How Do You Define Quality In A Firearm?


September 2, 2008, 02:39 AM
I had 5 or 6 different M-16s when I was in the Army 1 was a Colt's, at least one was a Harrington Richards and I have no idea what the rest of them were. What I remember though was that the Colt's didn't stand out (to me) in terms of quality it didn't shoot any straighter it didn't rattle any less.

Similarly I've been able to examine and fire a Kimber 1911 side by side W/ my RIA I doubt very seriously that I could distinguish the two on a dark night.

So what is a visible sign od quality no tool marks? The feel of the metal? I know fit is important but I can't say the Kimber was any better fitted than my Rock.

I can look at a Llama and it looks cheap But some people here swear by them.

So how do you define quality ?
What are the determining factors for you?

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September 2, 2008, 03:19 AM
I'm an el cheapo.

Quality to me is this:
Shoots where I want it to hit.
Reliable (no FTF/FTE etc).
Comfortable in my hand.
Has nothing to do with price tag (TT-33 is my favorite and I paid less than 200 for it).

**ETA** Trigger doesn't feel like dragging barbed wire across course sand paper or driving across a road of bricks seperated by bricks randomly thrown about (like on the stock M16A2's I've been issued (All 8of them thus far)

September 2, 2008, 03:34 AM
Quality = Reliability + Accuracy.

I consider these guns to be high quality...
Rem 870
Marlin 60

Price and looks are irrelevant to me in a discussion about quality. I will sacrifice a tiny bit of accuracy for more reliability, but I have difficulty sacrificing reliability for more accuracy. The more reliable guns tend to have lower tolerances. I'm OK with that.

September 2, 2008, 04:04 AM
I wouldn't say reliability and acuracy (to a reasonble degree) are what makes quality handgun, ANY hundgun should have those features.
Maybe fit, finish and a smooth action?

September 2, 2008, 04:17 AM
In the eye of the beholder . Some need the thing to be shiny and graceful, others need it to conform to some standard of fit and finish.

For me, it is function and reliability. It is the ability of the firearm to perform to a reasonable standard of accuracy and to function properly, and do this for a period of time that meets expectations. All else to me is face paint.

September 2, 2008, 04:30 AM
Remington 870 Wingmaster is the best of the best, but riflewise Ruger rules the roost in many respects. Semi-Mauser is most aspects, the Model 77 Mark II is mighty accurate and most reliable. No experience with the new Ruger HAWKEYE, so I cannot comment on that model yet. Remington's Model 700 rifle has yet to disappoint accuracywise. My 700 is super accurate, since I exchanged triggers. I also replaced the trigger on my Ruger Model 77 What's with stock triggers of extreme effort to squeeze? Tough triggers do not assist accurate bullet placement. When I purchase a new rifle I expect certain qualities, such as a crisp, light trigger for ACCURACY. Heavy trigger pulls seem dangerous, with wild inaccuracy. Yanking on a trigger to make a rifle fire seems dangerous and aliviates all accuracy potential.

September 2, 2008, 04:34 AM
1, does it do the job it was designed to do? ( ie a 22 target rifle, is designed to shoot small groups, not drop a moose at 300 yds.)

2. Does it realiably do the job it was designed to do?

3. fit and finish, it the out side looks like crap, no telling what the indside looks like.

4, materails used are of the correct qualtiy.

September 2, 2008, 06:09 AM
I'm surprised that you could tell no difference between the Kimber and RIA.

My Kimber is a very early example and is the tightest fittet 45 I have ever seen. Absolutely NO play in the slide/barrel at all. Trigger breaks like the proverbial glass rod @ 4lbs with no perceptible movement. Never felt a Rock like it.

Of course, Kimber might have loosened things up since the early days and that is a shame. The early guns gave them their reputation...sounds like they missed the boat on the gun you tried.

Eric F
September 2, 2008, 07:06 AM
1, does it do the job it was designed to do? ( ie a 22 target rifle, is designed to shoot small groups, not drop a moose at 300 yds.)

