Friday, July 22, 2011


In response to the posts here and here about some new way Glocks are allegedly going 'splodey, by detonating loaded rounds in the feedway when someone's trying to "unload and show clear" at the end of an IPSC or IDPA stage, either due to the extractor or the ejector contacting the primer:

Any Browning-pattern pistol can do this. You don’t even need an extended ejector. 1911s were doing it back when Gaston was still making curtain rods and folding shovels.

If the live round doesn’t fully eject because some goober has his hand over the ejection port to prevent his valuable 23¢ investment in a round of FMJ lest it get dirty by hitting the ground, and his hand slips or he runs the slide back and forth and back and forth, it is possible for the extractor or ejector or even a corner of the ejection port on some designs to bust the cap and fill his hand with shrapnel from the casing.

Don’t try and catch the round you’re ejecting. Don’t put your hand over the ejection port. Keep your hand away from it and let the round fall on the ground. It will be there when you get ready to pick it up, I promise. (And if it’s not, you can just buy another one.)


James said...

But Tam? How will we be able to preform our ninja gun-kata without catching rounds? You know that tactical brush-and-pans are a luxury we simply can't afford.

staghounds said...

Except when it's a gun being taken for evidence.

You HAVE to catch the bullet while you are wiping the fingerprints off the gun while unloading it.

Otherwise any prints made on the ammunition while the criminal loaded it may still remain!

Captcha yonseles- it is yonseles to tell my officers not to touch an evidence gun until crime scene gets there.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Hmmm. Back in the Ye Olde Skool Days, the Marine Gunnie who was teaching us Squids 1911 101 made sure that we A) Ceased Fire, B) kept the Muzzle pointed Down Range, C) had the Trigger Finger OUT of the Trigger Guard, D) ejected the Magazine, E) rotated the pistol 90 degrees so that the Ejection Port was facing the Ground, while keeping the Muzzle pointed Down Range, F) had us grasp the slide serration's at the back of the Pistol, G) cycled it a couple of times until we saw any ammo that was in there HIT THE GROUND, H) applied the Slide Stop when the chamber was clear, rotated it back and yell out "Clear!", then we stood there and waited until he came by and told us it was Okay to continue.

At the end of our shooting, we'd THEN police our Brass, and pick out the live ammo.

Think about it. If you're in a Competition, and you get the command to "Cease Fire, Clear the Weapon" (or Buzzer or Whatever), you can take the time to make sure your Weapon is Safe, because you're NOT in a Nascar Race, and the time spent making a "Pit Stop" doesn't count against you.

Hope this helps.

Tam said...

Bubblehead Les,

" can take the time to make sure your Weapon is Safe, because you're NOT in a Nascar Race..."

They're not doing it fast, Bubblehead Les; they're doing it wrong.

Anonymous said...

But, but, it's O.K. 'cause I didn't have my finger on the trigger. And if there is one thing I know from the Internetz it is that firearms can only discharge with a finger on the trigger.

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

A firearm will only discharge with a finger on the trigger or somebody working the mechanism. Outside energy must be applied somehow. If you weren't running the slide, then you were pulling the trigger. It didn't just "go off when you was puttin' it in the holster", Cletus.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

But if the round talls on the ground the primer will hit a rock or stick and go off 1 time in 6. The bullet will then fly off randomly, but usually toward a day care center. You'll be lucky to keep the casualty rate down to less than three victims.

Tam said...

I'm sure NJT knows this, but for those that don't:

Even if, by some chance, the ejected cartridge defies all the laws of physics and falls through the air with the heavy, pointy end facing up and the light, blunt end facing down, and does somehow succeed in landing on something with enough force to bust the cap, the bullet isn't going to go much of anywhere. Case fragments might pepper your leg from a distance of three feet or so, but not so's you'd notice if you were wearing long pants.

Ed Foster said...

Excellent point, especially concerning the extended ejectors. Another scary answer to a question never asked.

Though I really do despise Glocks. Shitty metallurgy in addition to their other faults. The good ones run good, and the bad ones blow up,there are far too many bad ones, and you never know which you're going to get.

Cast barrels? No wonder so many are losing their chambers.

Tam said...


"Cast barrels?"

No. I think somebody was pulling your leg.

Ed Foster said...

I have pictures of two seperate blown barrels on Glocks, up on the wall of shame in the pistol assembly area. The closer one (I'll send you the picture) sure looks cast to me.

