Pistol, Misfire / Stovepipe

Misfires and Stovepipes are fairly common pistol malfunctions. Fortunately, the clearance procedure is very simple. Just, Rack and Go.

This procedure is often called Tap, Rack and Go; OR Tap, Rack and Scan. Regardless, the tap is really unnecessary.

If you've been shooting, and haven't touched the magazine release then Tap is wasted time.

However, if you've just performed a tactical reload and haven't given the magazine a tug to ensure that it has been seated, then a tap may be needed.

Inserting one or two dummy rounds into a magazine on the live fire range will give you good practice on this skill.


Setting Up the Misfire

Step 1: Load a magazine with inert/dummy rounds.

Step 2: Load the pistol with the dummy magazine.

Clearing the Misfire
I wish there were something more to be said about clearing these malfunctions. The procedure is really straight forward:

Step 1: Tilt the weapon in the direction of the ejection port.

Step 2: Work the slide.

Step 3: Scan or re-engage targets.

Things to Note:

When working with the Stovepipe: Don't try to sweep the brass casing. You could cut your hand and/or induce a bigger problem if the brass doesn't fall free. Sweeping works some of the time. Tilt and Rack works ALL of the time.

If you are working with a weapon (such as the Beretta 92f) that has a de-cocking safety, modify your grip and/or release of the slide so you do not accidentally engage the safety when performing this technique.

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:

If you're a writer and you need a reference page, check out TactQuill.com.
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