Sunday, July 24, 2011

Firearms Reliability Rediculousness

I am kicking myself for not bookmarking the post that started these thoughts to coagulate in the bone structure that holds my little brain thing.

Someone posted on their blog that they were thinking of getting or building an AR and wanted to get readers advice as to whether they should buy or build and why did AR's cost so dang much from name vendors.

The responses are interesting and one in particular is what set me off. The writer responded that frankenguns are garbage and the only real AR that you can trust is one made by the higher end vendors. Problem being that most users really couldn't tell how good or bad their AR was until they went through a 3 day carbine class where you had to shoot 1500 rounds a day to see if your gun would hold up. That is where you see the failures of the lesser AR's.


Bear with me a moment.

In handgun reviews you will also find folks that insist your handgun must shoot flawlessly for 200 rounds without lubrication and 2000 or even 10000 rounds without cleaning.


If you find yourself as an armed civilian needing to fire 200 rounds in a single engagement, you need a fire team, not a more "reliable" gun. So long as the gun goes bang every time for the first 20 rounds EVERY time you draw your fresh gun from leather, you are good to go for a carry gun. That is a 2-5X factor of safety for any gunfight you might find yourself in.
Disagree? Find me an example of a real gunfight where a civilian needed 200 rounds to survive. I double dog dare you.

It just doesn't matter if the gun is tested to a safety factor of 50 100 or 1000. At some point the reliability is moot because it is no longer based in reality.

Back to the AR discussion that started this whole post. If an armed civilian is in a firefight that requires 1500 rounds in a day without a break for any maintenance, you don't need a more reliable rifle or even a fire team, you need close air support.

I would love for someone, anyone, to give an example of an armed encounter where a civilian needed to shoot their handgun 200 times without break. Or even had 200 rounds on them loaded up for this running gun battle. Or they needed a defensive rifle or carbine to fire 1500 rounds in a single engagement and had enough loaded mags on them to survive.


Katrina or Rita? BZZZZT
Rodney King Riots? BZZZZZZZZZT
Northeast Blackout of 2003? BBZZZZZZZTTTTT
'92 Chicago Bulls Victory Riot? BZZZT Not Even!
Any of the Stanley Cup Riots? BZZZZT

So, what about the future as opposed to lessons learned from the past and or lessons learned from events overseas? Beslan Massacre? What about this weekends murders in Norway? Could that happen here? Definite possibility of a firm maybe. Would a citizen carrying concealed need to or even have the ability to fire 200 rounds from their handgun is a single encounter? Not very bloody likely that they would have a single reload on them much less 200 rounds worth. Would an armed citizen even need to fire 200 rounds in an encounter like this? Not likely either.

As Tam is so want to point out, there all those that really wish for an armed rebellion of some kind to break out because that means they don't have to go to work tomorrow. They don't live in reality. I do.

As maybe an academic exercise, it might be interesting to see how robust a guns design and build are to extended torture testing. And that is exactly what this is. Torture testing. Nothing based in reality.


  1. People get their ideas crossed. While in a military sense it is needed to figure out those sorts of round count between failures, you are exactly correct that its about folks not wanting to go in to work on Monday and bragging that their Rifle/Carbine/Pistol is better than yours. They also seem to get their wires crossed for those numbers. Yes, I am of the firm advocate that a firearm you will rely on in some capacity should be tested. Personal Defense handguns should have a couple hundred rounds though them before you sign your life to them. That way if there are any indications of a lemon you find out then instead of later. Same with these hunting/competition rifles. Get some rounds though it, break it in a bit and then quit worrying. These idiots as you have stated I would wager 95% of them have never fired off anywhere close to their required round count before their torture test is complete. In fact with most of them I would be surprised to find out they fired off 500 rounds of .22lr in a year.

  2. No responsible reviewer of handguns means that a pistol should be able to fire 200 rounds without hiccup, but rather, that (and manufacturers agree), when you purchase a new handgun, you should fire at least two hundred rounds through it without relubrication to break it in. Then, thoroughly clean and properly lubricate, and most guns are quite reliable. That is where the 200 number generally comes up. My fist duty Glock wasa model 17 and with periodic cleaning, fired 47,000 rounds before the slidelock spring broke (gun still worked)