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Old May 28, 2012, 12:39 PM   #1
triggerhappy2006
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Failure to fire drills unsafe.

Okay so every has heard of Tap Rack Bang to fix a Failure to fire, but some manufacturers and rangemasters say you must wait 30 seconds if you have a failure to fire before ejecting the round to prevent a catastrophe, now from a physics standpoint a round that detonates outside of a chamber is really no threat to anyone, as with nothing surrounding the round, there is no way to control the explosion so the round exploding would only cause the shell casing to fly and the bullet to stay relatively stationary. The only real danger would be if the round exploded as it was in mid air next to your face or if it landed in your shoe and went off. I just wanted everyone else's opinion on this.
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Old May 28, 2012, 12:45 PM   #2
g.willikers
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One might think that it would depend on the circumstances.
In the middle of an heated debate, the risk of a hangfire going off, as it is ejected, is probably not a consideration.
During casual practice, it would be a different story.
Might as well take your time and investigate.
And how often does one happen, anyway?
The only hangfires I've ever experienced have been with black powder type muzzle loaders.
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Old May 28, 2012, 03:43 PM   #3
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In shooting about more rounds that I can ever count I only ever had one hang fire. It was off of some .45 ACP, brand I don't recall about 15 years ago.

I pulled the trigger and nothing happened. I was certain a round was chambered so I was a little surprised and tried to pull the trigger on the 1911 again and of course nothing happened. Just as I was thinking about bringing the gun down to high port arms BLAM! the thing went off. Never happened before or since. So I would not worry about it too much. Unless you are shooting a grenade launcher.
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Old May 28, 2012, 05:37 PM   #4
Nnobby45
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Quote:
I just wanted everyone else's opinion on this.
Understandable as a range safety rule.

Also, when wearing hearing protection you can't hear the primer detonate on a squib load (no powder) that may have stuck the bullet in the barrel. A tap rack and bang after that could be a tap, rack, and Kaboom. This isn't uncommon with handloads. It's my experience that a primer only squib detonation will stick the bullet in the throat so the next round won't chamber. But that may not always be the case.

If the squib contains some powder, but not enough to cycle, then the round likely will either go down range or be stuck in the bbl.

On the other hand, drills that keep your gun working in an emergency are important and can be practiced with dummy rounds inserted into the magazine. Better yet, a buddy can do it at some point so you don't know when it's coming--or even THAT it's coming-- if you know my sneaky buddies.

During an emergency social event, you tap, rack to get your gun back in working order.

Last edited by Nnobby45; May 28, 2012 at 05:53 PM.
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Old May 28, 2012, 05:50 PM   #5
Concealed_Karen
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Forgive my ignorance, I'm a relatively new handgun shooter. Would someone explain "tap, rack, bang"? If I've had a misfire at the range, I pause, eject the projectile, and continue firing my rounds. If the ejected projectile appears undamaged, I usually will attempt to reuse at the start of my next cartridge. I've only had this happen a few times though...am I doing something I shouldn't?
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Old May 28, 2012, 06:06 PM   #6
Nnobby45
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If your gun doesn't fire, there are only a few possible causes.

Your mag. wasn't seated and you never did chamber a round. CLICK. Or you chambered a round, topped of the mag. and failed to fully seat it. Then it's BANG, CLICK.

Bad primer.

Slide didn't go into battery-- possible feed problem or smoke stack failure to eject the case that prevented the slide from closing.

At the range you can easily diagnose the problem and fix it.

In a gunfight, you don't have time to diagnose.

The tap, rack and bang clears the above of malfunctions and gets your gun working again.

Tap seats the magazine.

Rack gets rid of the hung up round if there is one, and chambers a new round. It will also clear the smokestack, though if you observe the round caught in the slide, it's better to wipe it clear with your hand or turn the gun so it will fall out when you retract the slide.

NOTE: A double feed drill is different, and requires locking the slide back, ripping out the mag., working the action to clear the round, and inserting new mag. and chambering a round. Some pistols allow for ripping out the mag. without locking the slide back (Glocks). But on others, like SIG's, the top round in the mag. is probably too far forward and is hung up by the feed ramp. You have to lock it back to pull out the mag.

These drills have to be practiced. The dbl. feed drill takes a little longer to get down. Practice with dummy rounds.

NOTE: for liability reasons, the new version is Tap, Rack and Decide (if you still need to shoot). There was a case were an officer's gun jammed, he did the TRB. Problem is, that by the time he did the bang part, Bubba had quit fighting and wasn't a threat.

