How Reliable is Reliable Enough?

This is a discussion on How Reliable is Reliable Enough? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by ccw9mm Only the reliable prior performance is a guide. No guarantees, obviously. Hence, the testing, maintenance, cleaning, variation of ammo. A good, ...

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Thread: How Reliable is Reliable Enough?

  1. #46
    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Only the reliable prior performance is a guide. No guarantees, obviously. Hence, the testing, maintenance, cleaning, variation of ammo. A good, long history of high statistical performance simply means it's much more likely to succeed on that next pull than not. Can't know it without having such a history; and can't get that history without testing it over time. Is that better/worse than merely believing it'll work? Who's to say. To each his own.
    Exactly. There are no guarantees. We do our best to stack the odds in our favor, and that's really all that we can do.


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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Most smart folks don't drive their vehicle to a side-of-road failure without caring for it. They change oil, filters, replace tires. They don't brutalize a vehicle on which they depend for reliable daily driving by abusing it in high-speed off-roading. No one wants to fly in an aircraft having maintenance logbooks left neglected, much preferring the logbooks for engines, props, airframe etc. to be current, showing maintenance to be up to date. An aircraft engine in flight and indicating high oil temperature and low oil pressure is ignored at one's peril.

    Why is there a perceived need to abuse our firearms in order to prove something?

    It's no trick to use firearms as intended and get many thousands of trouble-free rounds out of them. By all means use it but take care of the firearm that you intend to use to take care of YOU.
    I entirely agree - maintenance should be performed and the tool generally well-cared-for and abuse avoided. This is proper care of any mechanical instrument, and the gun should be no different.

    But at the same time, the proposed "abuse" is only abuse when viewed from a certain perspective - from that of another, it may well be the norm, and that's the difference I was trying to illustrate in my post: that this idea of durability/reliability should be viewed in-context, and not as an absolute.

    To say that "my gun has run X rounds without malfunction" is to provide an absolute without a context. That the gun has not had a stoppage on a sterile range is very different than having that same gun be subject to the "torture/abuse" (but then again, in this context, it's more the norm, no? ) of a training class.

    This is what I'm trying to highlight, especially to newer shooters who might marvel at the idea of having even one thousand rounds through a single gun - when the reality of it is that those who train/practice seriously - or compete - are used to seeing volume-of-fire ten or even a hundred times that, in the span of a year or just a couple.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray
    Quote Originally Posted by TSiWRX
    How we as normal everyday legal concealed-carry citizens may view reliability and durability may well be different...
    Reliability and durability had better be viewed the same way by anyone relying on firearms for protection. Cleaning and maintenance is a part of achieving reliability and durability. The military knows this.
    I'm not as willing to make this an absolute.

    Various cleaning chemicals, lubricants and protectants have different chemical properties that, combined with how the gun is to be employed, may make the selection of one set of such chemicals more or less suitable for the end-user (ask my friend who made the mistake of running Slide Glide on his 1911 in a high-round-count pistol class, in near freezing-rain conditions ).

    Additionally, that sentence you quoted was meant to be read in the context of what followed it in the bodytext. I wish I could have more clearly composed that section, my apologies. Again, I was trying to put things in perspective.


    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray
    Quote Originally Posted by TSiWRX
    Towards this end, let's look at that gun that's fired 10K rounds without a single failure to discharge.

    What's to guaranty that something in it won't go wrong at the 10,001st trigger press?"
    What's to guaranty that a meteorite won't come through the roof and whack me in my bed before dawn?

    One can come to dither too much about possibilities.
    I agree completely. A person certainly can drive themselves crazy, thinking about that kind of possibility.

    However, again, that was more to be taken as a thought exercise rather than a literal statement. I meant to provoke active thought in the reader, to get them to realize exactly the sentiment that you'd posted with in-replly, bmcgilvray: that there is no such guaranty, and that one has to realize that all we can do is to purchase the best weapon that we can afford, and to do our dues in terms of maintaining the machine.

