Semi-auto Vs Revolver Reliability


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USBP1969
August 12, 2011, 10:09 AM
Howdy.

I am submitting this post to both the Revolver and Semi-auto forums since I would really like to hear from both those who favor semi-autos as well as those who favor revolvers. (I hope the moderators will allow this.)

Question: As stated in the title, I am asking for input in regards to the comparative reliability of semi-autos to that of wheel guns. I ask this question in good faith because 15 years of being a full-time firearms instructor as well as having conducted 5 years of qualification in the field has caused me to come away with a jaundiced view of semi-auto reliability.

The mitigating factor is that this experience (seeing both types shot side by side) was accumulated between 1990 and 2004.

So, now in the year 2011, after 7 more years of development, Id like to ask how they compare for reliability in a civilian and law enforcement environment?

Respectfully,
-kent

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Dogguy
August 12, 2011, 11:01 AM
I think (rather than "know") the concern over semi-auto reliability has pretty much played out.

My first semi-automatic was a Colt 1911 that would fail to feed, eject or fail to do something else every so often. That was pretty much what you expected of the classic design autos back in the 70s and 80s. You bought a 1911, took it to a specializing gunsmith and spent another several hundred dollars to get it to work well enough to be considered reliable. No more. If you buy a new autoloader today that has been on the market for long enough to establish a good reputation, you're pretty much guaranteed it will be reliable right out of the box. If it's not, you'll know it immediately and manufacturer will fix it or replace it.

Sometime in the mid 1970s through the mid to late 1980s, a whole new breed of auto came along that had simplified designs that made them run like they should have all along. That's when the world started to see CZs, SIG-Sauers and Glocks hit the market. Guns that ran like they were supposed to run without having to have a gunsmith tune them up. That's also when you started to see LE agencies turn away from revolvers and move in to autos.

I started out shooting revolvers when I was a kid and I still like revolvers and I still own several revolvers. But I've moved on and I now own several autos that I consider every bit as reliable--or maybe even more reliable in some cases. That revolver vs auto debate is really no longer relevant.

MCgunner
August 12, 2011, 11:19 AM
I don't think autos particularly unreliable from the 80s on. I've had 1911s that only were very reliable with ball, that's why I don't care for 1911s after all being designed in 1911 FOR ball. You can improve 'em, of course, with one piece feed ramps, doing away with the link, polish, port, etc, but I just got rid of 'em and swore off. By the time you get one to work, you could have bought 10 cases of ammo for a modern gun. :rolleyes: The 1911 guys will jump on this, but they read too much Jeff Cooper. :rolleyes:

I've only got 2 Rugers, a Kel Tec, a Grendel P12 (out of production little .380) and a Radom P64 for center fire autos. Every one of these guns are 100 percent reliable. Now, I've found some ammo in some of 'em that won't feed. Autos can be ammo picky. That's something that is not true of revolvers except for accuracy, but not function. But, when fed what they like, my autos are 100 percent, absolutely. My Rugers, I don't think you can jam the things, feed anything. I carry the old Speer 200 grain "flying ashtray" in my P90. I guess when my stash runs out, I'll switch to gold dots as the flying ashtray is no longer made. That bullet was the gold standard of reliability testing, if it'd feed, the gun would feed anything. For a test, I loaded an empty sized case in the mag with a few rounds in front and behind it and my P90 would feed THAT every time, no bullet at all! It's also revolver accurate, putting those flying ashtrays into a 1", sometime the first shot being a bit low to 1.5", at 25 yards off the bench. That's revolver accuracy in an auto. The trigger is fantastic, too. Needless to say, I still have the P90. It's a might hard to carry, though, in south Texas heat and humidity, not a pocket gun. But, it's lighter than an all steel 1911 and carries pretty easily on a belt or IWB in a Sparks summer special if you can wear the over garments. In 105 degree heat and 70 percent humidity, I can't. :rolleyes:

Anyway, I love my revolvers, own more revolvers than autos, at lest center fire. I'm in to cap and ball revolvers, too, but don't count those. But, I find little pocket autos somewhat easier to conceal, slightly, than my ultralite .38 snubby revolver and they are easier to reload and carry reloads for. So, I mostly carry my autos, though I occasionally carry my .38, especially when I'm going fishing. The gun is stainless/alloy, don't have to worry so much about rust in a sweaty pocket in a salt water environment. The .38 is very accurate, but so are my Kel Tec and my Radom, the Grendel not so much.

Most of the problems I HAVE had with autos, either feeding or other malfunctions, I fixed on the spot, usually with a tap/rack/bang. I've had a couple of malfunctions with a revolver that required sending back to the factory, put me out of action. One was a broken firing pin on a Rossi and the other was a split forcing cone on a Smith and Wesson M10 .38 special. Either would have been bad news in a gun fight. Don't happen often, mind you, but it can happen with a revolver, too.

With an auto, you must first shoot a lot of what you're going to carry in it to prove it before you carry it, at least 200 rounds is the rule. Revolvers, just shoot for accuracy and you're good to go with maybe 5 or 10 shots fired. Proving an auto can be expensive, depending on the ammo involved. But, once I've proven the gun to my satisfaction, i'm as confident in it as any of my revolvers, frankly. I think the reliability thing is much to do about nothing, probably revolver guys with very little auto experience justifying their hatred for autos. JMHO, though.

jmr40
August 12, 2011, 11:31 AM
You could take a revolver out of the safe, to the range, back home, clean and put back in the safe and likely live a lifetime without a single malfunction.

Do the same with a semi-auto and you will have the occasional malfunction, usually caused by poor ammo, assuming you have a quality gun.

Start having to work with a dirty gun, or in a suituation where the gun would have to work after being dropped on the ground, or any type of abuse and either will eventually malfunction, but a quality semi-auto will continue to work longer.

Revolvers are more complex, with more small parts that must work with close tolerances. It only takes a bit of un-burned powder, sand, or mud in the wrong place and a revolver will bind up and be useless. A revolver dropped on the ground could easliy damage the cylinder, hammer, ejector rod etc. since they are all external and not protected.

It is much harder for crud to get into the internal parts of a semi-auto and the striker fired guns have even less moving parts externally.

If you do have a semi-auto malfunction they are easliy cleared and back in action in seconds. When a revolver goes down, it is down until it can be repaired by someone with proper tools.

No one plans on using their guns dirty, or after abusing them, but in the real world stuff happens. Sometimes your gun needs to work, no excuses.

mgmorden
August 12, 2011, 11:52 AM
As has been said, most of the bias against semi-autos comes from people who were around in a different time when they weren't as reliable as they are today. Modern guns might have more plastic and parts made out of cheaper materials (and produced using methods more friendly towards mass production), but overall the designs have been simplified greatly which helps reliability.

For the most part just about ANY semi-auto from a good manufacturer (Ruger, S&W, Glock, SIG, Walther, CZ, Beretta, etc) will perform flawlessly for the entirety of it's useful life.

The "reliability" argument in favor of revolvers is simply outdated. Not to say that revolvers aren't fun - I still have a few and enjoy shooting them - but it's not out of some misguided notion that they're more reliable.

MCgunner
August 12, 2011, 12:04 PM
No one plans on using their guns dirty, or after abusing them, but in the real world stuff happens. Sometimes your gun needs to work, no excuses.

In my real world, my autos don't get dropped in mud, filth, whatever. They ride in my pocket and I clean 'em and reload 'em (whatever I'm carrying) every week just as I do my revolvers, just so the pocket lint doesn't build up. I think your arguements only relate to military use. Civilian CCW, not so much.

HUNTING and OUTDOOR carry, I'll pick a magnum revolver EVERY time. Why? Accuracy, power, and range. That's all that matters. But, I kinda prefer my single shot TC Contender for hunting to my Blackhawks. :D They don't get dumped in mud, either. I'm 59 years old and the only time I've ever dumped a gun in mud was my shotguns duck hunting when I trip in the muck. That's why I like Mossbergs for that, mine with a camo finish that sheds the salt water. :D I have gotten my .38 set a few times fishing. I carry it because that happens and it's a stainless/alloy gun which sheds the salt water pretty well. But, that's not muck, just salt water. My P90 is stainless, but I hardly ever carry it, too big for a pocket.

