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How to Clear a Failure to Fire - Pistol

In this week’s NRA Firearm training tip we will cover how to clear a Failure to Fire, in your pistol.

There are several things that can cause this type of stoppage. The most common cause is a magazine that is not seated completely. This prevents the next cartridge from being stripped from the magazine. Another example could be ammunition that is out of spec. Either way the goal is to get the gun back in action as quickly as possible. Here is how we fix this:

  1. With the gun pointed downrange tap the magazine with the heel of the support hand to make sure that it is seated.
  2. Grip the slide along the rear cocking serrations with your support hand and rack the slide.
  3. Assess the situation to see if you need to fire again.


This procedure is called Tap, Rack, Assess. 

The way to practice this is as follows:

  • Using dummy ammunition, place one round in the chamber and close the slide.
  • Insert a loaded magazine.
  • Try to fire one round, when you get a click;
  • Perform a Tap, Rack, Assess


Set up and repeat multiple times until you feel that you can perform this action without hesitation.


Disclaimer: Always follow the NRA Rules for Gun Safety and be sure to abide by your range’s rules.

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