Longevity of pocket/compact sub caliber pistols

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Mr. Mosin, Nov 28, 2021.

  1. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Speaking towards the pocket and compact .25’s, .32’s, and .380’s… how much of a difference is there, round count wise; with standard factory ammo; between stuff like the Ruger LCP and a Beretta Cheetah or Walther PP/k ?
     
  2. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    Most are 7-8 rounds. The Bersa thunder plus holds 15 rounds.
     
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  3. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I have an lcp that is in the 1000+ rd range. I havent kept track, but im conservative with that number. Its been 100% reliable except for a couple of ammo related failures. Hard primers (2)
    I trust my LCP, and bought one for my beloved mrs also.

    Even though it's been shot quite a bit for a sub compact, its still a gun that I consider a "often carried, seldom shot" gun.
     
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  4. Targa

    Targa Member

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    I would be surprised if anyone ever shot a subcompact enough to wear it out simply because they are not range guns for most.
     
  5. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    The Baby Browning holds 6.
     
  6. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Is this about service life or capacity?
     
  7. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    In many cases they are not made from steel.
    That alone will tend to limit useful lifetime.
    Think of all those 'pot metal' (often cast zinc) frames
    (or even plastic) holding a steel barrel.
     
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  8. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    Your best bet with anything is to have duplicates of what you use, one for carry, and one for practice. That way, you dont have to worry as much about things going south at a bad moment. Same gun, same everything, just the gun you carry (after vetting) is basically always fresh, and your practice gun takes the beating.

    Unless youre buying high-end guns, most of the factory guns are reasonable enough so you wont break the bank in buying a pair.

    If youre shooting any reasonable amount in practice, youll spend a lot more on the ammo you use for practice than what the gun costs anyway, especially with the smaller calibers like .25, .32, .380.
     
  9. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    My Ruger LCP has over 5,000 rounds through it!
    In that time, I have had to replace the takedown pin twice, since the head sheared off while shooting. This didn't stop the range session, it just made taking the gun apart afterwards harder. Also, the frame has been replaced once due to a crack around the rear frame pin. This also didn't 'kill' the gun though. At this time, the gun is all fixed up, and ready to eventually put in another 5k rounds!

    My Walther PPK has just 1,000 rounds through it so far, and this weekend my trigger bar snapped in half at the range! Thankfully this didn't happen in a life or death situation! But it goes to show you the cheap gun can keep plugging along, while the expensive one can have a disabling malfunction. It's a crap shoot.

    So long as the serialized part keeps working, everything else can be replaced.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
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  10. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Most haven't been zinc die cast in a long time. Many of the better mouse guns went to a polymer frame with steel insert which allows more recoil absorption and better service life with less cracking and higher round counts.

    Diamondback DB9, M&P Bodyguard, Kahr CW380, Keltecs, Beretta Tomcat, Hi Point, Remington RM380, Bersa Thunder, Beretta Jetfire, Seecamp, SIG P238, Taurus Spectrum, TCP and Millenium, North American Guardian, just for starters.

    The old Florida made die cast guns are now mostly collector items in the face of the new materials. Cheaper materials and fabrication with polymer.

    If there has been a serious impact in the sales of mouse guns of late, it's caused by the P365, which has even cut short their own sales of .380s and the P938.
     
  11. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Not what I’m asking. I’m asking about maximum round count possible, in something like an LCP vs something like a Beretta Cheetah or Colt 1903/8
     
  12. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    Only one way to find out. :thumbup:
     
  13. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    It's going to vary from one model to another depending on design, and even from one gun to another depending on things like what kind of ammunition is used.

    I think it's reasonable to say that the smaller and lighter the gun in a given caliber, the less durable it is likely to be. I don't think a precise answer is going to be forthcoming.
     
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  14. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    With or without parts replacement?

    The maximum life of particular examples will likely exceed the expected maximum.

    The number will likely far exceed what most anyone will actually fire.
     
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  15. Jimbo80

    Jimbo80 Member

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    [QUOTE="Ethan Verity]

    My Walther PPK has just 1,000 rounds through it so far, and this weekend my trigger bar snapped in half at the range![/QUOTE]

    Why do I think this PPK is only a couple of years old??? I have a lot of old ones that have never had a hiccup.
     
  16. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    Age and round counts really dont mean much. A lot of old guns sat in drawers for decades, and never got shot.

    If you really want to know, you have to shoot them until you start to get failures. If you follow routine maintenance and change out the RSA's when you should, you will likely have better results than if you dont.
     
