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I hear people say all the time that they love the 1911. And they may even own one or two, but they would never carry one for their every day carry gun because it’s just not a reliable platform. Now, this isn’t my experience. My experience has led me to believe that people who say 1911s are unreliable, or that the design is outdated, probably are either just not that bright in the first place or have watched the youtubes too much. But this really isn’t about 1911 reliability. This is about your EDC gun and whether it’s really reliable or not . . .

I carry an aluminum-framed STI Duty One 4″ as my every day carry. I have many thousands of rounds through this gun.  This is the third 1911 I’ve used as my EDC, but my first sub-5″ pistol and my first aluminum-framed gun. I trust this gun. But why? I mean, what is the bar for reliability, and has this gun really achieved it? Have I ever really put it to the test?

So when I saw last week that LaRue Tactical had run 1,000 rounds through one of their rifles, suppressed, without a single clean or lube anywhere in the string, and listened to people talk about how that is what reliable is, I took up the challenge.

I shot 2,000 rounds of .45ACP through my EDC. 1,000 of those were my own LSWC hand loads, another 500 FMJ hand loads, and another 500 were mostly Winchester white box FMJ’s and some CorBon FMJs. The gun was cleaned and lubed with RemOil when I started. During the entire string, it was never cleaned or lubed again. 2,000 rounds.  All doing Mozambique drills for speed at 10 and 25 yards.

Not a single malfunction of any kind. I did have to tighten the grip screws once since they felt a little jiggly. They are new grips. But no failures to feed. No failures to eject. Zero issues. A bullet came out every single time I pulled the trigger until the slide locked back, hungry for more.  The gun shot 3-inch groups at 25 yards when I was done. And it probably would have shot better if my right hand wasn’t bruised to hell by then. The lightweight gun with 2,000 major loads shows it’s added recoil after that many rounds.

But I got my answer; bar set, bar friggin met.


I sent photos of the shooting and some of the aftermath to a friend and he immediately sent me pictures of his 3″ Wilson .45ACP X-Tac (speed chute, so many upgrades, reverse crown flush tactical cone barrel none the less) with a first round failure to feed. I told him to bring it over and I’d put it to the test.

There were Winchester PDX1 rounds in the magazine, so I locked the slide back, inserted the magazine, and…yup, failure to feed. Tapping the back of the slide with my palm chambered the round. I took a look in the gun and immediately texted the owner. It was filthy. Like, it turns out the barrel isn’t Cerakoted black after all filthy. So I RemOiled it until it dripped a black oily substance that I last saw somewhere in the Lord of the Rings movies. Then I pretty much ruined a bore snake passing through it. The bore snake is probably ok, but I just felt like it was “unclean” after that. I toweled the gun off, then burned the towel.

But it shot. Man, it shot. It shot 600 rounds of hand load LSWC and Winchester white box FMJ’s through it about as fast as I could reload and pull the trigger. No additional lube, no cleaning. It ran like a champ. I have to say it, and it breaks my heart to do so, it shot smaller groups, and faster, than my STI (even if the 3″ steel Wilson is noticeably heavier than the 4″ aluminum STI).

Six hundred rounds. Then 15 rounds of Winchester PDX1. But on the 616th round, the weapons suffered a failure to feed. No love tap on the slide would fix this one.


After dropping the mag and clearing the round, but without cleaning or lube, it ran another 40 rounds of Winchester PDX1 without issue. And then I was out of ammo. To the solvent bath, Batman!


Is the STI a reliable EDC? Yes. Anyone who argues otherwise is a fool. But is the Wilson above a reliable EDC? I say yes. I would feel very confident with that gun. But would you? And if not, where do you set your bar for reliability? Have you taken your own EDC over that bar?

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  1. I haven’t been able to put that many rounds through my (hopefully someday) EDC, but 1911 haters make me laugh. It’s a legendarily reliable gun.


    Where do I set the bar? Can you set the bar? Can you afford to shoot that much ammo through it? And is it then still reliable with the added wear and tear you’ve set into it? It’s all a really interesting question, but I feel like most guns are reliable enough. What is your average use scenario? What’s your worst case? How many rounds do you need to be able to fire when the chips are down without failure?

    Is there a way to even describe this with statistics? Probably. But probably not in a way that will be meaningful for most people, haha.

    • Springfield Armory 9mm EMP 1911 – Over the last two years, I have put 2000+/- rounds of ball ammo through this gun. I only shoot cheap ammo (I know – expensive gun & cheap ammo is a contradiction), including 800 rounds of Tulammo. I keep track of what I fire by keeping the empty ammo boxes. I clean the gun regularly, but not after every trip to the range. It has been 100% reliable. My only complaint with the EMP is its weight – 27 oz. empty. Wish it was lighter.

