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All guns fail. Some – like the GLOCK 42 pictured above and after the jump – fail because of limp-wristing or other types of operator error. Some –  like the GLOCK 42 pictured above and after the jump – because of ammo compatibility problems (e.g., Hornady Critical Defense). Other guns – like the Cabot 1911 – will fail from mechanical issues. Others will fail from simple wear and tear after years, maybe even decades of use. Or neglect. But all guns fail. If you believe . . .

…that a GLOCK is infallible, you’re setting yourself up for a fall.

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Make sure your gun is as reliable as possible. Feed it its favorite ammo. But be prepared to take action if and when your gun fails. Tap. Rack. Reload. Run. Seek cover. Something. Anything. Because Mr. Murphy’s out there, somewhere. Always has been. Always will be. No matter what you carry.

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89 Responses to Lesson From a GLOCK 42 Fail

    • All my 3 RIA’s including my GI perform flawlessly. So do all 3 of my glocks. I suggest cleaning a new gun and running the slide a lot with snap caps to loosen up a stiff recoil spring. I’ve seen countless examples were a little break in was all that was needed.

  1. The last handgun fighting training class I took one student’s Glock 19 failed continually due to ammo it didn’t like. So no, it’s not true that Glocks eat anything.

      • Nobody likes 9×18

        It’s like lima beans. It’ll do if there’s nothing else, but nobody actually wants it.

      • 9×18 uses a slightly bigger bullet diameter than 9×19/9×17. I’m thinking it’s fortunate the gun didn’t blow up.

      • My brother did the exact same thing, loaded my ruger P94 up with 9×18, and then they would not chamber….. funny thing that. I pointed out that the box said 9mm mak, and that he should try the 9mm luger instead.

    • You Sir speak blasphemy! Of the 5-10 rounds I have fired through my Glock none of them have ever failed. However, my flash light battery’s have died along with the laser, night vision sights, thermal sights, and my backup bullhorn that I attached. But Glocks are infallible. /sarc… Seriously, I have a few but they are not my go to gun, that would either be my VP9 or my FNS9.

  2. This is indeed true. I’ve actually had that very same thing where the spent casing flips into the chamber happen while firing a bolt action before.

    • Call Now .. Capitol Switchboard.. 202-224-3121 ; Oppose Re-nomination of Traitor John B0oner as House Speaker. Vote happens as soon as Tuesday. Dump this ASS.

    • It sure does. I had a friend mistakenly do that to one of my G23s. Fired the round but failed to extract. Not bad for the wrong caliber. Thankfully no damage to anything other than the cartridge case.

      As to the G42, it seems to me like it is the least reliable pistol in the lineup.

  3. Shoot often enough, and everything breaks. Yes, I’m talking to you Mr HK owner. Nothings infallible -even if your gun is super-duper tactical tough, chances are your ammo ain’t. The squib load is always lurking in the next magazine…….

  4. People do get attached to, even fiercely loyal to, their favorite brands. We see this in firearms, vehicles, software, pretty much anything that’s important or tied to someone’s identity. As far as I can tell, the phenomenon tends to be more pronounced the less, and less varied, someone’s experience is. Oh well.

    Braggadocio notwithstanding, the fact is that some brands of whatever are demonstrably superior to their peers. Modern management and manufacturing techniques can produce some truly amazing works, which surpass others’ offerings, sometimes by almost mythical proportions.

    Still. We’re talking about machines or whatever manmade implements. It would be the height of hubris to believe fallible humans could achieve infallible devices. With all due respect to Glock, and MUCH is due, “GLOCK Perfection”, ultimately, is a marketing slogan, whereas imperfection is the human condition.

  5. Its really about MTTF. Now if gun manufacturers put their guns, a fair amount of them, through a manufacturing process that was as consistent gun to gun as possible, we could maybe get a reliable MTTF (or MTBF) number for a particular model. This assumes that all guns produced would use the same manufacturing process from that point. However this process is usually reserved for medical devices, aircraft, and advanced electrical components. Guns would also cost double what they do now. So….they fail and you need to prep for failure.

    MTTF – Mean Time To Failure
    MTBF – Mean Time Between Failures.

    • With so many types of ammo slightly out of spec the only way to get consistent reliability is through pretty loose tolerances. Large, wide feed ramps and plenty of play in the action.

