Springfield XD .45 blown up

These photos are of a Springfield XD .45 was blown up after a squib load (a low powered load that does not have enough energy to push the bullet out the muzzle) blocked the barrel and another full power loaded round was fired.

The pressure generated blew off the top of the chamber, caused a bulge in the slide, and gorged the frame and also destroyed the extractor and loaded chamber indicator.


 Albums V103 Kd5Day Xdkb3
Note the bulge in the slide next to the chamber.


I am pleased to be able to say that the shooter was not injured. He is one lucky guy.

More info at XDTalk forum.

Hat Tip: Blue Gun Blog

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Jesse

    I thought Glocks were the only gun to go Kaboom. *eye roll*

    Seriously he’s lucky he wasn’t hurt.

  • Looks like it performed admirably to me. The only other direction to blow the pressure would have been down through the grip, which is what a lot of other guns do, splitting polymer frames and blowing live cartridges everywhere, almost invariably causing the shooter to bleed a bit.

    I don’t give a damn what semiauto pistol you’re shooting, block the barrel with a squib and you’re going to have a serious problem.

  • Joshua

    @Jesse: You fire into a squib load, and every gun will KB. Glocks were going KB all on their own.

  • Tom

    I’ve worked on quite a few XDs and Glocks and all I can say about them is it takes a *lot* to screw one up. Granted, plugging up the bore with a squib shot will wreck almost anything, but I’d venture to say the guy was lucky it was an XD or it may have had considerably worse consequences on weaker designs.

    Never had a gun blow up on me, though my father has on two occasions. One was a Charter auto in .380, and the experience has left him with a serious dislike of Charter in general. Having a pistol explode in your hand does have that effect on people I suppose 😉

  • redmanlaw

    Factory ammo or handloads? I had a couple of sqib loads in my revolvers that required clearance by good ol’ Rod, Wood. Probably due to high primers in reloading on my part.

    • redmanlaw, handloads.

  • Valhalla

    How common are squib loads (assuming you buy from a middle level manufacturer)?

    Would it do more damage to the gun/shooter if the squib was closer to the end of the barrel, or closer to the chamber?

    • Valhalla, I am not sure what the statistics are about squib loads from a factory (non handloaded) round. Would be interesting to know. I would think it is very low.

  • Stan

    Comparing this to a Glock KB isn’t really fair as this wasn’t the fault of the gun, but of the ammunition, and of the shooter for not checking out the gun after hearing a not quite right bang.

  • Matt Groom

    “If instead of a bang, you hear a pop, that’s how you know it’s time to stop.”

  • Sennin

    “… does not have enough energy to push the barrel out the muzzle) …”

    Is this a new ammunition feature?

    Sorry; I couldn’t resist.

    • Sennin, fixed the typo 😉

    • Sennin & le bolide, typo, pretty funny I must admit 😉

  • le bolide

    On the other hand, I’d be pretty concerned if I somehow shot my barrel out the muzzle.

  • Mark

    That is pretty impressive. That XD held up very well under some extreme circumstance.

  • Kyle Huff

    Not luck. Clever engineering.

  • If I blow up my XD-45 Tactical it will be with factory rounds…

    I did a kB years ago on a S&W Model 28, made a hell of a mess, I have NEVER shot a reload since… Costs a bit more but I have not had so much as one glitch since, except with that POS Glock 19 I all but gave away…

  • Dom

    Hey, you gotta love that! As a proud owner of two XDs, it is good to see one’s suspicions confirmed. It is hard to beat these for the money.

    It also goes to show you why shooting/safety glasses at the range are a Good Thing!

  • That had to have been spooky!

  • Tom Stone

    I have had 2 squib loads using factory reloads while taking a firearms class,and witnessed several more.These reloads were provided by the school,and were in both 9mm and .45.No injury to the firearms or shooters resulted since the problem surfaced during an aimed fire part of the course.The commercial reloader had recieved a batch of bad primers from a major manufacturer and he did replace the Ammo at no cost to the school.I will still use commercial reloads for practice but am always aware of the potential for misfires.

  • “gunner”

    i once had the same thing, a squib load in a mark one webley .45 conversion, shooting .45 auto-rim loads, firing a fast string. the cylinder and frame latch held and all i got was a bulged barrel about halfway down. i replaced the barrel and got several more years shooting out of the gun before selling it.

  • jdun1911

    The guy in the forum gone to great length to make sure it’s not the fault of XD but his reload.

    I don’t recommend buying reloaded ammo. Make your own or buy factory ammo.

  • Hrmm. Couple of points to ponder.

    1 – If you reload with an automatic powder measure, HAVE A POWDER CHECK DIE.

    2 – If you reload with an automatic powder measure, and don’t have a powder check die, or at least in my thinking, I would throw my rounds in a bag and jumble them so I don’t use them in order.

    If the drop tube were to gum up a little bit and short a load, then the natural result would be to overcharge the next, right? Jumbling them avoids firing a 1.x overload directly after a squib.

    Am I making sense?

  • “gunner”

    you make excellent sense dr. strangegun. the squib i had in the webley was very likely my own fault, though i usually eyeball check, loading only batches of 50 rounds at a time, i must have somehow missed that round. no fault on the gun, it held up surprisingly well for a late 19th century antique. the only suggestion i can add to your remarks is “do your reloading when you’re rested, awake and alert, not tired and half sleepy, and leave the alcohol until you’ve closed down the loading bench and gone off to watch t.v. or read a book.”

