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It cocks the striker, compressing the striker spring, and it pushes the firing-pin safety out of the path of the firing pin.
Occasionally the case-neck doesn't grip the bullet firmly enough to keep the case from being shoved forward, especially from the heavy firing-pin blow of, say, a 98 Mauser.
2) a broken firing pin with the broken end wedged or rusted tightly into the firing-pin hole existed.