Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Bullet, Jun 13, 2005.
I don't think it would be a wise idea. I know a lot of people down-rite hate those things. I rather not have them either, but to disable a safety feature, would probably invite trouble down the road. A lot of fodder for the legals to chew on. Also, I can't see how any gun dealer would take it in a sale or trade. Or if inherited, the next generation could face same liabilities. I've never had one lock-up. I don't see it on the forums. Except the person that dropped his and supposedly a police shop that had a shippment go bad. Nothing in the way of regular firings after years of production and millions of rnds IMO and observation.
Anyone who saw my comments regarding the removal of the warning from the Ruger barrel knows I think this is a very bad idea from a liability standpoint. You are WIDE OPEN to a lawsuit if the odds go wrong and you have an AD with the gun or a future owner has one after you sell it. Hell, if the gun is stolen and used in a crime YOU could be sued because if you hadn't removed the safety the gun would have been useless to the criminal. Think it couldn't happen? Think again.
I don't like the internal locks. Nobody I know does. But they are a fact of life and within a few years all guns will have some sort of lock. The laws will requires it and gun companies are trying to protect themselves.
The old S&W Centennial came with a pin to disable the grip safety. You'll never see that again, believe me.
Speaking purely of mechanics, why would you even want to do it?
I realize that in any machine more complexity without utility is often a bad thing but has anyone ever heard of a lock failing or causing a problem that prohibited the gun from firing?
Go back to the S&W forums and look there. Several posters recount the times the lock has "self-engaged".
Here are the pics of the mechanism, I dont see how it could self engage, and looking at the design even if it did due to the spring going south, it appears that the spring needs to hild the rotated cam in engagement or the act of cocking the hammer would disengage it. JMHO YMMV
Massad Ayoob, writing in American Handgunner, reported on several instances of locks engaging themselves or otherwise breaking.
S&W Forum has a report of a lock engaging when the revolver was dropped.
S&W Forum also has a report of a bad lot of revolvers with locks unexpectedly engaging.
When I was removing the sideplate from my 340SC via the proper method of tapping on the grip frame and letting the sideplate "walk" off . . . the lock engaged itself. So if tapping can engage it, what if it's bumped or something when being carried? Probably nothing . . . but IMHO I'd rather not depend on a "probably" that does nothing whatsoever to benefit me.
Grinding the lug off and eliminating one demonstrated failure mode is, IMHO, worth the purely theoretical legal liability potential later on.
(BTW, S&W locks aren't the only ones that can fail. I know of one Steyr auto which also locked up unexpectedly.)
On board key locks ARE NOT safety devices. They are function prevention devices.
For those who feel that the locks are here to stay and buy them anyway, your welcome to your opinion.
I despise the key locks. Weather they are ugly like the S&Ws or hidden like the new Rugers, it makes no difference.
Here is what "I" will do to get rid of them: I will not buy any gun equiped with a built in lock that I cannot remove.
>S&W's lock would take a tremendous amount of machineing to make a plug to fill in the hole. I will not buy one.
>Rugers new Vaquero and 50th Anniversary SA locks are simply a locking main spring strut support. A simple matter to pull them out and make a new strut support. I plan on buying a couple in the future. However I'm not sure how the locks in the P345 and the Mk III work so I won't buy those.
>Springfield's key lock is in the main spring housing. Easy to replace. I'll buy one, swap in a standard main spring housing and shoot to my hearts content.
This is my way of dealing with these idiotic locks.
Simple isn't it? I've looked at pics of the S&W, Ruger, Taurus, Springfield, and others locks and although they apear to be fool proof, there is always the possiblily of failure. I simply won't buy one that I cannot remove. I don't care how the apologists feel, or what they say, guns with key locks will not be in my future.
I'm sorry, I've read all those accounts and I'm not convinced. Millions upon millions of rnds fired. Thousands of owners of locking S&W's. Hundreds of owners just dying to get on S&W's tail about locks. If failures were even remotely common, we would hear it in spades.
PS I'm not appologist. I have nothing to benefit over the success or failure of that company. I just need evidence, not just "I don't like locks no matter what" attitudes Evidence of more that just the couple of dubious occurances. Where is it. None so far. As I stated before other than just a couple.One being a dropped gun. The other of some police dept I assume is accurate. The other of someone trying out a gun at a dealer. Didn't like the action or it locked up and decided it was the lock. Locking actions are all over the forum. I still don't see it. Millions upon millions is a big number. Where's the evidence?
Some people aren't paying attention.