      That’s why so many designer 1911s have break in periods and usually don’t like certain types of ammo that are otherwise ok…

  6. I’ve only put a box of WB through mine, so far, it has been failure free. I need to shoot it some more, and run a few boxes of HPs to find out which ones are reliable. My 23 eats EVERYTHING, hoping my 42 will as well.

  7. It’s up to every individual gun owner to determine the reliability of his/her firearm. As you know, Rob, a S&W revolver may have issues.

    I had problems with my Glock, due to my limp wristing and the type of ammo I was experimenting with (Lehigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator). I’ve firmed my grip, maintained the weapon and don’t have many more stovepipes…

  8. My only gun that I have kept after it failed me was a Glock 19. Out of the box I got 2 stovepipes in the first 50 rounds. After that, I have 500 rounds thru it without any hiccups. Honestly, it’s still my least favorite gun.

    • I had a Glock 19C that had a chronic bolt-over-base problem. Happened on the very first shot (although that was a ten-ring shot), and then at least once per magazine. That type of failure is typically due to a weak magazine spring, but this would happen with five different magazines, all new. It eventually settled down after around 500 rounds, and seemed ok after that, but until then, it couldn’t go 15 rounds without a stoppage. I think it was right after Glock redesigned the G-3 recoil springs, and this spring was just too tight, and would rebound before the next round could be stripped off the top of the mag.

      Even though that’s just one pistol, I chuckle a little whenever Glock is tauted with “out of the box” reliability. Most of them maybe, but that pistol taught me that you should always confirm reliability before it’s actually needed.

  9. The only Glock failure I’ve experienced was swapping in a .357 sig barrel into my Glock 23c – a couple of ftf with white box ammo. Aside from that, things. have gone smoothly. On the other hand, I can never carry my PPKs because it won’t feed anything – great contrast to near look alike Bersa Thunder that seems feed everything just fine.

  10. My guns all run flawlessly, until they don’t.

    I purposely shoot IDPA with bad magazines for malfunction practice.

  11. Glock owners: “Glocks shoot every type of ammo out there.” Then in the next breath, “My Glock failed cause of the ammo.”

  12. Mine works with Crit Duty. What number in on the frame. From what I gather there are a 0, 1, and 2 frames. I have a 2 and it works great. I think Glock has been somewhat secretly upgrading it based on reports from the street.

  13. That’s me holding the pistol in the third photo (note my same old school army field jacket from the Cabbot part 2 review). The Glock did indeed repeatedly fail to feed as well as one super weird failure where the casing ended up backwards in the chamber. That was a new one for me.
    And since RF failed to mention it, the gun that failed before that was the Cabot, and the time before that it was an XD in .45ACP that wouldn’t feed a LSWC to save my life, so to speak.
    Good advice about Mr. Murphy. JWT

    • Ah HAH! I have identified the problem with the Glock 42 in the photo! It’s YOU! (must be, because the Cabot guy said their gun was perfect, and we all know Glocks are perfect – so, if you got ftfs with both firearms, must be YOU!) Whew – now I can restart my Cabot savings plan – did you realize they’ve got a TEN THOUSAND dollar one, too?

      • I freely admit that if a gun can fail, it will fail with me. I must have done something truly horrible in a past life, because it is well known among my shooting friends that if you truly want to test the reliability of a firearm, all you have to do is put it near me. I am cursed.

  14. All firearms hiccup once in awhile. If you have the same failure again and again you have a problem that needs to be fixed, but I have yet to see a gun that will run 100%, 100% of the time. I’ll even go out on a limb and say 90%+ of the hiccups that happen in semi auto rifles and hand guns are mag or ammunition related.

    Tap, rack, reload, beat on it until it goes bang again.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJaQvV6q-D8
    Campy video but I agree with this guy 100%, I don’t care why it failed I just beat on it until it goes boom. This way if your ever in a situation where you actually need a gun to defend yourself you will do it without thinking. Vs what the majority of guys do at the range, which is spend way to much time analyzing a failure to feed.

    • Yep, I want to know how so many of these pictures manage to be taken. Last failure I had was practicing long range classifiers for USPSA, three shots into a string slide locked back, I had dumped the mag double racked, reloaded, and taken my last shots before I even had the thought about why my gun had failed.

      At least it was obvious from the dropped mag why it failed. A short round nose-dived and jammed up the mag, no amount of tapping would have that mag running again. Sti mags are finniky.

