Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Smith and Wesson Lock Failures - If You Know of One Post Here Please

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by cslinger, Sep 15, 2007.

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

    cslinger Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,459
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Ok so I have done a cusory search the interweb looking for failures of the Smith and Wesson lock. I have found about eight to ten incidents including those mentioned by Ayoob, as well as the Bane incident.

    So if anybody knows any specific instances please post here. If you wouldn't mind post the firearm model and any other specifics. Please leave the politics out of it. I am just curious from a mechanical point of view.

    As far as a political point of view I don't think the locks should be forced upon the buyer but I do think they would make a nice OPTION for some folks.

    The reason I am asking is because it seems to me that in the whole scheme of things the lock going TU seems to be about as likely as a firing pin breakage, spring failure, crud under the ejector star, ejector star unscrewing slightly etc. All possibly severe failures but all reasonably unlikely in the whole scheme of things.

    At any rate I am curious to see how wide spread this is. Yes I know this is VERY VERY UNSCIENTIFIC. Call it an exercise in curiosity.

    Once again, please leave the emotion at the door. I am with you on the politics side, as well as the no device is a substitute for training and responsibility.
     
  2. Trebor

    Trebor Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    4,817
    Go to the Smith & Wesson forum at www.smith-wessonforum.com and search the archives there. They ran a thread awhile back where people who had personally experienced lock failures posted about their experiences. The details varied from person to person, but some posts had pictures and copies of their communications with S&W. It's up to you to determine how "credible" these first hand accounts are.

    For me, even if a mechanical lock failure is unlikely, the mere presence of the lock creates an additional failure mode. That's unacceptable to me in any sort of defensive firearm.
     
  3. BikerRN

    BikerRN member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    765
    Location:
    "State of Discombobulation"
    Jan 2007
    S&W Model 22
    < 50 Rounds Fired From Gun
    Sent back to S&W For Warranty Repair

    Sept 2007
    No more lock failures, and S&W noted they "changed spring" on paperwork but never admitted to a "lock failure". They also made three other repairs to the firearm at the time. Failure was also induced at the shop where I bought the gun when "dry firing" before sending it back to S&W.
    I got the gun back in a couple of weeks from when I sent it in. Since then it's had over 1,000 rounds through it with no failures or malfunctions. In fact, it's my EDC Off-Duty.

    Biker
     
  4. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Messages:
    591
    There's no way to come up with meaningful statistics. Checking various forums, I've noted that very often when a S&W revolver has action problems the lock is blamed, even though a description of the problem makes it clear that the lock had nothing to do with it. I'm sure that there have been a few actual failures, but not many. I think anybody who buys a revolver should get some good screwdrivers and a manual. Take the thing apart, and see how it works. While you're at it, you can disable or remove your lock, if you so desire.
     
  5. sig226

    sig226 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    229
    Location:
    Palm Beach County
    What is the "Bane incident?" Can anyone post a link?
     
  6. Rexster

    Rexster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,951
    Location:
    SE Texas
    sig226, the Bane incident is covered right here in this forum.
     
  7. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,311
    Location:
    Georgia
    Sure,

    Go to: http://michaelbane.blogspot.com/

    You'll then have to scroll down until you get to his August 27th entry. To do this you'll scroll to the bottom of his recent blogs, then click on "Older Entries" . . . then scroll again. WHEW!!!!


    Here's what he wrote, if you don't want to wade through all the latest blog entries:


    [​IMG]
     
  8. mec

    mec Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    4,459
    here's what happened when a lock-neutral, pro S&W guy responded to a challenge in ref: lock malfunctions:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=206447&highlight=S&W
    and scroll down.
    He had no negative agenda before the lock self engaged after falling off a table and no reason to write fiction about "THE SUBJECT."
     
  9. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,646
    Location:
    Within the lightning
    Other referenced recent thread ...
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=298904&page=4

    I haven't had any personal experiences where the ILS unintentionally engaged, and I've fired several revolvers equipped with them, from J-frames to X-frames. Nor have I observed any problems while watching them being fired.

    I've previously been told by some folks at the factory that they've been unable to duplicate reported failures on revolvers sent back for warranty with claims of unintentional lock engagement. The possibility of improper assembly has been raised as a potential cause, and having looked at the locking arms, itty bitty torque lock springs and how the longer leg of the spring has to be properly positioned in the frame, I can see how care must be taken during assembly. I had to use my bench's magnifying lamp to really see the torque lock spring while fitting it in the lock arm. :what:

    I've also been told that at least a couple of other mechanical problems had been mistakenly presumed to be lock-related on revolvers that have been returned for repair. Not surprising, since folks often mistake causes of problems, and even 'problems' in everything from computers to cars & trucks when bringing things in for repair.

