Firearms malfunctions

One of the neat things about being a range officer at major matches is that you get to see a lot of guns. This means you also get to see a lot of guns malfunction in various ways; reinforcing the truth that there are no magic swords. At a Steel Challenge match, you’ll see every kind of gun from .22 rifles and pistols to stock Glocks, and all the way out to custom built Open guns. For fun, here’s a little list of guns/malfunctions I saw yesterday during the match.

1. STI 1911 – failure to extract. The extractor head actually broke off the gun.
2. Glock 19 – failure to feed/extract. Not sure what the culprit was here, but my guess would be that the reloads weren’t quite in spec.
3. GSG-5 .22LR – failure to feed. A round coming up out of the magazine went nose up and completely borked the gun.
4. Unknown 1911 – multiple stovepipe malfunctions.
5. Glock 35 – failure to feed. It seemed this shooter had not changed or cleaned his mags in quite some time and they were causing feeding issues.

In addtion to the above, I did see another 1911 briefly turn into a machine pistol – that was a little wild. The moral of all of this not to start a debate about which gun is “best”, but rather to remind shooters that if you depend on a firearm to defend your life or win a match, make sure you keep up on the maintenance. Change your springs, clean your mags, and do what’s necessary to keep your gun in proper working order. There is no such thing as a perfect machine, all mechanical parts are subject to wear and tear and other forms of breakage.

9 thoughts on “Firearms malfunctions”

  1. “…I did see another 1911 briefly turn into a machine pistol…”

    “..all mechanical parts are subject to wear and tear and other forms of breakage.”

    Unless the ATF get’s wind of it, and then you’re a felon in possession of an unregistered machine gun and destined for some jail time and permanent loss of your rights.

  2. Also in general, stay away from aftermarket parts, especially stuff marketed as “match” or “race”.

    I don’t think Caleb can… It’s like crack.

  3. We had a commercial 1911 that had the extractor break roughly in half. In and of itself, pretty common, but in this case, it was a new gun, sitting on our shelf. 1911’s are cool guns, easy to shoot, and typically very accurate. They’re also the kings of feedway stoppages and high maintenance beasties.

  4. Skullz,

    Unless the ATF get’s wind of it, and then you’re a felon in possession of an unregistered machine gun and destined for some jail time and permanent loss of your rights.

    Only if you don’t go get it fixed, but instead leave it knowingly “broken”.

  5. Haji,

    We had a commercial 1911 that had the extractor break roughly in half.

    Saying “We had a commercial 1911 do such-and-so…” is like saying “We had an SUV do this-and-such…

    “Commercial 1911” is a meaningless term when it can cover anything from a $400 P.O.S. Filipino slag gun to a $2,500 custom.

  6. Tam’s got ya, “commercial 1911” is kind of broad.

    Then again, I’ve seen them all screwy, from my $200 Phillippines wonder 1911A2 that was binding the trigger bar, to the “mid” Colt stainless that was left so sharp after machining that I slit my thumb and finger open racking the slide, to a Sig X5(?) that tied itself up so tight it took 15 minutes and a lot of oil and pressure to get the slide moving….AKs with impossible to fit dust covers, Taurus revolvers set up with no cylinder gap, many makes/models with the “flying sight” option, and the Walther P22s… oh God, the P22s….

    Everything breaks. Everything. Important lesson I learned year ago after taking my ~180,000 mile ford Tbird on a road trip of a couple thousand miles. I inspected and serviced *everything*, down to individual sensors, replaced anything suspicious, and made my merry way. On the way home, middle of Wisconsin in a saturday afternoon, for no good reason (it still worked after repair) the power steering pump sheared it’s three bolts and made a violent bid for escape. Thankfully it didn’t make it, as that era Ford had a ring style mount smaller than the pressed-on pulley, but the point is I never would have thought something like that would fail…. and it did, spectacularly.

  7. as a relatively new gun owner, this is some of the information I found invaluable

    ALL beginner firearms owners (and I suspect from the direction of your blog, some long-term owners as well) should at the very least take NRA Basic Pistol and Personal Protection classes in order to get to know your firearm’s capabilities, uses and limitations and develop good gun ownership habits from the get-go

    join a range and practice at LEAST once a month, as well as dry firing your firearm once a week at home to keep your muscle memory fresh

    don’t buy the cheap ammo

    clean your firearm thoroughly, no shortcuts, after each firing session

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