Dealing with a Gun Jam
It finally happens… you’re caught in a gunfight and you pull the trigger… but nothing happens. You don’t understand why.
The last three or four shots had worked fine; but now you pull the trigger and nothing happens. You’re sitting there with a worthless gun. What do you do?
Any gun can jam and is most likely to do so at the worst possible moment. Oh, some gun designs are more jam resistant than others, but they can still all jam or malfunction, especially when you’re doing a lot of shooting.
What can often happen is the heat from the burning powder makes the parts of the gun nearest the chamber expand, while other parts that are farther from the chamber remain the same size. This alone is enough to cause a jam. Add a round that is a touch off in size or with a slightly damaged case and you’re sitting there with a gun that won’t fire.
This is the real world and you’ve got to be ready for it.
If you’re going to take up arms, you need to be ready to deal with problems that occur. Otherwise, you might just find yourself in a firefight with a gun that won’t work. In that moment you won’t be able to think; you’ll have to know what to do.
You’ll need to practice gun clearing techniques, so that you’re ready to use them, without even thinking about it.
There are a number of different things that can cause a firearm to malfunction and jam. Fortunately, you don’t have to take time out to diagnose the problem. That’s because no matter what the problem, the solution is the same.
So, here’s the solution. It’s three steps:
That’s it. If you can do those three steps, you can get any semi-automatic pistol working again, unless it has a serious problem, like something breaking inside.
Let me explain.
Tap – Many misfires or jams are caused by an improperly seated magazine. Some pistol’s magazines sit in such a way that they don’t seat easily. I’ve shot .22 caliber target pistols like this. If you are not especially careful how you insert a new magazine, ensuring that it is fully seated and locked into place, it will fall out when you rack the slide. So, the first thing to do is to tap the bottom of the magazine, in order to seat it.
Rack – Rack the slide, making sure that you pull it all the way back and then release it to slam home. You’ve got to get it all the way back, so that you open the ejection port all the way and allow the slide to pick up a new round to chamber. Some carry guns have a very stiff spring and it’s easy to make the mistake of not pulling it back all the way. Make sure that you don’t allow your hand to ride it back forward, as you might very well slow it down, preventing the chamber from closing fully.
Shoot – Now you should have the misfired round out of the gun and be ready to fire again. Take aim and squeeze off your shot, as if you hadn’t been interrupted.
This system gets you back in action faster than anything else you can do, except to grab another gun, aka the “New York Reload”. And actually, I think a proper tap, rack, shoot by someone that practices it may be just as fast as drawing a backup gun. Since the “New York Reload” is attributed to police officers in New York “back in the day” who would carry a second revolver instead of unwieldly speed clip reloads, and semi-auto reloads today are much faster.
In any event, for those of you who don’t carry a backup gun, it provides you a sure way of getting your gun back in action and allowing you to deal with the bad guys, before it’s too late …
Make sure that you take the time to practice this, as part of your dry-fire drills.
You can make it a part of your regular shooting as well, by randomly loading a snap cap in a magazine and dealing with it when it doesn’t go off. Better yet, have a shooting buddy load it in, as then you won’t know when to expect it. With practice you’ll be able to tap, rack and shoot in two seconds or less, hardly stuttering in your rate of fire.