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Mr. Murphy’s out there, somewhere, waiting to ruin your day. How badly your day degrades depends on a lot of factors, but especially when a gun, ammo or let’s face it you malf and what you do afterwards. I had a Smith & Wesson 686 lock fail in the middle of a filming a TTAG video and didn’t seat a mag properly in the midst of a training exercise for my SIG SAEUR Active Shooter Training Instructor Course. And the usual failure-to-feed and failures-to-eject issues during gun tests. So no biggies. What’s the worst malfunction you’ve seen and how did it end?

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  1. My dad and I were shooting his Sig mosquito and the front end of the slide broke off. The recoil spring shot out along with the guide rod and front inch of the slide

    • Hunting with dad. Rem 700 in .270 went off when the safety was switched off. Finger nowhere near the trigger. Just stalking the deer herd. POS!

      Not the worst story here but no fun keeping the four commandments when the factory doesn’t care.

      • I think the 700’s from the 1980’s or so were pretty notorious for that. My father in law has one, and though it never happened to him, when he heard about, he never fired it again.

  2. I had my share or runaways on an M60 – I just twist the belt, force the jam, clear, and continue. Rock and/or Roll on.

    Oh, and I’ve have some rounds cook-off too. hehe.

    • +1…. Cooked off round on closed bolt gun after lots of shooting is scarier though. On the open bolt guns, at least you can hold the charging handle back to keep the gun from running away.

    • I experienced a runaway on an M2 once on a convoy live-fire range in Baumholder. It wasn’t the M2 which I had signed for; there were four companies doing the training and each brought a couple M2s and a Mk19. I noticed early on that one of the M2s seemed to have a really high ROF, and of course that was the one I got stuck on when my turn came.

      Near the very end of the course of fire I put a six round burst into a vehicle target, and very quickly the M2 ate up a further 20 rounds or so before I managed to break the belt while keeping it pointed downrange and not getting my fingers sucked into thing.

      After getting back to the range start point, the TC/RSO in my truck thought I had simply went cyclic, and started giving me an earful about wasting ammo and such. Evidently he didn’t hear me hollering “runaway gun”, and didn’t believe me when I reinformed him of it doing so. I tried telling him that the ROF was way too high, and it needed some PMCS before the next iteration. After arguing for a minute, he gave it a quick look, charged & dry-fired it a few times, and called it good. Even so, I insisted that it be checked for timing & headspace, and earned some time off in the front-leaning rest for my insolence.

      While I was doing that the host company grabbed the next firing order, loaded it up, and headed out with the M2 which had just run away on me. And when they got to the first set of targets, sure enough I heard an M2 go cyclic; except it wasn’t just 20, 30, or even 50 rounds. That gun simply ran until it chewed up the whole 100 can.

      That was one of the only times I ever had an NCO apologize to me for being wrong, and for the rest of the day he was tasked with cleaning & gauging every M2 at the range.

      • Great story! I’m sure we all have enough a-hole NCO stories that would fill a book. I drove a M113/A-CAV for the PLT SGT. (E-7), and the MF used to drink all day in the Commander’s hatch while out in the field. He got meaner and uglier as the day went on, and I heard they finally threw him out. To his credit though, he saved us one time, from driving through an Impact Area that was filled with Unexploded Ordinance where our idiot Looie insisted we go.

  3. A stainless 45 Auto that jammed on opening after firing the first round. It jammed so bad that I had to beat the slide closed with a block of wood. That was the day that gun stopped being my carry gun. It was amazingly accurate, but reliability is the most important single element in a carry gun.

    • It’s a toss up between a revolver cylinder locking up and an outrageously stuck failure to feed with a rough AR-15.

  4. The scariest malfunction I had was when I first started shooting. The second or third round I’d fired out of my revolver (A Smith model 67 IIRC) did not fire. I held the weapon downrange for a few more seconds, waiting. I read it was possible for a round to sometimes go off later than expected due tto various reasons (I know there’s a technical term for this but I don’t know what it is), and I was afraid this was what had happened. After about 20 seconds of nothing happening I decided that was long enough and the round must have been a dud. I opened the cylinder and inspected the round. Looked like a good hit on the primer. It was a dud cartridge.

    I then proceeded to do what is probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. I grabbed a pair of pliers and an adjustable wrench out of my car’s toolkit and pulled the bullet out of the cartridge. There was powder in there, all right. It must have been a bad primer. (Seriously, this was a dumb thing to do and I acknowledge it was a dumb thing to do. My curiosity got the better of me. There’s a proper way to do this, and I didn’t do it that way)

    • The term I’ve always heard for such a round is a “hangfire”, but I’m not sure how technical or official that is. It’s the term used in NRA pistol training literature, though, so maybe it’s not completely colloquial?

      • Hangfire is also used by the Marine Corps. I’d say it’s safe to say that it says unsafe condition.

        But a hangfire is a delay in ignition. A misfire or “dud” is what I would call one that didn’t ignite at all.

    • Why is that a dumb thing to do? If you wait long enough to make sure it’s not a hangfire, I don’t see any great risk in pulling a bullet. Handloaders do that all the time.

      If that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done, then you’ve lived a very easy life.

    • There is nothing wrong with pulling your bullet out. You probably mangled your bullet and brass and may not have been able to fire them afterwards – but that’s fine as long as you didn’t intend to. If it’s a rimfire cartridge – I’d think twice about putting pliers anywhere near the case rim.

    • What you expirienced was a “misfire”, that is; when the primer fails to ignite upon firing pin fall, also known as a “dud”.
      The term for what you thought might happen next, the delayed firing of the dud round, is known as a “hangfire”.
      I’ve had hundreds of the first, but only three of the second. Hangfires are so rare I refused to believe they were possible, at least when I was a young man and hadn’t expierenced them firsthand. I had one particular lot of old .303 that would hangfire about every fifth round. I only counted that whole lot as a single hangfire though.

