This article initially appeared in PS 759 (Feb 16), p. 39
The M16/M4’s TM 9-1005-319-10 is very clear about the clearing procedure:
1. Point weapon in a safe direction. Place selector on SAFE. If weapon is not cocked, lever can’t be moved to SAFE.
2. Remove magazine by depressing magazine catch button and pulling magazine out of weapon.
3. To lock bolt open, pull charging handle rearward. Press the bottom of bolt catch and allow bolt to move forward until it engages bolt catch. Return charging handle to the forward position. Check receiver and chamber to ensure these areas are clear of ammo.
Pull charging handle to rear and check chamber for round
4. With selector on SAFE, let the bolt go forward by pressing the upper portion of the bolt catch.
But unfortunately, many commanders and armorers also tell Soldiers to dry fire the weapon.
That’s unsafe if the Soldier did the procedure wrong, and it also causes unnecessary wear on parts.
If you want a safe weapon, keep it on SAFE and don’t pull the trigger.
LTC Paul Darling
Editor’s note: Excellent point, Sir. But armorers need to remember they are supposed to dry fire the weapon before they store it. Their procedure is:
1. Clear the weapon.
2. Place selector lever on SEMI.
3. Pull trigger. Hammer should fall.
4. Close ejection port cover.
5. Place weapon in rack.