How to Practice Clearing a Handgun Double Feed

I recently spent a day at the range working with a brand new product we discovered at SHOT Show 2020.  A brand new product that helps practice clearing a type 3 malfunction, also called a double feed.

However, before I get into the details of the product, let me explain the premise.

As a firearm instructor, I take seriously teaching students the best and most efficient ways to clear common handgun malfunctions.

Type 1 Failures Are Not Just Simple to Clear, but They Are also Simple to Train.

The majority of semi-automatic handgun malfunctions are type 1 and type 2 failures.  Both are cleared with a vigorous and straightforward Tap-Rack procedure that most defensive handgun shooter today is familiar.

how to clear a double feed

A GIF demonstrating the Tap-Rack clearance technique of a type 3 malfunction using a SIRT Pistol

This simple process ensures first that the magazine is fully seated. Then, we fix the malfunction by clearing the chamber/ejection port and chambering a new round from the magazine.

While the process is simple, students still struggle with that process when they aren't expecting it. Such as when they experience a malfunction randomly in the middle of a course of fire.

To help students practice clearing the malfunction during a course of fire, instructors like me have been using dummy rounds for decades. We load up a magazine, including one or more dummy rounds loaded randomly amongst the live rounds.

When the student begins their course of fire, all goes well until the dummy round loads into the chamber. The student experiences a failure and hopefully immediately performs the Tap-Rack to clear it and proceed with the drill.

Fixing and Clearing Type 3 Failures Isn't So Simple (Or at least wasn't until now)

A type 3 failure, often called a double feed, is usually caused when the extractor fails to engage and extract the empty shell casing. Therefore the shell casing is left in the chamber. The new round cannot enter the chamber because of the obstruction caused by the empty case. Thus the failure.

Double-feeds can also be user-caused, and they are entirely preventable! These user-induced malfunctions are usually the result of an improper attempt to clear a stovepipe malfunction. Racking the slide with less than full force sometimes causes the partially ejected case to stay in the chamber and not drop free.  Meanwhile, the slide picks up the next available round and tries to slam it home into the obstructed chamber.

type 3 malfunction / double feed

A “simple” double feed

Clearing the type 3 failure is slightly more complicated but can become second nature, just like any other firearm manipulation.

How To Clear A Double Feed Malfunction in a Semi-Automatic

I believe this to be the best method for fixing and clearing a Type 3 (double-feed) malfunction:

  1. Perform a Tap-Rack. First, slap the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is seated in the gun. Next, rack the slide fully and release it. If the malfunction still exists, proceed to step 2.
  2. Strip the magazine from the gun. (Hit the mag release, grasp the base of the magazine, and forcefully pull it out.)
  3. Re-insert the magazine into the gun.
  4. Rack the slide forcefully to reload the pistol.

Now you may be wondering about the first step. It exists to diagnose the problem without extra or unnecessary time wasted to look at the gun and cognitively decide which malfunction exists. Stovepipes are far more common. So anytime you find yourself with a dead trigger, more than likely, this first step will resolve the problem. If it does not, then that's when we immediately proceed to fix the double-feed.

The way I practice and teach double-feed malfunction clearing has changed quite a bit over the years. This method is very different from the classic approach. Traditionally it is taught to: lock the slide to the rear, remove the magazine, rack the slide three times, re-insert the magazine, and rack the slide.

We can remove the magazine easily without locking the slide to the rear. The best part is that this method is significantly more efficient. I have tested this newer method many times through various pistols–Glock, Sig Sauer, S&W/M&P, and even Taurus. They have all worked.

With some practice, anyone can learn to clear the type 3 failure. The REAL problem? How to practice a Type 3 Failure.

How to Simulate a Double Feed For Practice

Until now, the only way we could practice a Type 3 malfunction was to “set up” in the gun manually. The process is done by manually inserting a cartridge into the chamber via the ejection port.

Then the shooter could “pretend” they were in the middle of a course of fire and fix the stoppage.

However, fixing a stoppage when you're pretending to shoot is one thing. Fixing it when you're shooting and not expecting it is another.

To better build the proper skill of clearing malfunctions, the student needs repeated opportunities, without any warning, to experience the failure randomly and then clear it in the middle of a course of fire.

As already stated, this has always been easy to do with simple malfunctions. Just sneak in those dummy rounds into one or more of your magazines and wait for the special surprise. However, there was no equivalent way to simulate the Type 3 failure during live-fire until now.

Now We Come To The Type 3 Malfunction Round

At SHOT Show 2020, we met a gentleman from my home state of Idaho. He invented a product similar to a dummy round. One could hide the “dummy round” in the magazine amongst live ammunition. Then during live fire, the device would cause a type 3 malfunction in the gun.

