Rob’s the man. But I’d like to point out that there’s no way to make the smooth transition demonstrated above if  . . . wait for it . . . you don’t have a handgun. In a holster. Sure, if something bad’s going down in the middle of the night, it’s gonna be either or. (My preference: handgun, gather friendlies, shotgun.) Otherwise, you need that pistol right there in case your long gun, she no run. The trick here: always wear a sidearm. Question for Rob: how do you train for both situations? You should clear a malfunction if you don’t have a handgun. But in the adrenalin moment, you might reach for something that’s not there when you could have been busy clearing your carbine or shotgun’s MALF. What’s best practice?

45 Responses to Gun Guru Rob Pincus: Don’t Waste Time Clearing a Carbine Malf

  1. How difficult, at zero dark thirty with the sound of glass breaking, would it be to have a bandolier type holster with pistol to grab and throw on before grabbing the ccarbine or shotgun?

  2. A sidearm is part of my daily “dress” and has been for closing in on forty years. In today’s “urban” settings, we should all be carrying a handgun. A long gun in any form is for a really bad situation and then, as they did in the days of Earp and Masterson, it probably makes better sense to reach for the “street howitzer”.

    Of course that is all personal opinion.

  3. I’ve had extremly few Malfs with a pump shotgun and concidering that 16 feet is about max for the average residence interior 12 ga bird shot should be quite effective.

        • Well if by work you mean stop bad guys with more than a little pain deterrence, yeah it does mean is doesn’t work. Birdshot does not penetrate enough to incapacitate people. It has about every downside shotgun loads could have and none of the upsides. You’d literally be better off with pepper spray.

        • Not necessarily advocating use but there are
          alternatives. For someone living in say a trailer
          overpenetration is a serious issue. A slug or
          00 buck can go through like tissue paper. Just
          something to think about. Think of bird shot more
          like a less-lethal load.Incapacitate: yes… instant
          kill: probably not. Though depending on range
          and choke, it can make just as big a hole as a slug.
          Of course the followup round can always be
          stronger. My granddad had a double barrel coach
          gun. One tube had rock salt the other had 00 buck.
          He always told me “if the first one doesn’t stop them, the second one will drop them”. (Of course now sadly in many ways you’re better off making sure an intruder is dead, but that’s another argument.)

          As far as the pepper spray goes, ask some EMTs
          or LEOs how well spray works on addicts. Even
          silly putty would seem preferable.

        • “For someone living in say a trailer
          overpenetration is a serious issue.”

          The vast majority of house dwellers have life and death considerations with penetration. Anything that can penetrate enough to incapacitate and not just hurt a lot, will go through several walls. Slugs and handgun rounds are the worst offenders, and rifle and shotgun rounds penetrate walls considerably less. Birdshot of all things despite being pathetically undependable for incapacitation is perfectly capable of blowing through two layers of drywall and causing a life altering injury to a loved one. The only good backstops in a home tend to be gun safes and scum balls. Which is why you want ammo that will penetrate enough to stop the bad guy and a platform that lends to not missing. Long guns with proper ammo do both things.

          “Think of bird shot more
          like a less-lethal load.Incapacitate: yes… instant
          kill: probably not.”

          It won’t incapacitate. It will hurt a lot. The person hit will decide if they will stop or not. If I have to fire a gun in my own home I want that decision made for them. A lot of birdshot wounds are fatal (albeit latter on) and a lot of buckshot wounds are survivable, but the buckshot makes the body stop working. Live or die is for the EMTs to sort out.

          “As far as the pepper spray goes, ask some EMTs
          or LEOs how well spray works on addicts.”

          Exactly my point. It is pain compliance and while rational people don’t like being in excruciating pain, even rational criminals turn tail and run when they find out they picked the wrong house so we aren’t really talking about rational people when we are talking about needing to shoot them to get them to stop.

          “My granddad had a double barrel coach
          gun. One tube had rock salt the other had 00 buck.”

          Rock salt I get. I don’t use it, and if I was going to, I’d use rubber, but I get it. 00 buck was the follow up because it would be up to the guy to decide if they were going to stick around or leave.