2. Does it realiably do the job it was designed to do?

3. fit and finish, it the out side looks like crap, no telling what the indside looks like.

4, materails used are of the correct qualtiy. and Has nothing to do with price tag
just about sums it up

also some folks will claim finish is a factor too, but I can only agree to a limmited extent on that.

September 2, 2008, 07:22 AM
I look for smoothness in the ZAMAK.

September 2, 2008, 07:27 AM
What defines it for me is reliability and fit.

I could give a rat's ass how it looks. How does it function?

General Geoff
September 2, 2008, 08:03 AM
quality can be quantified in many different ways. A good working definition for quality firearm is one that is dead reliable and reasonably accurate.

A firearms collector may refine that term, however, into something which stipulates fit & finish, aesthetic value, ergonomics, or any number of other characteristics. These are secondary to the purpose and function of a firearm, but for a person who is a firearms enthusiast, the basic definition of quality is taken for granted. So a refinement of the definition is required for it to have any useful meaning.

September 2, 2008, 09:54 AM
I will be the first to tell you that I am not a serious judge of quality in an AR. I have always heard that Colt's AR quality are a step above in civilian rifles.

In general I judge quality by manufacture's reputation, fit and finish, functionality, accuracy, overall condition, and in the case of AR rifles- materials and components used.

Treo, not a bad signature line. That is disturbing to me as well and there is a great deal of truth in the statement.

September 2, 2008, 10:23 AM
Quality and dependability shouldn't be used interchangeably ... one example is the AK ... stamped metal parts, dull finish, rattles like a diamondback. One ugly puppy, but damn are they reliable.

General Geoff
September 2, 2008, 10:24 AM
But in a very real sense, an AK clone is a quality firearm. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone who needs a good, functioning semiautomatic rifle.

Old Grump
September 2, 2008, 12:26 PM
Feels right in my hand and is easy to aim.
Functions reliably with minimal maintenance problems.
Shoots to point of aim with most ammo.

September 2, 2008, 01:49 PM
So is a Colt's M-16 of better quality than a Harrington Richards?

Is a Kimber 1600.0$ better than a RIA?


Jim K
September 2, 2008, 02:25 PM
I agree with a lot of the above about quality not being related to price and that reliability is most important.

Still, there are aesthetics involved. To most of us, a gun that is well fitted, well polished and has good bluing/plating plus a nice stock finish if appropriate, is considered of higher quality than an identical gun without the appearances. In part that is because good workmanship on the outside often equates to good workmanship on the inside.

I think that was well proven in the days when major makers put out a "second" line, either under their own name or a store name. The second line was identical to the "name brand" except for less polish, poorer bluing, painted on foreend tip, lesser grade of wood (commonly birch instead of walnut), etc. You could argue yourself blue that the store brand was as good as the "name" brand, but only people on a limited budget bought the former.


September 2, 2008, 02:51 PM
Quality = Reliability + Accuracy.

I agree 100%.

I consider these guns to be high quality...
Rem 870
Marlin 60

My first Pistol - Glock 19
My first Revolver - S&W 686
My first Shotgun - Remington 870
My first Bolt Action - Remington 700
My first Lever Action - Marlin 1894
My first 1911 - Kimber

I consider all of the above firearms to be "Quality" firearms. They are all reliable and accurate.

September 2, 2008, 06:37 PM
Quality does not have to be expensive. I have a $600 AK that will out-perform many $1000+ AR's. I have a $500 Glock that will out perform many fancy guns that cost twice as much. My $250 P32 performs 100% since day one. My Remington 870 Express was under $300, and has been a top notch performer.

Quality is reliability, accuracy, and durability. Good looks are pretty far down the list of priorities.

September 2, 2008, 06:46 PM
Quality is objective, but I think most will agree that consistency is important to the notion of quality.