AK103K
August 12, 2011, 12:07 PM
With a gun that works, ammo is usually the culprit when it doesnt. Auto or revolver, it doesnt matter.

Of the two, when a failure does happen, the revolver is usually out of action at that point, until the problem can be diagnosed, and the problem taken care of. The autos are usually put back into action pretty quickly with a TRB.

FIVETWOSEVEN
August 12, 2011, 01:33 PM
Revolvers can jam but its ammunition is what causes it such as a primer not seated properly, if you get a misfire just pull the trigger again and bang on a different round. Semi Autos can jam by faulty ammo, bad magazines, or the gun not manufactured quite up to spec, Revolvers have more tolerance for defects.

This being said, I carry a Semi auto and trust my life to it.

EdJennings
August 12, 2011, 01:36 PM
In a lot of cases, the revolver is back in action with another pull of the trigger. If there is a squib in the barrel this won't work, of course. With any other misfire, the revolver will probably win.

snooperman
August 12, 2011, 02:13 PM
at age 70 I have shot both Revolvers and semi-auto pistols for more thhan 55 years. The newer semi auto pistols are very reliable compared to what was available 30+ years ago. I like the Glocks, 1911, SIG , and Rugers, but there are many others today that are just as good. The key is to have good ammo that they like and become proficient with it. I carry a Colt "Magnum Carry" most of the time IWB, but sometimes I carry the Glock 19 also IWB. I find both to be extremely reliable and can not seem to discern a distinct advantage of one over the other, except in the number of cartridges they hold.

AK103K
August 12, 2011, 02:15 PM
You dont always get a second pull of the trigger with revolvers. Ive personally had all of the following happen over the years with various makes of revolvers....

A loose bullet moving forward under recoil tying up the cylinder.

Unburnt powder and/or other debris under the extractor star due to improper reloading technique.

Loose ejector rods that backed out tying the gun up, and you cant get it open to reload.

S&W 940's that had parts break internally, requiring the gun to be disassembled to get the live rounds out just to ship it back.

The cylinder retention screw back out on a S&W 29, which dropped the cylinder on the ground when I went to reload.


As I said earlier, when the revolvers go south, its usually a done deal at that point. The autos on the other hand, can usually quickly be put back into action.

marb4
August 12, 2011, 02:20 PM
Revolvers are generally more complex "machines" than semi auto pistols so one might assume they are more likely to malfunction due to their complexity. Revolvers, like any complex machine, can break and malfunction...

HOWEVER - A revolver is not dependent on ammunition to function and thats its big advantage. Light loads, hot loads, round nose, hollow point, ect doesn't matter. Potential ammo feeding and cycling problems aren't there like they are with autoloaders and despite their complexity, breakage and malfunction are exceedingly rare. I've owned a number of semi auto pistols, most of which are very reliable, but I've had at least some stoppages with every one of them. Never any with my revolvers. On the rare occasion I get a dud round in a revolver, just squeeze the trigger again and your back in the game. No "tap/rack" drills...

HOWEVER - if a revolver does malfunction and lock up there is no quick fix. You're pretty much done until it can be disassembled and fixed. Not good if you're defending your life.

So to answer the question, if I had to defend my life or family and had a semi auto pistol and revolver sitting in front of me I would likely grab the revolver (not factoring in caliber). I've never had a revolver fail me but all of my autoloaders on rare occasions have (thankfully only when shooting paper bad guys). Most modern semi auto pistols are very reliable but no matter how good the gun, it can still be taken out of action with one bad round.

Robert101
August 12, 2011, 03:25 PM
I have no other statistics than my own experience. I've never had a single weapon malfunction from a revolver - say 4,000 rounds fired.

I've had FTFs or FTEs on every pistol (semi-auto) with the exception of my Gen4 Glock 27 which only has 250 rounds fired - say 30 malfuntions in 8,000 rounds fired total. I keep round count records so my stats are accurate.

Now many of you will say that my 12,000 rounds fire are pretty minimal. Ok, but certainly more than your average gun owner and certainly enough to at least formulate and opinion.

By the way, my guns include only good quality firearms like S&W, Dan Wesson, Springfiled Armory, Browning, etc. I've got to say that the Glock looks promising in the reliability of semi-auto. I use it as my CCW.

showmebob
August 12, 2011, 03:35 PM
I own equal numbers of semi-autos and revolvers. I've shot at least 15,000 rounds (probably more). NOT COUNTING AMMO RELATED OR FEEDING EJECTION FAILURES I've had 0 revolver failures and 1 DOA semi-auto failure that required factory repair to fire.
One revolver ammo related failure where the primer backed out and locked up the cylinder. It took a minute or two to resolve the issue.
Multiple semi-auto ammo related failures that didn't take too long to resolve.

If I had to bet my life on firing 5 quick shots with no problems I'll grab my revolver every time.

Inebriated
August 12, 2011, 03:41 PM
Revolvers have less to go wrong, so they're generally less prone to malfunctions. Semi-autos are more prone, but almost all malfunctions with a semi are able to be identified and fixed. The debate over revolver vs. semi reliability is overplayed in my opinion.

SlamFire1
August 12, 2011, 04:07 PM
Ruger performed the last product improvement on the single action revolver in the 1950's.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Pistols%20various/DSCN1325threescrewblackhawk.jpg

Revolvers are simple and reliable. I trust a wheel gun more than a semi auto.

Though today's semi autos are better than they have ever been.

AK103K
August 12, 2011, 04:14 PM
They should have left it alone after that. :)

I had a couple of new model Blackhawks that both had to go back because of the cylinder gap being a problem with lead bullets, specifically, lead build up on the face of the cylinder. The cylinders on both guns would tie up after shooting a couple of cylinders full. The gun would get sluggish to cock towards the end of the first, and you couldnt cock it at all usually by the end of the second.

genstab
August 12, 2011, 04:35 PM
Very interesting thread. Personally, I always thought from what people said that revolvers would never let you down while semiautos can jam, so my first guns were a S&W Model 60, a nickel plated Colt Detective Special (second series) and a S&W Military & Police snub (pre-model 10) followed by a primo stainless Model 64 snub. But I got intrigued by Browning Hi-Powers, wanted to give a semiauto a fair chance, and bought a new 9mm Practical. All I can say is I agree with the folks who say the newer semiautos are super reliable because I have not had one single misfire with the Browning. I fire some 200 rounds as soon as I get a gun to test it out. I than got hold of a Browning BDM which performs flawlessly, and then picked up on a FN HP-DA which is the same gun as a Browning BDA-9, as it's made by FN (the mags, at least the 15 rounders, are interchangeable with the BDM). They are super reliable also. I think the HP-DA (or BDA-9) is a more solid gun by construction; the BDM is super thin and lighter though they are all steel guns. What's my opinion now? I think you can trust your life to a modern semiauto, at least a FN/Browning (and having had such good luck with them I'm not about to experiment with other brands though from what I read I would say the SigSauer, Glock and Beretta are also quality guns), but as I have these revolvers, I'm going to have one of them in each room of my house along with a semiauto in case of need. If one lets me down I can grab the other. But yes, I'd grab the semiauto first because I have 13 to 15 round mags for them. So if I have a misfire which I have never had yet with any of my semiautos I can grab a .38 Special quickly. As far as my car goes, as I have a concealed carry license, I carry the Browning BDM in the glove box. But if I ever have the need to carry a gun in a bad area it'll be one of my snub nose .38s because they're lighter, more concealable, and I have holsters for them that aren't bulky. I can always carry a speedloader in my pocket.

Best regards,
Bill in Cleveland

M2 Carbine
August 12, 2011, 04:36 PM
About 1960 I had a couple revolvers and a couple semi automatics. Since then I have owned and shot or been around people shooting many, many revolvers and semi automatics. Since 1967 I have owned my own range where friends and I have shot many semi autos and revolvers.

In all this time the total number of revolver malfunctions I've seen, I can probably count on my fingers and toes and have some left over. In the same time I can not even begin to estimate the number of semi auto malfunctions I've seen, and still see.

When I see a revolver malfunction it's a big deal. When I see a semi auto malfunction it's just another day at the range.

