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Autoload Reliability

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by dwstone1227, Sep 25, 2013.

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  1. dwstone1227

    dwstone1227 Member

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    As I followed the fort Hood shooting a concern has risen for me regarding the reliability of autoloaders. For example, the first armed officer on site was Kimberly Munley. She was armed with an M9 handgun. As the lunatic came at her firing, she returned fire 'blindly'. At some point (the number of rounds fired by Munley was not listed in the articles I saw), Munleys hangun malfunctioned. "My weapon would not fire. Some sort of malfunction in my weapon" she was quoted as saying.

    I now find myself asking questions. Of all my handguns the one and only one that has never malfunctioned is my revolver. If it ever does fail, odds are real good it will not fail me on the next trigger pull. But now my autoloaders (Glock, Springfield, Ruger, Walther, etc,) have all malfunctioned at one time or another.

    I wonder if the outcome would have been better for Manley and others if has she been carrying a revolver.

    Reference 1

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hood_shooting

    Reference 2

    http://news.yahoo.com/fort-hood-suspect-kicked-gun-officers-hand-182804910.html
     
  2. rockhopper46038

    rockhopper46038 Member

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    I read the two articles, but the thought occurs to me; was the "malfunction" simply an empty weapon? This is mere speculation, but I've never read anything else about the security guard or the murderer's semi-automatic pistol "malfunctioning".
     
  3. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

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    If she had gotten a hit in with the first six rounds, it wouldn't have mattered. If it jammed on round 9, well, she got three extra tries over the average revolver.

    I think autos crap out a lot more often, in real situations, than people like to think they do. An auto that is 100% reliable over a thousand rounds at the range becomes much less so when you have a crappy one handed grip, weak hand, slide banging off the door frame you're using for cover, hands slick with blood, upside down on the ground getting the stuffings kicked out of you etc.


    Life's a dice toss. Pick a tool, learn to run it, take care of it and give it your best shot.

    I often carry a revolver. And feel fine with it.
     
  4. sharkbait22

    sharkbait22 Member

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    What model glock do you have? My 19 has never had a malfunction of any kind. Not saying to can't just hasn't. Would you rather go up against the Ft. Hood shooter with 6 rounds or 15?
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    We had an officer involved shootout with a man armed with a Ruger Blackhawk .357 years ago.

    The guy was hunkered down behind a river bank, and the cops were coming across a wide open fall corn field towards him.

    The cops were carrying SIG 226's.

    The BG started shooting at about 150 yards, and hit one officer in the arm.
    Whereas the wounded officers SIG 226 short-stroked, limp wrested, or otherwise failed to reload itself when he shot it weak hand.
    And he couldn't clear it with one hand.


    So bottom line?
    Be a really good revolver shot.

    Or don't get shot in the gun arm if you are carrying a pistol known for unfailing 100% reliability like a Glock or a SIG.

    rc
     
  6. marksg

    marksg Member

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    I thought limp wrested when i read it. Would be easy to do under stress.
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, but it is almost impossible to do with a full size service pistol.

    That's why I never did figure out what happened with the officers SIG I posted about.

    I have shot 1911's and other full size pistols with only a thumb and trigger finger holding on to them in live fire demo's.

    It's near impossible to limp-wrest a full size service pistol because they are heavy enough to provide their own 'wrest' support.

    rc
     
  8. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    It sounds very much like she ran out of ammo.

    Even if this wasn't the case, this "malfunction" occurred after she had been wounded in the hand (re:the article), which might lead on to believe that the injury prevented her from continuing to operate the gun

    I doubt it. Bad things like that happen when you are shooting blindly...even at 8 feet...without using your sights

    Your experience supports your belief, however it isn't universal.

    When I started in LE, we were all issued revolvers. I've seen several fail during qualification and even more during competition. I'm not just talking about FTF(ire) where you would just pull the trigger again...although I've seen this a few times (broken hammer nose on S&W)...I'm talking about cylinders not revolving and hammers/triggers being stuck.

    I have to add that the Beretta M9/92 is one of the most reliable handguns available. It's non-tilting barrel makes it one of the easiest guns to convert to operate with blank cartridges...it only has to move linearly. I've seen stoppages with every tilting barrel action handgun I've ever shot. I would rank the Beretta's dropping block action, for reliability, just behind the H&K delayed-blowback actions (P7 & P9S)
     
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Back when the new crop of semi-autos were in development there were problems which can and do happen when something is new. Over the past Decade or more semi-auto pistols are so well designed and made they are just as reliable as revolvers IMO. Mine you, this is coming from a real revolver guy who carries one daily. Even though I'm a revolver guy the truth is the truth.

