View Full Version : Important lesson, and a safety question...

January 7, 2008, 01:56 AM
So there I was, standing at the firing range, sending 230 grain FMJ downrange, when suddenly, my 1911 failed to return to battery. While pointing the gun safely downrange, I give the back of the slide a slap with my palm. I was firing some cheap, dirty ammo, and was thinking that either the slide rails or the feed ramp had gotten fouled. No dice on the slap. So I palm the bottom of my magazine and press the mag release. The mag doesn't fall out, it doesn't go anywhere.

While carefully keeping barrel pointed downrange, I pull the slide back, lock it into place, and gave the breach a look see. There was a round that appeared to be wedged firmly in the feedlips of my magazine. Odd. I dropped the bolt, the round promptly nose dived a little, now it definitely wouldn't feed. Otherwise, it was still firmly wedged in the feedlips, protruding slightly forward of the magazine, ensuring that I couldn't drop the mag.

Heres Where I'm pretty sure I did something stupid, safety wise. Consider for a moment the fact that I was new to weapons, and am still pretty new to weapons. The range I was at, didn't have an a range safety monitor. While I was off in lala land sending steel downrange, the wise old gentleman and two young ladies who had also been shooting, had already packed up and went home. I slid the bolt back, and pried the round forwards with my car-keys. until it finally came forward enough for me to drop the magazine, and clear the weapon. I immediately inspected the gun, for any problems. Nothing. Then I looked at the mag. Teeny-Tiny, almost invisible cracks had formed near the back of the mag, on the feed lips. I immediately junked the mag, and went to fish for my other, identical magazine.

I slammed the mag home, and was two seconds away from drawing the bolt back, when I thought "Wait a minute..." I yanked the magazine out, looked it over, and sure enough; It had teeny tiny hairline cracks on its feed lips as well! I almost jammed my weapon a second time in a row!

I switched magazine brands, routinely and regularly inspect my mags, and thankfully haven't had a problem since.

First, the lesson is; Don't forget to inspect your magazines and ammunition, just as much as you inspect your firearm. Its a total and complete system, As far as ammo goes, I routinely eyeball my bullets, and currently have 6 rounds of ammo sitting in a bag waiting to be properly disposed of. Why? The crimps were bad, and the bullets deep-seated into their head spacing. You don't have to break out a pair of calipers, just don't forget to give everything a decent look over.

Secondly, a question. What is the correct procedure in the event of a weapon malfunction on the firing range, that prevents the weapon from being unloaded or safed? I'm pretty sure that prying out a cartridge with a pair of carkeys would not be considered the 'safe' thing to do, especially considering the fact that I couldn't reach the sides or front of the round, so most of the force was applied to the rear, where the primer is.

January 7, 2008, 10:13 AM
I will not interject much on your post, but I do want to point something out.

Magazines are the "weak link" of any autoloader, pay particular attention to them. Also, if one "jams" on you as you are firing, you now have a great training opportunity. This is where I would do a Tap Rack Boom Drill first, instead of just "tapping the back of the slide". Tap Rack Boom is what you would or should do if your gun had failed to fire in a real life gunfight, so do it in training.

OK, now back to our regularly scheduled program. :)