What is the least reliable pistol line?


Greg Bell
August 8, 2004, 07:13 PM
Excluding gangster starter pistols like hi-point and Raven I would guess the 1911 pattern pistols. Of course this is non-controversial, but what do you guys think?:D

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August 8, 2004, 07:27 PM
I smell smoke...flame war coming.

August 8, 2004, 07:50 PM
True...they're not Glocks that's for sure. :neener:


Greg Bell
August 8, 2004, 07:59 PM
I'm just kidding. No good can come of this thread, I was just laughing at a thread over at TFL ("best ever").

August 8, 2004, 08:01 PM
What are you smoking? Are you talking about FTF/FTE or parts breaking? The standerd 1911 is very reliable.


Greg Bell
August 8, 2004, 08:05 PM
Pot. Why, which common gun is less reliable?

August 8, 2004, 08:41 PM
I can't say that the 1911 is the least reliable pistol and I don't think the U.S. armed forces would either. I don't think Glocks are inherently unreliable. In fact, aside from the cheap pocket pistols like the Jennings and Raven (some of those are actually reliable, at least for a while), I cannot think of any that are known to be primarily unreliable pistols.

Das Pferd
August 8, 2004, 08:48 PM
The 1911 becomes less reliable when you start doing stuff to it. Original form with ball ammo is rock solid.

August 8, 2004, 09:23 PM
1911 by a long and wide margin.

August 8, 2004, 09:40 PM
I vote for the Beretta M9 and my second vote goes to the M16:neener:

August 9, 2004, 12:54 AM
Of modern designs, probably the Walther p22.

August 9, 2004, 01:44 AM
Glocks are godlike in their infallibility, as are AKs...bonus...anything hit with a round from an AK dies immediatley...

All other guns suck the booboo


August 9, 2004, 05:35 AM
Excluding gangster starter pistols like hi-point It may not be pretty but it works. How about the guy (and wife) at my CCW class that brought TWO pistols for shooting (showing-off). Both were brand new and both were Taurus. Neither pistol survived the 1st magazine (the frame cracked/chipped on one). He and his wife had to borrow the instructor's handgun to qualify:rolleyes:

Alan Fud
August 9, 2004, 08:20 AM
I presently own five 1911's and four of them had work done on them to improve reliablity because they jammed often enough that I didn't feel comfortable enough to carry/use them for self defense purpose. The fifth one will be going back soon as well.

Never had this problem with any of my four (two 92's & two 96's) Beretta's or thirteen out of fourteen of my S&W's.

August 9, 2004, 08:32 AM
While they are my favorite pistol "line", the 1911's I've owned have by far been the most unreliable auto-loaders I've owned (mostly simple extractor issues). The only 1911's I've owned that have been reliable are Colt's.

My Beretta 92FS Vertec, SIG P225, and Steyr M9 have never failed.


Greg Bell
August 9, 2004, 12:59 PM
It looks like my guess wasn't too far from the mark.:D

August 9, 2004, 02:04 PM
My thumb is too reliable in hitting the mag release on Rugers.

August 9, 2004, 03:51 PM

August 9, 2004, 03:57 PM

August 9, 2004, 04:50 PM
Q: Which gun spawned a whole aftermarket of gunsmiths providing "reliability packages?"

A: 1911

Of course, a well-made 1911 can be both reliable and accurate. But SO MANY of the ones being turned out today are neither, at least out of the box. (Thank you, bean counters and unions.)

August 9, 2004, 05:17 PM
GigaBuist Keltec.

Well considering that Keltec's are getting hard to come by around here and those you find are "pricey" get rid of yours, a buyer should be easy to come by. I waited and got mine 4 months ago for $219, new. To buy another (ACE Sporting Goods PA) they want $250! and they won't come down a penney! Used are going for $225 +/- and they aren't on the shelf long. Maybe the Keltec's going to the NE are better made.:uhoh:

August 9, 2004, 05:28 PM
Is Nambu still in business?

August 9, 2004, 05:31 PM
I'm not saying I'd never buy a Keltec -- in fact I own one. It's less than stellar in regards to reliability though. Everybody puts out a lemon and for a while Keltec was putting out a few more than most manufacturer's it seems.

It's the only brand a local shop carries that I would tell a first time buyer to stay away from entirely for reliability reasons. You really don't want their first one to be a lemon. Mine's less than stellar and the shop owner said that the guy who bought one before me had failure to feed problems. Sent it back to the factory twice (might be limp wristing it I suppose) -- still did it.

