How do you know how reliable your carry gun is?

This is a discussion on How do you know how reliable your carry gun is? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; How have you assessed your carry gun's reliability AND what things do you consider? I ain't goin' first on this one....

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Thread: How do you know how reliable your carry gun is?

  1. #1
    Senior Moderator
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    How do you know how reliable your carry gun is?

    How have you assessed your carry gun's reliability AND what things do you consider?

    I ain't goin' first on this one.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Well of paramount importance is: will it cycle X number of rounds without failure and under what circumstances? Some of my guns do better than others in less than ideal circumstances.

    The only way to find this out of course is to fire it and fire it and fire it some more. My Gold Standard is 500 live rounds without a malfunction, and those first 500 must come at least 100 at a time so I see if it's a fussy gun or not. Of course I also have a Platinum standard of 5000 rounds, the only two guns of which I own that have earned it are my P89 and my 686 but I think the XD40 will reach it too.

    I keep a mental note of how each one does every time it goes out for anything. That's how I know for instance my Rossi 518 is only reliable when it's clean.

    I also consider the design of the firearm. Does it make mechanical sense? (That's not to account for any other factor such as do I feel it is safe.) I don't think any have ever failed me here.

    Last and least but still important, I will be honest with you all and say that who made it carries a lot of weight with me in the initial firearm selection process. I can't spend my whole life testing every gun out there. I've got to take it on faith for example that most of the time, Smith and Wesson products are good guns. I've got to take it on faith that most of the time, Springfield Armory products are good guns. Etc. Etc. I mentally sort manufacturers and then I use one of my more objective tests.

    But if I am running down a hall being shot at, and suddenly a genie appears and says I may take either a Glock, a Jennings, or a Taurus and I don't get to perform any sort of test or examination, I pick the Glock. That's just a good for instance because although I don't own a Glock and don't intend to, their reputation with people I trust is solid.

    Now if it was to become my personal Glock, it would have to go through its paces.

    Also depends on what it is. The aforementioned Rossi .22 is fine for what I do with it. It fails the Gold Standard for being a defensive piece horribly.

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    Member Array DirksterG30's Avatar
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    I first shoot 200+ rounds of FMJ to break the gun in, then I shoot at least 100 rounds of the JHP ammo I've chosen with the magazines I'm going to carry with. I won't stake my life on it unless it performs 100% with no failures of any kind.

    My 1911 and My CZ P-01 were very reliable from the getgo (1 FTE on the 1911 during break-in, no failures on the P-01), but my P3-AT didn't become reliable until after I'd shot 200 rounds through it. After that, though, it has been totally reliable. I didn't carry it until it shot the carry ammo with no jams.

    I will only keep my carry ammo for 6 months; then I will shoot it at the range and start with new ammo. I plan to buy a couple of boxes to shoot, just in case the design of the ammo has changed since I last bought it.

    Also, the guns I carry don't just stay at my hip; I shoot them at the range regularly, so if any problems crop up (springs giving out, etc.), I will find out at the range, not in some dark alley or parking garage when I need my gun the most.

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    Senior Member Array Wayne's Avatar
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    Get a couple of boxes of WWB (if made in the caliber) and fire every one.

    If it checks out, then I fire around 100 to 150 per range session.

    So far my USP45 has the most through it, well over 2000+ would be my guesstimate.

    Wayne

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    As long as it fires for me with no jams after break in and doesn't continue to jam during target shooting and practice it's good for me.

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    I too base choice on platform design and reputation. After that of course - something of a torture test.

    testing is to mainly with a semi find out or confirm mag reliability, as it is that which for most part can lead to problems. I will put a boatload of FMJ thru - helped actually by using the gun for IDPA! I will then having chosen my SD ammo burn up enough of that to also prove the gun/ammo combination.

    I am too kind to my guns to want to ''stretch'' testing to putting gun under water and in mud!! I guess I should, to really know the whole story!
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    Senior Member Array KC135's Avatar
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    With revolvers it is easy, and I carry revolvers a lot. A box or so of carry ammo to check accuracy, and reliability.

