Gunner’s Journal

The 1911 Worlds Finest Handgun!

FMK C91 Catastrophic Failure

Posted by Gunner on December 2, 2011

There are times when I receive information from very reliable sources. In this case someone I know very well.This information pertains to a catastrophic failure of an FMK Arms C-91 pistol. This particular pistol was a test gun for evaluation. The pistol itself looks very much like many of the new polymer pistols we are all familiar with.Obviously there are some design issues! The company was contacted with no response.That in itself is disturbing. A new gun was sent but my source wasn’t terribly interested in firing it.

The pistol in the pictures below was received and cleaned before being taken to the range for testing. My source loaded the pistol with Federal ball ammunition in 9MM. On the fifth round fired the pistol detonated! To say it scared him to death would be an understatement. He had some minor injuries to his hand but nothing a few band-aids wouldn’t take care of. He was very lucky it wasn’t much worse! The pistol came apart in several pieces. If you look closely the fired round is still lodged in the barrel. The pictures give you an idea of the violence of this failure. All I can say is buyer beware!

As a note for readers I also posted this article on the Facebook page of The Firearm Blog

The Federal ammunition was tested and found to be loaded within normal limits.

16 Responses to “FMK C91 Catastrophic Failure”

  1. norman c. swinehart jr. said

    That weapon is supposed to save your life not injure you in the mean time.

  2. Gunner said

    Very true–That had to be a very scary experience for him! I had to pass this along for anyone who may be considering one of these.

  3. mike said

    You buy cheap you buy twice! Or more.

  4. Gunner said


    That’s for sure! It may hurt for a little while spending more for quality but not like having one blow up:-)

  5. Aaron said

    That’s terrible. Thank goodness your friend wasn’t seriously injured. I would just like to note that a failure like this could be a result of ammunition. I doubt very seriously this is the case, as I find Federal ammunition to be top notch in most cases. It is impossible for me to say without closer inspection, but by the pictures it looks as if the slide failed to seat the round properly. This would have caused massive overpressure in the chamber, and obviously, a catastrophic failure. If this is indeed the case, it would almost certainly be the design of the gun itself that caused the problem. Some gun companies are so concerned with profit they will sacrifice our safety for cheaper materials. I always try to buy a gun with the assumption I will someday have to rely on it for my life. Please keep that in mind, and spend your money on something you would trust in a life or death situation.

  6. Gunner said

    email sent

  7. George said

    I have 2 FMK 9mm both shot weekly for the last 5 months never had a issue with either. I have however in one box of Federal ball found 2 out of round shells both were in the same box purchased in October 2011. Maybe there was a issue in production of the ammo that got over looked. Just a thought. I love both my pistols almost as much as my Glocks.

  8. Aaron said

    That could be a very dangerous situation of course, but 18 years of gunsmithing I have never seen that happen with any brand ammo. Had to just be one of those freak accident things. I’m not doubting they are fine pistols, I am just saying if it is a gun issue, they should bend over backwards to make it right.

  9. I just came across this in Facebook today. If I am correct, this version of the FMK C91 is first generation. I read a review on the same gun but second generation that seemed to handle very well ( However, I also noted that this manufacturer is the last gun maker in the state of California, everyone else has left the state due to the insane laws of the state. I have a Glock 20 and never have had any instance to fear that the gun would break as this FMK did. I wonder about the quality of the polymer frame that FMK is using in their guns. Heckler and Koch used a glass filled polymer frame, which is quite different than the high carbon tensile that Glock uses. Thanks for bringing this back to mind to other readers on Facebook, even though this happened over a year and half ago.

  10. Did your friend contact FMK? They have a lifetime guarantee on all of their firearms.

    We are a stocking FMK dealer in Eastern Tennessee and have had nothing but positive experiences with FMK. I’d strongly suggest you contact their customer service. They’re stellar when it comes to honoring their guarantee.

  11. Gunner said

    He told me he did contact them. He got an answer on his second attempt. He wasn’t very satisfied with the outcome. That’s the extent of what I know of the circumstances.

    It wasn’t a customer service problem. The pistol was sent to him by the company for review.

  12. Barry said

    Thanks for the info re: FMK C-91 pistol. Just got an email from
    Front Sight saying free FMK C-91 pistol w/membership.
    I’m glad no one got injured or worse. An injury to one shooter
    hurts us all. Thanks

  13. Gunner said

    you bet — glad to pass it along

  14. Everett Walker said

    Saying so with certainty would be a good way to get it wrong but, that picture resembles other plasticated pistols that have fired with the barrel out of full lock up.- the case head rupturing and trashing the lower unit

  15. Mike L said

    I am sorry to hear about the incident. I own a Gen 2 of the same pistol and have never had a problem. There was only two occasion where it jammed but I think it was due to over-oiled. For the price, I can’t ask for more. After all, this is a budget pistol.

  16. Sorry to hear of anyone having any pistol fail whil shooting. That’s a scary expierence for sure. I have the FMK second gen of the 9C1 and love it. It’s as accurate and reliable as any if my high end pistols. 4000 rounds and counting.
    My exploding pistol expierence was a Taurus pt111 Gen 1. Still waiting for that to be resolved. In fairness their Gen2 Melinium series is a great gun for the price.

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