      • Surplus slave labor german 8mm mauser from late in ww2. Like you said, about every 5th round. Plus a fair number of duds from the same five hundred round lot.

        • 8mm Mauser was my second hangfire incident. Turkish from the ’50s though. And the third was with a rimfire. New production and only that one round. I don’t have an explaination for that one….

    • One of the advantages of a revolver is that while it’s just as likely to get a failure to fire as an auto, with a revolver you pull the trigger again and you get a new round. With an auto you’re going to have to rack the slide. At the range however, you’re probably wise to wait a bit while pointing the gun in a safe direction for a few seconds. Once you open the cylinder bear in mind that if the round did go off the brass is going to come flying out so don’t stick your face over the cylinder. Probably shouldn’t get your fingers in front of the bullet either.

  5. Smith & Wesson 325 in .45acp. Crummy range ammo. Bullet jump unseated two rounds, one was sticking out the end of the cylinder, jammed the gun and prevented me from making a spectacle of myself.

    Premium ammo from now on.

  6. Back during the great ammo shortage of ’13, I was shooting reloads out of a bersa 9mm and an out of spec round got stuck in the chamber. The extractor wouldn’t let go of the round and it wouldn’t go into battery enough to fire it. I had to take it home and press down with both hands against a piece of wood to get it to let go, then I had to knock the round out with a dowel. I tend to shy away from reloads now.

  7. Squib in a P229. Did not sound / feel right so I did not do a follow up shot. The range gunsmith knocked it out with a rod. They tried to say it was my ammunition until I told them I just bought the box from them. “Oh…sorry”.

    • That happened to a friend, but with his reloads, and a .45 1911. He notice it was a little odd, but didn’t investigate, next shot dislodged the bullet, bulged the barrel, the slide jammed about an inch back, but things were otherwise fine. Taking it apart was a good bit more work that usual 😉

  8. Bersa thunder plus, managed to fire out of battery which led to 1-2 tiny bits of gun powder to hit my arm and 1 on my cheek

  9. Only ammo related. Broken cases in ARs, primer that blew out while shooting a bolt action. Blew all kinds of crap in my face (wear shooting glasses) also had a round out of a G26 that didn’t burn all the powder. Bullet dropped out on the ground in front of me and when I pulled the slide back it dumped all the gun powder inside the gun.

  10. A 9mm round fired before going all the way into battery. A chunk blew out the side of the casing sending my extractor into orbit. Ruger fixed my LC9 no questions asked. I’ll never use steel cased ammo again.

  11. Had my Chinese SKS slam-fire an entire magazine through it. The old cosmoline and other debris had frozen the firing pin in a forward position and it shot all ten rounds off. Scary as hell, and still the shortest trip to the range I have ever had. Packed up, went home, and learned alot about cosmoline and the insides of the SKS that afternoon. Still have that rifle.

    • That happened to my yugo sks. Bought it cleaned the outside and figured it was good enough. Loaded it up and pulled the charging handle. Soon as I released it slam fired about 5 rounds before the trigger and clip blew off. I was standing there holding just the upper parts of the rifle.

    • My worst malfunction was with a SKS also. Had it shouldered, squeezed the trigger, next thing I know I’m laying in the dirt. Had emptied a 30 rd mag in a few seconds. According to my friend (it was his gun), he took it to a gunsmith and was told a spring stretched making it full auto. Fortunately for my friend who was standing on my left side I was shooting right handed even though I’m left eyed. I shudder to think what would have happened if he had been standing on my right or I was shooting with my left.

  12. A .22 lr case failure in my Marlin Model 60. Somehow the entire rim of the cartridge blew out, sending well over half the blast (along with unburned gunpowder and scraps of brass) straight back into the action. Fortunately the bullet went downrange and the gun wasn’t damaged, but the boom of the blowout scared the crap out of me.

    What was even scarier is that my son (12/13 at the time) was shooting the gun. Fortunately, no injuries — although the backblast singed about a half inch off his bangs over one eye. He thought it was pretty cool, actually. He’s the only person I know who can say he got a custom gunpowder haircut.

  13. Not really a malfunction but one time I was shooting a 10/22 and the empty shell bounced off a small tree and went directly down my shirt. Ow.

    • 1911 threw one case, ever (so far), straight back. It found the half inch gap between my hat and glasses and gave me a cut, a burn, and a bruise all in one tidy little package.

    • Even a 22 LR is hot on its way out of the chamber isn’t it? 🙂
      I’ve had a lot of them down my shirt over the years. It is common with autoloading rimfire pistols at the range with someone shooting beside you. Lots of rimfire pistols throw their spent brass upwards to fall wherever. Rifles not so much. Centerfire semiautos are even worse. The brass is hot enough to leave a burn if it gets trapped under your shirt in one spot. I’ve never gotten a burn from a rimfire case, they seem to cool too quickly.
      They’re sure offputting though, aren’t they? If you can still make your next shot with a hot case down your shirt, NOW you know something about focusing under pressure!

      • During an M249 qualification, a spent case from the neighboring gunner landed perfectly inside the neck-protector on my IBA, and promptly stuck itself to my neck just underneath the collar on my BDUs.
        When I tried frantically to pry it out, I only got burns on my fingertips, along with the borderline 3rd degree burn on my neck. From what my AG said, my frantic antics were pretty amusing. I could almost hear that case sizzling as it sat there…. or maybe it really was.
        I still have a 5.56 cartridge-shaped scar on my neck, and back when it was fresh it was a nearly perfect outline.

