Gun reliabillity

This is a discussion on Gun reliabillity within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I posted this in another thread here as part of a reply and thought that it would make for a good topic... (with some minor ...

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Thread: Gun reliabillity

  1. #1
    Member Array Ceapea's Avatar
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    Gun reliabillity

    I posted this in another thread here as part of a reply and thought that it would make for a good topic...
    (with some minor editing)


    I don't remember when all this talk of "reliability" came about. I'd guess sometime just after Al-Gore invented the internet. It seems to me that years ago, there was very little talk about a guns reliability. You went to the gun store, you bought you favorite Smith, Colt or whatever and you shot it. You might want to have something custom done to it or change the grips, but it almost always shot. I know that there always have been and will always be some problems with anything mechanical, but, FTF/FTE aside, I don't remember ever hearing about a gun breaking. Actual parts coming apart! Maybe it's just me (I've been around and/or shooting guns for almost 35 years), I don't know. My bro-in-law has a 1974 Colt Combat Commander .45, and just this past February, the extractor broke, after 36 years and possibly 4000 rounds. He hasn't always shot the gun as much as he seems to now, so 4k is a fair estimate. So, when did the build quality of guns and their parts become such an issue? Was it the introduction of MIM parts? Or is it just that so many people are able to communicate their problems so easily and wide spread that it just seems like more problems exist? I personally have not had or known of this kind of large scale problem before.

    This post has its origin in the recent problems that my sister had with just 3 shot through her new PF9. And of course, most other threads here touch on the subject at least sometime within.

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    I think you've already hinted at what I'm about to say. I suspect it's a matter of:

    * More people acquiring firearms
    * A whole lot more 'user error' as more newbs become gun owners
    * The ability to immediately share these experiences world-wide on the web
    * Manufacturers are mass-producing to keep up with the increased demand (quality goes down)
    * More manufacturers enter the market

    It's all good and healthy growth IMHO. I trust in the principles of capitalism and the same means of mass communication for the word to get out on bad products. The manufacturers will either correct the problems or go under.

    My biggest fear is some gov't agency seeing this an an opportunity to step in and regulate quality in order to save us poor, stupid slobs from wasting our hard-earned money on defective firearms.
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    A lot of the "issues" are from the fact that time stands still on the internet, meaning a problem in 1990 is tossed around like it happened today--never forgotten. A little research reveals that issues and reviews are often many years old, and those problems have been long-since corrected. That and the old "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch" problem. Someone with a problem will badmouth it on 15 forums, Facebook, Youtube, etc. until it seems like hundreds are having the same issue. The vast majority that have no problems whatsoever just reload and keep going, not wasting time on the internet going on about it.

    Certainly, some parts do break on some guns; no one's built one that didn't. But for every part in a particular that breaks, thousands of others keep on keeping on without a hiccup.
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    Member Array 9mmPro's Avatar
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    Buy a Ruger , u wont have that issue, unless its run over by a tank.
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    It seems to me that guns are a lot like cars in that everyone's idea of how they should be driven is different and auto manufacturer's design new vehicles to very strict parameters as to what is considered "normal". Also, I don't know how long +P type of ammo has been around but I know it's more potent than regular loads. Many people load their own and from what I've read, experiment occasionally. The bean counters, micro-precision machining, new materials such as titanium and scandium and the polymers all less forgiving than the over-built pistols of yesteryear. I believe guns of the past were more hand made than today. Gunsmiths knew by heft and feel what was good and not-so-good. There wasn't such a demand for concealed carry, smaller and lighter weapons. They don't make 'em like they used to might apply or it might be a good thing. The choice is yours.

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    Thank goodness they don't make em like they used too. We now have cartridges instead of black powder and this is just one of the many, many, many improvements. I agree if you need a gun that will last a lifetime get a Ruger and go tank hunting.

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    Distinguished Member Array ripley16's Avatar
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    IMHO, reliability has become a semi main topic of discussion due to;

    * The demand for smaller and smaller pistols that shoot major calibers. Smallness can push the reliability envelope, lighter parts and two fingers grips can lead to malfunctions.

    * The prices of quality guns leads us to expect some form of perfection and we are pissed and vocal when a $800 breaks too soon.

    * People shoot a lot of cheap, crappy, dirty ammo, in order to save a few bucks.

    but mainly...

    * The internet lets us all put any and all foibles or failures out into the public domain where they multiply. I call this "Gun Hypochondria"

