Tanner's Gun Reviews

   By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

What is a Squib?

A "squib" load is defined as one which has insufficient power to propel a bullet through the barrel of a gun. The squib or stuck bullet may get stuck anywhere from the chamber to the muzzle end. Squib bullets are dangerous because they can bulge the barrel or cause it to burst if not removed before another round is fired. Firing another round before the squib is removed may cause the gun to explode and/or cause injury or death to the shooter or people near by.


9mm Squib


How To Shoot Books

Parts & Magazines

Laser Bullet for Gun Training

How Do I Know If I Have A Squib?

If, after you pulled the trigger of your gun you heard a little "pop" and or saw a little smoke and you didn't feel the normal firing recoil and it just didn't seem quite normal – STOP IMMEDIATELY. IF IT GOES POP, YOU STOP! Hold the gun pointed safely down range for thirty seconds then cautiously (while keeping your finger off of the trigger of course) remove the magazine and lock the slide back. If there is a stuck casing in the chamber of the gun remove it. To check for a squib in the barrel try 1) Shine a bore light through the breach while holding a piece of paper at the muzzle end of the barrel. If you can't see any light shining on the paper then you have a squib; 2) Shove a rod through the muzzle end of the barrel to feel for an obstruction.

Causes Of Squibs

  1. Insufficient Powder Charge

  2. No Powder Charge (Primer Ignition Only)

  3. Deterioration Of The Ammo From Age Or Prolonged Exposure To Weather Or Moisture

What Is The Best Way To Remove A Squib Bullet From The Barrel?

Determine where the bullet is lodged. Insert a cleaning rod of the appropriate size into the barrel (from the breech if possible), and then mark the cleaning rod where it stops at the muzzle and/or breech end. Lay the cleaning rod along the side of the barrel to see where the stuck bullet is internally. If at all possible, work from the end of the barrel closer to the stuck bullet.

What Type Of Rod To Use When Clearing A Squib

 Wooden, brass or aluminum dowel rod, as close to bore diameter as possible. Any rod of 1/8-inch diameter or smaller is going to have poor impact strength and will flex sideways and hit the rifling. Ref: Squib Rod - 9mm, .38, .357 Cal.

What Is The Best Direction To Push The Squib To Remove It? Does It Really Matter?

If the barrel is removed push it to the closest end of the barrel. If the barrel is not removed you don't have much choice in the matter. Be Careful. If you tap a rod through the barrel of a gun from the muzzle end, be sure it doesn't poke through the gun (when the squib is suddenly released) and hit or cause damage to the ejector or other parts of the gun.

How to find squib bullets

Ever since I had my first squib I have become extra careful when shooting reloads. When shooting reloads, if I miss the target completely or don't know where my bullet went or I am suspect of the last round that I shot because of an odd noise or recoil, I immediately stop shooting. I then clear the pistol, remove the magazine and lock back the slide so the gun is in a safe condition. I run a brass rod down the bore to verify that I don't have a squib.

Indications of squibs in a pistol

You are most likely to have squibs when shooting reloads or reloaded ammunition. Most squib bullets are the result of an insufficient amount of smokeless powder in the cartridge. When fired the round doesn't have enough explosive force to project the bullet through the barrel of the gun and the bullet gets stuck somewhere within the bore. Indications that you might have a squib include:

- your pistol slide does not cycle properly or only partially comes back.
- you hear a small pop instead of the loud bang when you pull the trigger.
- you feel or see a back spray of powder when you fired your last round.
- you don't know where your bullet went when you fired your last round.
- the last round that you fired did not sound or feel right.


The following are abstracts of what other people have tried for removing squibs. It may provide some insight on what to do and what not to do for removing squibs.

  1. Revolver - tried the rapping on a cleaning rod thing and screwed up the cleaning rod

  2. Using a wooden dowel is your best bet, it will push the bullet out without scratching the rifling.

  3. Wooden, brass or aluminum dowel rod, as close to bore diameter as possible. It will come out easily with the proper dowel rod, one sharp smack should do it.

