MEAN Arms DW Training Chip: What Is That?

Are you wondering what a training chip is? When I first saw the DW training chip from MEAN Arms I was scratching my head a little at first. They are small, plastic wedge-shaped pieces that make you think somebody sent you the wrong product. How can a little piece of plastic help with training on the range? These little chips are designed to feed into your two-position magazine and cause a malfunction. Yep, you read that right. They purposely cause a feeding malfunction during a live training exercise.

MEAN Arms Training Chip
MEAN Arms Training Chips are a simple and effective way to create malfunctions in your firearms when training.

We simulate malfunctions on the range all the time. But we don’t always get to run drills with a gun that will intentionally malfunction and force us to clear it and move on. These little pieces of plastic may be one of the best training tools to hit the gun market in years. And they cost about the same as a whopper meal from Burger King. I’ll go over how they perform on the range, but first, let’s talk about the need to train with intentional malfunctions.

Why cause malfunctions on purpose?

A malfunctioning magazine is one of the most frequent and dangerous problems that can occur with a firearm. When this happens, you’ll need to know how to quickly clear away the problem and reload your weapon to stay safe. The MEAN Arms training chips create a malfunction, such as a double feed in the gun. Double feed occurs when two rounds attempt to enter the chamber simultaneously, either due to a faulty magazine or a failure to extract. In this case, a live round gets stuck behind a casing that did not get extracted after being fired.

Training with the MEAN Arms' Training Chip
Being able to train with live ammo and purposely cause malfunctions in your rifle is worth far more than the small cost of these training chips.

Clearing this type of malfunction requires the shooter to turn the gun to the side and pull back on the bolt (or slide for handguns) to clear the chamber so the next round can be loaded from the magazine. If that does not work, the shooter must then remove the magazine and repeat the process before inserting it again. Most people who train regularly with firearms are familiar with the “slap-rack-bang” method when the gun doesn’t go bang. But sometimes it’s good to force the shooter to do more than this.

What does the DW Training Chip do?

The DW Training Chip by MEAN Arms is loaded into the magazine along with the ammo. A minimum of two rounds must be inserted in the mag before a training chip is loaded. More can be added every few rounds. This gives the instructor the unique ability to decide when the gun will malfunction. They work with two-position mags or double-feed mags like AR-15 mags.

The chip sits upright, wedged between two cartridges, allowing the ammo to work properly in the magazine until the chip reaches the feed lips. At this point, the chip causes the magazine to double-feed or jam.

Double feed in an AR-15 rifle.
The MEAN Arms Training Chip causes a cartridge to move past the feed lips in into the rifle when it is not supposed to. This causes a double feed and requires the shooter to clear the malfunction.

One of the biggest issues instructors have on the range is coming up with training methods that force shooters to think, instead of getting used to a routine. If you set up a new course, they all struggle a little the first time and maybe the second. Then they start to memorize the layout and how to run the course. Before you know it, they are flying through it like robots. They already know what’s coming around the corner or when they will need to reload their mag. But with these training chips, you can randomly insert chips to throw them off. They won’t know when or how many times their gun will malfunction, forcing them to deal with the issue before moving on.

MEAN Arms training chip
The training chip works with two-position magazines like this AR-15 mag. The chip is placed on the lower bullet with the blade portion of the chip facing up. You can then continue loading ammunition on top of it.

How do you use the MEAN Arms DW Training Chip?

The training chips are easy to use and should be inserted as the magazine is being loaded. Instructors can do this for the shooters so they are not aware of when the gun will malfunction. But for individuals, they can still be inserted randomly to provide good training.

I made a point not to count my ammo and just grabbed a training chip a few times during the loading process. I knew the chips were in there but had no idea which shot would bring the malfunction. The training chip goes toward the back of the feed ramp (see photo below). More rounds can then be added on top of it. I used training ammo before the real stuff to make sure I knew how it would work.

 Training Chip with snap caps in AR mag
As more ammo is fed into the magazine, the training chip lines up in the position to catch on the bottom of the feed ramp, causing the gun to malfunction. More than one chip can be used in each magazine if desired.

Summary

Over the years I have become a big fan of running drills with snap caps or dummy training rounds. You can practice mag changes indoors without burning up ammo. The training chips allow you to practice double-feed drills inside with training ammo or on the range with live ammo. This gives you the best of both worlds. Practice with fake, train with real, and then repeat. You get 25 of these things per pack so they go a long way and the training benefits are priceless.

Over the years technology has produced some cool training programs and tools. But sometimes simple is better. These plastic pieces are about as simple as it gets. They work perfectly for making your gun not work perfectly. If you are looking for some new ways to up your training game, give these MEAN Arms Training Chips a try.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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