The officer's dept. hung him out to dry and he was charged. His attorney pointed out that he'd followed his training in clearing malfunctions to the letter--including the BANG. He was, I believe acquitted at trial.

Now, all training course teach that you tap, rack, and DECIDE if shooting is still appropriate.

Just as we practice draw and shoot, AND draw and not shoot, maybe we should give some thought to Tap, Rack, and hold our fire, along with TRB, lest we train our selves to be robotic with these actions.


Just my thoughts on the matter.

Last edited by Nnobby45; May 28, 2012 at 06:30 PM.
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Old May 28, 2012, 10:37 PM   #7
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now from a physics standpoint a round that detonates outside of a chamber is really no threat to anyone, as with nothing surrounding the round, there is no way to control the explosion so the round exploding would only cause the shell casing to fly and the bullet to stay relatively stationary.
This is correct simply because the bullet weighs more than the brass, equal and opposite force and all. That casing is still dangerous, I have a scar on my left arm to prove it. It wasnt caused by a hang fire though, its an embarrassing story...
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Old May 28, 2012, 11:00 PM   #8
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Thank you, shadowviper,

My goodness, that ruptured casing is hardly "harmless." Sorry you had to find out the hard way!

MTT TL

That's my experience as well, only the delay was much shorter; just a sort of pause before the BLAM. The delay was so short my walnut brain only processed it after the fact - "hey, that round didn't go off on time!"

The only true hang-fires I've had were with old Paki .303 British ammo. That was reeediculous. About 98 percent went BANG right away. Others, you had to just have a smoke and wait for the darned thing to fire.
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Old May 29, 2012, 03:45 AM   #9
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Tap, Rack, Bang is great if you are in a fight or practicing with dummy rounds. Otherwise, don't do it!

If you start that exercise because a squib load just stuck a bullet in your barrel you will wind up shoving another round behind it (possibly jamming the bullet way back into the case) and then detonating your pistol.

Any problems that occur at the range should be properly diagnosed before continuing fire.
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Old May 29, 2012, 06:00 AM   #10
4V50 Gary
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What Sport45 suggested. Range safety and gunfights are different and in a gunfight you accept the risk associated with tap n' rack.
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Old May 29, 2012, 07:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Also, when wearing hearing protection you can't hear the primer detonate on a squib load (no powder) that may have stuck the bullet in the barrel.
You should still be able to hear it, but with non-electronic muffs, it won't be loud. With electronic muffs, you should be able to hear it just fine.

Quote:
Tap, Rack, Bang is great if you are in a fight or practicing with dummy rounds. Otherwise, don't do it!
Well, you would not only need to be practicing with dummy rounds, but knowing when the dummy rounds will be coming up in the firing sequence. Knowing when they are coming up in the firing sequence spoils the point of the dummy rounds where you are training to address the problem when it occurs unexpectedly.
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Old May 29, 2012, 06:04 PM   #12
Nnobby45
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If you start that exercise because a squib load just stuck a bullet in your barrel you will wind up shoving another round behind it (possibly jamming the bullet way back into the case) and then detonating your pistol
Dang, why didn't I think of that in my post?

Remember that rifle and pistol cases are different. A 30-06 case weights 192 grains. A typical bullet (in a deer camp) would weight from 150 to 180. I knew a fellow who though it was funny to drop a .270 round into the campfire when no one suspected, and await the reaction to the POOF, that soon followed. Fortunately, no one was ever hit by the bullet or case--either of which was capable of producing a welt or damaging an eye.

For any bullet to remain stationary while the case is propelled with force defies the laws of physics whether it's pistol or rifle.

Pistol cases weigh a lot less, and are the subject here. A case might weight 80 grains (45ACP), and the bullet 230, but both are set in motion propelled by an equal force, putting both in motion with the lighter case travelling faster.

As far as damage with pistol detonation, it certainly can occur. It's happened to people who have had a detonation while removing the chambered round by ejecting it into thier hand. Clint Smith mentioned that he knew of 5 such incidents that produced painful results (from the burning powder). The TRB drill with a live round wouldn't likely produce any injuries if a hangfire detonated, since the hand wouldn't be over the ejection port. The flying case? Don't know.
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Old May 29, 2012, 06:07 PM   #13
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From my understanding of FTF drills, you turn the handgun on it's side as you rack the slide, correct? As long as the cartridge isn't ejected anywhere near your face, as is done in the above drill I believe, I don't see how it could ever be a serious problem. But then I'm new to all of this
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Old May 29, 2012, 07:29 PM   #14
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I'd like to add a bit.