      • Repeat after me: A carry gun must be reliability-tested with carry ammo.

        The results of any other kind of ammo test are worthless for predicting reliability with a specific carry load.

        The article above provides a great example; his buddy’s pistol ran 600 rounds of non-carry ammo perfectly after the cleaning/lubing, but still choked on a round of premium HP carry ammo within 16 rounds. The crap target/practice ammo “testing” means NOTHING if the pistol can’t/won’t shoot HP carry ammo reliably.

        Now, this doesn’t mean his pistol is not reliable; it means his pistol is not reliable WITH THAT AMMO. With another HP defensive load, it may run just fine. But he won’t know until he tests it with THAT LOAD. User Accur81 makes a good case, below, for the old “shoot 200 rounds of your carry load” test being a reasonable standard, and I would agree.

        Yeah, 200 rounds of premium defensive hollow points is expensive.
        My life is worth it. How about yours?

        • Pretty much. I carried a Walther PPK/S from time to time. At the range, I’d fire FMJ but I’d carry JHP. Then came the day that I ran the JHP through it at the range. Nothing but issues!

        • Since some of us load our own defensive ammo, price isn’t an issue. I get strange looks at the range, and questions of “Why are you shooting HPs at paper?”. When I explain that I load my own rounds, and the importance of training with what you will use to defend the life of yourself and others, their looks go from confused to enlightened. You would be surprised at the POI difference between range and defensive ammunition through the same handgun.

    • Actually, not that hard to compute, and easy for a layman to understand. Lets say you have a gun, and you were able to shoot enough rounds to get a good statistical sample, say 1000 rounds fired with 5 malfunctions interspersed pretty randomly. That gives you a 99.5% chance that any given bullet will fire correctly. Then lets say that the gun you are firing has a 15 round capacity. The probability that EVERY bullet you pull the trigger on will go bang is…

      P = (probability of event) ^ (Number of events) = (.995) ^ (15) = .927

      That means that you have a 92.7% chance that every single bullet in the gun will fire without incident. For someone that has the skills to quickly clear simple malfunctions, that still seems like pretty good odds to have gun work to its purpose for self defense.

      There are much longer answers that I could explain, like how to calculate the number of rounds necessary to have a statistically significant sample size to compare to an existing statistical model. IE if the manufacturer says that they exhaustively tested 20 guns with 100,000 rounds each to get a Mean Time Between Stoppages of 1500 rounds, how many rounds do you need to fire in order to confirm you gun is not a lemon? It’s not in the thousands, in fact, the “couple of boxes” that most people run through their gun is more than enough to have a solid statistical confirmation of a proper working gun, with a pretty solid reliability. But I don’t want to write a paper on statistics.

      When people talk about shooting thousands of rounds through their gun just to “see if it is reliable” all they are doing is pushing that “reliability” from 99.9% to 99.999%. It is up to the individual do decide if getting that extra decimal place is worth the extra hundreds of dollars in ammo and hours of time.

      • >> say 1000 rounds fired with 5 malfunctions interspersed pretty randomly. That gives you a 99.5% chance that any given bullet will fire correctly.

        Practically speaking, the probability isn’t evenly distributed – as the gun gets more dirty, it gets higher. So the interspersion isn’t really random to begin with.

        • This is just a fair simplification of the situation. Of course there are many variables present that I am essentially holding constant in order to make the above probability. But, I would be willing to bet that there is a very wide swath in the condition of most of those variables that will have a negligent effect on the outcome. Such as with cleaning; I would not expect a bone dry, completely cleaned weapon to function reliably, nor would I expect one that looks like it lived a day in the bottom of an oil burning furnace, but from experience and thought, there is a very wide swath of cleanliness in which a gun will run perfectly reliably. That zone may differ for any given gun, but it’s there.

          So, as long as you are talking about truly random events, like a single case being out of spec, or your grip slipped between shots enough to create a malfunction, and you have a significant sample size, its fine to call out an average such as I did.

          Last, it’s just hypothetical. The 200 rounds between stoppages is pretty pathetic, most modern combat handguns have MTBS in the thousands of rounds for ideal conditions, and still in the hundreds usually for some fairly poor conditions.

          So, as long as a gun of mine didn’t present itself as a lemon, and I payed attention for imminent failure of major mechanical components, I am pretty comfortable carrying a gun in a wide variety of cleanliness conditions. Control the variables you can, hope that Murphy doesn’t come and **** with the others.