    • I had something like that happen the first time I tried an AR. I was standing right by the wall of the indoor range so the brass bounced off the wall and hit me. I stayed on the left side of the lane after that. I’ve also had .45ACP brass bounce off my hat from the next lane at the range.
      So far I have not had any scary or serious malfunctions, just stovepipes and failure to go into battery on .22 pistol.

  14. A 22 bolt gun when i was 8.
    The brass flew out when i cycled the bolt, and fell back into the action in the correct orientation and got fed into the chamber. There were still rounds in the mag but it didnt pick up.
    2 malfinctions at the same time. Weirdest one i’ve ever seen.

    Scariest? A springfield 1911 slide breaking in half and slamming into a buddy’s face

  15. For me the malfunctions who are holding the gun have been scarier than the guns malfunctioning on their own.

  16. A couple weeks ago I was trying out a (rented) 1911 for the first time (lots of fun!) when the slide failed to return to battery. Not by much, but just enough. After waiting to ensure it wasn’t a hangfire (I’m the new guy, took a whole minute to notice the hammer still back), I tried gently to push it forward the last bit. No dice.
    Too nervous to give it any real effort, I decided to just eject it and continue. Pull the slide back, and the ejector misses the chambered round, the next one is stripped off the magazine, and wedges it in behind the first one. Dammit.
    Thankfully the second round fell out while removing the mag, and I could continue. Scary for the new guy, but definitely wouldn’t stop me from owning one.

  17. Brother and I shooting a 100+ year old .22 single shot rifle in the woods, pulled the trigger and nothing happened. I started fooling with it, he came over and started fooling with it, with 4 hands on it, it went off. We both froze, then looked at our hands. None were even close to the trigger. Examination showed a lot of wear around the bolt where it pushes against the frame when being rotated into battery. I kicked myself a few times over not unloading as the first step. Gun was retired forever (10-15 years ago), still sits in the attic waiting for a “buyback”.

  18. Not scary but I will say I’ve had a few of the “get a 2X4” malfs in a Mosin.

    The Savage 1907es I have with the early safety are seriously sketch as well. They went to a later “trigger block” safety vs the earlier one which raised the striker up so that it wouldn’t disengage and with wear would fire when you set the safety to fire.

  19. I was shooting IDPA with my CCP gun (a CZ 75 P-01). I was using some older magazines with the original style baseplate. The gun ran dry after nine rounds, as expected, and I went to reload. I slid the magazine in and slammed it home with the heel of my hand, and from there moved my hand forward to the support position.
    Apparently my hand had enough friction on the base plate to slide it off the magazine. The spring shot out, followed by the follower and eight rounds of ammo. A friend caught the whole thing at 240 frames per second. It was beautiful in a bad way.

  20. bad (overcharged) reloads in my SR-762, had a failure to extract after 5 rounds, I had to mortar clear the shell in the chamber. looking at the brass I noticed the primer was perforated and the case head was flattened out. collected the other 4 ejected shells and saw the same. I then field stripped the weapon and found that the excess pressure had bent my firing pin retaining pin at damn near a 45 degree angle inside the bolt carrier. I called the ammo manufacturer here in town and they asked me to bring them the ammo, which I did… the manager refunded my money and gave me a couple boxes of factory loads, the other guy behind the counter attempted to tell me that the malfunction was caused by me failing to reinstall the firing pin spring… problem there being the SR-762 doesn’t have a firing pin spring… like every other AR pattern rifle of ever… needless to say I haven’t been back since.

  21. My worst malfunction was with a Hi Point C-9 (yeah, I know, but it was the gun that started me on this journey.) It wasn’t the gun, though, it was the magazines. I could never get the feed lips adjusted right. One day, in band camp… er, at an indoor range, I had just loaded a 10 round magazine at the bench behind my lane. I turned around and took one step towards the firing line when all ten rounds just flew out of the magazine. I packed up and went home, tired of having to do all that amateur gunsmithing with no discernible improvements.. A few months later, I found a buyer for the gun and used the money to put a down payment on a FNP-9.

  22. My sister brought me a Rossi revolver that had the hammer locked back, fully loaded. Had to zip tie the hammer So I could take it apart and fix it.
    It was kinda scary.

  23. I had an AK trigger group walk apart on me in a badly refurbished WASR. It went from Bang, to Burst, to the entire group twisting sideways in the reciever. It was fun getting that sucker put back together. It’s one of the reasons I will never buy another WASR.

  24. Blew a breach on a 12 gauge. It was a garage gun so kinda not out of the blue. Got a cool scar from it. Still got the offender but fixed and fired (no breech blown) since. The words “art” and “suffering” come to mind 🙂

    • OK, if we are going to go with military stuff, I have one better than that. I was flying as a Bombadier/Navigator in an A-6 Intruder doing live bomb practice near Gitmo. We were bombing moored, out of commission ships and sinking them in deep water with MK 82 500 pound bombs with M904 nose fuses. We pulled off target after dropping what we thought was a stick of 24 bombs.

      I looked out on the right wing and there was a bomb left on the rack, with the M904 propeller spinning, meaning it was armed. The arming safety wire had come out somehow. Any impact and it would go off. Long story short, we had to land at Gitmo, which is a very tight approach due to the Cubans surrounding the base and land as softly as possible. We were instructed to taxi as far away from the terminal as possible, do an emergency egress of the plane on the non-bomb side and walk to the terminal. Talk about a warm welcome!

      We stayed overnight in the Gitmo BOQ and the next morning, EOD had removed the bomb, the plane had been towed to the flightline and refueled, ready to go, and we flew back to the ship. The scariest thing is that if I had not noticed that propeller spinning and we did the standard hung bomb procedure the bomb may well have gone off and we would have been toast.

