An article on malfunction clearing by Gabe Suarez
The best solutions to pistol malfunctions
At my forum, warriortalk.com, there was a discussion about how long it actually takes guys to refunction a handgun when the stoppage is truly reactive and unexpected. One comment illustrated the disconnect where students at the typical gun class will train to clear a malfunction that has been artificially and administratively created. They are shown how to identify it, and then given a clearing solution to it and that is trained under time.
The problem is that while this is all very inspiring and encouraging, those solutions do not hold up so well in truly reactive events where the stoppage is totally unexpected. It seem to take longer. Much longer.
Let me put this in perspective...the manipulation is not what takes so long...it is the thinking and analysis. What I have tried to do in my training is eliminate the analysis beyond realizing the gun has stopped working. That is all I need to know.
Consider that this is distance dependant as well...just like a rifle.
If you recall, with a rifle...at Mid Distance CQB, you transition to pistol. At Close CQB Distances, you use the rifle as a club.
Beyond CQB distances, where you will probably have moved behind cover (only range-focused throwbacks stand in the open and fix their rifles with a target at 100 or 200 yards).
With a pistol, we have two intervals.
One is the shooting interval and the other is combatives interval. At shooting distances, if you have a second gun, and it is with you all the time, that should be your immediate action.
I confess to not always having that second gun so my immediate action is not drawing what may not be there. I work on my malfunction clearing. In the combatives interval, transitioning to a knife or simply cracking the adversary "upside the head" with your Glock is a very viable option. But back to clearing....
This is what I do. In fact, I spent about 10 minutes of my daily 45 minutes in dry work doing this very thing. I do not use a diagnostic system where I have to look at the gun to determine the fix, like they do at most gun schools ("look-lock-etc".).
Nor do I default to a speed load every time the gun stops working. Why not? Because on the one hand, I have not seen a gunfight where you have the time to analyze the malfunction, nor do I want to guess at a solution that may be incorrect by immediately going to speed loads. I am not interested in “cleverness in gun handling”, I am interested in getting the gun working so I can kill the guys trying to kill me.
So, Instead, I have a progression of movements that can be done in total brainlessness as well as in total darkness. I know that guys will say they have years of "feeling the gun" and recognizing this and that.
Great for them.
I do not train that way and I do not teach that way, because I train and practice...and teach for a life and death combat and not for a gun school score, nor a gun game, nor to impress those watching.
So here is what I do. And we are not looking at pistol whipping range but shooting range at the moment.
The gun stops. It is evident because the gun did not go "bang".
As soon as I recognize that, without doing anything else, I Tap-Rack-Shoot.
Yes, I shoot automatically as soon as I complete the maneuver. If it worked I will be back to shooting. Nothing else need be done.
If the gun did not become functional, I rip out the on board magazine (same maneuver as my proactive reload except that I do not retain the magazine), let it drop as my hand nears my belt. I then grab and insert a fresh magazine and rack the slide. I get back to shooting.
Notice step one clears a Failure To Fire, and a Failure To Eject. It does not fix an empty gun nor a Failure To Extract. Those last two are addressed with the secondary step.
Tap Rack Shoot
Did It Shoot?
Yes – then keep doing it
No – Reload the gun and shoot
Did It Shoot?
Yes – then keep doing it.
Most often, unless something has actually broken in the weapon, these two maneuvers will refunction the weapon. If something has broken, such as an extractor, or ejector or firing pin/striker, no amount of trap-racking or reloading will fix that and it is time to seek other weapons or solutions.
Manual skills total only two. The reloading process and the tap rack process. If you have two things to develop and get repetitions in, how much better will you be than if you have five maneuvers to work on.
I like simple and this is simple. Give it an honest try and tell me if this is not as simple as possible.
Tell us what you think??
This is how our department trains.
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