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Navigating Common Firearms Malfunctions: A Shooter's Troubleshooting Guide

Whether you're a seasoned gun enthusiast or a novice shooter, encountering a firearm malfunction is a situation that can catch anyone off guard. Understanding the common malfunctions and having the knowledge to troubleshoot them is crucial for maintaining safety and ensuring a smooth shooting experience. In this blog post, we'll delve into some common firearms malfunctions and equip you with practical tips for quick and effective troubleshooting.

1. Failure to Feed (FTF):

One of the most common malfunctions is a failure to feed. This occurs when the firearm fails to chamber a new round properly. The culprit is often a dirty or improperly lubricated magazine. To troubleshoot, tap the bottom of the magazine to ensure it's properly seated, rack the slide to chamber a new round, and continue firing.

2. Failure to Eject (FTE):

Failure to eject, also known as a stovepipe, happens when a spent casing doesn't eject properly. This issue can be caused by a weak extractor or an improperly maintained firearm. To address FTE, tap the base of the magazine to ensure it's seated correctly, rack the slide forcefully to eject the casing, and resume firing.

3. Double Feed:

A double feed occurs when two rounds attempt to enter the chamber simultaneously, causing a jam. This malfunction is often a result of a damaged magazine or weak magazine spring. To troubleshoot, lock the slide to the rear, remove the magazine, clear the jam, reload, and resume firing.

4. Misfire:

A misfire happens when the firing pin strikes the primer, but the round fails to ignite. This can occur due to faulty ammunition, light primer strikes, or a dirty firing pin channel. If you experience a misfire, keep the firearm pointed downrange for at least 30 seconds (in case of a delayed ignition), clear the round, inspect the firing pin, and check for any obstructions before reloading.

5. Squib Load:

A squib load occurs when a bullet becomes lodged in the barrel without firing. Firing another round behind a squib can lead to a catastrophic failure. If you suspect a squib load, cease firing immediately, keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, and use a cleaning rod to dislodge the obstructed bullet.


Understanding and addressing common firearms malfunctions is an essential skill for every responsible gun owner. Regular maintenance, proper lubrication, and familiarity with your firearm contribute to a safer and more enjoyable shooting experience.

Remember, safety is paramount. If you encounter a malfunction you're unsure how to handle, seek the assistance of a qualified firearms instructor or gunsmith. Training, practice, and knowledge are the keys to becoming a proficient and responsible firearm owner.

By staying informed and prepared, you'll not only enhance your shooting skills but also contribute to a culture of responsible firearm ownership.

Happy and safe shooting!

Brad Amick

Amick's Guns

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