TRB or tap, rack, and go is the jargon for the answer to a missed shot in a firearm with a removable magazine.
Just as you know the safety rules with firearms, you need to know the quick steps of erasing a malfunction of your weapon.
This is a method of “Immediate Action” and does not imply any investigation of the cause (due to being under fire in a combat or defensive situation), but is effective for common failures, such as defective or improperly placed ammunition magazines.
It is a procedure of military origin that has been adapted in the civilian field that has simplified the procedure to Tap-Rack-Bang, to touch the magazine to make sure it is fully inserted, lift the carriage to extract the shot that did not fire and load a new shot and hit to shoot with the weapon.
The military version of this drill is called C-SPORTS
One, was to change the army’s immediate action exercise from the M4/16 onwards to the AR-15 platform, called SPORTS.
Because of these missed ignitions, the army added a C at the beginning for Check to make sure the weapon is on Seeds or Cars.
- Slap the magazine to ensure it is fully seated
- Pull the charging handle fully to the rear
- Observe for the ejection of a round or shell
- Release the charging handle; do not ride it
- Tap the forward assist
- Squeeze the trigger and attempt to fire
Translated loses the first letter that makes up the English name of the drill:
- Hit the charger to make sure it’s fully inserted
- Pull the charging handle completely backwards
- Observe for ejection of a round or shell
- Release the charging handle; don’t ride it
- Tap Support Forward
- Press the trigger and try to shoot
When you’re on the stopwatch in an IDPA or IPSC race or defensive firefight, you want it to be second nature for you to immediately clear any interruption to get back on target.
You don’t want to hear a “click” and stare at your gun wondering what happened but you want to act immediately and solve the problem and “go back into battle”.
No shooter, no firearm and no ammunition is immune from malfunctions.
They can seem to come out of nowhere and can be surprising and confusing, displace you, and can create serious security breaches if mis handled by the shooter.
They are part of the shooting experience, so it is important to understand the two types of malfunctions:
- A stop is the failure of the gun to go through its entire cycle of operation. In other words, something interrupts or “prevents” the gun from riding a bicycle. A problem qualifies as an interruption if the shooter can solve the problem quickly without the use of any tool. Arrests include family problems, such as the inability to feed, shoot, pull out or eject the box, a stovepipe – “stove tube” or failure to fully insert the magazine.
- A weapon malfunction occurs when a part of the weapon does not function as designed or intended and requires the use of tools and/or disassembly to repair it. An example is the displaced spring or a viewfinder falling from the gun. If the gun requires the replacement of parts (springs, pins, locking systems, anything) to solve the problem, such as a broken spring or a chipped extractor, then it is called a break. Both malfunctions and breakages require a gunsmith or a qualified gunsmith to repair them.
Arrests occur from time to time, but can be minimized by adopting a suitable position/grip and using reliable ammunition.
The most common stop is a failure to fire, which could be caused by faulty ammunition, an incorrectly placed magazine, or a shell that has not been ejected. In these situations, you will hear a “click” instead of a “bang”.
Most interruptions can be addressed with the Exercise for Immediate Action, a simple process to effectively address a minor issue.
This exercise includes three steps:
The Bang Drill Tap Rack
1 – Tap
You need it to tap the charger.
This is to ensure that the magazine is properly/fully inserted into the weapon so that it feeds properly.
As typically taught in tactical firearms courses, the “tap” is applying pressure on the bottom plate of the magazine to lock it in place.
It does not constitute ‘slamming’ the charger, as this can irreversibly damage the lip of the charger.
The “Tap” then consists of hitting the bottom of the handle to place the magazine.
A power outage is possible when the magazine was not firmly positioned when the chambered shot was fired and ejected.
The next shot in the magazine is too far below to be inserted into the chamber, so the carriage closes on an empty loader.
If it is a long weapon “Touch” the rifle by firmly grasping the frame in shooting grip, indexed trigger finger, weapon down.