I recently got out to the range and did some testing. I'm impressed. Below I have a video I filmed demonstrating how the product works, and since testing this product, we've contacted the creator and have come to an agreement to allow us to sell them here on our online store at the lowest price ANYWHERE.

Click here to see the product.

The Type 3 Malfunction Round or “Double-Feed Trainer” is shaped like a standard round for the most part but has two wide “fins” protruding from the front that prevent it from entering the chamber of the gun.

type 3 malfunction round

These training rounds create a double feed.

Let me show you what I mean:

My Video Demonstration of the Type 3 Malfunction Round

As a company, we were impressed enough with the product to begin stocking and selling them at the lowest price anywhere.

Click here to order them in your caliber of choice.

We have talked a lot about a specific type of handgun malfunction and how to understand the problem better when it occurs. This Type 3 Failure training device is for live-fire practice. However, if you are not taking the opportunity to train off the range through dry fire practice, you miss out on a valuable opportunity to get better.

If you are still on the fence about deciding if dry-fire practice is something worthwhile, consider reading this article.

About Riley Bowman

Riley Bowman is the Director of Training at ConcealedCarry.com and the Host of the Concealed Carry Podcast. He came up in this world initially through his 8-year experience with a state-level law enforcement agency in Colorado. Riley has trained extensively under instructors such as: Rob Leatham, Mike Seeklander, Tim Herron, Scott Jedlinski, Matt Little, Kyle Lamb, Dave Spaulding, Jeff Gonzales, Bill Blowers, Chuck Pressburg, and others, amassing many hundreds of hours of formal shooting and tactics training. He is an NRA Pistol Instructor, a Colorado P.O.S.T. Handgun and Patrol Rifle Instructor, a graduate of Trident Concepts Concealed Carry Instructor course, and a Modern Samurai Project Endorsed Instructor. He also competes in USPSA and 3-gun competitions including numerous top-10 finishes at major matches and championships. He is the current USPSA Carry Optics Colorado State Champion and most recently won 3rd place in Master Class at the 2022 USPSA Carry Optics National Championship.

5 Comments

  1. Kevin Roth on March 19, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    The questions I have is this? He states after the action is cleared to re-insert the same magazine! My problem is what if the magazine was the problem? I’m ok with his method till he puts the same mag back in the gun possibly causing a malfunction again! I have always taught to insert a new mag in the gun not the old one for these reasons stated.

    • Jacob Paulsen on March 19, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      Kevin Double Feed Malfunctions are not caused by the magazine. They are caused by a failure of the extractor to extract the empty shell from the chamber. If there is an issue with your magazine it would cause a failure to feed which is generally cleared with a tap rack (not changing the magazine). When clearing a double feed you can have confidence your magazine is NOT the issue. That said if you have a spare magazine staged it is a best practice to load a fresh magazine but if you don’t there is no reason to think putting the same mag back in the gun will cause any issue.

  2. Troy on May 18, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    Ok maybe i missed something here. On the first point of a type 3 malfunction it states to rack the slide fully and release it. This makes no sense. First of all you have a round in the chamber and one that was trying to go into the chamber but couldnt. When you rack the slide fully back all you do is eject the new round that was trying to go into the chamber, again leaving existing condition present. Allowing the slide to go forward again will cause the same condition with a second round trying to get into the chamber. I believe what you meant was to remove the mag rack the slide back to clear the current round then have it go forward to catch the spent cartridge racking the slide once more to clear the caught cartridge. Then re-insert the magazine, slap it and continue. The military way was to drop mag, rack slide, clear new round, release slide to catch the spent round, rack slide, release slide, rack slide, ensure it catches on slide lock, validate round cleared from chamber, re-insert magazine, release slide and continue fire.

    • Jacob Paulsen on May 18, 2021 at 3:58 pm

      Troy, performing a tap/rack on a type 3 malfunction doesn’t have any positive or negative impact. It is a waste of time if we are measuring it that way. In this case however, Riley is suggesting that when you first find you have a malfunction performing a tap/rack is a good first step because you do NOT know what type of failure you have and since most malfunctions are solved with a tap/rack it is a quick way to rule out type 1 and type 2 failures. Certainly if you know you have a type 3 failure then it would make sense to skip the first step as outlined in this article. This month and last Riley also published some video training with some alternative ways to clear these malfunctions here https://www.concealedcarry.com/lp-shooter-ready-challenge/

  3. Rory Adams on August 16, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Graet Demo

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