Reliability, an observation

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by sawdeanz, Oct 27, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. TestPilot

    TestPilot Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Messages:
    976
    One shot breech load pistol may even fail less than a revolver, but is anyone going to argue that a single shot breech loader is superior? How about a two shot Derringer? Anyone going to argue "2 shot for sure" than "may be 6 rounds"?

    There is no one thing that is most important. Reliability is impoartant, but it is not the single most important factor. If reliabliity is important over everything, then soldiers would be carrying single shot rifles.

    What my decisions are based on is the total package. What is more likely to get the job done.

    I don't prepare fights with "A sound of a gun shot, and they all ran" kind of opponents. If you have those opponents in mind, then you might as well carry a starter pistol and call it good.

    As I have said in these threads before, do not confuse a "shooting incident" wtih a "gun fight." Those two are nothing like each other.

    As far as my examinations and research on actual gun fights, when determined fighters are involved, as soon as opponents' number go over 1, my chances with only 6 shots look really grim.

    People with no clue about the dynamics of gun fight have a hard time understanding why 6 shots can dry up very fast. Let's say you are attacked at "bad breath" distance by a mugger armed with a knife. As you pull the gun, he tries to jab his knife, you grab his arm, and struggle follows. He is on top of you.

    Bang!
    "Is he hit?"
    Bang!
    "Is he hit? Is he falling? I can't tell. Is he forcing me down, or is this just his body weight? I can't see his other hand. Is it dangling down or is it trying to jab a knife?"
    By the time you thought through the above sentence, your snubby is empty, unless you intend to hold fire to see if you feel a knife digging into your gut that is.

    Your opponent may have been dead at the first shot. Your opponent may be just stunned, but would try to kill you in a moment. Now, Imagine there is a second opponent.

    I am not even talking about misses. In the above scenario, you had a 100% hit.


    Another issue some fail to take into account is the advances in training methods. If you shoot once, assess, then decide to shoot again, then you might be able to get 1 shot per one opponent. Are you seriously going to do "Bang! Umm, yeah he is still standing. Bang!" when your opponent at "bad breath" distance is shooting a gun or swinging a knife at you?

    Modern traning method is to maintain continuous fire until you perceive the opponent dropping beyond the view of your sights. Even if the first shot did its job, you may have fired off 3 shots before you noticed it took effect. Even assuming 100% hits and first shot incapacitation, now you're down to 3 shots.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  2. skoro

    skoro Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    2,125
    Location:
    Texas
    Seems to me that the biggest issue I've had with semiautos that I own has been magazines, with ammo a distant second.
     
  3. TomJ
    • Contributing Member

    TomJ Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,422
    Location:
    Illinois
    I carry both, depending on a number of factors, and anything I carry obviously has to be proven to be reliable. I'm assuming, correctly I hope, that no one carries a gun or ammo they did not test. That being said, my primary carry guns are semis. I made that decision based on walking into an armed robbery in from of my house, where 4 guys had robbed a teenager. CC was not allowed at the time and I was unarmed. Fortunately the robbers took off when other neighbors came out, but the lesson I learned was that I would not want to face multiple attackers with 5 rounds in my gun, as I'd have to be just about perfect with those rounds. I understand I can reload, but I'm more comfortable having more rounds initially. I don't know what the statistics show, but I know of too many multiple attacker scenarios in our area to think it can't happen.
     
  4. CZ9shooter

    CZ9shooter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,115
    I thought the original scope of this discussion was reliability. ONE particular facet of a firearm. I dont feel that ammo capacity, self defense encouters, multiple attackers and whatnot is relavent here.
     
  5. TomJ
    • Contributing Member

    TomJ Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,422
    Location:
    Illinois
    While it may not have been his main point, the OP did raise the issue with the following: "It's easy to add a caveat to make your personal guns sound better, but while I can say that my CZ hasn't itself malfunctioned in it's 1000 rd lifetime, the fact is those 2 or 3 times it choked on out of spec rounds would have still killed me in a gun fight or competition, rounds that would have fired out of a revolver."
     
  6. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    2,432
    Location:
    NC
    The merits of a revolver or semiautomatic pistol that's up to the individual end user.
     
