The SO (who, by the way, was not the only one shouting at me), said that it sounded like a squib load to him, but I was sure it had been just a dud, because I had not felt any recoil nor had I heard the gun go "pop" or, really, make any sound at all. He had me unload, show clear, hammer down, and then he checked the barrel with a zip-tie, and sure enough, there was a bullet stuck in there. Well, how the fuck about that?
Somebody banged it out with a brass rod and the SO graciously granted me a re-shoot, a few spots later in the rotation.
Here are my thoughts about the incident.
1. Every book I ever read and every class I ever took warned me about squib loads: how to recognize them and what to do about them. Maybe it was just the heat of competition, but I totally missed this one. I do not remember the gun firing even a little bit. Nevertheless, the gun did fire enough to cycle the slide and eject the casing, because at the end of the incident, there were two unfired rounds on the ground. The first was from my tap-rack, and the second was from when I unloaded per the SO's instructions. If the squib round had not ejected, then there would have been one empty casing and one unfired round. So, when I pulled the trigger, there was enough of a "pop" that other people heard it, and there was enough recoil to cycle the slide, but my brain totally told me that nothing happened when I pulled the trigger. I still don't remember anything happening other than the hammer falling and me hearing a click.
2. I am really ticked off about this batch of Miwall 9mm 124gr TMJ from Outdoor Marksman (.com). This is the same batch that I posted about a while back where about 30 out of 1000 or so rounds were not crimped properly so the bullet would set back in the casing. Since I was aware of this problem, and since I was hesitant to embark on the customer service nightmare that I was sure a complaint or return would surely be, I was just careful to check each round for this problem before I loaded it into the magazine. Press on the nose and if it stays put, it's good to go. Now I get a squib round from the same batch. Now, the guys at the range said, "Oh, you got a squib? Yeah, that happens." But I'm already suspicious of the quality of this ammo, and I'm hesitant to put any more of it through my gun. I'm sure as hell not shooting it in competition anymore.
3. In competitions, shoot quality ammo. I could care less about the hypothetical increase in accuracy from high-quality ammo. My ammo is more accurate than I am; 'nuff said. I am even not too concerned about the occasional malfunction due to ammo. Heck, I'm not going to win the match anyway, so if I get to practice a malfunction drill during the match, that's just good practice for real life! But when poor-quality ammo tries to blow up my hand, that's another thing. I might be willing to shoot this ammo on the range when I'm practicing or plinking, but in a competition or a fight, the stakes are high enough that I am less likely to notice that a serious malfunction has occurred, and that means my ammo needs to have a tolerably low rate of malfunction. And this ammo just doesn't.
Here's a question: How many squib loads have you ever had? With factory ammo? Factory reloads? Your own reloads? What were the cricumstances? I'm really curious just how common squibs are. If I call up Miwall to complaim, are they going to say, "Whatever. Squibs happen. What are you whining about anyway?"