What suits you, what appeals to you, etc., is your idea of quality. Different from that, a reputation for quality is a democratic concept held by at least a few people that the quality they enjoyed did not seriously degrade over time, at least not within a life span the perusers expected of the item.

Taurus is of fine quality -- for the price you pay. Other off-brand firearms may also be. But far more agree that Smith & Wesson and the Colt of old to be of excellent quality. I agree with them. Their products have proven a consistency of quality over time, sufficient to justify the cost of their product.

As a result, I rely on these reputations of quality with a significant amount of, perhaps unfair, prejudice. I'm no fan of taurus. Were they American made, I would perhaps give them the benefit of a doubt. Do I detest them in anyway? No, not at all, but they do not possess the reputation of consistency that I look for in Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Colt, Baretta, Sig-Sauer, etc.

And, for me, looks are pretty high on the list. I am vain and so are my bullets :D

September 2, 2008, 07:28 PM
Overbuilt, dependability, accuracy= Ruger/ Glock/S&W/Marlin

No stamped guns allowed!

September 2, 2008, 07:41 PM
Mechanical design --

Military guns are all built to spec. That's the reason they're all pretty much the same. They're intended to be all the same, with interchangable parts.

Mechanical design is what separates a Jennings, Raven, Bryco from a Smith & Wesson.

Jeff F
September 2, 2008, 09:05 PM
Just pick up and handle any of the older S&W's.

September 3, 2008, 11:36 AM
Guns that stand the test of time, and that become time-honored as a result, certainly fit into the quality department. Think of the venerable P.38 from WWII. Think of the Walther PPK, which was introduced well before WWII and is still a good seller for the concealed carry market. These guns suggest quality in ways that many of today's brands cannot ... and likely never will.

September 3, 2008, 12:03 PM
Is a Kimber 1600.0$ better than a RIA?


The question I have long wondered as well. I haven't held or shot a kimber, but it really does strike me how two essentially identical handguns made with similar materials can be so different in terms of price. What are you paying for with a $2,000 Kimber that you aren't getting in a $800 Para Ordinance? Kimber is the easy target, but I've seen lots of other examples where price is determined by brand name and quality is not necessarily a factor. I've seen the same thing with AR's. There are many brands/makers who make them to the same specifications, but there are still folks who insist that a $1400 Colt is better than a $900 Bushmaster. Assuming they are made to the same specs correctly, what is it that you are getting that makes a firearm worth more? To me, quality is about functionality. I don't care about the fine checkering or blueing on my pistol if I can only shoot one brand of ammo through it, or if it still stovepipes after 3 trips to the gunsmith.

September 3, 2008, 12:10 PM
To me quality is reliability and function High quality is relability and function and looks good

Ala Dan
September 3, 2008, 01:18 PM
The word QUALITY in a handgun-

First, one that works when you need it the most~! Cost, I don't think
is a major player here; if you have a $479 Springfield Armory G.I. model
1911 that stops an attack, you did well in your selection of a defensive
handgun. OTOH, if you spend $3,000 on a custom 1911 (take your pick)
that jams at the time of need; chances are good, that you won't be
able to get a refund~! :uhoh:

After acquiring a weapon that "works", I look at fit N' finish as in the
word "craftmanship". Do all parts "mate" as they should? Is the back
of the extractor (on 1911's) flush with the the slide; or does it protrude
out, say a 1/16th of an inch? How does the slide fit on the frame? In
most cases, does it have a decent trigger pull? On revolvers, how does
the yoke to frame look, does it have a "gap" in it? Is the barrel put on
the frame straight; or is it twisted left or right? Does the revolver "lock
up" tight, as it should? How many pounds is the double-action pull,
which is specfic to double-action revolvers. If equipped with adjustable
sights, do they present the "perfect" sight picture?

These are just examples of some of the things used to describe the
word QUALITY. And lastly, any make or model of semi-auto or
revolver with the word QUALITY attached, is 9 times out of 10
made by a major manufactuer'er~! ;) :D

September 3, 2008, 03:50 PM
Ala Dan,

I agree.


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