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Old 02-05-2020, 03:34 PM
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Default Is a Pistol EVER reliable for CCW?

Just got a new S&W 380 Bodyguard to supplement my S&W 9mm EZ as a CCW. After firing 2 or 3 boxes of ammo in each without any issues, I would feel comfortable with carrying these guns.

Having read many post both here and on other forums of guns failing to function totally reliably after X number of rounds (but for the first 200 or so with 0 issues ), it begs the question- Can you ever feel 100% confident in your Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW)?
WHAT are your thoughts?

Last edited by Execpro; 02-16-2020 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:37 PM
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Is there anything in your day or your life that you can be 100% certain of?

I'm as confident as I feel I need to be in my carry gun, but I also have an edge-- neither of the two I use are new/current production S&W.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:39 PM
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Any mechanical object can fail or completely break. It may be the next trigger pull or thousands more down the road.

You can never really know and I simply don't worry too much about it.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:49 PM
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Anything man made can and will break,,,itís just a matter of when!
I buy things of quality, I maintain them. I know that every time I have used them they did not fail me,,,,,so I maintain it again and take it from there...
I feel confident with every piece I carry, can it fail,,, sure can but then again I may not wake up tomorrow morning either?
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:57 PM
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Keep it maintained to the best of your ability and be competent with it.

There's no guarantee that anything under the sun will work when you most need it...but probability will be on your side.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:14 PM
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I have been saying this for years. So many people place an arbitrary number of rounds fired before they will "trust" a pistol for concealed carry. I don't use "arbitrary" as a pejorative as it clearly is a subjective decision for each individual to get to their own comfort level. I submit that making sure each magazine feeds flawlessly with your choice of carry ammo and the weapon cycles and fires flawlessly with said carry ammo, is all that is necessary to determine that you are good to go. For me, this is one trip to the range, assuming no failures. Others disagree and I accept that.

Notwithstanding any immediately noticed manufacturer's defect, each and every subsequent round fired has more physical affect on your weapon and actually does take it one step closer to failure of some kind. A defect on the other hand may become apparent in the first magazine, first 50 rounds, first 100 rounds, etc. Assuming that a defect exists which will be affected by firing, we just have no idea where that point may be. However, at all times, it is highly unlikely it is the next round; but, the next round, without a doubt, always takes you one step closer to a malfunction or equipment failure.

Personal comfort level determines the round-count necessary for an individual to make this decision.

Last edited by BigSky!; 02-05-2020 at 04:16 PM. Reason: I added an apostrophe to "manufacturers" to be correct.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:16 PM
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If you are worried about it, carry a revolver. They are MORE likely to work. Anything mechanical can malfunction or break, but your odds are better with a wheelgun.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:27 PM
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There's only one thing in my life that I'm absolutely certain of, one day I with die. Beyond that it's just a matter of percentages.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:29 PM
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Confident? Yes!

100%? No!

I usually have a plan B. I’m 100% certain about that.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:32 PM
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Here is something that could be tried if you had limitless funds and limitless time:

1) Buy three of exactly the same potential carry gun, try and get them all with similar serial numbers or born-on dates, with the expectation that all three were made from the same parts batch on the same or nearly the same days by the same folks.

2) Take the first one and beat the absolute filthy tar out of it. Take the other two and put a box or two of FMJ through each.

3) Take the first one and beat the snot out of it with multiple boxes of high-buck defense/carry ammo. Take the other two and shoot a box each of high dollar defense ammo through it.

4) Continue to royally punish the first gun, feed it anything and everything, run the round count in to the multiple thousands, all while carrying the #2 gun and keeping the #3 gun in reserve.

5) As the #1 gun continues to run and run and run and never fail, even though you continue to pound it relentlessly, you can (assume, guess, HOPE?!) that guns #2 and #3 are just about the same as gun #1 which has taken a serious pounding and still runs and works.

6) Still carrying #2 gun and pounding the tar out of #1 gun and keeping #3 gun in reserve.

7) Find peace? Or throw all three guns in the dumpster whenever #1 finally gives you failures.

Summary? It's nonsense. Pick a gun, shake it out, get skilled with it and carry it. Avoid conflict and pray that you will never need your carry gun.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:46 PM
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All the police do it why wouldn't you? Maintenance is your friend.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:47 PM
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Just my experience/observation. The first 5 years I did CCW, I carried a Bersa .380. I had shot it quite a bit (a few hundred rounds). I got in the habit that when I went to the range to shoot other guns, I would pull the gun from its' holster and shoot the magazine. No special preparation. For the first 4+ years, I never had any issue. Then I had a stovepipe FTE the first round one trip. Cleared and continued without issue. Then the next trip to the range, I had the same thing happen. Lint? Dirt? Dust? I don't know. But, I had lost confidence in the gun.

