Practice clearing a stoppage

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by TranterUK, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Here's something I do that may be of use to others,

    When on the firing range and you get a stoppage, or Jam as some call them, dont do what I have seen lot's do and look at the weapon trying to figure out why it stopped working.

    Jump too it and clear it quickly, as you would in a fire fight. Its good practice and a good practice, if that makes sense.

    So be it a stovepipe, miss feed or whatever, give it a smart tap, rack, bang and so on, or whatever drills you have been taught. Its like a free training opportunity. But do it immediately! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2008
  2. Good advice, Tranter.

    Lot's of people practice with handguns that rarely if ever have a stoppage. To enforce immediate action into a habit they must perform drills.

    This is the method I recommend for training:

    First, practice immediate action drills on a dry weapon to instill the necessary muscle movements to perform the task. Correct form takes priority over speed. Focus should be on keeping weapon up and pointed downrange, keeping eyes on threat except to observe ejection port when slide is racked, and not breaking from cover or failing to use cover during the drill (if you're training with cover).

    Second, during live fire, have random magazines loaded with a randomly placed "dummy round" or empty cartridge. The results will not lie.

    An advanced drill I learned at work:

    We used to place 5 ten round mags and our sidearm in front of the targets beside a track. Some of the mags had a dummy round inside.

    Run a lap around the track carrying a heavy block in each hand. (This increases heart rate by running. Holding the block swells the forearms/tightens tendons and helps replicate the loss of precision motor skill in the hands.)

    After each lap completed, load and fire a mag, unload and drop sidearm to hit next lap with your blocks.

    During live fire it's a struggle to keep rounds in the A-zone. Clearing a failure to fire is pretty hard too. Count your score, subtract from your time, the numbers don't lie.

    This drill makes you all around a stronger shooter.

  3. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Good advice again Delta, I especially like the dummy round system. It was used on me when training and I have used it a good deal when an instructor. To see those sights dip right in front of the students eyes is priceless in helping them learn the art.

    I would also like to second practice of clearance drills off range with no live ammunition. very valuable, as long as duplicated on the range and under the eye of a proper instructor, not much point practising the wrong moves!

    As for running around with blocks, maybe a few years ago. I would need a pretty scary drill instructor after me to do it today!
  4. Simplest solution to stoppages: Carry a revolver. :D

    Seriously . . . I agree with both of you. Stoppages, just like constipation, will happen sometimes, despite the efforts all knowledgeable shooters take to prevent them. Practice clearing stoppages should always be part of the practice drill; it's darn near as important as being able to hit the target. A pistol with a jammed cartridge suddenly becomes little but a rather awkward club unless the stoppage can be cleared quickly. I too use the dummy cartridge routine to practice.
  5. Tranter, very true on the instructor. A person really needs a coach to show them what right looks like and stay on their a$$ if they get sloppy. I suppose a person with much discipline may self-teach themself, but with a coach you get more results in less time with far less risk of bad habits. Just as important instructor passes along information and techniques...what works and what to avoid.

    Pistol, yes sir. Even if a person has a perfect sidearm that absolutely never fails....ammo sometimes does. Down at a local range they used to have some premium factory ammo on display that failed to fire...after pulling the primers they found that about 10% of the cartridges in that case had no primer flash hole in the brass!
  6. sabashimon

    sabashimon New Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Delta, thanks for the heads up on what sounds like a very useful drill.
    I already employ dummy rounds in my training, but I look forward to trying out your drill. I can just about already feel the ham-handed result of running with that block, and then attempting fine motor skill movements.
  7. Like a Glock, for example. :D;):p

    I've seen it myself, Delta. So-called "premium" ammo, Federal, Winnie, Speer, you name it, that the firing pin strikes properly and hard, but it fails to discharge. Granted, that doesn't happen very often (fortunately!), but it does happen. With military-issue ammo, I've seen a lot more failures than with modern premium ammo, though even those were relatively uncommon. I don't think there is a more frightening sound in the world than the sound of a firing pin clicking on a dead round when there is something more important to shoot at than a Q target! :eek::rolleyes:
  8. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

    Jul 13, 2007
    Couldn't agree with you more RE: Practice clearing.
    One of my 'students' caught a 'stove-pipe' during her CWP test. She didn't hesitate to clear and continue the firing sequence. The instructor's comment stopped in mid-word, to an "Atta GIRL!!"
  9. Sabashimon, glad ya like that drill and hope ya have fun with it. By about the 3rd lap you'll be cussing me...and the last couple mags you'll be cussing me more trying to just keep rounds on the black. But over time if you keep using it, you will see your overall ability during other drills get better. Stationary fire is a breeze when you're conditioned to shooting under fatigue.

    Pistol, military ammo does fail, but I can't say the stuff we shoot now is more or less prone than civilian ammo. Maybe in the past it was. Unlike civilian ammo, we actually have things in place to ensure our standards are enforced.

    A day of training for us may see a ammo drop of 25,000 rifle rounds that we'll shoot before sunset. I've never seen more than 3 or 4 failed cartridges...sometimes I've seen 0....I think tolerances vary by lot.

    Civilian ammo is similar. We were comparing brands of handgun ammo several years ago for the smallest muzzleflash against our M882 ball. (I think we decided Federal had the least followed by Win) Wondering why there were differences in the same brands, we realized that different lots of the exact same premium defense loads had different powders! Only the projectiles remained the same.

    And yeah...the loudest sound a weapon makes is "click".
  10. Smoky14

    Smoky14 Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Nowhere NM
    Always carry a BUG, much faster than clearing a malfunction
  11. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    If you mean what I think you mean, yes, there's not much faster than a second gun!

    Though I may have misunderstood? :)
  12. Smoky14

    Smoky14 Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Nowhere NM
    Yep BUG= Back Up Gun
  13. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Hey, got it right. For the wrong reason though. I thought 'bug out bag' ie. last ditch. :)
  14. Of course, if one is using a Glock as a primary weapon, there is no need for a BUG since Glocks never fail to function. :D;):p

    Just kidding, Tranter, just kidding!!!!! :rolleyes:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2008
  15. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Even a Glock can run out of cartridges, even a Glock can be snatched away from the owner, even a Glock can be dropped at the wrong moment, even a Glock can suffer a misfired cartridge and lastly even a Glock owner can use a back up once in a while.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2008
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