  4. Stay away from steel rods. Steel rods will damage the bore.

  5. Sometimes a shot of gun oil or powder blaster makes it easier.

  6. Typical "primer only" squib will push the bullet maybe 1/4".

  7. Keep a brass rod and a small hammer in your range bag for removing squibs

  8. Sometimes just dropping the rod down the barrel is enough--at most a few taps with the hammer.

  9. Do not ever use a wood rod or dowel to remove a squib. It will almost always splinter and wedge itself and the obstruction even tighter into the barrel.

  10. Remove the barrel and wrap it in a cloth so you can hold it firmly. Insert a brass dowel into the closest end and tap it with a small hammer until the bullet comes out.

  11. A brass rod will dislodge the bullet quicker than wood and will no gouge the barrel.

  12. Buy a brass rod that just fits into your barrel. Tap the rod forcefully by the palm of your hand first. If that doesn't work then use a hammer.

  13. Commercially available kits for removing squibs - Squib Rod Kits are available for purchase on the internet and may cost as much as $86. Don't waste your money. The kits are basically just an expensive set of brass rods. If you have a lot of squibs you are making major mistakes in your reloading process.

  14. Removing a squib by firing a blank?

  15. Using a wooden dowel to remove a squib. A wooden rod or dowel can splinter against the nose of a bullet and wedge it making it harder to remove.

  16. Squibs are not limited to hand loads. Sometimes (although rarely) you may get a squib from commercial ammo.

  17. When you remove a squib make sure the gun is unloaded first. Tap the rod with very light blows. Don't hit it with sledgehammer blows.

  18. Brass rod only! Steel can damage the barrel. Wood can splinter and really jam a bullet.

  19. Clamp the barrel in a vice between to pieces of soft wood. Use small light taps.

  20. A squib will not hurt the barrel. You could do more damage removing the squib.

  21. When you hear "pfffft", stop! The key is to not fire one behind it.

  22. Do squibs sometimes go far enough that a new round can chamber?

  23. Yes, they can and do go far enough down the barrel to chamber and fire one behind it.

  24. Heard the pop and the shot felt really strange so I stopped.

  25. Unload the handgun. A rod too small in diameter will flex and break, or wedge against the bullet, possibly scoring the rifling.

  26. For .40 caliber or larger a 3/8inch diameter rod works nicely

  27. For .38/.357/9mm us a 1/4inch diameter rod.

  28. For a better fit turn a rod on the lathe or buy a already turned one from Brownells.

  29. It is also helpful to use some penetrating oil on the bore to decrease friction between the bore and jacketed bullets.

  30. A squib round is one that has a weak powder charge. The bullet could easily get stuck in the barrel. If this happens, the report will be quiet and the recoil will feel funny. You should immediately unload the gun and inspect the barrel and firing chamber(s) for a stuck bullet. You may want to have a gunsmith examine the gun before you begin firing again.

  31. This is a good video that will give you a good perspective about squibs.
    "The Squib" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA1ik4cFoL8

My First Bullet Squib

Interesting day at the range. I had my first squib. The bad thing is that I did not know I had a squib. No damage to gun. Did not get hurt or anything. Did not fire the next round with the squib inside.

During my testing of 4.6 gr. of AutoComp with a COAL of 1.131" in the above table I encountered my first squib. The bad thing about it was that I did not know that I had a squib.

I was firing my Glock 19 normally and when I pulled the trigger there was just a "click" but no bang. I pulled the slide back and ejected the casing but I encountered a jam as the next round tried to feed. The next round would not load into the chamber. I locked the slide back, removed the magazine and examined the round that would not feed. The round looked fine but I set it on the firing table. I reinserted the magazine and racked the slide to encounter another feed jam. I repeated this process a few more times then I inserted the suspect rounds into my Glock 26 and they fired fine. I then took some rounds from the magazine of the Glock 26 and loaded them into the magazine of the Glock 19. Still more feed jams. This was getting confusing. I did not see any obvious problems with the Glock 19 so I called the rangemaster over and showed him my problem and asked if a weak magazine spring could cause this to happen. He said it was possible and that a weak spring sometimes tries to double feed the rounds into the chamber, then he noticed a blockage in the chamber. He couldn't see what it was but he couldn't see daylight through the barrel. He then took the gun to the office where the other rangemaster proceeded to remove the obstruction. While holding the gun with the slide locked back, he inserted what looked like a cleaning rod into the muzzle end of the barrel. He then proceeded to tap on the end of the rod with a hammer. One of two light taps was all that it took to dislodge a bullet from the chamber.