    Spend the rest of the dough on practice ammo--shoot lots. Fun too. No magazine problems. No back and forth function problems. No spring problems. And did I say 'fun too'?

    Methinks too many think semi auto too much.
    Keep the shotgun handy!!

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    KC - you are dead on re revos' and I am in essence a revo shooter - grew up cutting teeth on 'em!

    Revo was also my carry for quite some while but - since exploring full size semi platforms and wanting better capacity - it led me to where I am now with the SIG.

    So much is compromize and personal choice - but after adequate proof of reliability I doubt it matters too much. Could be why so many love ol' Slabsides still!
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC135
    With revolvers it is easy, and I carry revolvers a lot. A box or so of carry ammo to check accuracy, and reliability.

    Spend the rest of the dough on practice ammo--shoot lots. Fun too. No magazine problems. No back and forth function problems. No spring problems. And did I say 'fun too'?

    Methinks too many think semi auto too much.
    Well that may be true for the timing KC but have you considered that if your cylinder gap is tight enough, how will the revolver perform if it's a little dirty?

    I know this is a ridiculous example in and of itself, but my cousin had an old Taurus revolver (before they got better) which was a dream to shoot... for the first 8 cylinder fulls. After that you had to stop and clean it because it would gum up so bad the action wouldn't cycle without a super stiff pull. It was really great and very accurate, but only when it was clean.

    No I don't honestly expect to fire 48 cartridges out of a revolver end to end in real life on the street, but to me that's just not acceptable for a primary gun.

    I admit I'm a little more lax on the BUGs. I realize that a small gun has its own innate set of problems, so as long as it will fire everything in its cylinder or the magazine I keep in it without problems, that would suffice.

    Other than the Rossi, which is just a plinker, the rest of my wheelguns will fire and fire and fire hundreds of times end to end without fail every time until something in the machinery breaks, which probably won't be during my lifetime. That to me is a requirement because I am paranoid of the black helicopters and wear tinfoil on my head. I want every gun I consider a defense gun to be capable of laying out a lot of lead between cleanings. Which is funny because I clean guns compulsively.

    Don't get me wrong I think you're right on the money with your comment, heck most of the time I carry a revolver and my wheelguns still outnumber my semis 3 to 1, but for some people that's not good enough, as ridiculous as it may seem.

  11. #10
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    I don't won't this to appear as revolver bashing, it's not, but it is fair to say that a revolver may not be what we have been led to believe it is. I have heard of pocket lint getting between the hammer and frame and preventing the revolver to shoot. The result? The guy was killed.

    I saw an instructor at Gunsite intentionally drop his Glock on the ground. Then he invited anyone else to do the same with theirs (unloaded of course). No body wanted to. I did see a student sling his Beretta 15 feet in front of him, end over end into the dirt, when he missed his grip on a draw. He picked the thing up, blew it off and went on as if it was nothing.

    My instructor, and ex-Border Patrol, even though it was against regulation, used to carry a back up revolver under his jacket because he said he knew that if he went down in a scuffle and his primary revolver went into the dirt/sand, it likely wouldn't fire. He also said revolvers were bad about backing out the ejector rod.

    Another instructor told me of a time he accidently dropped his BUG revolver and it locked up so tight he had to take it home and disassemble it to get it working again.

    I dropped my 686 at the range once trying to do a one-hand reload and the cylinder wouldn't close. Had to take it home and "fix" it.

    Some other maladies I was informed of by my former "revolver man" (the ex BP), was that if any grit got under the ejector star, the gun likely wouldn't function. Another, thing he told me when we were doing a few one hand malfunction drills was that if a case got under the ejector star that he knew of no way to clear the problem with one hand.

    Yet another thing that can happen to a revolver is that dirt, etc. can get in the cylinder and cause loading/unloading/reloading problems. I experienced that one.

    Then, you can bury a Glock in the sea, in the sand, mud, mud puddle, in the snow and ice, even in cow manure and it will still work. I dare say a revolver will not stand up to that. I heard a story of a local LEO that dropped his Glock in a mud puddle and had to fish it out. Guess what? It still functioned.
    Last edited by Tangle; August 31st, 2005 at 02:01 PM.