Right now I have a Ruger LC9 that has quickly gone through almost 1,600 trouble free rounds and will probably go through another 1,600 with no trouble. But if it has a malfunction the next time I shoot it I will not be surprised, it's a semi automatic.

I like revolvers and semi autos equally well but when I pick up a revolver I "know" it's going to work. When I pick up a semi auto I "know" that it stands a fair chance of malfunctioning. It's just the nature of the beast.

Zerodefect
August 12, 2011, 05:25 PM
Revolvers are more reliable. No recoil operation or complex sliding parts. Your thumb or trigger finger powers them.

But, in my experience, they are far less durable.

One good wack and you can bend that frame a little and your shots are off. In fact banging a revolver on a wooden block with a leather cover, is how I watched an old timer zero his gun in.

How many times can I fall down on my side with a revolver before the crane gets bent out of shape? My Glocks and 1911's have no problem with me dropping to urban prone on top of them. (Rifle shoot, pistol in holster)

So, in my opinion, a good Glock or 1911 is overall more durable/reliable for me. I still like S&W J-frames. But I won't throw my revolver down the driveway like I can my Glock or 1911.

I'd really like to get my hands on a 7" USFA single action revolver. Maybe even the "aged" version, even though it is kinda corny. But it's not like it would be practical for anyhting anyways.

DC Plumber
August 12, 2011, 06:02 PM
Ah, the debate goes on. Very thought provoking responses though.

Seriously, two nights ago, we had an incident in the neighborhood that woke up our family at 2am. My wife was pretty scared, I ran to the safe where I have numerous loaded handguns, all ready to go.

I grabbed my 4" 586 loaded with 158 JHP XTPs over 14.5g of 2400.

My other options included everything from a 22 rimfire, a 380, 2 1911s, 44mags, 44 specials and a few knives.

Concealed carry is another matter, but for in home situations in the middle of the night, there was no debate in my mind. Thinking back, my second choice would have been my Smith and Wesson 3" model 24-3 stoked with 240g GDHP over a stiff charge of 2400.

Luckily, neither was needed. This is the second time in my life that I had to grab a gun in the middle of the night for a very real threat. It felt good not to be helpless.

Hondo 60
August 12, 2011, 06:10 PM
I have several semi-autos & revolvers.

The revolvers don't jam - ever - unless a part breaks.
My nephew tends to limp wrist my 1911 & it jams on him maybe every other or every 3rd magazine.

It never jams on me.

I think for the purposes of this debate we need to specify whether the shooter is experienced with the particular firearm or not.

In my case there is no difference between my newer semi-autos & my vintage revolvers when it comes to reliability.

Warp
August 12, 2011, 06:11 PM
As I said earlier, when the revolvers go south, its usually a done deal at that point. The autos on the other hand, can usually quickly be put back into action.

This sounds about right and qualifies as conventional wisdom from what I have seen.

The problem is that the auto loader has problems more often.

In my mind there is no doubt that, all else equal, the revolver is more reliable. Too bad they can't hold, say, 14 rounds of .45ACP.

TEX
August 12, 2011, 06:36 PM
I believe the main issue is the extra training luggage an auto comes with – which is substantial and very critical.

Many say most stoppages in an auto are ammo related, but this is also true of a revolver. The revolver does not give a hoot about bullet profile and an auto may. In a revolver, if you shoot good factory ammo with primers properly seated, bullets properly crimped, and you periodically tighten the frame screws and ejector rod, you chances of having a malfunction approach your chances of being hit by lighting while holding a winning lotto ticket. However, should a revolver have any malfunction other than a simple failure to fire (bad primer/dud round) you are probably done – you may not even be able to get the cylinder open to reload. With a failure to fire due to a dud round, most people even with no training at all, will perform the proper malfunction clearance – which is to pull the trigger again. With autos, other than a broken critical part or a ruptured case head, about 99.5% of all malfunctions can be fixed with one of two clearance procedures – one pretty darn quick and the other not so darn quick. Thankfully the first, and quicker one, solves probably 80+ percent of the problems. Autos tend to have more malfunctions not because their design and cycling, but because the list of things that can hang them up is much long than for a revolver. It runs the gambit from failing to seat the magazine fully, unfavorable bullet nose profile, misplaced thumbs, etc. to weak extractor springs, weak magazine springs or a magazine inserted too far – it is a long list. Some of this misery however, is self inflicted by perfectionist who, in attempting to shrink groups, get the auto too tight or modify it is some way it doesn’t like. The highest percentages of malfunction in autos I have seen are with semi-high end 1911s, especially those with barrels shorter than 4.5-inches. The most reliable autos I have seen are (and in order); Glock, Sig Saur, and Beretta. As with most other things, there are tradeoffs. If you are willing to become proficient with clearing malfunctions in an automatic, it may be a significantly better choice. They are usually more concealable, usually have a higher capacity, often have short trigger stokes, may have less recoil, and the “Biggy” – can be quickly reloaded with spare magazines (unless you are they Jerry cat out of Louisiana in which case an auto only slows you down). Excessive dirt or fouling is an enemy of both autos and revolvers, but seem to affect certain autos more than revolvers. That is a basic observation. I did once run over three cases of ammo through my Glock 23 (not all at one time) without cleaning it at all to see where it would start choking, but it never did. I just got tired of looking at it and cleaned it. I have never done that with a revolver, and if I did, I would not be surprised to have some trouble with it.

A revolver may seem more reliable, but an auto offers many advantages, some potentially life saving, if you will take the time and effort to learn the malfunction clearances to the point they are engrained and automatic.

GLOOB
August 12, 2011, 07:59 PM
Depends on the individual gun. Sure, I have some semi-autos that are less reliable than my revolvers. But I have some that are more reliable.

I've had malfunctions with both of my revolvers.
1.The mainspring screw had backed out of my Smith, causing light strikes. Required disassembly to fix.
2. Extractor rod backed out of my Smith, jamming the cylinder closed.
3. Lack of lube and light rusting on the hammer caused my Smith to have some light strikes. Required disassmebly to fix.
4. Ruger trigger dried out and wouldn't reset. Required disassembly to fix.

USBP1969
August 12, 2011, 08:23 PM
In a revolver, if you shoot good factory ammo with primers properly seated, bullets properly crimped, and you periodically tighten the frame screws and ejector rod, you chances of having a malfunction approach your chances of being hit by lighting while holding a winning lotto ticket.

Tex, that one really cracked me up. Never saw that quote before. Going to have to use it myself if you don't mind.

Gentlemen (and I mean that quite literally), I sincerely appreciate information and the insights.

-kent

GLOOB
August 12, 2011, 08:37 PM
As you can see from my revo malfunctions, this isn't true. I have neither won the lottery nor been struck by lightning. And I did not count the ammo-related malfunctions.

Now I have many semi-autos where full disassembly is difficult. They may have the same issues as my revolvers. But I periodically detail strip my Glocks as part and parcel of normal operation, because it's easy and fast.

Most people suggest you should never open the side plate on a Smith revolver and/or take out the trigger group on a Ruger for normal maintenance. And yet I had to do this on both my revolvers to get them to function. To be fair, my Smith was well used. But my Ruger still had the factory lube on it and less than 200 rounds through it when it failed. (A lot of dryfiring, though!)

JohnBiltz
August 12, 2011, 09:12 PM
The old saying is revolvers tolerate negligence better, Automatics tolerate abuse better. I think that is true. If you are going to throw a gun in a drawer and 5 years later pull it out to defend yourself you want a revolver in that drawer. If you are going to be dragging a gun across concrete, through sand and debris banging it around as you go you really want an automatic.

The Lone Haranguer
August 12, 2011, 09:15 PM
It is dependent more on the individual gun than the type, therefore a blanket statement to say one is more reliable than the other. I've owned and shot autos that were little better than single-shots, but others that will shoot mountains of ammo all day without so much as a bobble. The revolver is not immune to malfunctions either.

1SOW
August 12, 2011, 09:21 PM
JMO:
In general--the fewer parts a machine has, the less likely it is to malfunction due mis-aligned or failure of parts.