  17. Anchorite

    Anchorite Member

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    This ….. ^^^^
     
  18. Jimbo80

    Jimbo80 Member

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    Most of my old guns that are out of warranty never needed a warranty to begin with. My 100 year old guns work like new.
     
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  19. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    Yes, brand new Fort Smith, AR model. To have such a major component fail with so few rounds does make me nervous about the metal quality of the new parts.
    20211126_222251.jpg
     
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  20. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    So they are NOS. It doesn't really prove anything as to their longevity, just that they are old.

    The only way you really know if something will hold up, or how far it might go, is to shoot one enough and see. I dont think most people ever really get close to knowing, as most really dont shoot them enough to know. If you do, you will spend many multiples the cost of the gun trying to prove it too.
     
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  21. Shipwreck

    Shipwreck Member

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    I might be wrong, but I thought the LCP was rated for 5k rounds. If not 5k, somewhere around there.
     
  22. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    Probably a good rough estimate, that is near the round count when the frame cracked on mine. However, replacing the whole frame with a brand new one from Ruger was an easy and cheap fix, so I opted to keep it plugging along. Now it's ready for another 5k! The serialized part, in the case of the LCP, is a separate receiver which plugs into the frame. Some guns though, the frame itself is the serialized part, meaning if that cracks like my LCP did the gun is done for.
     
  23. Alex Clayton

    Alex Clayton Member

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    It will be interesting to start to hear if some do start to "wear out" some of these. So far I do not see much of this. Probably because as mentioned few are shot a hell of a lot. My oldest is a KT.32 from when they first hit the market. No real clue how many rounds down the pipe since its not shot like my .22's but, has been to the range a lot. Another mentioned if worried buy 2 of the same. One to play / practice and the other to carry. Seems like a good compromise to me too
     
  24. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    I should actually think kinda forever. I mean, normal full size pistol lifespan ranges, tens of thousands of rounds.

    BUT

    Only if properly serviced. Their PM cycles, mostly replacement of springs or (if present) buffers, is going to be much more critical. Likewise, exceeding any other limits like over-powered ammo will wear the gun much more than it would on a full size.


    The Star PD is a good example. Trackskippy's comment about buying a pair is part of the thinking in a long-repeated quote from Jeff Cooper "carried much and shot little." It was about the PD — at the time a truly revolutionary gun in size and weight for a full-size cartridge. But, it was tiring to shoot and there were worries about longevity. People like Cooper bought a couple of guns, carried one without shooting (but to guarantee it works) and shot one that was never carried for practice. Another was for lightweight revolver shooters; practice with a steel version of the same exact gun. I know some who sent both guns to the same smith to get identical updates to sights, stocks, or triggers.

    Anyway, lots and lots of PDs are a little worn out and rattly. A few cracked. But it appears that all worn/broken issues with these guns are the result of not replacing the buffers. Buffers were weird at the time, so it was unclear they had a service life and the factory didn't provide spares with the gun. They were available and those who replaced them with the springs had no issues. But a 1970s alloy framed .45 got plenty worn if you never changed the springs and buffer, yup.
     
  25. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I've owned maybe half a dozen 32 and 380 polymer pistols, and maybe a dozen 32's and 380's steel pistols like a 1903 or PPK.

    I've put I don't know how many thousands of rounds through the Russian "commercial" Makarov that I bought NiB in 1988 or so. It hasn't even needed new springs yet.

    I put about a thousand rounds through a P3AT. Then I gave it to my FiL. It malfunctioned a few times soon after he got it. He cleaned out the firing pin channel and replaced the springs. It seems okay for now.

    My WAG, based on nothing in particular, is that sooner or later the metal inserts, or polymer supporting them, or something will wear out on an LCP type pistol. They are small and tightly sprung and made of light materials. 5,000 rounds? Sure. IDC. I just can't imagine them lasting tens of thousands of rounds.

    A Makarov or mini 1911 or Colt 1903 or whatever... I doubt if a normal shooter wears one out in their lifetime. It will need new springs eventually, but I don't think that something like 32acp is going to wear out a generously proportioned steel pistol anytime soon.

    This 1903 is over 100 years old. It has new grips and was refinished, but the mechanical parts look original and show mild wear. I replaced the springs and it shoots accurately and reliably. It looks like it will be NBD if someone puts a box of range ammo through it once a month for another bunch of decades.

    The Makarov is a tank. Good luck wearing one out. It was overengineered for its original ammo, and this one is chambered in the milder 380. It has very few parts, and they look sturdy.


     
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