  7. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    Arizona
    How do you define and measure handgun reliability? I suggest that when defining and measuring handgun reliability the only important definition and point of measurement is how much you rely on the handgun ensuring you survive a gun fight. Since most people want to survive a gun fight, anecdotal evidence suggests that the vast majority of people agree the semiautomatic is more reliable at ensuring survival than the revolver because they carry semiautomatics. Why is this? I don’t think it is just the usually greater ammunition capacity of semiautomatics. There are many reasons I can think of for most people deciding the semiautomatic is more reliable than the revolver. We can all debate the mechanical reliability attributes of revolvers and semiautomatic influenced by total number of parts that could fail, durability of parts, ammunition induced malfunctions, user error induced malfunctions, and malfunction clearance procedures, but in the 21st century the semiautomatic is what most people have decided is most reliably at ensuring their survival.
     
  8. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    12,593
    The question had to do with the reliability of some semi-autos vs. revolvers, and as mentioned by TomJ, it was framed in the context of survival in a self defense encounter.

    And as TestPilot points out, the most reliable firearm will be a single shot. I certainly would not choose a single shot for self defense.

    With either a revolver or a single shot target pistol, one gains reliability, defined as minimizing the likelihood of a failure to function, at the expense of capacity; in a self defense encounter, that trade-off can be a most important consideration.

    But as Nom de Forum points out, that definition of reliability may be too narrow, in a real sense.

    A defender with a handgun will be concerned about all of the factors that enter into his or her ability to effect a stop. Even when one ignores the ability to draw and produce and make ready the weapon timely, that will depend upon the rapidity of shooting with combat accuracy; upon having adequate capacity; and upon terminal ballistics, all in addition to the likelihood of failures to function.
     
  9. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,549
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    As a wise, old Master Gunny once noted:

    "Expect your weapon to malfunction."

    Makes a note of that for future conflagrations.

    As a general rule, that's true...but all rules are subject to exceptions. It depends on exactly what causes the malfunction. I've seen autos that locked up so hard, it took nearly an hour to get'em apart.
     
  10. jimbo555

    jimbo555 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Messages:
    1,230
    Location:
    Statesboro,Georgia
    A wise man once said, " If you think you need to carry a gun you probably should carry two." Or something to that effect. Carry one of each type. Cover your bases!
     
  11. gunsablazin

    gunsablazin Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    242
    You pay your money, and you take your chances. I've been competing with handguns for nearly 30 years, and I've seen just about every kind of failure there is. I am comfortable carrying an auto, or a revolver, but if the question is sheer reliability, I'll give the edge to the wheelgun, at least in the world of civilian self defense use. It comes out on top if for no other reason there is little its operator can do to cause it to malfunction, limp wrist etc. a bad round is cleared with a pull of the trigger, they are more complex mechanically, but simple to operate. I made SSP Master in IDPA with a Glock, I carry a K-Frame .38 , in all fairness, neither have ever malfunctioned.
     
  12. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    Arizona

    What is the most reliable single shot pistol? It could be one that has no external hammer that can be obstructed when the trigger is pulled from inside a coat pocket. That description applies to a Glock and other striker fired pistols for at least the first shot and maybe more. The only revolver I have trusted to function within a coat pocket is a S&W M38 Bodyguard and even that is not as foolproof as a completely enclosed hammer revolver design and both still have the possibility of cylinder obstruction preventing firing (Did you forget to take that penny out of your coat pocket?).
     
  13. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    Arizona
    Never a stove pipe or slide lock on the Glock, or a short stroke or high primer on the K-Frame? Amazingly good luck! You sir are a fugitive from The Law of Averages. Let us hope if you are apprehended it occurs in competition and not when defending your life.
     
  14. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    12,593
    Some time back, a member mused that anyone who shoots enough will experience a malfunction. He was not limiting that to semi-automatics.

    Shortly after I read that, I was watching a video by Rob Pincus in which he was explaining some of the differences between "good shooting" (read: timed shooting and double-taps at a fixed distance of 21 feet) and the kind of shooting he espouses in Combat Focus Shooting (shooting at varied but much closer distances, without a timer, and balancing speed and precision). He was shooting a Glock.

    Sure enough, right in the middle of the demonstration of "good" shooting, that Glock gave us an impromptu, unscripted malfunction.

    Rob immediately reached for a magazine and cleared the malfunction. Far more quickly than I can.

    That really drove home the point for me.

    When I can carry it , a revolver in a pocket for backup mitigates that risk.

    It also provides me with a solution should I not be able to access my primary cary due to position or to a shoulder harness.
     
  15. rskent

    rskent Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,747
    Location:
    The land of blue sky and sunshine
    Nom de Forum said
    Nom You sir have a striking way with the word. Thank you for not just saying BS.
     
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    66,598
    Location:
    Alabama
    Yep, sometimes folks say things in such a way it's worth remembering. Very succinct.
     
  17. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    12,593
    ^^^^^

    Agree!
     