Without question, ejecting a round that may be in the process of a hangfire generates a hazard. The round going off in the chamber - after it is expected - will simply fire. Unless the shooter has moved the muzzle to an unsafe direction (don't look down the bore, PLEASE) it will simply go downrange. This may be dangerous depending on location; consider bystanders or inhabited buildings or such.

If the round is out of the gun and fires, the danger is minimal. There is some level of hazard from the case or even the primer, but usually it must hit an eye to be seriously dangerous. Shadowviper has a scar on his arm; painful no doubt and one seeks to avoid such, but was that injury serious enough to ignore the threat from an armed antagonist? I suggest Shadowviper will agree the assailant is more of a danger. Shadowviper is free to disagree if he so desires.

The greatest danger is if the round fires halfway out of the chamber. There is enough confinement to generate higher pressures and to evolve high temperature gases. IF one decides to remove the failed round, DO SO QUICKLY! Get it out of the gun and on the ground, right now!

As mentioned, range practice and actual combat are two different situations. On the range, or in private area practice, one must be mindful of safety considerations. In a firefight - in one's bedroom or on the street - one must pay attention to the primary threat.
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Old May 30, 2012, 01:20 AM   #15
Nnobby45
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Quote:
From my understanding of FTF drills, you turn the handgun on it's side as you rack the slide, correct? As long as the cartridge isn't ejected anywhere near your face, as is done in the above drill I believe, I don't see how it could ever be a serious problem. But then I'm new to all of this
When a stove pipe failure to eject is observed, you can turn the gun and retract the slide so the case will fall out. If you check your gun out, you may find that the magazine wasn't seated, or you hadn't chambered a round. You may eject the case, examine it, and see a good primer dent without ignition.
That's all fine---as long as you're on the range.

The WHOLE purpose of the TRB is to get your gun working NOW, because in a gunfight, you don't stop and check nothin'-- there isn't time to diagnose the problem, and TRB fixes most things that go wrong, including all of the above.

So practice your clearing drills with dummy rounds-NOT ON RANGE MISFIRES.

Some problems, like a broken extractor, or firing pin, put your gun out of commision. Fortunately, they are much less likely than the other problems.

Last edited by Nnobby45; May 30, 2012 at 01:41 AM.
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Old May 30, 2012, 01:52 AM   #16
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Hang fire in modern rounds is a myth as far as I'm concerned and if it is possible like you said a round not chambered is not really dangerous. If it went off near your eyes it could cause some damage but most rounds are not big explosives. Regardless in modern rounds its just not possible. Same with squibs out of a handgun. Primer creates enough pressure to push a bullet clear of the barrel.
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Old May 30, 2012, 02:08 AM   #17
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Some of the "hangfires" reported in this kind of drill may have been caused by the user covering the top of the slide when racking it back. This can trap an ejected, live case where it can be driven back into the extractor with enough force to ignite the primer.

Folks would rather think it was a hangfire than an operations error. Just like all the guns that go off without anyone touching the trigger...
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Old May 30, 2012, 10:51 AM   #18
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A tad off topic:

Quote:
some manufacturers and rangemasters say you must wait 30 seconds if you have a failure to fire before ejecting the round to prevent a catastrophe
I don't know where that "30 Second" rule come from, but MG J. Hatcher who dedicated his life working with small arms and ammunition, first with the Ord. Branch, US Army, then as a technical adviser for the NRA says 5 seconds. On the technical issue, I'll yield to Gen Hatcher over any Internet myths.

Also the Civilian Marksmanship Program, in their Master Instructor Courses teach 5 seconds.

As to the topic, FTF drills teach you to react quickly in case you do have a failure to fire, you need to clear the gun getting it back into action.

You're chances of a "catastrophe" are rather slim compared to the hazard of not clearing your weapon. Even 5 seconds is a long time to wait, if during which time you are dodging rounds fired by the bandit.
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Old May 30, 2012, 11:08 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Concealed Karen
Forgive my ignorance, I'm a relatively new handgun shooter. Would someone explain "tap, rack, bang"?
Tap-rack-bang is actually a tactical drill, intended to practice getting you back in the firefight in the event of a misfire that leaves you holding an inert assemblage of miscellaneous parts. The basic idea is to NOT waste any time trying to figure out why your gun didn't go BANG, just clear whatever might be the problem and get back to business.

The steps are:

1. Tap -- "Tap" actually means "whack" the bottom of the magazine, to ensure that it is firmly seated in the pistol for proper feeding.