Using the palm of your supporting hand, hit the base plate of the magazine with a firm and solid blow making sure that the magazine gets stuck in the frame.
2 – Rack
Pull back sharply and then quickly release the weapon’s armament handle/slide.
This will expel a wrong shot, which could be a possible cause of the arrest, and put the next shot in the chamber.
The “Rack” is exactly that.
Withdraw the gun into your torso and tilt slightly inwards, still with a firm pull, with your trigger finger pointing at your index finger.
Grasp the cart firmly with your supporting hand, four fingers on the outside of the cart and your thumb on the inside.
Using a push-pull method, quickly push the frame with your strong hand and pull the cart with your supporting hand to move the rack completely.
Hopefully with the magazine it is inserted well after the TAP, now you have chambered the shot that the cart missed before and the weapon is back in operation ready to fire.
*Note: do not accompany the cart; let it slam on its own!
3 – Bang/Go
Aim and shoot again with the weapon.
If the firearm again does not fire or fails to extract the spent shot, it may indicate a more serious problem with the firearm, which requires maintenance.
For example, if the striker hits the trigger of a cartridge too lightly, it may indicate a worn spring or striker.
Return to the target and return to combat.
This step is called BANG for those from the old school but you might hear the kids referring to the instant action tutorial as TAP-RACK-BACK instead of BANG.
Why is back used?
Because you must first assess that your gun is safe to fire.
Keep the weapon extended with a solid position, tilted forward and a proper grip.
If you have repositioning the magazine and moving the cart you have put the weapon ready to fire, perform the aiming, focus on the viewfinder and complete the trigger press.
Some failures, such as a “stovepipe” (stove pipe), require more complicated maintenance that requires the investigation of the underlying problem if it happens often or corrective action.
Further down in the post we are going to see in detail what it is and you will understand that they are not malfunctions to be underestimated.
So to reiterate the concept of malfunction where sometimes it can happen to hear a “click” when instead we expect the gun to be fired.
When this happens it is important to stay calm and keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Some novice shooters could, instinctively, turn to the Safety Officer pointing the gun at him which, at best, will result in a disqualification from the competition.
The “click” sound mentioned e just now must be taken as a signal to immediately begin the corrective procedure unless the shooter is aware that the magazine is simply empty.
The “Tap, rack, bang” is therefore the name with which in jargon indicates the emergency procedure that serves to correct a malfunction of a semi-automatic or automatic firearm as a result of a failure to shoot the gun.
This malfunction is manifested by the “click” sound caused, usually, by the failure to turn on the trigger.
This procedure is effective for most malfunctions, such as defective ammunition or an incorrectly inserted magazine.
During this operation the gun must always be facing the parapalle/downrange.
Rack refers to “unloading”/rearming the gun carriage. This serves to expel the shot that did not fire – which could be a possible cause of the blockage – and insert a new shot into the cartridge chamber.
Bang simply indicates the firing action of the firearm following the first two steps.
The ‘Tap, Rack, Bang’ is effective in most cases, but not in all.
Some problems, as we see shortly in the specific glossary such as a cartridge stuck in the cartridge chamber, a ball “planted” in the barrel or the breakage of the firearm, require more complex maintenance or even the intervention of a gunsmith.
- If after doing the “Tap, Rack, Bang” the malfunction persists, ask for the assistance of the Safety Officer.
- If, on the other hand, you have a jam and you have doubts about how to solve it, stop and also in this case ask for the assistance of the Safety Officer.
It is advisable to include the “Tap-Rack-Bang” in your exercises to prepare yourself in the event that this really happens to you during a race or a self-defense situation.
In an IDPA competition the Tap-Rack-Bang is still the first procedure to follow to correct a malfunction.
If you haven’t heard a “click”, but instead heard a pop or poof, and/or felt or observed a reduced recoil or no recoil during the shot, then STOP.
