Worn Gun Parts and Unintentional Discharges


Slightly dirty, but this firing pin is in perfect condition.
Slightly dirty, but this firing pin is in perfect condition.

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- Students and trainers around the world will now and then report a rare slam-fire-engendered unintentional discharges (UD) when chambering a round on pistols, even pistols from reputable manufacturers, manufacturers that I recommend!

Some of this is “urban legend,” of course, but not all.

Fire-control parts can become so worn-out, from lots of shooting, combined with user-level neglect, that slam-fires have been licitly recorded.

Flat spots and burrs on badly-worn parts can allow firing pins to become “stuck” in a forward position. Thus, the nose of the firing pin can protrude from the bolt-face, and this can result in a slam-fire as the slide is vigorously cycled when chambering a round, absent any pressure on the trigger.

Periodic detail-strip and inspection by a qualified armorer, particularly with pistols that are shot a lot, will almost always preclude the foregoing. When excessive wear is detected, armorers will routinely replace the firing pin, firing-pin safety, trigger bar, and install a full set of new springs, particularly the recoil spring/spring assembly.

It’s the cheapest insurance you’ll ever buy!

Slam-fires do not happen very often, and even when they do, the pistol in question is usually pointed in a relatively safe direction (as it should be), so only minor property damage results. In fact, most such recorded incidences of slam-fires happen on gun-ranges as the pistol is pointed downrange, so there is no property damage at all.

Because there is usually little or no damage, this species of UD mostly goes un-noted and unrecorded, only rarely reflecting on any statistic.

Yet, for serious guns, owned and carried by Operators for serious purposes, this kind of extreme neglect is, of course, unacceptable.

As with your car, ignoring worn brakes until it gets so bad that pressing the break pedal to the floor does nothing, and your car subsequently hurdles through a red light, is all avoidable, with even “reasonable” maintenance, much less “good” maintenance.

Just as your teeth need to see a dentist now and then, your pistol needs the attention of an armorer on some kind of regular basis.

Not all “bad outcomes” are avoidable, but most are, when you do your part!

“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build, and nobody wants to do the maintenance.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

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11 months ago

“licitly” means “not forbidden”, find another word. Same with “hurdle” which is a noun and refers to an upright frame, usually a series of them, that runners are required to jump over like “the women’s hurdles” you maybe meant to say “hurtles” which means to move at great speed and usually in a wild or uncontrolled manner; as in going through that intersection real fast and out of control. Just because it spellchecks okay doesn’t mean it’s the right word.

11 months ago

Good to know. I can also chk to see if the firing pin is protruding.

11 months ago

The only reason my teeth get cleaned by the hygienist every six months is because I can’t do it myself. And even then she never does very much because I take good care of my teeth. I am the armorer for my firearms.

10 months ago
Reply to  RoyD

I am my own armorer also, but note that he only suggests that your firearms need that attention from time to time, not that one cannot do it for oneself, if one has the skills. I note that Mr. Farnam does this habitually. Makes recommendations and suggestions, including his reasons for same. Contrast this with many other ‘instructors’, whose favorite words are some variety of; “you must ___” or “never___” or some other such arrogant, “I know it all” lunacy. When one has reached the level where he no longer thinks he knows everything (a master), that is where he… Read more »