    I've been wanting to attend one of the DAO J-frame armorer's classes sometime. I thought it was interesting that the DAO J-frames have become so increasingly popular that S&W has created a 2-day LE armorer's class for them. I'll certainly have questions about any reported failures, especially in LE use, if I can get to one of the classes. ;)

    FWIW, my new MP340 has only had upwards of 300+ rounds fired through it, with approx 100+ of it being various Magnum loads. This has occurred in the hands of myself and a handful of the other instructors (why suffer through test-firing all those Magnum loads myself when I can get someone else to help shoot them? ;) :neener: ). No unintentional lock engagement to date, although I've identified at least a couple of Magnum loads which exhibited bullet-jump in MY gun, and which I won't be using in my gun.

    I plan on using this 340 for the bulk of my J-frame training & practice. That's why I bought it, since it had the lightweight, stronger Scandium aluminum frame, as well as the stainless steel cylinder. I thought I'd try wear it out by shooting it more than my all my other J-frames (older 649 Bodyguard, 642-1 & a 37-2).

    I'll say one thing, shooting .357 magnum out of the MP340 makes shooting standard pressure loads out of my 37, and +P loads out of my 649 & 642, seem downright tolerable. :eek: Well, my trigger finger's distal joint still gets hammered by the rising trigger guard (during recoil) when shooting a lot of +P in my 642. ;)

    FWIW, while I'm certainly not an engineer or a licensed gunsmith ... nor do I work for S&W ... I've also wondered about some of the reported instances of a very lightweight revolver chambered in a hard-recoiling caliber somehow being the result of a narrow range of events and circumstances. Such as an ultra light .44 revolver being fired with heavy recoiling Magnum loads, in the hands of someone who may allow the gun to roll back into their hand (rather than forcefully holding the gun and resisting the recoil impulse).

    I've also wondered if the strength of the torque lock spring might not be increased to prevent such potential instances in a few of the lighter weight, harder recoiling models/calibers, to resist any bouncing of the lock arm under the heavy recoil. Just wondering on my part.

    I sometimes wonder how close to the edge of reasonable human and mechanical interaction we're approaching with these really super lightweight revolvers ... :eek:
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  10. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Messages:
    7,392
    Location:
    all over Virginia
    Can't this stupid lock just be removed?

    We've been removing magazine disconnects for decades. Why even put up with this sort of crap on a revolver?
     
  11. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    4,787
    Remove it? Some do. I wouldn't for liability concerns. A lawyer (prosecutor or civil attorney or both) would eat you for breakfast in court if the gun were ever involved in a shooting. Many dismiss the possibility of being prosecuted or sued for removing a safety device (that's what the jury would be told it was) on a gun. I live with a lawyer and do not dismiss the REALITY of this happening.

    I have never had the lock fail. I have never seen a S&W lock fail. I have heard of a few instances and all it seems to me involved light weight guns (like the scandium models) in hard-kicking calibers.

    Any mechanical device can malfunction. The lock problem seems very small... unless it happens to you when you really need your gun to work.
     
  12. DrLaw

    DrLaw Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Messages:
    910
    Location:
    Wild Western Illinois
    How sad.

    The Doc is out now. :rolleyes::cool:
     
  13. Troutman

    Troutman member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Gods' Country, Texas
    <<Many dismiss the possibility of being prosecuted or sued for removing a safety device (that's what the jury would be told it was) on a gun.>>

    First of all, the “internal lock” is NOT a “SAFETY” device. Let’s not lead anyone into thinking that it’s a secure way, to go about it, as far as “safety” is concerned, for any firearm for that matter, with an internal lock.
    No where in the S&W manual, does it state this.
    THE INTERNAL LOCK….MECHANISM…. TO SECURE
    YOUR FIREARM FROM UNAUTHORIZED USE.
    This is the sole use of the internal lock. Not as a safety device.

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/other/Revolver.pdf

    Warnings are pulled out of context. See pages 16-18 of above pdf.


    INTERNAL LOCK
    MECHANISM
    WARNING: NEVER RELY ON THE INTERNAL LOCK
    MECHANISM AS THE SOLE METHOD TO SECURE
    YOUR FIREARM FROM UNAUTHORIZED USE.

    WARNING: IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTINUOUSLY
    EXAMINE YOUR PERSONAL SITUATION
    TO PROVIDE A SUFFICIENT LEVEL OF SECURITY
    TO KEEP UNAUTHORIZED USERS FROM FIRING
    THE REVOLVER.

    WARNING: NEVER LOCK A LOADED HANDGUN,
    NEVER LOAD A LOCKED HANDGUN AND NEVER
    LOCK THE HANDGUN WITH THE HAMMER COCKED.