  • Carl

    I don´t see how this is such a great success?
    Wouldn´t it be better if both bullets were pushed out rather than the barrel exploding?

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_USP

    “During testing, a bullet was deliberately lodged in a USP barrel. Another cartridge was then fired into the obstructing bullet. The second bullet cleared the barrel, resulting in a barely noticeable bulge. The pistol was then fired for accuracy and the resulting group measured less than 4 inches at 25 meters.”

  • Mike

    I once stuck a bullet in a Colt Series 70 .45ACP – this was at least 25+ years ago.

    Bulged the barrel with the next round and the pistol was locked open.

    Gunsmith took a look, laughed and took it into his shop. He whacked it with something and took it apart. Bulged barrel but no other damage – replaced barrel and good to go. Still have the pistol.

  • I just bought one of these pistols,and it’s kinda’ good to see it’s even fairly safe when it catastrphically fails. I’ve only experienced one squib (that wasn’t rimfire) in all of my shooting. It was with a Desert Eagle .44 Magnum auto,and I still thank God to this day that I realized the “pop” was way too soft and I should hold back the next shot. I can’t even imagine what a rear end collision in THAT bore would have done!!

  • Dan

    Looks more like an overcharged handload from how the barrel just blew up. I doubt a squib could provide that much damage to the barrel.

  • Chitown

    Easiest and safest solution – buy HK


  • Jim

    Thanks to my reloading skills, or lack there of, when I got my progressive reloader, I failed to put powder in a few. I’ve remedied that since. The result was about 3 or 4 squibs, in my XD 45ACP, with only the primer punching the slug barely out of the case. I had to pry the slide back with a thin screwdriver blade on my trusty Swiss Army knife. The bullets were lodged so far back, I couldnt load a round behind them anyway…..which is what probably saved me. A quick strip down, and application of the old wooden spoon handle, had me back in action in about 2 minutes. Now, I remain very aware of each round fired and never assume anything. I wish I didn’t have to reload to afford to shoot. The wife hasn’t missed that short handled, oak spoon yet, but it has sure turned out to be a handy resident in my range bag.

  • King

    As long as you are simply target shooting, a squib load is fairly easy to catch. The real issue comes when you have a squib load and you are shooting multiple rounds rapidly. Defensive/Tactical applications dictate that a lot of your training requires you to fire this way. My advise is to either not worry about squib loads when you are training or only buy factory ammunition from a reputable manufacturer. If you worry about a squib load then you are not paying enough attention to what you should be doing. As stated above in this thread, I agree that it is never a good idea to buy reloads from some one that you do not know and or trust with your life. Reload yourself when you are alert and not under the influence, or buy Factory. It does look more like an over loaded round rather than a squib load.

  • brandon

    I own a XD 45 it is a great firearm.I have almost had 3 squibs from a 22LR.H&R 9 shot revolver from factory loads one time but it was my fault I was hauling square bails of hay and got sweaty and the pistol was in my pocket and somehow dampened the bullets powder I believe that would never happen to center fire though 3 rounds popped but went out the barrel very weakly the loads were top of the line for 22 they start wt a c is all I’m going to say.

  • glocks arent blowing up by themseves ,their suferring bullet setback improper crimps ,and people arent carefully weighing their loads , how does a gun ,” blow up by itself” , hmm have to see that one ,physics miracle.

  • dont take me as being an xd hater im not, in fact im about ready to purchase an xd .45, i think they are solid handguns , i think alot of people are not reloading safe loads .

  • Mark

    Pay particular attention to the recoil of the pistol and the sound of the cartridge. Can easily be avoided if you pay attention at all times. If you think something is not right, unload the pistol and check it for a squib load as well as any other mechanical failures.

  • I believe John is correct – people aren’t reloading safely. Judging from the loads some people post, which are above recommended maximums, some reloaders are hot-rodding their pistols to a dangerous extent. These guys evidently don’t even consult reloading guides, or ignore the recommendations. They “work up loads”, while having no pressure testing equipment. It’s a wonder more guns aren’t blown up.

    I’ve put nearly 900 reloads through my Glock 29 with zero problems, but I never go beyond the listed maximum loads. Also, some reloaders use magnum primers in the 10mm auto, which aren’t required. Magnum primers and too much powder, and you can have serious problems, obviously.

    It’s true – you can’t fix stupid.

  • Also, if you use lead bullets in polygonal rifling, make sure to clean the lead out before it builds up enough to raise pressures. It’s better to stick to jacketed bullets, unless you’re very careful.

  • dave

    Makes me wonder if the powder was low enough that the bullet didn’t exit the barrel, would it have enough charge to cycle the slide and be able to strip another round into the chamber? Wrong bullet size could of done that. It being slightly larger. who knows but im sure you can tell of a lighter load being shot and this is when the barrel must be checked for an obstruction!

    • austin tipton

      its says the low power round DIDNT and never left the chamber in the article there buddy. but shooting another fully loaded round was not a good idea at all, plus the low powered round was a stupid idea in the first place we could all take something from these guys stupidity.