What to Do When Your Gun Jams ?

Whether you’re a law enforcement officer on duty or a civilian exercising your right to bear arms, choosing a reliable gun is crucial. However, even the best firearms can jam. This might happen due to poor-quality ammunition, insufficient maintenance, or simply bad luck. The real question is not if your gun will jam, but rather what to do when it does.

Semi-automatic and Automatic firearms are the main culprits when it comes to Jams.

So, let’s take a look at the most common malfunctions that lead to a Jammed weapon, and how you can sort them out efficiently, and reliably to get back into action.

Why do Guns Jam?

Before we move on to talk about specific problems and how to fix them, we need to go over the causes of a Jam, so that you can ideally prevent one from happening in the first place.

The first and most important thing to keep in mind is Maintenance. Like any other machine, your firearm also needs to be maintained regularly to keep operating smoothly.

The second most common reason for Jams and misfires is faulty ammunition. Bad ammunition can lead to several malfunctions, some of which can be quite dangerous as well if not handled properly. For training, and practice shooting, you can use any ammunition you like, but when it comes to self-defense, make sure to use high-quality ammunition designed for combat.

Mishandeling a firearm, and a lack of training can be another contributing factor to malfunctions, along with improper storage of your firearms and ammunition.

Most common types of Jams and how to fix them

In a self-defense or combat situation, Stress levels are through the roof, and your nerves will be tested. In such a situation, clearing a jam the right way could very well make the difference between life and death. So, here are the three main types of Jams you should know about.

Failure to Feed

This malfunction occurs when the firearm fails to transfer a cartridge from the magazine to the chamber of the gun. It may not pick the cartridge all together, or get it stuck in the chamber. This jam can be caused when the operator does not let the slide or bolt ride forward freely under spring tension. Faulty ammunition, a magazine with damaged feed lips, or an improperly inserted magazine can also cause this malfunction.

To clear this jam in a combat situation, you’ll have to take a magazine out, rack the slide or charging handle a couple of times to clear the chamber and remove any dust or debris getting in its way, then reinsert the magazine all the way, and rack the slide once again to get back into action.

Read also 10 Ways Physical Fitness Enhances Mental Well-Being

Failure to Extract

Next up, let’s talk about the failure to extract malfunction. This jam occurs when a fired casing does not extract from the chamber, either preventing the bolt from coming back altogether or obstructing the chamber so a new round can’t be loaded.

If the bolt is stuck in a forward position and won’t budge, you might need to use a technique called “mortaring” in a combat scenario. This method should be used carefully as it can harm your firearm. Here’s how to do it: grip the charging handle with one hand, then firmly strike the butt of the rifle against a hard surface, keeping the barrel pointed up. This sharp jolt often helps to dislodge the stubborn casing, clearing the jam.

On the other hand, if the bolt can be pulled back but the casing remains stuck, the solution usually involves some manual effort. You’ll need a long cleaning rod to push out the stuck casing from the front of the barrel. This kind of jam is typically due to a faulty or worn-out extractor and is also more common with cheap steel case ammunition. This can be one of the most challenging malfunctions to fix.

Failure to Eject

Sometimes, the spent casing is extracted from the chamber, but not ejected properly, This can lead to a spent casing stuck in your firearm, preventing its operation. This malfunction, also known as Stovepiping, is usually caused because of under-pressured ammunition, bad weapon handling, or some fault with the ejector.

To fix it, you need to pull back the charging handle or slide and tell the weapon to the side to allow the casing to fall out. You can also use your off-hand to swipe over the top of the ejection port, knocking the obstructing casing away. Then you can let the bolt or slide go forward, and put yourself back into the fight.

How to Practice Clearing a Jammed Gun

Like any other skill, Practice is what actually makes a difference when it comes to clearing a Jammed gun. Clearing a jam at the range can be quite easy, but in a self-defense situation, when you are overwhelmed by stress and nerves, and one wrong move could mean the difference between life and death, doing the same simple task can be extremely challenging.

What you need to do is put in some range time, and practice clearing jams and malfunctions. One of the best ways to do so is to use dummy rounds in your magazine. Just load your magazine with a single dummy round in it. Start shooting at the range, and when the dummy round enters the chamber the gun will jam. This allows you to practice, and get better at fixing Jammed guns, improving your overall combat effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

So, in conclusion, your reliability and effectiveness as a shooter does not only depend on the reliability of your weapon but also on how reliably you can fix Jams and Malfunctions when they occur. As we’ve said before, sooner or later, your gun will jam, especially if it is used and carried regularly, however, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take steps to avoid it. Ideally, you should keep your weapon clean and well-maintained, along with putting some training time into drills specifically designed for clearing jams. With proper maintenance, and rigorous training, you will hopefully be able to avoid Jams, but if they do happen, you’ll be ready to sort them out quickly and efficiently so that you can get back into the fight when it matters the most.

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