So the question about using blanks to induce malfunctions in training classes has come up.
After many years of experience in this game, I think it is unnecessary at best and dangerous at it’s worst. Here is why:
In many instances, one can induce some glorious malfunctions with empty brass randomly inserted into the students’ magazine. While logically…running blanks shouldn’t be an issue in theory, the reality is we are setting up a mental condition that exacerbates human fallibility:
“This gun is loaded, but it’s safe because it’s just blanks. Yeah. All guns are dangerous but this one is less so right now because…blanks”.
That comment is a recipe for disaster.
The problem gets even worse when we go from a one-on-one event to an actual “class” of multiple shooters and assistant instructors working a line trying to watch multiple types of guns.
Then there is logistics: You gonna keep “blanks” for 9,40,45, 38 on hand? What happens when that “one guy” shows up with his 10mm, 357sig? To induce malfunctions with him, you’re going to default to the empty brass trick or dummy rounds anyway.
New threat most gun instructor don’t know about: FOD. Foreign Objects and Debris. A blank isn’t a blank if there is something stuck in the barrel in front of the blank. In that condition what you have is functionally a live round: Powder charge in chamber, rock or squib in the barrel. Pull the trigger and you either launch that object down range or kaboom the gun.
This is what happened to Brandon Lee some years ago. Is your class standing on a gravel range? What kind of class is it? Handgun 101? Or more advanced training that might have students down in that gravel? Will the “It’s just blanks” mentality accidentally end up with someone eating FOD?
Finally: What kind of malfunction is a blank supposed to induce? In the real world, almost ALL malfunctions will be gun-cycle and feed-way stoppages. The gun goes dead, then the shooter clears it.
I point this out since a blank in many handguns not modified to run blanks reliably will look like a squib. Do we want to condition people to keep firing after a suspected squib?
Food for thought. Nothing more. Just keep in mind, what you decide to come up with and try in your solo range time, might be less than optimal for, “gun class 101”.
You do you. But I suggest you leave the blanks at home.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”