  15. That is my hand in the top two photos (it’s RF’s coat though; it was cold and he’s a gentleman), and I can attest that all three photos are both genuine and unedited. The Glock failed three separate times that afternoon.

    • Well, dang, now that you mention it–that is indeed a pretty hand–if you and RF don’t mind my saying so.

  16. Gee and I was gonna’ get a GLOCK brand GLOCK. Now you tell me they ain’t “perfection”…

    • No, but reliability-wise, they are pretty close. While the Glock-related hubris of so many of the brands fanboys annoys me, I can’t deny that they are great guns. I love my Glock 21 Gen 4 to death.

  17. Guns can (and do) fail…because they’re something produced by people. Everything we make can and will fail eventually. Like others have said, be prepared for it, because it will happen at the worst possible time when you’re not expecting it.

    Now saying that, the only malfunction I’ve ever had with my M&P was with some lightweight (165 or 180 grain…I think) reloads I’d bought at a gun show. One was a stove pipe and the other was simply a failure to lock the slide on the last round. So far…it has digested every factory round of 230 grain FMJ I’ve put through it. So far…subject to change next time I squeeze the trigger.

    • Google M&P dead trigger.

      I’ve had it happen to me a couple of times with a friend’s M&P. Fortunately nobody was trying to shoot at me.

  18. I don’t know what happened in those photos, but it’s fairly common knowledge among Glock owners that they will stovepipe like that first shot if you shoot it without a magazine.

    Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest the Glock 42 may not be as reliable as their company reputation. That’s part of the reason I haven’t bought one. That, and well, it’s a .380.

    Not sure what’s up with the Hornady Critical Defense reference. HCD has a nickel plated case and those pictures look like bare brass to me.

    • Yep. Glocks rely on upward pressure from the magazine for clean ejection. They will of course eject without a mag in, usually (almost always), but I have personally had stove pipe issues start up at a high round count on a set of mags. I fixed it by replacing the mag springs.

      I have also seen them often just drop the empty out the mag well when doing a 1911 style ejection test without a mag in.

    • Yes. The strain screw is NOT used to lessen the trigger pull. The strain screw is either all the way in, or all the way out (ie, removed). Period, full stop.

  19. Glock “Perfection.” Except when it isn’t.

    This is another reason why, for those who don’t practice often, or use their guns that often, I like revolvers. No limp-wrist failure. No tap-rack-bang drill. Just keep it in good repair, feed it crimped ammo and pull the trigger.

    • It’s also a lot simpler to figure out whether a revolver is loaded or unloaded. The chamber is the most hidden part of a semiauto (or any other kind of mag-fed gun, for that matter), and I find newbies have a hard time understanding that pulling the mag out doesn’t render the gun unloaded. (And actually, a gun with an empty chamber and a full mag is a lot more “unloaded” than a gun with no mag and a round in the chamber.)

      That’s another excellent reason to recommend revolvers to people who aren’t skilled with firearms and aren’t interested in practicing.

      Though personally, I find the “revolvers never fail on you” nonsense to be much more common than any “Glocks never fail on you” nonsense.

  20. All guns fail. Had a Kimber jam at the most inappropriate time….lessons learned: tight guns and getting them n the dirt is a bad idea. Back ups are a great thing. Sold the Kimber, bought another Glock and a smith airweight.

  21. I am a Glock Armorer

    Have been a long time.

    Look at the empty shell casing, its very
    dirty and does not match the other
    loaded bullets!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have never seen a problem like that.

    Lock your wrist, so the gun will work right.

    The only time I see that types of miss
    feeds, is when a demo is up at a range
    to show people what can happen,
    when things go wrong.

    I set that miss feed up all the time,
    you place a empty shell
    is the ejection port and let
    the slide gently go forward, with
    the shell trapped in ejection port
    then you lock a loaded mag in the gun,
    you then gently pull the slide back, till
    the shell casing falls into the chamber,
    in turn this jams the gun badly!!!!

    Now you teach the person (people) using
    the gun to clear that type of jam,
    and how fix this worst case problem.

    That is very much staged photos.

    More than likely a range officer doing a demo.

  22. I have a Springfield XD40 have 7500 rounds thru it so far. Even Tula. IT HAS NEVER FAILED. Not once. I have tried limp wristing. Shooting one hand, weak hand. It has fed everything always.