    • OK, a short in the firing circuit caused a 2.75 rocket to fire when I was still setting up the switchology, in an AT-33 flying in trail behind another, I looked up in time to see the rocket zip under his airplane, I have no idea what I said, completely panicked. The instructor with us took his plane down to see if there were any cars on the highway a mile or 2 away with a rocket stuck in the side (dummy rounds, no explosive), and when there was not we all just pretended it didn’t happen.

  25. A hangfire on a .22 LR in my Ruger MkII. Only hangfire I’ve ever experienced. Fortunately I kept the gun downrange and was very surprised when it went off about 5 seconds after I pulled the trigger.

    In my my rather large circle of shooting friends there’s only one or two first person stories about hangfires, and they all involve .22 LR. Never heard a first person story about a centerfire hangfire.


    Ps. Guy in the video had a misfire, not a hangfire.

  26. .40S&W casing split and came apart on firing. Damaged the extractor and cracked the slide where the extractor pivot pin was seated. Had to dismantle the gun then use piers and a vice to get the mushroomed casing out of the chamber.

  27. Saw (wasn’t mine) a catastrophic failure in a Glock 19. The sides blew out of it (apparently glock designs specific stress points to decrease injury to shooter risk during catastrophic failure). Turns out a factory reload was overcharged. The company did the right thing and bought the guy a new Glock. I’ll never shoot a reload since seeing that.

  28. Believe it or not, the worst malfunction I experienced was with a brand new out of the box GLOCK.
    Settle down now. It was 100% ammo related.
    When my wife got her Glock 43 to replace her Nano, I brought every brand of ammo to the range to function test it. All the hollow point stuff fed flawlessly and all the target loads as well. Then, against my better judgment, I loaded six rounds of TulAmo. Her Nano never was tainted with steel cased Russian crap but, because, GLOCK, I gave it a try. It worked fine…this time. I can’t remember why I looked away but when I came back, my wife pulled the trigger and no fire. She tried to rack the slide but it wouldn’t move. She put the gun down and I tried to clear it but the action was seized.
    I dropped the mag and put the gun back in the case and took it to a range employee. I explained we had a live? round stuck in the gun and suggested hammering out. He raised his eyebrows and told me to go to the shop in back and give it a try. I don’t blame him for not wanting to tackle this one.
    I put a 7mm Allen wrench down the barrel and beat it with a hammer until the case broke free of the chamber. The primer fell out so I figure it blew out when the firing pin struck it. The bullet did not move out of the casing but the casing must have expanded lodging in the chamber.
    That was scary banging on that round from the barrel end but I don’t know any other way to fix it.

  29. Overtravel screw on my 85 Combat trigger backed out too much and prevented my gun from firing in single action. So I removed it. That would have been a disaster in a DGU.

  30. My malfunction was to tell my shooting partner I preferred one particular caliber of handgun ammunition over another in front of a pair of yellow-toothed, reeking-of-cigarette guys who overheard me between shots at the range. Oh jeeze, we got the lecture and laughter how we we’re walking dead men for shooting such a pitiful caliber of ammunition.

    At least neither one of them said booger hook.

  31. So what happens if you have a true hangfire in a revolver and it cooks off while not in line with the barrel? I think that this would be bad.

    • A hangfire in a revolver would just blow out the front without barrel contact or spin, and at a low velocity with no accuracy, if the cylinder was locked, and probably hit the frame if the cylinder is in the unlocked, between chambers, position when the round finally fires.
      Even in that case, the lead is much weaker than the steel frame, and the force is all heading forward, away from the shooter, so the likelyhood of injury is low. Even the gun will likely survive, often without damage.
      This bring up yet another revolver quirk, the “chainfire”. This is from the cap and ball days, before cartridge casings were invented. If, during loading, the shooter skips(or does improperly) the step of lubing the balls in the now loaded cylinder, later firing can drive sparks from the currently firing chamber, off into the powder area of some(or ALL) of the other chambers, firing any number of chambers, all at once. This was common in the days of cap and ball, and is the primary reason why the early revolving rifles were not well accepted by the market. Noboby wanted to shoot a revolver with their off hand in front of the chambers, just in case of a chainfire. But even so, seldom were the firearms themselves even damaged. But the potential is there, esp if the offhand is on the forend. That could be very bad.
      With your offhand in front of the blast, there would not be much left of it after any type of chainfire. Users of these revolving rifles generally kept their offhand behind the firing hand, on the stock, making aiming more difficult, but potentially saving their left hand. The rifles weren’t even fitted with a forend, the makers knew about this problem, as did most shooters of the day..

      • It would *really* suck if that hang fire waited until the “dud” round was halfway around the cylinder, blocked by the metal of the gun. Of course that applies to even numbered capacities, but I’m not sure I’d want a five shot to go off in either positions 3 or 4 either (1 being the chamber aligned with the barrel).

        I need to look at my GP100 tonight…are the open chambers (other than #4, which certainly will be) even *partially* blocked by the body of the gun?

  32. A Tri-Star 12 gauge autoloader, fired when I closed the bolt. Happened at the trap range, made a nice hole in the ground in front of me.

    This is why we always follow the four rules.

  33. I’m still new to guns, but scariest I had was a hangfire in a friend’s Beretta 92a. I didn’t even know hangfires were a thing, so when it didn’t go bang, I immediately went to work the action to eject the round. maybe a second before i touched the slide it went off. That gun didn’t like me, I think. 😛

  34. Triple feed on an M4 during a firefight. One round was literally jammed between the bolt and the wall of the receiver. Never seen anything like it, before or since. Had to disassemble and then stuck a gerber in there to wedge it out. While doing so I mentally preparing to ditch the gun and grab the length of chain and switch blade I regularly carried, should the need have arisen. Luckily this didn’t happen and I was able to reassemble. I assume the malfunction had to do with the magazine.

