Dealing With Squib Rounds: Safety First!
Firearms safety is paramount for anyone who handles guns. Whether you're a seasoned shooter or a novice, you must be prepared for various situations when at the range or in the field. One such situation is firing a squib round. Squib rounds are rare, but being prepared to deal with them can make a crucial difference in preventing a tragedy.
What Is a Squib Round?
A squib round, also known as a squib load, is a cartridge that fails to discharge properly when fired. Instead of your projectile leaving the barrel at high velocity, a squib round results in either no projectile exiting the barrel or the projectile exiting at a significantly reduced velocity. Squib loads most commonly occur when a manufacturing or reloading malfunction leads to a light or absent primer strike, resulting in a partial or nonexistent propellant ignition. As a result, the projectile may get lodged inside the barrel or be pushed only partially down the barrel.
Why Are Squib Rounds So Dangerous?
Squib rounds are highly dangerous because they can cause catastrophic firearm failures. In the best case, if you don't notice a squib round and fire another round, the second bullet can strike the stuck projectile, causing a barrel obstruction. In the worst case, firing a second shot through an obstructed barrel, the increased pressure can lead to a barrel burst, causing severe injury or even death. For this reason, it's essential to treat squib rounds with the utmost caution.
How to Deal With Squib Rounds Safely
1. Recognize the Signs of a Squib Round
The first step in dealing with squib rounds is recognizing when one has occurred. Signs of a squib round may include a soft or barely audible shot, reduced recoil, or a wildly off-target bullet hole.
2. Cease Firing Immediately
If you suspect a squib round has occurred, stop firing immediately. Do not attempt to fire another round. Keeping a cool head and staying aware of your surroundings is crucial.
3. Engage the Safety
Ensure your firearm's safety is engaged, and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
4. Clear the Firearm
Unload the firearm by removing the magazine (if applicable) and ejecting any rounds from the chamber. Double-check to ensure the firearm is completely unloaded.
5. Inspect the Barrel
Using a cleaning rod or bore light, check the barrel to see if there's an obstruction. If you can see a bullet or any other foreign object in the barrel, it's essential not to proceed further.
6. Seek Professional Help
If you find an obstruction in the barrel, do not attempt to clear it yourself. Squib round obstructions should be dealt with by a qualified gunsmith or firearm professional who can safely and properly remove the stuck projectile.
7. Dispose of the Affected Ammunition
Any ammunition involved in a squib round should be considered suspect and not used. Dispose of it properly, and never attempt to fire it again.
Dealing with squib rounds requires vigilance, discipline, and a commitment to safety. Recognizing the signs, stopping firing immediately, and seeking professional help when needed are essential steps to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Remember that firearm safety rules always apply, and staying calm in unexpected situations is key to preventing accidents.