    WARNING: ALWAYS OPEN THE CYLINDER AND
    VERIFY THE REVOLVER IS UNLOADED AND EACH
    CHARGE HOLE IS EMPTY BEFORE UNLOCKING THE
    REVOLVER.

    WARNING: NEVER ATTEMPT TO DETERMINE
    WHETHER A REVOLVER IS LOCKED OR UNLOCKED
    BY PULLING THE TRIGGER.

    WARNING: NEVER ASSUME THAT THE USE OF
    THIS LOCK IS SUFFICIENT TO SAFELY SECURE
    YOUR FIREARM. IT IS YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
    TO SELECT AND USE WHATEVER MEASURES
    OR PRACTICES THAT WILL ENABLE YOU
    TO BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT YOUR
    FIREARM IS SECURE AT ALL TIMES.

    WARNING: NEVER PROVIDE THE KEY OR
    REVEAL THE LOCATION OF THE KEY TO ANYONE
    WHOM YOU DO NOT INTEND TO USE THIS
    HANDGUN.

    WARNING: ALWAYS RECOVER FROM A SITUATION
    WHERE THE REVOLVER HAS BEEN INCORRECTLY
    LOCKED WITH THE HAMMER COCKED BY FOLLOWING
    THESE STEPS. THROUGHOUT THIS PROCEDURE,YOU
    MUST TREAT THE REVOLVER AS IF IT WERE LOADED.
    1. WITH YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER AND OUT OF
    THE TRIGGER GUARD, PLACE THE THUMB OF YOUR
    SHOOTING HAND ON THE HAMMER AND PULL FULLY
    REARWARD TO ENSURE THE HAMMER IS IN THE FULLY
    COCKED POSITION.
    2. WITH YOUR FINGER STILL OFF THE TRIGGER AND OUT
    OF THE TRIGGER GUARD AND THE REVOLVER POINTED IN
    A SAFE DIRECTION, UNLOCK THE LOCK USING THE KEY
    PROVIDED.
    3. FOLLOW THE DECOCKING PROCEDURE TO DECOCK
    THE REVOLVER. ALWAYS ASSUME THE REVOLVER IS
    LOADED WHILE FOLLOWING THIS PROCEDURE.
    4. OPEN THE CYLINDER AND VERIFY THE REVOLVER IS
    UNLOADED.

    WARNING: IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO
    ENSURE THAT THE REVOLVER AND AMMUNITION
    ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO UNAUTHORIZED USERS.

    WARNING: ALWAYS INSPECT YOUR REVOLVER
    VISUALLY TO BE SURE THE HAMMER AND TRIGGER
    ARE IN THE AT REST OR
    FORWARD POSITION BEFORE
    HOLSTERING OR CARRYING IT.
    NEVER HOLSTER, CARRY OR
    STORE YOUR REVOLVER WITH
    THE HAMMER COCKED.
    REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR
    REVOLVER POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION. NEVER LEAVE
    A LOADED FIREARM UNATTENDED.


    So…..leaves the question. What is the “INTERNAL LOCK
    MECHANISM for? Storage?

    p.s. I own two….excuse me, three S&W btw, a 29-2(pre-lock) and a 460 and 500. And the 460 and 500 never gave me a problem. But that’s beside the point. And if this post makes me an enemy of S&W (or any other company, that uses the internal lock), so be it.
     
  14. Diggers

    Diggers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Messages:
    890
    I am always skeptical about the idea that there will be legal issues for things like removing a lock or using reloads IF a SD situation occurs. First of all, if a SD shooting is justified then the person protecting them self will not be prosecuted.

    Second if for some reason a person does end up in court for some reason, ANY even half way decent lawyer would be able to shoot down any issues around removal of a lock that is irrelevant to the issue of the SD shooting.

    And what about changing to lighter springs in a revolver? People do that all the time and no one ever says anything about the possible legal issues there. And the change of springs really seems more relevant to a shooting incident if some one wanted to make an issue out of it.

    I know anything can happen in a court room and a lot has to do with the jury, but I really think that the fear of being prosecuted in a justified SD shooting is an urban myth.

    But by all means, if there really are cases out there I would very much like to read them and learn from them.
     
  15. Trebor

    Trebor Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    4,817
    There's more then just worrying about civil liability related to a justified self defense shooting.

    Consider what would happen if someone deliberately removed or disabled the lock and then that firearm was found by a child or unauthorized person who accidently shot themselves with the gun. I'm sure you can seen how the owner's deliberate removal of the lock would hang him in court.
     
