AR Malfunctions, Double Feed

Double feeds are usually the result of dry or dirty rifles or a weak extractor.

The Double Feed is one of the most problematic malfunctions for the AR series rifle. This is not a problem to be feared. Unfortunately, many shooters that encounter this malfunction have not trained for it.

There are two techniques for this procedure. We believe the first technique to be more efficient but both will be covered.

Setting Up the Double Feed

Step 1: Lock the Bolt to the rear.
Step 2: Insert a dummy round into the chamber.
Step 3: Insert a magazine, loaded with dummy rounds.

Step 4: Ride the bolt forward until the nose of the second round is fed to the base of the first round.

You now have a double feed.

Clearing the Double Feed

Technique 1:

Step 1: Attempt SPORTS
Depending on the situation attempt SPORTS or perform a transition to pistol.

The charging handle will come backward free and lose, examine the ejection port; the shooter will determine that a double feed has occurred.

Step 2: Lock the Bolt to the Rear
Remove the weapon from the shoulder and lock the bolt to the rear.

This is the only time the firing hand should leave the pistol grip. (Right handed shooters)

Once the bolt is locked to the rear return the right hand to the pistol grip.

Step 3: Remove the Magazine
Locking the bolt to the rear and removing the Magazine may allow the rounds to fall free. If they don't, fish out the rounds from either the ejection port or the magazine well with your fingers.

A stubborn jam may require some force to dislodge the rounds. Hold the charging handle to the rear and strike the butt of the weapon against the ground.

Step 4: Clear the Round
Insure that there is no debris lodged in the weapon that will interfere with its operation.

At this point there may be a round lodged in the chamber. Slap the bolt release and then cycle out the lodged round by pulling back on the charging handle.

If the round fails to eject, you may have to wait until the brass cools off.

If the round still fails to eject after cooling, the round should be gently pushed out with a cleaning rod.

Step 5: Get Back in Action
Before re-inserting the magazine, check to see that the leading round is seated properly.

If the leading round is not well seated, strip it out.

Then insert the magazine and release or cycle the bolt as needed.

Technique 2:
Step 1: Attempt SPORTS (remains the same)

Step 2: Rip out the Magazine
By ripping out the magazine the second round will be freed and the bolt will ride forward.

Step 3: Rack the Bolt Twice
The first rack of the bolt allows the second round to fall free and locks on the first round.

The second rack of the bolt clears the first round from the chamber.

Step 4: Check the Chamber
Either lock the bolt to the rear or pull back and hold the charging handle to check the chamber.

Step 5: Get Back in Action (remains the same)

Technique Comparison:
In a training double feed the scenario never changes. For this reason Technique 2 works very well.

Rip / Rack / Rack / Inspect / Reload

The first round will always remain in the chamber.

The second round will do one of three things:
1. Stay in the magazine and need to be stripped off.
2. Become trapped by the bolt.
3. Fall free.

In actual double feeds, induced by carbon and dryness, all bets are off.
1. The first and second round can be competing for the chamber.
2. The first round may only partially eject and the second may partially feed.
3. Insert impossible occurrence here. I've seen a spent casing flip around to be chambered backward over a partial magazine.

In these cases Technique 2 can actually contribute to the problem by pounding on casings or rounds that have no place to go.

For this reason we prefer Technique 1. It is just as quick (when practiced) and gives the Shooter a chance to diagnose the problem.

Drills & Skills


We don't currently offer training but, we know some folks who do.

Don is a Retired Green Beret over at:

Rodney and Brian are Law Enforcement Officers over at:

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