I had read about squibs, but never encountered one...
... until that happened to me, yesterday. Was kicking myself for not immediately recognizing it.
Note: Yes, this was my 29-8.
The range was busy yesterday, 10-20 minute wait times for lanes, although they have 10 pistol lanes. Lots of noise going on. Also, I was doing initial sight in at 7 yards, so several of my .44 holes were overlapping, and I didn't notice the lack of a new hole in the paper.
The quieter report and the lack of a new hole should have been clues, but I missed them until my mental, after-action review.
I had fired three of the Cor-Bon .44special 165gr with no problem; the fourth round gave the quieter report (again, as I thought back, that's what it did, but with reports coming from both sides, I didn't notice it at the time). The fifth round fired, with number four still in the barrel, caused the almost cartoonish damage to the weapon.
When it happened, I was surprised by the uneventful recoil. I guess the force against the bullet lodged in the barrel pushing forward counteracted the usual rearward recoil, because it felt strangely damped. I also felt a rush of hot air and small particles blast back over my hand, wrist, and face. No skin was broken, and protective eyewear did its job beautifully (the same Native interchangeable lens glasses I use for downhill skiing and mountain biking). The back of my hand felt mildly sunburnt for the rest of the day, but that was about it.
I was very, very lucky. I really may just frame the revolver. Went out and bought a lottery ticket later yesterday afternoon, too.
Going back to my original point, I should have noticed the symptoms of the squib. I knew what they were, but having never experienced one, I failed to recognize them when it mattered.
As far as training goes, I started with air rifles at 8, moved up to rimfire in my early teens, started shooting centerfire and shotguns at 18. I went through Navy security team training while on hold in flight school (lack of fuel meant a lot of young student pilots got temporarily diverted in the early 90s), and did a fair amount of shooting with 1911 and Mossberg 500 during my time at Security as assistant training officer for the auxiliary security force at that base. Shot captain's cup pistol during a tour as an instructor pilot, and was top shooter on my team. Trained regularly with Marines and SF guys during a liaison stint overseas with SOCPAC. Went through refresher training not long ago at Fort Jackson, where mobilizing Navy reservists get Army appreciation training prior to IA tours. and was the top pistol shot in my class - did ok with rifles, but just missed Expert by two. Hanging out lately up at Fort Bragg, where I shoot from time to time with a mix of Rangers and other SOF types.
And despite all that, I blew up my .44 yesterday...