The bullet must have gotten stuck right at the end or mouth of the chamber with very little force behind it because it was still in pristine condition. There were no marks or indentations on the surface of the bullet and only a small pressure deformation at the back of the bullet where there was no plating. It looked like a new bullet. This bullet had very little force behind it. It is the amount of force that one would think would be from the primer firing only, or very little powder.

I don't think this is the case because for every round that I reload, I visually check the round twice before placing the bullet on the casing. I give myself two verbal commands during the loading process. I say "half full" then I look inside the casing to see if the powder fills approximately half the case (the proper charge amount). Then I reach for the bullet and look again saying "verify" to verify the powder level before placing the bullet on the casing readying it for bullet seating. During the final inspection I weigh each and every round as an addition safety step to ensure correct powder charge.

This was one of those rounds that I reduced the COAL from 1.15 in. to 1.13 in., but I don't see how that could have caused the squib.

Thinking back I do remember one round that I fired. It did go bang but had a little particulate blowback in my face and visual powder spray from the side? of the gun. I remember feeling some specs of powder or something on my cheek and I think I remember seeing some black stuff coming from the gun. By looking at the target I could not tell if a bullet hit the target because sometimes I miss and at times with so many holes in the target I cannot tell which hole is the one I just shot. Since I often get some "blowback" shooting my .22 caliber revolver I thought this was the case and continued to shoot.

LESSONS LEARNED: Change target more frequently to positively identify each and every round placement. Stop and Check when anything is out of the ordinary (especially when testing new powder loads).

Examination of My Squib Bullet

9mm Squib Bullet On Right 9mm Squib Bullet On Right

The only visual difference between the squib bullet and the new bullet is that on the bottom of the squib you can see a small deformation of the lead, possibly caused by the pressure of the primer or weak powder charge detonation. Examination of twenty new bullets showed no similar deformations.

Measurements: The pictures show the squib bullet on the right and a new bullet on the left. The measured dimensions of the two bullets are as follows.

- New Bullet Dia. = .3550" - .3555"
- Squib Dia. = .3545" -.3560"
- New Bullet Height = .5740" - .5765"
- Squib Height = .5740

Examination of the Squib Bullet Case

Unfortunately, the squib bullet casing got lost and/or mixed up with other cases laying on the range floor. Later, I did collect all of the brass laying around and after a quick inspection found that none of them had any split cases or gross deformities. I assume that one of those cases was the case that held the squib bullet. If that is true then the squib was not the result of a fractured or split case.

How The Bullet Squib Happened

My Reasoning and Conclusion of How the Squib Happened.

  1. The condition of the Glock 19 was fine.

  2. The casing was fine.

  3. The bullet showed evidence of very little deformation indicating very weak pressures.

  4. The bullet was "stuck" at the chamber mouth and easy to dislodge.

  5. I knew that the powder charge of AutoComp was "weak" from previous testing (fired fine but failed to cycle the slide), that is why I shortened the COAL from 1.15" to 1.13" (to try to increase the pressure a little to cycle the slide properly). Could I have messed something up during the process of shortening the COAL that lead to the squib?
    I don't think that I had a primer only ignition (no powder in case) because of all the safety steps that I take during loading operations (I could be wrong though I don't think so).

  6. The bang that I heard, the spray back on my cheek and the quick image flash of black stuff coming from my gun leads me to believe that the primer ignited and perhaps I had a partial or incomplete burn on the powder due to a light powder charge. The bullet was pushed to the end or mouth of the chamber where it got stuck and the remaining un-burnt powder was spewed out of the chamber through the breech of the gun (because it could not travel down the barrel?).

Another Squib In A 9MM Pistol

A few weeks ago at the range a friend was shooting reloads that a friend of his had made. The reloads were 9mm but instead of the regular 115 grain fmj bullets they were loaded with 147? grain fmj bullets. Well he got a squib, but fortunately the bullet was stuck near the chamber and prevented another round from being loaded. He removed it easily with an aluminum rod and hammer. He then told me about another squib he had.

