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Tap, Rack and Reassess: Clearing the Type One Malfunction

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You expect a bang and don’t get one… You’ve got a Type One Malfunction of your firearm.

It’s happened at one time or another to all of us, whether during a match or at the range. You press the bang switch and instead of “BANG” you hear “CLICK.”

Your heart stops for a second when you realize the gun didn’t go off. You wait to make sure it’s not a hang fire and then laugh, stomp your foot, say a few curse words, rack the slide and start over.

Since I reload, I have had a Type One Malfunction happen a couple of times in matches. I had a light strike or a bad primer. But what if you were involved in a battle for your life and that happened? Would stomping your foot and laughing help? Do you know how to clear a Type One Malfunction like that quickly and correctly?

Type One Malfunctions typically happen in a semi-auto pistol and will cause the gun to stop running. They don’t happen in revolvers, because if you don’t get a bang, you can just pull the trigger again causing the cylinder to rotate and bring a new round in.

A Type One Malfunction is one where the firearm failed to fire or failed to feed a new round. This can be caused by any number of things:

  • The shooter forgetting to chamber a round
  • The shooter forgetting to put a magazine in
  • A bad primer
  • A round not feeding off the magazine properly
  • The magazine was not seated all the way

In any case, it’s a bad day when it happens. In a self defense situation, you obviously need to clear the malfunction and get back into the fight as fast as you can.

It’s actually a simpler task then you think. It’s called Tap, Rack and Reassess. Here are the three easy steps to remember:

  • Step 1: Tap – Take the hand that is holding the gun and bring it back in front of you. Turn it to the side so the magazine is visible. Reach up and briskly tap the magazine with your empty hand to make sure the magazine is fully seated in the magazine well.
  • Step 2: Rack – Reach up with your empty hand, grasp the back of the slide and briskly pull the slide to the rear and then release it. This will clear the chamber of a non-fired round or an empty casing that did not eject for some reason. This will also feed a new round from the magazine.
  • Step 3: Reassess – Once you have the gun cleared and ready to go, you will need to take a second to look around and assess the situation. You shouldn’t go back to launching bullets right away, especially if you don’t need to. Take a moment to look around, reacquire your target and evaluate what your next move will need to be.

You can practice for this type of malfunction in both your dry fire and live fire sessions.

  • For dry  fire: Take some snap caps and load them into a magazine. Make sure there is NO live ammunition anywhere around your dry fire area. Load the snap caps into your gun and chamber one. Pull the trigger and every time you hear the click, tap, rack and reassess for a second. Do it again.
  • For live fire: Mix in some snap caps with your live rounds when you load your magazines or have your range buddy load your magazines without you looking and slip in one or two snap caps. When you hit the snap cap, you will need to clear the malfunction to continue on.

I use both methods above during my defensive training. I have found it helps to make you stop and think, which is what you always need to do when you carry a gun.

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Have you tried the Tap, Rack and Reassess Drill in your range sessions? Try it sometime soon and let us know how it works for you.

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Tap, Rack and Reassess: Clearing the Type One Malfunction