I switched to a S&W 642, which, while I don't enjoy shooting it, has been absolutely reliable over the past 6 years.

That said - I have recently retired and my carry options have widened, and I am evaluating pistols again (6906, Beretta 85, CZ-83)

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Old 02-05-2020, 04:50 PM
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What's the old saying......two is one and one is none. Carry a back up.

Clean, well maintained, properly lubricated pistols are very reliable. Thousands of LEO's and literally millions of service/military personell carry and use them every day with very few documented mechanical failures. Most failures are caused by the human behind the gun, not the gun itself.
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Old 02-05-2020, 05:09 PM
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Even a revo can malfunction so nothing is really 100% reliable. Things wear out, ammo can always be an issue. magazines in semi are always potential weak points. One reason my carry mags never see the dirt or concrete.
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Old 02-05-2020, 05:48 PM
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500 rounds of range ammo, a box of carry ammo and Im usually happy with it
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Old 02-05-2020, 05:51 PM
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I just don't worry about it.

I shot an issued Sig P226 all the way through the FBI Academy. I bought a Sig P220 .45 ACP on my Dad's FFL while I was still in the academy. I picked it up on my way to my first office (New Orleans), took it out of the box, loaded the mags, fired a qualification course, put it in the holster they gave me for the 226, and carried it for the next 25 years. The internet wasn't around to tell me I should put 200 or 300 or 500 rounds of ammo through it before carrying it. I shot it. It worked. I carried it.

After I retired I took a very nice 19-3 nickle snub to my LEOSA geezer qual. I had put 150 rounds through it with no issues, but the first time out of the holster at the qual I got a click instead of a bang. Same thing on the next one. Turns out the cylinder was skipping past lockup with a fast DA pull, something I hadn't done on my own time.

There are no guarantees. Everything can work, everything can fail. Train for it and don't overthink it.
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:00 PM
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There are plenty of good reasons for carrying two or three guns even before you start discussing reliability. The chances of simultaneous malfunction of two or three guns that have always worked before are rather slim.

BTW, just today, a shooter at my range planted a bullet from a FACTORY squib load in his barrel. Does it matter whether it was a round gun or a slab-side? Like armorer 951 wrote, ". . . two is one and one is none."
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:15 PM
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This question never comes up in the revolver circles unless handloads are used.A well maintained revolver or 1911 should give anyone piece of mind.A small automatic or double stack high capicity is when I have that question in the back of my mind.
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:57 PM
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My Semiautos always run., occasional stove pipe or failure to lock slide back, that stuff happens rarely usually when breaking in my 1911's. Although things can also happen w Glocks., especially if the magazines are not the latest manufacturer., as far as I know that would be a '9' on the mag follower, I never use older version mags or mags with an added round capability follower...and I only use Glock Mags...all this applies to 1911 platforms as well IMO. Stock Colt mags, McCormick or Wilson.

On the other hand my Ruger Alaskan at the range today malfunctioned after 18 rounds, what did I get? Cylinder rotates with DA trigger pull & the hammer does not cock...that's a failure that will get U killed. That will require a stiffer trigger reset sprng...getting into the guts of it soon..

Semiautos tend to function in a more or less linear fashion, revolvers U have things rotating up, down, around clockwise & counterclockwise. They tend to be more complicated & rely on mechanical movement imparted by the user much more so than a typical semiauto.

So my point is...when revolvers fail in a fire fight you're in trouble...a semiauto can usually be cleared & back in action.

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Old 02-05-2020, 07:05 PM
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I’m extremely confident in my revolvers functioning as intended under any realistic circumstances I’m likely to encounter. I don’t put a great deal of rounds through my carry weapon and have a designated trainer.

My Glock’s will function very reliably under the right circumstances, but I’m not so certain in being able to provide the necessary requirements in an actual self-defense encounter, so my overall confidence in the Glock’s is substantially less.

I have very little confidence in micro semi-automatics, especially .380’s of any kind.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:09 PM
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My G19 has been slightly more reliable than my 637, over roughly 2k rounds each. Just sayin. I donít worry about either one.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:41 PM
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While I subscribe to the 200 rounds of ball and a box of SD ammo practice before use it is more for my own familiarization than to "prove" the gun.