  2. Can we call a moratorium on calling the internet “the interwebs” “the online” “the youtube”? It’s just not that cute or funny anymore.

    • what about das intertubez, I dont think there will ever be a day when funny names for things subside.

    • On your own blog, sure. You can put a moratorium on anything you want.

      Now, do you have a comment on EDC reliability?

      My comment on reliability discussions in general: Too many say “never fails” or some such, which means they haven’t tested to failure. Therefore, true “reliability” is unknown in that case.

  3. If my Raven makes it through 3 magazines of .25 I call it good and that is my new carry gun. If something breaks, then I toss the weapon and buy another.

    • Heh. I wish I could still get Ravens for the super low prices they ran back in the 90s. Bought a bunch as stocking stuffers one year for friends (they were that cheap). I kept the most heinous-looking one for myself: Polished Nickle with Pink grips. Yep, all mine. Safe queen too. 😀

    • I can put four mags (don’t have more) without a failure through my FN 1906… 🙂 This year it’ll be 102 years old.

  4. I’m fine with 200 rounds of quality JHPs without an issue. Is that a low standard? Maybe. A jam on the 201st round would be 99.5% reliable. I suffer some from Murphy’s law, but not usually that much. Running that test will typically incur ammo costs of $100-250. Quality self defense anmo isn’t cheap. Not everyone can afford to do that.

    I typically clean my guns after 200-300 rounds for the express purpose of keeping them running reliably. Any gun can jam if sufficiently dirty, substandard ammo, limp wristing, broken parts, etc.

    Many shooters with jams would do well just doing a better job maintaining their equipment. I’ve seen plenty of ARs, M9s, 4006s, and other guns jam simply because they were dirty.

    Anyways, I doubt many shooters are running 200 plus rounds of HST / Ranger / PDX / Critcal Duty / Critical Defense / XTP / Hydra Shok / Gold Dot / etc. through their guns.

    • I had my AR10 jam hard on me due to not enough lube on the BCG.

      And badly, it jammed with a round *almost* in battery, but unable to pull the BCG out. I had to take a rubber mallet to the back of the bolt and pray I didn’t get a slamfire.

    • Shit I wish I could afford to run 200 HSTs through my shield, I had to settle for buying 4 boxes, shooting 3 and carrying the 4th. Great point about maintenance.

  5. All things physical wear and break down over time.

    If, clean and lubed, it can push out 250 rounds on a good range day and do that consistently, it’s my EDC.

    My LC9 and my 3″ S&W 1911 meet that bar, and always have.
    My M&P .45 didn’t until I had S&W replace the extractor for FTF/FTE issues.

    But I can’t pocket carry my M&P .45 like I can the other two, even though I shoot better with it.

  6. I’ve never even considered such an exercise with a Ruger GP100 but I’m pretty sure I don’t have the funds necessary to purchase enough ammunition.

    • haha!! I was waiting for a comment from a wheel-gun guy. My P-64 and [formerly] my Mak have both been out in the field on a various occasions over the past few years where I ran several mags worth of ammo thru them . Nary a hiccup that I can recall. That’s reliable enough for me to be confident in carrying them.

      • Nothing against autos here. I have a Beretta 92FS with several thousand rounds through it that has never failed a single time. Although in fairness the first thing I do when I get back from the range is clean my guns. The question was about our EDCs not what weapon we’d pick if we had to hightail it to the Bitteroots to get away from the zombies. If you don’t keep you EDC clean you deserve to have it let you down when you need it most. There’s just no excuse for going around in public with a dirty gun on your hip.

        As far as revolvers, I can shoot them more accurately than I can any auto I’ve ever tried and I find my 3″ GP100 easier to carry than a full size auto like the Beretta. If the zombies come I’ll need the round count so I’ll pick the Beretta then. Anyway, I figure trying to get my GP to fail would require at least a year’s salary (pre-tax) just for the ammo.

    • Revolver’s aren’t totally 100% reliable. They ARE capable of jamming (though it is rare). And unlike an automatic, if your revolver jams you’ve got a club. If an automatic jams, rack the slide and keep shooting. Or remove the mag, rack the slide, replace the mag, rack the slide, and keep shooting. Either way, a jam in an automatic can be cleared in under 4 seconds. A jam in a revolver takes the weapon out of the fight completely.

      Not to mention that revolvers don’t hold enough ammo (your accuracy rating during a firefight is going to be under 50%, probably by a wide margin), the grips on carry revolvers are shit (good luck getting a good two handed grip, and don’t say the teacup grip, because that’s only marginally better than shooting one handed), the sights are shit, high bore axis means more muzzle flip (and thus reduced practical accuracy), double action is a terrible way to fire a pistol (long heavy trigger pull means will degrade your accuracy that much more), speed loaders are awkward to carry, and per-shot reload time is atrocious compared to an automatic (they take longer to reload and the reload is putting fewer rounds in the gun).