They're reasonable, but the incident rate of hearing this is higher than any other brand out there. There designs are also smaller, lighter, and more potent than anything else out there. They're pushing the limits and they know it. Hence, a few lemons sneak out.

I like 'em, but NIB they stand a better chance of not working than Glock, Sig, Springers, Kimbers, Colts, S&W's, Rugers, H&K, Beretta, etc, etc.

Greg Bell
August 9, 2004, 06:52 PM
The 1911 becomes less reliable when you start doing stuff to it.

Like shooting it?

August 9, 2004, 08:14 PM
I agree, Kel-Tec! They are priced like real guns but preform more like cheap gansta guns like the Jennings or Bryco. With tax, extra mag and belt clip, they can go for more than $300 sometimes and for that you can get a real gun. Heck, S&W 637s are selling for $299 without tax! The exuse that Kel-Tecs are unreliable because they are inexpensive doesn't hold water, they are plenty expensive.

August 9, 2004, 09:19 PM
The 1911 only needs "reliability work" if you mistakenly believe you need various JHP premium self-defense "magic bullet" rounds to be effective -- "they all fall to .45 ball"

Little itty-bitty 9mm holes will need all the magic one can muster :)



My Kel-Tec P32 was 100% out of the box. My P3AT is 100% with brass cased ammo -- I did have the assembly pin walkout problem. Kel-Tec sent me a new gun with my serial number restamped is short order. I made the mod to the pin described at: http://www.1bad69.com/keltec/assemblypin.htm and have had no problems since. I've got 800+ rounds thru it.

The P3AT is unique in terms of power, weight and size and thus worth a bit of hassle to get one working if you need such a thing. Its my gun of last resort and much better than the P32 it replaced, and the various .25ACPs that were replaced by the P32 for this role.

August 10, 2004, 02:06 AM

.355 inch
.45 inch

Yep, that .1 of an inch creates a thermonuclear, zombie bear killing bullet. :evil:

August 10, 2004, 08:49 AM
It's pretty silly to say the 1911 as a design is inherently unreliable. Now, I'm not a big follower of the 1911, but it is obviously not inherently unreliable as a design. To say otherwise is being willfully ignorant or, worse, knowingly false.:rolleyes: If AMT or pre Kahr Auto Ordinance built copies of the Glock, it probably could be very unreliable.

That said, when the first post mentioned "line" I figured it meant brand. As such, I would probably mention older Auto Ordinance 1911's as inherently unreliable. I would also mention most pistols made and sold by AMT as being unreliable.

Design-wise, the P-08 Luger design was pretty unreliable. If not kept meticulously clean, it would jam. The Lorcin-designed pistols are pretty unreliable, as were most of the Rhome-made revolvers. I suspect early S&W Sigmas could be included in that mix, along with the Helwan-produced copies of the Brigadier.

Glocks are too-loosely made to be unreliable. The Browning designs are inherently reliable, as are the newer CZ's. The Beretta 92 is a reliable design, ditto for many S&W auto's. To say otherwise is pretty silly. Now, I have no love for the Glock and cannot see one ever in my future, but it is certainly reliable, just as the 1911. Anyway, it's kinda stupid to condemn an entire design for failings with certain makers, and then compare it to a single maker. That's like saying all pickup trucks are pieces of crap, but a McLaurin is a good vehicle.


August 10, 2004, 09:18 AM
probably the Walther p22.

I agree.

R.H. Lee
August 10, 2004, 09:40 AM
I've never had a problem with 1911's, but have only owned 6 or 7 of them in my lifetime and two of them Commanders and one Gold Cup. This was in the days before MIM and the attendant "corporatism" that currently prevails. OTOH, I've owned 2 NIB Smiths that were so badly out of time they wouldn't function reliably. Never had a problem with Ruger revolvers.
My CZ75B is utterly flawless, as are all examples I hear about. The Beretta 92FS I traded worked perfectly from the beginning. My Ruger MKII Target never fails, although I have heard "quality control" issues with their more recent manufacture.

I've never spent money on no name low quality firearms, so have no experience with Jennings/Bryco, Lorcin et al., nor am I inclined to jump on the latest whiz bang bandwagons like Glock, Kahr, Keltec, etc., but hear of good and bad examples of each.

Greg Bell
August 10, 2004, 12:18 PM
I think the tremendous benefits of the 1911 design blind their owners to the reliability problems. You always see somebody saying "use ball" or whatever. Can you imagine buying a new Glock or SIG and tolerating the gun's inability to work on anything but ball? Heck, my two 1911s wouldn't even work with ball. I think I'm just spoiled by modern guns that just work.

