What Is A Squib Load? Everything You Need To Know

What Is A Squib Load

What Is A Squib Load?

Squib load or squid round is a type of gun malfunction. It happens when your firearm doesn’t generate enough power to shoot the bullet. As a result, the pellet cannot exit the gun barrel and stay stuck inside. 

This phenomenon is commonly known as no kick, squid round, pop, or a squib. 

Squib load is extremely dangerous, especially to beginners who don’t have much experience dealing with this malfunction. 

Therefore, knowing about the causes and methods to handle this situation is critical. Now let’s discuss the potential risks and dangers of squib load. 

What Is A Squib Load
What Is A Squib Load?

Why Is Squib Load Dangerous?

Squib loads can pose serious dangers to both the shooter and bystanders. Some of the potential dangers of firing a firearm with a Squib Load include:

Risk of injury to the shooter: When a bullet gets lodged in the barrel of a firearm due to a Squib Load, it can cause a buildup of pressure that can result in the barrel bursting or exploding. This can cause serious injury to the shooter’s face, eyes, and hands.

Risk of injury to bystanders: If a firearm with a Squib Load is fired, the pressure buildup can cause the barrel to burst or explode, sending shrapnel flying in all directions. This can potentially injure bystanders or other individuals in the area.

Risk of damage to the firearm: Squib Loads can cause serious damage to the firearm, including bending the barrel, causing the cylinder to crack, or damaging the firing pin. In some cases, the damage can be so severe that the firearm is rendered inoperable.

Overall, firing a firearm with a Squib Load can result in serious injury or even death. It is important to recognize the signs of a Squib Load and take immediate action to prevent firing the firearm until the issue has been resolved.

How to Address a Squib Load?

If a Squib Load occurs while firing a firearm, it is important to take immediate action to address the issue. Here are the steps to take:

Stop firing immediately: If you suspect a Squib Load has occurred, stop firing the firearm immediately. Continuing to fire the firearm with a lodged bullet can cause serious injury or damage to the firearm.

Check the firearm: Open the action and visually inspect the barrel to determine if a bullet is lodged inside. Do not use your fingers to check the barrel, as there may be live rounds still in the cylinder or magazine.

Clear the firearm: If you can see the lodged bullet, use a cleaning rod or dowel to gently push it out of the barrel. Make sure the firearm is pointed in a safe direction and that the action is open while doing this.

Seek professional help: If you are unable to remove the lodged bullet or are unsure if there is a lodged bullet, seek the help of a professional gunsmith or firearms expert. Do not attempt to fire the firearm again until the issue has been resolved.

Remember, safety should always be the top priority when handling firearms. If you suspect a Squib Load has occurred, take the necessary steps to address the issue and seek professional help if needed.

Prevention of Squib Loads

Preventing Squib Loads is an important part of firearms safety. Here are some precautions you can take to prevent Squib Loads:

Use proper ammunition: Always use ammunition that is designed for your firearm and that meets the manufacturer’s specifications. Avoid using reloaded or remanufactured ammunition, as they may not be consistent in quality.

Inspect ammunition: Inspect each round of ammunition before loading it into the firearm. Look for any signs of damage or defects, such as dented or deformed cases, loose bullets, or variations in cartridge length.

Proper maintenance: Regularly clean and inspect your firearm to ensure that it is in good working condition. Pay special attention to the barrel and chamber, as debris or fouling can cause a Squib Load.

Stay alert while firing: If you notice any changes in recoil or sound while firing your firearm, stop immediately and check for a Squib Load. Do not continue to fire the firearm until you have determined that it is safe to do so.

Seek professional help: If you are unsure about the proper use or maintenance of your firearm, seek the help of a professional gunsmith or firearms expert.

By taking these precautions, you can help prevent Squib Loads and ensure the safe and proper use of your firearm.

What Causes Squib Load?

This phenomenon can happen in all types of firearms, regardless of their quality.

The common cause is an insufficient load or lack of gunpowder. Sometimes the primer of the gun may fail to ignite the powder and generate the shooting force. 

If there is insufficient or no gun powder at all, the primer still generates force.

But it is just sufficient to push the pellet up to the barrel. If you keep firing a gun with empty gun powder, the rounds will pile up in the barrel. 

For the gun with weak barrels, the piled-up pellets will destroy its shape and structure. Squib load commonly happens with inexperienced and new reloaders who don’t check the gunpowder before firing. 

However, firing a too large or deformed cartridge can also cause a squib load. In this case, the damage is even more catastrophic than the lack of gunpowder. 

A Squib Load Definition
Insufficient Gunpowder In The Cartridge Can Cause Squib Load

How To Detect A Squib Load?

The apparent factor you should pay attention to is the shooting noise generated.

When squib load happens, you will hear a much quieter or strange noise in the barrel. It’s more like a “pop” or “ping” rather than a loud “bang.”

In addition, the recoil is much weaker, or there is no recoil at all. Recoil results from the powerful force generated when shooting. Another obvious sign is no pellet exiting the barrel, only a small fire ray or discharge. 

The insufficient burned powder will lead to smoke venting through the barrel ejection port. Squid load stops or fails the reloading cycle if you are using automatic and semi-auto firearms. 

Squib Load Definition
Notice The Recoil When You Shoot

How to Handle Squib Loads? 

Properly handling squib loads is critical as it protects both your firearm and your well being. When you notice one of the mentioned signs, unload your gun. 

The important thing is knowing when squib load happens. If you panic and fire another round, it will lead to catastrophic consequences. Carefully unload and disassemble the gun if you can. 

What Is The Squib Load
Quickly Disassemble The Gun If You Can

If you don’t have experience disassembling the gun, just leave it and let the gun fixers or professionals handle the task. Now check the barrel if there is obstruction, but don’t put it too close to your face. 

If a pellet is stuck inside, take a wooden or metal stick and carefully push it outward. Don’t ever use your hand to handle the obstructed cartridge. When performing these steps, remember to point your firearm in a safe direction. 

If you are handling a large or auto gun, don’t get in its shooting direction. The obstructed large cartridges can explode at any moment, bringing potential harm to the nearby people. 

If you want more detailed instructions, consider watching the video below. 


So that is the basic information on the causes, effects, and preventative measures of squib load. If you want to understand more about this malfunction, the answers provided in this section will come in handy. 

How Common Are Squib Loads?

If you use modern ammunition, squib loads rarely occur. 

The ammunition produced nowadays is thoroughly checked and filled with gunpowder using machines. 

However, it’s still a possibility, and you should be extremely careful. 

Is It Ok To Fire Again After A Squib Load?

The subsequent pellet will get stuck behind the obstructed cartridge in the barrel. As a result, it will ruin the barrel structure. In severe cases where the pellets explode, it will cause fatal damage to the gunners and nearby people. 

What Is A Double Feed?

Double feed happens when the two cartridges get removed from the magazine at once. They will get stuck in the firearm chamber and cause malfunction or damage to your weapon. 

Should You Oil The Inside Of A Gun Barrel?

Yes. You should maintain and lubricate the gun barrel to ensure it functions properly after a long usage period.

However, don’t use too much oil as it could impede the firearm and affect your shooting experience. 

Final Thoughts 

Though squib load is not a common malfunction, it can cause severe damage to the gunners and firearms. It’s critical to identify and handle squib loads properly.

I hope that the information provided in this post can satisfy you. 

Thank you for reading!

Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Cecil B. DeMille

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