PSA- catching a squib load

    I don’t think there is a single shooting event/competition, civilian or military, where it is declared in the safety brief, that everyone present is a range officer and has the right to call out an unsafe act or situation, on behalf of the whole group. Often times we listen to this and nod our heads in understanding, but how many of us have actually called out an unsafe act? Whether you have or not, this is an excellent video of a range officer doing the right thing.

    Concealed Nation posted this on their site, and although it is from 2012, the lessons are timeless about dealing with squib loads. A squib load is a nick name for when a round doesn’t have enough powder loaded in it to fully push the bullet the entire length of the barrel and it thus gets lodged in it, creating a situation where the next round will come piling on right on top of it, thus either severely damaging the barrel, or causing a catastrophic explosion within the firearm. The dangerous part is that sometimes the firing of the round will have enough force to work the action of the firearm, but not enough to push the bullet out of the barrel. So it may seem like a round has been fired, but really all there is, is an “audible pop”. I have personally called out a shooter that sounded like his rifle had a round stuck in the barrel, to the point of taking the whole rifle apart and looking down the barrel in order to let him continue shooting. It ended up that there wasn’t a problem to begin with, and I think my hearing protection was just on in a certain way that didn’t allow me to hear the full discharge of the shot. Now the rounds were reloaded and I know many of you will say, “Well, what do you expect!”, but bear in mind that squib loads do happen in factory ammunition as well.


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]