Semi-autos have way more parts, but the better manufacturers have done a good job making them reliable enough.

priler
August 12, 2011, 10:26 PM
i'll state my opinion in a different way than most so far.

if you're one of those that doesn't like or never cleans and lubes your weapon at all after already doing so once after shooting it and then leaving it alone for an extremely long time just sitting there,if your intent is to just grab it and shoot it after that,for whatever reason,than the possibility is higher that a revolver is better and possibly more reliable for you when you suddenly need to use it.

if your going to leave your weapon unmolested for a very long time undercover,like underneath the seat of your car,glove compartment or most other places(but not all),than the possibility is higher that a revolver is better and possibly more reliable for you when you suddenly need to use it.

these two circumstances above preclude the cartridges making contact with some elements like water or oil,etc.,depending on the type of exposure.they can also be mitigated to a huge extent by exactly which semi-auto pistol you chose and if certain specific lubes are chosen(both too long and complex to explain here).

if your handgun may possibly be exposed to the elements more,almost any elements,like sprayed water,oil,possibly dropped in the mud,etc.,etc. and without any cleaning and if it's going to possibly get banged(knocked) around more(which imo is always at least a possibility in a SD situation),than the possibility is higher that a semi-auto pistol is better and possibly more reliable for you when you suddenly need to use it.

the choices,techniques and habits that you live by can make all the difference whether you chose one or the other. for me,because of my habits,familiarization,understanding specific details and characteristics,choices i make and clear advantages i see(for me),i will more than likely always choose a pistol in most any kind of SD situation.

YMMV.

i'll also say that those who say a revolver is better because it's simpler and therefor must always be more reliable,don't know how a revolver actually works,the intricacies or are just patting themselves on the back over the choice they've made. imo,this should be understood and also imo this should have an influence in the choices you make.

i have literally,right in front of me,seen revolvers fall apart and also pistols malfunction. i'll never put full 100% faith in anything mechanical(or biological for that matter) but i will say that,if i do my part,i can at least come close.

Rexster
August 12, 2011, 10:45 PM
I answered this in the Revolver sub-forum.

MR.G
August 12, 2011, 10:46 PM
I have had both revolvers and semi-autos fail over the last 45 years. The revolvers have been more reliable, but both can fail.

MCgunner
August 12, 2011, 11:13 PM
As you can see from my revo malfunctions, this isn't true. I have neither won the lottery nor been struck by lightning. And I did not count the ammo-related malfunctions.

Well, with MY luck, I'll win millions in the lotto and be struck by lightening and killed the next day. :rolleyes:

scythefwd
August 12, 2011, 11:28 PM
A semi auto can be 100 reliable for it's lifetime. I have seen guns that have 10k + rounds in them that never jam, fail to feed, fail to extract, fail to fire, etc. My handguns will probably never see that many rounds from me. I think it is more of a technique thing than a reliability issue with the gun itself.

I have a gun that has failed to feed or eject 2 times total. Both times, the problem was not with the gun but my limp a@# wrist. I corrected my technique and it feels like a totally different gun (I also did a full buff out of the rails, the slide, the feed ramp, and the chamber so that might have had a very small part to do with it).

I have never had a revolver "jam". Due to the way they work, using mechanical linkages vs. inertia, they are technically more reliable. The amount more, with proper technique very well could be theoretical in many instances though since some guns will never jam in the lifetime of the owner.

Revolvers are a compromise between reliability, speed, power and capacity with a bias on reliability. You feel everything though and you won't be as fast on the follow up shot (Jerry Maculik (spelled way wrong, I know) excluded)

Semi's are compromises between power, speed, reliability, and capacity as well. The compromise is biased the exact opposite as a revolver. You get greater follow up speed, lesser recoil for the same round, and higher capacity but with a lesser degree of reliability.

With A LOT of practice, all of these difference become academic though. I've seen 12 aimed shots in less than 2 or 3 seconds from a revolver.

mgmorden
August 12, 2011, 11:35 PM
JMO:
In general--the fewer parts a machine has, the less likely it is to malfunction due mis-aligned or failure of parts.

Semi-autos have way more parts

Um, a Ruger Security Six has 62 parts. A Colt Python has 56 parts. A S&W Mod 36 has 90 parts. My S&W 64-3 has 88 parts.

The parts count on my Makrov is 26 parts. A Glock 17 has 35. Even the 1911 is showing 58 parts, which is less than most of the revolvers.

scythefwd
August 12, 2011, 11:52 PM
mgm - yet my rami has 61.

MCgunner
August 12, 2011, 11:55 PM
How many parts does my Toyota Echo have? It's stone reliable at 162K miles with only routine maintenance. Parts count means SQUAT.

Fishslayer
August 13, 2011, 01:56 AM
You dont always get a second pull of the trigger with revolvers. Ive personally had all of the following happen over the years with various makes of revolvers....

A loose bullet moving forward under recoil tying up the cylinder.

Unburnt powder and/or other debris under the extractor star due to improper reloading technique.

Loose ejector rods that backed out tying the gun up, and you cant get it open to reload.
S&W 940's that had parts break internally, requiring the gun to be disassembled to get the live rounds out just to ship it back.

The cylinder retention screw back out on a S&W 29, which dropped the cylinder on the ground when I went to reload.


As I said earlier, when the revolvers go south, its usually a done deal at that point. The autos on the other hand, can usually quickly be put back into action.


Yup. Two have happened to me. I've since learned to reload properly. That problem went away. I don't over oil in that area anymore either.

Lo strength LocTite on the extractor rod. No more backing out.

The first string wheelgun gets cleaned when it comes back from the range & goes to the bedside. I would have 100% confidence in it working. There is no sand or muck in the bedside safe. ;)

There's also a bottom feeder in there to keep it company tho. :D

Haxby
August 13, 2011, 02:34 AM
I have 4 real handguns, and one made in Italy. The 3 S&W's and the Ruger were purchased new between 1979 and 1997. I don't know how many rounds have been through them, but I've bought pounds of different powders and boxes of 500 bullets.

Not one of those 4 revolvers has ever malfunctioned.

Does anybody have a similar record with autos? Please note, I am not saying that modern autos are not capable of this. Years ago, I believed that revolvers were more reliable. Now, I'm curious.

Warp
August 13, 2011, 02:42 AM
I have 4 real handguns, and one made in Italy. The 3 S&W's and the Ruger were purchased new between 1979 and 1997. I don't know how many rounds have been through them, but I've bought pounds of different powders and boxes of 500 bullets.

Not one of those 4 revolvers has ever malfunctioned.

Does anybody have a similar record with autos? Please note, I am not saying that modern autos are not capable of this. Years ago, I believed that revolvers were more reliable. Now, I'm curious.

I currently own 2 Glocks. Each has malfunctioned. I am waiting on a 3rd Glock to get back from Glock, Inc because the first one refused to reliably feed JHP...even after I sent it back to them the first time. I had a P3AT I sold for failing to feed. However, IIRC the 3rd Gen G19 has only failed in my hands using KCI brand magazines and cheap steel cased Russian FMJ, and even then they are somewhat rare. I vaguely recall the G26 failing at some point some how years ago but cannot remember, it has been awhile.

I have been issued or purchased a couple of Glocks I no longer have that never malfunctioned...but I only put about 1k rounds through each.

Usertag
August 13, 2011, 03:12 AM
Ahhhhhhhhhh, in this age old argument. I will say, I like Self-Loaders more. But trust a Revolver more.

jad0110
August 13, 2011, 08:37 AM
How many parts does my Toyota Echo have? It's stone reliable at 162K miles with only routine maintenance. Parts count means SQUAT.

I've been saying the same thing myself for years. It's not the number of parts, but the quality of materials, design manufacture, etc that really matter.

Both platforms, if in good shape and properly cared for, should give years of trouble free service. I would say though that as the size of the gun shrinks, revolver reliability stays about the same whereas tiny pocket autos can be pretty finicky.

The biases go both ways.

Revolver guys are ingrained to believe that brass chucker choke every few rounds as a given.

OTH, some auto shooters think that ejector rods backing out is something that happens every few cylinder fulls.