He was again shooting another persons reloads. I don't know all the details but this time he was able to fire a second round with a squib in the barrel. He told me that he didn't realize that he had a squib and when he fired the second round (while the squib was in the barrel) the shot sounded different and he knew something wasn't right. Fortunately for him his gun did not blow up but the barrel bulged and locked up the gun and slide. He later took it to a local gunsmith who replaced the barrel for him. The repair cost him around $180 and a good lesson on how dangerous squibs can be. Good thing he wasn't injured. He said he would bring in the bulged barrel and show me. If he does I will take some pictures and post them here.


Squib Load Feedback Messages


Just Had Our First Squib

April 4, 2012
just had our first squib. 4 rounds behind the 1st squib. in a Ruger 357 mag gp100. good 24 year old gun. Everything i just read is what happened to me and my brother. this is good info to know.


40 Caliber Squibs From Oil Contamination?

April 4, 2012
Tanner, I hope I have a solution. I have loaded around 1000 rounds (200 at a time) of .40 cal 165 GR jacketed flat nose (brand unknown - used pulls) once fired brass (Federal) tumbled & cleaned primer pockets scraped out, primer holes cleared, Winchester mag. primers, with 5.4 grains of Universal powder. (Med. load) each round checked with a case gauge for brass length & final over all length. I am shooting a Glock 23 & would take 200 to the range. 100 fired OK - 1 squib with the base of the bullet about 1/2" past the chamber. Black soot all over the brass & rear of bullet & chamber. just went "PFFF" & black smoke out of ejection port. Cleared squib & fired the other 100 rounds fine. This really bothered me, I did it about 5 times & I thought crap! What the ???? is wrong. I am loading with a Lee 1000 Pro Progressive press. I am hand loading primers because I like the feel better. BUT about every 100 rounds I decided that I needed to lube the action rod & ram with a little spray oil lube.Do you think I might be contaminating the cases & powder that were still in the shell plate? I will let you know tomorrow, as I have reloaded another 200 round to go to range tomorrow, keeping all the brass, bullets, powder, & primers away while lubing. Thanx for any input anyone may have!

Response - Chuckelz,

I don't reload .40 caliber, but the first thing that comes to mind is "Why are you using magnum primers?"

Aren't you suppose to use standard small pistol primers for reloading .40 cal.? I wonder if that could be the source of your problem.

Here are a few links that I found about .40 caliber and magnum primers.



When you say you did it about five times, do you mean that you had five squibs that went "PFFF"?

I wouldn't think that you are contaminating the cases and powder unless you know that you are. Any chance that you are getting the spray on the primers? Primers and oil don’t mix and can be a problem. Also lubricating every 100 rounds sounds like a lot of lubrication. I lube mine press only a couple times per year (or unless I think it needs it) and I apply the oil with a wetted q-tip so I can control where the oil goes.

It also seems like you are doing a lot of extra work for nothing. If .40 cal is anything like 9mm Luger (which I would think it is) you shouldn't need to clean the primer pocket, primer hole or check the brass length. You also shouldn't need to check every round for OAL. I just check the first two rounds at the start of each reloading session and that's it.

How do you hand load your primers?

Also, are you aware about the warning with 40 S&W reloads and Glock pistols? I was just looking at my Lee reloading manual and saw the following note on the .40 S&W caliber page. I don't know anything about it though but you might want to do an internet search for it.

"Do not use reloads in Glock or similar guns with chambers that do not fully support the cartridge due to the intrusion of the feed ramp."

The note does not occur on the 9mm Luger page.

Let me know how it goes. If you still get squibs tomorrow, you might want to try regular small pistol primers.


Reply - Tanner,

Thanx for the quick reply - I will answer all questions below.

"Aren't you suppose to use standard small pistol primers for reloading .40 cal.?"

I got these because that was all they had & the store I got them from said they should work (I know, maybe newby mistake). I will check out your links for that issue.

"When you say you did it about five times, do you mean that you had five squibs that went "PFFF"?"

I took 200 rounds, 5 different times to the range & had 1 squib with each visit. Yes all with a "PFFF"

"Any chance that you are getting the spray on the primers?"