  9. #8
    Member Array Ceapea's Avatar
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    Yes, but like I said, this all stems from a new gun with only three rounds through it. Something between the trigger and hammer (connector?, "linkage"?) just broke and that was that. I'm saying that 30-40 years ago (not 100 years ago...black powder) you didn't hear too much of that. I'm sure the internet "word of mouth" has something to do with it but now I get to see this more often than I would like to. My wifes boss has a brand new Kimber Ultra CDP and loved it at first, nice groups for a 3" gun and worked well for several hundred rounds. Then it stopped working, I don't know the exact problem, but Kimber has had it now for 8 weeks and can't seem to fix it. This is what was told to him by them.
    So....
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    I don't know if the OP's example of the colt is meant to be positive or negative, but I'd be pissed if I got parts breakage in just 4k rounds. One of my M&Ps has had that through it in just over a year with no problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texag View Post
    I don't know if the OP's example of the colt is meant to be positive or negative, but I'd be pissed if I got parts breakage in just 4k rounds. One of my M&Ps has had that through it in just over a year with no problems.
    Actually, it was meant to be positive. I thought that by having a gun since 1974 (when quality was supposedly less superior to todays technology) and putting 4000 or more rounds through it was pretty good. I realize that nowadays people may shoot more recreational and 4k is not that many. But today, so many guns seem to have problems either right out of the gate or real soon after. That seems wrong to me. Build 'em like you used to, for crying out load!
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    Everything about gun reliability has been driven by the explosion of competition shooting in the last 30 years. Want to find out what ARs or pistol designs work under pressure? Go to a USPSA 3 gun match or an IDPA match. You will figure out pretty quick what works and what doesn't.

    Back in the 1970s, an average shooter would probably put around a thousand rounds through a defensive pistol and think he was practicing quite frequently; to maintain my competitive edge when I held a Master's card in USPSA back in 1994, I was going through 2-3 thousands rounds in a month, easily..... Such volumes of ammunition require better components, hence the new metallurgy and machining processes to build weapons that can handle it.

    I believe right about now anyone buying a gun such as a Glock, Springfield, 1911 or S&W is getting the best Pistols ever manufactured because of the demands of the market and good old fashioned competition.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHEC724 View Post
    I think you've already hinted at what I'm about to say. I suspect it's a matter of:

    * More people acquiring firearms
    * A whole lot more 'user error' as more newbs become gun owners
    * The ability to immediately share these experiences world-wide on the web
    * Manufacturers are mass-producing to keep up with the increased demand (quality goes down)
    * More manufacturers enter the market


    It's all good and healthy growth IMHO. I trust in the principles of capitalism and the same means of mass communication for the word to get out on bad products. The manufacturers will either correct the problems or go under.

    My biggest fear is some gov't agency seeing this an an opportunity to step in and regulate quality in order to save us poor, stupid slobs from wasting our hard-earned money on defective firearms.
    The 3 bolded comments are what I believe to be the main causes of all this "reliability" debate.

    First when you see someone with a problem you have a thread on a forum. Then 50 people with "me too! OMG!" comments. People with no problems won't post specifically to say "wow I have no problems with my gun!" You also have people making ridiculous videos about "glock reliability torture test". These so called tests are not scientific, and in no way can be proven by a 3rd party. I can dig my gun out of sand and say "It was buried for 4 days!" then shake it off and shoot it. I can repeat this 50 times until it fires on camera immediately after removing it from the sand. Proves nothing. Maybe it's true, maybe not but it's just stuff you see on the internet. People tend to believe what they see and read.

    Second, you do have many manufacturers making thousands of guns a year. These mass produced pistols are likely to have problems sometime along the way. When you have a company like Ed Brown, Wilson Combat, Les Baer, and Nighthawn Custom building 1911s, the attention to detail is a bit more apparent. Things built by hand can be inspected in a more thorough way. Sometimes during manufacturing a machine might be off but the computer says it's within tolerances. Maybe it is but how long until it goes beyond the tolerances while under use? Setting off a controlled explosion in a piece of steel is a lot of stress on parts. If something is off in manufacturing it might not take long before those problems rear their head. Conversely the guns that are built by a smith and inspected, those parts not exactly what is expected might never be fitted to the pistol. It's about profits though in most cases. The more guns you have out there, the more guns you can sell.

    Third, more manufacturers will inevitably lead to more problems. You have upstart companies that have little experience building guns try a new design and maybe it just doesn't work correctly every time. You then have companies that rely on marketing to sell their product. I won't name any names but you have some notorious examples of manufacturers coming on the scene with the latest wonder pistol and then you hear about all the QC problems they have. There is a reason Springfield Armory, Colt, Smith & Wesson, Heckler & Koch, and now Glock among others have been around and are as successful as they are. They kept their QC pretty high so customers are happy with their purchase. Course you can always bring up the more custom guns that are hand fitted and have even more exacting standards. I simply feel that this is correct, one of the problems is companies struggling to save money in manufacturing in order to get a cheaper gun out there to sell.

    To go along with what ripley16 said about smaller and lighter guns. That is a problem I see with my third point of more manufacturers entering the market. I didn't mention any specific names but I will here. Kahr. You see them advertised all over as being light, thin, pocket sized guns. Now you will also find many threads across the forums on the internet about the problems people have. you have the company telling you to do a several hundred round break-in, you have people saying they did that and sent it back multiple times and it didn't work right still. You then have guns like the Ruger LCP which had a recall very early in it's lifetime for a safety issue. Since it was a very small gun which seems to be popular with a lot of folks you had a lot of people posting on the internet about it. It seems that very small autos are a big thing today where as before you were lucky to have a gun as small as a Glock 26. These smaller guns do seem to have more issues overall, and since they are popular...well you see the trend. Much the same has happened with 1911s smaller than 4". The Micro, Ultra Compact, etc (3" barrel) 1911s are notorious for having more issues than their larger cousins.
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  14. #13
    Member Array Ceapea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdrdredd View Post
    The 3 bolded comments are what I believe to be the main causes of all this "reliability" debate.

