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Reliably Unreliable Guns

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"Be careful. The safety's off, so it could go off for, like, no reason."

Evidently, Hollywood doesn't trust the "big brands" when it comes to guns, as there are two things you can usually expect to see with firearms depicted in fiction:

1: Any jarring or dropping of a cocked, chambered gun will discharge it. Bonus point if the bullet hits a Mauve Shirt or other expendable mook.

It doesn't matter if it's a cheap Saturday Night Special or a professional quality, $1200 SIG-Sauer, count on this one. Never mind that practically all weapons designed after 1968 include a special mechanism to stop the hammer from falling unless the trigger is properly pulled, and that gunmakers had been adding them for a long time before that. If you bump it, it will go off. That said, professionals who use weapons say there are only two classes of weapon users: those who have had a weapon accidentally discharge, and those who eventually will have a weapon accidentally discharge; this is why basic Gun Safety says to treat any loaded firearm as if this actually is true, just in case you're dealing with a weapon that's damaged or just poorly-designed enough that it is.

2: Jammed equals broken every time.

It's well-known that even the best guns still jam every now and then after repeated firing. Usual causes include a round failing to seat properly into the breech, a spent casing getting caught upon ejection (a condition known as "stovepiping"), poor-quality ammunition (insufficient pressure to cycle the weapon) or poor handling while shooting (not enough energy from the firing is absorbed by the hands/arms to let the slide or bolt move far back enough to cycle, known as "limp wristing"). These errors take only a second or two to correct in real life, so why is it that when a firearm jams in a film or television show, it's suddenly rendered completely useless? Aside from its use as a convenient way to disarm a character (since everyone from fresh-faced civilians who've never even seen a real gun before and two-bit thugs obsessed with looking dangerous at the expense of actually being dangerous, to life-long hunters and trained soldiers who by all accounts should know better, will invariably discard the jammed weapon), no one knows. All we do know that a gun will never run out of ammo unless something takes it out of commission.

For that matter, Hollywood treats a misfire as being the same as a jam as well. While very rare for modern ammunition made by reliable manufacturers, to the tune of about one-in-a-million or less, ammunition primers occasionally do not work as intended. If a round of ammo fails to fire, nobody in fiction simply pulls the trigger a second time if it's a revolver, or in the case of semiautomatics, manually works the action to clear the dud so they can keep shooting.note  Then again, this fits in with the typical Hollywood approach to plans in general.

To a very limited extent, this can be Truth in Television, as it's possible to jam a weapon so severely that serious work is needed to get it back in order,note  and every now and then you will hear about gunmakers issuing safety recalls on guns that aren't drop-safe. But that does sort of prove the point about Hollywood's approach: the gun is being recalled because discharging when it's dropped is not considered normal operation in Real Life. Note too that at least in the US all such recalls are voluntary; firearm manufacturers are exempt from the Consumer Product Safety Act.note 

If the person is really Too Dumb to Live, they may look into the barrel to see why it isn't working. (If you have to be told why this is a bad idea, you should never touch a gun.)

Since this one's so common, it'd be easier to just list especially egregious examples and subversions. Also see Rare Guns (a lot of which are rare because the designers couldn't overcome reliability issues with the time and money they had) and Convenient Misfire. See Reckless Gun Usage, Juggling Loaded Guns and I Just Shot Marvin in the Face for when danger is caused by user carelessness or stupidity.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Averted in Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid. In "Her Problem," Yu Lan's silenced pistol jams when she tries to shoot Kaname. She just clears the jam and quickly resumes firing.
  • One of Havoc's two guns stovepipes in chapter 37 of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, thus allowing Riza to jump into action. He is not shown throwing away the jammed gun, but we can assume he did, since he only carries one afterwards.
    • In Brotherhood, a spent round gets stuck in Riza's pistol when she is fighting the leftover Fuhrer candidates, thus enabling her enemies to capture her (in the manga, she merely runs out of ammo). It actually made sense in this case, because the fight was at such close range that she didn't have time to clear the jam before she had a sword at her throat.
  • Averted in Gunslinger Girl — During the first encounter between Hillshire and Franca, Franca tricks Hillshire into misfiring his pistol. It instead merely caused a jam. Hillshire simply fixes the jam and starts firing at Franca.
    • There is also a scene where Henrietta is undergoing pistol training. Her gun misfires, and she looks down the barrel to see the problem. Raballo, the handler for another Fratello, promptly grabs the gun out of her hand and yells at her handler Giuseppe for not training her properly.
  • Another jamming aversion in an early episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers, where after Teana's old magic-firing pistol jams at a critical moment during training, she just fixes the problem in a few seconds and goes back to shooting.
  • Justified in Lupin III: Operation: Return the Treasure. Jigen shoots his opponent to deliberately cause a jam, then kills him before he has the chance to clear the jam.
  • Type 1 is played straight in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Cagalli throws a pistol in frustration, causing it to discharge. Athrun very nearly gets hit by the stray round and immediately chastises her for being stupid enough to throw a loaded and cocked pistol.
  • Justified in Maiden Rose when Klaus' gun happens to jam in the middle of a Mexican Standoff (which is just bad timing) and when he gets out of that he can't fix it anyway because his one arm is badly wounded and the morphine has finally worn off. His teammate promptly fixes the issue for him.
  • Averted in the first season finale of Aldnoah.Zero. Slaine fires off about 10 rounds from his pistol shooting up Saazbaum after he headshots Asseylum before a stovepipe occurs. However, he pulls the slide back and clears the malfunction, then uses the same gun to shoot Inaho in the face.
  • Inevitable in Upotte!!, given that two of the four principle characters are the personifications of weapons that are infamous for being this in reality. Elle (the L85A1) in particular has some part of her weapon fall off or break at least once or twice an episode, nearly every time she tries to pull the trigger, but Sixteen (the M16A4) also gets hit with an extreme case of this during the jungle war-games arc, after eating a too-spicy chicken nugget before one round of the games (which translates to her weapon as running ammo that's too dirty through it). She ends up experiencing a failure to feed properly after every single shot, to the point that she only wins by adopting a ridiculous shooting method of holding the grip in her off-hand and fanning the forward assist with each individual finger of her other hand after every shot.

    Comic Books 
  • The Boys has the M20 assault rifle, an Expy of the M16 (it's stated in-story that the M16 was rushed into service pretty much just to get this thing out of the inventory). How bad was it? So bad that it helped create the story's parallel reality; the gun was so poorly-designed that it turned the Battle of Ia Drang from a slightly-American-leaning stalemate to a Curb-Stomp Battle that left every single American soldier dead (when they were found, all the Americans had been decapitated and the heads stuck on the worthless rifles). A later issue claimed that the magazine was the biggest problem, being made of an extremely light and fragile material (described as 'aluminum foil' by a bitter soldier) that resulted in the feed buckling altogether after only a few shots. It's stated that the only reason the rifle entered service was because Vought-American, its designers, thought that the gun would see little use in peacetime and they had bribed politicians into ignoring reports about how poorly it performed.

    Fan Works 
  • In the segment of the Mass Effect fic The Translation in Blood set during the First Contact War, a turian scout (the future Councilor Sparatus) is able to capture then-Lieutenant Hannah Shepard (Spacer Shepard's mother) because her rifle got caught on something when she was fleeing and went off, wounding her in the arm.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Robin Hood there's a Running Gag where Trigger's crossbow Old Betsy goes off should Trigger so much as bump it. This happens regardless of whether the "safety" on the crossbow is set, and maybe even happens more often if the safety is on.
    Sheriff: There's something funny going on around here. Come on, you cover me. [they walk several steps with the Sheriff in front of Trigger, then stop] Wait a minute. Uh... is the safety still on Old Betsy?
    Trigger: You bet it is, Sheriff. [pats the crossbow affectionately]
    Sheriff: That's what I'm afraid of. You go first.

     Films — Live-Action  
  • From True Lies comes this epic example: Helen attempts to use a MAC-10 machine pistol and promptly loses control of it and drops it down a flight of stairs, where it continues firing all by itself as it tumbles down, taking out nearly every mook in the terrorist camp. To put just how unreliable this is into perspective, the film's armorer used a plastic zip-tie to strap down the trigger for these scenes. This scene took several takes, as the time it would take to strap down the trigger and drop the weapon is almost as short as the time taken for the M-10 to empty its 30-round magazine: it fires more than 20 rounds per second.
  • In Schindler's List, Göth is about to execute a worker, as he has done several times before already, but his Luger jams. As his lieutenant tries unsuccessfully to clear the jam, Göth takes out another pistol (a CZ 27) and tries to shoot him again... but the backup pistol also jams. Göth, after multiple attempts to shoot are foiled in this manner, eventually pistol whips the worker and then leaves in a huff. Like much of the film, this was based off of a specific real-life incident.
  • In Help!, the idiot "scientist" and his assistant have a recurring problem: none of their equipment works when it needs to, leading the assistant to invariably blame whatever country the object in question came from. As a result, this trope pops up twice: once with a "cheap" English pistol, leading them to bemoan their lack of a Luger, and once with their time-slowing ray, leading them to curse "American rig."
  • In Airheads a character drops an MP5K, causing it to spin around on the floor and fire its entire magazine, all by itself. The entire MP5 line is widely regarded as among the world's finest sub-machine guns, in use by numerous special forces, and they typically cost in the low five-digits.
  • In the cult flick The Boondock Saints, Rocco emphasizes a point by slamming his hands down on a table, causing the Beretta 92 pistol sitting on the table — which, mind you, is standard issue for U.S. soldiers (although the military version (M9) is not 100% the same) and costs about $700 — to fire, killing the poor pussycat that was laying next to it.
    • The sequel averts this, however, when the brothers drop their Desert Eagles when surrounded by police and SWAT after the last shoot-out.
  • One of the Feast movies has an example so outrageously absurd that it almost has to be a parody of this trope. A gun discharges on its own and blows off some guy's face, but the gun is a single action revolver — with the hammer down. For those not in the know, even pulling the trigger on one in that state does nothing; a single-action revolver is impossible to fire unless the hammer is cocked back first.
  • Back to the Future:
    • Marty is saved repeatedly from being shot by Libyans because their rifle jams. They are shooting an AK-47, which are famed for their reliability even under the harshest conditions. However, we do see them simply trying to clear the jam rather than abandoning the gun immediately.
    • And then Doc's own gun fails to fire, too. The gun — a Single Action Army revolver — uses one of the simplest repeating actions in existence, so it could be either that the round was a dud, or Doc never loaded it in the first place.
  • Seen in Hot Fuzz, where one of the heroes intentionally throws his shotgun at the cobblestone street while surrendering, causing it to go off and hit a bad guy.
    • Surprisingly semi-accurate; the shotgun they drop is a model that isn't listed as drop-safe in real life.
  • In The Untouchables, one gangster's Thompson jams during a fight. This was a problem real Tommy guns were frequently subject to, which is one of the many reasons it was never as popular as gangland movies would have you believe. To the gangster's credit he tries repeatedly to clear the jam, but it gives the mousy accountant among the Untouchables time to get close enough to KO him with the butt of his shotgun.
  • In Get Shorty, Ronnie Wingate comes across Ray Barboni beating up movie producer Harry Zimm, who owes Ronnie (and his partner) money. Ronnie, who is experienced more with threatening violence than actually performing violence, threatens Ray to leave by revealing the gun tucked into his waistband. Ray, who is holding his gun in his hand at the time and is more used to enacting violence itself, mocks Ronnie by pointing out that he would need to be a quick-draw artist for his gun to be any use in the situation. Ronnie (visibly nervous at this point) tries to bluff the situation by asking if Ray's gun (an AMT Backup, a small but effective pistol) is a "Wop 9", calling it "the Fiat of guns, always jammin' on you at the wrong time." The second Ronnie finishes his sentence, Ray shoots him four times in the chest.
  • In Lord of War, Yuri is nearly executed by a pair of thugs in Africa. One aims his AK-47 (sold to him by Yuri, naturally), pulls the trigger... nothing. Clears the jam, sticks it in his face again, pulls the trigger... nothing. Yuri points out that they'll do that sometimes and tries to fix the jam for him... the thug just hits him with the butt and knocks him out. Well, it was worth a shot, anyway.
  • Misfiring guns feature prominently in both the backstory and the climax of Unforgiven, which is more appropriate for the time period, in which lower quality guns and ammo were more common. The rainy night of the climax might also have played a factor.
  • In the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indy escapes capture/execution by the Soviets by dropping an M1 carbine, causing it to shoot one of the soldiers in the foot. It's not completely implausible, as the M1 Carbine has a free-floating firing pin just like the Soviet SKS (which is a bit more known for this), but despite that M1 carbines are not remotely being known for going off when dropped. Possibly lampshaded by the fact that Indy looks as surprised as the Soviets when it happens, though he's quick to take advantage.
  • Franz Liebkind's Luger in the 2005 version of The Producers jams and fires when dropped, with great comedic timing. The classic Luger's toggle action actually is somewhat temperamental.
  • In The Last Dinosaur big game hunter Masten Thrust throws away his hunting rifle after it jams while trying to shoot a Tyrannosaur that's about to attack them. Not only does he make no effort to clear the jam, but he never even tries to reacquire the rifle later, instead only taking the scope to attach to his new crossbow. The fact that he's both a lifelong hunter and a firearms collector makes this all the more implausible.
  • During a combat sequence in Kelly's Heroes, a 30-cal machine gun jams at a very inopportune time; possibly because the operator didn't have someone to help him feed the belt ammo. Fortunately, the Germans shooting back at him apparently attended the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, because he manages to clear the jam and kill them all anyway. The ambush on the road beside a minefield had one of the Americans gun jam on him in the worst time possible, unfortunately he was shot while trying to clear the jam.
  • Averted in The Way of the Gun. At one point Benicio Del Toro's character is firing a pump-action shotgun and it suffers a stovepipe malfunction. He simply takes a moment to clear the jam and resumes firing. The film was notable for the accuracy of its depiction of firearm usage. The director's SWAT team brother served as an advisor.
  • Averted in The Hurt Locker. The protagonists are called upon to fire a .50 Barrett rifle, which jams due to blood in the magazine. The rounds are removed from the magazine, individually cleaned, breech-loaded and fired as normal. It's unlikely that fresh blood on its own would have caused such a misfire, but tiny bits of flesh (which more likely would) are implied to be mixed in with it.
  • In the sci-fi comedy Sleeper, a Running Gag involves a different part of a laser cannon blowing up every time they try to fire it at Woody Allen.
  • The villain of Double Take manages to dispatch himself this way; bragging about his shooting skills when about to kill the protagonists, he ends up falling down a long flight of stairs with his gun going off several times. He hits the floor with a Gory Discretion Shot (pun unintended for once) with the gun clearly pointing at his head before the switch. One character comments: "He was right, he didn't miss once!"
  • Averted in The Hard Way. Michael J. Fox's character, a spoiled naive actor researching a cop role with a tough cop played by James Woods, gets lucky in a shootout where a man firing at him seems to run out of bullets. The cop knocks the gun against a newstand, and shoots into it, demonstrating it had merely been jammed.
  • In the finale of The Warrior's Way, one of the outlaws has a machine gun braced on another's shoulder. After he has his arms cut off, the gun starts firing on full auto, pivoting on the corpse of the partner and neatly stitching across a horde of outlaws who were standing behind him.
  • In Taps, a dropped M16 sparks a firefight when it discharges accidentally.
  • In Lockout, set in 2079, a gun not only falls out of a man's pants, it discharges directly at the policeman who bothered the man. But then, everything in the movie seems to be made exactly so the incredibly ridiculous plot could happen, even if it doesn't make any sense at all.
  • In Trading Places, Winthorpe (played by Dan Aykroyd) tries to kill himself with a Colt .45 automatic that he just purchased from a pawn shop; the gun fails to fire. Disgusted, Winthorp throws the gun away. It promptly discharges when it hits the ground.
  • Near the end of Jurassic Park, Alan Grant uses an SPAS-12 shotgun against the raptors trying to break into the control room, but drops it and runs after firing only a few shots. The problem turns out to be a simple stovepipe jam, which he could have cleared simply by pulling the spent shell out of the ejection port - assuming he would have known enough about the weapon to do so. There's really nothing in the film to suggest he's ever handled or fired that type of weapon before, much less in a life-or-death situation.
  • In Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Alan attempts to fling Pat's shotgun into the sea. It lands on the pier railing and goes off, shooting Pat.
  • Played with in the Marvel One Shot short film A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer. Agent Coulson, in a convenience store during a robbery, lets the crooks know that he has a gun. When they want him to toss it over, he remarks he'd rather not and risk it going off, so he asks if it would be okay to slide it to them. As the guys agree, he takes them out using a bag of flour. All this in the time it takes to fill-up his car at the pumps.
  • Played for laughs in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka: when Isaac Hayes slips on a dropped bullet after draping a ludicrous number of guns on his person, seemingly every single one of those guns discharges in one long, slow, agonizing sequence
  • This nearly caused an I Just Shot Marvin in the Face moment in Heartbreak Ridge. One member of The Squad claims that his M16 is jammed, and starts waving it around to demonstrate to his sergeant. The sergeant in question grabs the gun and frantically tries to move it so it's not pointed at anyone, and just as he does so the gun goes off, nearly hitting several people including the base's commanding officer.
  • The Return of the Pink Panther: Dreyfus not only repeatedly gets his pistol mixed up with a lighter that looks the same as his pistol, but his pistol also never fires when he wants it to and always fires when he doesn't.

