Common Reasons for Gun Malfunctions

Modern guns are generally designed to tolerate regular use and multiple firings well. Still, pretty much every gun user will experience occasional malfunctions from time to time. Part of being as safe as possible when using a firearm is having a general idea of what could affect a gun’s ability to fire. Below, the firearms experts from Gun Safety Training Pros, the professionals to turn to if you’re interested in taking an online gun safety class, go over the common types of misfires and related malfunctions and what can be done to prevent them.

Failure to Fire

This isn’t likely to be an issue too often with newer or more modern guns today, but it can still happen. It’s more likely to involve rimfire rounds, which have a primer that’s not as reliable as more common center-fire primers. If you experience this issue, hold the firearm down for a minute or so in case the faulty cartridge accidentally discharges.

Minimize your risk of experiencing a failure to fire by:

• Purchasing and using higher-quality rounds when possible
• Inspecting other rounds from the same batch for any flaws if you’ve already had a failure to fire
• Periodically cleaning your gun to reduce carbon buildup around the firing pin—another possible reason for a failure to fire

Failure to Feed

You may also experience a malfunction or inability to fire at all if there’s a failure to feed. More likely to affect semi-automatic firearms, feed issues prevent the cartridge from properly or fully resting within the chamber.

Feed issues affecting a cartridge or causing it to malfunction may result from:

• Weak or faulty magazine springs
• Damaged magazines
• Dirt/grease in or around the chamber
• Faulty cartridges
• Magazines that aren’t properly seated

Regularly cleaning and lubricating your firearm can reduce your risk of having a failure-to-feed problem. It can also be helpful to make sure you’re not unintentionally blocking the slide as it moves forward while you fire, which is another potential reason a failure to feed could occur.

Failure to Eject

This type of malfunction is sometimes referred to as a “stovepipe” because of the possibility of having a spent round stuck in an upright position in the ejection port. It occurs when a spent cartridge fails to leave the chamber and prevents another one from being fired. A common reason for this issue is a chamber that’s dirty or damaged by corrosion.

Minimize the risk of not being able to fire your firearm because of a spent cartridge that won’t eject by:

• Firmly racking the slide
• Being diligent about gun cleanings and maintenance
• Using a firm grip when aiming and firing

Failure to Extract

When this issue is experienced, the firearm fails to remove or extract the spent cartridge from the gun’s chamber. The result is double feeding with the magazine’s next round. This type of misfire is dangerous and could present serious safety risks for yourself and others around you.

Reduce your risk of experiencing a failure to extract by:

• Inspecting your magazines for any flaws
• Using better-quality magazines
• Maintaining your firearm
• Being aware of proper form, shooting stance, and grip 

If you already own a firearm or you’re considering purchasing one, it’s essential to know how to use it safely. Gun Safety Training Pros is dedicated to providing the finest firearms training available. If you need to learn how to handle a gun and shoot safely and you want high-quality firearms education, check out our online gun safety course. For more information, contact one of our knowledgeable team members today at [email protected].

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