Sunday, October 09, 2005

"Squib Loads"

Today, I experienced a Squib Load while teaching a Basic Pistol Shooting course. The student was firing a brand new Kel-Tec P3AT in .380 ACP. The ammunition being used was new-in-the-box Winchester, .380 ACP, 95gr. FMJ. While firing a string of five shots, the third shot was “noticeably” less than the all of the others. We had gone over the possibilities of misfires, hang-fires and squib loads in the classroom, but this was the first time I’ve experienced one like this. The report was less than ¼ of what a normal shot would be, and the slide never moved to the rear.

I checked the bore of the pistol and was surprised to find that the bullet had exited the barrel, and we were not able to recover it. Also, the exterior of the fired case and condition of the primer was the same as all of the other fired brass.

The NRA student workbook, The Basics of Pistol Shooting describes a Squib Load cartridge malfunction as the “development of less than normal pressure or velocity after the ignition of the cartridge.” The danger is obviously that the bullet may not exit the barrel completely thereby causing an obstruction. If the obstruction is not removed, the result of firing another cartridge could be catastrophic to the shooter and the firearm. Take Squib Loads very seriously and check the bore if you suspect that you’ve experienced anything out of the ordinary.

For more information, view my website: Defensive Training Group
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