  • A Biggles book had a pirate (naturally set a few centuries before Biggles' time) lean a pistol against a candle while sitting down at a table, and when a vibration shook the table, the pistol slipped off the candle, hit the table, and discharged a ball right into the pirate, killing him. Even modern replicas of flintlock weapons are quite prone to accidental discharge when dropped. Assuming that the gun falls with lock up, then even when powder pours out of the priming pan it can be still ignited by the sparks.
  • This is a major plot point in Valentin Pikul's novel The Riches (Богатство). A misfiring rifle kills Ispolatov's love interest.
  • While most guns work just fine in The Dark Tower, fully automatic firearms are guaranteed to jam. This is justifiable in that everyone who uses them is either A) using a scavenged, poorly maintained weapon he is unfamiliar with, B) Axe-Crazy, or C) Too Dumb to Live. Well, except for the time Alain Johns makes use of one in Wizard and Glass.
  • This is why Harry Dresden only uses older weapons like revolvers: his magical aura interferes with any kind of technology, and the better the tech, the faster he breaks it. Revolvers are functionally simplistic, and can't jam. Notably, he doesn't use his magical hex on handguns, likely because a handgun failing doesn't mean it won't shoot.
    • In the first book, this applies during the final confrontation. Harry disrupts the villainous warlock's huge spell, sending an overload of magical energy all over the place. The warlock's accomplices open fire with an Uzi that quickly jams, and Harry notes they're probably lucky it didn't explode. When they resume fire, it's with a revolver.
    • Incidentally, the fact that he gets better results from a revolver than a modern Glock might be evidence that Harry's Walking Techbane tendencies are at least partly psychosomatic; revolvers are less vulnerable to common jam conditions and largely undiscriminating about the quality of the ammunition, but in terms of mechanical complexity and the total number of moving parts they're about even with a semi-automatic. And yet we never hear about Harry having to take any of the three revolver models he's owned over the years to a gunsmith for a warranty replacement of the mainspring or something.
  • The second half of The Emperor's Finest is basically a game of Space Hulk, right down to the well-known Terminator's weapon jamming and being slaughtered by genestealers as he tries to fix it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A common gag in Slapstick comedy and Sitcoms: "Don't worry, it isn't loaded. [Bang! Bang!]" Seen in As Time Goes By, "Avoiding The Country Set".
  • Averted in Bravo Two Zero — Dinger's GPMG jams, and he just ejects the round and carries on (this being Dinger, he also shouts "BASTARD!").
  • Subverted in the series finale of Ugly Betty — Wilhelmina is accidentally shot by an alcohol-fueled Tyler. As a final favor to Claire, Wilhelmina lies to the press and tells them she was shot when she dropped her gun while cleaning it. The reception is dubious but her lie still works.
  • Mentioned in an episode of Father Ted where John shows Ted that he has bought a shotgun to protect his shop and has it cocked and ready. Ted asks if that's not somewhat dangerous, to which John says that it would only be if you dropped it or something. He then slams the gun down on the table, causing Ted to jump and John to just laugh. The gun is confirmed to be loaded, as we hear it go off offscreen after Ted leaves the shop when Mary attempts to wrestle it from John's grasp.
  • Subverted in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles When John is at a military school, his classmate's rifle has a stovepipe jam, and John, having been raised Crazy-Prepared by his mom, clears the jam in about ten seconds, all while teaching his fellow student the drill to do so.
  • In one episode of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.., our hero is struggling with an assailant while his lady friend prepares to hit said bad guy with a nearby pistol. Brisco tells her to stop, beats the bad guy, then demonstrates that the impact would've caused the flintlock to go off. Into her.
  • Same network, different decade and genre: An episode of Back To You opens with a news report featuring a gunshot going off during a hostage crisis. It transpires that this is the result of Chuck Darling fumbling the hostage taker's gun after he's taken it from him.
  • War of the Worlds. Actor Richard Chaves (playing Lt. Col. Paul Ironhorse) had his assault rifle jam during an action scene. Being a Vietnam veteran, Chaves just cleared the jammed blank as he would a real round and kept firing.
  • Played straight in an episode of CSI: NY, where a sawn-off shotgun is thrown out of a window by the villains and bump-fires into a passerby, killing her and leading the protagonists to another crime committed with the weapon.
    • Averted in a later episode, where Mac Taylor and his gun fall at least 30 feet onto a hard tiled floor — the gun bounces, but doesn't go off.
  • Averted in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica when Adama demands Starbuck's sidearm, chambers a round, presumably flicks off the safety and tosses the weapon on the table, where it bounces quite a bit but does not go off.
  • Jams happen periodically in Band of Brothers. The characters usually get to work clearing them, sometimes having trouble with it and sometimes not. All the actors were trained in WW2 weapons handling (as their characters would have been) so, as in real life, the ability to sort out a jam would depend on the actor's own weapon skill. Not to mention their concentration. Many of the times that jams weren't quickly handled occurred under fire, when both actor and character would find it hard to focus.
  • In one episode of NCIS, a perp drops his recently fired gun while surrendering. Tony proceeds to flip out on the guy. Still averted, as the gun didn't fire. And also averts Artistic License Gun Safety, as it's still a stupid thing to do, roughly handling a loaded weapon with a round in the chamber.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Flooded" Buffy reprimands a security officer for using a gun on a demon, tosses it aside and winces at the subsequent discharge sound.
  • In one episode of Frasier, Martin's gun from his police days (not seen in the episode, but identified as an M1911 in She's the Boss) is brought out from its storage "under the bed" still in a shoebox. The shoebox is knocked off a table and, naturally, the gun goes off, shooting up at an improbable angle to damage the apartment decor.
  • In an episode of the Lovejoy TV series ("The Axe-Man Cometh") an antique flintlock which had been used solely as a display item for decades was apparently loaded, since when it was grabbed and used to try and bluff the eponymous axe-man it actually went off leaving him with an Ash Face.
  • Many cases of this trope have been tested — and busted — by the MythBusters. One notable exception involves an urban legend where an explosion in a room caused some Russian SKS riflesnote  therein to go off — the MythBusters were able to get one of the four to go off. Earlier, they had failed to set off any SKS rifles with a boom-car stereo at full volume.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Highlanders" the companion Ben casually throws away a pistol when asked to get rid of it. The weapon discharges, alerting British redcoats to the location where the Doctor, his companions, and some Scottish rebels are.
    • Taken to absurd lengths in "A Town Called Mercy", when Amy has multiple accidental discharges with a single-action revolver, which should require the hammer to be manually drawn back before each shot.
  • In Love/Hate, guns have an alarming tendency to jam at inopportune moments. Most characters seem to have no knowledge of basic firearm maintenance. One character tries to shoot Darren only for his pistol to jam. Darren disarms him and keeps the weapon for himself, making use of it later. Nidge loses his Glock at one point, causing the magazine release to be hit and the chambered round misfires. Rather than abandoning the weapon, Nidge clears the jam, reloads and fires again. Then again, Nidge is the one character who is shown onscreen learning how to field strip a weapon.
  • Daredevil: "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" opens with John Healy, a hitman working for Wilson Fisk, about to shoot a gang boss in a bowling alley. Just as he pulls the trigger, we flash back to 36 hours earlier, when he's buying the gun from Turk Barrett. Turk guarantees that the gun will not jam. We then return to the present and sure enough the gun jams, and Healy is forced to beat his target to death. A previous episode established that the gun was part of a larger batch of illegal guns Turk is smuggling into the city. It's worth noting that Turk removed it directly from the storage crate. It's implied the gun was probably some low quality knock-off that was not stored and maintained properly after it left the factory, so Healy only had himself to blame for not personally test firing it before the hit. Season two establishes that Turk specializes in selling extremely cheap and unreliable guns that are at their deadliest when used to bludgeon someone to death.
  • CSI: Cyber: The first Victim of the Week in "Ghost in the Machine" is killed when he is startled into dropping a customised .22 concealed inside a drill case. The gun goes off when it hits the ground, discharging and killing him.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries had Miss Fisher and Dot staying in a country hotel. Dot is unpacking, and wonders what to do with Phrynes gold-plated revolver. She picks the top drawer of the nightstand. Some prankster has concealed a live snake in there, causing Dot to scream and drop the revolver. It fires on impact, tearing a chunk out of the skirting board and causing Dot to scream again.
  • This is played with on Stan Lee's Lucky Man. Harry is supernaturally lucky due to an ancient bracelet he is wearing. One of Golding's mooks tries to shoot Harry but the first two shots miss. On the third shot the mook's gun comes apart in her hand and the slide flies backwards and knocks her unconscious. It has been established that Golding likes to hire former special forces soldiers who use modern weapons and would know how to maintain them properly. The odds of the gun failing that spectacularly are enormous and it shows how powerful the bracelet really is.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Down Among the Dead Men", two suspects are arguing over a shotgun when they slam it down on the floor and it goes off, blowing a hole in the ceiling. Particularly egregious as the gun in question is a Purdey, generally regarded as the finest shotguns ever made.

  • One verse of Rilo Kiley's "Accidntel Deth" (sic: Indietronica artist Dntel produced the song) includes at least one instance where the accidental death was of a deer the narrator's father (who probably isn't Jenny Lewis) had killed when his shotgun went off without him meaning it to (probably because he hit it too hard or something) while hunting with his dad when he was eight. The dad swears off guns after that.
  • The filk "Space Hero" by Anne Prather & Julia Ecklar sings about some the wonderful craftsmanship of a space ace's weaponry: "With the stocks made by Mattel...Well, on every other pass, one'll get you in the ass!"
  • The entire music video for Korn's "Freak on a Leash" begins with this trope. The video starts off with a bunch of animated children sneaking out at night so they can play on private property. A security guard pursues, trips and his gun falls, landing on its magazine, which causes it to fire. The remainder of the video is the camera following the bullet around until it returns to the animated scene.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech's ultra-series autocannons are considered a version of this by some players due to their chance of randomly breaking down and becoming dead weight for the rest of the game when using their optional double rate of fire (their main defining feature). Background-wise, the fact that even the Clans, who unlike the nations of the Inner Sphere never lost the technology and have been using UACs for over two hundred years, somehow never managed to eliminate this problem definitely plays the trope dead straight.
    • Then there's the Rotary Autocannons; More Dakka at it's finest, pretty much. And unlike UltraACs, they have systems built-in to clear jams during the battle, without the pilot having to get out of his cockpit to mess around with it. Too bad they have fairly limited ammo reserves, and they only come in the lower autocannon calibers.
      • Fluff-wise, the difference is that a rotary autocannon is a multi-barrel arrangement with a presumably complex feed mechanism that "only" jams every so often while ultra autocannons use Explosive Overclocking to achieve their maximum rate of fire, resulting in actual mechanical breakdowns once in a while. In game terms, the latter can actually end up looking more reliable since while one bad roll can make them sit out the rest of the fight with no chance of recovery, the former tend to jam more often and clearing each jam comes with its own opportunity cost (in the form of at least one turn not doing much else) and doesn't guarantee the weapon won't promptly jam again right away next turn.
    • Even beyond that, in the game's fluff, there is the Quikscell company, maker of cheap weapons, ammo, and tanks, all traditionally considered the least reliable in the universe. (The rules don't actually reflect that by default, though.)
  • In Paranoia, standard-issue weapons certainly don't malfunction 5% of the time. Maybe they were sabotaged by Commie mutant traitors. You aren't a Commie mutant traitor, are you?
    • Generally, the more destructive the weapon is when it works, the more destructive it is when it doesn't. And the harder it is to fix. (Or just prevent it from blowing up. Or just unstrap yourself from it and outrun the blast radius.) And if it was only assigned to you for the duration of the mission, then the more expensive the fine for allowing valuable mission equipment to be damaged.
    • As for those experimental weapons that the Troubleshooters were field-testing for Research and Design... Well, perhaps the Troubleshooters didn't maintain them properly. What's that, you say? The maintenance instructions aren't available at their security clearance? Huh, go figure.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition allowed the arquebus, a primitive rifle, but gave it a chance of backfiring and damaging the user every time it's fired. Partly as a measure of Fantasy Gun Control, but also Truth in Television. Also necessary for play balance. The arquebus only did 1d4 damage... unless you rolled a 4, in which case you got another 1d4 damage. With no upper limit. It was entirely within the rules (not very likely, but within the rules) for a 1st level character to one-shot a maximum age Red Dragon with one of these things.
  • Akin to the D&D example, firearms in Pathfinder (which are fairly reliable for a fantasy setting) will damage themselves in some way on a critical failure, giving them the "broken" condition. It's still usable though, albeit slightly less effective and more dangerous to the one holding it — a second critical failure renders it useless and injures the gunman.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Some weapons have the "Gets Hot" rule. This means that the weapon may break, usually with lethal results, if a one is rolled. Justified in that the technology is poorly understood and that most factions have reserves. Although the archetypical Gets Hot, the plasma gun, isn't actually breaking. It's building up too much heat from being repeatedly fired and venting the super-heated gas to keep the gun from exploding. If you're a Space Marine, whose armor is deliberately made especially heat-resistant, you have a good chance to survive; not so much if you're a Guardsman.
    • The Ork Psycho-Dakka-Blasta will break when fired. This happens when the player rolls a certain number (basically, you roll a series of dice. The number of shots fired is equal to the total of dice. Rolling a 1 or 2 jams the weapon for the rest of the game). Again, justified, as the Orks are essentially firing a jury-rigged minigun which probably shouldn't even work at all on full auto.
    • On tabletop, overheating has a 1/6 chance and is resolved as an automatic wound that can be avoided by armor/invulnerable save, regardless of the weapon's specifics. In the RPG games, it's a 1/10 chance resolved as being shot in the arm with the gun, so it follows the gun's characteristics exactly. And any "best quality" version of a gun is immune to overheating.
    • A common fate in Space Hulk is for a Terminator's weapon to jam/overheat/explode, usually when surrounded by the swarm of enemies that required it to shoot full-auto in the first place.
  • GURPS has rules for malfunctions, with an attack roll that lands on or above a specific number indicating that the weapon malfunctioned (with unreliable guns having a lower target number and highly reliable guns having such a high one that only a critical failure will cause them to jam). The High-Tech sourcebook, having a thick Gun Porn section, also includes information on certain guns having a reputation for firing when dropped and mentions the dangers of old single-action revolvers as detailed below in the Real Life section. Damage to the gun (deliberate or otherwise) can also have a variety of effects, from lowering the malfunction number (i.e. making it more likely to jam when fired) to decreasing the accuracy or damaging the weapon's frame or stock itself.
  • Hero System's optional rules for weapon malfunctions avert "Jammed = Broken". The worst case scenario, a character with no Weaponsmith skill and a misfire, only calls for two phases to clear the weapon with no chance of the round going off while being cleared.
  • Roll a 100 in Call of Cthulhu, and your gun explodes in your hands. Not only does it get destroyed, it also hurts the wielder.
    • Depending on the Keeper, this can also occur with heavy artillery, car/plane engines, spells, and high explosives. All guns and many other non-melee weapons have a Malfunction Number, usually around a 96 to 100. Generally, if you critically fail - anything above the gun's malfunction number - the gun will just jam and need to be repaired for a few rounds. But again, it does depend on the Keeper...

    Theme Parks 

  • NERF:
    • NERF blasters are mostly quite reliable, although the occasional blaster makes it through Quality Control with crippling defects. The Maverick has developed a reputation for having the most problematic samples due to the strict tolerances required for a reliable cylinder-advancing mechanism.
    • Another gun with a revolver cylinder, the Barricade, resembles a Warhammer 40K bolter more than a traditional revolver, but it also has a tendency to misfeed darts at the first (and worst) opportunity. Part of this is due to its firing mechanism, a flywheel-based friction launcher, sometimes not actually having the power to pull the dart out all the way before the cylinder advances with the next trigger pull.
    • While otherwise reliable in terms of actually firing darts a good distance, the Longshot rifle has a higher-than-average tendency to chew up darts from its magazine at the wrong time and foul them in its receiver, compared to something like a Recon. It's one of the prices to pay for a fairly powerful dart launching system.
    • The Vulcan is a battery-powered, belt-fed behemoth of a machine gun; however, if it fails to fire the dart all the way out of its belt before advancing to the next, it's stuck there and there's no way to remove it short of yanking the belt as hard as possible and shredding the dart.
  • Other non-Nerf blasters, especially cheap, brandless generics, are also prone to such reliability flaws that renders them useless to non-modders. Some brands even use rope as part of their cocking and launching mechanism. These, naturally, fray quickly with use and are often on the difficult side of replacement. Cock one of these guns too hard and the rope for the mechanism can overstretch or snap, rendering it useless. Shur-Fine Guns indeed.

    Video Games 
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, guns occasionally discharge if they are dropped for any reason. Occasionally, they may even discharge when their wielders fling it around after being hit themselves. Sure, he could also be pulling the trigger in reflex, but even semi-automatic weapons discharge multiple times (and it is impossible that a reflex would enable the shooter to pull the trigger several times in a row).
  • In Gears of War, your gun can jam if you reload incorrectly. The consequence is that you have to take a moment to clear the jam before you can resume firing.
    • It should be noted that this is only if you, the player, press the reload button while reloading at an incorrect time, and so, if someone never attempts the 'active reload' minigame to reload their gun, it will NEVER jam (active reloading is specifically mentioned as skipping the proper reloading method to load the gun faster, but chancing a misfeed). It's done to reload the gun faster (a life saver in mutliplayer) and get a damage boost.
  • America's Army. Yep, in the official computer game your weapons can jam. Tap a key to clear the jam, with a tap to the bottom of the magazine followed by the forward assist.
  • Similarly, in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., damaged guns can jam... but can be cleared by reloading. Keep using them, though, and eventually they won't be able to go through a full magazine without a jam, to the point where they'll probably end up getting you killed more often than they kill what they're pointed at. Eventually they'll just break completely. In the two later games, or in the first with the proper Game Mods, you can have guns repaired for a cost, or find the extremely rare repair kits with, again, the right mods. Justified in that weapon cleaning and maintenance kits are something that regular stalkers aren't skilled enough to use and as such most don't carry them, but gunsmiths, mechanics and technicians obviously do as part of their trade.
  • In System Shock 2, your guns are not only likely to jam at the drop of a pin; repairing a jam is an extremely complicated technical operation involving detailed cybernetically-enhanced skills, a consumable nanotech-based resource, and a small minigame. Then again, given that laser rifles can somehow jam in this game...
    • Enemy weapons aren't immune either, no matter how quickly you kill the shotgun-armed mutants that come after you, you'll always find the gun they had on them had conveniently jammed by the time you were ready to loot their corpse.
    • Word of God is that there was supposed to be an in-game explanation for this: basically The Many had released a corrosive gas that only affected mechanisms into the environment. Unfortunately, the audio log explaining this was left out of the finished game. On the other hand, given that not only would the spaceship's life support but also the Many's own cyborgs be just as affected by that gas, it's probably for the best that it was left out.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Ocelot stovepipes his own semiautomatic pistol when he tries a fancy move he'd heard of for the first timenote . Ocelot then attempts to pistol whip Naked Snake with his gun instead of clearing it, despite the fact that Snake has just taken down half a dozen of his men with little more than his bare hands. Clearly it was his turn to hold the Idiot Ball. Snake easily counters, and when Ocelot drops his gun the cartridge pops out, clearing the jam. Snake then explains this to Ocelot (and the audience), attributing it to the latter's faults and inexperience. Since the game is a prequel it establishes why he's Revolver Ocelot in the present/near-future storyline.
    • In the introduction cutscene of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Snake tries to fire an AK-102, but it jams after two shots. He does try to cycle the action manually and clear it, but it won't budge, and he ends up tossing it to the ground; a Codec call to Otacon reveals that the ammo in that magazine was of poor quality. He lampshades the lack of jams in actual gameplay by noting how rare that specific type of jam isnote .
      • This is also invoked as a gameplay mechanic in most of the games. All firearms used in combat in most of the games have identification locks built in, hence why the player can't just break the neck of the first guard they find and use his assault rifle for the whole game. MGS4 in particular shows that the older varieties of locks from the original Metal Gear Solid (and presumably MGS2) simply stopped the user from being able to make the trigger-pulling motion with their finger, while more modern locks instead make the gun itself act like the epitome of this trope, failing to fire on pulling the trigger even with a full magazine loaded and a round in the chamber (ironically, this is the game that introduced a character who can launder ID-locked guns for you to use). MGS3 is set in 1964, long before ID-locks and nanomachines, so the explanation there is that Naked Snake would prefer to take a fresh, never-fired weapon from an armory that is guaranteed to work how it should, rather than steal one from an enemy in the field and risk getting a poorly-maintained one that could jam when he needs it and get him killed.
  • In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, guns with a poor condition (which is fixed by breaking apart a matching gun for parts to repair your gunnote ) can jam when loading. This includes the first round of a bolt-action rifle failing to load, the magazine of a submachine gun needing a good whack on the bottom, or the door to a laser pistol's pop-out battery not closing. Considering this is supposed to be two-hundred years After the End, which was probably when the gun and cleaning supplies for it were made, this is a Justified Trope. It's also defied in that when that gun does jam, your character simply works the action again until it does load. Dropping a gun won't discharge it either. Tired of that poor-condition 10mm pistol now that you have an M1 Garand-alike, and don't want to lug it around? Drop it on the ground, and it ... lands.
    • One point in 3 touches in this trope in a possible lampshade. You can rescue an initiate in the Brotherhood of Steel who is in hiding and complaining that his gun is jammed, claiming it is useless. If your character has decent Small Guns, you can help him fix the jam by simply pulling back the charging handle, and he will be armed again.
    • Earlier games in the series just had the gun have a chance to lose all the ammo in its current magazine on a critical miss, though energy weapons supposedly explode on a really bad roll on the critical miss table.
    • A few Game Mods for 3 and New Vegas add a slight chance for a jam on any use of a firearm, modified by its current condition.
    • Fallout Tactics includes the Chauchat (mentioned in the Real Life folder) as a Joke Weapon, which cannot actually be used and serves no purpose whatsoever.
  • Far Cry 2 allows for weapons' condition to decrease, causing the gun to jam while firing. This involves the player character struggling with his weapon and examining it until you hit the reload key, which fixes the problem. Every weapon can jam except the IEDs and flare gun; from simple misfeeds to a flamethrower springing a gas leak or an RPG failing to ignite and spinning on the ground before exploding. If the gun's condition reaches zero, it violently breaks into pieces, with the entire front receiver of a rifle or trigger of an RPG breaking off.
    • Notable is how the AK-47's notorious reliability is acknowledged in-game and is less likely to jam on you, if ever. The AK runs through about a thousand rounds before getting into poor enough condition to start jamming, and it takes about two hundred more before blowing up. The golden AKs last even longer. The only gun in the game that doesn't jam or misfire is the flare gun, and even that still blows up eventually.
    • Particularly notable in Far Cry 2 is how little time a gun actually lasts; it can go from a shining, brand-new weapon to a stained, corroded wreck within hours at best, with some weapons like the USAS-12 visibly corroding with every shot and the Dart Rifle taking, at best with the reliability upgrade, thirty shots to blow up. The vast majority of guns in this game must be held together with nothing more than chewing gum and reassuring platitudes; that or the FC2 universe is afflicted by turbo-rust. Another extremely silly aspect of this mechanic is that jams always happen before a gun fires while failures always happen afterwards, meaning the player character will operate the pump of a shotgun before shooting so it can jam, even though they already did so after the last shot, or a weapon will successfully fire, cycle, and then explode. And despite supposedly being a highly-trained mercenary, the player character has no idea how to maintain their weaponry, and must settle for grabbing new weapons off of enemies or from their stash at the arms dealer's place.
    • There's also the weapons' physics-defying proclivity to fling parts of themselves toward the player's face when they fail.
  • All guns in Jagged Alliance and its sequels have a % condition rating and a rating of reliability for both the gun and the ammo. The more reliable guns work better at low condition than other guns and wear slower. Guns in good condition are impossible to jam, while guns with 50% or less condition will jam every other shot. Guns below 10% or so are useless hunks of metal.
    • Jagged Alliance 2 adjusts things slightly. A gun always has a chance to fire, no matter how degraded it is, but if it gets to 0%, it will never work again, regardless of repair. The lower the condition of the gun, the more likely that it will jam, and the chance to clear the jam by refiring the gun drops significantly.
    • Also, when a jam does occur, there's only about a 50/50 chance you'll be able to clear it and re-fire the gun before you run out of time units. Presumably simple malfunctions that can be cleared with a tap and a forward assist are abstracted for simplicity's sake.
  • While all guns operate perfectly in normal conditions in Eternal Darkness, one of the insanity effects makes one character drop a flintlock pistol to the ground while reloading his other one, causing it to discharge and kill him. He doesn't actually die though.
  • The late-90s Alien vs. Predator PC game featured occasional and very subtle jamming of the Marine's pulse rifle. This was essentially just the same dry-fire sound as a magazine running dry; the weapon would resume working after the trigger was released. Only really a problem when firing on full auto... and if you were past the point of "short controlled bursts" you were probably doomed anyway.
  • In the mission "Reuniting the Families" in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Ryder hands your character an ancient, POS AK-47 that jams to the point of uselessness right when you need it.
  • During the Idle Animation in Metro 2033, the player character will toy with the gun. Depending on which gun, he will occasionally break off a piece by accident, pause in confusion, and then stick it back on. However, considering that half the weapons are cobbled together from several other guns and industrial tools, it's a bit more forgivable.
    • The guns themselves will never jam, but several of them are hand-made from pieces of scrap, like the Bastard Gun (which is little more than a piece of metal with a firing pin and a barrel). In addition, you have two choices for ammunition: "dirty" ammo, which is plentiful but not very powerful due to inferior gunpowder, and military-grade ammunition, which is significantly more powerful but also used as money.
  • In Saints Row 2, you interrupt the trial of your partner Johnny Gat and hold up a bailiff. At your command, the bailiff drops his gun, which goes off, prompting everyone (except for Gat) to duck for cover, with Gat's lawyer popping back up for a moment to ask if anyone got hit and needs his expertise.
  • Terrorpods extend a variant to missiles. Some of the documentation implies that you may miss and hit a friendly installation. In the actual game, your missile has a manual guidance system where you need to keep the drift indicators within the shown reticule. If it drifts outside the reticule even by one pixel, the missile won't detonate. Given that the target is usually larger than the reticule, the usual result is that missiles that hit won't cause damage (which is much more punishing if your computer is too fast).
  • While the blaster rifles used by sand people in an early level of Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy will sound off as though they are being fired multiple times when you're in range of an enemy using one, they will only actually launch a bolt maybe one in seven times.
  • A hunter in one of the Hunter: The Reckoning video games is shown to suffer stovepipe jam in his handgun when fighting, and mentions having to use his knife instead. It takes far less time to rack the slide of a pistol than to switch to a knife.
  • In Isle Of The Dead, the rifle will explode in your face and kill you as soon as you fire it unless you oil it first. There's no sign that anything's wrong with it in the first place, until you pull the trigger.
  • In The Oregon Trail II, when hunting, there is a random chance that you will accidentally shoot yourself, possibly resulting in instant death.
  • Borderlands 2:
    • None of the guns jam, but this trope is played with by two of the gun manufacturers. Bandit guns are made from scrap, covered with spikes and stupid-but-cool paintjobs, and have misspelled and grammatically incorrect names. They have huge mag sizes and decent power, but low accuracy and the slowest reloads. Tediore guns are inexpensive, plastic and boxy with drab or cheesy colour schemes and names that sound like bargain-bin-product adverts. They're below average on almost all stats, but they're dirt cheap and have a unique trait - instead of reloading, the guns are thrown away and explode like a grenade before reappearing in the owner's hand, giving them the fastest reloads (though with the added loss of you losing all the ammo that was left in them, since that's what powers the explosion - toss one after only a few shots and it'll be deadlier than if you emptied it). The explosion is actually a flaw of the digistruction procedure that remakes them, but they advertise it as a perk.
    • Played for Laughs with two guns in the series: "Miss Moxxi's Crit" in the Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC falls out of your hands one reload in every ten and has to be recovered, and the Tediore "Boxxy Gunn" in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is prone to exploding in your hands if reloaded prematurely.
  • The humorous Doom Game Mod "Extreme Weapon Pack" turns some weapons into these. The shotgun fails to fire literally 95% of the time, the super shotgun (one of its barrels broken off) has so much recoil that it spins you around every time when fired, the chaingun takes forever to spin up and is very inaccurate once it begins shooting, and the BFG takes about a minute to fire each time.
  • Star-Lord's third special attack in Marvel: Contest of Champions has this Played for Laughs when he kicks back his opponent then levels his gun at them, only for it to fizzle and spark when he pulls the trigger. He frantically starts hitting it and finally manages to get a shot off just as the opponent rushes at him again.

    Web Original 
  • Iraqveteran8888 once tried to make a video showing them shooting a Calico SMG with its unique helical magazine. What actually was posted was them showing you the fragments after the thing blew, and injuries to Barry's hand.

    Western Animation 
  • The first episode of Beast Wars had Cheetor's gun jam. Subverted in that Cheetor cleared the jam, and made a sneak attack by shooting Megatron in his beast mode face.
  • The Simpsons:
  • In the early "Kenny gets killed in every episode" era of South Park, Kenny is once killed by a discharge from a guy who is quitting hunting and drops his gun. Which happened to have run out of ammo not thirty seconds earlier, at that.
  • Archer:
    • Despite the page quote, this is oddly averted, despite the character's twin habits of carelessness with his tools and causing embarrassing and accidental injuries to his coworkers. Indeed, later in the scene quoted, after a call girl has been struck with a poison dart fired from a pen, Archer tells Cyril that the belief that if something would happen, it would come from the .25 Chekhov Pistol is an incredibly facile argument.
    • One incident does occur in "Sea Tunt: Part II". Archer smuggles a pistol onto the underwater platform inside a camera. He claims that the safety is on, but notes that Krieger tends to make some strange modifications to ISIS issue weaponry. Sure enough, Archer's pistol goes off, causing the place to flood.
  • In the 1953 Looney Tunes short "Bully for Bugs", the bull Bugs is fighting at one point ends up swallowing a rifle Bugs was planning to shoot him with. He very quickly discovers he can fire bullets from his horns by smacking the end of his now-rifle-shaped tail against the ground — but then after he runs out of bullets, he attempts to reload by swallowing a box of high-powered rounds, with disastrous results.

    Real Life 
  • Real Life example: The infamous North Hollywood Shootout. Two bank robbers did a job armed to the teeth with modified AKM rifles and full kevlar suits to protect them. One of them was cornered into a one on one with an officer when his assault rifle jammed due to a stovepiped cartridge. Ordinarily, this would have taken only a moment to fix, but the robber had earlier been shot in the wrist, rendering him incapable of clearing the jam note . After his attempt to clear the jam failed, he threw the assault rifle to the side and pulled out a 9mm pistol he had as a sidearm to continue shooting; when he took another round to his good hand, he picked the pistol back up, placed it to his chin, and shot himself.
  • Regarding firing while dropped, this is (in some cases) Truth in Television; many manufacturers will not certify guns as being "drop safe", and in safety guides hunters are advised not to climb while holding loaded guns or lean guns against trees in order to avert this trope. It should be noted that such events are exceedingly rare even in "unsafe" guns, from simple statistics.
    • The South African Vektor CP1 pistol was recalled in 2000. The recall states that the loaded gun can discharge if bumped or dropped. While those sold in South Africa had the defect corrected and were shipped back to their owners, Vektor's lack of any overseas infrastructure made this impossible for the roughly 2000 that had been sold in the US (intended to be the pistol's primary market), and thus they simply paid back $500 to everyone who returned the pistol (compared to the purchase price at the time of $400). As a result, the CP1 is now very rare in America.
    • As of late 2008, the Ruger LCP and SR9 were recalled for parts replacement, due to potential discharge if dropped.
    • Wartime examples of the Luger are notoriously not drop-safe, even with the safety catch engaged.
    • Here is a news story about a Kahr P40 going off after being dropped on a hard tiled floor.
  • The Franchi SPAS-12 originally featured a lever-type safety which, as it aged, would eventually cause the weapon to fire if it was toggled while the weapon was loaded, as well as fail to prevent the gun from firing with it on. A recall order was issued to replace these with a different, more reliable safety, though most of the SPAS-12's in existence still have the original safety — and even the most recently-produced examples were produced way back in 2000. Also, as a rather minor note given the above, the SPAS-12 also requires the safety off to load shells into it.
  • The Remington Model 700 rifle has a reputation for having a highly questionable safety mechanism, which is infamous for either causing the gun to randomly fire, or for not doing anything to keep the gun from firing while it's engaged. The trigger mechanism used on the rifle from its original design to about 2007 also had gained a bit of a reputation for causing the weapon to discharge on its own, though Remington has dismissed these claims, instead blaming negligent users for not properly maintaining their weapons and pointing them directly at other people for extreme lengths of time, even pointing out that some of the claimants admitted to police that they "may have accidentally" pulled the trigger themselves; military rifles based on the Model 700's action, in use by people who have received proper training on how to handle the weapon, continue to use the original trigger mechanism, and it is also still available for custom orders, which most definitely would not be the case if there were dangerous reliability issues inherent in its design.
  • The Chauchat light machine gun, at least the M1918 variant issued to the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. While the original Chauchat did indeed have some problems, most of which had to do with its open-sided magazine and the fact that Gladiator, a bicycle company with no prior firearms experience, was the one handling most of the production, it did not jam after several shots as some pop-historians would have you believe - most instances of them doing so in the modern day are from the simple fact that the weapons are a century old at this point and simply haven't been maintained properly.

    Most of the weapon's bad reputation comes from the American M1918 version rechambered from the original 8mm Lebel to .30-06 Springfield. The M1918 was, in short, a godawful conversion that didn't take into account the significant differences in cartridge size (8x51 to 7.62x63) and shape (straight-cased Springfield versus tapered Lebel), in addition to several other mistakes (in particular screwing up the conversion from metric to English units - and never noticing this until well after the war - meaning the M1918's magazine and chamber weren't even the correct size). As a result, the majority of M1918s didn't pass factory inspection, and the few that did make it to the frontline experienced severe jamming issues and were usually discarded by US troops before they could fire off a full magazine (most automatic riflemen squadrons giving up on that and switching back to the bolt-action Springfield M1903).

    Worse is that vastly superior options to the M1918 Chauchat existed at the time, but were ignored for completely petty and short-sighted reasons - the Lewis gun was passed over simply because the AEF's chief of ordnance, General William Crozier, disliked the weapon's designer, Colonel Isaac Lewis, while General John Pershing delayed adoption of the Browning Automatic Rifle as long as possible (it only seeing issue three months before the war ended) not because of actual issues with the weapon like incorrectly-tempered springs on early batches, but because, it being an indigenous American design, the AEF thought it a far better weapon than it actually was and were fearful the enemy would be tripping over themselves to capture and reverse-engineer it.
  • A less famous, but no less awful example of light machine gun design was the Italian Breda 30 which saw service in World War 2. Its numerous design faults teamed up to make it an extremely unreliable weapon, especially in the desert conditions of North Africa. The gun attempted to use a blowback system of operation to reduce complexity, but using simple blowback for a high pressure rifle round required the rounds to be oiled to prevent them from being ripped apart during extraction. This didn't always work, leaving the front part of spent casings hopelessly jammed in the chamber, plus the oil attracted dirt into the working areas of the weapon, causing another type of jam. Furthermore, the gun used the same bad idea as the Chauchat with an open-sided magazine that invited even more dirt onto the oiled rounds and into the operating mechanism. On top of that, the closed-bolt design reduced air circulation and also put rounds in the chamber at risk of cooking off, which could injure or kill the gunner. Oh, and the magazine was not meant to be detached and replaced under normal conditions, instead making use of 20 round stripper clips to reload it, which had the effect of drastically slowing the rate of fire. So even when the gun actually managed to fire one would wind up spending most of their time reloading it.
    • The worst thing about the Breda 30 is that it was not the worst weapon of the Italian Army in the war. That would be the Fiat-Revelli Modello 1914 heavy machine gun: designed before World War I, it had the same problems as the Breda 30 (unsurprisingly, the Breda 30 is based on the 1914), was water-cooled (increasing the weight), had an oil pump to grease the rounds (thus making it even more complex and heavier), and by 1940 it had been out of production for twenty years, thus adding the troubles of age and wear. The issues were ironed out with the later Modello 1935, an improved model with air cooling, no oil pump and, most importantly, belt-feeding. Except it jammed worse with un-oiled rounds, so they had to put back the oiler.
    • Given all the above, this was surprisingly subverted by the Beretta Model 38 and the Variara submachine guns. The Model 38 was widely acclaimed as the best submachine gun of World War II, especially since it was capable of firing both the standard 9mm Parabellum of the era and the more powerful "Cartuccia Modello 38" version, as well as having an astonishing maximum range of 250 meters (most other submachine guns could only reach up to 100 meters, while the Thompson could reach up to 150), to the point where Allied and German soldiers would drop their own submachine guns in a hurry if they could get their hands on an MAB 38A. While less well-known, the Variara holds special mention for having been made exclusively in clandestine backyard workshops to arm the Italian partisans, as well as, ironically enough, using the same bolt and firing mechanism as the troubled Sten gun.
      • Also subverted by the Perino Modello 1908 machine gun, a contemporary of the Fiat-Revelli prototype that was as reliable as the famous Vickers machine gun (kept in service until 1968 because it was just that good) and having a variant of the clip mechanism arguably superior to the ammo beltnote , with the only issue, excessive weight, being solved by the inventor himself. Unfortunately, Engineer Revelli, inventor of the other machine gun, was on commission to decide if the Perino would continue being produced, and the Fiat company possessed massive political power and wealth, so no one dared to say no to them, resulting in the Perino stopping production at 150 units initially commissioned.
  • The Enfield L85 (better known as the SA80) was basically Britain's way of telling the United States that when it came to the design of infantry weapons, "anything you can screw up, we can screw up bigger"; the design itself was fairly sound, albeit rather maintenance-intensive and complicated to disassemble, but had to be built to extremely fine tolerances. Unfortunately, the initial in-service version was the last project undertaken by the Royal Small Arms Factory, whose workers had recently learned they were all going to be laid off. The reader can doubtless imagine the effect this had on their workmanship. A report listed 50 issues inherent to the system, including spontaneous malfunctions, firing pin breakage, safety breakages, and magazines spontaneously dropping. This is what happens when a country forces through a new assault rifle just for the hell of it. Heckler & Koch managed to (mostly) salvage the design in the upgrade to the A2 standard, though the light support weapon variation is still not seeing much use at all except as a rarely-used DMR (non-changeable barrel and bullpup action make it very difficult to fire for long periods or even use magazines suited for that; its initial role is instead being fulfilled by the L110A1, a British version of the excellent FN Minimi).
  • Real Life military use of an unstable gun as an effective weapon: In World War II, the standard British SMG, the MkII Sten, was prone to accidental discharges when dropped; it could in fact empty its entire magazine that way, an attribute occasionally used to turn it into a field-expedient grenade substitute. Later models improved, at least to the point where you no longer took your life in your hands by merely being in the same room as one with a round chambered, but would still misfeed at the slightest provocation.
    • This is partly justified in the fact that the Sten was designed to be produced cheaply and quickly. Because Britain needed to replace all of the weapons they left behind during the evacuation of mainland Europe, quality took a backseat to quantity. Once the threat of a German invasion of Britain began to decrease, the Sten's quality slowly rose to higher levels.
    • Most sources mention the biggest issue with the Sten wasn't the mechanism, but rather the magazines (which were the same magazines used by the MP40). Indeed, the MP40's magazines were prone to spring failure when fully-loaded with 32 rounds, though most soldiers got around that by only loading 28 or 30 instead; Wikipedia in particular notes that the magazines built for the Sten were exact copies of the MP38/MP40 magazines, including all of its faults. Another problem is that the Sten fed from the side, rather than from beneath like the MP40 (and by extension, like the magazines were actually designed for).
      • This was a case of win one, lose one, as the advantage of using the same magazines was that because of the weapon (and money) shortage, using the existing magazines as their enemy meant that ammunition was always easy to come by and proved very effective for espionage and resistance units (such as the SOE).
    • It's not only that but the first Sten was made with no safety measures, especially with the bolt in forward position (if it was in back position, the cocking handle could at least be put on a notch in the gun's body).
      • A closer example is, in fact, that so many game/film characters hold the MP40 and Sten by the magazine. In reality, that is a very good way to make them jam (which is why the Haganah and IDF, which relied on Sten guns during and in the run-up to the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, drilled it into their soldiers never to do this). The proper "foregrip" of an MP40 (which is otherwise a highly reliable SMG) is to hold the magazine well firmly with the index finger and thumb. Or between the mag well and the trigger guard. The Sten? Well, there's not really anywhere comfortable to grip (with either hand) on the MK II and Mk III versions. Unless you have the Canadian Mk II, whose wire stock/grip at least doesn't look like something a sadist would design. Wrapping leather around the barrel shroud and the grip might be a good idea, though. Holding onto the magazine was however quite common among both British and German troops during WW2 regardless of it being a bad idea, as can be seen in a variety of period photographs.
    • The Lanchester SMG was a British copy of the German MP28 SMG (an evolution of the World War I MP18), that was introduced during the aforementioned desperate rearmament period following Dunkirk. While it was a robust and well made weapon, it did have an unfortunate tendency to fire off bursts whenever the butt was given a hard knock while it was cocked and loaded. This was due to the way the blowback action was designed (open bolt with large mainspring holding the bolt under tension), not due to manufacturing errors.
    • The PIAT, a handheld spigot mortar designed in WWII to eliminate the telltale and lethal backblast from other anti-armor launchers suffered from this. Whilst the mechanism was incredibly simple and almost never jammed, it was a bastard to cock, requiring over a hundred pounds of force to do so. To help with this, in combat, only the first round needed to be cocked — subsequent firings would use the propellant to blow the firing pin backwards, cocking the weapon. In theory. However, unless the weapon was held very tightly, the pin wouldn't be pulled back, and the firer (who in this situation would have been knocked off his feet by the immense recoil) would have to re-cock it himself, which was not fun or safe even without enemies shooting at him.
    • The Australian-designed Owen, which was supposed to replace the Sten and the US Thompson in Commonwealth forces, had a similar problem made worse: even with the safety engaged, it was still known for accidental discharge. The Aussies didn't care, though. They considered its near-immunity to jamming far more important, especially given their tendency to be fighting in muddy jungles or sandy deaserts where any reliability problems get exaggerated.
    • There is an urban legend among the German Bundeswehr that this issue is present with the IMI Uzi. The legend goes that, in Close Quarters Combat training, soldiers are advised on how to use the gun as a makeshift "roomsweeper": load a magazine into the gun, cock it, release the safety and throw the gun into a room/down some stairs/down an elevator shaft. This practice is neither found in any official training manuals nor has the gun ever been used that way. The Uzi actually has global renown for being a highly reliable, accurate, and controllable submachine gun.
  • The German MP 38 submachine gun (often incorrectly called the "Schmeisser" — it was actually an Erma product) originally was prone to accidental discharges if it was dropped or bumped on its rear end, such as when the soldier carrying it hit the butt on the ground when jumping down from the back of a truck. The bolt would "bounce" back against the recoil spring (compressing the spring), and then forward under spring pressure, chambering and firing the top round in the magazine. A "quick fix" was a leather strap that looped over the bolt handle to secure the bolt in the forward (uncocked) position. The later MP 40 version (the one that accounted for most wartime production) had a safety notch to turn the bolt handle up into to lock it in place, to prevent this from happening.
  • The Nambu Type 94 Japanese issue pistol was notorious for firing if touched wrong, due to an exposed sear bar that could drop the hammer if so much as lightly handled when the safety was off. While Japanese NCOs had their pistols issued to them by the military, Japanese officers purchased their own guns, and quite a few did not buy native.note 
    • It was only a substitute standard pistol taken into military service due to shortages of the standard Type Taisho 14 8mm automatic pistol, which replaced the older "Papa Nambu" in the 1920s. The Type 94 was apparently originally designed as an export item for commercial sale overseas; one can only assume that the designers anticipated selling them to fairly gullible customers. While there's no known instances of a Type 94 going off while the safety is engaged, it was probably a good idea to carry without a round in the chamber, just in case. The standard Type Taisho 14 pistol was perfectly safe (though rather underpowered compared to most other combat handguns of the war, much like the rest of Japan's arsenal at that time) — as long as you remembered not to leave the locking piece out of the mechanism after field-stripping and reassembling it. It would fire without the locking block, exactly once; the result would be the bolt immovably jammed in the full-recoil position (not very useful in a firefight). For cultural reasons, Japanese officers tended to charge with a sword in hand anyway.
    • The Type 14 Nambu, the official Japanese service pistol throughout the 1930s and WW2, was itself an adequate enough weapon, though wholly unremarkable. The 8x22mm Nambu round it fired was both underpowered and ill-suited to the weapon, causing some to hiccup and jam after more then a few shots; otherwise it would have been a decent weapon. Oh, and the firing pin was also somewhat fragile... and instead of implementing Colonel Nambu's rather simple fix to this one, they just issued spare firing pins, with the expectation that when one broke the officer would disassemble his gun and replace the pin in the middle of combat. No surprise that many chose to draw their sword when their Nambu jammed.
    • Other weapons like the Type 26 revolver were just horrible in every way. Essentially a clone of a Smith & Wesson top-break revolver with all the good parts removed, it fired a 9mm round that lacked any punch at all and was a proprietary round (it was similar to the weakest loads you can find of .38 S&W and almost exactly the same size, yet just different enough to not be interchangeable), making it difficult to supply in the field. Other distinct merits was its horrendous trigger pull (made worse by not even having the option of firing in single-action mode; despite the hammer being exposed it had no spur and could not be manually cocked) and an unfortunate tendency to have its barrel and chamber misaligned, causing a catastrophic misfire when doing so. If that wasn't worrying enough, a special tear gas grenade attachment was developed for it as well.
    • The Japanese had also experimented with making a copy of the American M1 Garand, the Type 5. It would have been rechambered for Japan's own 7.7mm Arisaka cartridge, and rather than utilizing the unique but somewhat-temperamental en bloc clip it would be fed via a pair of regular stripper clips in the same manner as the British SMLE. It ultimately ended production at about 250 units, none of them seeing service, and many more of them not even being assembled, due to frequent jamming. Given the abysmal condition of Japanese industry in 1945, and the fact that the war ended before they had any real chance to work out the bugs in the design, this isn't surprising.
    • World War 2 era Japanese weapons tended to be horrible, with a few exceptions, most notably the Arisaka rifle. Most of their machine guns in particular were overweight, underpowered and unreliable. R. Lee Ermey test-fired a Type 92 in both Lock N'Load and Mail Call where he addresses the gun's unnecessarily heavy weight, low rate of fire, and horrible tendency to jam. In fact, in Lock N'Load, an improperly-loaded ammo strip caused a fragmented case to cut his knuckle, also jamming the gun in the process.
    R. Lee Ermey: Damn thing hurt me!
    • The Type 11 light machine gun had similar issues stemming from its magazine design. The weapon used a unique hopper design to feed ammo from six of the same five-round clips used by the famed Arisaka rifle. This allowed users to top off their ammo without having to remove the magazine, but it also gave it a tendency to jam with the slightest amount of dirt, an undesirable characteristic in the mud and grime of the Pacific Theater. Additionally, the side-mounted magazine made the weapon unbalanced and difficult to use when fully loaded (also a problem with the British Sten).
    • Similarly was the original model of the Type 100 SMG, a copy of the Bergmann MP 18 which, in addition to balance issues caused by the side-mounted magazine, would frequently jam due to a feature where the firing pin would not operate unless a round was fully chambered. A lightened, folding-stock version for paratroopers was even worse, as the lighter weight made the weapon too fragile for general use. The updated Type 100/44 removed this feature, among other improvements, but the weapon was still also underpowered compared to the submachine guns in use by the other armies in the war, and production for all variants only amounted to 27,000 weapons at best.
  • A mildly famous incident with a marked Truth in Television of a horrific jam that literally disabled the gun occurred at IPSC Nationals several years ago. At one stage, a fired case ejected from the pistol, bounced off the edge of a quarter-inch sheet of plywood the shooter was standing next to, and as the next round fired and ejected, the first case fell into the open ejection port backwards and was pushed forward into the chamber, while the next round attempted to feed. The weapon was completely locked up and required significant work to be cleared, with no small amount of trepidation as there was still a live round crammed halfway into the action even with the magazine removed.
  • As it happens, this Trope is Older Than Steam: Every firearm made up until the advent of percussion ignition would often misfire in normal conditions, or fail to work at all in bad weather. And it goes the other way too: they could also accidentally fire on their own, or would only fire several seconds after pulling the trigger.
  • The Ross Rifle, a target and sporting rifle designed by Sir Charles Ross and adopted as a substitute for the Lee-Enfield by the Canadian military before WW1. The Ross was a pound lighter than the Enfield, and more accurate because it was designed to very tight tolerances. It, however, had several noticeable issues.
    • Part of the problem was the use of a straight-pull bolt mechanism: this allowed the Ross a shorter cycle time than even the mighty Enfield, but also required a complex system of cams and grooves which became ridiculously stiff with even the slightest mud contamination, and couldn't handle ammunition made to loose tolerances. Stories exist of soldiers resorting to stomping on the bolt handles of their rifles and still failing to budge them an inch.
    • It also suffered from inadequate engineering and poor manufacturing quality. Bolts made from a batch of poor-quality steel would deform in normal use; the chambers were being "pinched" out of specification by the clamp used to screw them into the reciever. Worst of all, the bolt could be re-installed after field-stripping with the bolt head rotated halfway-round (180 degrees) in its sleeve from its correct position. Done this way, the bolt would not engage the camming surfaces in the bolt sleeve. It looked correct, and it would close, but it would not lock — but the rifle would still fire with an unlocked bolt, ejecting it backwards with great force. While testing has shown that the bolt wouldn't actually be ejected from the rifle, given where a shooter's eye will normally be that wouldn't have saved them from getting a large piece of metal in a very bad place at a very high speed. This was a fault in the design that was never entirely corrected (one version was altered by pinning the bolt in place, but that meant that the very dirt-sensitive rifle's bolt could not be disassembled for cleaning), and one of the major reasons the Ross had a very short tenure as the standard service rifle of the Canadian Army.
    • These issues were fixable, and would have been corrected after a proper "shake down" period where flaws are discovered and corrected in armories by trained gunsmiths — but politics prevented this. Canadian Minister of Militia and Defence Sam Hughes, a personal friend of Sir Charles Ross, overstated the rifle's capabilities, covered up its defects, and obstructed efforts to correct its problems until, finally, he was forced out of office by the public scandal and the rifle was taken out of combat service.
    • Needless to say, after their first engagement in 1915, Canadian soldiers usually ditched their Ross rifles for Enfields as soon as they could. Eventually, many of them ended up being used for basic marksmanship training (both in Canada and in the US), where their shortcomings weren't an issue (training obviously being a much more controlled environment than combat) and their use for that purpose freed up more battle-worthy rifles for the front lines.
    • All that said, because the Ross was designed as a target rifle rather than a military one, it was a fair bit more accurate at range than the Lee-Enfield, and so it remained a fairly popular rifle for Canadian snipers, who tended to do a better job than the average soldier at keeping their rifles clean and were a lot less likely to assemble the bolt wrong, thus negating some of the design's primary flaws... but it'd still jam at the drop of the hat even for them if the ammo was less than pristine; while the rifle continued some service well into World War II, it was almost entirely limited to branches that weren't on foreign soil and therefore likely to actually fire the weapon.
  • The German StG-44 is widely considered the purveyor of the assault rifle concept which dominates military infantry standard-issue today. However, due to the war going on at the time, the materials used to make the gun were often of poor quality and production was necessarily rushed; tests done by the British around the end of the war revealed that the bolt could be immobilized by simply pinching the sides of the receiver, and that the entire gun could be rendered totally inoperable by simply propping the gun up and then pushing it over. It was deemed too heavy a rifle with too fragile a bolt and receiver to change the war by Allied Intelligence, but it was well liked within the German military, even with the shortcomings.
    • Similarly, the FG 42's action was so delicate that full-auto fire could potentially break the gun apart; this was a problem for a few other weapons around that time and later, too, like a fully-automatic version of the Soviet SVT-40 rifle and the M60, mentioned below, which was based on the FG 42's action.
  • The IMI/Magnum Research Inc. Desert Eagle also has a higher than usual tendency to not cycle properly, one of many reasons why it's loathed by some gun enthusiasts. Manuals for later models include a line about how failure to cycle can be caused by the operator not holding the gun firmly enough, resulting in the whole weapon moving backwards instead of the slide. So as far as they are concerned, the problem is Shur-Fine wrists.
    • That problem is known as "limp-wristing", as noted in the opening. Any autoloading pistol, if you don't resist the recoil enough and simply let it move backwards and upwards with your hand, will jam. The reason the Desert Eagle is getting this bad reputation is because it fires big-ass rounds, and big-ass rounds means huge recoilnote , which results in the gun being harder to handle properly than your usual 9mm, causing a jam. Many Desert Eagle owners who can get a good grip and resist the recoil usually say that it's a reliable enough weapon.
      • Its magazine design can also cause issues, as it's a "free-floating" magazine; pressing upward on the magazine, either by using a(n incorrect) teacup grip or by resting the grip on a surface while shooting, can cause it to jam. This is enough of a potential problem to warrant a mention by the manufacturer. While this isn't a real problem for target shooters in a controlled environment (where it was intended to be used anyway), it's more than enough to prevent it from ever holding any sort of "duty" role.
    • It can also happen if you get wimpy rounds that don't move the Desert Eagle's heavy slide back enough. Unlike with .44 and .357 Magnum revolvers, the Desert Eagle when chambered for one of those rounds can't be used effectively with .44 or .38 Special, unless the springs are swapped out to account for the lower-pressure rounds. Otherwise you'll have to rack the slide manually for every shot, which obviously defeats the purpose of a semi-automatic.
    • Early in the Desert Eagle's life, it wasn't widely understood as being closer to an M16 in action than a normal automatic pistol or revolver. The direct gas system taps gas from behind the bullet using a port drilled into the barrel. Most revolver rounds are all lead, without a copper jacket. The soft lead would get shorn off and clog the gas port, causing a failure to cycle and being a complete pain in the ass to clean out. When using jacketed rounds, as recommended by the manufacturer, the gun works just fine.
  • The M50 and M55 Reising were submachine guns issued to the Marines during World War II as a substitute for Thompsons, which were in short supply (especially for the Marine Corps, which always had to wait until Army and Navy orders were filled before getting anything) and too bulky and heavy for constant jungle patrols. The Reising was accurate and reliable in trials — unfortunately, the trials were designed for a civilian law enforcement weapon, not a military one. While a cop would have no trouble with his gun (since he'd only be using it in his own city, and would be keeping it in storage most of the time), the complex internals of the gun would easily foul and jam in the sand, mud, and salt water of the Pacific campaign. The design of the magazine meant that it could also easily be slightly damaged and make the magazine useless. The folding stock of the M55 would often not stay in place while the gun was being fired. It would even jam just from too-humid air, which rusted the firing pin. As if this wasn't enough, the weapon was cocked by pulling back a tab attached to the the bottom of the handguard. In other words, a rapidly reciprocating piece of metal right by your delicate fingers. The cocking piece was inside the handguard (which had a groove cut into it for that purpose), meaning that your fingers were probably safe...unless you accidentally slipped them into the groove instead of around the side note . But this provided the most common of the Reising's many opportunities to jam; if the groove filled with mud, the cocking lever would be blocked from moving. To make things worse, the Reising had parts that didn't properly interchange from one gun to the next, and replacement parts needed to be hand-fitted. The only reason the Marines used them at all was they were available immediately rather than the "maybe in a few months" status of new Thompsons. Not surprisingly, Marines would take almost anything else and dump their guns as soon as possible. Lt. Col. Merritt Edson commanded his battalion to dump all of their Reisings in a river so they could draw better guns. One NCO reportedly "decommissioned" his gun by smashing the stock over the head of a rather unruly prisoner in the brig. After the Marines' dismal experience with it in the Pacific, the remaining Reisings were either foisted off on Canada and Russia, or assigned to duty they were more suitable for: issue to stateside police, factory guards and Coast Guard patrols.
  • The FAMAS F1 was designed a few years after France withdrew from NATOnote , in turn allowing France to design a new infantry weapon without being forced to comply to NATO standards. The result was one of the most mind-bogglingly weird and boneheaded assault rifles designs of the twentieth century, not helped by a laundry list of poor decisions. The downsides stem from the fact the FAMAS F1 has a higher barrel twist rate than either version of the AR-15/M16 family rifle (i.e. it's optimized for neither the original American M193 cartridge nor the NATO-standard SS109), optimized for the locally-produced steel-cased 5.56mm "F1" cartridges; as time passed and production of the rifle and ammunition ceased, the French military was left sitting on their reserves. As operations in Afghanistan and Chad showed, when a standard FAMAS F1 was fed with American-issued 5.56 NATO ammunition, the effective range would drop to an abysmal average of 50 meters (about 165 ft; a modern 9x19mm pistol can equal this, for context), effectively making the rifle useless. Because France was not anymore able to produce this proprietary ammunition locally, they had to contract a manufacturer in the Emirates, however ammo purchased from them turned out to be of low quality and poor manufacture; coupled with an awkward, proprietary 25-round magazine instead of STANAG-compliant magazines (some genius thought it would be a great idea to go with cheap magazines designed to be thrown away after being emptied once... and then later some other genius decided it would be a great idea to save money by reusing the non-reusable magazines), this effectively killed the F1 as an effective, modern-day infantry rifle. Nearly all of those problems were fixed with the more modern variants, such as the FAMAS G2, which has a STANAG magwell and a barrel with the same twist rate as an M16/AR, allowing it to shoot 5.56 NATO proper. However, the G2 was never purchased in high numbers by the French military (only the Navy has officially adopted it), citing an ever-shrinking budget, and an administration unwilling to replace the some 300,000 F1s equipping the armories. The French military finally announced in September 2016 that they would be replacing the FAMAS with the HK416 beginning in 2017.
  • As the quote goes, "You ain't a SEAL until you've eaten Italian steel." The early production run of the Beretta 92F pistols for the US Government had an issue where the slide would fly off the frame during shooting, causing injury to at least one SEAL. While several different reasons were claimed (high round counts, overpressure ammunition), it was eventually discovered that a component that was supposed to be replaced after 25,000 rounds was failing around the five thousand mark. Free replacement parts were sent out and Beretta, in the upgrade to the 92FS, redesigned the frame with a pin to prevent the slide from flying rearward in the event that the locking block fails. The 92FS has gone on to be a fairly satisfactory military and police sidearm, but the Navy SEALS still switched to the SIG P226, and the other branches and units that didn't resist switching to it in the first place kept trying to replace it with a 1911-based sidearm every couple of years before finally at least getting rid of it in 2017; in official American military surveys about troop experience and opinion regarding weapons, the M9 rated the lowest, with a significant majority of users distrusting it.
    • Another issue with the 92FS is that most US military-issue magazines for it were given a "sand-resistant" coating for combat in the Middle East - a coating which, for some reason, actually attracted more sand onto and into the magazines. Genuine Beretta-manufactured magazines do not have the coating or the issues it causes.
  • The French MAS 44, 49 and 49/56 rifles are been known to slamfire due to their free-floating firing pins getting stuck in the forward position, though only with commercial ammunition. The free-floating firing pin was never a problem with French military ammo, which has unusually hard primers even by military standards, and in military service they were famous for extreme reliability. But the 7.5x54mm ammo now produced for civilian sale has standard primers, and even a light strike can cause them to fire. Some owners solve this problem by grinding about half a millimeter off the tip of the firing pin, while others prefer to load their own ammo using the military-style hard primers that the gun was designed for. Of course, these designs also have the problem of being direct impingement designs, but unlike the M16/AR-15 family are surprisingly easy to clean.
    • The Russian SKS rifle (see the MythBusters episode above) also had a free-floating firing pin, which led to similar issues; earlier models had springs keeping the firing pin from getting stuck forward (a feature that was eliminated as a cost-cutting measure), and there are after-market kits to modify models that aren't already set up that way. This is at least a somewhat-common issue for almost every weapon to use a free-floating firing pin; even the SVD sniper rifle has been known for slam-firing when loaded with ammo using softer-than-standard primers, according to Wikipedia.
  • The Carl Gustav M/45 had an unusual safety and was prone to going off when dropped.
  • Pistol-grip forends on pump-action shotguns commonly show up as a cool looking accessory in film, television, and videogames, making a shotgun nearly resemble the old dual pistol-grip M1928 Tommy gun of 1920s gangland infamy. In real life, these nearly useless accessories jut out at a cumbersome angle from a critical operating part which can make cycling the weapon difficult, provide poor ergonomics for supporting the hefty forward weight of a shotgun (which carries its ammunition in a magazine tube right over the slide), and, worst of all, create a risk of twisting or bending the gun's action bars, preventing the bolt from seating in battery or damaging the weapon. Cheap aftermarket accessory makers sell them anyway to the uninformed.
  • The Bushmaster ACR was recalled in October 2010. Bushmaster learned of a design flaw in the rifle that could cause it to fire multiple rounds with only one trigger pull.
  • The M60 machine gun, despite being heavily inspired by the brilliant MG 42, has more than a few unbelievably baffling design flaws for a standard issue weapon:
    • The bipods were all integrally attached to the quick-change barrels, meaning that gunners can't keep them on target during barrel changes. There was also no way for gunners to change the hot gun barrel without physically grabbing it with their hands, which necessitated the issuing of asbestos gloves to gun crews. If that weren't bad enough, the barrels all have non adjustable front sights, meaning that it is impossible to consistently hold zero between different barrels.
    • The barrel latch was very easily to accidentally hit, therefore making it very easily to drop the barrel while firing.
    • It was also both very easy and very possible to unknowingly reassemble the gun improperly during either maintenance, or barrel changes, by putting in the gas piston backwards. This has the effect of turning it into a single shot, straight pull, bolt action weapon.
    • Cocking the gun without any ammo in the action will damage the feed system, as will closing the top cover if the bolt is in the wrong position.
    • The sear and operating rod are easily worn down, meaning that the gun can suddenly "runaway" and continue firing even when the trigger has been released. Even worse, the safety and the trigger group are both housed within the pistol grip, which is only held on by a single pin and retaining clip. These can both be easily damaged or fall out during normal use, resulting in the whole trigger assembly falling off of the gun. Like the above, if such occurs while it's firing, it will continue to fire until it either jams or runs itself out of ammo.
    • The barrel and gas system cannot be separated, and the gas system itself cannot be adjusted, meaning that it cannot be changed for differences in ammunition or fouling.
    • Most of these issues got worse with wear, so the gun tended to perform passably if recently refit, but degrade horribly over time; this was especially an issue for the M60E3, which attempted to reduce the weight of the weapon, but succeeded at the cost of making it even less reliable. It's commonly said that an M60 would literally beat itself to death. So much so that even the receivers got labelled as replaceable partsnote  - only the trunnion was considered to be long lasting. Modern variants like the M60E4/E6 and Mk. 43 have finally fixed the M60's issues for beating themselves to death, but save for the SEALs and the Coast Guard, almost every branch of the US military has abandoned it, either switching to the M240 and deciding reliability at the cost of even worse mobility than the already-cumbersome M60 is a fair trade, or looking towards the newer Mk. 48, a 7.62mm conversion of the M249 that still manages to be lighter and more reliable than modern M60 variants.
  • The MG 42 and its post-war progeny, as mentioned above, was primarily an excellent design, but there was one poor variant - the US military briefly experimented with MG 42s converted to .30-06 Springfield late in the war, the T24 machine gun. In the same manner as one of the many issues with Chauchats converted to the cartridge above, the design team failed to account for .30-06 (7.62x63mmR) being six millimeters longer than the weapon's original 8mm Mauser cartridge (7.92x57mm) when converting them, thus failing to increase the length of the receiver for the new cartridge - when the two prototypes were test-fired, neither of them were able to fire more than a single bullet before they jammed, because they were physically incapable of ejecting the cartridges.
  • The Colt Double Eagle handgun was essentially a multi-caliber modernization of the classic M1911, but overall failed to find a market. Part of the reason very well could have been a lack of proper quality control - this story details a pair of shoddily-made 10mm Auto Double Eagles, one of which exploded upon firing due to an improperly-cut chamber, and then another that somehow had a factory-installed .45 ACP barrel.
  • Even the memetically tough AK series of rifles can suffer from this, generally due to wildly differing build quality. You see, whilst the ones coming out of foundries in the former USSR or the more advanced Eastern Bloc nations will generally be of a high-standard, because Mikhail Kalashnikov never patented it (he couldn't) hundreds have been produced in underground factories or backstreet metal shops. The soundness of the design can only do so much for abysmal build quality.
    • It should be noted that, despite the memes, AKs are actually rather prone to jamming while covered in mud. The AK's scheme for preventing jams when dirty is to have high tolerances - that is, spaces between parts inside the gun - so the grime has a place for moving parts to just push it out of the way. While this works phenomenally well against grease and burnt gunpowder, it can only be pushed so far with external dirt before it causes a jam. Some of the AK's children, such as the Israeli Galil, are sealed like more modern military rifles to prevent this.
  • Thanks to Britain's strict firearms laws, the most readily available black-market handguns are literal Shur-Fine Guns, either ancient First or Second World War souvenirs stolen from some veteran's attic, or crude Metro 2033 or Chechnyan-style derringers kludged together from starting pistols or BB guns. Actually firing one takes more balls than brains, as most such conversions will fire exactly once.
  • The bolt of a Mosin-Nagant can be disassembled for cleaning. However, since the rifles were built with looser tolerances than most, the firing pin may protrude a different length than before after reassembly. There's a screw in the back to adjust this and a hand cut notch where the screw should align to. However, if you adjust the protrusion too shallow, the round won't fire. If you adjust the protrusion too deep, the pin will pierce the primer and you may get a face full of combustion. That said, most Mosin-Nagant owners never disassemble their rifle's bolt and few actually know why that notch on the back exists.
    • The Mosin-Nagant's safety consists of pulling back on the bolt when it's closed and rotating it counter-clockwise. This is reportedly tough enough to do that few people will bother doing so, assuming they even know about it since said safety's so unintuitive that most of the rifle's users to this day aren't even aware of it.
  • The German Gewehr 41 semi-automatic rifle used what was known as a gas-trap system. One of the requirements in its design was that no gas tube was allowed to be drilled into the barrel for fear of premature wear and tear (and it was a legitimate concern back then). There was a gas trap at the muzzle end which would force some of the gas against an exterior piston which would cycle the action like normal. The problem was that carbon buildup was greater at the muzzle, and the piston would be covered with it to the point that the gas could not overcome the friction of the carbon buildup, keeping the piston in place. The improved Gewehr 43 switched to a more conventional short-stroke gas piston system based on that of the Soviets' SVT-40, but still suffered issues - wartime shortages as the end of the war approached forced the use of cheap parts that broke easily (even in the modern day, several gunsmiths specialize in G43 parts for the purposes of keeping surplus examples firing), and constant cleaning was required thanks to an exposed extractor spring. Also, it had a rather nasty reputation of exploding if it was over-gassed.
  • Kyber Pass Copies are of varying quality depending on their maker and on what materials happened to be availablenote , and copies of black powder rifles like the Martini-Henry (copied in the region for almost as long as it existed) are generally deemed safer because the ammo produces less pressure to being with, but even the best one are fragile enough that, when fed with commercially-available ammunition, there's a good chance they'll explode (collectors who fire them use handloaded ammo much weaker than commercial one, and even then there's a chance they'll blow up).
  • While the Soviet Union's RPG-7 Anti-Vehicle weapon is very reliable as it is mechanically an over-sized single-shot revolver, it has No OSHA Compliance courtesy of its extremely simple rocket. The rocket has a basic impact trigger and no safety, meaning that once the little plastic safety cap on the end of the rocket is removed, it will detonate if it touches anything hard enough. Insurgents in The War on Terror often remove the cap so the weapon is ready to fire at any moment, leading to many stories of insurgents tripping while carrying the weapon and blowing themselves up.
  • The Czech-made Skorpion is a rather distinctive little machine pistol and is by all accounts perfectly serviceable. Enter Armitage International, a South Carolina gun manufacturing company that decided that the original's 20 rounds of .32 ACP just wasn't enough—no, they needed to copy the design wholesale and scale it up to take 9mm instead (never mind that the original Skorpion's manufacturer, Česká zbrojovka, already did that). The end result is the Armitage International Scarab Skorpion, a titan of a machine pistol that takes modified MAC-10 magazines, meaning that it edges into being a small SMG. Where the Skorpion's toolings and functions work just fine, the Scarab is a mess. It loads poorly, feeds even worse, and manages to have almost every kind of problem one can imagine thanks to its rather primitive construction. To say that the damned thing can't even go one magazine without having multiple issues is not an understatement. Just watch as Ian McCollum, a Rare Guns commentator, struggles to maintain his goodwill as the gun continues to give him grief.
  • Subverted by World War II torpedoes, owing to how they work. Whilst torpedo launchers (torpedo tubes) usually were very reliable, the ammunition themselves weren't. Almost all WWII torpedoes were problematic.
    • German G7e torpedoes had notorious problems with magnetic detonators. The torpedoes tended to either ignore the magnetic field of the target completely, or be too sensitive and explode prematurely. The problem was so dire the German U-boat captains prefered to use their deck guns when feasible or lay mines. Famed U-Boat Captain Günther Prien compared them to trying to shoot with a wooden rifle. A study ordered by Admiral Karl Donitz concluded that poor-quality torpedoes had cost U-boats one battleship, seven cruisers, seven destroyers, and five transports.
    • The G7a torpedo, which had a contact detonator, was slightly more reliable, but also had a tendency to malfunction when least wanted. Of the seven torpedoes fired against HMS Royal Oak, only four detonated. Moreover, it ran on the surface, and left a telltale bubble wake, leaving the U-boat prone to retaliation by the enemy.
    • The American Bliss-Leavitt Mk. XIII Aerial Torpedo, used on airplanes, was the epitome of a reliably unreliable ordnance. It has been estimated that only 1 in 12 actually worked as designed with every failure imaginable being reported, from sinking straight to the bottom upon launch to running itself in circles. It was so unreliable that pilots eventually simply refused to carry it into battle and insisted on bombs instead. The problems of the Mk. XIII wouldn't be fully resolved until 1944. As an anecdote, three Japanese sailors from the aircraft carrier Kaga were rescued at Midway riding a dud Mk. XIII - its warhead had broken on contact and sunk. The rest of the torpedo had surfaced, becoming effectively a life preserver.
    • The submarine-launched Mk. XIV had problems similar to the German torpedoes. Both the magnetic and contact detonator versions had high failure rates. The worst problem was that the torpedo tended to run too deep - it simply passed under the enemy ship. This occurred because the test torpedoes were launched from normal atmospheric conditions. But since atmospheric pressure inside a submarine varied greatly, especially after prolonged submerged activity, the pressure inside the submarine would tamper with the sensitive instrumentation, effectively recalibrating the depth sensor. The detonator mechanism was a legacy from older models, and it worked for low-speed torpedoes, but for the high-speed Mark 14 torpedo, the same impact deceleration that caused the firing ring to move was also large enough to cause the firing pin stem to bind and fail to detonate the booster.