        • Have you ever tested out high brass #4 birdshot at in home range (under 10 yards)? I have, and if you think it is no better than pepper spray you are flat out crazy.

        • Bird shot is great for home defense. Just run out to your balcony and fire two rounds in the air. The bad guys will run away and you might get yourself some dinner — if you like pigeon.

        • “rifle and shotgun rounds penetrate walls considerably less”

          My AK loaded with Wolf 7.62×39 penetrates concrete blocks just fine. Why won’t it penetrate walls??

        • “My AK loaded with Wolf 7.62×39 penetrates concrete blocks just fine. Why won’t it penetrate walls??”

          First anything that will penetrate 12-16″ of human will penetrate walls. The question is how many. Rifle rounds are high energy but relatively low momentum. Compared to pistol rounds they penetrate far fewer walls.

          Second, wolf is perfectly fine range ammo. It is reasonable SHTF ammo. It will kill people dead just fine. But if your 7.62×39 rifle is what you keep for home defense get a couple magazines worth of law enforcement type ammo (that isn’t a common LEO caliber so it might not be plentiful). Just like with pistols, FMJ stuff is not for home defense. Steel cored FMJ most definitely isn’t. Ammo sitting in a magazine on a rack never expires so it is a one time thing to get some take it to the range once to make sure it feeds right, then leave a couple mags ready to go for the rest of your life. I haven’t shopped for 7.62×39 specifically, but you are usually looking for something polymer tipped, hollow pointed, or soft tipped. It will increase fragmentation and reduce penetration down to where you want it for stopping people and minimize risk on the other side. Look for gel penetration in the 12-16″ range.

  4. Personally, I don’t intend to arm up with a carbine in my home…unless I hear mucho commotion that indicates multiple threats. I purposely don’t have my sling installed on my M-15 because it could catch on another weapon and create noise (that I’m not ready to introduce) and add stress. I also don’t have a magazine installed, so I’ll have to get that situated.

    As an “average Joe”, not a professional, I have to leverage risk vs. success. The more variables, the less chance I’ll be able to protect my home and family.

    My favorite plan of action is to grab my mother’s 4″ .38, with hollow point ammo first. My wife will get on the phone and we’ll deal with the situation.

    Thanks for bringing up these topics. It give me a reason to examine my home defense plans occasionally!

  5. Your statement’s in the form of a question, but I can think of many variables. I pretty much would go for my .45 and spare clip, since the, er, the semi-automatic defense rifle is in a closet nearby. My grandson’s over from time to time, and the Remington 870’s hid so far away I wouldn’t even consider it.

  6. Good vid. Rob is right, no time for fixing anything in fight. Grab another weapon system and go. If you don’t have any other weapons, get out of town, or behind cover. Don’t just stand there.

    I carry handguns when I am 100% positive, without a shadow of a doubt, that I will not get into a gunfight.
    I carry a rifle and handguns when I think I might.

  7. This is actually solid advice and is what is taught to all SF operators…do not perform SPORTS (and/or other malfunction drills) but rather quickly transition two your secondary weapon and stay in the fight.

  8. I keep a bandoleer of buck next to the shotty, I might have to see if my hip holster for the .357 will fit on it.

  9. For Both Robs,

    How specific of a situation is this intended for? For an in-home, civilian self-defense scenario this makes alot of sense.

    In a run-n-gun scenario on the street I think this proves to be inferior. There are numerous instances (the hollywood shootout comes to mind) where an antagonist transitioned after a jam to his detriment. Identifying types of malfunctions (some are game-ending and a transition is necessary) and quickly resolving them is part of being a rifleman. Easier said than done but that is what training is for.

    • Here’s one part of the issue: just because you do a tap and rack and get back on the trigger quickly, doesn’t mean that you have fixed the problem. There is no guarantee that what you did will work. Much better off transitioning to a gun you KNOW works than trying to fix one that you may or may not be able to.

      Also, don’t expect to have the cognitive ability to think on your feet under stress when you have a jam.