2. Rack -- rack the slide to eject any round that might (or might not) be in the chamber, or stuck partially ejected. You don't care -- if there is a round, it didn't go off and you're not interested at this point in trying to find out why not. If you practice racking with an overhand motion, this also allows you to simultaneously check for and clear a stovepipe jam.

3. Bang -- Pull the trigger and get back in the fight.


For practice, the stoppage can be introduced by inserting a dummy round or snap cap into the magazine. Better yet, have someone else load the magazine so you won't know which round is the dummy. If done with a dummy round, there's no chance of a hang fire going off while executing the drill. I guess the real safety question is whether or not a shooter at a range should automatically go into full tap-rack-bang mode if he/she encounters a dud round when NOT training for the drill.


And, lastly, some tactical trainers make it a 4-step drill: Tap-rack-ASSESS-bang. The point of this is that, in the event of a failure to fire in a real, live fire fight, your attention will momentarily be diverted from your target(s) and focused on the stoppage. It takes only a couple seconds (maybe less) to run a tap-rack-bang, but in the time you are focused on doing that, your adversary(ies) could have moved or (possibly) surrendered. The thinking is to take a moment after clearing the malfunction to get your brain back in the fight and verify where your adversary is and what he's doing before automatically pulling the trigger.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; May 30, 2012 at 11:15 AM.
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Old May 30, 2012, 11:23 AM   #20
g.willikers
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"Primer creates enough pressure to push a bullet clear of the barrel."
Beg to differ on this one.
While I've never experienced a hangfire, I've had a few bullets stuck in the chamber by a squib.
Some have, indeed, exited ok, but some have not.
Fortunately, they prevented any other rounds from chambering.
And I've witnessed a few stuck in the barrels of others.
One resulted in a bulged barrel, about half way down a 9mm.
Another resulted in a split barrel in a .45.
Hangfires might be rare, but squibs are not and can be dangerous.
Anyone who reloads enough runs the risk of squibs, now and then.
Sometimes it's actually the fault of the reloading equipment.
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Old May 30, 2012, 12:04 PM   #21
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Rounds that go click don't bother me at all. We are trained to clear those. Getting shot, now that would bother me. Premium ammo, either store bought or hand loaded, minimizes the likely hood of such an event. Reliable firearms
help even more. Carrying as a civilian, engagement distances are too short to count on getting much time to clear your malfunction, let alone waiting for safety. Better to practice clearing out, a'la the Mike Irwin rule, or carry a big iron roscoe you can bash them with.
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Old May 30, 2012, 03:21 PM   #22
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I don't worry about handgun/rifle rounds going off when I set them on the table, because they would shoot down range. What scares me is a FTF in a shotgun round.

As to FTF, close range I would just drop my gun and pick up my BUG.

Worst FTE I had was the shell getting stuck between the barrel and slide while a round was in the chamber.
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Old May 30, 2012, 04:46 PM   #23
Mike Irwin
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"from a physics standpoint a round that detonates outside of a chamber is really no threat to anyone"

Not exactly true.

If the primer detonates, it can be blown free of the case at considerable velocity, MORE than enough to cause a serious wound at close range.

The good thing is the primer cup is so light that it loses velocity very quickly and within a few feet isn't a problem other than if it were to hit you in the eye.
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Old May 30, 2012, 04:56 PM   #24
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Quote:
Tap, Rack, Bang is great if you are in a fight or practicing with dummy rounds. Otherwise, don't do it!

If you start that exercise because a squib load just stuck a bullet in your barrel you will wind up shoving another round behind it (possibly jamming the bullet way back into the case) and then detonating your pistol.

Any problems that occur at the range should be properly diagnosed before continuing fire.

Good advice
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:00 PM   #25
Nnobby45
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Some of the "hangfires" reported in this kind of drill may have been caused by the user covering the top of the slide when racking it back
That's not a hang fire. That's the primer hitting the ejector and detonating the round. It happens when one tries to retract the slide and the primer hits the ejector.

When retracting the slide, if you miss the slide stop, the slide will start forward again when you release it. After missing, the operator slams the slide back again to catch it with the slide stop. That little hitch caused the round to shift in the extractor and change position enough so the primer can now hit the ejector. Bang.

If you're inclined to catch the round in your hand, then go slow and make sure you lock the slide back the first time. As stated, it's the slide going forward and then being jerked back again that's the problem.

Though it's not recommened, most of us have been know to do it "now and then". Jeff Cooper used to do it. Clint Smith knows of 5 different detonations doing it in that manner.

Last edited by Nnobby45; May 30, 2012 at 06:06 PM.
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