By the same token it is not a bad procedure for identifying defective magazines. I bought one of the second round of Remington R51s and the two supplied mags and two spares I bought were only semi-reliable. I complained to Big Green and they sent me 4 replacements, all of which worked well. Still I never carried the gun, simply because it did nothing my Shield wouldn't except fit in a PPK holster.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:49 PM
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It will always be more effective than the gun you’re not carrying.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:50 PM
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No gun is 100% reliable. Go with the gun you feel confident and competent. And if the situation arises, just hope it goes bang.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDSTER View Post
No gun is 100% reliable. Go with the gun you feel confident and competent. And if the situation arises, just hope it goes bang.
Yeah, I like that.

I like this, too:

Quote:
For me, this is one trip to the range, assuming no failures. Others disagree and I accept that.
Quality handguns are designed to do a specific job. And they are designed to do it each time the trigger is pulled. Take yours to the range, shoot as many rounds as you have patience for and are comfortable with accuracy-wise, take it home, clean it, you're good to go.

Now, if you are fortunate enough to be able to shoot 50,000 rounds a year, that's different. That much shooting of one gun is sufficient mileage to be on the lookout for something to break. But if it's ten guns or more, well, the mileage is not as scary.......etc.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:11 PM
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Considering that military forces around the world have been issuing semiautomatic pistols as sidearms for over a century now, I'd say that the answer is yes, and has been yes for a very long time.

Honestly, look up the sort of testing that the US Military puts pistols through in their various trials dating all the way back the Tests of 1906. They really put these guns through some serious testing to determine the reliability of the pistols they adopted, yet to this very day we still have folks who insist on carrying revolvers because they believe that even modern pistols just cannot be trusted to fire more than 6 rounds without malfuntioning or jamming, despite the fact that the military wouldn't even give pistols a passing grade if they couldn't pass a 5000 round indurence test back in the early 1900s.

Folks worry too much about reliability, often to the point of borderline paranoia, complete with unrealistic tests to determine reliability which go above and beyond even the most stringent of military testing protocols because at least the military doesn't require their firearms to digest the absolute worst bargain basement factory ammo or lowest quality amateur handloads.

Now obviously; "If it can't fire at least 2500 rounds of my specialty unjacketed cast lead wadcutter boolets with the case filled to the brim with my special family recipe black powder, then it ain't reliable enuff fer me!" is your benchmark for reliability, then that's your prerogative, but don't act as if everyone else has or otherwise should have such requirements.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:17 PM
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I carried an auto for over 20 years in the service, both on my hip and concealed. We were trained for malfunctions as they are a fact of life with an auto......any auto.

Now that I am retired I carry a J-Frame 342. Yes, these can malfunction, but not as often.

Life is the luck of the draw! In more ways than one!
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ View Post
I carried an auto for over 20 years in the service, both on my hip and concealed. We were trained for malfunctions as they are a fact of life with an auto......any auto.

Now that I am retired I carry a J-Frame 342. Yes, these can malfunction, but not as often.

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this has nothing to do with gun reliability, but addresses your last line. "if you were born in the USA, you've won the lottery": Warren Buffet
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:02 PM
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Reliability and durability are two very different things. I have little doubt my Glock’s are more durable than my snub revolvers in terms of handling shooting large volumes of ammunition, but I have much more confidence that my snub will be more reliable should I have to reactively respond to an attack at close-quarters under conditions that have very little resemblance to range shooting conditions.

How the military uses and chooses sidearms has little in common with my needs as an armed civilian. The same could be said about law enforcement to a lesser degree.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:42 PM
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Well, consider historically the military was the proving grounds for reliable frearms, the conclusions of which are then passed on to the general public in regards to specific firearms & generalized to most others. As a civilian I don't think it's accurate to say that what the military does has little to do with civilian market choices or reliability. I am talking most in reference to historical military trials for the 1911, the 92F & of course revolvers as well.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:55 PM
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Oh, one more thing I wanted to add...