  16. Gary A

    Gary A Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    1,497
    If someone leaves a loaded firearms where a child can get it, they have other things to worry about in court beyond disabling the ILS. They're gonna get hammered in any case.
     
  17. jeff-10

    jeff-10 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,348
    Location:
    South Florida
    I really don't mind the lock but a lot of long time S&W fans despise it. They outta add the option to purchse revolvers without it or move it to the hammer so you can change it out with a "target" hammer or something. Similiar to Taurus's design. I really doubt it hurts S&W's bottom line as the majority of there customers are probably non-gun ppl (who buy revolvers for home defense) and don't care one way or the other about it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2007
  18. Fburgtx

    Fburgtx Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Messages:
    462
    Why don't they pay Taurus a licensing fee (like they pay Glock for ripping off some of their tech and using it on the Sigma) to use the Taurus lock design, which is OBVIOUSLY a better design?? (And,if Taurus would ever get off their keisters and spend about $20 on each gun improving fit/finish/trigger pull, would S and W even sell very many revolvers to non-collectors???)
     
  19. Troutman

    Troutman member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Gods' Country, Texas
    <<Consider what would happen if someone deliberately removed or disabled the lock and then that firearm was found by a child or unauthorized person who accidently shot themselves with the gun. I'm sure you can seen how the owner's deliberate removal of the lock would hang him in court.>>

    Being fair. And open-minded.
    I see your point and agree with you. The thing is. The lock has to be used (locked position). Otherwise, it’s as if the lock never existed. One has to be disciplined to do that, in those situations. That’s if they do load the firearm. Whether this is a good thing or bad is up for discussion. That is loading the gun, and then locking it. Some gun owners do keep guns loaded (talking in terms of keeping them in the home) and stashed away, in a draw, let’s say. Where, one can just use the master lock (cable lock) and keep it unloaded. One has to realize that there is give and take (for defense, as well as safety), to this condition while at the home.
    Let’s face it. The reason why gun companies (which I don’t blame them for doing it) put those warnings in the manual (see post 13) is for liability concerns. After being blackmailed (with lawsuits) from the political platform (let’s leave lawyers, out of it), can see being gun-shy about it. That is, claiming it’s a “safety” device. If anything, their saying, DON’T use it as a safety device. Or let me be fair a “pseudo” safety device? For those that think otherwise, Turkey-buzzard, ambulance chasing, carpet-bagging lawyers would love to have gun companies commit to it as a safety device, per say.
    The gun with the lock, in the “locked” position, while loaded, is not any more dangerous, or safer, then in the “un-locked” position, while loaded. Looking at those warnings! If there are cases where (IL) it does lock up. There is a possibility that the lock (locked position) can be un-locked by accident as well.
    Not using the lock, can it make a bad situation, into a worse situation? Of course.
    Here is a real world situation:

    http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/latestnews/stories/wfaa070919_mo_lockdown.f2c8ae7d.html

    I don’t know if it had an IL or not? If it did? Was the IL in the locked position? Bottom line…one thing for sure…...good thing it was not loaded.

    Using the IL is not a “get out of jail free” card either.
    I would not 100% rely on the lock (locked position) for that condition (loaded gun) either. Don’t get too comfortable with that idea…! I say.
    The other thing, it’s not only the gun-banners that make claims against gun companies, also gun owners as well. We are in a sue-happy generation, as I’ll put it. Even if it’s not legit lawsuits. Or trying to pass the buck! Look at television, commercials, those media-happy, polyester suit wearing, scraping the bottom of the barrel lawyers will have you suing your own mother and father for any grievances you have with them.
    The IL is (to me) a LAST DITCH RESORT, for CHILD SAFETY or unauthorized user. Not only for the gun-owner, the gun companies as well. Condition being, wanting a loaded gun to keep handy, while being safe? Keeping in mind.

    1) IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTINUOUSLY
    EXAMINE YOUR PERSONAL SITUATION
    TO PROVIDE A SUFFICIENT LEVEL OF SECURITY
    TO KEEP UNAUTHORIZED USERS FROM FIRING
    THE REVOLVER.

    And

    2) IT IS YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
    TO SELECT AND USE WHATEVER MEASURES
    OR PRACTICES THAT WILL ENABLE YOU
    TO BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT YOUR
    FIREARM IS SECURE AT ALL TIMES

    I will leave you with one more real world situation. To learn from?

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcon...ano/stories/092107dnmetlatebrief.37a0b49.html

    Don’t know the details?
    Can an IL (locked position) have benefited? (Let’s say if the B.G. used the gun on them, other than for intimidation purposes)
    Whether or not it had an IL lock, just un-load it while away from the home?

    Me……Lock or no lock? See 1) and 2).
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page