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What is a "light strike?"

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by 9MMare, Aug 26, 2009.

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  1. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    I did a search, and saw many mentioned, but no one described what they are. I'm new to handguns and I've seen light strikes mentioned when people discuss the S&W fs MP 9mm which is the handgun I have ordered.

    I'll need to break it in and want to know what to expect.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

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    A light strike is when the firing pin or striker doesn't hit the primer hard enough, so the cartridge doesn't fire.
     
  3. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    So the slide will go forward and remain that way and I'll have to rack it to eject the round?
     
  4. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Sort of.
    A light strike is one type of "failure to fire" malfunction. The biggest danger (in a range setting) is what is known as a "hangfire", where the primer takes an extra moment to fully ignite, and then sets off the powder. Murphy's law being in effect, that will surely occur at the worst possible time, so it is recommended to keep the pistol pointed at the backstop for a bit before cycling the slide to eject the live (?) round.
    The ejected round should be inspected and compared to fired casings. Some people won't try fire one, I just put it on top in the next mag. If the M&P has the ability to hit the same round twice with the firing pin (quick research didn't give me an answer, and I'm just not motivated enough to dig deeper when you can simply find out while dry-firing) it may be better to practice a malfunction drill anyway, and have the round for troubleshooting purposes if you get more malfunctions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You can read anything, about any gun, you want to read on the Internet.

    Don't start worrying about it until you start having them.

    Then stop shooting hard primer European mil-spec ammo because it is cheap.

    rc
     
  6. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Or at least don't blame the gun on your troubles if that is the cause.
     
  7. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    Well that is another thing to consider, since to practice I will be using the cheapest 9mm I can find. If you guys know what I should stay away from, please let me know. All I know (for practice) is 'round ball.'

    After breaking the gun in some, then I'll load some defensive rounds and see how that goes.
     
  8. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Nothing wrong with that, just don't panic if the cheap stuff gives you an occasional malfunction.
    Heck, I use cheap steel-case and aluminum case when I don't feel like doing a great job of policing brass at our outdoor range. The occasional malf. is just an opportunity to do a tap-rack-bang drill.
    Now, if you're getting light strikes and other malfunctions with good commercial ammo, there might be an issue, but don't stress over that until you actually have the gun in your possession.
     
  9. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    "Light Strike" is also a euphamism for "I didn't seat the primer all the way". :)
     
  10. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    Sport45,
    If the primer isn't fully seated, then wouldn't it be closer the the firing ping, and therefore more prone to puncture. I would expect light strikes to be a product of seating the primer too deep. I am very new to reloading, so would you mind explaining this to me. PM me, so we don't derail this thread any more than we already have if you don't mind.

    Thanks.
     
  11. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    Primers should be seated to the bottom of the pocket. When they aren't, the first firing pin strike might do little more than finish seating the primer. A second strike will often set the round off properly. It's easy to think from this that the first strike was "light".

    I'll go ahead and post this as it doesn't really seem to be off-topic.
     
  12. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    I've had plenty of light strikes with factory American ammo too. Should we all stop using it too?
     
  13. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Yes. Hopefully that would keep the prices down and the supply line moving.
     
  14. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    175 rounds thru it so far and no light strikes and no FTFs...and I am very pleased with my new firearm!

    Thanks for the info all.
     
  15. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    Glad to hear that. I almost bought an MP but I went with the GLock instead.
     
  16. 9MMare

    9MMare Member

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    I liked the Glock 19, but the MP fit my hand better and I liked the trigger pull better.
     
  17. cleetus03

    cleetus03 Member

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    Place a pen down your barrel and Dry fire your gun toward the ceiling. A strong hammer strike will thrust the pen up quite a few feet with some force. With a light hammer strike the pen will whimper out the barrel if it even does.
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Maybe, maybe not?

    Depending on the firing pin design of the gun in question, you may get a pencil stuck in the ceiling. (1911)
    Or it may not even clear the muzzle. (Glock, SIG, and others)

    That doesn't mean you are getting light strikes.
    It just means the firing pin protrusion is limited by the design of the firing pin.

    rc
     
  19. cleetus03

    cleetus03 Member

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    ^gotcha
     
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