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; How reliable is reliable enough for a carry handgun? This is likely to be a personal question and one’s opinion may be influenced by the ...

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Thread: How Reliable is Reliable Enough?

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    New Member Array Tweeky's Avatar
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    How Reliable is Reliable Enough?

    How reliable is reliable enough for a carry handgun? This is likely to be a personal question and one’s opinion may be influenced by the line of work they are in and likelihood that the gun will be needed at all. But, I’d love to get your inputs on what realistic failure rates might be expected for a gun you think is reliable enough to carry as your only weapon.

    It seems like one would want a gun that can fire at least 10,000 rounds without a single failure. Is that practical? I have a Sig P239 that I bought used that I have put more than 1,000 rounds through without a failure.

    On the other hand, I have a new M&P Shield 9mm that is in for warranty repair already after more than 20 FTFs in the first 200 rounds. Over that same period it also had 3 FTE (all 115gr FMJ from 2 different companies). Some of these failures were in the last 20 rounds so I expect it should be past the initial break-in period failures. I don’t want to say anything bad about the Shield because I love the gun, the size and ergonomics are excellent for me. I am hopeful that S&W will diagnose and fix both problems soon. But, how many flawless rounds would you put through the repaired gun once its returned to be sure it is reliable enough for a defensive carry weapon?

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    Member Array Sgt45's Avatar
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    For me, if I could get 300-400 rounds through the gun without a failure, I'd feel OK about carrying it. If you set too high a bar, you will spend too much time waiting for a failure. On the other hand if the gun does have a malfunction, I would want to go another 300 rounds of so before carrying. Maybe something is starting to go wrong, or springs are getting weaker. 10,000 rounds is a huge expense to feel safe about carrying - and if Murphy is working, you will have a failure at 10,003. All guns can have malfunctions, learn to deal with them, make that part of your range time, get it down to muscle memory and all the while keep count of real malfunctions vs the ones that you set up. Any gun that can't go 3,4,500 rounds without any malfunctions would be a problem for me. Would you like my Kimber? I get 3 FT extract per 100 rounds. I'm working on a cure, but right now it sits in the safe.

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    I have run both my carry guns through 1000+ round weekends at Tactical Defense Institute, and they performed flawlessly. That is reliable enough for me. Each had several hundred rounds run through it upon purchase, prior to becoming an edc. Conversely, my previous edc platform malfunctioned catastrophically once, and was immediately retired, permanently.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
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    Senior Member Array Hot Wing's Avatar
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    For my EDC rule for me run 400/ 500 rounds threw when new that most likely will give you the tale

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    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    I would feel comfortable with 300-500 rounds minimum. Now when it comes to failures that is where it gets interesting. If it can be fixed is it still a liability to you? Of course this is highly subjective.

    As an example. My Colt Commander 1911 fired 50 rds FMJ flawless then had issues that I wrote about in my range report on this forum. Took it to my smith, had some things polished and it has not had any issues in 150 rds since. So to me a failure of that degree is acceptable as it was (thus far) corrected. Again once I get a few hundred more flawless rounds through it I will then carry it. On the other side my XD has never had an issue except with a particular ammo. So does that make it unreliable? Is it the ammo, the gun, the operator, the total package?

    Mike1956 the use of the term catastrophically has me intrigued! Mind elaborating on what happened?
    BigJon


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    Member Array rick21's Avatar
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    I have been running my Glock 19 for about 5 years, I am near the 12,000 round mark and have had 4 malfunctions. 2 were ammo related, 1 caught on my shirt during a retention drill and 1 failure to feed. A quality, well maintained pistol should rarely malfunction. That said, anything made by man is subject to failure. My opinion, the more we futz with our pistol, ya know, making them better than they came from the factory, the more likely they are to malfunction.

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    Member Array Remy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJon10125 View Post
    Mike1956 the use of the term catastrophically has me intrigued! Mind elaborating on what happened?
    I also would like to read about the details.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJon10125 View Post
    Mike1956 the use of the term catastrophically has me intrigued! Mind elaborating on what happened?
    This always starts a urination contest with a few of the M1911 aficionados, but here goes.
    On a very windy November day, I was doing some twosies and threesies from concealment on my backyard range with my then-edc Ultra-Carry II. I drew, fired and attempted to fire again, and had nothing. Easy enough to remedy with a tap and rack, right? Nope. The sleeve of my jacket had apparently been blown forward by the wind when I fired, and had been caught between the hammer and that sexy beavertail, effectively attaching it to my sleeve. In the process, the slide had returned forward just enough to jam the next live round on the loading ramp. The pressure exerted on the rear of the jammed round by the slide face was enough to prevent dropping the magazine. The jammed-up mess I had going on back at the hammer prevented me from taking pressure off by returning the slide fully to the rear. At this point, I had a non-firing pistol attached to my clothing, with no way to clear it and thus correct the malfunction. My gun wouldn't shoot and I could not immediately fix it. Hence, the term "catastrophic", since if I had discovered that particular ability to malfunction in a fight rather than on the range, the results for me would have been catastrophic. Like I mentioned, that was the last time I carried it.
    DRM and Echo_Four like this.
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    VIP Member Array Thunder71's Avatar
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    Re: How Reliable is Reliable Enough?

    Mine have to reliably fire the first 2 magazines worth, every time.

    The chances of me having more ammo than that with, or accessible to me if something goes bad are slim and none, so I don't care if my gun can fire 1000 rounds without a failure... 11 is the most I'll be able to shoot.

    Tapatalk - Helping people post from bathrooms since 2009.

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    Senior Member Array Alex_C's Avatar
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    "Reliable enough", for me, is "it goes bang every time I pull the trigger". The 1 in 100 weak practice round causing a cycling jam is overlooked, but if it is repeated or any other issues occur, the gun is retired from carry rotation.

    I will not trust my, or my wife's, life to anything that fails to meet this expectation.

  12. #11
    Member Array 1gunsnowbird's Avatar
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    First, it depends on whether or not the gun is a Glock. I absolutely hated them for about 20 years and then bought my first one in 2004. In the intervening years I've owned about a dozen Glocks, mostly in 9mm or .40 caliber ... which leads to the next factor: of all those Glocks, the only issues I've ever had with reliability were with the .40 calibers and they were rare. I've NEVER had a failure of any kind with any of my 9mm Glocks, ranging from a G34 to several G26s. Now I'm down to just one gun and it's a Gen 4 Model 26. Like my other 9mm Glocks, this one has functioned perfectly through 100 rounds of Winchester ball ammo and 30 rounds of Federal 115grain +P+ hollow points (9BPLE). I am satisfied that it will work if/when I need it.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy - Tom Waits

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    Member Array Aimless's Avatar
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    For me it depends,if I'm by myself I will occasionally carry my lcp which has had a couple small issues.If I'm with family,my gun must have Zero malfunctions,regardless of reason,ever.

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    Member Array Coltman 77's Avatar
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    Before I carry my handguns I expect them to fire 1000 rds of assorted fmj/jhp ammo with zero malfunctions. At that point I consider them GTG.
    "Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less".
    General Robert E. Lee

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    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    For my revolvers, 5 or 6 in a row is enough for me.
    kmagnuss, Darrow75 and PEF like this.
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    Revolvers, “more elegant weapons for a more civilized age.”

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    Member Array 3wggl's Avatar
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    Although I haven't owned a gun that's performed this poorly, I'd be comfortable with anything that can go 300 rounds between malfunctions.

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