  35. 4″ Taurus Tracker in .44 Magnum. It locked up on me numerous times, got out of time twice and shaved lead like a son-bitch.y favorite though was after the second time I sent it in to Taurus I opened the cylinder, ejected my empties, then pointed it nose down to reload, and the cylinder and crane fell out on the ground. I boxed it up and sent it to Taurus for the third time. When it came back the cylinder gap was so tight that you couldn’t see light through the gap and you could feel the cylinder drag on the forcing cone in two places. I didn’t attempt firing it, I just listed it for sale and sold it to some poor bastard.

    Not only was the gun a total piece of shit, Taurus Customer Service was unbelievably slow and their repair center was not only unable to keep it from going out of time, they sent it back with a new problem the last time.

  36. Worst malfunction was actually 3 back to back. During the Iraq invasion going through the Karbala gap the Iraqis sent a ton of technical vehicles. I was a gunner on a Bradley. I selected the coax, shot 6 rounds; miss fire; extractor broke. Punched up 25mm he, feeder malfunction; hit miss fire button, still down. OK, driver stop, raising tow; jams half way up. Our call sign went from blue 3 to malfunction 3. Fun times.

  37. Fellow competitive shooter was testing newly “tuned” .40 cal. He pointed it down range…(fortunately)…was reaching for my ear pro when he dropped the slide and it slam fired. My Tinnitus did not appreciate that…

    USPSA match..single stack div. Slide locked back with one round left. Hit the slide release but the round had some how been spit of the mag and flipped around. When the slide dropped, round was chambered backwards (#@$!@&^%!?!?). Wedged tight…no clearing that on the clock…took a squib rod to clear. Cheap dang Colt mags…use nothing but Wilson’s since.

    • It is a mystery to me why 1911 manufacturers, even many “premium” labels, ship their guns out the door with such crappy mags. It can’t do anything other than make their products look like crap. Of course so many people think their gun can do no wrong and forget malfunctions five minutes after they happen, that the manufacturers manage to get away with it

    • If you can read this, then TTAG’s “Delete” button is still broken.

      (Fortunately I’ve learned to first edit into meaninglessness any post I intend to delete.)

  38. Squib on a .22lr Remington Golden Bullet. Primer but no powder is all I can think of. Thank goodness I noticed that it did not sound right/did not eject the casing and there was no hole in the target. Cleaning rod to push the bullet out and a trashcan for the box of crap ammo and I was back on my way.

  39. Brass over bolt on an M16 at Fort Jackson. I had heard about that but had never seen it. Thanks to Google I got the soldier’s weapon running and my lieutenant thought I was some kind of rifle guru

  40. My worst was with my Colt MK IV Series ’70 1911 in an advanced shooting class. This gun had never malfunctioned on me in decades of shooting and it was clean and lubed before the start of the class. I was using Colt mags with not much wear on them. I was firing new FMJ ammo.

    I was firing a string and slide locked back, but the slide would not rack, TRB didn’t work and the mag would not come out. The instructor had to stop the class and we had to bang the gun on the ground, pry on it with a screwdriver, etc. until we finally got the mag out and we could clear the breech. Paradoxically, I went through the rest of the class with the same gun, mags and ammo with no problems. Go figure.

    Then about a year later, the same thing happened to me with a Kahr CT9, which was a range rental.

  41. M240B wouldn’t go full-auto during a firefight. Not the MG’s fault. It was just worn the F out from years in sand. I literally fell into that M240 the day before the firefight and didn’t have the time or ability to test fire it. The asshole who I got it from shrugged when I asked him if he had any problems with it or if it worked.

    Never knew what caused it to not function correctly, I just switched it out with a brand new 240. No, I couldn’t do that the first time, because Army reasons.

  42. The last round being shoved into the magazine feed lips by not one but two S&W 1911 TA E series. The original had this problem and now the one they replaced it with is doing the same thing. That new fat extractor they use is garbage. It’s ruining my magazines.

  43. You guys are scaring the crap outta me. 😮

    My worst? Two squibs in my LCR. I think undercharge or no charge in weak 38 loads to begin with. Might have been reman too. I won’t mention the ammo as the rest of it went bang in my GP100.

        • Bullet leaves the cartridge case when fired but it doesn’t exit the gun. Usually, in my limited experience of these things, the cartridge was assembled without gun powder. The primer has enough kick to get the bullet out of the chamber and then stuck in the barrel.

        • A round goes off with just enough force to send the bullet from the chamber to the barrel where it stops. Will cause an obstructed barrel and a BOOM if you fire the next round.

    • Wonder if inadequate crimp let the bullets become unseated which reduced pressure. My airweight seems to be a funny animal. I had the cylinder lock up hard last time I was at the range, so I’m trying to figure that out right now. Ammo didn’t “grow” but I think it may have to do with the spring that pushes against the ejector star and the interlock for the cylinder being closed.

  44. Blew up a 10″ AR upper attached to a post-86 dealer sample Rock River giggle-switch lower. Split the upper, wrecked the bolt release paddle, cracked the bolt carrier in half, Blew a few lugs off the bolt, cracked the barrel extension, blew the magazine out in bits. Lower was unhurt. My trigger finger got bruised and I was peppered with powder and debris, otherwise unharmed. I’ve got pics around here somewhere.

    Post-mortem made it clear that the powder drop I was using had been switched, without my knowledge, for one with pistol powder. That’s when I doubled down on the ‘It needs a label or it gets scrapped’ policy. I’m in no hurry to get murdered.

    24 grains of pistol powder makes for an exciting time. It took a few months before I was pulling the trigger right again.

  45. Hmm, nothing life threatening here but:

    Case head separation on a century arms gun (my fault, for buying it).

    M1A had a stuck case once–the extractor simply ripped a notch in the brass.