      The ONLY time a revolver is preferable to an automatic if if you need the kind of insane power that comes from some of the super hot magnum calibers. For example, if I lived in Alaska, I’d have a S&W .500 on my hip wherever I went. They’re also good for hiking/hunting in bear country. Beyond that, a revolver is simply an inferior choice for a combat weapon.

      • There are plenty of times a revolver is preferable to a semi-auto.

        Little old ladies who lack the strength to rack the slide, for starters. They’re often living alone, they need a bedside gun that isn’t going to abuse them. They’re not going to the range to practice their “tap-rack-bang” drills. They need something that “just works.” A double action revolver is just that sort of gun.

        The other instance is one where someone, for whatever reason, can’t seem to shoot a semi-auto without stovepiping it. In a revolver, this never happens. Lots of women have issues shooting 9mm or heavier semi-autos because of this issue.

        A good quality revolver, either new or gone through by a smith who knows revolvers, shooting factory loads with roll crimps on the case mouth, is going to “just work.” It’s going to just work even though you’ve not been to the range in five years to practice. It’s going to “just work” if a round fails to fire – all you have to do is pull the trigger again. Cops, the FBI, and lots of non-government people used to trust their lives to revolvers all day, every day, until the double-stack 9mm semi-autos came along and everyone with only six rounds felt “out-gunned.”

        • So the double action revolver that the little old lady can’t reload under stress that carries 6 or 7 is preferable to the double stack that the little old lady can’t reload that carries 15+1?

          The second thing is a training issue. Anyone can learn to operate a semi.

        • Yes, it is preferable.

          You yahoos who are obsessed with round counts are missing the obvious stats that show most DGU’s are over and done in less than three rounds. Most times in home defensive situations, the display of a gun means an intruder is backpeddling quite smartly out the door.

          So is a revolver preferable to a semi-auto? For this intended audience, yes. It is especially better than any semi-auto because for many older people, their first round out of a semi-auto will be their last in that situation, as it stove-pipes.

          And you obviously missed what I wrote: They don’t have the strength to operate the slide of a semi-auto (other than .22LR semi-autos). They siimply don’t have the strength, period, thanks for playing.

          I’ve been teaching people how to shoot handguns for 20+ years. Older women suffer from muscle mass loss faster than men; that’s a medical fact. They’re not going to develop the muscle to rack the slide on a 9mm (or anything else in a defensive class gun). I don’t care if they’re trying to rack the slide across their chest, or he-man style. It’s a done deal for them. They’re old, and they’re getting older. Revolvers work well for senior citizens who don’t have the the money, the physical ability or the access to go train with a gun. Many of them are increasingly house-bound. They might have been good with a gun at one time, but now they’re elderly and in increasingly frail condition. For some of them, they’re not going to be using a semi-auto competently ever again in their lives.

      • That attitude is part of the problem. Some(most) of us won’t ever end up in a firefight or combat of any kind for that matter. Opinionated comments like yours remind me of the people who say things like “you ONLY need shotguns and bolt action rifles for hunting” or “you ONLY need low cap magazines for self defense”.

        How about we take that attitude a step further…. you ONLY need a 4 cyl eco box for transportation unless you buy a trucking license… Let’s all just drive Priuses!

        I actually agree with the majority of your points above. I also believe that data would back up most of your claims by a wide margin but the attitude is counterproductive to our larger goals of INCLUDING people within the firearms community. We NEED more than just one type of person in our little club if we ever hope do defend the rights we have left much less trying to regain the ones that have been taken.

        If that means Joe Schmoe WANTS to carry a .22 revolver to protect himself I’d say good for him, it’s better than a sharp stick. If he asks for my advice or it comes up in conversation I’d probably mirror most of the points you stated above. What I wouldn’t do is speak in absolutes or talk down to him for HIS CHOICE. It just doesn’t help the cause. Some people aren’t willing to go “all the way” but those half way people can still vote.

        • I carry a 7 shot semi 9 mmmost of the time. It’s small and likely to give me enough cover to get away safe. Plus I can carry it with me easy and 7 in the hand is worth more than 19 in the safe. I have lately considered a small revolver as an edc. Reliable easy to cary and inexpensive.

      • Jake,

        All of your statements are correct.

        Now for a little context:

        While revolvers certainly can fail (jam), it is so uncommon that it will never happen to any given person for intents and purposes.

        Ammunition sometimes has defective primers and those rounds will not fire. If that happens in a revolver, the operator simply squeezes the trigger again to resume firing. If that happens in a semi-automatic pistol, the operator has to wrack the slide to eject the round to resume firing .. a decidedly more difficult, time consuming, and accuracy degrading process when you are under the stress of a real self-defense event.

        Revolvers will usually fire properly and repeatedly when the operator shoots them through clothing or a purse and even when the revolver is in contact with the target. The same is not true for semi-automatic pistols.

        Finally, a victim merely has to display their handgun to survive their attack unscathed in over 90% of self-defense events. In most of the remaining events, the victim only has to fire their handgun a few times to survive their attack unscathed. Thus a person with a revolver will prevail in the overwhelming majority of self-defense events.

        All of this means that revolvers are better than semi-automatic pistols for certain people and certain applications. Of course semi-automatic pistols are better than revolvers for certain people and certain applications as well.

        • Good reply. Probably doesn’t happen much in real life, but if someone is close to you and pointing a semi-auto the best thing you can do if you life depends on it is get your hand on it and move the slide so it is out of battery. A risky move, but it could save you if you are Ninja fast. That won’t happen with a revolver.

        • @ Steve– A cop and a helpful civilian managed to do just that when a bad guy got the drop on the cop with a semi-auto. Was caught on the cop’s dash-cam, in the course of rumbling around the slide was being pushed back enough that the gun wouldn’t fire, even tho the bad guy was pulling the trigger.

      • Some of your points have already been addressed, but to add some more.

        In a DGU, you won’t have 4 seconds to clear a jam. You probably won’t even have 2.

        Given a typical range of engagement in DGU (under 7 feet), accuracy is honestly irrelevant. Some self-defense guns don’t have sights at all, including semi-autos, and they still work just fine. At this distance, hitting center of mass doesn’t even require aiming, and jerking the trigger will change POI by a couple inches either way, which is pretty much irrelevant.

        Most pocket semi-autos have double action only, and long heavy trigger pulls. It’s the way you can avoid putting a manual safety there while still making it safe.

        According to NRA, the average number of shots fired in a DGU is two. A typical wheelgun holds six, and five for the most compact ones – still more than twice of that average.

        Now as to what revolvers do better. First and foremost, it’s the simplicity of use. You aim and you pull the trigger, and it fires. There’s no limp wristing, no mucking around with the slide or safety, no catching the slide on clothing etc. Furthermore, for a failure to fire, the procedure to deal with it is “keep pulling the trigger” (which people instinctively do anyway), and there’s no such thing as failure to feed, failure to extract or failure to eject. All in all, the manual of arms becomes as simple as it can be.

        The second nice thing about revolvers is that they can be chambered in a more powerful round for the same weight (or, alternatively, be made lighter for the same round), because they don’t have a slide and are only restricted by structural strength. You can get a .357 snubbie under 14 oz, but try finding a 9x19mm gun like that – they exist, but are generally not particularly reliable, not +P rated, and often have significant ammo restrictions (e.g. DB9 doesn’t allow bullets heavier than 124 grain). For an extreme example, look at S&W 340PD.

      • You really should buy a revolver and try it out before you go around proving you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. The only thing I could somewhat agree with your assessment is that DA trigger pull is less accurate than SA. The original intent was that you only use DA at close range when even the quarter second it takes to cock the hammer is too much time to waste. Granted some people have mastered it, but for me if the bad guy is within 10 or 15 yards DA is just fine. And revolver SA trigger pulls are much better than just about any auto with the possible exception of a really good 1911 trigger.

        Also I’ve had autos jam up so that the slide wouldn’t rack. For that matter if your magazine release gets bumped your auto become a single shot.

        Never had any kind of failure with a revolver. The best sights I’ve ever used came standard on my GP100 Wiley Clapp (Novak gold bead). The high bore axis does mean more muzzle flip, but with heavy recoiling handguns you need to let the muzzle flip. That does slow down follow up shots, but even with a .357 those shots are less necessary than with auto rounds. And the odds of needing more than 6 rounds of .357 magnum in a gun fight are tiny. Probably less than the odds I’ll need to make a 50 yard head shot.

      • I prefer a semiauto myself, but it is noteworthy that a revolver is superior to a semi for a contact shot (the semi will go out of battery) and for shooting through a jacket if concealed in a pocket.

      • Funny. We have two Taurus revolvers, both .357 Mag, and neither has experienced a single failure in 1000’s of rounds.

