It's kind of like flicking the cylinder open or closed on a revolver. May not cause any immediately horrendous damage, but it's not a good idea.
I see your point with this, but it seems to me there is a difference. Revolver cylinders were never designed to be flicked open or closed. (Seeing it in movies makes me laugh.) But semiautos are designed to cycle at high speed while firing, but I concede that they were designed to chamber rounds as they do so. So I think over time it isn't a good thing, but I doubt the seriousness of the issue in non 1911 guns.

I'll wait to see if anyone has info on different designs quietly now. Sorry to divert from your OP Sherman123. Didn't mean to hijack.
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Old July 10, 2014, 09:57 PM   #16
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There may be a lesson in that about finely tuned match triggers, 1911s, and practical/hard-use operations like the sorts of training, competition, and practice that involve malfunction clearance.

If your 2" @ 50 yds. guaranteed bullseye pistol fails to extract or feed, that's probably not the sort of situation where you're going to do a 1.5 second "TRB" (immediate action) or lock back the slide, rip out the magazine, and rack the pistol three times before slamming in a new mag. You probably won't be practicing how to cycle the slide against your belt or boot heel in case of a wounded support arm. Or firing it "from retention." Or doing who knows what else that you might do with your fighting pistol.

But your fighting pistol won't have that "glass rod" break at 1.739802 lbs. either.
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Old July 12, 2014, 07:57 PM   #17
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It isn't a problem in a gun made for gunfighting. You can't possibly exert the same forces on it with your hands as firing a cartridge does. Also, in the double-feed stoppage clearance, you aren't letting the slide fly forward at full speed uncontrolled, you're guiding it down and exerting an additional push forward to get the extractor to hook over the stuck case.

Last edited by The Lone Haranguer; July 12, 2014 at 08:03 PM.
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Old July 14, 2014, 12:18 AM   #18
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I guess if your gun doesn't lock back on the last round you're really screwed.
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Old July 14, 2014, 12:27 AM   #19
Jorg Nysgerrig
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The kaboom drill is pretty hard on things though.
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Old July 14, 2014, 12:36 AM   #20
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I have a Taurus PT 99 that would frequently fail to lock open, so I took it to my LGS smithy, and he gave it a good once over. When I asked if he could fix it, he said sure, but it would cost me a left thumb.
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