Yes, it's possible, with a progressive press you have 1 primered case - 1 powdered case & 1 crimped W\ bullet
on the shell holder at all times!

Thanx for the tip on OAL. & shell prep!

"How do you hand load your primers?" - With a hammer & a punch! LOL JK

I use the new Lee Ergo hand primer - It seems to work great!

I am aware of the warning about using reloads in this gun. I have a lot of friends that do this all the time for target rounds as long as they don't over do the charge or pressure. I think I will switch to 9MM stuff for target & keep my .40 cal stuff with factory ammo for personal protection. Glock are easy to change that way.

Thanx so much for your feedback & will let you know my results after tomorrow!



Squibs From Insufficient Crimps

March 22, 2012
You can also get a squib from insufficient crimp when using slower burning powders.


Squibs From Old Gun Powder

January 8, 2012
Is it safe to assume that old or weak powder would consistently produce "squibs" as opposed to one out of say 500 rounds? Old powder is old powder? Thanks for the help. Gary

Response - Gary,
I have never used old or weak powder so I could not tell you. I only use powder that I am sure of. How old is old? I imagine it would depend also on how if was stored too or if it was previously opened or not.

Personally, if I was suspect about the powder that I was going to use for reloading I would discard it, but if you chose to use it I would test it first and fire (very slowly) only at targets that I could see the bullet holes so I know if there is a squib or not.

When you say one squib out of 500 rounds, I assume that is not an average for the reloads that you are shooting. I have fired over 18,000 9mm reloads with only one squib (no powder). My friend has shot roughly about the same amount of his reloads and he too had only one squib (again no powder).

Something is wrong if you are getting one squib out of 500 rounds.


Follow-Up Email
Tanner, 1 out of 500 with this powder Green Dot and it's most likely over 10 years old. Stored in my garage and I forgot I had it. 20+years reloading with "no" squibs. But it only takes 1 to make you nervous. Don't think it was a powder less case, but I can't be sure. The bullet barely cleared the case and cylinder and it was a little tight to remove. What confuses me is why could you shoot 500 rounds with this powder trouble free and then have a problem. I would think "bad" powder would be bad throughout.
Thanks, Gary


I Had My First Squib

January 27, 2012
I had my first squib after 20 years of reloading and it totally confuses me. It appears to be a primer only. However I double check my powdered cases prior to seating the bullet. (I have my doubts that there wasn't any powder in the case.) The bullet was pushed so little into the barrel the cylinder would not chamber the next round. The primer was pushed back a little also. The powder is old, but 500 rounds were fired using the same powder without a problem? Recoil was typical and slight sound difference.
Any thoughts?

Response - Gary,

Is this the same squib that you wrote in about before? Same website, different page.

When I had my squib (very similar to yours) I thought I remembered some particulate blowback in my face and seeing or having an impression of a little bit of “stuff” coming out of the gun when I fired. Examination of the bullet and location of the squib indicated that I had a primer only ignition, presumably with no powder in the case, but I am only half convinced. I wonder if there could have been an incomplete burn of the powder or no burn at all (even if the primer did go off). It still bugs me today on not knowing what the cause was.

Do you remember any blowback or residue when you shot? Was there any evidence of un-burnt powder in the case?

You said that recoil was typical indicating that the powder was ignited, unless it was just “anticipated recoil” that you remember.

The primer being pushed back a bit is a little confusing. That seems to indicate a lot of pressure.

On one hand you have evidence of lots of force (the pushed back primer, the recoil, the bang), on the other hand evidence of little force (location of the squib).

This probably one of those mysteries that will go unsolved (unless it happens again with your old powder). I would be curious to know the answer If you ever solve it.


You might want to look at some of these. Maybe they will give you some ideas.