        I know Taurus has had some QC issues; maybe we got lucky (and that these are older, early 90’s Tauruses?).

        But generalizations are both interesting and fun.

        • Same here – I have several Taurus products and have been real happy. I have a model 85SS2 I picked up in 1990 (Stainless .38 snub) and a model 605B2 which is a .357 blued snub.

        • My dad had a Rossi (now aka Taurus’ “budget” brand) snubby, it has since been passed on to my son. Same story, never had a jam or misfire.

      • We have 6 Taurus revolvers between my parents and myself. Only 1 has EVER had a single problem through thousands of rounds combined. The single problem I had was fixed by a local gunsmith for $60 and has had no further problems.

        I definitely prefer my Rugers or Smiths for the fit, finish and comfort(GP100 silky smooth!) but wouldn’t hesitate to schlep around a Taurus in a pinch.

        Maybe I(we) got extremely lucky but I doubt it.

        • I was under the impression that Taurus firearms have lifetime warranties – why pay $60 when you could have it fixed for free?

        • I wanted it gone through just to make sure all was OK. It was an older revolver with quite a bit of use. I also trust the local gunsmith to give me an honest evaluation rather than just fixing what was broken.

    • I love revolvers but they aren’t immune. A Ruger SP101 I had choked regularly (cylinder jam) after firing about 20 rounds of Blazer .38 ammo. Tolerances were screwed up. No mechanical object can’t fail.

  7. A carry piece only has to be reliable enough to get through two magazines at most. Virtually any quality piece manufactured by the usual suspects will do that if you clean it every so often. Can you put more rounds through a modern pistol without cleaning? Yep, but I don’t think any of us are going to be in a 500+ round gunfight.

    The problem with 1911 is that people want to turn a combat weapon in to a high precision competition firearm. It just screws it up. Do you think if you tuned an AK-47 into a precision target rifle it would be reliable?

    • “The problem with 1911 is that people want to turn a combat weapon in to a high precision competition firearm.”

      I have a sloppy Llama 1911 that will eat anything I’ve ever thrown in it. I also have a RIA that will eat all but a VERY select few HP rounds.

    • Totally agree. As the 1911 was designed by john browning in the government model variety, it is quite reliable.

      In a target pistol I absolutely want tight tolerances. In a defensive firearm, not so much.

      In fact tolerances on the original 1911s were supposed to be enough so that parts were interchangeable. A lot of modern 1911s probably don’t fit that bill.

  8. My experience has led me to believe that people who say 1911s are unreliable, or that the design is outdated, probably are either just not that bright in the first place or have watched the youtubes too much.

    No internet, no Youtube. I say they are unreliable because I personally see them choke. A lot more than I see Glocks choke, and Glocks are far more common these days.

    • Some day I will drive out to Colorado and we will go to a range and shoot 500 rounds through a 1911 and Glock 21. I guarantee you that you will limp wrist a Glock 21 before a standard unmodified GI speced 1911 chokes. Polymer pistols are too light to fire a lot of 40 and 45 caliber rounds at one sitting. Your hand and wrist get fatigued very quickly from the heavy recoil and you will start limp wristing the pistol. And leads to a choke.

      • The post isn’t discussing military spec 1911s. He just said “1911s” and I responded in kind. I’ve seen 1911s fail a lot. He’s utterly wrong about what I am basing my opinion on and he could do with not insulting people who don’t agree with him.

        Mind you I don’t take a census… “Sir [or Madam], I see your firearm just had a failure to feed even though you just told me it is completely reliable…what brand and model is it? Have you done stupid stuff to your gun to try to ‘tune it up?’ ” but friends of mine who’ve been with me at the range who do care about such things have told me I’ve even seen Rock Islands fail to feed.

        • Except every time the subject comes up you keep claiming 1911s are unreliable. Reliability is end-to-end and involves the shooter.. Polymer pistols are prone to stovepiping when you limp wrist them. Firing a lot of 40 and 45 caliber rounds through lightweight polymer is going to cause fatigue and limp wristing. Firing under stress can lead to limp wristing. I don’t care how many rounds you can shoot through Glock before it fails because if you limp wrist it in a DGU or IDPA competition you are going to have a jam.

          As I state above keep your carry piece clean and you will have a highly reliable firearm for 2-3 magazines and that’s all you need.

        • When people stop spouting demonstrably false statements such as “people who say 1911s are unreliable, or that the design is outdated, probably are either just not that bright in the first place or have watched the youtubes too much.” I will quit responding.

          Of course he prefaced that with “In my experience” so obviously I’m not part of his experience.