A projectile can be housed in the barrel (squib load) or there may be a delayed ignition of the propellant (hang fire).
Keep your finger away from the trigger with the gun pointed in a safe direction and wait 60 seconds.
Don’t camera another shot!
Shooting into a clogged barrel will cause serious damage to both the weapon and the shooter.
Remove the charger, unload and lock the cart on the back.
Notify a polygon security officer, who will visually inspect the barrel carefully (DO NOT look from the end of the barrel to the sprint).
If a bullet is stuck in the barrel, the attendant will instruct you on how to carry the weapon to a gunsmith who has the appropriate tools and experience to safely remove it without damaging the weapon.
Be very careful if you think you have had a squib.
The failure to fire the cartridge after the trigger was hit by the striker.
Press the trigger and the gun “clicks” instead of “Bang”, this is essentially a “misfire”.
You must continue to point the gun in a safe direction in case the cartridge fires a couple of seconds later.
A noticeable delay in the ignition of the cartridge after the trigger has been hit by the striker.
In practice you pull the trigger and the gun makes “click” instead of “bang”, after a few moments the gun fires the shot.
Hang fire refers to an unexpected delay between the ignition of a firearm and the ignition of the propellant.
This failure was very common in actions with firearms that relied on open trigger trays, due to the poor or insufficient quality of the gunpowder.
Modern firearms are also susceptible although the delay is usually too short to be noticed, but it can also be several seconds.
Be careful where you point the weapon because even if only suspected, whenever a firearm does not fire, but has clearly not worked badly, it must always be kept pointed at the target or a safe area.
Sequence of ignition of a bullet
The ignition sequence of modern firearms begins with the detonation of a small amount of impact-sensitive primary explosive in a trigger in cartridge firearms.
The energy released by this detonation is intended to ignite the propellant charge of gunpowder or smokeless powder.
Primary explosives can deteriorate with time, so they release less energy; and propellants damaged by moisture or lubricants may require more energy to ignite.
These conditions can delay the ignition sequence or cause a failure to turn on if ignition is completely prevented.
While a normal ignition sequence causes the weapon to discharge immediately when you press the trigger, a suspended shot will be perceived as a click when the dog falls followed by the loud sound of the gas suddenly expanding when the weapon discharges.
The delay can be only a fraction of a second or it can last several seconds.
Procedures to be performed
A shooter can interpret the initial click of the dog’s fall as an unloaded weapon or a failure to ignite.
A delay of the shot suspended in time by a fraction of a second can be fast enough to correct that misinterpretation before the shooter takes an inappropriate action to reload; but a longer delay can allow the shooter to move the weapon so that the mu sprint points in a different (and possibly dangerous) direction, or to open the action so that the cartridge is no longer confined.
- An unexpected burst of fire after the weapon has been moved from the firing position will damage everything in front of the sprint, and large-caliber firearms can injure the shooter during recoil.
- An unexpected burst of fire during the opening of the weapon’s charging action will allow in the case of discharge that a part of the propellant energy to burst the cartridge case and possibly damage the weapon with the risk of injury to the shooter and nearby people.
The correct procedure is to hold the weapon pointed at a safe target for thirty seconds, then remove the shot.
This rule is not usually followed in combat but it makes sense because the greatest risk is to be without a working weapon during a firefight.
Squib Load / Squib Round
This malfunction is also caused by a defective cartridge – usually the amount of dust fed into the cartridge is insufficient or absent.
This will develop a pressure or speed much lower than normal .
Unless it’s your very first time, you’ll know right away if you’ve had a SQUIB LOAD, because the gun will do “POOF” instead of “BANG”.
A SQUIB LOAD is nothing more than a cartridge that doesn’t have enough strength/energy to push the ball out of the barrel.
In many cases the ball remains “planted” in the central part of the barrel.