August 10, 2004, 01:04 PM
I've been on both sides with the 1911. I've had a couple that were very reliable and a few that would make me pull my hair out, grit my teeth and curse JMB. I always have a bit of anxiety when I take out a new 1911 for a test run. I can't say I ever feel that way with anything else.

August 10, 2004, 01:14 PM
This is my experience, YMMV.

1911's - I have had to "tinker" with most of them, feed ramp polishing, replacing extractors (Wilson Bulletproof), etc., but after a little bit of this they have been reliable.

Glocks - Shoot everything right out of the box, no tuning necessary.

Makarovs - see Glocks, same experience.

Kel-Tec - only experience is with a P32. It ran fine for about 200 rounds, then started to experience failutes to extract (FTE). Kel-Tec sent me a new extractor, but that didn't change anything. I shipped it off to Kel-Tec and even told them to do the hard chrome. I haven't gotten it back yet, but I will definately run it through its paces before I trust my life to it.

Kahr PM9 - no problems, even though mine is in the recall range. I will eventually ship my barrel back to them, but I am waiting for the rush to end.

S&W Revolvers, especially J-frames - I trust my life to my 642 or 37, and keep a 686 by the bedside. In a clutch, having a simple manual of arms may just save my life.

Taurus Revolvers - had a couple, the 942 (I think that was the model number, 9 shot .22?) wasn't reliable, a 85CH was, but the trigger was terrible.

R.H. Lee
August 10, 2004, 01:25 PM
Heck, my two 1911s wouldn't even work with ball. I think I'm just spoiled by modern guns that just work.

Something is wrong there, and it isn't a design defect. I'll wager it's a manufacturing/sloppy quality control defect. If gunmakers don't pay attention to specifications that can be measured in thousanths, we get firearms that don't work correctly. My guess is that the 1911 design is more tolerant of minute out of spec parts than "more modern" designs, and yes, you have every right to expect a newly manufactured gun of any design to function correctly right out of the box.

August 10, 2004, 01:36 PM
The 1911 may be the most unreliable line(out of the box) of the major products, but for all the reasons we know, different manufacturers, not the right parts, mags, materials, unstable companies, growing too quickly, not quickly enough, etc, etc...old news.

Now, I haven't experienced that personally, but I read these are problems.
And, all I shoot are 1911's. :) Maybe I'm lucky.

As Tuner as detailed in his excellent posts, along with others, if there is a problem it's usually simple and cheap. If you like the way the 1911 handles, shoots, etc, it's a small price to pay. I would "pay" a great deal so I wouldn't have to shoot a "modern" gun...if I had problems with my $600 1911 closing in on 30,000 rounds.

I have "seen" some people with their questionable 1911's, cheap mags, poor reloads struggle a lot. If they were a relative, I would take the 1911 away from them and hand them a Glock or Sig 9mm, a couple of boxes of Winchester white box and let them shoot their 500- 1000 rounds a year and be happy...no troubles. They are both fine guns.

I think some people are "in-tune" :cool: , with certain styles of gun, others are not...different flavors of ice cream and all that.

August 10, 2004, 03:03 PM
Agreed. The design is solid (it's been winning gunfights longer than any of us have been alive), but the execution is often poor, with out of spec parts, improper manufacturing and materials (IE MIM, cast). The biggest advantage of modern guns is that they can use MIM, cast, plastic, etc, and function well, because they are designed to use modern manufacturing techniques.

August 10, 2004, 09:53 PM
anything jennings , anything taurus , most para-ho-de-dunce , most kimber , there is a lot of crap out there...

August 11, 2004, 12:42 AM
I've personally never had a single problem out of my 1911's, in fact I trust my life to my carry gun (a Colt Commander) daily.

The Keltec p32 I have is also a great little shooting. I did a fluff and buff on it when I got it and that's about it. It'll eat any ammo I put threw it.

As far as unrealiable, the only firearm that I ever had that was unrealiable was Rossi .357 mag. The hammer broke on the dang thing the first time I fired it (it was a give'me gun). Oh well you get what you pay for. Glad I didn't pay that for that one.

August 11, 2004, 02:48 PM
The notion that the 1911 is an unreliable design is ridiculous.
That some of the modern clone makers have bastardized the design is
the single biggest reason that they've earned the reputation of being finicky and needing a "Reliability Job" before they can be trusted. If
the manufacturers would simply stick to specs, guys like me would have to
take up checkers to while away the hours.