Revolvers can malfunction, parts can break, things can go wrong, and when they do, they tend to be much harder to get back into working order than a semiautomatic pistol. Or at least that's what my exerience has been, anyway.
For example, if the slide fails to cycle in a semiautomatic pistol, you just tap the bottom of the grip and rack the slide. If the cylinder fails to cycle on a revolver, then there can be several different problems, and most of them cannot be corrected anywhere near as quickly or easily as a semiautomatic pistol.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:46 PM
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I am a firm believer in practicing with my concealed carry. The more I practice with it the more confident I am, not only with the weapon but my abiity to use it. The malfunction of a weapon is one thing, my putting rounds where I want them to go is another.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirty Harry Callahan View Post
Oh, one more thing I wanted to add...

Revolvers can malfunction, parts can break, things can go wrong, and when they do, they tend to be much harder to get back into working order than a semiautomatic pistol. Or at least that's what my exerience has been, anyway.
For example, if the slide fails to cycle in a semiautomatic pistol, you just tap the bottom of the grip and rack the slide. If the cylinder fails to cycle on a revolver, then there can be several different problems, and most of them cannot be corrected anywhere near as quickly or easily as a semiautomatic pistol.
It was taught to me as "Tap & Rack". Yes, revolvers can get out of order and and are difficult to fix on the fly. However, I have seen autos lock up and require a hammer to get them apart, so you can fix them. For either instance there is what is called a "Back Up".
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:42 AM
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One course I took required us to have another person load some magazines with an unknown (to you) number of dummy rounds. You quickly learned to clear jams as a normal part of shooting. Perfect practice makes perfect execution. You cannot be 100% sure of the gun. But you can be sure of your ability to respond to most events.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Protocall_Design View Post
If you are worried about it, carry a revolver. They are MORE likely to work. Anything mechanical can malfunction or break, but your odds are better with a wheelgun.
I spent 20 years with semis before I came this conclusion, and after a few more years and thousands of rounds fired, I have yet to experience a revolver malfunction besides one squib from my reloaded ammo. This is why I carry a revolver these days (with Underwood or Winchester ammo, not my reloads).

I guess I'm a slow learner.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:46 AM
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I've seen revolvers get tied up from an unscrewed ejector rod, debris around the forcing cone and debris under the extractor. Revolvers also contain small parts and small springs, these can break and tie up the revolver. Semi-auto pistol failures are typically a failure to feed or a failure to extract, both are fairly easy failures to clear from the pistol. Nothing on this planet is 100% reliable, anything can fail, I choose not stay up all night worrying about such things. I've carried revolvers and pistols, I chose which based upon need and concealment concerns.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
What's the old saying......two is one and one is none. Carry a back up.
^^^^ Yep. If you want a more reliable system, you need a ready backup.

It’s why cars have independent hydraulic systems for the front and rear brakes. Hospitals have emergency generators. Yada, yada.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:18 AM
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When I was a new police officer I had a sergeant who was a certified "gun nut". On my first night with him he inspected my revolver and determined that the trigger pull was "terrible", despite the fact that I qualified with a perfect score with it in the academy.

When my four day off period came, he told me to leave my Model 10 with him so he could do an "action job" on it. I returned to duty four days later and retrieved my revolver from Sarge. Six months later I went to qualify at the range and my weapon wouldn't fire. The range sergeant looked at my weapon and demanded to know who had been messing with it, I told him, he nodded his head and told me to never let someone touch my weapon again. He returned it to stock and I fired a perfect score. I carried that weapon for six months and on several occasions encountered armed suspects who I drew on.

I said all that to say this; I'm one of those guys who won't consider carrying a firearm that I haven't personally fired at least 200-300 rounds thru. Maybe it's overkill in this day and age but I've never, ever forgotten that lesson.

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Old 02-06-2020, 10:45 AM
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I like to shoot 200 to 300 rounds thru a pistol before putting it into carry rotation.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:27 PM
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There is something you can do to have more confidence in your weapon. Can be fun too. Take a gunsmith course even if you never plan on using the knowledge professionally. A deeper knowledge will help you spot trouble before it results in a failure.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:30 PM
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No mechanism, even a hammer, is 100% reliable 100% of the time. That being said, modern guns are very, very good as long as you get a representative sample.
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:54 PM
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Default Have carried a gun for a long time...

...and just one (1!) time had a non-intentional fail to fire. And that one time it was wholly my fault...a filthy M60 that I had not cleaned properly. Okay, had not cleaned in quite a while.

Was during LEOSA quals this no harm.

That said, have a plan that considers such a highly unlikely happening...with a workaround!

