Gun pistol. 9 mm pistol gun and bullets strewn on the rustic oak table.

How to Clear a Jammed Pistol

Your grip will likely become less tight throughout your shooting session as you operate your handgun. As your arm tires over time, you will no longer be holding your gun as firmly as you were when you first started shooting. This causes your wrist to weaken, and the gun will move around slightly more as you shoot. This can cause the slide to refrain from cycling with the amount of force it needs to properly operate.

There are a couple steps you can take to get your gun in operating position again.


Tap on the bottom of the magazine, pushing it in on the bottom with your palm to make sure it’s securely in place. If the magazine was out of place or not completely secure, this causes the slide to fail to feed the next round into the chamber. This pressure applied to the bottom of the magazine will ensure proper placement for feeding the round.


Point the gun toward the ground for both safety and to allow gravity to assist you in the process, tipping the ejection point down.


Rack the slide to eject the misfired round by cupping your hand over the top of the slide with all four fingers and thumb on the sides of the rail. Make sure your hand is securely away from the front of the barrel and pull the slide all the way back. Release the slide so it moves forward, jolting back against its own tension. Pulling the slide back allows you to eject the round from the opening in the top of the slide, out of the chamber area. The slide racking back forward is how the gun chambers the next round out of the magazine, readying it to fire once again.


Check to make sure the gun is ready to fire and focus on your intended target. You are now ready to continue firing your pistol.

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