BTW, the only revolver this happens on (about every 200 rounds) is my K-22 / M17-0 .22 LR, with it's right hand thread ejector rod - S&W reversed the thread around around 1959, so the act of the cylinder turning would generally act to tighten the ejector rod. I think that is one of the few changes S&W made over the years that all S&W traditionalists would acknowledge as being a real improvement in design.

As for stoppages, gun per gun, round per round I have had more auto failures. I can also induce failures in polymer guns very regularly with a "limp forearm". And most of the revolver failures were ammo related (dud primer in my reloads mainly, but a couple of times with factory ammo too).

I've experienced only one failure that turned the gun into a club, and it happened with an auto (ejector broke off and and jammed the slide in the partially open position - the slide and frame may as well have been welded together). I had a turd of a Taurus 94 (.22 revolver) that almost tied up completely; the gun could not be fired DA but the SA function worked. Gawd, that gun was a pile.

All in all, I'm most confident and comfortable with revolvers, but that did not stop me from buying a CZ-75 a few weeks back. I may even carry it one day if it proves reliable and I can shoot it well.

Mike J
August 13, 2011, 09:17 AM
Both platforms, if in good shape and properly cared for, should give years of trouble free service. I would say though that as the size of the gun shrinks, revolver reliability stays about the same whereas tiny pocket autos can be pretty finicky.

I would agree with this. The only really small auto I own is a Kel Tec P11 & it is the only gun I have really had problems with. My XD did FTE once. It was my fault I was shooting fast moving back & forth between multiple targets & limp wristed it. That just taught me a lesson about what not to do. My Ruger has malfunctioned twice. The first time was ammunition related, the second I had changed lubes & overlubed it. The grease had spread through the whole gun. I took it home, cleaned it & lubed it properly & it has been fine since. I don't keep exact records but both the XD & Ruger have around 3000 rounds through them. I have never had any problem with either using quality defensive ammunition. With the exception of the Kel Tec every malfunction I have had with an auto could be corrected with a tap, rack, bang.
I have never had a malfunction with either of my revolvers but to be honest I don't shoot them as much as I do the semi's. I just like semi's better.

Ben86
August 13, 2011, 12:08 PM
I don't think either one is more inherently reliable than the other. Both can have issues. The revolver seems to be more susceptible to filth binding the cylinder, but is less picky about ammo. People who say revolvers won't jam or malfunction on you have very little experience with them. Several things can go wrong with a revolver, for example: broken ejection star, bend ejection rod, broken crane, bound cylinder stuck to a dirty forcing cone.

That said, reliability is more a product of quality and proper maintenance than whether it's a revolver or automatic.

HOOfan_1
August 13, 2011, 12:27 PM
I only have experience with 3 centerfire auto loaders
2 of which are old guns and old designs..and I've only fired ball ammo through them
Walther P38
Lllama 1911
and 1 modern FNP 40

I've had more "catastrophic" failures with my revolvers than with my semi-autos. I am talking about the cylinder being jammed so badly it requires a gunsmith to take it apart and fix it. In a defensive situation, that leaves you with a heavy chunk of metal to throw instead of a gun to shoot, in a recreational setting, it possibly leaves you with loaded chambers that you can't unload.

Most of those problems came from SAA clones, but I have had a problem with a failed case jamming up my Ruger Security 6 before as well.

harmon rabb
August 13, 2011, 01:12 PM
Semi-auto is probably more likely to malfunction, Revolver is probably more likely to malfunction catastrophically (i.e. become unusuable) when it malfunctions.

woad_yurt
August 13, 2011, 01:19 PM
Although I much prefer shooting revolvers and have had far, far less gun-related failures (only one) as compared with my semi-autos, my Makarov is quite the glaring exception. I've owned three and still have one and those things are stone-cold reliable as any revolver. Although I'm pretty good with the Mak, I shoot the revolvers much better so, it's a good ol' K-frame next to me at night. These days, it's a no-dash Model 67 which seems to aim itself; I can't miss with that thing.

I also own a 9MM Star MOD 30MI and I think it has only jammed once in many thousands of rounds. At least, I can only remember the one time.

harmon rabb
August 13, 2011, 01:25 PM
Although I much prefer shooting revolvers and have had far, far less gun-related failures (only one) as compared with my semi-autos, my Makarov is quite the glaring exception. I've owned three and still have one and those things are stone-cold reliable as any revolver.

Eh, any good semi-auto is boringly reliable. Doesn't even take a high end one (I'm excluding commie surplus for the moment). I even have some really cheap arse ones that refuse to malfunction -- a Bersa 380, a RIA 1911, a Ruger LCP.

As far as commie surplus goes, well, as you know, one thing the soviets didn't muck around with were guns that didn't work. I own at least one of each 9x18 pistol, and none of them have malfunctioned.

GLOOB
August 14, 2011, 07:23 AM
Not one of those 4 revolvers has ever malfunctioned.

Does anybody have a similar record with autos?
Glock 21, 1k flawless rounds straight out of the box... up until I ran into a factory round with a folded over mouth that wouldn't fully chamber.
Glock 19 - minus an experiment with cheap aftermarket mags, not a single hiccup through 2-3k rounds, up until I experienced my first and only stovepipe using weak, cast handloads.
Cougar and FNX have yet to hiccup, but haven't shot enough to really mean anything.
HP22A- strangely, after an initial tuning, this pot metal pocket gun also cuts the mustard. Hasn't hiccupped in probably the last 1k rounds of Federal. It feeds more reliably than my mkIII.

USBP1969
August 15, 2011, 01:19 PM
I sincerely appreciate all the replies to my post. I asked because of what I had witnessed during quarterly qualification. SATT training, Academy training as well as the test my agency conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1993, 1994 and 1995.

I had hoped that semi-auto design technology and manufacturing technology had improved since those experiences and it sounds like they have.

Just some test trivia from that era:

Aberdeen conducted a multitude of tests on the various .40 S&W submissions. There were a total of seven different .40 S&W submissions for the contract that ultimately ended with a 30,000+ handgun purchase.

There were so many tests that I would have to review the video tape we made just to refresh my memory, but the one that stands out the most was the 10,000 round reliability / durability tests. Here are the results from memory:

1) The winner averaged 4 malfunctions* per pistol during the test.

2) The second place pistol averaged 28 malfunctions* during the test.

3) The third place pistol averaged 115 malfunctions* during the test.

4) The fourth place pistol averaged 1500 malfunctions* during the test.

5) The other three suffered catastrophic failures with all test weapons before the 10,000 round test was completed and were disqualified.

* = Attributable to weapon malfunction

Note: Each test weapon was detail stripped for inspection daily after firing 500 rounds. They were then ultra-sonically cleaned and reassembled. (They might have been cleaned and then inspected - I do not remember.) IMO that was a mistake since detail stripping and ultra-sonic cleaning would not occur during the life time of pistol in the field.

It goes without saying which pistol was purchased since 17 or more malfunctions provided the vender with a zero score.

Thanks again for al the input and insights.

-kent

Steel Talon
August 15, 2011, 01:41 PM
I grew up with revolvers,and for a long period of time my service firearm was a revolver. I also made the transition to pistols late 80's on the job and personal. I've competed in many compitions with revolvers during the "old days" and now compete pretty much exclusively with pistols now. With the exception of the occasional revolver comp. that my local club puts on. I was also a police firearms instructor which included both revolver and pistol.

In my experience , between the two. Revolvers gave me the less failure to fire issues then pistols. However, the main key in any firearm dependability is regular cleaning,proper lubrication, and inspection of the mechanism parts and movement.

Would I ever give up my pistols, or my revolver? oh de hell no's:cool:

USBP1969
August 15, 2011, 04:01 PM
Yes. the contract was awarded to Beretta USA for the 96D Brigadier .40 S&W DAO handgun.

Yes, they did re-lube them after every 500 round inspection.

Other tests from memory were:
Sand & Dust Test
Six Attitude drop test on to concrete from 48". (These were the 10,000 round test weapons after that test had been completed.)
Cold Temp Test (-40F)
Heat Test (+140F)
Corrosion Test
Accuracy Test
Plugged Barrel Test
Ammunition Compatibility Tests (All available duty ammo that could possibly be purchased.)
Ergonomic Tests
Parts interchangeability Test

There's probably more, but that's all that comes to mind.