    I only own 3 semi-auto centerfire pistols, a 1911 because every man should have at least one, a Kel-Tec P-32 for those times you need something very small and hide-able and a recently bought Glock 19 because it was a deal I couldn't pass up. All 3 are extremely reliable, even the very inexpensive and very small Kel-Tec. I am thinking of trading the Glock for a SIG but that's for another thread. :p

    Take good care of your pistol and keep it well cleaned and well lubed and it will take care of you!
     
  10. GoWolfpack

    GoWolfpack Member

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    No, it would not have been any different. Firing blindly with a revolver is just as ineffective as firing blindly with a semi-automatic.
     
  11. mes228

    mes228 Member

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    Reliable

    I prefer shooting a 1911 at the range. I carry a Glock 23. That pistol has well over 10K rounds without any malfunctions. I'm sure I have several thousands of additional rounds through other assorted Glock's I've owned. Not one has malfunctioned in any way. I've not even had a dud round. All I shoot is factory ammo. However, I shoot factory ammo of any kind, any shape bullet, any load. They all work and work well. All these rounds have been through Gen 3 Glock's.

    Recently at the range my friend and I were shooting several pistols. I can't remember the brand of ammo, but not one 1911 we had that day would run it. The Glock he had with him ran it all without a hitch. Bottom line, Glock is absolutely in the top few percent of any pistol ever manufactured no matter how you measure them. If you can load the round, the Glock will fire it. Others makes will do the same. Such the H&K's USP. They are also probably as reliable (at least I've never had an H&K malfunction and I've owned 5). However the USP's are much more cumbersome, more expensive, mags and parts more expensive too.
     
  12. LebbenB

    LebbenB Member

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    The weak point of any autoloader is the magazine. The issue M9s came with some pretty crappy mags (Weak springs and poor phosphating.) Supposedly, all the older mags were replaced several years ago by a different brand. However, most unit armorers tend to be pack rats and I'm sure there are plenty of the older mags still out there. Speculation on my part, but there's a chance she had one of the older mags.

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the Beretta drop block.
     
  13. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I have to question the "Malfunction". While I don't think it is beyond the realm of possibility that there was a malfunction, I seriously doubt that this was the case without other factors being involved (had it ever been cleaned/lubed? Were springs or other parts replaced without range testing?).

    I carried a 92fs for nearly a decade and put tens of thousands of rounds through it without a single malfunction of any kind and know other folks who would say the same. I have even attempted to achieve a limp wrist failure and have never been able to do it. I switched to a PX4 in 9mm a couple of years back and can't make it fail either. To me, this is like the stories you hear about where an officer's gun "Just went off by itself." Guns seem to disproportionately have problems anytime there is a shooting/shootout that makes the news.

    While I would not classify it as impossible, I think it far more likely that there was human error involved.
     
  14. fredg

    fredg Member

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    I posted part of this in the thread about .38 vs .380 vs 9mm. Seems appropriate here as well.

    I'm a revolver guy and loath any semi-auto other than GI 1911's. (especially mouse semi's and especially plastic guns). I even loath the new fancy 1911's with their beaver tails and extended and ambi safeties.

    All that said, if I were a LEO or if I carried a gun in some kind of LEO capacity, I would have a full size 16+ round plastic Glock or XD with a snub revolver as a backup gun. Revolvers do fail and when they do they are harder to clear up.

    Just last week I was shooting my S&W Model 10 .38. Had no issues at all but when I got home and prepared to clean it I noticed that the hammer nose (firing pin) was broken off!! It must have failed on my last round as every round I fired went off. That or there was enough left of the pin to hit the primer but I don't see how.

    I would rather detail strip my 1911 before my revolvers any day (and I have fully stripped them all), contrary to popular belief revolvers have more moving parts and are more complex with what goes on in the guts of the gun than semi's.

    But as a CCW citizen I am content with my revolvers and 1911.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  15. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Sounds to me like a lack of training and an overall ignorance on how these mechanical devices function.

    I saw this with Private Jessica Lynch. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_jessica_lynch Her ill trained tanker group was ambushed in Iraq and she was captured. None of the tankers had cleaned their M16’s since arriving in theater, they had been working under the assumption they were rear line units! . :what: It was apparent that Jessica was extremely ignorant on the function of her rifle, and her rifle malfunctioned. On TV, she said, “it jammed”. End of story, battery dead, big badda, boom gun no go bang anymore. :uhoh: She clearly did not know how to get it shooting again or what caused the jam.