Anonymous said...

I've never understood running the slide back and forwards a few times to make sure the weapon is empty.

Cheers- Rusty

Borepatch said...

Sounds like the Audi 5000 syndrome.

"It accelerated like it was possessed by the Devil, and I was stamping on the brake!"

Ed Foster said...

Pictures sent. Look at the fracture propagation in the first picture, as well as the seemingly cast radii along the top of the hood. My call is cast.

First, the welded slides fracture, forcing them to go to an American company and have their slides made from bar stock.

Then, the soft roll pins they cast in, to stiffen up the frame, bend under repeated stress, causing slam fires and the recall of every Glock frame made up until the fall of 1990. Any that are still out there and missed the recall are timebombs waiting to go off.

Jesus, we used stiffening pins in the Colt 2000 too (not we, I was over on the M-4 line, but Colt's when I was there), but they were hardened.

Bad lockblocks have blown all kinds of Glocks apart. Not just the three .357SIG's the New Mexico State Police lost in a single morning with factory ammo, but .40's all over the place, and a few GAP's.

I've never forgiven Glock for bringing out the GAP. I wanted to use the same sized case for a small blowback pocket pistol, with a 185 at about 700fps.

The Glock Gen4's feed like doo-doo, and their heat treatment is all over the place. One batch is fine, the next batch is shattering lockups and blowing the gun in half.

Whoever is doing their advertising is brilliant. I'd like to hire them.

Ed Foster said...

And my offer over on the Say Uncle site goes for anybody who reads VFTP also. I'll put aside an extra dozen pins just for your readers.

I might even have 5 or 6 Ti6AL4V hammer struts I can spare, strickly for VFTP family members.

Tam said...


The barrel was cold-hammer-forged steel.

However, rumor has it that, at least at that time, the only heat-treat that Glock barrels rec'd was from the Tennifer process itself.

The chamber walls on the .40s are pretty thin and, combined with the Tennifer process, you can get surface hardening that "meets in the middle", creating a dangerous failure mode in a severely overpressure round, which is apparently what happened with that particular G35.

Boat Guy said...

For those of us who like to keep things simple the answer seems to be to run the slide back the SAME WAY for "clearing" as for making ready or dealing with a malfunction (presuming safe direction finger out of the guard etc). Once I've worked the slide that way once (usually being rewarded with the shiny nickel case of a .45 EFMJ launching upward and outward from my XD) THEN I can lock the slide back or do whatever that particular kata requires

Anonymous said...

Just in case nobody here has one (I traded some junk for one, just for kicks), the Hi-Point pistols actually use the firing pin for the ejector.

That's right. Any time you pull the slide back on a Hi-Point pistol to eject a round, the firing pin is hitting the primer to eject the round.

Caleb said...

Just eject the round up the air and catch it with your free hand like Todd Jarrett does. You get to keep your 23 cents AND look all ninja and shit!

NotClauswitz said...

Interesting to suddenly hear about all this, and then read about it at the same time. In Scott Reitz new book "The Art of Modern Gunfighting" he talks about loading and unloading a pistol, and it sure sounds like he recommends working the slide to recover the last live round in the support hand, held over the ejection port.
It's not a flashy showboat kind of competition thing but intended to ensure the last live round (*that* one), is unloaded from *that* gun - and so one is well aware and it is verified that *that* particular weapon has been unloaded - basically in an effort to confirm status and avoid NDs. (p.154-157)
Not that I know how to do it.

Tam said...


Yeah, I know the cool kids do it that way, but it makes me cringe.

"Hey! Ken Griffey Jr.! You've still got a pistol in that other hand while you're running down that pop fly in shallow center!"

Too much attention being focused on the ejected round and not enough on the, you know, gun itself.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Free hand? One hand is holding the grip, the other hand is working the slide, and his third hand is catching the ejected round in the air? No wonder he's a good shot. He has 2 support hands.

Laughingdog said...

"lest it get dirty "

Or you start doing it because you're too lazy to want to stoop down for the round.

Honestly, I still don't see an issue with what I've always done. I turn the gun over, pull the slide, and hold it back until I see the round in my hand. Rotate the gun back partway to look in the barrel and down what should be an empty grip, and then let the slide go forward (and not by just letting go of the slide).

Tam said...


Yes, but to avoid stooping down, you are increasing (however marginally) the chance that some ER neurse is going to have to use tweezers to pull case fragments out of your hand. If this is a reasonable trade-off to you, then rock on with how you've been doing it.

