Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Malfunction Clearing

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by allaroundhunter, Dec 4, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,369
    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.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    12,738
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    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.
     
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,793
    Location:
    Central PA
    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.
     
  4. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,369
    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.
     
  5. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,314
    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  6. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,314
    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.
     
  7. Skribs

    Skribs Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    5,807
    Location:
    Lakewood, Washington
    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."
     
  8. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,369
    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.
     
  9. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,314
    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".
     
  10. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,988
    Location:
    Southeast Texas
    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.
     
  11. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,369
    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.
     
  12. CZ57

    CZ57 member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Messages:
    1,533
    Location:
    Heart of Texas
    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. ;)
     
  13. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,988
    Location:
    Southeast Texas
    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.
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    18,810
    Location:
    northern california
    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

    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
     
  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    22,565
    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.
     
  16. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Messages:
    5,315
    Location:
    West of the Big Muddy, East of the Rockies and Nor
    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.
     
  17. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,988
    Location:
    Southeast Texas
    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 :eek:
     
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,793
    Location:
    Central PA
    One shooting pal did TRB a revolver in competition. She cut her hand on the rear sight badly enough to startle the SO.
     
  19. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,378
    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.
     
  20. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,988
    Location:
    Southeast Texas
    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 :)
     
  21. CZ57

    CZ57 member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Messages:
    1,533
    Location:
    Heart of Texas
    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. ;)
     
  22. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,106
    Location:
    South Texas
     
  23. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    Connecticut
    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!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  24. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,793
    Location:
    Central PA
    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.)
     
  25. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    Connecticut
    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
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page