    I suspect the responding officer was similarly ignorant of the workings of her pistol. It either works, or it does not, and if it stopped working, she did not have a clue how to make it work again.
     
  16. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    I agree using this officer's performance with the weapon as an assessment of the performance of autoloading weapons is not wise. Most police/security don't receive much training with their weapons and a lot have no idea how they work. I would say the majority of officers rarely fire their weapons except for qualification. Years ago we stopped four guys after a drive by shooting with a Mac 10. The four civilian officers who responded to MCAS EL Toro were afraid to even touch it because they had no idea how to clear it. I had to do it for them. They didn't even have a basic understanding of what to do to make it safe. I can't even tell you how many officers I've met who only understand their duty weapon a little better. Its possible the officer in the article was simply poorly trained or had little knowledge of her weapon.
     
  17. MartinS

    MartinS Member

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    Judge the pistol performance in isolation or in actual use by actual users? I submit both sets of data are valid and useful.
     
  18. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    1. Revolvers break, too. Timing can get out of whack, or any other number of things. If your timing gets out of whack...congrats, you have a neat club.

    2. "My weapon would not fire. Some sort of malfunction in my weapon." I am NOT giving this woman a hard time at all. But if you have amalfunction, you should have been shooting and training enough to know what your malfunction is and how to get it back in the fight.

    3. Practice/train with what you're going to run. Malfunctions can be cleared. Neither platform is 100% reliable.
     
  19. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    The only kinds of autoloaders or revolvers that I have not seen fail at one time or the other are those that I have little exposure to. Springs break, so do firing pins and other small parts. Sometimes it seems that you either have a new gun that you shouldn't trust because it isn't properly broken in and tested, or you have something that is worn heavily from too many thousands of rounds. Nothing made by man is a 100%. Yet, sometimes it can get pretty close. If I were going for the best reliability possible based on the ones I know, I would choose a just broken in 1911 loaded with hardball or my round nosed cast bullets, or I would choose a heavy weight revolver, loaded with something light enough not to stress it. A mechanical device cannot be a 100% reliable, but every time you put your gun on you're betting your life that it will work. I think you can do that with confidence if you put the time in to learn something about handgun.
     
  20. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    If you are spazzing when firing your weapon, the chances that you will induce a malfunction go up.
     
  21. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Most of the problems that affect autos can happen with revolvers. A revolver that fell into a mud puddle or is covered with dried blood might bind up. If you "limp wrist" an airweight snubby, it may cause the bullets to jump crimp and bind up the cylinder. Bad ammo may have a primer blow out or back out, which could bind things up again. A wounded hand or arm may leave you unable to pull the 9 pound or heavier trigger (trying to go lighter than 9 pounds gives too much of a risk of light strikes, particularly if the gun isn't immaculately clean, in my experience).

    Mechanically, the firing (not feeding) mechanism of most autos is much simpler than a revolver. A semi-auto is much more likely to fire the chambered round than a revolver is to fire its first shot.
     
  22. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Clearing a malfunction should have been trained into her until it was burned into her DNA. I'd want to know what the after action report actually said what the malfunction was, after the INITIAL malfunction of attempting un-aimed suppressing fire into an area reportedly full of un-involved personnel.
    On the other hand, I wasn't there, and neither was anyone else, so it's very easy to Monday Morning Quarterback the whole shoot.
     
  23. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

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    I've simulated such (though not the slippery frame for safety reasons) and it is surprisingly easy to induce failures in an otherwise reliable polymer framed auto. Even the vaunted Glock 19 choked 75% of the time. Note I make a differentiation, because I've found full size steel frame autos to be much less sensitive to such things.

    I'm not knocking polymer frame autos, but it IS something to be aware of. Just like I know having 6 shots on board my trusty wheel gun may make a reload more likely (so I practice reloading until it is automatic).
     
  24. tommy.duncan

    tommy.duncan Member

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    There is a guy on you tube (Military Arms Channel) who made his Glocks jam firing limp wristed. He was able to do it several times in one short video. My Glocks and Sigs (minus my wife's mosquito) have ever jammed, ftf, or fte. My 92f has never been a problem either. Could the pistol have lacked proper maintenance?
     
  25. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    More likely?
    An extra strength recoil spring he didn't mention.
    Or Light Loaded ammo for the Youtube vid!!

    rc
     
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