    Recently I had a NATO spec dud. The guy running me through the scenario didn’t think I cleared it fast enough (I took a moment to check I was in battery, then racked the slide).

    And once I managed, somehow, to knock the base plate off the mag of my carry gun, getting into my car. I never found one of the rounds, and believe me I tried everything but disassembly, so that car can NEVER go into DC. A moot point as I am 2000 miles away from Mordor on the Potomac. (This was shortly after I swapped the metal base plates for rubberized ones, so no doubt I simply didn’t lock it properly.)

  46. I had my SW 642 lock up on me once shooting some Buffalo Bore 158g +P LSWCHP’s. I went to a lighter defensive round and haven’t experienced the problem since.

  47. Took my new to me Garand to the range for the first time a few weeks ago. The CMP folks are good people and I t looked cleaned and greased, so I didn’t expect any problems. After a couple of clips, I’d get what I thought was an FTF about once a clip. Then I began to get FTEs. Eventually I gave up after only going through 6 clips of Greek surplus.

    Took it home, gave it a thorough cleaning and greasing and replaced the surplus en blocs with new manufacture. Have had a hands to take it out, but I think everything has been resolved.

    Like clearing, I learned a good lesson about trusting someone else to clean and lube my weapons.

  48. My worst malfunction was during s gunfight in Baghdad. I was a saw gunner and laying down the scunion. In the middle of it I had a failure to extract so I had to pull my barrel off and break out a Gerber to pry it out of the chamber. No Buenos in a 2 way gun fight.

  49. SCARIEST: I polished the feed ramp on my Grendel P10 so it would feed hollowpoints and when I loaded it and released the slide IT SLAM FIRED! I was glad that it was pointed in a safe direction. Needless to say the Grendel experiment was over right then!

    WORST: Head separation on my SKS….needless to say I have never purchased another Russian Weapon!

    FUNNIEST: During a SWAT competition which came down to me and a Team 3 shooter (who was also a pro competition shooter) I had a malfunction that I have never seen before or since. The course of fire was to draw on the buzzer and shoot 5 plates, reload and hit 5 more plates at 15 yards…this was man against man, we were both shooting at the same time. I drew and hit my first 5 plates…did a tactical reload hit the 6th plate, then “click”. I tapped the mag, racked the slide and then hit the rest of the plates, I lost by a second or so.

    When we looked at the video we saw that when I fired on the 6th plate the slide cycled throwing a empty case out along with a live round and closed on a empty chamber (that is something I have never seen before). We had just been issued Brand New SIG P 220’s a few days before the SWAT Competition! This same malfunction happened 2 more times that week and I ended up getting a new pistol. The new pistol ran great…I never had another malfunction with that gun…I guess even SIG has a lemon every now and then!!

    • 1970. Brand new in the box winchester semi auto 12 ga. Did the same thing. Fire one shell and eject that empty and the next live round out at the same time.

      • Taurus PT24/7 G2 – same malfunction.

        Though on the whole I’ve had broadly good experiences with Taurus (so the above isn’t intended as another “Taurus sucks” comment).

    • I had a Sig 1911-22 that would eject the 7th round out of every magazine without firing it. Didn’t matter what brand of ammo, which mag, or if it was fired slow or fast. Round 6 would go bang and the empty case and round 7 would land on the ground with the slide closing on an empty chamber. Rounds 8-10 would fire normally.

  50. Hakim rifle, surplus ammo. Kaboom. Never figured out what caused it. Good solid bang bang bang bang boom. No changes in recoil or report till the last round KB’d which was very loud comparatively. Mag on the ground after swatting the hell out of my kneecap, wood splintered, bolt cover thingy twisted. It KB’d and we needed to take care of the minor lacerations and before I was back home the thing was binned by my pop and got hauled off in the weekly garbage pickup. Never felt so happy to have been wearing shooting glasses. I suspect it was out of battery but never got to find out.

  51. Worst and spookiest incident for me was blowing up my Charter Arms .38 while standing beside my nephew on the firing line. The spooky part was that I didn’t even notice the gun had blown apart until I pulled the trigger for the next shot (was doing rapid fire sequence on El Presidente steel) and nothing happened. I lowered the pistol, looked at my nephew when he asked what the hell did I do?, then looked at the Charter. The only cylinder piece remaining was the lower two within the frame. The entire top-strap had flown into his hat, directly above his left eye.

    Second worst was with my Remington .35 at deer camp. Had (stupidly) resanded the stock and forearm the night before and, without cleaning, set it aside for use the following morning. As we’re readying to head for the stands, we were loading and I pumped a shell into the chamber… and commenced to blow a hole in the cabin wall, narrowly missing the LP cylinder. Brother-in-law told me if I wasn’t dead, he was going to kill me. Seriously, NDs are one scary damn thing. We determined my sanding had allowed material to drift into the firing mechanism, allowing the hammer to drop. I’m not at all sure that was the problem, but made me feel a helluva lot better than, “Where the hell was your finger?”

    Last worst was a FTE during a steel comp. I was going gang busters until that happened. Received many kudos for the alacrity of my actions, so made up for poor showing.

  52. M16a2 double feed where the rounds went above the bolt carrier group and the bolt closed to where the bolt face was almost touching the barrel extension. It took some work to get the bolt back. I didn’t think the spring was strong enough to allow that to happen.

  53. Runaway M60 as several people above also had. Broken extractor on Browning shotgun during competition

    Scariest in hindsight – preparing 81 mm mortar rounds and as I opened shipping case the whole primer section fell out. Some how caught it in midair while not dropping the main part of the shell. Put it carefully behind a couple of sandbags and fired the mission

  54. I was shooting my 7mm STW back when I first got it, I was shooting reloads from a friend of a friend of a friends cousins dad, anyway first shot I pulled the trigger and immediately felt hot powder hit my face. I checked the mirror in the truck and my face was completely black.

