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Old May 30, 2012, 11:08 AM   #19
Aguila Blanca
Senior Member
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 11,108
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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