When you end up in a rush is usually when you do something wrong. Last Thursday night, before leaving on my current trip, I spent a bunch of time cleaning a gift for the in-laws. I cleaned it from top to bottom after test firing it. After I was done I did a full functional test to make sure everything still was working correctly. Packed it up and all was well.
While I was busy doing all of that I decided that I should clean my XD. It hadn’t been cleaned since April and it was looking pretty crusty. While cleaning it was about 85 degrees in my shop, I was sweating like mad and mid cleaning my latex gloves bit the bucket. I couldn’t get a new set on so I just gave up and decided to soak my hands in chemicals. I hate doing that because many of them will absorb through the skin but the biggest dangers were already done.
I quickly finished scrubbing and cleaning the weapon. Put it back together and in a rush to go pack other stuff for the trip I missed a step. I put all the parts back in. I didn’t break anything either. What I didn’t do though was dry fire it before reloading. Normally I test every part individually before loading the weapon and holstering it. Verify all the safeties, make sure all feels well and nothing is out-of-place. Since I decided I didn’t need to test all the safeties I didn’t bother with functional testing. Well there was one test I really still should have performed but didn’t.
I pulled out the gun and unloaded it today for the mother-in-law to take a look at. She squeezed the trigger but nothing happened. She hands it to me and I say, “there’s the slack and it should break about here.” Nope trigger is total mush. I promptly start trying to remove the slide. There is one problem though, you have to drop the striker to remove the slide and barrel assembly. I start playing with the slide and notice that the striker will fall if I slightly pull the slide back out of battery.
I promptly look inside and see something that is wrong. There is a small piece that normally springs up and down but it is fixed in place and isn’t moving. I pull apart the striker mechanism and find exactly what happened. The spring fell over and was not providing positive movement to the piece to allow the safety to disengage correctly. Fix the spring reassemble and promptly dry fire. Works just like it should now.
So here’s the lesson. Always functional test the most important aspect of the firearm after being reassembled. My new rule is if it comes apart even in the most basic way, in the XD for example I remove the slide, it gets dry fired immediately when it has been reassembled. I had a gun that was useless the past couple of days, not freaking cool, but it was my own damn fault. Learn from my mistake.
Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.
He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.