These locks are indeed malfunctioning, and even documented in publications like American Handgunner, of all places:
If forced to own one of the internal-lock S&W revolvers as a defensive arm, I'd feel much better grinding off the offending cam lug as shown on the S&W forum and taking my chances with a liability lawyer, than reaching for the gun when I needed it worst and finding it was nothing more than a nicely-machined throw weight. My family would much rather I keep myself and them alive, funny how that works. "Time out please, Mr. Bad Guy, my gun malfunctioned!"
Otherwise, as a plinker or fun gun, I suppose the lock is ok.
Glad to see you have softened your position a bit
Comment on legal liability: that's the Ayoob school of thought extended from handloads to locks.
Extending the logic, any modification from a trigger job to grips could also fall into that same category.
I don't think it holds water in either case.
It's been debated before, my recollection is no case law to support the position with respect to handloads.
My partially uninformed opinion based on that is . . .
Real issue or not. Disable it or don't. Legal issue\spegal tissues whatever. Either way you are still stuck that butt ugly hole on the side of the firearm that serves no purpose but won't go away.
There are just too many fine pre-lock S&W revos out there priced well below new retail to waste any time considering anything new coming out of their factory these days.
Just my $.02 about it.
Yep. I'll consider doing business with Smith & Wesson again when a.) the company rescinds the agreement it signed with the Snopes Clinton-Liar Gore régime, and b.) I can buy a revolver without an internal lock.
So I guess if we were to draw the same conclusion of the afore mentioned article, the point of the story is not to buy scandium or otherwise liteweight guns. Even the article said it was not an "indictment" of S&W or the integral lock system. I wouldn't shoot .44mags out of the gun. The thing weighs less than a bag of air! I can't fight the way people feel. Nor do I care to. With all the engineers and professional people that frequent this forum, I would think that people would expect a little more evidence, analysis, or better examples then have been put forward so far. My lock and pre-lock Smith's are going to be worth more a few years down the road no matter what anyone thinks about them. Remember, Triple locks were considered junk when they were in production. Buy one now and see what people's opinions are and how much you're gonna pay.
to 'assume' gun locks is to accede to em..
I hate the butt ugly hole in the sideplate, along with half a dozen other manufacturing changes, looser b/c gap, fewer models, why don't they BLUE them any more.. (the hammer i can sort of live with.. )
I can see requiring a gun lock on a purchase. I can see civil liability if an accident occurs with an improperly secured firearm. But in a safe is secured. Trigger lock (external) with a secured key, is secured.
Once you HAVE one, no one can prevent you from acting foolishly. The folks who try are silly.
One can NOT legislate morality, nor foresight, intelligence, compassion, or wisdom.
Of course, i'm a rebel who tears off mattress tags, what do I know..
I don't believe anyone said the locks' inadvertant engagement, thereby hanging up the gun, was "common". I believe it's a very uncommon occurrence. I also believe the first hand accounts of failures of the locking mechanism are true.
While the likelihood that a S&W with lock will malfunction because of the lock is probably quite low... it is CERTAIN that a pre-lock S&W will NEVER have a lock-related failure of any kind. Quite simply, that's all I need to know to prefer pre-lock Smiths to those that have the built-in lock. Given the choice between the two for a gun which might be used in a defensive situation, the pre-lock gun is clearly preferrable, all other factors being equal.
With so many wonderful pre-lock S&W's available on the market for less money than a new one, I have no need nor desire to purchase one with a lock and wonder whether I might be one of the unfortunate few to suffer a lock-related problem. I've got a goodly number of Smiths and none of the have the lock, therefore, the locking mechanism is one feature that I never even wonder about failing me. There are enough other things to worry about going wrong without adding yet one more mechanism which can fail.
On the other hand, if it were not possible for me to buy pre-lock Smiths and I didn't have so many wonderful pre-lock Smiths, I would buy and use S&W's with locks... but only because I would have no other choice.
I'd prefer to sell a S&W with the lock and replace it with a pre-lock model rather than grind off lock-related parts. Just a simpler and tidier way of sidestepping the issue and any possible liability.
I have to agree with D hart. The locks are ugly. If anyone knows a good looking gun , it's D Hart. I have more pre-lock Smith's than any other guns. I also have 3 500's and a 629 classic, with locks. I knew an old fella that couldn't stand that new fangled buzzer in his Matador. So he tied the seat belt into a knot and stopped it. I guess you can bypass the safety system without consequence. Why not. You'll probably never get any heart burn from any legalities over it. You may never need insurance either. I never did. Until the last few years. Then I used all kinds. Car,health, other people's mostly. One I even sued for(and won). Fed some lawyers that day.