  18. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    12,593
    What I kinda-sorta think I remember from the gun writers fifty years ago was that semi autos were flatter and therefore easier to conceal, had higher capacity, were quicker to reload, and would stand up better in muddy conditions because they could be field stripped;and that revolvers were simpler to operrate and more reliable. I may not be remembering that accurately.

    Whatever was the case, what I wanted was a 4 inch Combat Magnum.

    No chance. There were none to be had. Word in the gunshops was that they were all going to the government.

    I suppose that had to do with the adoption of the Combat Masterpiece by the Air Force.

    I ended up buying a Smith Model 39, largely because of what Elmer Keith had to say about it in Sixguns.

    I didn't break it in, and it never malfunctioned, not even once, though I imagine the total number of rounds I put trough it over the years was, IIRC, quite a bit lower than that that I have fired through my XDS 9 4.0 in less than six months.

    Yet I think I recall Mas Ayoob speaking of the work the Illinois State Patrol armorers had to put into their Model 39s to keep them functioning.

    Would I have preferred a revolver to keep in the bedroom, based on what I know now? Maybe. Would I choose to carry one concealed as a primary defensive arm ? No. Goes back to the first sentence above, and to the self defense training I have had since that time.
     
  19. antiquus

    antiquus Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Messages:
    305
    Agreed there are no absolutes. There are apocryphal stories about gun failures of every type, all of it completely true..... :rolleyes:

    However I decided to base what I carry on my understanding of likely self defense scenarios for civilians. This means 3 shots, inside 7 yards, little warning, potentially so close that wrestling becomes a real possibility. That covers 97%+ of self defense cases. I'm also assuming one handed use, that's the way I practice and I assume the other hand is to push the assailant and keep the gun out of reach.

    Auto's can be disabled with one hand in 3 ways. Push the slide out of battery, drop the mag as most all autos have a mag block, and fire the gun with someone's hand on the slide, leading to a FTE to clear.

    Revolvers can be disabled one handed in one manner, hold the cylinder. However there's one good grip on a revolver (moreso with a snubbie) and that grip is in my hand. If I can get you to release, the gun is instantly useable.
     
  20. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Messages:
    5,536
    This is an oversimplification, and makes several assumptions...one or more of which have been proven over time to be untrue.

    Revolvers may malfunction less frequently than semi autos...however, when a revolver malfunctions, it is far more likely to be a hard stoppage.

    One must make up his own mind which way to go, based on some quantifiable data or experience.

    Most of us have, but many others read internet lore and make their decisions based on what they read and interpret as "fact", rather than any real experience.

    Hence, many people believe that revolvers "can not malfunction"...or if they do, "one pull of trigger solves all".

    Anyone who has spent some time shooting understands the fallacy of this statement.
     
  21. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Messages:
    11,509
    Location:
    Northwest Arkansas

    Does EVERY failure to fire render a handgun completely inoperable?

    No of course not.

    Sometimes ammunition just doesn't go off and in those instances a new round is just a trigger pull away
     
  22. RJTravel

    RJTravel Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    120
    My autos have no mag disconnect, and do have double-strike capability. Any revolvers with double-strike capability? I have a suggestion for those who cannot decide - obtain a semi-auto revolver.
     
  23. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Messages:
    11,509
    Location:
    Northwest Arkansas

    Um only like EVERY REVOLVER EVER MADE


    You can double strike. You just get to shoot all the other GOOD ammo first before you come back to the offending cartridge to hit it a second time.

    More of a "we'll come back to that one later" rather than a "if this doesn't work this time..."
     
  24. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,549
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    The only trouble with double strike is that if the primer crapped out on the first hit, it'll likely do it on the 2nd and 3rd, too...wasting critical time that could be better used in getting the dud out and chambering another round.


    Done.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webley-Fosbery_Automatic_Revolver
     
  25. RJTravel

    RJTravel Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    120
    Maybe - maybe not. Every time (in my experience) it has been headspace due to imperfect o/a length (headspacing on case mouth) - not a 'bad' primer. The second strike has always detonated for me due to then solid headspace seating without a cushion. Modern ammo seems to have overcome the lack of uniformity. NO revolver has second strike capability - period. Could be an issue if a hand/star/bolt malfunction - has happened to me. OK, it was an Iver Johnson break-top. Still, I like the certainty of the second strike. To each his own.

    Now that I think about it, a S&W M&P (model 10) .38 locked up on me due to crane torque - and I was miles out in the boonies. Couldn't hammer open the cylinder - needed a trip to the gunsmith. Failures are not limited to the cheaply made Iver genre.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice