Before most shooters even touch a gun or enter a shooting range, they are taught the fundamental rules of gun use. Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and so on and so forth. However, those basic rules do not cover all scenarios, and some shooters find themselves woefully unprepared for rare occurrences such as the much dreaded squib round. Other events, such as out-of-battery detonations or improper hand loading, could also have very dangerous consequences.
1. S&W M&P 15 Sport Rifle Catastrophic Failure (exploding)
“Took the rifle to the range and after 100 rounds the rifle suffered a catastrophic failure (literally exploding in 2),” wrote the person who posted this video to YouTube. “Luckily my friend KTdevildog was alright. Ammo being used was MBI 5.56 55gr FMJ. We assume the reason the firearm exploding was due to a ‘squib’ round, which is basically when a round get’s lodged in the barrel creating an obstruction and giving the gas the and pressure no other way to go than back.”
2. M1 Garand
The standard US service rifle for both World War II and the Korean War, the M1 Garand has earned its reputation as a powerful and accurate rifle. For many history buffs and gun collectors, the Garand is also a popular choice due to its background. However, as you’ll see in the video above, it is far from indestructible.
The cause of the explosion has not been confirmed, but many viewers are throwing out theories such as a squib—a bullet lodged in the barrel due to an underloaded round—or problems with the ammunition. The prevailing thought is that it was an out-of-battery detonation.
“The 7th round jammed, which is nothing unusual for this gun,” wrote arizonagirl24, who posted the video to YouTube and also claimed to be the shooter. “It happens all the time. That is why I didn’t really hesitate to shoot the final round. We were using newer ammo, so we don’t think that’s the problem. My brother has been looking at his M1, and we noticed it will still fire with the chamber not fully closed. The chamber can be open up to 1/2″ and the weapon will still fire. We think that’s what happened.”
She also claimed that neither her or her brother were seriously injured by the blast, although she did receive lots of splinters and some bruising.
3. AR-15 Explosion .223
Dealing with a malfunction during a competition can be stressful, but remember that safety—for both you and bystanders—come first.
“Rifle Competition Fail—Squib Load—.223/5.56 -Shooting a 3 Gun competition in NC—moving to the rifle portion of the stage and seemingly got a squib load—blew up my gun—busted extractor, upper receiver, bolt catch,” wrote the video’s uploader. “Long story short—if your round isn’t chambering—find out the reason before you force something down the pipe—I just didn’t have time to check it in the race.”
4. Shotgun Explosion
There is little backstory behind this video, although the uploader mentioned that the malfunction may have been caused by a handloaded shell.
5. Century Arms AK-74 Blows Up!
It is not every day that your rifle dissembles itself very suddenly and very loudly in your hands, but this shooter had the misfortune of it happening to him with this Century Arms AK-74 clone.
“This was the first time we had fired the weapon and as you can see it didn’t turn out well. A complete review will be coming soon,” wrote Brendon Davis, who uploaded the video to YouTube.
The owner later posted online that he had contacted Century and they believed it was a head spacing issue.
6. M16 Blows Up
“We were shooting guns at the local range, and my friend was firing the [rifle] and it kept jamming, but we thought he cleared it,” wrote the up loader of this video. “Eventually we think two bullets were left in the tube, and when the bullet fired, it exploded… one funny thing to watch is after the gun explodes, my friend checks his face to make sure his features are still all present…. we joke about it now, but at the time, it was scary.”
7. 357 Magnum Barrel Blows Off
Many shooters will tell you that a well-made revolver is among the most reliable of firearms, and they’re not wrong. However, sometimes things like this can happen.
“The barrel of a gun range’s rental Taurus stainless steel .357 magnum blew clean off after we fired about 20 rounds through it,” wrote the uploader. “I happened to be taking video at the time. The guy shooting had some slightly burned and battered fingers but was otherwise fine. Ammo was factory Magtech bought at the range, and the only other ammo we had with us was .22 LR.”