NEWS | March 2, 2021

Ammunition: Report Malfunctions!

Soldier loading pistol magazines
Photo by Claudia LaMantia

Soldiers, it doesn’t matter if you’re training in CONUS or OCONUS, firing small arms, using explosives or firing an M1 Abrams—ammo should work the first time, all of the time.
        
The first thing to do after a round doesn’t fire is use the immediate action procedures in the weapon or vehicle -10 TM. If you have to keep doing immediate action, there’s a malfunction.
        
When ammo malfunctions, it’s deadlined. But too often, ammo malfunctions aren’t reported due to a lack of training, not knowing which regulations to use or not understanding what qualifies as a malfunction.
        
Here are the regs you need to become familiar with and why.
 
  • AR 75-1, Malfunctions Involving Ammunition and Explosives, specifies what actions are required when malfunctions happen and the  proper procedures to report them
  • AR 385-10, The Army Safety Program, directs the use of AR 75-1 for reporting ammunition malfunctions
  • AR 385-63, Range Safety, also directs the use of AR 75-1 for reporting ammunition malfunctions
AR 75-1 defines a malfunction as a failure of an ammunition item to function as expected when fired or launched. That includes hang fires, misfires, duds, abnormal functioning, and premature functioning of explosive ammunition items under normal handling, maintenance, storage, transportation, and tactical deployment.

Don’t wait until qualification or certification is complete to report the ammo malfunction! AR 75-1 tells you to immediately cease firing suspected ammunition and notify range control or equivalent when a malfunction occurs. This means stop firing ammo with that lot number.  It’s not safe to use and could result in injury, death or damage to the equipment.
        
Again, it’s important to follow AR 75-1 and report the malfunction immediately. This will not only get you out of immediate danger but may help prevent risk to other Soldiers in training or even in combat.
        
Here’s who’s responsible for reporting a malfunction, along with their role.
 
  • Unit commander or senior person in charge of the firing unit calls an immediate cease-fire and reports the ammo malfunction in accordance with Para 2-1 of AR 75-1
  • Range OIC reports the ammo malfunction to range control in accordance with AR 75–1, AR 385–40 and AR 385-63
  • Range safety officer reports the ammo malfunction to the range OIC in accordance with AR 385-63
  • Quality assurance specialist, ammunition surveillance (QASAS) will investigate the ammo malfunction and forward the reports to JMC  
Note that the QASAS must be immediately contacted for any ammo malfunction. 
        
By the way, JMC is the ‘behind the scenes’ support team that works diligently to thoroughly investigate ammunition malfunctions to ensure the ammo you’re issued is serviceable, safe to use and will perform its intended function. If the ammo’s bad, JMC sends out worldwide notifications to ensure bad ammo is taken out of the supply system. But they can only accomplish their mission with your help and timely, accurate reporting of malfunctions.
           
Whenever you operate a range that uses ammo, make sure you’re familiar with all the regulations mentioned in this article. And remember that your timely reporting of malfunctions improves combat readiness across the entire Army by protecting lives and equipment.