-kent

jmr40
August 15, 2011, 06:00 PM
Not one of those 4 revolvers has ever malfunctioned.

Does anybody have a similar record with autos?

I've never had a malfunction of any kind with any 9mm pistol made by Glock, S&W, Sig, Beretta, Ruger, Browning or FN. I've had quite a few from CZ.

I've never had a malfunction from a 1911 made by Colt, Kimber or S&W. Malfunctions have been quite common from all other brands of 1911's.

Other 45's that have been 100% are Glock and Ruger. I've had issues with Sig, H&K and FN 45's

My Glock 20 in 10mm has also been 100% reliable.

Not enough experience with 40's to say. I had a Glock 22 for a while, and it was also 100%, but with limited use.

By contrast I've had quite a few revolvers made by Colt, Ruger and S&W. While all were pretty good at some point all have had minor reliablity issues.

1stmarine
August 15, 2011, 10:14 PM
My glocks any of them can go for 4000 rounds w/o a single issue and then when it is found normally is the round/ammo.
This is my experience consistently through the years.

tnek13
August 15, 2011, 10:58 PM
Your question seems to ask for experience with autos and/or revolvers produced in the last 7 years. I have purchased 7 revolvers (2 Smith J Frames, 2 Smith N frames, 1 USFA, 2 Rugers) and 4 autos (Glock, Kahr, Kimber, STI) in that time frame. None of these guns has experiences any gun related failures. I clean them after every range session, and detail strip and clean them once a year. Past experience with a couple of auto loaders makes me favor revolvers, but I seem to shoot the autos more because they are easier to clean.

M2 Carbine
August 16, 2011, 10:09 AM
Semi-auto Vs Revolver Reliability
Lets put it this way.
Say you were going to bet $10,000 on which type gun would malfunction the least or not at all, of the next 100 revolvers and next 100 semi autos that come into the local shooting range.
Which one would you pick?

I know where my money would go and I guarantee I would be $10,000 richer.:)
I can't remember the last revolver malfunction at my range but semi auto malfunctions are a common thing.

scythefwd
August 16, 2011, 11:22 AM
M2 - how many of those malfunctions are user induced? The only malfunctions I've had in ANY semi were do to me and a pansy grip. My rami straightened up after I changed my grip, so did the keltec (think I would have learned by now). My HP and FEG NEVER had a malfunction. Granted, the only thing that gets hollow points in it is the rami.

How many of those are ammo related? I mean that the ammo doesn't work in the gun. I'd take your bet if I get to run nothing but ball through the auto (since that is what 99% of them are designed with in mind) and I had the money to do it.

At the same time, if we do count a proven ammo in the gun (something that doesn't jam every 50 rounds) for both, do we get to count duds or poorly seated primers? I've seen enough reloads, which a lot of people are using that will go bang after a second hit.

Zerodefect
August 16, 2011, 11:29 AM
Lets put it this way.
Say you were going to bet $10,000 on which type gun would malfunction the least or not at all, of the next 100 revolvers and next 100 semi autos that come into the local shooting range.
Which one would you pick?

I know where my money would go and I guarantee I would be $10,000 richer.:)
I can't remember the last revolver malfunction at my range but semi auto malfunctions are a common thing.

Cool. The revolver would win that due to all the poorly maintained semis, and El Cheapo 3rd world country built 1911's that show up at my range.

Lets try another test.
How about before we test, you let me chuck each gun against a brick wall as hard as I can. Target is a piece of notebook paper at 17 yards. 10 shots for each gun. Misses count as a failure.

Yes Virginia, my CCW and duty primary do have to be that tough.

scythefwd
August 16, 2011, 11:49 AM
zero - That last comment directed at me?

Zerodefect
August 16, 2011, 11:51 AM
No. No.
Not directed at anyone.

Quoted test, obviously favors revolvers. My weak test obviously favors semis. I mean if I'm betting $10,000 I'm going to stack the deck, right?

scythefwd
August 16, 2011, 12:24 PM
Zero - No problem man... I just happen to be from Virginia, so it was perfect timing :)

Zerodefect
August 16, 2011, 01:50 PM
Oh, LOLz. I was trying to do a spoof on "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Clause." :D










Yes, revolver would get pretty bent up on my side.

But seriously, I use my pistols hard. If I'm at a carbine shoot and one of the stages requires me to drop urban prone on my right side that means I'm falling hard. On top of my holstered pistol. Leaves a nice bruise on my side.

Not fun at all. But the only way to practice is at full speed, and in real life, I'm getting down as fast as I can. And for urban prone, that hurts.

How many time can I do that before the crane gets bent, or the frame and barrel are bent out of wack?

Steel Talon
August 16, 2011, 03:10 PM
how many of those malfunctions are user induced? None the less still a malfunction that is exclusive to the semi auto'


I've seen enough reloads, which a lot of people are using that will go bang after a second hit. Agree,with range,competition, and hunting applications. However for me my carry ammo is always factory made. In the many years I've been shooting I can recall 5 factory ammo failures.

How about before we test, you let me chuck each gun against a brick wall as hard as I can. Target is a piece of notebook paper at 17 yards. 10 shots for each gun. Misses count as a failure. Interesting test However,really doesn't matter type of pistol if the sights get bent then either will fail in the accuracy dept.

How many time can I do that before the crane gets bent, or the frame and barrel are bent out of whack? I'd venture a guess and say 1 in a 1,000,000.

My point being based on the topic and my experiences . I believe that the revolver malfunctions infinitely less than a semi-auto pistol

scythefwd
August 16, 2011, 05:14 PM
steel - you can't blame the tool for not working right when the person is using it wrong. It's like watching a person stall out a manual car... it's not the cars fault... it's the drivers fault. There is a different skill set to firing an semi-auto vs a revolver. If the person doesn't have the skill set, it's not going to work right, regardless of how reliable the gun is. Get someone who has the skillset down pat and test the reliability of the gun and you'll find that you'll run out of day before either fails. We are talking about the reliability of the guns, not the repeatability of proper technique of the goon holding it. They are linked, but two separate issues. In the few years of my shooting semi-autos (only a couple of decades, short time compared to others here), I have had exactly 2 failures, and both were caused by me. The gun couldn't be blamed on either. I was shooting a new gun, in a larger caliber than I was used to, for the first time. Two failures to feed due to a limp wrist. Can't blame the gun or knock it's reliabilty for my failure. That's kinda like blaming the suspension of a car for not handling a sinkhole...

USBP1969
August 16, 2011, 09:06 PM
Jeff56 - That's interesting concerning ultra-sonic cleaners causing problems with weapons. I don't happen to have one, but I would be interested in finding out more about that subject.

My issue wasn't that the ultra-sonic cleaner would cause a structural or mechanical problem, just that it didn't reflect "field usage." The most they would ever be cleaned by an Agent in the field would be after they field stripped it.

The testing, other than what I stated earlier was, IMO, very well conducted. Based on what I saw in the field during quarterly qualification during the five years prior (Agents could purchase their own semi-autos, and after completing Semi-Automatic Transition Training (SATT) were permitted to carry them.) I would say that the tests reflected the accurately reflected the state of the art at that time.

Once the personally-owned semi-automatics were factored into qualification it took about twice as long to run a 72 round qual course due to the "alibis" requested by the semi-auto shooting Agents.

If I hadn't wanted them to shoot their "primary" weapon first (the one they usually carry)(they could qualify with both their personally owned semi-auto and their issue revolver) I would have segregated the two qualification courses so that one was all revolver and one all semi-auto or mixed. That would have saved quite a bit of time.

My reason for asking the question in the first post was that, based on my local sheriff's department experience with their G-22's, it seemed as though reliability had greatly increased since I retired.

-kent

Warp
August 16, 2011, 09:49 PM
M2 - how many of those malfunctions are user induced?

Sounds like a good reason to avoid ever using a semi auto for defensive use. I don't want to trust my life to a firearm that malfunctions if you use a less than perfect grip. After all, in a life or death situation you may not have the perfect grip.

