Early last summer TTAG received a press release regarding the Honor Guard HG9SC‘s approval for officer use as a back-up firearm within a couple police departments. Honor Defense asked if we wanted to do another article on the gun, but Nick had already reviewed it. I suggested a 1,000 round test . . .
Generally speaking, TTAG doesn’t torture test a gun. We don’t perform endless mag dumps or bury guns in a sewage pit. In this case, we simply wanted to run 1,000 rounds through the Honor Guard over the course of a few hours to see if it could fire them all without cleaning or additional lubrication. For much of the consumer market, a baseline of that sort checks off the “sufficiently reliable” box.
Honor Guard agreed with the idea. They sent us a pistol with both a sub-compact and a long slide and 1,000 rounds of Sinterfire 9mm. They were also kind enough to send a couple dozen extra magazines so we wouldn’t be loading two or three non-stop.
Deciding to do the test with the sub-compact slide, as it’s the more popular configuration, Nick and I hit the range. And . . .
We did not have good luck. Two feed issues practically right off the bat, but that cleared up and the gun ran fine for a while. However, around a dozen-or-so magazines into testing the trigger began failing to reset. The HG9 would fire, the slide would cycle, the next round would chamber, but the trigger was dead.
After a few magazines where this happened once or twice, I began cycling the slide manually with an empty gun and encountered the issue at approximately a 50 percent rate. No trigger reset.
Nick field stripped the pistol and everything looked fine internally. We couldn’t identify any parts that were broken or loose or gunked up. No foreign material was in the gun other than some flecks of unburned powder and little flecks of brass from the cases. Normal amounts of normal stuff.
In an attempt to figure out if something was wonky in the trigger and fire control parts inside the frame or if it was something in the slide, we swapped to the long slide. The trigger did, indeed, feel slightly better after the swap. The pull weight dropped a little and it was smoother. We couldn’t reproduce the reset problem by manually racking the slide.
With that resolved, we went back to shooting. Unfortunately, it seemed like the additional mass from the long slide didn’t play well with the ammo and/or the recoil spring that was pre-installed in the long slide.
The HG9 was short-stroking. Ejecting weakly in all cases and failing to feed the next round in some cases. It would either go back into battery without picking up the next round at all, or the slide would catch the round at some point beyond its base and cause a jam as seen in the video thumbnail.
We wanted to give the Honor Guard a second chance before publishing our results. TTAG tries to do this when a single sample of a firearm may be a “lemon.” If the replacement unit would have run flawlessly we would have reported on that while also mentioning, of course, the issues that we encountered with the first one. All in a single article covering the experience with both guns.
Fast forward to today, and the replacement unit that Honor Defense sent was the one we tested for drop/impact safety. A test it did not pass. Given that result we had to return the second gun as well. And it no longer made sense to wait on publishing the initial 1,000 round reliability test findings, as we won’t be getting a third sample.
TTAG takes no pleasure in publishing negative results. It’s particularly sad when the outcome impacts a young, private, veteran-run company. But TTAG publishes its results come what may. Full stop.