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Are Semi-Automatics Reliable Enough to Carry?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Phriend, Oct 14, 2009.

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  1. Phriend

    Phriend Member

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    Do you feel that semi-automatic weapons are reliable enough to carry? I've noticed that a lot of people here carry revolvers for their reliability. This has me a bit weary about choosing a semi-auto as my weapon of choice. Your thoughts?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Quality semi-autos can be as reliable as revolvers.
    They are more dependent on perfect ammo, and perfect magazines then revolvers.

    With that said, I have a S&W Model 39 I bought in 1970 that has never jammed once that I can remember.

    I have a Glock 23 that I can say has never jammed once in 14 years I have owned it.

    A SIG P6 I acquired last year has worked flawlessly with everything I have shot in it including a bunch of 9mm reload rejects that had accumulated on the loading bench.

    If you pick a quality gun, and function test it throughly with the ammo you intend to carry in it, there is no reason to think it will not preform at 100%.

    rc
     
  3. QUICK_DRAW_McGRAW

    QUICK_DRAW_McGRAW Member

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    if they wheren't do you think they would be sold as much as they are or carried by our armed forces?
     
  4. Bluenote

    Bluenote Member

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    They *can* be , but if you're going to carry one it well behooves you to make absolutely DEAD certain that it functions 100% reliably with your carry ammunition.

    You could be betting your life on it functioning. I've got two 1911s that work completely reliably ( a springfield and a Kimber) , but I've had several SAs that didn't.
     
  5. BP Hunter

    BP Hunter Member

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    Most if not all militaries around the world and law enforcement agencies carry semi auto pistols as their side arm. That by itslelf explains it all in safety and reliability.
    I prefer a single action/double action pistol where I can keep one up the pipe. I, personally, am not completely comfortable keeping one in the pipe with the striker types of pistols (Glock, Springfield XD, etc), so I carried a revlolver for awhile. I then purcahsed 2 striker hammer pistols, the Sig Sauer P220 in .45 and CZ75B in 9mm.
     
  6. Just One Shot

    Just One Shot Member

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  7. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Yes, I trust an auto to let me deliver more lead on target to save my life than a revolver.

    I carry a 1911 with nine total rounds, two reloads. My 1911 is the most reliable gun I have owned. (It's a Kimber Custom II.) If it DOES malfunction, I can clear a stoppage very quickly, I train by having a friend load a dummy round into my magazines. (I can't remember the last time it jammed any other way.) The key is to practice, and test your gun with the ammo AND magazines you will be carrying.

    I'm not much of a revolver guy. My 1911 is always a single-action pull, with a very good trigger. If you carry a revolver defensively, you should fire it in double-action, meaning, not cocking the hammer before you fire, making it a long, heavy pull before each shot. It is less likely to jam, but if it DOES, it can be more difficult to clear. (Imagine a bullet protruding too far from the cylinder, preventing it from turning or folding out.) Most revolvers that most people carry are five or six rounds. I have never been able to reload a revolver quickly with a speedloader.

    This doesn't mean that they aren't for anyone. If you can REALLY shoot, (meaning, better than me, which isn't saying much,) and you know what you are doing, a revolver can be very effective. (Google some videos of Jerry Mickulek.) But in my lifestyle, budget, and situation, I don't have the time or the inclination to become proficient with a revolver. Maybe one day when I have more time and money I'll work on it.
     
  8. dom1104

    dom1104 Member

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    It has not always been the case, but the modern autoloader is a very reliable machine, if you


    A. buy a good model

    B. test it


    The age of revolvers being used for reliabilitys sake is over, most people use that as an excuse for liking revolvers better. Which I admit, they are nice and there is a lot to like.

    But reliability is no longer a selling point, due to the advancement of the reliable autoloading pistol being easily and inexpensivly available.
     
  9. MT GUNNY

    MT GUNNY Member

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    Manual Transmission VS Automatic Transmission.
    GMC VS Chevrolet.
    Car VS Truck.
    Gas VS Diesel

    Just saying!
     
  10. possum

    possum Member

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    if a gun i have isn't reliable that i get rid of it. I carry only semi autos. i would like to get a s&w 442 in the future, but other than that i prefer semi autos.

    i have been shooting/ training a while, and i have seen alot of different handguns, and rounds fired a year, and i can tell you that there are semi autos out there that are more than reliable for carry.

    for example my xd has over 17,000rds through it without issue, my glock has 3,500rds (i know i don't shoot it that much, i prefer the xd, but it has been through 2 training courses so i know it runs.)

    these are just 2 of the many reliable semi autos out there.
     
  11. sixgun_grunt

    sixgun_grunt Member

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    in my expieriance most semi autos malfunction due to poor quality ammo and poor mainitence , i would recommend you test many different brands of ammo and see which is the most reliable in your pistol, but most quality autos are very reliable these days, i've got a cheap keltec p11 that eats anything i can feed it and i got a pricey para ord wharthog that is quite picky about ammo
     
  12. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    That's not entirely true. I have both.

    I don't have to test out a new kind of ammo to be sure it feeds in my .38. If I buy quality defensive ammo, I can drop the rounds in the cylinder, stuff the gun in the holster, and be on my way. I can alternate snake loads and animal defense magnums in my .44, again without running a bunch through the gun to make sure they'll feed every time. They do.

    That's a form of reliability.

    Autoloading pistols can be quite reliable, but I don't know of anyone who doesn't recommend running a bunch of a certain kind of round through the gun before trusting it.

