Will Your Gun Go Down In Your Gunfight?

I've been thinking about malfunctions a lot lately. In the training environment and at the static range malfunctions are frankly rare for me as I suspect they are for most of you reading this.

Any quality firearm, well maintained, is going to have relatively few malfunctions. That said I see malfunctions often enough in gunfight videos and reports to know that they do happen and when they do they can make the difference between winning and losing.

I wanted to distill 3 important lessons about these failures and clearing malfunctions for each of us.

1: Stress and Compromised Grip/Position Can Cause Malfunctions

The odds of a compromised grip, one-handed shooting, and a high stress level are all much higher in actual life-threatening encounters and all of those things can lead to malfunctions.

I'm not suggesting you practice shooting with a compromised grip; I am suggesting that despite your normal experience with your carry gun and ammo you shouldn't rule out the possibility of a malfunction in your future gunfight due to the increased likelihood of a compromised grip.

P365 Double-feed Malfunction

2: Malfunction Clearing Is A Under Practiced Skill

Most of us don't incur a lot of malfunctions in our average range practice session and when we do we are often in no hurry to clear them.

You might even find yourself in a range or class where students are discouraged from clearing their own malfunctions. As such most don't build strong habits of clearing them.

I'll make some specific suggestions below but the point is that if malfunction clearing isn't a part of your regular practice routine it should be.

3: You Can Train Malfunction Clearing in Dry Fire

Since most of us conduct a good amount of our firearm handling practice dry in our own homes it is worth pointing out that even in dry fire you can practice malfunction clearing. More tips are below.

To keep with the theme of 3 here; below I'm recommending 3 tools that can all be utilized to practice clearing malfunctions in dry and/or live fire.

1: BarrelBlok is Huge.

Utilizing BarrelBlok and the included MagBloks you can practice clearing stove pipes, failures to fire, and even a double-feed. The BarrelBlok website has some training videos showing you how to set up the drill and practice the clearance.

2: Dummy Rounds are Critical.

Obviously, you can set up and practice some malfunction clearing in dry fire with dummy rounds but these training tools really shine in live fire. Next time you go to the range load one or more dummy rounds into your magazine along with live rounds and during the course of fire, you will encounter some failures to fire and be presented with the opportunity to practice how to clear Type 1 and Type 2 malfunctions!

3: The Type 3 Malfunction Round.

Double feeds, or type 3 malfunctions, are the worst gun stoppers. The clearance technique is different from the more common type 1 and type 2 failures and a little more complex. Luckily the Type 3 Malfunction Round is an available tool that can be loaded into your magazine (like the dummy rounds discussed above) that will induce a double feed during the course of live fire. Makes for a great practice session!

Have the right tools to practice malfunction clearing and work it into your regular dry and live fire practice sessions!

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of ConcealedCarry.com. ConcealedCarry.com provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. Clark Kent on November 18, 2023 at 10:53 pm

    #4 Dirty firearms are more likely to malfunction than clean firearms. Keep your carry handgun clean and properly lubricated. While cleaning, check for any excessively worn, broken, or missing parts.

  2. Ken on November 29, 2023 at 6:36 pm

    Method to clear a type three malfunction in a gunfight: either have a NY reload or run.

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