    The rest?

    Hey, race-cars still can break on race-day, right?

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  3. #47
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSiWRX View Post
    I entirely agree - maintenance should be performed and the tool generally well-cared-for and abuse avoided. This is proper care of any mechanical instrument, and the gun should be no different.

    But at the same time, the proposed "abuse" is only abuse when viewed from a certain perspective - from that of another, it may well be the norm, and that's the difference I was trying to illustrate in my post: that this idea of durability/reliability should be viewed in-context, and not as an absolute.
    Yup.

    The B-17 bombers during WWII didn't come off the flight line with a known reputation for extreme durability, survivability, operational excellence. They earned that over time. AFTER it was proved right, again and again, then folks knew what was true: they were much more likely to return in a plane with a certain amount of damage if that plane were a B-17 than most other aircraft of the day. And that's about all that can be said of "torture" testing and maintaining a good firearm.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
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  4. #48
    Senior Member Array marcclarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Yup.

    The B-17 bombers during WWII didn't come off the flight line with a known reputation for extreme durability, survivability, operational excellence. They earned that over time. AFTER it was proved right, again and again, then folks knew what was true: they were much more likely to return in a plane with a certain amount of damage if that plane were a B-17 than most other aircraft of the day. And that's about all that can be said of "torture" testing and maintaining a good firearm.
    Actually, the two are not well-related. During the few years of WWII the US Air Force and the Navy iterated their designs. Various fighters and bombers had models ranging up into the D, E, and F models as the designers corrected major faults and added major upgrades.

    No one iterates civilian handgun designs that rapidly these days.

    Additionally, back during WWII there were not legions of lawyers ready to sue the airplane manufactures because changing the aircrafts' designs clearly proved that the original designs were defective and negligent, and that the aircraft manufacturers were therefore liable to the families of the deceased aircraft crewmen (and crew-women performing ferry duty and such).

    I think I follow (and even tend agree with) your thinking, but I'm afraid that trying to instill confidence in a civilian handgun for self-defense is not well-related to the crew's changes of returning home after flying a bombing mission in a B-17.

  5. #49
    New Member Array Tweeky's Avatar
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    I have found this thread to be fascinating and I want to thank everyone for their valuable contributions so far. The reason I mentioned the mythical 10,000 rounds was not because I thought I would need to fire 10,000 rounds to ensure reliability but to try to get a feel for what a normal failure rate might be over that number of rounds in what might be considered a reliable weapon (say a Glock or a Sig). This is assuming that the weapon was well cared for, cleaned and lubed regularly, etc.

    My P239 may give me a false sense of security. Since it hasnít failed in over 1,000 rounds from various manufacturers I have come to expect that it wonít ever fail. While my confidence in it is great, as some have pointed out, it would be prudent to train for working through failures even for this gun (and I will).

    My brand new M&P Shield, on the other hand, has thus far proven to be much less reliable. After 200 rounds with numerous failures I sent it back to S&W to fix. From the responses above, it sounds like many of you might consider it fixed and therefore reliable enough to carry if I can get another 200-500 rounds through it reliably once they return it to me. That sounds reasonable. Iíll give it a try and let you know what happens. Thanks again for all the great responses.

  6. #50
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tweeky View Post
    My P239 may give me a false sense of security. Since it hasn’t failed in over 1,000 rounds from various manufacturers I have come to expect that it won’t ever fail.
    It's always useful to remember that Gun+Ammo+Maintenance is what results in a reliable platform, not just Gun. As such, any of the other elements can bobble, and you can end up with a jam or other performance issue. No way around that.

    I'm with you, though: a solid regimen helps prove my own example of the gun/ammo is about as error-free as I can make it, as near to unfailing as can be. Important, for something I'm potentially going to be betting my life on.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  7. #51
    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Re: How Reliable is Reliable Enough?

    I find IDPA to be a much better reliability test than a session at the range.

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