    • I think the idea Rob is presenting is that you do something like this when the situation is still really hot and you have little or no cover and little or no opportunity to be doing something other than shooting. Doing this in such a situation lets you keep shooting until you are in a better position to address your rifle. If you were firing from cover to begin with SPORTS may be more reasonable than transitioning.

      • Robt; to your query – I took a few classes from a USMC and LEO trainer w 30 yrs experience the local IPDA chapter founder marksman record holder etc etc
        and this is what he taught w shotgun and handgun combined defensive shooting:

        Start w shotgun and when out or malf-unable-to-clear hold shotgun at fore-end barrel up weakside and shoot strong hand pistol while moving to cover.

        He also advocated no-sling on shotgun FOR TYPICAL CIVILIAN home defense use as its more likely to get in the way.

      • Rabbi makes a great point. Even if you’re behind cover, you don’t have time to clear malfunctions in an active fire fight. Every second you are not on the sights with a round chambered is an opportunity for the bad guys to punch your ticket with little opposition. Malf=transition followed by GTFO.

        • Ya. With respect, wait- let me rephrase: RESPECT to Rob Pincus and the operators and LEOs this vid appears to be aimed at, this is interesting but somewhat academic* to me, but heres something that might be useful-

          Another trainer (USN SEAL, ret.) I took a class from teaches that a semi handgun type 3 malf (double feed) typically takes several seconds to clear, so the first step he teaches for that particular one is different than the others, ie FIRST get off the x and find cover if you can, while doing the rest of the steps.

          * academic in that, being a noob OFWG who is just finding enough time to train and build muscle memory with ONE gun to be plenty of work, not to mention expensive in ammo, I am glad to say I wont have to worry about nut-crunching myself in the dark hallway of my suburban SoCal home.

          Point being same as Robs- to train for it, so you have that in muscle memory- and KISS for me is the handgun and GTFO Dodge if that goes bad, or I run out of mags.

  10. Context is King: if you are likely to grab a rifle and NOT have a pistol, this doesn’t apply….

    Even if you DO have a pistol, there is (of course) a time for NOT transitioning and doing a reload or Malf-clearing ( longer distances, availability of cover, etc……).

    That said, the biggest problem most people have the fashionable “twist & glance” before actually doing anything….

  11. JMO, but it makes sense to train to your circumstances. If the ONLY time you will ever have a rifle and a handgun at the same time is when you are on a range, training that way might not be the best for you. Perhaps training to take cover during malfunctions. Perhaps put time into learning CQB with empty or jammed firearms.

    Also, even when you do have both, the only time it would make sense to transition like that is when you are in the line of fire. ASAP you would still want to clear it for the same reason you would reload before moving on instead of switching to another weapon and carrying an empty one around.

    And finally, if you have a crap bag to go with all your shtuff just happened stuff (the one with spare ammo, spare light, a charged cell phone, etc.), maybe use that for your hand gun, and keep your handgun with you when you pick up your long gun. Then you would have both.

  12. If I have a handgun and it malfunctions, I’m getting out of there as fast as possible while clearing the malfunction. I am not just standing there and doing a tap/rack.

    If I have a long gun, I already have a handgun with me and I will just transition to handgun if the rifle malfunctions or runs out of ammunition and I am within reasonable distance. If handgun isn’t viable, I’m going back to the getting out ASAP and fixing the issue when I find somewhere out of direct fire.

  13. If the alarm/dogs/breaking glass got me out of bed, I would grab my “night stand” .38 service revolver (almost completely idiot/failure proof) and assess. If there was time, I would go to the closet and grab the pump shotgun I also keep loaded (mostly idiot/failure proof) before calling the cops. I don’t train for or spend much time thinking about scenarios in which that would not get the job done. I have to admit, if someone was actually shooting at me, I would probably squeeze away at the trigger of whatever I had in my hand until it was over (regardless of whether it was still going bang). Then, if I was lucky enough to be the one to walk away, go change my shorts.