Slow burning powder can cause incomplete combustion - http://rugerforum.net/reloading/30152-lots-unburned-powder-2400-a.html
Too much unburned powder... - http://www.xdtalk.com/forums/ammo-can/116991-too-much-unburned-powder.html
Unburned powder in case and barrel, inconsistent burn? - http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-569754.html


Reloading & Squibs

August 9, 2011
I have a few questions I hope you can help me with. I have been reloading for about a year and a half and while I am very careful I occasionally fire a round the does not clear the barrel, presumably because there was no powder in the charge. So far I have been lucky and have felt this and immediately stopped shooting and cleared the barrel. My worry is what would happen if I was shooting doubles and actually fired a second shot with a bullet lodged in the chamber. My gut feel is it would likely explode injuring or killing me. With that as a possibility I wonder if it is really worth it to reload. Is there a way of determining if a round has powder in it after it is loaded?

Response - Sean,

For me, getting a squib (bullet stuck in the barrel) then firing a second round is my biggest concern with reloading. I did a bunch of research on it and asked a lot of questions about it.

Everything that I know about squibs can be found on this page.

When I first started reloading I also asked the question “Is there a way of determining if a round has powder in it after it is loaded?”. I thought that there must be a way to make the reloading process fool proof and to ensure each reloaded round had a sufficient powder charge to it.

I experimented with weighing the bullets, casings and primers before hand to get an average combined weight, then I weighed each completed round that I reloaded. I was hoping that the weight difference would be equal to the powder weight that I added. Unfortunately, each bullet, casing and primer did not weigh the same and the variances were too great to even be an indicator that the reloaded round had powder in it. To my knowledge there is no way of knowing if a round has powder in it after it has been loaded. I wish there was.

Hope the information helps.

Also, if it’s not too much trouble, I would be curious to know the following.
What type of gun were you shooting.
How many squibs did you have.
What caliber were you reloading?
What reloading press did you use?


Best regards,



Thanks Tanner. I have had three of them. One in a 357 with a commercial round. the second was a 9 mm round I had reloaded. I hear the primer go off or rather felt it but it was not a fill shot so I disassembled the gun and checked the barrel to discover the stuck bullet. The third was a 45 in my son's gun. He found it because the next bullet would not chamber properly. I use a 4 hole lee turret press with the lee precision powder measure but I don't remember if these rounds were before or after I started using the precision powder measure.

I also had a friend have a 380 commercial round get stuck.
Take care,


nO pOWDER iN cASE Squib

Tanner, This is great documentation! I am glad that you found the squib before an accident occurred although the squib appears to have occurred in such a manner that it prevent the next round from loading. Based on the description, I would say there was no powder in the case and the primer just popped the bullet out. Was there evidence of burnt powder in or on the case? I believe even a small amount of powder (~10% of the required load) would drive the bullet out of breach area and further down the barrel.


I Just Had My Own First Squib

Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2011

I came across your page looking for general information on squibs as I just had my own first, though in my case there was no powder in the case (I'm much more careful with my reloads now) Reading your experience, I was left wondering if you didn't have enough crimp/tension and the bullet separated from the case before all the powder burned and the pressure was still low letting the rest vent out? Not sure if this is a possible scenario...

Response - Kevin,

That would provide an explanation for the little bit of blowback that I think I remember, but I doubt that it was the cause of my squib.

When I reload 9 mm Luger rounds I don't crimp any of the casings I just “flatten” the casing mouth against the bullet.

You give me a good idea though. As a test, I think I will reload a couple of 9 mm Luger rounds without any crimp at all and shoot them at the range this Thursday (slowly and carefully).

I will never know what the cause of my squib was. Examination of the bullet indicates that I had a no powder in the case scenario (like you) but that sort of contradicts what I think I remember happening (the blowback).

Since then, I have not experimented with any new powders or recipes and have not had any more squibs or reload failures (other than a few primer failures) in over 10,000 reloads.

I would be curious to know the details of your “no powder” squib.

If you don’t mind could you tell me.
- what type of gun and caliber
-where in the barrel the bullet got stuck
-how you recognized that you had a squib
-did your squib bullet did it have any pressure deformation at the bottom of the bullet like mine did?

Best regards,


Squib In Barrel

Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2011

Hi Tanner,
I've read on some boards that some people don't crimp, but only flatten out the belling, as you do. Supposedly the case tension is enough. I have observed significant case tension during my own reloading. The bullet is actually bigger than the case due to the die that does the resizing. It re-sizes it to a smaller diameter than spec. I called Dillons about it and they said it was on purpose. I don't know if this is true of all dies, so not crimping may or may not be a useful test. I crimp anyway because the reloading manual calls for it - about 3 thousandths, though recently I've backed it off to almost no crimp since I read that too much crimp might cause "key-holing" (among other reasons), and some rounds in my last batch were key-holing a bit.