  12. #11
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    Wink

    Well, revolvers and semi~autos are human made machines and all machines do occasionally and even inexplicably fail.
    You can take a brand new firearm right out the box ~ give it a careful pre-clean & then go out and put 1,000 rounds though either one (revolver or auto) then go home with a huge smile on your face and round # 1,001 could FTF, FTE or the doggone extractor could break or (like one of my old S&W revolvers - that little metal post that the "trigger return spring" rebounds against snapped & jammed up the works. It just happened. The revolver was clean.
    All we can do is try to minimize possible future problems with either firearm platform.
    The Internet has no shortage of Critical Stoppage/Failure Stories for wheelguns or semi~autos.
    We expect quite a lot (in the way of performance) from our little "defensive machines" ~ Thankfully, our trusty revolvers as well as our semi~auto pistols usually do not fail us or let us down when we need them the most.
    Overall, they both have a pretty amazing "track record" for working as they should for machines that "house" & sustain all of those repeated "Miniature, Violent, Explosions"

  13. #12
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    You just said that 'cause it's true!!!

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    Senior Member Array Free American's Avatar
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    The way I make sure my gun is reliable is carry it to the range and shoot it, with the normal defense ammo and however it may be in my holster. (lint and all)
    They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin


    Previously known as "cjm5874"

  15. #14
    JT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle
    I don't won't this to appear as revolver bashing, it's not, but it is fair to say that a revolver may not be what we have been led to believe it is. I have heard of pocket lint getting between the hammer and frame and preventing the revolver to shoot. The result? The guy was killed.

    I saw an instructor at Gunsite intentionally drop his Glock on the ground. Then he invited anyone else to do the same with theirs (unloaded of course). No body wanted to. I did see a student sling his Beretta 15 feet in front of him, end over end into the dirt, when he missed his grip on a draw. He picked the thing up, blew it off and went on as if it was nothing.

    My instructor, and ex-Border Patrol, even though it was against regulation, used to carry a back up revolver under his jacket because he said he knew that if he went down in a scuffle and his primary revolver went into the dirt/sand, it likely wouldn't fire. He also said revolvers were bad about backing out the ejector rod.

    Another instructor told me of a time he accidently dropped his BUG revolver and it locked up so tight he had to take it home and disassemble it to get it working again.

    I dropped my 686 at the range once trying to do a one-hand reload and the cylinder wouldn't close. Had to take it home and "fix" it.

    Some other maladies I was informed of by my former "revolver man" (the ex BP), was that if any grit got under the ejector star, the gun likely wouldn't function. Another, thing he told me when we were doing a few one hand malfunction drills was that if a case got under the ejector star that he knew of no way to clear the problem with one hand.

    Yet another thing that can happen to a revolver is that dirt, etc. can get in the cylinder and cause loading/unloading/reloading problems. I experienced that one.

    Then, you can bury a Glock in the sea, in the sand, mud, mud puddle, in the snow and ice, even in cow manure and it will still work. I dare say a revolver will not stand up to that. I heard a story of a local LEO that dropped his Glock in a mud puddle and had to fish it out. Guess what? It still functioned.
    Ammo can also affect your revolver's reliability. I shot some S&B in my 642 that evidently wasn't crimped tight enough. By the time I got to the fifth round, the bullet had slipped in the brass far enough that the round was now too long for the cylinder to cycle. This happened four or five times over a couple of boxes.

    Not that Iím bashing revolvers. Bad ammo can certainly affect an auto.
    Blessed be the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

    Si vis pacem, para bellum

  16. #15
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    Post 1911 Pistols

    Reliability in 1911 Semi~Autos
    Buy only top quality CARRY magazines and do not install critical parts of unknown origin especially into a 1911 Colt or Colt Clone pistol.
    There are TONS of cheap junk 1911 parts floating around "out there" that are factory defective - counterfeit - sub standard - cheap knockoff or crappie import.
    Use only known "high quality maker" parts in your CARRY pistol.
    You need only search Ebay to find "No Name" Slide stops ~ barrel links ~ hammers & sears.
    Please be careful & do not use those sort of parts to modify your self~defense pistol.

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