Friday, February 1, 2019

It's Long Past Time for Tap-Rack-Bang to DIE!

Or more accurately, it's time for the use of tap-rack-bang as "immediate action" to die. We're going to call it TRB because it sounds stupid and stupid things deserve stupid acronyms. I gave up on the concept of using TRB for anything other than when it is absolutely appropriate a long time ago, in fact, I don't think I ever subscribed to it at all really.

Most people who shoot competitively - and I would think anyone who shoots a lot in general - do not use TRB to solve every malfunction a firearm can have. For one thing, it's a huge waste of time and it seems backwards to me that self defense and combat firearms instructors don't see time as a much more valuable thing when teaching life and death fighting techniques. In competitive shooting if the problem isn't solved in about a half second, the present magazine is completely abandoned, the gun is cleared and the shooter reloads. Anything else is time wasted and if you have spent any time on a range watching people use common "immediate action" drills during live fire (not this silly static, self-induced malfunction clearing exercise nonsense) you have seen how much time is lost performing actions that were never going to fix the problem to begin with.

The root issue is the concept that there are a number of "stoppages" and that they all need numbers and special terms and actions attached to them. Why are we memorizing a bunch of codes for the type of malfunction but we're beating the piss out of the magazine as step number one to fixing all of them? This is brain dead. There are only two things that will happen to your firearm; a dead trigger or a click. It makes absolutely no difference what "kind" of malfunction you just had, it's one of those two choices, forget the rest of the bullshit.

Problem number one; dead trigger. If the trigger is dead the gun did not function properly, period. Most of the time the magazine is just going to be in the way so get rid of it (I don't care what you do with it but use your brain), clear the shit that's stopping the gun from working, put the gun back into action and carry on. The only time a tap will help you here is if a round failed to fully strip from the magazine and enter the chamber. A tap MIGHT bump that round up, and allow the gun to go into battery. How interested are you in "might" and are you then going to rack that round out just because it's step number two? Moreover, this is assuming the empty case got out of the gun or there wasn't a secondary cause involved in stopping the round from getting out of the mag successfully. If there was, it's more likely than not you are wasting time tapping. Next, racking the slide might help, but most of the time it will not. If you take one look at the gun, see that it's simple to fix with a quick rack, do it. Use your brain, look at the gun, fix the problem. Last point here, TRB has as much chance of making the problem worse as it does better. Ask me if I think that's a good line of thinking. You tap the magazine, nothing changed because why would it? You then racked the slide, now you have a double feed or have nudged a round forward enough that it makes stripping the magazine difficult, why are you doing this? A more prudent question is; if you are receiving fire, is there time for any of this shit just standing around? The "immediate" solution to a gun that doesn't work should probably be to get somewhere you won't get shot while you fiddle around with your blaster.

Problem number two; click. If the trigger clicked the gun is working and is in battery. Let's get into that brain thing. If you just fired the first round out of a magazine and you get a click, take a wild guess what the problem is. Yeah, you failed to seat the magazine. So tell me, why do we go through a very specific administrative loading process only to have this happen? It will happen to you because you failed to properly prepare your weapon for shooting. It will never happen to you if you prepare your firearm correctly. Right now you are saying to yourself, yeah but magazine releases get bumped. You're right. And you're right if you think this is the part where I say TRB is the correct action to take. However, my point is, this type of "malfunction" should be extremely rare and certainly not grounds for a standard or "immediate" malfunction remediation action. You should be running a holster which minimizes the likelihood of this happening and you should be constantly aware of the condition of your rifle if you are wearing it as a large necklace.

BUT! You are the type of guy or bad ass chick who takes the preparation of the firearm very seriously and performs a standard and specific administrative loading procedure when preparing that firearm for action. You know that your magazine is ready to go. You also know that the click can be the result of faulty ammunition, or an empty magazine that for whatever reason failed to lock the bolt or slide open. Maybe you ride the slide release because you grip the pistol correctly (yes, I said correctly). You should be asking yourself, what is the real value of the tap? Have you been firing long enough to be empty? You know in your mind that you have fired many rounds, there is no reason to believe the magazine has been released during that time. Why tap it? You're right, you wouldn't and neither would I. I know faulty ammunition happens and my mag is seated. Rack that bitch and get back to work.

So in short for a wrap up; is there any real reason to tap your magazine when the gun doesn't go bang most of the time? No, not really. In fact, if you skip tap and go straight to rack and it doesn't work, have you wasted any more time than you would have had you tapped it first? Probably not in most cases. If you have a dead trigger is there really any value in even racking the gun? Probably not in most cases. So that's two out of three letters from the stupid acronym that aren't very useful, and only two of them have any real meaning anyway. If you change your "immediate" action for all malfunctions to strip mag, clear, reload, have you really lost anything over TRB for every malfunction? I doubt it.

Big take away; familiarize yourself with your firearm and perform specific and consistent administrative loading procedures every time you put that weapon into action. Do this far more often than you practice pointless self-induced malfunction drills. Second, ignore anyone who tells you that you should not examine malfunctions while on the practice range, and insists that they are only opportunities to practice clearing malfunctions. Malfunctions can be the result of many things, consistent and reoccurring malfunctions are the result of a gun that isn't working properly and the more you know about your gun and how it operates, the better shooter you will be and the fewer real life malfunctions you will encounter.

Examples! I felt kinda weird about embedding the video because it is not an example of things done incorrectly, it is just a video with examples of what I consider "evidence" within it. So I will just provide the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEhKqaOLcH4
The video is from Carry Trainer. Their videos are awesome and I love them. You should watch this video and all of their others for the terrific content and learning opportunity that they contain. If you will skip to the 32:50 mark and the 36:05 mark (there might be more like at 37:10) you will witness induced rifle malfunctions. Before I give you the answer watch the video and tell me what else you see happen. In one you see a rack with no tap, in the other you see a tap and a rack. Now tell me in which instance the TRB immediate action worked?
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The obvious answer? Neither instance. The real question is, why would it? To answer that we can say why it didn't. Tap didn't work because it wasn't a magazine issue. It was pointless to start with tap because that shooter experienced a dead trigger, not a click. He had been shooting and had no reason to suspect that he had dislodged his magazine. Rack didn't work because there was shit in the chamber, specifically an empty case free of the extractor's mighty grip. Racking relies entirely on the extractor to clear problems and it relies on the lower portion of the bolt to strip a cartridge off the magazine. Neither of these things are possible with something floating around in the gun. In fact, in both cases the end result was stripping the magazine and clearing the chamber of the offender(s) or lowering the gun in surrender. The second guy had no plan for ACTUALLY fixing the problem. The only tool he had was a stupid acronym. If he had simply pulled the mag, kept or abandoned it, cleared the rifle and reloaded, he would have spent a fraction of the time. We don't get to see how bad it ultimately was but it was bad. Worse still, yanking on the charging handle likely exacerbated the problem by moving a cartridge partially out of the magazine (or further out of the magazine), making stripping it that much more difficult. I'd be willing to bet the video cuts because that shooter never got back to business and had to move off to fix a serious problem that he had a hand in causing. All told, painful demonstrations of the enormous waste of time that is TRB.

As if the sea had parted, at the 38:30 mark TRB is abandoned for higher thinking and the problem is resolved instantly.

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