My squib occurred in my Dan Wesson Valor 1911 chambered in .45 ACP. I was using Berry's 230 grain plated bullets, Winchester primer, and Unique powder. The bullet got stuck in the throat. When I fired there was a small "pop" and the slide didn't cycle. I checked the chamber and the case was just sitting in there so i let it fall out and tried to chamber a round and it wouldn't. I remembered reading you should always check the barrel for obstructions when a gun malfunctions so I did, and I could clearly see the bullet in the throat. I removed the barrel and tried using two stacked 223 brass cases to try and poke it out figuring they wouldn't scratch it. It was stuck in there pretty good though, and I didn't want to use too much force, so I just handed it to the smith at the range. He tapped it out with oil and a brass dowel. There was no deformation of the bullet. I noticed from the pictures on yours, though, that the bottom does not look jacketed. I use Berry's plated bullets. I've read its (Berry's specifically) not quite as thick as jacketed, but almost. The plating does cover the bottom of the bullet and might provide enough extra hardness to prevent an indent like yours.

Good thing it was stuck in the throat. If it was further up and a round had chambered, I might not have looked and it could have been a very costly lesson. The thought gave me a good scare. Now I carefully check the powder load in every bullet and pay even closer attention to each round I fire off.

Response - Kevin,

Thanks for getting back to me.

If you have to have a squib, having one that won’t let you chamber the next round is the way to go. It’s a good “Lesson Learned” that stays with you for a long time.

It is surprising how much effort it takes to get the squib out of the barrel. It makes me think of just how much force it takes to push a bullet through the rifling and all the way out of the barrel to go down range to the target each time you pull the trigger.

I wonder what would really have happened if you were able to chamber and fire the next round. Would the new bullet push the squib out of the barrel with no harm to the gun? Would the barrel expand and deform? Would the gun “explode” with no injury? Would the gun explode with injury? I wish there was more information on this subject or a controlled study done of squibs in handguns with pictures showing what happens to a variety of guns with squibs at different locations within the barrel.

According to the range master at my shooting range, he seemed to think that if I fired my Glock 19 with a squib in the barrel, it would probably not be catastrophic or cause great injury. But I don’t know. I think I’ll still play it extra safe.
Best regards,


Squib In Barrel

Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2011

Hey Tanner,

I hear you on the lesson learned. I've also thought on how much force it takes to push a bullet through the rifling. I was reading once on counter-boring (I had just bought a Mosin Nagant and wanted to know if it had been counter-bored) and one post said to take the bullet and insert the tip and the crown of the barrel. If it fit in, it was likely counter-bored, if it didn't, then probably not. When I tried it I was shocked at how much bigger the bullet was than the crown. I never knew when you fired a round it was basically being severely squished down and then run down the rifling. Plugging one end up that up reminds me of a pipe bomb.

Lots of places I read about this on, and the smiths I've talked to say that firing a round when you have a squib will at best "bulge" the barrel, ruining it (somebody suggested it in a forum as a way to clear it and got jumped all over). If your less lucky the barrel can supposedly split, and even worse, given sufficient pressure, act like a bomb and blow the gun apart. Whether or not anyone is hurt probably depends on which way the pieces fly. I'm sure a lot has to do with the guns design too. For example, one of my guns, a Glock 22 is designed to take any kind of overpressure from a blockage or double load and blow it out the bottom of the magwell (I just learned that recently and though it was pretty cool). It'll still mess up the gun, but its far less likely to result in harm to the user. I think your right - best to play it safe in all things when it comes to guns. There really isn't much, if any room for error.

Response - Kevin,

That’s pretty interesting and good information. The more that I hear about squibs “not blowing your hand off” the better I like it.

About a year ago I was talking about squibs with a friend and we were wondering why gun manufacturers didn’t build in a “relief device” in over pressure situations which would blow out the magazine and discharge the pressure through the magazine well (as you indicated). It sounded like a good idea.