    Revolvers can break, and modern autos are reliable. But there are still differences between them that go beyond just "liking" one or the other.

    Obviously, autos have higher capacity for a given size. There is a price for that, and it may be well worth paying it for self-defense against human attackers. It may not be, if you have other applications for the handgun. Many people don't think beyond the one use they have for theirs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
  13. sixgun_grunt

    sixgun_grunt Member

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    what armed bear said is true you cant beat a revolver for reliability if you get a faulty round you simply pull the trigger again ( or hammer for a SA ) reloads are a bit slower but 5 or 6 rounds should be plenty for most situations
     
  14. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Mine are. YMMV
     
  15. CorpITGuy

    CorpITGuy Member

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    Most of these points have already been made, but I thought I would write a post anyway since it rather summarizes some of what you've heard and adds one new thing:

    1. Autos *can be* just as reliable as revolvers.
    2. But; you must keep them clean and lightly oiled.
    3. Also; you must be certain your defense ammo cycles well.
    4. Don't buy a super cheap one (mid-range models can be okay, just do your homework and practice).
    5. The complication of clearing jams, unlikely as they may be, requires a lot more practice, especially initially.
    6. They have the ability to deliver more lead, more quickly. Some will disagree (and claim that they are faster with a reloader on their wheel guns) but those people are in the minority. I'm faster with my auto.

    This is all coming from a HUGE revolver guy. I much prefer carrying my revolver but I feel very confident that my auto would do the job as well, or I wouldn't carry it (you're better off begging for mercy than pulling the trigger to no avail).
     
  16. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    Autoloading pistols require consistent, properly charged ammunition to cycle reliably. Revolvers depend entirely on their own lockwork to cycle.
     
  17. John Wayne

    John Wayne Member

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    Neither is reliable enough.

    You should carry a single shot smoothbore matchlock pistol to make sure it works every time. You need to be able to check your ignition source frequently to make sure it's ready to go, no more wondering if those $8 a piece Extreme Shock rounds have dud primers because the ninjas spilled oil in them when they were loaded. Just make sure there is a little smoke rising off your match cord, and knock the ash off it from time to time.

    Or a cut-down arquebus, with a folding stock in a shoulder holster (no SBR stamp needed!). It's the perfect solution to the 9mm vs. .45 debate.

    Critics of semiautos say revolvers have been around much longer and are somehow more inherently reliable. Well, guess what? The arquebus beat out ol' Sam Colt's Peacemaker by 300 years, a fact which obviously makes it superior!
     
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    John Farnham said (in The Farnham Method of Defensive Handgunning), "The most common cause for a stoppage in the revolver . . . [and] in autoloaders is running out of ammunition."

    My M1911 with one up the spout and an 8-round McCormic mag gives me 9 rounds before that happens, and a second mag on the belt can be reloaded much faster than a revolver.
     
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Nobody mentioned the one revolver stoppage that is really gonna stop you cold in your tracks.

    Bullet pull under recoil is a real possibility with the ultra-light little revolvers being made now.

    If a bullet pulls and sticks out the front of the cylinder, you are SOL for quite awhile before you figure out why the cylinder won't turn anymore, and you can't get it open to clear it.

    No, not common.
    But possible.
    And a good reason to throughly test your choice of carry ammo in a revolver too.

    rc
     
  20. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Which is another reason why, when I carry a revolver concealed, it's a Colt Detective Special with standard .38 Special loads.
     
  21. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I don't think that revolvers are "more reliable". I think that each platform has its upsides and its downsides.

    Those who think otherwise, no matter which side of the "fence" they're on, haven't thought it through.

    But yes, modern autoloaders are reliable enough to carry. They offer high capacity and quick reloads. They just aren't necessarily the best choice for all the possible applications of a handgun.

    WRT bullet pull, I don't believe that is a serious concern with top-quality defensive loads in reasonable combinations of gun and load. I.e. .38+P in a 14 oz. gun is still reasonable. REAL .357 Magnum in an 11 oz. gun? That's pushing it.

    That's also why I crimp my rounds carefully when I shoot full-house .357 and .44. Never had anything remotely resembling a bullet pull, or even a measurable change in OAL. I test it.

    Don't shoot junk ammo for any serious use, in any type of gun.
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    A quality semi is certainly reliable enough to carry. There's really no reasonable dispute about that. But you don't want to go to the el cheapo section with semis. A used service issue Model 10 or Official Police is liable to be incredibly reliable with a mix of .38 Special loads even after 50, 75 years or more. The same isn't always the case with the well used semis. I've had a number of failures with semis of this class. Parts just wear out from all the movement after awhile. Basically you want to pay a little extra to get the better model with semis. The most reliable of the ones I've had have been Sig's (P225) and Glocks (G23). Other than a few stovepipes I never had an issue with those. In fact they were so reliable as to be dull and I traded them off.
     
  23. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Absolutely not. I shot IPSC and steel for years with a 1911. For carry use I use revolvers. I saw too many failures to trust my life with one. I used to make a living fixing 1911s. I know what they can do and what can go wrong. Revolvers can fail but it's a pretty rare occurrence.
     
  24. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    gee I sure hope so, since I carry a 1911

    I think the revolvers most carried are snubbies
    easy to conceal

    Randall
     
  25. RevDerb

    RevDerb Member

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    Have you seen a revolver in a LEO's holster lately? :uhoh:
     
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