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Double Feed: Clearing the Type Three Malfunction

Image by Nikki Lehman

What does it mean when you don’t get a ‘click’ or ‘bang’ when you pull the trigger? Very possibly a Type Three Malfunction. Let’s clear it.

Take a walk with me. You are at the end of shooting the best stage of your life, and blazing fast on picking up the sights. You haven’t broken any safety rules. You are moving quickly from target to target and have been super fast on the trigger.

You hit the dirt and roll under a barricade. When you pull the trigger it suddenly feels like mush, with no reaction. What? No! What happened?

What you have here is possibly a Type Two or Type Three Malfunction. What do we do? No, looking down the barrel is the wrong answer.

For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume you have a Type Three Malfunction. The dreaded double feed. This is characterized by the empty casing not being ejected, and the nose of the next round being pushed into the back of it as it is being stripped off the magazine.

The two most common causes of this problem are:

  1. A bad magazine
  2. A bad Ejector

Unfortunately, clearing this malfunction is not like clearing the other two. This type has its own steps to clear. Setting up for training this malfunction is a little harder, too.

Let’s look at the steps to clearing this malfunction.

  • Reach up and lock your slide to the rear with your weak hand. This will allow the pressure to be released on both rounds.
  • Strip out the magazine and let it fall to the ground, unless this is your only magazine. (This is the primary reason you should carry a reload with you. You could have a bad magazine causing this particular malfunction and need to replace it.)
  • Rack the slide three or four times. This will clear any debris, empty casings and dead rounds from the chamber.
  • Check to make sure everything is clear.
  • Replace the magazine and tap it.
  • Rack the slide once to load a new round.
  • Reassess the situation and if need be, launch bullets.

There you have it. This is a little more involved then just a Tap-Rack-Reassess process.

Believe it or not you can drill this malfunction. Setup can be difficult. Here’s how you setup to run this drill:

  • For Dry Fire Drill: Load your magazine with a few snap caps. Take and place one in the chamber and insert the magazine. Allow the slide to come forward toward battery and strip a round off the magazine. This should setup a double feed situation. At a “go” command, use the steps above to clear the malfunction.
  • For Live Fire Drill: Load your magazine with live ammo. Place a piece of empty brass in the chamber and allow the slide to come forward toward battery. You should be setup the same as above, except this time, you can clear the stoppage and fire a round.

Check out the methods for clearing other malfunctions

Knowing how to clear all types of malfunctions is something all gun owners need to know. It can not only save you seconds in a match, but could save your life on the street.

Make sure to train and run these drills on a regular basis so that if the time comes, you will be confident in your ability to clear the stoppage.

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Double Feed: Clearing the Type Three Malfunction