Me? Well, I can use the extra deep-knee bends anyway. ;)

Dave said...

@ Anonymous

It is regarded a fun pastime to poke fun at Hi Points on the net, but if I recall correctly J.M.B. invented that particular dual use of the firing pin ages ago. Someone with a greater knowledge of vintage semi-automatics can feel free to correct me if I am mistaken.

GuardDuck said...

Just add I avoid wrapping my hand around an exploding firecracker, I tend to keep my soft fleshy bits from becoming an impromptu chamber.

Tam said...


Pretty sure that both my Colt 1908 Vest Pocket and Harrington & Richardson Self-Loading .32 function that way.

Discobobby said...

I was taught that you eject the round to the ground, as described above, and then NEVER pick it up it use again. Leave it, you have more. Put it in the bin if you can find it. How do you know that round is yours after taking your eyes off it to clear your pistol? Maybe that round you're picking up has been there for God knows how long from somebody else's session?

The more I actually looked around and found random live rounds, the more sense it made.

Discobobby said...

Typo: "NEVER pick it up to use again."

Hopefully you knew what I meant.

Anonymous said...

That drives me nuts/nuttier when the fling and catch their rounds.

I'm not sure the flinging po method would work at night in the shot them in the face world. If you need to, just stick the little finger in the chamber and check that way.


Ed Foster said...

Tennifer hardened. Why is it that people keep confusing hard steel with strong steel? Hard is brittle, tough is less hard, and surface hardening only makes sense if there is a core large enough to provide the strength needed.

Surface hardening is for wear resistence, nothing else. Reduce the amount of core in a marginal wall thickness and you reduce the resistance to flexure while increasing brittleness. Pop.

Anyway, thank you for the correction. I assume (scary word for an engineer) that the uniform radii I saw in the picture were the result of barrel tumbling before the bore was qualified, rather than the cast edges I first thought. My boo-boo entirely.

We used a similar process, ion nitriding, on a couple of test guns the Hartford CT ERT team is testing for a few months. Basically our standard carry gun, with a Picatinny rail milled into the dust cover. Their request, not ours.

I kinda think it's a bucket under a bull, seeing as how the frame and slide are forged 4140 chrome-molly from a double vacuum melted pour. Bourdon Forge has been making pistol forgings for 80 years and I think they are argueably the best in the business, but the customer is always right. Or at least he is the customer.

But the only place on a 1911 that has a fairly thin wall would be the grip sides around the magazine well, and that's a low stress area.

I admit warpage was minor after the process, but enough that I had to line ream the sear pin and hammer pin holes to get a decent trigger pull. With a frame now as hard as my reamers, it took forty bucks worth of reamers to clean up the holes.

Admittedly, not a problem on a sloppy gun with big tolerances, like some I could mention.

Hammer forging has it's advantages and it's disadvantages. It makes a long wearing barrel, with a smooth finish and work hardened load face.

However, it has an innate bounce-back component that means you will never get a truely consistent bore, and gas cutting becomes noticable in a fairly short time, especially in rifle bores. Practical accuracy probably, pinpoint never.

You can get away from that with autofrettage, but that process doesn't even start to make sense until you're working with a bore in the 85mm-90mm range.

Anyway, I doubt I'll ever be able to have a rational conversation with a person who is proud of a weapon who's primary boast is that it is the absolute cheapest pistol on the market that can do about what a well made weapon can.

A plastic frame that is marginal to scary with any cartridge other than a 9mm or 45acp (look at S&W for a plastic frame that doesn't break. Loose and sloppy and fills with all kinds of skin and holster residue, but it doesn't break).

Fair to O.K. but never great barrels if they hold together. If.

Lots of cheap stamped metal parts internally, which is allright if the parts are well deburred and properly heattreated. Batch cooked when dumped randomly in a basket, not so good.

A broad flat slide top, originally due to the stamped and welded old style slides, that has the instinctive pointing ability of I-95 with no traffic on it.

A quarter century of continuous quality control problems, and an angry collection of Palestinians and Koreans for a work force.

Would you put youe wife and kids on an airliner made by these people?

Discobobby said...

Geez Ed, How do you really feel about Glocks? ;) You're right about the M&P pistols - a bit loose but holds and points miles better for me than the similar Glocks. Glad I had my affair with them, we had some good times, but glad they're gone.