  14. So this guy gives advice that goes against the wisdom of experienced trainers while having zero combat experience? I’ll pass on that…

  15. Cite your source, joker… Who says to waste time with the rifle in a room when are wearing a handgun…. Please?

    (Because, yes, I winter to know who is explicitly putting out that bad advice… Resumes don’t make bad advice better….)

  16. I’ll keep this home defense scenario advice in mind, when I find the Easter bunny, Santa Claus and 12 heavily armed elves in my living room robbing the place. Its a combat scenario not a HD scenario, since last I checked we don’t live in Somalia. My P226 or mossy 500 are more than enough for HD and yes I won 2 ARs.

  17. Did you see that rifle’s magazine bounce of his nuts! That’s one reason to not just “drop” your rifle and go for the pistol…

  18. Keep in mind that this is supposedly happening as you awaken in your home not on the “10 yard line” We are talking 16-24 feet, anyone who thinks birdshot at 16 feet is not a viable SD load, even trap loads should produce an unedited YouTube to that effect. Futher if your married to semiautos and you simply won’t leave bed with out your AR and Super 9 then yes you should plan for a jam

  19. This post’s got me wondering. We’ve all heard “be afraid of the man with one gun, he might know how to use it.” Many of us have given wives “a gun.” Most soldiers go into combat with one gun, a rifle. What the hell has happened, that malfunctions have wormed their way so high on the list of worries? I think the answer is this, that if you beat a gun to death at the range or wear out a good set of magazines while target shooting, or change guns too often to know them inside out, then the chances of failure rise. As for the idea of tossing your long gun if it malfunctions, that depends on the range of the engagement. If you’re within your “accuracy at high speed” range with your pistol, sure, drop the long gun. Otherwise no. Clear it while moving. If you’ve got cover, clear the malfunction. Hell, you’re pistol might jam, too, if your weapons are under-tested, overworked, or frequently changed. Who can say?

  20. 1. Side arm and flashlight (I leave my gunbelt next to the bed). 2. M500 (20″ cylinder bore 8 shot tube) with attached light. First 5 are 00 buck, last 3 are slugs. (There is a reason for this.)

    I agree to train both ways, side arm and no side arm. I also agree it’s better to also have a side arm.
    To shotgun ammo: Bird shot is for birds. . . mostly. At very close range it ‘rat-holes’, still being inside the shot cup it hits like a giant safety slug and causes gross cavitation and a maze of overlapping and unpredictable penetration paths that are the stuff that keeps trauma surgeons going back for ‘continuing education’. However, it is not ideal and will still penetrate multiple walls with enough power to cause serious injury while at the same time doesn’t deliver enough energy transfer to the BG get ideal CNS shutdown. Bird shot really is the worst of all possible loadings short of beanbags or rubber bullets.
    Each time I read about birdshot for reduced penetration I know the commenter has never fired a shotgun inside a house. There is virtually no safe place from 4 shot anywhere unless it’s behind the shooter, the stove or fridge or perhaps in an old cast bathtub or some such. It gives a huge potential to wound. . . everybody, while still making one shot stops unlikely on anybody.
    00: It delivers a good spread at household ranges from appropriate guns. The individual pellets have sufficient diameter and mass to deliver good energy transfer and penetration and the pattern virtually guarantees that a center of mass aim point will result in multiple critical hits. The spread at most indoor residential ranges is small enough that a center of mass aim point is unlikely to result in any pellet completely missing the target, and with the deformation and energy loss over penetrating pellets generally lack much in the way of further penetration, certainly less than many pistol loadings. It will penetrate most building materials, structures and appliances in a home, but so will most pistols.
    If the scenario is that behind the BG is the nursery then the answer is don’t fire either 4 shot or 00. Either will penetrate interior walls to the point that serious injury is almost certain to anyone in the path of the shot on the other side. If your home is laid out so that such a shot is at all likely, move the crib. Saw it’s legs off so it rests on the floor, put a bookshelf full of thick books between the shot and the room behind the shot, open the wall, fill with bricks and replace the sheet rock, but do NOT trust that 4 shot is going to prevent wall penetration because it will penetrate.
    Nothing about a DGU is ever safe; there are only degrees of safety provided by training, equipment and preparedness.

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