A squib load, also known as a squib round, pop and no kick, or simply squib, is a malfunction of a firearm in which a fired bullet does not have enough force behind it to get out of the barrel and therefore gets stuck.
This type of malfunction can be extremely dangerous, as not noticing that the projectile has become stuck in the barrel can result in another shot that is fired directly into the clogged barrel, resulting in damage to the structural integrity of the weapon, if not even the explosion of the weapon in hand with a potential injury to the user.
Cause of Squib Load
Squib shots are possible in all firearms especially if you reload bullets yourself or do tests or use poor powders, low-quality reloading tools, etc.
In most cases they are caused by negligence in the process of loading the powder (insufficient or no powder loading) or by the inability of the primer to ignite the powder.
In case of absence of gunpowder in the cartridge, the trigger, when hit, produces just enough force to push the projectile into the barrel, but not beyond.
Subsequent shots will accumulate in the barrel of in a very robust weapon or destroy a weaker one.
Although this occurs more often due to the manual loading of bullets by inexperienced users, it is known that the phenomenon of squibs also occur in renowned brands of bullet manufacturers.
Other causes include deformed projectiles and attempting to fire a projectile slightly too large for the barrel.
Both of these scenarios involve a series of even catastrophic failures for the weapon and the safety of the user or operator.
A weapon that was subjected to the abuse of a blocked projectile and then another was fired, will show a slight bulge in the barrel at the place where the original blocked projectile was located (provided that the weapon survives).
This bulge sometimes looks like a ring around the barrel or can be detected by sliding your fingers along the barrel to verify that this happens in case you don’t see any rings.
A bullet stuck in position n. 1 will prevent the chambering of another shot (black arrow).
A bullet stuck in position n. 2 will allow you to chamber another shot (red arrow) and is the most dangerous.
Diagnosis of Squib Load
Signs that a squib has occurred include:
- Much quieter and unusual exhaust noise.
- Smaller or empty dust loads, combined with the echo of the injector discharge into the casing or barrel, produce an unusual noise.
- This noise is often called “ping” or “pop”, rather than the expected “bang” of a standard shot.
- Lighter or non-existent recoil force.
- A lower force on the projectile, insufficient to free the barrel, results in a lower recoil force, which can be completely absorbed by the recoil mechanisms of the weapon.
- Discharge from the ejection light or the air gap of the cylinder, instead of from the barrel.
- The ignition and any burnt dust produce smoke, less than a standard charge, which cannot be discharged normally through the barrel.
- Failure to cycle the action (in automatic or semi-automatic firearms).
Semi-automatic recoil, backlash, and backlash-driven weapon designs rely on recoil force to expel the spent casing and move on to the next shot.
A lighter recoil force may not be enough to perform the cycle of action.
Similarly, gas firearms may have an insufficient volume of gas to operate the weapon.
Squib loads are also referred to as “pop and no kick“, in recognition of the symptoms/signs I have listed above.
So when you shoot with your gun in competition or training and hear an “abnormal” sound of the shot, stop immediately and do not proceed with the “Tap-Rack-Bang”.
Unload the gun and proceed with the control of the barrel to make sure that it is free.
You can use a dipstick with a hammer to push the ball out of the barrel.
- destroy the gun
- cause serious injury to the shooter or people nearby
So if you have a SQUIB Load/Round – STOP!! FIRM!! RED ALERT!
Check the gun and if it is the case, remove the ball from the barrel, if you are not an expert ask for help from the Safety Officer or consult an experienced shooter.
Be careful not to fire even one shot because the weapon in your hand is about to explode!
TAP-RACK-BACK is a quick and effective solution to eliminate simple stops, such as stove pipes, missed empty cases, failure to feed, light strikes, etc.
Remember to be careful if when you release the guide on the rack and notice that the guide is not completely locked or is “short”, then you may have a dual power supply.
Lock the cart backwards, observe the jam in the chamber, release the magazine, eliminate the blow and restore the magazine.
Street Fight Mentality