8 Dec 99

This is from a friend who is one of my range officers in a Midwest police Department:

“Last week, one of our officers was shooting our qualification course with his Beretta 92F. During a reload, he popped the flap on his magazine carrier and, when he went to pull the magazine out, the magazine base butt plate fell off! Naturally, the magazine spring and follower instantly hurtled sideways, and the rounds formally contained therein dribbled out on the floor. Being a well-trained and seasoned officer, with minimal vacillation he reloaded with the second magazine in the carrier and finished the course.

Upon examination of the magazine, I initially concluded that the base plate must not have been fully seated. However, closer examination revealed that the retainer lips on the base plate had sheared off through, as near as I could tell, representative (but not excessive) use.

This catastrophic failure was the result of several years of ‘normal’ use. The magazine in question was, of course, junked on the spot and replaced with a new one. The Department subsequently issued a directive for all our officer to examine their magazines for similar problems. None were found. This magazine involved in the incident was apparently an old one which should have been retired long ago. Thank heaven the incident took place on the range!”


Regular inspection of one’s firearm is something which goes with the territory for those of us who call ourselves professional gunmen. The above-described weakness should have been detected by the gun’s owner before it was discovered inadvertently.

No matter how well trained or equipped we are, “complications” are an inseparable component of most emergencies. Few go “smoothly.” We must therefore train to work through unexpected glitches, as did the officer in the incident described above.