Firearms are sometimes incredibly complex devices. As such, it should come as no surprise, even to those who are not overly familiar with guns and ammunition, that there are many, many types of things that can go wrong while discharging firearms. Everything from .22’s to the various NFA weapons will always have a possibility of malfunction – no matter how well made, no matter how well maintained. That is not to say that these things are incredibly common, however. We here at Old Glory Guns & Ammo, your premier NH & MA gun shop, want you to know that while almost all firearms have a very high ratio of flawless performance, malfunctions can happen, and when they do, we want you to know what you can do about it.
The eight most common types of firearms malfunctions are as follows:
>Squib – A round that does not fully exit the barrel and gets stuck.
>Failure To Feed – When a cartridge does not chamber itself properly.
>Failure To Eject – Also called a Stovepipe, is when the spent casing gets stuck in chamber/breach.
>Hangfire – A delay between the firing pin striking the primer and the bullet firing.
>Slamfire – When a newly-loaded round is discharged by the loading mechanism alone.
>Double Feed – When two live rounds attempt to chamber themselves at once.
>Short Stroke – When the slide doesn’t retreat far enough, and the old casing is not ejected.
>Misfire – When the ammunition does not discharge properly.
The most important step into addressing these problems is to remain calm. After all, many of the above malfunctions can be addressed very simply. In the event of a Failure To Feed, Failure To Eject, Double Feed, or Short Stroke, the problem can usually by resolved by racking the slide enough times to dispense an expended casing and move fresh ammunition through the breach. Failure To Feed malfunctions can sometimes be a little more involved, however. It might be necessary to remove and inspect the magazine itself to check for proper functionality.
Hangfires, Slamfires, and Misfires are a bit more complicated to diagnose and address. Sometimes the issue can be isolated to an improper or poorly manufactured round of ammunition. Don’t forget: some firearms are finicky in regards to the types of ammunition they can operate with. The other common culprit is a faulty firing pin. As a matter of important note, please be sure that proper safety in the event of these faults is observed at all times. In the event a round refuses to discharge properly, keep the gun aimed at the target for a minimum of thirty seconds in order to rule out a Hangfire event. It is also wise advice to maintain your target aim even after firing a round normally just in case a Slamfire occurs.
Squibs are the most difficult of these malfunctions to deal with. Be careful! Firing another round with a squib in the barrel will often destroy your gun, and can lead to potentially serious harm to the shooter. If you think you have a squib, remove the magazine and eject all casings. After the gun is safe, look down the barrel. If you see a squib, you can try to remove it yourself with a cleaning rod. If this fails, we recommend you take your firearm to a certified NH gunsmith, such as those at Old Glory Guns & Ammo in Mason, NH.
Questions about any of the above? We would be delighted to answer them for you! Call us at 603-878-2854 today!