    First when you see someone with a problem you have a thread on a forum. Then 50 people with "me too! OMG!" comments. People with no problems won't post specifically to say "wow I have no problems with my gun!" You also have people making ridiculous videos about "glock reliability torture test". These so called tests are not scientific, and in no way can be proven by a 3rd party. I can dig my gun out of sand and say "It was buried for 4 days!" then shake it off and shoot it. I can repeat this 50 times until it fires on camera immediately after removing it from the sand. Proves nothing. Maybe it's true, maybe not but it's just stuff you see on the internet. People tend to believe what they see and read.

    Second, you do have many manufacturers making thousands of guns a year. These mass produced pistols are likely to have problems sometime along the way. When you have a company like Ed Brown, Wilson Combat, Les Baer, and Nighthawn Custom building 1911s, the attention to detail is a bit more apparent. Things built by hand can be inspected in a more thorough way. Sometimes during manufacturing a machine might be off but the computer says it's within tolerances. Maybe it is but how long until it goes beyond the tolerances while under use? Setting off a controlled explosion in a piece of steel is a lot of stress on parts. If something is off in manufacturing it might not take long before those problems rear their head. Conversely the guns that are built by a smith and inspected, those parts not exactly what is expected might never be fitted to the pistol. It's about profits though in most cases. The more guns you have out there, the more guns you can sell.

    Third, more manufacturers will inevitably lead to more problems. You have upstart companies that have little experience building guns try a new design and maybe it just doesn't work correctly every time. You then have companies that rely on marketing to sell their product. I won't name any names but you have some notorious examples of manufacturers coming on the scene with the latest wonder pistol and then you hear about all the QC problems they have. There is a reason Springfield Armory, Colt, Smith & Wesson, Heckler & Koch, and now Glock among others have been around and are as successful as they are. They kept their QC pretty high so customers are happy with their purchase. Course you can always bring up the more custom guns that are hand fitted and have even more exacting standards. I simply feel that this is correct, one of the problems is companies struggling to save money in manufacturing in order to get a cheaper gun out there to sell.

    To go along with what ripley16 said about smaller and lighter guns. That is a problem I see with my third point of more manufacturers entering the market. I didn't mention any specific names but I will here. Kahr. You see them advertised all over as being light, thin, pocket sized guns. Now you will also find many threads across the forums on the internet about the problems people have. you have the company telling you to do a several hundred round break-in, you have people saying they did that and sent it back multiple times and it didn't work right still. You then have guns like the Ruger LCP which had a recall very early in it's lifetime for a safety issue. Since it was a very small gun which seems to be popular with a lot of folks you had a lot of people posting on the internet about it. It seems that very small autos are a big thing today where as before you were lucky to have a gun as small as a Glock 26. These smaller guns do seem to have more issues overall, and since they are popular...well you see the trend. Much the same has happened with 1911s smaller than 4". The Micro, Ultra Compact, etc (3" barrel) 1911s are notorious for having more issues than their larger cousins.
    I agree with both above, quoted posts. I forgot to mention my 1 yr old Ruger MK3 Hunter with a 6 7/8" barrel. I has been nothing but a problem and it went back to Ruger 2x and it still has issues...FTE, FTF, stovepipes, etc...
    At the club where I shoot, there are seven other MK3's and all but one has been back to Ruger at least once and most more than that. One got a new frame, most others including mine had extractors and ejectors replaced and some barrel/ramp work. Everyone is saying that the politically correct "loaded chamber indicator" is the problem. It is generally thought that the MK2 and earlier guns are far superior to the MK3 versions. S&W has their "safety lock" too and though I have a M60 with the lock that has had no problem, a dealer in the area has had to send 3 back to S&W in the last year due to the lock "locking" and the gun not firing.
    So, the fact that the manufacturers have to "protect" us from ourselves might be a factor too.

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    Lemons show up every day....cars, TV's, computers, and even firearms....
    I have Colts, Kimbers, Sigs, Dan Wessons, S&W's, Rugers, and a Beretta...... and all of them have over 8000 rounds thru them, and none of them have had to have anything repaired, or needed springs replaced. I have a Marlin 30-30 that has been hunted with every year since 1936, and has never had a problem. I guess I must be lucky

    Go figure......
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    Member Array 120mm's Avatar
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    My vote is for "Gun Hypochondria".

    For most, defensive gun ownership is a panacea. I psychological cold remedy if you will.

    Therefore, when people PERCEIVE something is unreliable it is utter crap, but if they PERCEIVE it is unreliable, they defend it from intellectual attack like it's one of their children.

    Today's arms are much more reliable than comparable markets in the past, but yet, those folks went forth with their relatively unreliable arms and defended themselves, fought and won wars, etc..

    Reliability in firearms is completely blown out of proportion, imo.

    And, oh yeah, I've seen Ruger revolvers and pistols come apart at the range because of timing and casting issues. But I'd still carry one and feel well-defended, as I would most other guns.

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