Pistol Malfunctions: Tap and Rack

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What do you do if your pistol doesn’t go “Bang!” when you need it to in the middle of a string of fire? If you hear a “click” when you expect a “bang,” pull the gun in, tap the magazine to make sure it’s properly seated, rotate your hand up and over the top of the slide, making sure that you’re behind the ejection port, and rack the slide vigorously. Drive back out and engage the threat. “Tap and Rack” is your immediate response to pulling the trigger and not having it go bang. Take advantage of tap and rack when your pistol malfunctions.

Discussion
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15 Responses to “Pistol Malfunctions: Tap and Rack”
  1. Budd

    do you condone or recommend using snap caps randomly placed in the mag to give a malfunction simulation?

    Reply
    • Eli Brown

      Hi Budd,
      My name is Eli Brown. I’m the Director of Operations with 10X Defense. (A CFS affiliated company)
      I have some research into & familiarity with the question you asked. In a CFS or APH course, yes we do use malfunction inducing “tools”. Most commonly we have students pick up spent brass (of the correct caliber of course) off the range. This is obviously the most readily available “tool” at our disposal. The great thing about the spent brass method, is that it creates very realistic malfunctions…as it can stove-pipe, jam, double feed, etc.
      I have tested three types of snap-caps (along with empty brass) in my personal training…the Lyman all metal A-zoom snap-caps, Pachmayr & MagPul all plastic snap-caps & a hybrid version that has a metal shell casing & an orange plastic tip.
      The Lyman A-zooms defiantly cycle & feed the best. both into the magazine & the gun. The down side is that they take away the guns ability to have different types of malfunctions. They will only give you practice for a “failure to fire” or “click”. As soon as you tap/rack, the firearm will function again. This means you won’t get any reps of a double feed, stove-pipe, jam/failure to eject, etc. Another obvious issue with the Lyman A-zooms is cost. Understand that you will loose some of your snap-caps from time to time. With the all metal A-zoom caps being the most expensive (from $1-$5 per round depending on the caliber), it can become a real distraction while you spend the time to locate your two or three dollar bills that just flew across the range. To train efficiently (not waste time), you need to have no more attachment to your snap-caps than you would empty brass…no matter how expensive they are.
      The “all plastic” snap-caps from quality companies like Pachmayr & MagPul would then seem like a good option, with their much lower price point. Unfortunately they have a huge design flaw for this type of use. On multiple occasions now (during actual training courses & my personal training time), I have seen & had these “all plastic” snap-caps swell & lodge in the chamber because of the heat associated with firing 400-800 rounds a day during training. Again, to be efficient with your training time, you don’t want to spend 30 mins to an hour removing a partially melted snap-cap.
      The hybrid metal casing/plastic tip snap-caps have an in between price point & an in between performance as well. In testing, the plastic tips began to swell in the chamber. I have not had one become completely stuck yet but you’ll notice when it takes more effort to eject & you’ll start to see the deformation of the tip. I immediately discard them at this point.
      This leaves empty brass as the most practical training option.
      A common complaint I see from students is that they do not want to put “dirty brass” into their firearm. My response to that is, that they shouldn’t be choosing a “defensive firearm”, that they are worried about getting dirty or causing a malfunction in.

      Be Safe, Train Hard

      Eli

      Reply
  2. Greg Raven

    Isn’t it dangerous to include re-engagement into any clearance drill? By the time you’ve cleared the malfunction, any number of other variables could have changed. It seems just as likely to me that you should re-evaluate the situation before re-engaging.

    Reply
    • Eli Brown

      Hi Greg,
      My name is Eli Brown & I’m the Director of Operations with 10X Defense…(A CFS affiliated company)
      The “old school” training methodology of focusing on the firearm during a reload or malfunction, would state that you are correct. Your are right that a lot of things can happen in that period while your head is down & your focusing on the firearm.
      If you are new to the CFS community or haven’t taken a CFS course yet, Rob’s video might seem a little strange. In CFS we teach that any & all manipulation of the the firearm (except for re-holstering) should be done without looking at the firearm itself. We teach our students to “focus on the threat” while performing these tasks. All of our re-loading & malfunction clearing drills can be performed under stress without looking at the firearm. They are also performed as we “move laterally to get off the X” or as we move to cover. This means that you are able to see what is transpiring with the threats around you, as you move & get your firearm back up & running & back into the fight.
      What Rob is also trying to convey, is to not make a habit of always going back to the holster after a malfunction clearing drill. The reality is, that if you were actually using your firearm to defend yourself or others, & it went “click” instead of “BANG”…that means that you have already determined that more shots were still necessary to stop that threat. The CFS taught first response to this, is the “Tap Rack Drill”. Broken down, the drills response to the “click” is to laterally move while & perform the tap/rack all while staying focused on the threat.
      I hope that helps clear up things a little bit…sorry for the ridiculously long explanation. 😉

      Be Safe, Train Hard

      Eli

      Reply
  3. Joe Fish

    Cool tip. But I’m not sure I want to stick a loaded pistol down my pants pointed right at my private parts. That’s what holsters are for, right?

    Reply
    • John

      Joe, Rob uses a custom appendix carry holster. If you look closely you’ll see the clip on his belt. He demonstrates the holster in another video.

      Reply
  4. Spencer

    For myself, I assumed the need for re-engagement was still there.
    Anyone who couldn’t quickly discerned whether there’s a need or not, has no business carrying a gun.

    Reply
  5. moe

    what happens to an ejected bullet that was slow to fire? am I now in danger of it firing and hitting me? or will it do the same as if it was placed in a fire and just explode with no projection?

    Reply
    • CST

      Hi, Moe! Once the round is outside of the chamber, the worst case scenario is some sharp pieces of the case itself (brass, aluminum, etc.) flying around.

      Reply
      • moe

        Thanks for your reply. That is what I was thinking – but wanted to be sure!

        TAP AND RACK from now on!

        Reply
  6. Kyle Barrington

    A very noticeable training scare when conducting reloads and working malfunctions, you fail to keep the gun in the working area. Eyes, Muzzle, Threat. You drop the gun to waist level in all your videos, in a real encounter you will lose sight of your adversary when he moves. There are 3 main ways to rack a slide and coming over the top with a power stroke is by far the least productive and will induce malfunctions. The Power stroke method also forces the shooter to chase their grip to reestablish a good two handed thumbs forward grip. Proper techniques practiced correctly will save your life!

    Reply

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