I just have a hard time understanding how people who probably have above average intelligance with mechanical apptitudes to match, accepting very dubious evidence to a major point of contention. One forum member pointed out an article that specifically states the the locks weren't the cause of the problem, shooting magnum ammo from scandium guns was. Hey S&W makes a lousy scandium. There, I said something bad about S&W. Another pointed out that the lock mech. shiffted when he took off the side plate. I've never taken off a side plate. I'd be too afraid I couldn't get it together again. I'm told a Ruger flies into pieces when you take it apart.
Maybe I'm beating my head against the wall for nothing. Dont' buy lockable guns. I'm going to sell most of my collection 10 to 15 years from now anyway. I need the average $800 to $1000 I'll be asking
Agreed. What we have here is anecdotal evidence.
Ironically it's the same kind of evidence the anti's use to pass gun legislation.
Seen the stats on 5 gallon buckets, or doctors, or bathtubs lately? All statistically more dangerous than guns. (See Lotts book).
So for this case, statistically speaking, are the locks more likely to fail than the sear or mainspring or some other part that would prohibit the gun from firing?
Right . . . nobody should shoot a gun with the cartridge it's chambered for.
Probably not more likely than some other failures like a dud round . . . but when you're doing failure analysis, failure modes aren't an "either/or" type of thing. A lock-equipped revolver has the potential, however small, of the lock malfunctioning in addition to all the other potential failure modes.
For example, if there are potentially five duds per million rounds of ammo, and the lock will malfunction once in a million trigger pulls, you've increased your potential failures from five in a million to about six in a million. ("about" because there's a finite possibility of a lock failure just as a dud round comes up.)
I don't know, statistically, what the odds are of a malfunction or what the MTBF is on a revolver. But considering that the lock adds no value whatsoever to the user, there's no good reason to put up with it if it has any potential to fail at all.
Does anyone know when the 442 and the 642 were first introduced? I'd love to have a pre-lock version of one of them, but why waste time looking if they don't exist.
As a long time Smith & Wesson fan I am as much concerned by the evidence of rough surfaces and poor finishing shown in the illustrations, as I am the lock issue. What happened to the wonderful casehardening colors that I would expect, and get on older S&W revolvers? The current crop of guns clearly lacks that which formally made S&W the benchmark to which others were judged.
As for the lock itself. I have another brand of revolver that has a lock in the hammer, but I have never used it. I have a feeling that if it were offered as an extra-cost option few would buy it.
It should be remembered that the demand for locks and other questionable "safety" features has not come from the handgun marketplace, but rather anti-gun advocates and they're supporters in various state legislatures. The goal is not to make safer guns, but rather to make them less attractive and more complicated and expensive in hopes that potential buyers will become discouraged with handgun ownership. Of course there will be no end to the process until guns have become so encumbered that no one will buy them.
My personal guns were not designed by some lawyer, nor by the Brady Bunch or some "it's for the children" bliss nanny. It will remain that way.
The model 642 was introduced as a .38 Special in 1990, and discontinued in 1993. None of these had MIM lockwork nor the lock.
In 1996 it was reintroduced as the 642-1, as a .38 Special +P with a beefed-up frame and no lock until this feature was added in the Fall of 1997. The earlier guns had forged lockwork, or a mix of forged and MIM parts.
None of the previous blued or nickel plated models 40 or 42 had the lock or MIM parts, but they also weren't rated to use Plus-P ammunition. except in very limited amounts.
I have a model 640 (all stainless steel) with forged lockwork and no lock that was made about 1995.
You can find these guns but they tend to be expensive because it's a seller's market.
Myths seem to die pretty hard, no matter that the stories don't hold up. Show me the letter describing the warranty repairs to the self-engaging parts-flying off locks. Understand how it works and it wont be so scary.
The flag can't fly out without the hammer getting out the way first.
The lock can't engage without the flag coming up.
The lock does not relate to the cylinder latch in any way, ever.
Not pretty? At least that's an honest opinion and not based on fiction.
So, Patentmike, you're saying those failures never really happened?
Thereby calling people like Mas Ayoob liars?
Anecdotal or not, a documented failure is still a failure. As mentioned above, a pre-lock S&W revolver will never experience an internal lock failure.
If I can't trust a scandium framed .44 Magnum 329, or a scandium framed 342 with +P+ .38 Special, or a scandium-framed 340 with .357 Magnum loads, which of S&W's lineup should I trust? Those lightweight guns were designed for those rounds, hard-recoiling or not, and still failed. The airweight J-frame .357 is a very popular carry gun, most often shot at the range with .38 Specials, yet carried with .357 Magnums. These are intended to be defensive guns, not plinkers.
Separate names with a comma.