Immediate Action for Handguns (aka; IA drills)
by Gregory Chabot, special for 2Aholster
With the amount of time I spend shooting I often see a lack of folks not knowing how to do Immediate Action (IA) on their handgun in case of malfunction.
Though untrue, there is a train of thought that brand X-gun never jams. All guns can malfunction and IA Drills should be a part of your training.
My carry gun varies. Sometimes a striker fired, sometimes DA/SA (Double Action/Single Action) or a 1911. If I am in an engagement and my weapon fails the first thing I do is Look. I look to see if I have a double feed, stovepipe or misfire.
For a misfire I promptly rack the slide and chamber a new round. If you carry a striker fired gun you’re going to have to rack the slide to eject the offending bullet. I know we have all had a misfire that you pick up later and it works the second time. In a life or death situation rack in a new round and live.
In the case of a double feed malfunction after looking, I drop the mag (more like strip it out of the weapon). I feel it gives more room to work. I tend to strip the mag as I want to clear my weapon and get back in the fight as fast as possible. In the case of a double feed dropping the mag clears half of the problem then racking the slide finishes clearing the weapon. I then insert a fresh mag and rack the slide to get back in the fight. Most issues with Semiauto’s are magazine or ammo related. I carry extra mags not because I see myself in a prolonged fight, but for IA if my weapon malfunctions.
For Stovepipe malfunction I first look. Then with my weak hand go in front of the stove pipe and rack the slide to clear the jam and to chamber a fresh round. Sure you might cut your hand but you’ll be back in the fight. Don’t be afraid to turn the weapon to the side; the goal is to clear the malfunction.
For training I keep a few magazines that are marked bad. I put them in my mag holder and use them in drills to keep in practice. Or you can have a shooting buddy put an empty case in your weapon as a stove pipe or a double feed, etc. The best way to prevent malfunctions is to keep your weapon clean and try various brands of ammunition. I usually put at least 200 rounds of what I use for carry ammo through my weapon during a training session.
Expensive? Yes it is. I value my life. Magazines are a disposable item. If you get a bad mag buy a new one. If I have a problem mag I mark it. If problems persist I use it for training or take a ball peen to it. Don’t give it someone else unless they know it’s junk. It never ceases to amaze me that a person will spend top dollar on a weapon then buy cheap magazines for it. You get what you pay for. And that goes for training or equipment.
Make IA a regular part of your training. Practice IA drills and stay in the fight!