Be safe.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:42 PM
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Back in the day, I bought a 659, an early one. At first it frustrated the daylights out of me. Jammed every magazine. Finally I took it out an fired several hundred rounds in an hour. Magically, the gun became super reliable. They all need to be broken in properly. Today I carry A 1911, BHP and a M60. All reliable.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Chino74 View Post
My Semiautos always run., occasional stove pipe or failure to lock slide back, that stuff happens rarely usually when breaking in my 1911's. Although things can also happen w Glocks., especially if the magazines are not the latest manufacturer., as far as I know that would be a '9' on the mag follower, I never use older version mags or mags with an added round capability follower...and I only use Glock Mags...all this applies to 1911 platforms as well IMO. Stock Colt mags, McCormick or Wilson.

On the other hand my Ruger Alaskan at the range today malfunctioned after 18 rounds, what did I get? Cylinder rotates with DA trigger pull & the hammer does not cock...that's a failure that will get U killed. That will require a stiffer trigger reset sprng...getting into the guts of it soon..

Semiautos tend to function in a more or less linear fashion, revolvers U have things rotating up, down, around clockwise & counterclockwise. They tend to be more complicated & rely on mechanical movement imparted by the user much more so than a typical semiauto.

So my point is...when revolvers fail in a fire fight you're in trouble...a semiauto can usually be cleared & back in action.
Mostly true. There are no malf drills for revos because it it fails, it is usually not fixable on the clock. Most semi malfs can be cleared with one of 3 drills but parts do break. I have seen GLock trigger springs let go. Now you have a single shot you have to manually reset the trigger for.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by CH4 View Post
It will always be more effective than the gun you’re not carrying.
Maybe. Or you think it is reliable, but never tested, so instead of run you decide to fight & that is a bad time to find out something is wrong.
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:01 PM
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Reliability and durability are two very different things. I have little doubt my Glockís are more durable than my snub revolvers in terms of handling shooting large volumes of ammunition, but I have much more confidence that my snub will be more reliable should I have to reactively respond to an attack at close-quarters under conditions that have very little resemblance to range shooting conditions.

How the military uses and chooses sidearms has little in common with my needs as an armed civilian. The same could be said about law enforcement to a lesser degree.
I know you believe the above but LEO fights are not really diff than ccw fights. It is close & fast, often in contact. Train, practice, repeat. IF LEA really thought that 5-6rds in a revo was the best way to fight in close, they would not likely have switched decades ago.
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Nomadmax View Post
When I was a new police officer I had a sergeant who was a certified "gun nut". On my first night with him he inspected my revolver and determined that the trigger pull was "terrible", despite the fact that I qualified with a perfect score with it in the academy.

When my four day off period came, he told me to leave my Model 10 with him so he could do an "action job" on it. I returned to duty four days later and retrieved my revolver from Sarge. Six months later I went to qualify at the range and my weapon wouldn't fire. The range sergeant looked at my weapon and demanded to know who had been messing with it, I told him, he nodded his head and told me to never let someone touch my weapon again. He returned it to stock and I fired a perfect score. I carried that weapon for six months and on several occasions encountered armed suspects who I drew on.

I said all that to say this; I'm one of those guys who won't consider carrying a firearm that I haven't personally fired at least 200-300 rounds thru. Maybe it's overkill in this day and age but I've never, ever forgotten that lesson.
More telling is that you did NOT test fire the M10 upon getting it back??
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by robertrwalsh View Post
No mechanism, even a hammer, is 100% reliable 100% of the time. That being said, modern guns are very, very good as long as you get a representative sample.
And feed it decent ammo with decent mags & maintain it properly.
I was in a class shooting my 1911 & the other 20 or so guys were shooting GLocks. One other guy had a 1911. He had a lot of feeding issues in the first day of 300rds. He was using cheap China knock off mags & his gun was almost bone dry, little lube. I loaned him some of my Wilsons, lubed his pistol & he finished up without issues. My 1911 ran flawless for 600rds over the weekend.
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:31 PM
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I have several revolvers that I think are probably 99.99% reliable, as long as the ammo is good. I have owned a number of semi-autos over the years, and none of them came anywhere near that, except for a Browning High Power with hardball ammo (not any other ammo).
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:57 PM
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My EDC 6906 is 26 years old, got it in '94. Since then I have put several hundred rounds per year through it with zero failures. Twice a year I go to the range, pull it and fire the 12 rounds on board. Load new ammo. Is it 100%, yes, so far. Will it always be 100%? Let's just say I'll bet $1000 I can pull it right now and empty the mag. Joe
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