Well, that’s one way to teach a new shooter about malfunctions…

I have a coworker who recently asked me to give her some range instruction. She’d shot before, but she wasn’t familiar enough with how her new Ruger LCP operates to be comfortable. Naturally, I obliged.

This was our second session, so it was still pretty much the basic. Grip. Trigger control. Understanding the Four Rules. Sight picture.

She was loading four rounds per relay, and in one of them she got a nice “CLICK!” on the third round. She was shooting Blazer aluminium cased ammunition, so I figured it was primer-related. I talked her through clearing the malfunction and she fired the last round in the magazine with no problem.

I wanted to use this as a teachable moment about cheap practice ammo. “It’s not bad, but things like this are going to happen so just keep that in mind. Malfunctions like this happen all the time, and it’s not your gun.”

The primer is clearly dimpled.

The primer is clearly dimpled.

We loaded the same round in the top of the next magazine (Tam, I can hear you screaming from here) because I wanted to show her that bad primers will often fire on the second strike.

But I got a failure to feed. It seemed strange to me, too, the way it was hanging up on the feed ramp. I had to drop the magazine to clear it.

Now, I don’t have a .380 anymore, but that looked like the bullet was set back a bit. I pulled out another round from the box and sure enough it was a couple thousandths difference. I’m pretty sure that setback happened as a result of the failure to feed, but it’s possible it was preexisting and caused the FTF.

But then….something else didn’t look right, either:

What's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Now, if you’re slow like me, you probably don’t see it. Here’s a 9mm round for reference:

One of these things is not like the other.

One of these things is not like the other.

Yeah. The rim is missing!

So this round had probably two, and possibly three, factory defects. We’re actually pretty lucky the primer was bad (although it could be that the case is slightly shorter than the chamber, so the firing pin didn’t hit deep enough) because extractors don’t work so well without something to grab on to.

The rest of the box was fine.

2 comments to Well, that’s one way to teach a new shooter about malfunctions…

  • Did the firing pin on her LCP hit that far out of center with other rounds?

    I don’t quite recall if my LCP is that off center.

  • A month ago I was sorting bulk range brass. Have to pick out the aluminum by hand since nobody has invented an aluminum magnet yet.
    Anyway, mixed in was a bunch of CCI Blazer aluminum cased 45 Colt brass that had a really rough and nasty looking case mouth. On further inspection, they looked…torn? Split and mangled?
    Closer look showed they were 45 ACP headstamped, rimless cases with an extractor groove…that were 45 Colt in length, and had been fired in a 45 Colt revolver. It looked like the 45 ACP cases had not been final trimmed after they were deep drawn, and had somehow gotten into the 45 Colt bin, gotten loaded and packaged and sent out.

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