Hangfires, Misfires and Squibs

Hangfires, Misfires and Squibs

Hangfires, misfires and squibs are failures to fire due to some problem with the ammunition. If you buy good quality ammo these are pretty rare, but you should know what they are and what to do in case you encounter one.hangfire, misfires and squibs


Hangfires occur when the primer of the round is hit, but there is a delay before the round actually goes off. Usually there is some soft of ignition but it takes anywhere from a fraction of a second until a couple seconds for pressure to build enough to force the round down the barrel. the Many times this is caused by a bad or damaged primer. It can also be caused but carbon build up effecting the firing pin.

Most important is to keep the weapon pointed down range when it doesn’t go off as expected. You need to keep it in a safe direction for at least 30 seconds before attempting to eject the round.


Misfires are when the hammer strikes the primer but the round does not go off. You need to treat a misfire as a hangfire keeping it in a safe direction for at least 30 seconds.

Misfires can be caused by bad/old ammo, broken or damaged firing pins. When you eject the round (after waiting 30 seconds) inspect it to see if the primer was dented normally. If so then you can pinpoint the problem back to the ammo. If the primer dent looks shallow, you should inspect your weapon.


Squibs are round that go off when the hammer strikes the primer but doesn’t generate the normal amount of pressure. With automatics you might find the weapon not cycling properly. Squibs can be very dangerous in that they can leave a bullet in the barrel. If you are shooting a feel something different, stop immediately. Clear the weapon and inspect the barrel. Firing anohter round with a round in the barrel can cause a barrel explosion which can hurt or even kill you.

Really ammunition failures are pretty rare. I have encountered at least one of these in my days in the military, but we often shot thousands of rounds a day. You probably won’t encounter all three, but you need to know what to do if you have one.

Have any of you experienced a hangfire, misfire or squib? Let us know in the comments.

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I am a 64 year old former professional bodyguard. Some of my achievements and Certifications include; -8 Styles of Martial Arts Training -PADI Scuba certification -Owned Upstate and Syracuse K-9 -National and Olympic Qualifier in Wrestling -Professional Driving School Training -Firearms Training Certifications