Even so, and even with the "Near Pistols" that are being churned out these days, I wish that I had a dime for every one that I've "fixed"
by handing the owner a good magazine and having him try again.

I wish I had a dime for every bad magazine that I've "fixed" by installing a good spring and setting the follower angle to spec.

I wish that I had a dime for every jamming gun that I've "fixed" by removing a recoil spring that should be under a Ford truck, and installing the standard spring after the owner read that his frame would be battered into junk without that gorilla-powered spring that he had put in the gun.

I wish I had a dime for every one that I've "fixed" by removing a shock buffer.

I wish I had a dime for every one that I've "fixed" by replacing the
Recycled Soup Can factory extractor and installing a good one in its place.
I tell ya, it's magic!

I've got 30 1911s that I'm willing to shoot hard if need be. Most haven't been tweaked or tuned beyond replacing worn out parts due to the guns
being from 50-75 years old....and only a few of those have been "reliability Tuned". I'll let one of the naysayers pick one at random and bet even money that he'll give up payin' the tab for the factory ammo long before it stops, jams, burps, hiccups, belches, pukes, or turns purple.

Any takers?:cool:

My pick for most unreliable DESIGN is the Hi-Point and the Jennings.
Para-Ord reliability seems to come and go. Don't care for the LDA system at all. Any 1911 with the Schwartz system tends to be problematical unless timed precisely. RG revolvers are pretty bad too. Taurus revolvers
were once junk...turned around into some pretty solid performers...and now seem to be headed back into the depths of despair again. Likewise
Smith & Wesson revolvers. They survived their time with Bangor Punta.
I hope they can do likewise with the MIM lockwork. I don't have much hope though.

August 11, 2004, 02:58 PM
Seems likethe least reliable pistol is the one I buy, then post about it here in my excitement, then find out how all the MIM parts and such are going to break by the 3rd magazine....

Black Snowman
August 11, 2004, 03:28 PM
Poor Serpico, and in LA too. Must make getting a replacement gun/shipping for service even more of a :cuss: than it needs to be too.

I feel for ya man.

In my experiance:
The least reliable gun is a mistreated gun.
Then a worn out gun.
Then a poorly made gun (process).
Then a cheap gun (materials).

Note the last two make the second come quicker.

Very few truely BAD designs make it very far in our free market economy and are relegated to rare collectors pieces.

August 11, 2004, 07:39 PM
Amen Snowman...it's easier to find a cotton gin repairman than a decent local smith.

August 11, 2004, 08:29 PM
Old rohms, jennings and llamas come to mind.

I have a feeling that you guys saying 1911 or Beretta are lucking for a fight, as those are surely two ridiculious answers.

August 12, 2004, 12:17 AM
Where do guys buy your 1911s from..Ive owned quite a few and I have never had a reliability problem. Type of ammunition and mags are the only things that can make a 1911 unreliable.

August 12, 2004, 02:50 AM
Where do guys buy your 1911s from..

3 Colts, 2 Kimbers, 2 Springfields, a SW1911 and an AMT. The AMT was the worst of the bunch. The best of the bunch? Kimber Custom, SW1911 and a Colt Officer's that I really miss. The others were hit or miss depending on ammo and mag combo or parts breaking. I think the 1911 is a very sound design. The problem is more likely the execution of the design by the different manufacturers or the parts they use. I'll keep the Kimber and SW and I hope to add a RRA in the future after shooting one recently.

August 12, 2004, 03:12 AM
My 1911 (Springfield loaded 5") seems to like to eat anything I feed it; ditto my Glock (model 21) I have high hopes for my Kahr(K-40).

The worst/ least reliable I would guess would be a lorcin. I've only seen a few, but I've never seen one fire more than 1 mag without malfunction.

August 12, 2004, 03:54 AM
Thats always a discussion that has no true answer, like who is the best looking girl, or whats the best car on the road, totally subjective. To me its the HK USP series. Built like friggin bricks, they never Kb and they go bang every time you pull the trigger even with the cheapest of cheap ammo.

August 12, 2004, 04:11 AM

Jeff Timm
August 12, 2004, 04:49 AM
In the immortal words of Phat Phil Engledrum, "Como se Llama? Si! El junko!"

Who notes, late at night, when you are about to close up the shop, if you pause and breathe slowly, you can hear the Llamas rust. Well, I have it on good authority anyway. :cool:

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