          If he had specified mil-spec, I would have kept my silence as I don’t know how many of the countless failures I’ve seen involve them, just that it’s at least one (assuming the owner hadn’t jacked up the gun somehow). You’ve educated me to that extent. But note this: When I say “1911” I don’t mean “mil spec 1911” and I strongly suspect most others don’t mean it either. They’re talking everything from Norinco knockoffs up to Cabots and beyond.

          If someone says 1911s (without qualification and therefore meaning ANY brand or model of 1911) is one of the more reliable handguns out there and those who don’t think so are stupid or watching too much youtube, that’s a damn LIE and I will respond.

      • tdiinva, exactly how are these mythical shooter-fatigue-inducted stoppages after multiple hundreds of rounds fired in one session applicable to reliability testing for defensive handgun use? The oft-repeated average of 3 rounds or less per defensive use would seem to indicate that sessions of 20 to 40 rounds would be all that is needed to determine reliability for defensive use, unless you plan to piss-off a large biker gang or personally stop a military human wave attack with your handgun.

        2 boxes of 20 rounds, or one box of 50, fired in 5 different sessions (for a total of around 200 rounds) will tell you more about your pistol’s reliability in a defensive situation than any 500 rounds-in-one-session test. It’s also a heck of a lot easier on the wallet.

        And the Glock guys I shoot IDPA and IPSC with would laugh heartily at your claim that a stock Glock can’t get through a couple of hundred rounds without shooter-induced stoppages; most of us have done it once a month, maybe 5-10 times a year, for the last few years. Before the big ammo shortage, I used to run a match once a year with JHP ammo, just to boost the ol’ confidence in my gun/ammo/skill combo, with no problems at all.

        • I don’t think you understand the point I was making. Reliability isn’t simply putting rounds downrange and seeing if and when you can make the gun fail. I have seen polymers stovepipe repeatedly at the basic square range after the shooter next to me has been at it a while. When I got my first polymer I didn’t even know I was a limp wristed shooter.until I starting get repeated stovepipes and the RSO told me I was probably limp wristing. Until he pointed that out to me so I could correct it I was thinking this Springfield was a piece of junk. If I shoot more than about 200 rounds of 45 through my XD I start limp wristing because to begins to hurt. I don’t think I am the only one who experience that phenomenon because I see it all the time. I can put 500 round sdownrange with my 10mm 1911 and not have as sore a wrist as I do with m XD.

          I repeat my bottom line. Is you carry pistol good for 20 rounds? If it is then it is reliable enough for EDC.

        • I disagree.

          20 rounds when? When it is pristinely clean and freshly lubed? Or when it is clean, but has been sitting for a couple of months without fresh lube? Or when it has been fired a few shots, but not cleaned, just reholstered or dropped back into the safe or nightstand drawer?

          20 rounds through which mag, mag “A”, mag “B”, or maybe another mag? Can you tell your mags apart (are they marked, so if you start getting stoppages and they can be traced to a single mag, you can pull it out of carry rotation and replace it, quickly solving the problem)?

          20 rounds under what conditions? Inside, dry, and 72 degrees F? Fresh from your vehicle’s trunk at 20 degrees below zero or 110 degrees above? Wet from a cloudburst, or drenched in sweat from your IWB holster in August? Dusty from a walk in the farm fields of a nearby farm/ranch or Wildlife Management Area?

          Finally, with ammo that is how old or has been changed how many times? Speer Gold Dots are on their third or forth generation of design; HSTs (I believe), their second; Winchester Ranger/PDX about their third. These were obvious changes in bullet design and/or appearance that were commonly known/accepted; how many changes were done quietly, because the company didn’t want to broadcast a problem? Just because that brand/type of ammo USED to work fine in your pistol a couple of years ago, doesn’t mean the current stuff will STILL work fine in your pistol.

          Test your carry ammo in your carry pistol, folks. Test it again every year or so, and check for a different zero when you do so. Test enough of your favorite ammo in your pistol to put YOUR mind at ease, but try not to lie to yourself and say that 20, 40, or 50 rounds is enough to reveal any problems. It isn’t. And if it doesn’t work flawlessly, change ammo and retest, or send the pistol in for service.

          Your life, or your loved ones’ lives might depend on it. It’s worth it. You’re worth it.

      • I’ve been at IDPA matches and have seen Glocks, Berettas and others besided 1911’s experience malfunction.

        Stuff happens. Maybe it’s the ammo, the gun is dirty or mag problems. Maybe it’s limp wristing. Who knows? Who cares?