Steel Talon
August 17, 2011, 02:47 PM
Scyth well said, However, it's still a malfunction specific to semi-auto pistols that will require additional actions to make it ready for follow up bang, Simply revolvers don't suffer from weak grip malfunction.

Same can be said that the revolver suffers specific operator error from speed loading that a semi auto doesn't. That being, by not allowing gravity to assist in dumping spent cartridges.,the malfunction is spent cases getting behind the ejector star which takes further actions to clear and make ready for follow up bang.

Revolvers Vs. Semi-auto reliability, a slight edge goes to the revolver. As I see it anyway.


Sorry if this is a double tap....

scythefwd
August 17, 2011, 04:20 PM
Warp - less than perfect is way different than not firm enough. When the adrenalin kicks in, two things are going go happen. My malfunctions were cause by me gripping my new, subcompact, polymer gun in .40 like I was gripping my heavy BHP in 9mm. Now that I grip both the same, 100% reliability. I didn't change my grip other than how tight it was.

1. Your going to have a deathgrip on that pistol grip.
2. What you have practiced will kick in.

It also sounds like a good reason not to use a pump while hunting right....you might short stroke the gun? Or not use a double barrel because some wont fire right if you don't snap them shut vs. gently closing them? Avoiding using something just because it requires you to get accustomed to something different is a bit... off. I'll have 10k of rounds through my SD gun long before I ever use it... That technique will be so ingrained that it won't be a question of proper grip...
Steel - I've already said that there is and edge to revolvers... I also say it is academic.

Steel Talon
August 18, 2011, 12:18 AM
Scythe, of course brother... After all is said and done, I prefer to carry and shoot semi-autos:)

Warp
August 19, 2011, 02:15 PM
Warp - less than perfect is way different than not firm enough. When the adrenalin kicks in, two things are going go happen. My malfunctions were cause by me gripping my new, subcompact, polymer gun in .40 like I was gripping my heavy BHP in 9mm. Now that I grip both the same, 100% reliability. I didn't change my grip other than how tight it was.


And if these were revolvers you never would have had any of those malfunctions.

What do you know.

Don't get me wrong, I primarily carry a semi auto. However, I am sick and tired of this lame ass "limp wrist" excuse. If the gun is so easy to limp wrist that every time it malfs everybody just says "it's the shooter" or "limp wrist" then it is a POS that you cannot trust your life to. I have tried to limp wrist my carry setup before. It still worked just fine. If it hadn't I wouldn't be carrying it because it would, IMO, for the use of saving my life, be an unreliable POS

scythefwd
August 19, 2011, 04:10 PM
it really was a limp wrist with me. the heavier the frame of the gun, the less likely they are succeptable to limp wristing. i would barely hold my bhp.... the rami requires a more stout hold. I was basically doing a loose 2 finger hold on it. There are plenty of videos on youtube showing limp wristing. one specifically holding the gun via trigger finger and thumb only.... he was able to get about 1/3 of the guns to malfunction if i remember right. it really isnt a prob for most semi autos...

my faults ocurred in the first 20 round of fire... all good after that.

Search for "Limp Wrist Test" on youtube and there is at least 3 videos of the same guy testing different arms. It was a bit of an eye opener. I used to say there was no such thing as a limp wrist failure (before I had my first failures on any guns after about 18 years of shooting). Sturmgewher is the poster.

This video is awesome.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh9JhCyFFxA&feature=related

In the three videos I just watched, the only poly guns that didn't mess up were an HK usp tatical, a sig p226, a xd, .
The only steel framed one that had probs was a baretta 92d. Now his glock 17c was ported, and he even states that may have been some of the problem.

GLOOB
August 19, 2011, 04:48 PM
Everyone gun, ammo, and person is different. The frame is sooo light on some of these polymer guns, that the mass of a shooter's hand/arm/upper body and residual muscle tone can make the difference. Some people can literally not limp wrist a particular gun/ammo combo unless they get all fancy pants with weird 2 finger holds, muzzle pointed sideways to remove the contribution of forearm and upper body mass.

Warp
August 19, 2011, 11:45 PM
it really was a limp wrist with me. the heavier the frame of the gun, the less likely they are succeptable to limp wristing. i would barely hold my bhp.... the rami requires a more stout hold. I was basically doing a loose 2 finger hold on it. There are plenty of videos on youtube showing limp wristing. one specifically holding the gun via trigger finger and thumb only.... he was able to get about 1/3 of the guns to malfunction if i remember right. it really isnt a prob for most semi autos...

my faults ocurred in the first 20 round of fire... all good after that.

Search for "Limp Wrist Test" on youtube and there is at least 3 videos of the same guy testing different arms. It was a bit of an eye opener. I used to say there was no such thing as a limp wrist failure (before I had my first failures on any guns after about 18 years of shooting). Sturmgewher is the poster.

This video is awesome.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh9Jh...eature=related

In the three videos I just watched, the only poly guns that didn't mess up were an HK usp tatical, a sig p226, a xd, .
The only steel framed one that had probs was a baretta 92d. Now his glock 17c was ported, and he even states that may have been some of the problem.

Exactly why (well, ONE reason why) revolvers are more reliable than semi autos

1. No limp wristing
2. No Failing to feed
3. No failures to eject (well, kinda but not really/different)

StrikeFire83
August 20, 2011, 12:21 AM
^ Yeah, okay. When you're talking most modern semi-auto designs, these issues often become non-issues.

1. Limp Wristing - Yeah, I always hear about this. I've never had it happen to me, even with my tiny Kahr PM9.

2. Failure to Feed/Eject - My Glock 17 has fired almost 14,000 rounds with 1 malfunction, which was clearly traceable to a mis-cramped bullet from the factory. My CZ-75B has over 7,000 rounds thru it with ZERO malfunctions...and I bought it USED! My XD9-Sub Compact...new with only 650 rounds thru it and ZERO malfunctions.

Every gun is ammo sensitive. I've seen quite a few revolvers bind up on the range due to dirty ejector stars. I've even seen an under-charged round fire a bullet that got stuck between the cylinder and the barrel, rendering the revolver completely useless until a gunsmith with a tool pried the bullet out.

Zerodefect
August 20, 2011, 09:29 AM
Wow. This is turning into a one sided thread. Someone go post a "how has your revolver failed" thread in the revolvers section.

1. Bullets unseating in the case during recoil jamming the cylinder. (light J-frames and snubbies)
2. Screws backing out
3. Silly key locks failing
4. Bent frame
etc.

Revolvers are not immune to mechanical failure. I'm not too fond of the fireball shooting out of the sides of my gun either.

Limp wristing is a problem that disappears with proper training and skill. If your useing a proper grip to reduce recoil and increase rapid fire ability, then that grip should be strong enough to not limp wrist.

USBP1969
August 20, 2011, 10:22 AM
I put an identical post in the "Revolver" section.

The purpose was to see if "modern" semi-autos were doing better than what I experienced in my agency from 1990 - 2004. I shoot with the Firearms Instructor for the local sheriff's department. They have about 150 full-time deputies. He owns about 40 guns with 90% being wheel guns, but states that he has never had a stoppage, malfunction, jam (depending on how one views semi-autos) with his issue Glock-22. He also states that when he runs qualification for the deputies or trains new recruits before they head to the academy, that he rarely seen any malfunctions.

1. Bullets unseating in the case during recoil jamming the cylinder. (light J-frames and snubbies)
2. Screws backing out
3. Silly key locks failing
4. Bent frame
etc.

On the other hand, Ed Lovette states in his book "The Snubby Revolver" (A very good read) that in 6,000 officer involved shootings in the NYPD, there was never a report of a malfunction. - kent

Steel Talon
August 20, 2011, 04:08 PM
Every gun is ammo sensitive. I've seen quite a few revolvers bind up on the range due to dirty ejector stars. I've even seen an under-charged round fire a bullet that got stuck between the cylinder and the barrel, rendering the revolver completely useless until a gunsmith with a tool pried the bullet out.

Strike,
Was that with factory ammo or handloads.. I've experienced Squibs in both Semi-Auto's and revolvers due to handloads. But never with Factory. Usually you can punch em out of the barrel with a bore size wooden dowel. High primers will bind the cylinder,as can poorly seated and sized cartridges attributed to handloads not so much factory.