    When I bought the XD40 I kept a count in a little notebook of every round and type. Not one FTF, not one stovepipe. Have a CZ75 in 40 and it would not even eject the Tula ammo.

    And I have a FEG PA63 in Mak. Made in 1956. It has also never failed. has about 2000 rounds thru it so far.

    And Bear, look up and watch Mac’s vid. Glocks do fail. I have watched it on the range. Just shot Tues, Dec 30th. Took my Niece and Bro in law. Guy next to us has a Glock that failed to eject more than once.

  23. 3,000 rounds of everything 9mm from TulAmmo steel to Federal aluminum and my Glock 19 has had:
    2 FTF
    4 FTEject
    0 FTExtract
    0 Double feed
    1 squib with Mag Tech
    0 problems with any defense round
    I would say these failures are due to:
    Ammo 95%
    Dirty gun 4.927%
    Gun 0.073% (law of averages)
    Limp Wristing 0% (I tried to make it fail and it cycled every time with the lightest grip possible)

    True, all guns can fail, but they don’t all fail equally. Those that say Glocks never fail are wrong and those that say Glocks are no more reliable than any other gun are also wrong.

    • Your last sentence nails it.

      It’s fun to watch people who own less reliable guns seize on the occasional Glock failure as if that proves something. It certainly doesn’t make their own gun more reliable or excuse their poor choice.

  24. I have yet to see a 380 pistol that has not had problems in general from any maker. I have never owned one nor will I. I have friends that bring their newest 380 toy to our range days and those fools spend a lot of time at the bench with those toys while the rest of us shoot our guns.

    Add to that you NEVER buy the first year model of any pistol….but I am sure future owners of the G42 will thank you for finding out the problems so their future Gen2 or 3 works much better.

    The best Glock to own is the G17 because is was their first Glock. Its problems have been solved. Every Glock after that is a modification of the G17. Likewise the best XD to own is the XD9, the best M&P to own is the 40….again because those were the first models and have been fixed. The other models are catching up.

    Lastly HP ammo has always been problematic at times. Feeding is usually the issue because of the hole in the front of the bullet. Those that fill the hole tend to be better (Hornady Critical Duty) but even those are not as round and unforgiving as a FMJ. With lower power of a pistol (FPS) I am not convinced that HP round is really doing anything for you coming out of a pistol. If you have to shoot the pistol in defense, I doubt you are going to pull the trigger once. I will be pulling it until the threat stops and at that point I am not sure if HP vs FMJ really matters.

    A HP rifle bullet traveling faster than 2000 FPS, is a whole different story and because of that the hole is much smaller because the FPS is going make that puppy expand and because of the much smaller hole, feeding issues are very much mitigated.

  25. i love watching glock fans faces when i tell them the exact same thing. its a gun made by people, its going to fail. if yours hasn’t failed YET, its because you haven’t shot it enough.

    i consider the glock limp wrist thing a GUN defect, because if you have to hold the GUN a special way to make it work properly then that is the fault of the gun. See MAC on youtube for a detailed video and explanation.

    • I think the limp wrist prone guns are those with extremely heavy recoil springs on a gun that has a very light frame. Beretta Nano is a prime example. My Gen 3 Glock 19 is not affected by grip. The Gen 4s have a heavier spring so that may be an issue. I don’t know from personal experience but there were a lot of complaints with the Gen 4.

      • I’ve had people with absolutely IRON grips shoot my Nano and it still messes up, though not as often as it does when I shoot it. So in this particular case it’s not solely a limp wristing issue. On the other hand it is partially a limp wristing issue, and I don’t believe I’ve ever had a Glock fail on me due to that. So the Nano, or at least MY Nano, is much more susceptible than Glocks.

      • Ceteris paribus, it’s a lot harder to get the spring rate correct for a gun with a short slide than it is for a gun with a long slide. There’s just less slop in the system. We’re back to those tolerances again.

  26. Reading these comments assures me, there are alot of stupid bastards out there who know jack shit about weapons or using them..

  27. My Glock 42 stovepiped on the 2nd shot I fired from the gun. I always use a weaver stance and stiff arm all my shots to prevent jamming or stovepiping. Unlike my Sig p238 that uses the same ammo (95gr UMC). My Sig slings the spent cases well clear of the handgun on every shot. The extractor on the Glock is almost useless. Spent cases are found almost directly under where I fired the Glock. I call it my stovepipe gun. Turning my Glock to the one o clock position does solve the problem though.

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