There are three different types of Misfires that can happen when you are training.  Each one is a little different in your response.  Be sure to understand them so that you can respond appropriately.

  1. Misfire-This is a cartridge that doesn’t ignite when the primer is struck.  If you think about it this way it might help: It misses the opportunity to fire.  In all my years of shooting I have seen this one quite frequently it cheap rimfire ammo, but I personally have only experienced one rifle round that was a misfire.  Oddly enough that happened this week while testing.
  2. Hangfire-A hangfire is a delayed ignition of the propellant that causes the cartridge to fire after it should have gone off.  The proper response for hangfires is to wait 30 seconds while the gun is pointed downrange and then remove the faulty cartridge.  Think of it like this: It hangs around then decides to leave.  While this does happen, I have never had hangfire.
  3. Squib-A squib load goes off under less than normal pressure leaving the bullet lodged in the barrel.  This one is potentially dangerous if you don’t remove the obstruction from the bore.  If you chamber another round and shoot it could blow your barrel.  You will generally know a squib load because they are softer sounding than all the other rounds you have been shooting.  While a normal round may sound like a BANG, a squib will be a pop.  Often the slide will not cycle and you will have the spent case still in the breach.  Field strip your pistol and use a cleaning rod or a dowel rod to remove the bullet from breach to muzzle.  I have never had a squib load, but one of shooting buddies had about 4 one day at the range.  He had gotten a little hurried while reloading and didn’t add powder to several cartridges.

Knowing and understanding these misfires will help you clean up any ignition problems you run into at the range.