    • Double Subverted by the Japanese "Long Lance" ship-launched Type 93 Sanso Gyorai. It was basically a device Made of Explodium. It had a larger warhead than any other torpedo, and longer range, almost 40 km, and it was fast (50 kn). All this was gained by using pure oxygen as propellant instead of compressed air. Whilst it was a formidable weapon, it was as dangerous to the user as to the enemy. Many Japanese warships were lost due to a hit on the torpedo tubes, detonating the ship's torpedo battery. During the Battle off Samar (in the eastern Philippines) a five-inch (127 mm) shell from escort carrier USS White Plains struck the heavy cruiser Chokai. While in most circumstances a shell of this size would not seriously damage a heavy cruiser, this shell detonated the cruiser's torpedoes, disabling her rudder and engines; she was scuttled the next day. Unfortunately, the Type 93 wasn't immune from duds either; a failure rate of 20% was estimated.
    • On the other hand, British and Italian torpedoes and their detonators usually worked, and Japanese submarine and aircraft-launched torpedoes, which used compressed air instead of pure oxygen, were fairly reliable.
  • The Remington R51 fiasco, a redesigned and modernized version of the Remington Model 51 pistol which was developed almost a century earlier. Anticipation for the gun was sky-high: it looked beautiful and was a revival of a design by legendary gunsmith John Pedersen. Early advance reviews of the R51 from gun magazines and industry experts were glowing and full of praise. However, when the gun became commercially available in February/March 2014, actual buyers and new media reviewersnote  savaged the R51. The problems included things such as a gritty and sticky slide, badly designed magazines that frequently caused rounds to not chamber right (which could lead to case ruptures, an extremely dangerous malfunction), poor trigger reset, a steel slide riding on an aluminum frame that would wear down the receiver rapidly, and a hideously complicated takedown and reassembly procedure. The last one is very significant considering that Remington had marketed the gun as something that could be easily used and handled by the elderly, handicapped, women, and in general, people with weak hands. While firing the gun is one thing, cleaning it is an exercise in frustration and it is very easy to reassemble the slide incorrectly, causing the slide to lock back after every shot which could mean death in a real-life combat situation note . Remington eventually recalled the gun in July 2014 and spent over two years trying to fix the problems, but the Gen 2 release in August 2016 still saw plenty of issues with it. All told, the fiasco has heavily damaged the reputation of Remington as well as the entire gun review industry.
  • The M16 assault rifle, early in its life, had this reputation as well. The direct impingement gas system introduced carbon fouling and propellant gases into the rifle's interior by directly blowing some of the gas from firing against the bolt, and to make things worse, the powder used at the time was dirtier-burning than the rifle had been designed for, worsening the problem. It didn't help that the rifle, back then, lacked a forward assist (rendering it totally inoperable when it jammed and requiring full disassembly to clear it) and were issued without cleaning kits and/or cleaning instructions (due to false advertisement that the rifle was "self-cleaning" note  when no weapon is or ever has been, even today; part of this was intentional sabotage from the Army Ordnance Board, who wanted to go back to the 7.62mm M14 battle rifle) and lacked chroming of the bore and chamber to save on costs. While quickly fixed (by 1968, around two years after the first adoption) the rifle has yet to shake off the reputation; even the direct-impingement system is regarded as a complete failure because of it, despite other weapons with the system being famous for their ruggedness and durability.
  • The Colt Mk 12 autocannon used on the Vought F8 Crusader had a tendency to jam during hard maneuvers. Seeing as how dogfighting involves hard maneuvers, this was obviously bad for the plane and pilot. Consequently, the F8 became known as "The Last Gunfighter" because it was the last American aircraft of its era to be fitted with a gun, and even then despite the name the Crusader only scored four kills with its guns during The Vietnam War, the rest being scored with missiles.
  • Guns on aircraft came back into use after, based on experience with the Crusader, the Air Force tried to make later aircraft like the F-4 Phantom II use only missiles. The missile of choice, the heat-seeking AIM-9 Sidewinder, ended up being an incredibly finicky and temperamental weapon, which would often fail to launch entirely, would launch but fail to actually track the target in question, or would switch from tracking the heat of the target's jet exhaust to either tracking the heat from the jungle canopy below and hit the ground or the heat of the sun and make an ill-fated attempt to leave the Earth entirely, leaving plane and pilot totally at the mercy of Vietnamese MiGs, which still had cannons. Other missiles available at the time were even worse: the AIM-4 Falcon had a field of view wide enough that it often couldn't actually maneuver to hit the locked target, no proximity fuse (requiring direct hits to detonate, rather than the Sidewinder being able to blow up when it was close enough that it would still damage the target), and a smaller nitrogen bottle to cool the seeker (giving it a much shorter useful time window). The AIM-7 Sparrow fixed issues with heat-seekers by being radar-guided, but lead to its own slew of problems: the pilot had to look down into the cockpit (thus away from his surroundings) to aim the missile properly, he had to keep his plane pointed towards the target for the radar to continue tracking the target, and its significantly longer range was wasted at extremes because it was impossible, in the days before IFF systems, to determine if a target beyond visual range was actually the enemy. The Sparrow lives on, but only in naval use as the surface-to-air RIM-7 Sea Sparrow; for airborne usage it was replaced by the AIM-120 AMRAAM (which utilizes its own internal radar to guide it, rather than relying on the aircraft's radar), while the Falcon was abandoned entirely in favor of the Sidewinder, which saw multiple revisions and upgrades to make it more than serviceable, and is now essentially the standard short-range heat-seeking air-to-air missile (with not only most Western air forces using it, but even various Eastern ones using a Soviet copy, the K-13 or AA-2 Atoll, as well).
  • Any guns made by the infamous "Ring of Fire" manufacturers. Named such because it consisted of around a dozen companies based in a rough "ring" radius around Los Angeles County, these guns are the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to factory-made guns. Names such as Raven, Lorcin, Bryco, and Jennings have been immortalized in the firearms community for just how bad they were. Most of these companies have gone out of business by now, but three of them still live on: Phoenix Arms, Cobra Firearms, and Jimenez Arms. All three of them produce cheap pocket pistols that typically sell for around $100-150.
  • The Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle, which is the standard rifle of the German Bundeswehr and is used by military and police forces in more than 40 other countries, is to be phased out of Bundeswehr service by 2019, and will probably be phased out elsewhere, due to accuracy dropping significantly under sustained firing. The culprit in this case is under-engineering to save weight, which left a too thin free-floating barrel that droops when hot, supported by polymers that soften when hot, which together can cause rounds to drop off target as much as 50 centimeters at a distance of 200 meters or 6 meters at 500 meters. This is a significant black eye for H&K, which had been long considered a highly reputable manufacturer that supplies arms in particular to top-tier special operations forces around the world. As of 2016, H&K is litigating the matter in court to lay the blame with the German government. Ironically, the likeliest candidate to replace the G36 in many roles is the HK416, Heckler & Koch's piston-driven version of the M16, a weapon design that is now nearly 60 years old.
  • The SIG Sauer P320. Originally released in 2014, the pistol largely flew under the radar of most gun buyers, until it was a finalist in the U.S. military's Modular Handgun System trials to find a replacement for the aging Beretta M9. On January 19, 2017, the P320 was announced as the winner of the MHS competition, and the U.S. Army would move to adopt it as its new duty handgun later that year. Interest in the P320 spiked after this, and its newfound fame led to pistoleros all across America buying it up. Then, six months later in July 2017, rumors started circulating that a certain police department was planning to suspend use of the pistol due to it not being drop-safe (i.e. the gun isn't safe to drop because it may fire). A week later on August 2, 2017, these rumors were confirmed when the Dallas Police Department did precisely that. Less than 48 hours later, SIG issued a statement claiming the pistols were safe, concluding with the sentence, "There have been zero (0) reported drop-related P320 incidents in the U.S. commercial market, with hundreds of thousands of guns delivered to date." What followed after this could only be described as the heavens deciding to strike down the haughty:
    • A few days later on August 7, 2017, a lawsuit suddenly surfaced that had been filed on August 4 by a Stamford, Connecticut Special Response Team officer who claimed he had been seriously injured when his P320 had shot him in the leg after it dropped while the gun was still in its holster. The same day this was revealed, the firearms retailer Omaha Outdoors released a video proving the gun was not drop-safe and announced they were suspending all sales of the P320. The cause was tentatively determined to be because the P320's trigger is heavier than what a trigger on a polymer-framed gun would normally be, and because of this, when dropped at an angle that allows the slide to hit the ground, the trigger will move just far enough back to discharge a shot. The one P320 variant that did not fire at all when dropped was the P320 X-Five, a version of the firearm that has a lighter trigger. note  In response, SIG issued a press release claiming they would offer a to-be-determined "voluntary upgrade" of all P320 pistols, which later turned out to be a free modification to the trigger to make it lighter. It didn't stop a whole slew of videos uploaded to Youtube of other P320 owners testing to see if their guns were drop-safe... and more often than not, they weren't. One video shows the P320 firing even when dropped right-side up.
    • Another major aspect of the whole scandal is that the officer filing the lawsuit claimed his incident occurred on January 5, 2017, two weeks before the gun was selected as the winner of the MHS trials... meaning that, at most generous, the pistol had passed the U.S. military's tests without this flaw being discovered. A number of explanations have arisen, such as that the P320 being tested is a special model that comes with a manual safety, or that the government's drop-safe testing only requires a gun to drop on its muzzle and the sides (not the rear). But the most contentious explanation is that the P320 may have cheated its way through the trials. As a matter of fact, the other finalist in the MHS competition, Glock, had already attempted to file a complaint (which was later denied) against the U.S. Army for how the trials were conducted, insinuating that the trials as designed had implicitly and unfairly favored SIG all along. With these drop-safe revelations now occurring, Glock may have a point. Ironically, some of SIG's marketing for the P320 has focused on its supposed safety advantage based on the fact that the pistol can be disassembled without dry-firing, which in particular distinguishes it from the ubiquitous Glock.
    • Yet another explanation may be that the MHS trials were rushed and improperly conducted (more details here). Some have noted that the announcement of the P320 being the winner was done on a significant date, January 19, which was 24 hours before Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States. Theories have been put forth that Army bureaucrats feared that Trump would order a review and even a redo of the already over-budget and behind-schedule MHS process (and considering how hard he had been on other infamously expensive weapons systems, he very well may have), and rushed the approval process simply to avoid his scrutiny.
    • On top of all this, SIG was already being sued by Steyr for alleged patent infringement over the P320. It's probably safe to say that the P320, which initially was set for a bright future, may end up with a reputation as controversial as the M9, the very gun it was meant to replace.
    • A follow-up report done by CNN in June 2018 shed more light on the issue, identified more accidental discharges than previously known, and revealed that the military had discovered the problem in its drop testing. The military's pistols were fixed using the same modification that SIG later offered to the public... which explains why SIG had a fix for the problem ready to go suspiciously fast.
  • SIG is starting to develop a worrisome reputation for this, or at least its Exeter, New Hampshire plant is. Its 2018 follow-up to the P320, the eagerly-anticipated P365 that is SIG's entry to the very popular 9mm micro-compact market (where it competes with guns like the Smith & Wesson Shield and Glock 43), has been reported to have various issues including returning to battery, barrels warping, and broken firing pins after less than a month on the market. SIG is fixing guns under warranty as customers report problems, and supposedly has been retooling production to correct these issues, but it hasn't stopped them from being accused of letting their customers do "beta testing" on unfinished products. Some of these issues may be due to the P320 and P365 representing a significant shift in design philosophy for SIG, from its traditional steel-framed, hammer-fired guns to polymer-framed, striker-fired guns (that are $300-$500 cheaper). But given the company's heavy presence in the law enforcement and (now) military markets, quality control issues are an ominous development.
  • The USFA ZiP Gun is a unique polymer .22 LR pistol with a lot of issues caused by its uniqueness. It is made largely out of polymer parts (even the bolt is plastic) and is compact to the extreme. There are no grips, no slides, and no external bolt parts. To cock the weapon, two external charging rods placed on top of the muzzle, one of which charges the weapon when pressed (this should raise some alarms for any people with basic firearm safety knowledge). The result of this compact design is that the gun has malfunctions constantly, even under ideal conditions. It has consistent issues with ejection, in some cases resulting in the casing being stuck sideways. It has issues with using 25-round .22 LR magazines because they feed too slowly thus causing feed failures. It has problems with some powerful cartridges, in the worst case causing every fourth shot to jam and cracking the gun after 26 shots. The trigger force needed is too heavy, the ergonomics are ridiculous, its small size meant that escaping hot gases rushed right into the shooter's hands causing injuries. Finally, how do you clear jams with this gun? You reach over the muzzle (remember that safety thing mentioned earlier?) and press the other charging rod which resets the striker. To top it all off, sometimes it doesn't work and only works when it is pushed to the point where the next round in the magazine is stripped, causing a double feed. It is so unreliable that almost all users reported that it can barely get through one 10-round magazine without jamming, with cases where all 10 rounds are fired without jamming being an anomaly instead of the norm.

Alternative Title(s): Shur Fine Guns