Knowing what a misfire is and how to handle them is something that every single shooter needs to know. Dealing with a misfired round is vital to having a strong foundation as a gun enthusiast. Hopefully most of the people reading this already know what to do in the event of a misfire, but if just one person learns how to properly handle the situation then that is a potential life saved.
What is a misfire?
A misfire happens when you pull the trigger and all you hear is a click. This means that the gun has not fired because something in the cartridge has failed. Either the primer or gun powder. The round is a dud and is still lodged in your firearm and could go off at any time.
So? Why does it matter?
Your gun is not safe! The round may be a dud, but it is still in your chamber. Just because it did not go off when you pulled the trigger does not mean that it won’t go off. The primer very well could activate the gun powder when you are not expecting it.
This is why misfired rounds are so dangerous. If you brush it off and decide to call it a day, your gun could fire as you are packing up when it is not in your control. Obviously, this is bad. Very bad and you could end up accidentally shooting someone or injuring yourself because of your negligence.
So I have a misfired round. Now what?
If you have a round that did not go off, there is no reason to panic. Your gun is not going to explode and no babies will be blown away. I know it’s crazy, right? I will lay out the steps on how to deal with a misfire.
1) The first and most important step is to keep your gun pointed down range. Easy enough as you should ALWAYS BE DOING THAT. This ensures that, in case the round decides to go off, at least it will go where it’s supposed to. If this is not common sense, then you should go back to the basics and relearn the 4 rules.
2) Number 2 is equally important. Do not clear the round. Many people assume that you need to get it out of the chamber ASAP. This is false. Leave it in there because you would rather it go off in a controlled environment.
If the primer decides to activate the powder when the round is being extracted or in mid-air, you’re going to have a bad time. Best case scenario if nothing is damaged, will be getting your ear chewed out and your ass kicked out of the gun range.
3) Instead of worrying about getting the round out, extract the magazine. Keep the safety off as well because it could seriously damage your gun if the round goes off. And for the love of god, don’t look down the barrel or feel around with your fingers.
4) Now, let the gun sit for a minute or two. This eliminates the possibility of the round going off when you remove it as the delay will never be that long. If you’re at a range with an RSO (range safety officer) inform them that you have misfired round.
5) Once you have let the gun sit you can finally eject the round. Some people try to fire it again, but why bother. Let the RSO get rid of it and move on with your day.
6) It’s always a good idea to look over your gun to make sure that there isn’t something that caused the issue, such as a blockage or defective part.
Chances are slim that you will come across a round that misfires. Quality assurance is pretty good with ammunition manufacturers, but things happen and it’s better to be prepared!