How To Clear a Double Feed

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Whenever your gun stops shooting, or it malfunctions in anyway, the first thing you should do is tap, rack, bang. Why?

Well, the tap, rack, bang will clear 90% of gun jams. In other words, all the most common malfunctions will be cleared by tap, rack, bang, so without even looking at the gun you should try and clear it that way.

Tap, Rack, Bang is also called “immediate action” because that’s what it should be — your immediate reaction to a gun jam without diagnosing anything.

But if you find that the gun is still jammed, it’s most likely a double feed. Here’s how to clear that.

Step 1: Lock

First thing’s first. It may LOOK like the slide is already locked back because it’s not forward in the position it’s supposed to be. But you need to lock it back completely.

That means pushing the slide back and engaging the slide stop lever.

Step 2: Strip

Next, you want to strip the magazine from the gun. This could be as easy as hitting the mag release button on the gun (like you would normally do to reload) or if you have a nasty jam you may have to “rip” it out.

IMPORTANT: if you do not have a fresh magazine to replace this one with, then you need to hold on to this magazine.

Step 3: Rack

Then with the gun empty of a magazine rack the slide at least 3 times, and the gun will likely be cleared of any rounds or empty casings that had jammed it up.

Step 4: Magazine

Then you need to either A.) stick a fresh magazine back in the gun or B.) put the same magazine back in the gun if you don’t have a backup.

Step 5: Rack

Then rack the slide again after inserting the magazine. This chambers a new, live round.

Step 6: Bang? 

Now is the time to assess and decide if you need to get back to shooting again.

It’s that simple guys. Five words:

Lock
Strip
Rack
Magazine
Rack

Then of course, “Bang” or start shooting again is optional, you’ll have to assess the situation and see if you need to keep sending lead down range.

Obviously this takes a little more time than the “tap, rack, bang” method, but if you get a double feed this is how you clear it.

It might one day save your life, so be sure to practice it from time to time. You can use “dummy rounds” during your dryfire practice to set it up, like you see in the picture below.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent report! I never get tired of hearing about the way to get your gun back into firing mode! Especially for Auto shooters. I used this way to clear my M&P Shield, Smith and Wesson, 9mm, and it worked for me on a double feed. of course this happened at a slow time, and I had no pressure on me. I am very happy with this procedure!

  2. As a LE and Citizen trainer, I am faced with instructing folks from differing backgrounds to respond properly to a “Failure to Extract” malfunction ( Double-feed)
    Unfortunately, many otherwise intelligent folks have added gadgets and modified their self-loading platforms in such a way as to make this already difficult task, even more unmanageable. To wit: I hate those Glock “grip plugs”…understand the mind of old Gaston…every part of the Glock has a specific purpose…in this case, the recess in the grip is to allow the shooter to grasp the mag with enough force the “rip” it from the well during a dbl-feed without having the take the time to lock the slide back first…install a grip-plug and you significantly increase the chance you will not be able to rip the mag out.
    The author of this article pre-supposes that the operator will not be able to rip the mag out w/o locking the slide back…depending upon the individual, ie: training, strength etc this may be so…but, I instruct to try and rip the mag out first, if possible…this will buy you a precious few seconds to then complete the IAD ( Immediate Action Drill) to Rack ( several times, not just once!, re-insert a loaded mag, either the one ripped previously or a spare, then rack and Asses the current situation determining if firing is still required.
    So…my bottom line: Do not add, detract, modify your platform in any manner that would prevent you from ripping your mag out under recoil-spring pressure. Try ripping first, to buy some precious time…then lock the slide back if needed…and one more thing…the time to practice these drills is NOW, not when the SHTF

    • @Lt. Donn: that’s interesting …

      My thinking was that on MOST guns you don’t need to lock the slide back to rip the mag … BUT … some guns you will have to.

      So I always figured to “buy time” teach the complete series (lock slide back first) so you don’t try to rip the mag then have to go back and lock the slide anyways.

      Interesting perspective. Thanks!

  3. When i was in the army we called it s.p.o.r.t.s.

    Slap….the magazine
    Pull…the charging handle back
    Observe…the chamber
    Release…the charging handle
    Tap…the forward assist
    Squeeze….the trigger

    This will work with pretty much any forearm with the exception of the forward assist part.

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