Weird stuff happens. Always obey basic rules

My son and I were at the range participating in a class. In this exercise, he was supposed to transition from pistol to rifle. After a couple of rifle shots, he had some sort of malfunction and had to switch back to his pistol.

After the exercise, he was supposed to clear both rifle and pistol.

The pistol was cleared with no issues.

When he cleared the rifle, I watched him take the magazine out. When he pulled the charging handle back, no round was ejected. Next step in making sure the weapon was clear was to pull the trigger. BANG. Nice little divot on the cement floor a little bit downrange. The look on his face was priceless.

Good thing the rifle was pointed downrage. Could have been bad otherwise since we had about 10 people behind me waiting their turn.

At this point, I thought he just did not pull the charging handle all the way back and reminded him to make sure it goes all the way back or to engage the stop to make sure it’s clear.

Since this was the last exercise, we re-cleared the firearms and packed them away.

When I went to clean the rifle this morning, I removed the bolt and a couple of small parts fell out. Turns out the extractor broke sometime during the class. That was the reason why the round was not ejected when he pulled the charging handle back.

Stay safe everyone!


Perhaps the lesson here is at the “no round ejected”
The last thing I would ever do is pull the trigger on a closed bolt when you have not confirmed the chamber is clear. I hope you pushed home that point👍


I always pull the charging handle multiple times with force to be sure. I’ll do it 3 or 4 times to be sure and make sure I do it with force. People look at me weird but it’s to prevent that exact thing. You see me do it and with no mag should be clear. Good on him for keeping it in a safe direction


I always lock the bolt back and look at the chamber through the ejection port. Close the port. It’s then ready to load next time, mag in, pull check, release the bolt.


That’s what I do. Lock the bolt or slide back look, then feel it with my finger, then look again. It’s what I taught my kids and I’ve watched them do it when we’re shooting from the bay.

I guess the excitement of doing something new got the better of him. I now know they need to keep practicing until it becomes habit no matter what they’re doing.



No offense, but after pulling the charging handle back and if a rd ejects or if it does not, your NEXT STEP is to pull the trigger?

Pull charging handle back, VISUALLY INSPECT THE CHAMBER… THEN let the bolt go home.

Does your range teach the procedure you used? Does it recommend that? What did the range officer do when your rifle went BANG?

Sorry, this just sounds all kinds of wrong to me.

EDIT: PDA3 clarified later and said that he misspoke and that his next step is not pulling the trigger. Just wanted to ensure all information is considered.


Yes, but visually inspect the chamber also.

And NO… do NOT look down the barrel … :grin:


@Kevin29 My son son missed a step, which is why it went bang.

The full clearing procedure is:

  1. Firearm pointed towards backstop
  2. Eject magazine
  3. Pull slide or bolt back
  4. Inspect to make sure no round is chambered
  5. Pull trigger (while still pointed towards backstop)

After that point, the pistol is holstered (without mag) and the rifle is put aside (without mag). It does make sense to ensure there is no live round chambered. However, the visual inspection step was missed.


I went with what you commented, which was pull charging handle back and next step pull trigger.

now that you have clarified, it makes sense.

Hopefully, he will remember that and not miss a step again.


Thank the good lord that nothing happened. It could’ve been bad. Don’t let it discourage you brother you pointed the gun down range in a safe direction.


Yes, I was narrating what actually happened, so after re-reading, I understand your concern. I should have clarified on the original post.

Can’t get anything past you guys. :wink:



Just like on the training range…

Pull Pin… THROW.

NOT the Pin… the grenade :grin:


@Johnnyq60 we had a long chat on the drive home that pulling the charging handle or slide needs to be followed by visual inspection - ALWAYS.

He was really concerned that he made a mistake, so I reminded him that his remembering other safety measures, like keeping firearm pointed in a safe direction, kept the accidental discharge as a learning moment versus being a more serious matter. After all, I do not want to discourage him from continuing to increase his firearm competency.

Also showed him the broken ejector this morning so he knows that things can happen that could result in unexpected results. Which is why we have all the safety rules in place.


Since I’ve gotten back into shooting and started carrying, I’ve been working to train myself to drop the magazine, lock the slide, look, feel, look again, then drop the magazine and release the striker, while the muzzle is aimed at the target. At first, the ‘feel’ part felt kind of silly, after all you can see if there’s a round in the chamber, but I made it a part of packing up just the same. I follow the same procedure when I get home from anywhere, as I carry everywhere, but don’t keep a round in at home. Drop the magazine, lock the slide, look, feel, look again. Release slide, release striker.
On the APX, there’s a striker release button, so you don’t have to pull the trigger, but it is very hard to depress without a tiny drift punch or something equally solid.
Good safety practices save lives. Maybe even your own.


Not to bust your chops but verifying the chambered round is ejected is part of the procedure for clearing your weapon. Be safe.


Any teaching moment without injury or fatality is a good lesson. I’m sure he won"t make that mistake again.


This specific situation it would make no difference. Extractor was broken. As others stated visually confirm no round if none ejected.


Welcome @Hank3!

Yes, we will be watching closely until it becomes second nature, so he does not do that again.

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Welcome to the family brother @Hank3 and you are in the right place at the right time.

Many years ago I purchased at Mossburg. 410 bolt action shotgun. I had to take my father with me to buy this as it was my 12th birthday and I wanted a firearm that I could use for every season here in PA. I still hunt small game with the old gun and rarely come home empty handed.
One time while at a buddies house, we got together to small game hunting. Unknown to any of us, his brother had dropped a rifle round down the chamber on my .410. As soon as we got to our hunting location I attempted to load a round into the chamber. The round failed obviously but I couldn’t see why. The rifle round was far enough into the chamber that you could not see it. I kept trying to do anything and everything I could think of to clear the chamber and not knowing what was in it made the options very slim. Long story short, I held the muzzle in a very safe direction and with a slightly forceful thump of the butt to a fallen log, out comes this rifle shell! The part that put the fear of God into me about checking my firearms each and every time I pick them up, even if I’ve left the room to grab a cup of coffee or whatever is, I had both 2 3/4 and 3 inch shells with me. Had I loaded a 2 ¾ shell, chances are I would not be here today to type this message! An open chamber is a magnet for little things to make their way into when you least expect it!
Thankfully your son kept his rifle pointed in a safe direction and thankfully I grabbed a 3 inch shell to load first that day!
Stay safe, practice often, and let those who you love know it every single day!