Merda! or in English, Shit! A semi-automatic failure might be annoying down the range but in close combat it’s a life or death situation. Fortunately it’s completely avoidable. The only failure I’ve ever had have been deliberate.
The three most common failures with a semi-auto pistol are failure to feed, failure to extract, and failure to eject. The first one, failure to feed, is the most common. Basically, the bullet doesn’t travel from magazine to chamber and the slide only close partially aka “out of battery”, there are three main reason for this: riding the slide, short sliding and muzzle contact with the target. Riding the slide is simply holding on to the slide as it travels forward, so it doesn’t travel with enough velocity to properly feed the bullet into the chamber. Short sliding is not pulling the slide back far enough, which means it doesn’t have the full range of motion necessary to chamber the round, and muzzle contact with the target has the same effect. All of these are easily avoidable — DON’T FUCKING DO IT!
The other reasons for a failure to feed are a dirty chamber, which doesn’t really apply to modern semi autos, or a damaged magazine. But modern semi auto are designed to be twat proof, so if you have any sort of failure the chances are that pulling the trigger again will resolve the problem. The other two problems: failure to extract i.e. the bullet fired, but the extractor didn’t pull the fired case from the chamber and you get a “double-feed” or another round in the chamber; and failure to eject, which is similar, the fired case is caught in the chamber, which causes the slide to lock, called “stovepiping”. these failures can again be linked to a dirty chamber but in all reality you can pretty much guarantee the cause was “limp-wristing” (not holding the pistol firmly enough). Again the solution – DON’T FUCKING DO IT!
So having established that these failures are completely avoidable, why do they happen? Generally speaking, I’d say it was incompetence with the exception of riding the slide and short sliding, which can be the result of poor training. Not everyone is strong enough to pull the slide back with one hand, which is why I advocate the pull and punch method. I’ve yet to meet an able bodied adult who is not strong enough to do this, and in a real life situation when you want to shoot someone it’s all too easy to short slide which is why I advocate carrying Condition One, with the gun all ready cocked.