Things were a little different this week at Gunsite than they’d be at your typical product demos. Take the SHOT Show’s media day at the range for example. While it’s held in the desert outside Las Vegas, the exhibitors don’t exactly encourage writers to roll around in the dirt with their guns. But by the time we were done with the exercises each day at Gunsite, our heaters were absolutely filthy, and that translated into some reliability issues…
Ruger kindly brought along enough guns so that all 10 writers could have an LCR, an LCP, an SR-1911 and an SR-556 of their very own. Those 40 guns were brand new, fresh out of the box, and still had that (ahhhh) new gun smell.
But after the first day of shooting, we already had a few casualties. Firearms casualties, that is.
Handguns were the first to go down, with the SR-1911 hit hardest. I know my own holster was completely full of sand when I went to take it off, and I can’t imagine anyone else’s being much better. And thanks to that sand, two handguns stopped running and needed a little TLC to get firing again. The Ruger guys were so concerned about the condition of the rest that they demanded a cleaning session before setting out for day two.
The LCP also became a bit unpredictable as the day wore on. We were carrying them in pocket holsters, which accumulated plenty of sand over the course of the day. My own LCP began to double feed despite the good quality ammo we were putting through it.
The rifles didn’t make it through the event either. At least one actually began to slam fire, and was “red tagged” back to the factory for repair. My own SR-556 had an issue with a failure to feed, most likely caused by a problem with the magazine catch (a tap-rack-bang put it right).
The moral of the story here isn’t that Ruger’s guns are unreliable. My own Frankenstein 300 BLK AR-15 choked on the desert dust in Oregon a while back and required some heavy lubrication to put right. The lesson here is that proper maintenance is the key to everything, even if you’re using the magical cure-all that is a piston powered AR-15 (which is neither magical nor a cure-all). Especially in dusty environments, extra vigilance is required to keep your guns running.