Also, a while ago I took some pictures of a bullet not fitting into the muzzle of my Glock 19.

I was also surprised at how much larger the bullet was compared to the rifling.


9MM Squib & Heavy Recoil

Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My S&W police issue hand gun either very heavenly recoiled or blue back 3weeks ago and my upper chest has been feeling like it was punched. Can you please explain to me what might of happend I have fired bigger guns than this 9mm without troublthanj you Don. ps.I will get the gun checked out by my local gun shop before I fire it again.

Response -Don

Smart move. Having your gun checked out at the gun shop is the best thing you can do.

Some Questions:
1. What type of ammo were you using? Reloads? Factory? +P Loads?
2. Did this happen on your first shot or after several shots.
3. Were you holding the gun close-in to your chest or at arms length? If you held it close to your chest perhaps the slide hit your chest or you
weren't holding the gun firm enough. (This happened to me once and my right chest was sore for several minutes. I was shooting one handed, holding the gun close into my chest area. I held it firmer and a little farther out after that.)
4. Did you shoot or examine the gun afterwards? I assume there were no barrel obstructions.
My guess is #3, from the info that you provided.
Best regards,

Second Shot Pushes Out Squib From Barrel?

Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:34 AM

Tanner, thank you for your thoughtful response my ammunition was new PMC luger suitable for my 5906 parabellem.
I held the gun straight out in front with. Firm two handed grip because this gun is so heavy I have fired it with ought any Problem in the past the pressure I felt in my chest came from either air blast or massive recoil itwaz the second shot that I had the problem the first shot dident even hit the target which never ever happens for me at close dance ( 10 ft) the. When I whent to fire again the gun kept on ejecting un spent amo out of the place the spent brass usually flys out of I think I played with the slide or cocked the hammer at this point and then on the second shot I hit the target and got this ripping feeling in my chest. I will get training in the proper use of this gun....... Now that I have
felt the power of a 9mm I have a healthy respect. I'm scared of it!!!

Thank you for your help it is very much appreciated. I bought this gun used at Local gun store 9 years ago after some burglar arise in the area and only recently fired it.

Response - Don,

I can see why you were researching squibs and why you are now a little afraid of your gun. I would be too. After your explanation, I wouldn't be surprised if you had a squib. Firing a shot at close range and not having it hit the target is a pretty good indication of one (depending on how good a shot you are).

I guess that after the second shot you were too shook up to notice if you made two bullet holes in the target instead of one when you fired (the second one pushing the first one out of the barrel).

If you get a change and if you remember, I would be curious to know what the gun smith's examination reveals about your gun.

Best regards,



9MM Gun Squib

Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:34 AM

Thank you. Will let you know Don


It Was A Squib

Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:34 AM

Hi Tanner. Well it turns out it was indeed a squib
Regards Donald




Squib Research and Research Links

Seating the bullet deeper in the case decreases the volume inside the case. The decrease in volume helps get the small charge burning, as the pressure and therefore temperature builds more quickly. The bullets getting stuck in the barrel probably happen due to incomplete powder burn. http://www.huntingnet.com/forum/reloading/233579-44-mag-trailboss-240-lswc-cba-seat-deapth.html

Would it ever be advisable to use less powder than the recommended starting load in order to further avoid possible over pressuring? Or could that also be dangerous as the under-pressure condition could result in incomplete powder burn, etc.?

I would NOT. Starting loads in semi autos often won't give reliable feeding. Going lower only makes this worse. I NEVER shoot low recoiling "mousefart" loads. It is diff. for a newb shooter to realize he has had a squib load if there is no recoil. Use starting data & workup in small batches in 0.1gr increments until you get accuracy & reliable feeding w/ complete powder burn (too low in pressure loads of med. powder will often leave unburned powder behind)You want low recoil, shoot a 22lr. http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1129878

You might want to try increasing your load slowly looking for signs of pressure, etc. When I hear the powder is not burning completely it makes me think the charge is to light. http://forum.m1911.org/archive/index.php/t-4997.html


The above information was developed with regards to squibs in pistols and may or may not be pertinent to squibs in long guns or revolvers.


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MIKE COVIELLO is a former aerospace engineer, now Web Designer/SEO Consultant. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammunition.