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Tap - Rack - Bang Drills

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by Short Cut, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Short Cut

    Short Cut PatrioticMember CLM

    Apr 28, 2002
    Above ground
    Curious if anyone else has come to this conclusion. I next to never need the TAP part because I always knock my magazines home extra solidly whether I insert them at home after cleaning or on the range. I also use holsters that protect the mag release and have yet to remove my gun at the end of the day to find the magazine not seated.

    So what about Rack - Bang, it is faster, which at that stage of a firefight seems like it would be of the utmost importance. Sure, if the mag was the problem it could get you killed, but mulling it over I go with the odds on the other side being a little better. Either way that would be a bad day.

    What say you guys?
  2. Fallout

    Fallout County Mountie

    Sep 26, 2004
    Magazine catches can and do get bumped, broken, caught on holsters etc. The tap part of the movement takes very little extra time to complete and eliminates multiple variables to clearing the malfunction.

    Several years ago several investigators and I were executing a search and arrest warrant on a murder suspect. We secured the house and took the guy into custody without incident. Im standing behind my partner and notice his mag is missing from his glock. I ask him were it is and he thought I was jacking with him. The look on his face when his finger ran over the magazine well was priceless. We went back and found it in the front seat of his car. He had bumped the release on the drive over and it slipped out. Luckily everything ended well.

    I am far from an expert and I dont play one on tv. I have seen just about every type of malfunction in my training and on the street and in my opinion the possibility of an unseated mag causing a malfunction is to great to eliminate the tap part of the drill.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013

  3. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    Even if the mag is seated, weird stuff can happen causing the cartridges to bind/stick in place (rimlock, frozen lube, etc). A little smack to the basepad only takes a millisecond to address that one probability.
  4. Mr Murphy will make his presence known. Why take a chance?
  5. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    Failing to seat a magazine is a common problem. If you are shooting very slowly on a "stand still and shoot paper" range, you may think you reload well and don't need it - then if you ever actually have to use your gun, you will have developed a habit that doesn't work for reloading fast under stress.

    Try some USPSA or IDPA competition and you will get a better idea of why you need the "tap rack bang" and why you didn't just discover that you are smarter than the experts and experienced gunfighters who came up with it. I know guys who can do it so fast you can't see their hands move - in real life, or even in competition, you will do it automatically, exactly as you ahve trained.
  6. Cwlongshot


    May 31, 2011
    Don't try to recreate the wheel, its a time tested and proven exersize to get a faulty auto back in the fight. Practice and learn, it just may save yours or someone your withs life.

    You don't really need to know how's when the why is it works!

    Just my humble opinion.

  7. Short Cut

    Short Cut PatrioticMember CLM

    Apr 28, 2002
    Above ground
    Well I was almost sure I'd get a "you're an idiot do it like it has always been done", but I'm real pleased with everyone's responses.

    I'm not trying to be smarter or come up with the "Short Cut" technique, although that does have a nice ring to it :supergrin: I guess it is in my nature to question why we do things certain ways, the business owner in me perhaps. Sometimes procedures have current solid foundations, but sometimes they're based on problems that are no longer there or weigh less heavily.

    Bren I think you touched on the best overall approach and that is keep the step, but keep practicing to make it faster/smoother. You're right too that some folks do this like snapping their fingers they're so fast. I always feel like I could be faster.

    It's pretty clear why keeping the TAP would be more essential for LE as I imagine them being a lot more physically active in their everyday pursuits or certainly more potential to be so than your average citizen. This would increase the percentage of times that an unseated mag became an issue. Then if LE is going to train that way why have another way to train non LE? Makes sense.

    I have my own range, which is great for shooting on the move, multiple targets, rapid fire etc. I've had a few sessions of professionally trained force on force and with the advent of airsoft guns have increased this type of practice at home with friends.

    Fortunately it has been rare while practicing to have real failures so in order to really practice failure drills we do the old method of loading your buddies' mags and slipping in a snap-cap here and there.

    It's just when doing these drills it's never the TAP that fixes the problem for me. Not that it couldn't be the problem, but that's what got this thought process started. Out of a thousand drills what percentage of them would require the TAP part to fix the problem in order to continue to use that step?
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  8. ^ Airsoft - at least ones that do not replicate extraction/ejection of a spent case (there are some that do) - will not re-create the malfunctions typical of a modern semi-auto.

    Like the others have said, though, that "tap" in the "immediate action drill" should not be shortcut. Things happen, and there's virtually no way we can be certain that something that would have been cured by that "tap" would or would not have been caught by us in an administrative load or may have been induced by stress (for-example, remember the recent TacTV segment with Hackathorn, Vickers, and Harrington - and how all three of them recommended down-loading the magazine by one round?).

    Another area where the "Tap" serves as reinforcement is for single-handed manipulations and stoppage clearances. Particularly when using the support/reaction-hand only, things can get pretty awkward and can lead to magazine non-seating (even for strong-side-only, when you shove that magazine into the gun while it is in your belt-holster, it's possible for your belt holster to move forward just enough to cause non-seating). Here, the "Tap" becomes invaluable.

    Over the years, we've seen various dogma being supplanted by things that make more sense - things that save time and/or effort. The "Tap/Rack/(Assess)Bang" is still there. :)


    Also, while a *firm* and certain magazine seating motion is definitely necessary, there are those in the community who frown on a too-forceful insertion.

    In-lieu of too-forceful of an insertion after a tactical or administrative load, use your support/reaction hand to pull or finger-flick the baseplate of your magazine, which will immediately reveal any insertion/latching issues.

    Similarly, if you're at a hot-range training class where you can still top-off the gun as long as you don't remove it from its holster, a quick flick with your dominant hand's fingers on the baseplate as you complete your holster-stroke can serve the same kind of double-check. This double-check is most valuable to those whose hands/finger are either not large/long enough to "C-clamp" the magazine into the gun and/or who cannot rotate their torso enough to allow a two-handed press technique to insure seating. :)
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  9. NEOH212

    NEOH212 Diesel Girl

    Mar 25, 2008
    North East Ohio
    Shoot enough, shoot fast enough, shoot hard enough, and you'll eventually need to do it.

    Or alternatively.....

    Get yourself a inexpensive 1911 and get a lot more practice more often....:whistling:

  10. Short Cut

    Short Cut PatrioticMember CLM

    Apr 28, 2002
    Above ground

    That's kind of what I'm getting at, each step in a clearance drill should be based on percentages of what typically causes stoppages. So if half the time the TAP gets the gun running you're obviously going to incorporate that. What if it is half of 1% ? Then the odds begin to dictate that a shooter would be better served by first going to the major cause of the stoppage.

    I hear you on that. I've a couple 1911s that only like particular mags and ammo so feeding them what they don't like is a quick way to find stoppages. More often though I practice with a duplicate to my carry and just use snap caps.

    That is another factor albeit smaller is that I'm not using "issued" magazines or weapons. What I shoot is well sorted out and tested, magazines, ammo, pistol are known to work reliably together.

    btw the airsoft has nothing to do with the stoppage drills I'm talking about
  11. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    I've seen far too many people drop their magazines during pistol matches. With the sole exception of certain 22 LR pistols it's been decades since I've inserted and driven a magazine home with only a single tap on the baseplate. All of my inserted magazines get a double smack on the baseplate as I push them into the pistol.

    Personally I've never needed to tap a magazine in order to clear a stoppage. Sweep the top of the slide? Yes. Rack the slide? Yes. Rip the magazine out of a gun? Yes, but no tapping. When you do everything else right, the necessity to tap the slide before continuing is virtually nonexistent.
  12. My view precisely.

    No stoppages? it just means that you haven't run your gun hard enough.

    Yes, even for a Glock. :supergrin:

    I both agree and disagree.

    Yes, you do get what you pay for, but if you put the work into it, even a "lesser" 1911 can be plenty reliable.

    In an 8-hour rigorous manipulations class where there was freezing rain and plenty of mud on the ground, a friend's little compact Citadel ran flawlessly - while a high-dollar 1911 and a Glock had some issues....

    That little Citadel? Lovingly hand-lapped, etc.

    It's about the specific gun. :)
  13. Batesmotel


    Apr 5, 2007
    Just my two bits...

    Try Tap, Rack, Point in. (not bang)

    The situation could have slightly changed in the time you did Tap, Rack. This is exaggerated if you had a type 3 malfunction which is Look, Lock, Strip, Rack, Rack, Rack, Insert, Rack, Point in.
  14. Clusterfrack


    Apr 26, 2012
    Pacific NW
    A variety of failure drills is a great idea. Mix it up! My training buddies and I f@#* with each others' gear all the time just to increase the frequency of problems. Insert a snap cap when he's not looking, etc. Of course, don't do anything dangerous.

    I don't like assuming that a stoppage is caused by any single thing. Yes, shoot enough and you'll see the most bizarre malfunctions. The weirdest have been where stuff enters the open breech of someone's gun and they don't notice. E.g. 9mm case from one shooter goes into someone else's AR. Or when my buddy was firing his bolt gun from a helo and the case ejected, turned backwards, and flew right back into the ejection port causing a major jam.

    Tap-rack vs. just tap? With the guns I shoot a lot, I can usually hear the difference between a failure to fire caused by dud round, and a failure to fire caused by an empty chamber. If I can't tell that it was the first kind, I'll tap-rack-reengage.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  15. FOFCON


    Mar 20, 2013
    Southwest VA
    Lots of good advice in the answers.
    No need to cut out a step, follow what you have been taught. TAP, RACK, and READY. Things happen, and if you leave out that one step, you will be racking and racking and racking all you want, and if the mag is not seated correctly for some reason, it will never chamber the next round that could save your life!

    Also, not sure if it was mentioned in here or not, but you should really practice Tap, Rack, and Ready. As the person who WAS a threat before you had your malfunction, may not be a threat after you go through your immediate action drill, so you may not need the Bang.
    You should never practice shooting in every situation, as every situation may not call for a shot. Practice clearing that malfunction and then back on target for followup that you may or may not need.
    If that was covered by someone else in this thread already, I apologize for being repetitive. But, I think it was worth saying.
    When i went though Infantry school way back in 1992 we learned Tap, Rack, Bang. Now, very few places call it that. it is either Tap, Rack, Ready, or Immediate Action Drill