    So I pulled the case out of the rifle to inspect it and it had blown out just above the belt all the way around. I decided to inspect the rest of the rounds I had left, picked the first one up and shook it, nothing so I checked the rest nothing. At this point I was curious so I pulled a bullet. Come to find out they were loaded to the neck and the bullet was packing the powder down.

    It could have been way worse, no injuries, no damage to the gun. Lesson learned I won’t ever shoot unknown loads again.

  55. Worst gun Ive ever owned my Sig P238.
    Double jams all the time. back to Sig CS 4 times.
    Last time it went back was for slam firing full auto.
    Loaded a mag after beating out a double jam with a wooden mallet handle. Let the slide loose. 6 rounds fired all by its lonesome. Gun goes back to Sig CS they say nothing is wrong.
    Guns been in my safe last 3 years……………….

      • Interesting summary of the case. But the guy was an idiot for doing it repeatedly.
        Once was more then enough for me. Back in the range bag and off to Sig CS the next day.
        In my case might have been debris. More then likely a wood splinter from the mallet handle in the firing pin area.

  56. We were shooting trap on a friends farm with some old reloads. A buddy of mine had a blooper (probably no or very little powder dropped in the shell). Anyways, I noticed the sound and knew the wad didn’t leave the barrel…. My buddy was shooting an 870, ejected the round and was about to shoot another. Was like slow motion before I could practically knock the gun out of his hand before he fired. Sure enough the was about 7 inches short of the muzzle once we took it apart and checked. At the very least saved the barrel from going Elmer Fudd via Bugs.

  57. Reassembled my Kahr wrong once. Reversed the guide rod spring; got to see my guide rod poking through the front of my pistol. Easily fixed.

    Kel Tec RFB came from the factory needing a minor tweak. Ejection chute was not keeping the brass ejected, had what I guess you would call a double feed. Also easily fixed. The ejection chute fingers, designed to make sure brass would only go one way, just needed a little pinch.

    Nothing really scary except the time someone picked up a dud 308 round I had. Guess the guy had never heard of a hangfire…

  58. Made the mistake of buying a Ziploc bag full of Iranian surplus 8mm Mauser because it was super cheap and I’d never seen it before. The first three rounds fired, and then I was on the express train to Hangfire City. They’re a real fear of mine so I got bad nerves and put the rifle down.

    Fortunately, I had brought an old friend and brand new shooter to the range this time. He was totally unfazed and ripped through the rest of the bag, all hangfires, and had fun doing it. I thought he was crazy, but at least I got my money’s worth.

    Did some research after we got home, these Iranian primers are apparently sealed with tar and the shit was basically made, if not stored, in a cave. Most people break it down for components. Lesson learned. Now I buy Privi Partizan or the ocassional box of Romanian/Yugo surplus when it pops up.

    • That Iranian ammo sounds like the stuff my buddy got in the early to mid-1990’s for his WWII-era .303 Enfield Mk 3, it was “corrosive” Pakistani surplus from Sportsman’s Guide at .26 per round, FTF (Failure-to-Fire), hang-fire, and misfires.

      Sometimes you get lucky with “surplus” sometimes you don’t. The Greek surplus NON-corrosive .mid-1970’s production .303 British that hit the market recently thanks to Cheaper Than Dirt and the plummeting economy in Greece has been highly rated. I’ve been keeping track on the usual sites visited by Enfield fans and there haven’t been any complaint other than a report of a couple of oxidized cartridges out of a carton of 480 rounds, NO one has experienced a FTF, hangfire, or misfire with this ammo.

  59. Not a malfunction, more of an asshole uncle. 8 year old me was out in the woods with my uncle and his kid.
    Uncle is shooting at an old refrigerator and asked me if I would like to try shooting the 12 gauge .
    Sure, so I raised it as I had seen him do and pulled the trigger. The gun jumped and tore a groove right below my eye as it kicked violently back. He is haw hawing and saying to his kid bet I was surprised . Then he saw all the blood and hauled me back to my dad. Who promptly chewed him out for setting me up with a rung shell.

  60. A buddy had a Ring of Fire .22 that would fire any time the slide went home. We threw the slide one direction and the frame the other.

  61. I had a messed up failure to eject. The rifle was an ak with good ammo not cheapo steel cased. The spent case flipped back under the bolt and got under the hammer and it was a pain in the ass to get out. Basically had to field strip and get pliers to get it loose then shake the shit out of the rifle

  62. Got a brand new 6920 straight from Colt. Took it apart, examined it and went out and shot it, no problems. Cleaned it, out it back together and shot it, first round failed to eject. The casing was stuck in the bolt. And the bolt was trying to push it thru the opposite side of the ejection port. Finally pried the empty casing off the extractor.

    Turns out Colt didn’t peen the Cam hole so the first time I put it together correct. Second time I reversed the bolt but the cam pin still went in like it would if I put it in correct.

    Sent the bolt back to Colt and they peeled it properly. Also sent me a cheap colt hat.

    Now I always check to ensure the Cam hole is peened.

  63. “Worst gun malfunction”?

    Running out of ammo of course;

    Oh you’re being “serious” so I’ll bite. It didn’t happen to me but my father had a misfire with his and my mom’s Star Model “F” .22 caliber target pistol while shooting in a league in the late 1960’s, it burned his hand and forearm and the incident was included in the “match report” in the local paper (remember the days when they covered OUR “sport”?). I still have the article. As for the Star Model “F”, it’s an accurate pistol, mom won numerous matches with it, she was the better shot though my father was an NRA instructor, she was also a dead-eye with a bow which is quite an accomplishment for a “city girl”.