Of the two Semi-Autos are the ones that are ammo sensitive,revolvers no unless the can suffer from +p or +P+. Ive shot everything from truncated to wad cutters

scythefwd
August 21, 2011, 08:06 AM
Jeff - go look up the videos I mentioned earlier. The guy fires of 5 or six rounds out of a glock, perfect function, changes his grip so that the gun is barely supported and has a failure for every shot. Guy changes back to a standard grip, gun runs flawlessly again. It was an intentional inducement of malfunctions by not supporting the frame of the gun while shooting it... aka limp wristing. He did it to prove that it isn't just BS that someone cooked up.

AK103K
August 21, 2011, 09:29 AM
I got into a discussion with maker of that video over that, which eventually led me to try it myself. I took one of my Glock 17s and my old Combat Commander along as a sort of "control".

Holding the 17 in a normal fashion, but with absolutely "no" grip at all, the gun was simply held loosely, resting on the web of my hand and the top of my middle finger. The only thing keeping the gun from flying out of my hand when fired, was my trigger finger in the guard. I also fired the gun with both the wrist and elbow bent/unlocked. I shot the gun this way with four full mags (68 rounds), and had "zero" malfunctions. A couple of weak ejections, but the gun still cycled and there were no stoppages.

Now, if I held the gun sideways like was done in the video, I got more or less a 1 in 3 failure rate. Still, even then, the gun fired more than it didnt.

Now I was also doing this with thoughts towards some "realism" too, since the "wounded or injured" thing always comes up, so I was also shooting at a target at about 10 yards while doing this. When I held the gun as I normally would, injured or not, but with absolutely no grip, most all my "hits" were where the gun was pointed when it went off. Holding it in the very unrealistic sideways grip that seems to get the failures, I barely got hits on the paper (24'x36" photo people targets), let alone anywhere they might count.

Interestingly enough, the Commander had more troubles than the Glock, due to the grip safety not being reliably engaged with the "no grip" grip. There were a number of occasions where I had to move the gun around in my hand to get it to go off.

Im not saying that some people dont have issues with how they hold the gun and shoot it. Something seems to be happening, so its not totally a myth. I personally dont think it has anything to do with a "limp wrist", but more with not holding the arm reasonably firm, and/or allowing or even anticipating the gun going off, and helping it rearwards while firing. This almost always goes away once you show the person what they are doing wrong, and ceases to be a problem.

USBP1969
August 21, 2011, 11:22 AM
AK-103K,

I haven't seen the video, but do have some experience in the area of testing semi-automatics for "worse case scenario" situations. We had the Test Personnel (TP's) at Aberdeen test each submission for our Service Pistol solicitation two handed, right handed and left handed with the weapons being held at the 12 O'clock, 3 O'clock, and 9 O'clock positions. This was done to simulate what could occur (and has occurred) in downed and / or disabled officer situation.

The real acid test is to hold the semi-auto in one's left hand, canted to the 2 O'clock position with both a bent elbow, bent wrist and light grip on the weapon. That puts the weapon at the very edge (or past) the edge of its operational envelope, both because of the lack of recoil resistance and the fact that the weapon is recoiling into its ejection pattern.

A local deputy sherif and firearms instructor of my acquaintance carries a Glock 22, but purchased another .40 S&W after attending that company's armorers school. He said that he couldn't wait for me to shoot it, and when I did I told him that I would probably cause it to malfunction. He didn't believe me. I fired the first two of the three magazines that came with the weapon without malfunction (in the manner described above), but when firing the third magazine it choked repeatedly.

Until that time I had believed that the design of a pistol would be the determining factor with that test, but, even pushing age seventy, I am still learning and now know that the worse case scenario test can be influenced by the magazine.

If interested one can push the semi-auto to the the other end of the envelope by standing with one's strong side foot forward with ~ 75% of one's weight on that foot. The front leg is bent somewhat to accomplish this while the trailing leg is locked straight. The weapon is held two-handed in an isosceles position with a much strength as possible when fired. (If you try this you will note a great decrease in muzzle rise while shooting.)

As an aside, if any handgun, be it revolver or semi-auto, is shot in that manner (properly) with the strong hand only the recoil arc will be less than any two-handed position, except the one described above. Seems impossible, but none the less true. Once this was discovered we began training our dog handlers to shoot in that manner since their non shooting hand was occupied controlling their K-9.

While the one-handed technique described above does give outstanding recoil recovery and tactical flexibility, especially in room / house clearing, it does not provide the long range accuracy of two hand shooting. The arc of movement is just too great, except perhaps for accomplished bullseye shooters.

-kent

USBP1969
August 21, 2011, 12:30 PM
Hello again Jeff.

I am sorry about you experience with the gun dealer. Not good, and I trust that you have since taken your business elsewhere.

What I wrote above is as true as it gets, but it's up to you sir as to what you choose to believe.

FWIW = The deputy couldn't duplicate the problem I experienced while "testing" his weapon. Ofcourse, he is a moose of a man that weighs about 350 and is 6'4" tall.

My grand daughter, on the other other hand, who is slight of build, tried to shoot a Glock-19 I owned for a while and she experienced a failure to feed properly on every shot. The G-19 was in "like new" condition when she fired it and had passed ever test I had tired with it prior to that time. She just did not have the recoil resistance needed to allow the weapon to function properly.

-kent

scythefwd
August 21, 2011, 12:52 PM
jeff, I agree the problem isn't as common as people believe. Like I said, I've had 2 problems in 18 years, on the same gun, same ammo as I always shoot. I'd say may rate of failure for semi autos is somewhere below .0002 errors per round. I've seen alot of malfunctions blamed on limp wristing, and almost all of them were improperly cleaned new guns with shipping grease still on them or crap mags. Every now and again I see ammo compatibility issues. I'd bet less than 1% of errors are limp wristing. If it weren't for the problem disappearong after a cjange in firmness of grip... I woulda blamed the ammo.

wristtwister
August 21, 2011, 01:34 PM
My .02 worth is pretty simple... most problems with guns are caused by the loose nut behind the trigger... and the cheapest ammo they can find.

Semi Autos:
EVERY gun is designed to shoot a specific bullet type... and the feed ramps and magazines are designed to use that particular type of round in it if it's a magazine-fed pistol. Changing the bullet profile from ball ammo to hollow points or tapered-head, etc. causes problems because the ammo tries to feed at different angles from it's "design" angle... so you get jams, misfeeds, misfires, and FTF's from all the other parts trying to work as designed.

All the magazines and slide springs are designed to provide proper spring pressures FOR THE DESIGN AMMO LOAD/CARTRIDGE DESIGN... so feeding it junk food or tamale sauce will also cause malfunctions. Just getting a hotter load doens't mean your gun's working better... it just changes the pressures and spring rates necessary to make it work properly. All these brilliant gunsmiths do when they "fix" most guns is to change out springs and polish feed ramps so they move the ammo into and out of the chamber without hanging up... so please... don't give them magical powers. Guns are simply machines that use bullets as their engines to make them function.

Revolvers:
Most revolvers are pretty foolproof if they're properly maintained. They are subject to wear on bearing surfaces which causes them to get off-cycle, and they can fill with lint and dirt that will cause them to malfunction, but for the most part are pretty foolproof. They are also limited by mechanical parts breaking, just like semi-autos are, and by rough treatment or poor maintenance, just like semi-autos... Their only advantage is that they do not care what kind of bullet shape or load is in the chamber (as long as it is a functional load), so "bullet profile" doesn't really matter as a "functional" criteria. They will feed wad cutters just like ball ammo or semi-wadcutters, or hollow points... it just doesn't matter.

The crux of the argument is whether revolvers or semi-autos are more reliable, and I have no problem shooting or carrying either one. I keep my guns in good repair, cleaned and lubricated, and "ready to rock"... so I can trust my life to either one. I carry high capacity semi-autos because I want as many chances as possible if shooting my way back to my rifles. I carry revolvers in some situations because they fit my situation better at different times, but I trust all my guns to work when called on... and if they don't, I put them in the shop or send them back to the manufacturers to get them fixed. That's what practice is for... gaining skills and checking equipment.

WT

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