  64. My buddies son tore down his Benelli super 90, cleaned it and reassembled.
    The firing pin in the bolt is similar to an AR, except that you can put the cotter pin behind it, making the pin protrude out the face of the bolt.
    This causes a very surprising slam fire when loading the first round. Fortunately, it blows up before it’s completely chambered, so it gets the crap jammed out of it instead of going full auto on 8 rounds.

  65. Anybody else have a problem with the lack of a “backstop” in the video? Shooting what appears to be a snub-nose at that range with NO “backstop” seems rather foolish, am I wrong?

  66. Worst I’ve seen… 300blk in a 5.56 upper. Catastrophic failere, to say the least.

    Worst I’ve had… sighting in my .243, 7mm-08, and .308. Got a little careless around the bench, and grabbed a .243 round while shooting the .308. Pretty much gutted one of my suppressors.

  67. Managed to jam a Marlin 30-30 Westernfield (mfr. year 1971, purchased used 2013.) One round was in the chamber and another was jammed against it. Couldn’t extract, couldn’t fire. I might be misremembering the situation, but it was scary to me since I had a live round ready to go but the lever was stuck half way open. The gunsmith who fixed it said it was all gunked up (or some equivalent technical term.) Have finally decided against lever action rifles since I seem to short stroke them. The ammo was not the problem.

  68. I once double charged a .45ACP load. On accident. Result was case head separated. Blew the mag out of the well. Otherwise I’ve still got the fingers I showed up with and no damage to the gun.

  69. Nothing scary compared to what’s above, worst was shooting some Wolf .223 ammo. Brass got stuck so bad, couldn’t take the rifle apart. Luckily the range we shoot at is also the county Sheriff’s range so they have an armorer’s room and one of the guys got the brass extracted.

  70. Me personally, the worst was my EAA Witness, the sear broke..turning the gun full auto. Luckily it was only a 10 round magazine. But it was seriously a butt clenching experience.
    I also saw someone have a Kaboom with the first round out of a new Glock 22. Factory ammo.

  71. My first-gen Kahr 9mm is sitting in my safe and it’ll stay there till I die, I suppose. When it was relatively new, I dropped the slide on a full magazine and the slide failed to go fully into battery. It wouldn’t budge either direction. I tried to clear it but all to no avail. I put it away with a round in the chamber.

    Years later, at the NRA convention, the head of Kahr customer service said he knew what the problem was. While he was circumspect and didn’t explicitly confirm it, he didn’t contradict me when I said I thought the recoil spring had jumped off the guide rod during the slide drop, somehow completely jamming the works. The early guns did not have captive springs.

    His solution? He literally said the only thing I could do was mail the gun back to Kahr in that condition – loaded. He said they’d fix it.

    There’s no way I’m going mail a pistol with a round in the chamber. Like I said, it sits in my safe and will stay there till I’m dead. I’ll let my heirs worry about it.

  72. Always Revolvers.

    One where the cylinder pin unscrewed jamming it up hard. (took hours to get it apart), another where Golden Sabers jamed it when the bullets pulled under recoil.

  73. I have an 870 tactical that from time to time simply will not eject the empty hulls. Forest time it happened I was at an indoor range and it was new ish.I sucked it up and called an ro over. He was friendly enough and got it unstuck by ramming a stick down the barrel while pulling the dead trigger.

    I’ve since found you need to push the slide forward, pull the trigger again, and that usually does the trick.

  74. Glock 20–

    Was using spent brass in lieu of snap caps to correct a flinch and was having a buddy load my mags for me.

    I went through three mags and he told me that was all he’d loaded, so I started going for a faily rapid string when the slide snapped back and nothing ejected. The slide went home and I’m standing there looking at the gun wondering wtf just happened. Went to go rack the slide and it didn’t budge.

    Had the RSO come over and inspect the gun at which time he beat the grip off the counter and ejected the most mangled casing I’d ever seen. Turns out that was the last of my home made snal caps, and the casing had gotten stuck in thr chamber–only for the slide to come forward and spear the ejector into the rim. The whole thing was so jammed up, had I been in a fight there’s no question the thing would’ve been useless to me.

    Only malfunction I’ve had with that gun in a few thousand rounds of 10mm and .40S&W.

  75. I had a cheap steel case Chi-com 7.62×39 round come apart on me in a Ruger Mini 30 many years back. The bolt blew open but about half of the case stuck in the chamber. Lots of fun to get the debris cleaned out. Thankfully no damage to me or the gun. I’ve had a couple of nickel plated .44 special cases split in my Charter Arms Bulldog. Nothing spectacular – just cases that had been reloaded a few too many times and a load that was pushing the limits of good sense.

    When I was young and very foolish I had a reproduction .36 Navy Colt. I loaded six powder charges and round balls. I didn’t have the owner’s manual for the gun and the internet was just Al Gore’s wet dream. I didn’t know that you were supposed to grease the ends of the cylinders or use very tight fitting balls. When I fired the first shot my wife said that she saw a ball of fire the size of a beach ball. She fully expected me to lose my hand. I said “Wow, that was impressive” and went to the library to do some research on black powder revolvers.

    The worst military accident I was involved with happened on board the USS Newport News CA-148 in October 1972. The News was the last 8″ gun cruiser in the navy and we were doing gunfire support off South Vietnam. An 8″ projectile detonated in the barrel of the center gun of #2 turret. We lost 20 shipmates from the explosion and fires and almost lost the ship. I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and hear the GQ alarm going off. I thank God that I made it home but every October I’ll lift a glass in memory of those good men who didn’t.

  76. I had an M1911 decide the barrel was going to go forward during reassembly after cleaning, resulting in a totally locked gun with a slide most of the way back but a barrel choosing to hang out in the forward position. Cue me taking it to a gunsmith, who fixed it in all of 5 minutes by smacking the rear of the slide with his hammer.


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