      • The only thing I’ve been to that might be called a “match” was out in a very dusty area with a fair amount of wind. I did see a couple of Glocks have FTF there. I don’t recall that anyone actually had a 1911 with them. My CZ-75B ran without issue but that could very well be luck of the draw; perhaps five minutes later a windblown piece of grit would have got in there and caused problems. It certainly has had issues with some kinds of ammo (including my own filthy reloads if I shoot it enough before cleaning). I do trust it with both Nato Spec and Gold Dots.

      • What are the chances that the shooter at an IDPA competition is using a out-of-the-box unmodified GI speced pistol?

        • You seem to be the only one here who thinks this conversation is about military spec 1911s.

          I should think you’d be agreeing with people, since you have agreed that the non-spec ones do tend to be problematic.

      • If you go to the range, and there are ten 1911s on the line, chances are that every single one of them has been”improved” in some way. And every so-called improvement may result in a decrease in reliability. I have a box-stock Philippine-built “High Standard” G.I. 1911 that has not had one hiccup in thousands of rounds. It gets cleaned with a bore snake and Hoppe’s #9 and lubricated with whatever is handy, and not a hiccup in more than 5 years.

  9. If a given semiautomatic pistol is as reliable as a quality revolver, the pistol is reliable. If not, then it’s not reliable.

    • Ha!

      I’d carry revolvers a whole lot more if they could hold 11-15 rounds of .40 with a split second reload.

      • @A81, we seem to be talking about two different things. The question was about reliability, not capacity.

        Moreover, I stated that a given pistol is reliable when it is as reliable as a good revolver. Your reaction leads me to conclude that you don’t think that it’s possible for a pistol to be as reliable as a revolver. So again, I disagree.

        • I agree with you, DG, and others that revolvers win in reliability. To me, once I personally achieve 99.5% reliabilty (or better) with real world self defense JHPs such as Winchester Ranger, I start looking for the next benefit: capacity.

          While I do look down on revolvers a bit, you are free to chose your own. My abilities and practice are different than other folks. I’m just not fast with revolver speedloaders. The most stressful reload I’ve done so far was with a .454 Ruger after 5 shots at a running deer. I had just knocked down a 6 point buck that was thrashing in the woods, and reloading .454 JSPs back into the cylinder was a shaky proposition.

          Many “average” gunfights are over without shots fired or 3 rounds at 10 feet. I just don’t figure mine will be average, and want to hedge my bets with as much reliability, accuracy, power, and capacity as possible. For me, a good semi auto beats a revolver putting lead on target or multiple targets. Of course a good shotgun or AR beats a pistol.

          With that being said, I sometimes carry a Smith 340 PD .357 snubbie with belt loop reloads. It’s incredibly loud and the recoil is more unpleasant than any handgun I own, including my .460 XVR.

          DG likes a great big round out of a revolver, and I have a suspicion that he could use that to great effect. I’m sure that you could as well. I think a .44 Special snubbie would be a great carry option, I just don’t have one.

        • I wish S&W would come out with a five-shot, .44 Special with a 2.5″ to 3″ barrel in stainless again. The S&W 696 was a lovely revolver, and I’ve handled only two in the last 10 years. No one who has had one in my presence has wanted to give it up for cash-right-now.

          S&W came out with a lightweight version, the 396, of which I’ve seen only one (and not fired it). The owner reported the recoil as “snappy” – like all lightweight revolvers. The 696 owners both said (and upon firing one, I agreed) that the recoil with 800+ fps/240gr pill loads was very pleasant – much more pleasant than one expected in such a short-barrel revolver.

          The .44 Special is a wonderful CCW/defensive round, a pretty darn nice target round, and sadly has been nearly forgotten in the quest for magnum-itis with the .44 Mag.

    • That’s one of the reasons why my bedside gun is a S&W Model 625.

      1. I like wheelguns. Nice wheelguns. And a S&W is a nice reliable wheelgun.
      2. If I’m awaked from a sound sleep, I’m not going to exactly be Tactical Tommy. I want simplicity. Revolvers are very simple under stress. Point at problem. Pull the trigger. Keep pulling it until noise ceases. Problem usually solved.
      3. I can launch bigger, fatter, bullets out of a revolver – bigger and fatter than I can out of any semi-auto. After all, I’m using a gun because I haven’t the wherewithal to toss an engine block at someone. If I could have a bedside trebuchet launching flaming toilets at my intruders, I’d go with that. Sadly, they’re somewhat impractical.
      4. Revolvers don’t scatter shell casings around for me to have to trod upon in bare feet. Or, looked at from a post-facto perspective, there are no casing for someone else to pick up, either.
      5. And one of the better reasons: The trigger of any Colt or S&W revolver cocked into single action mode is far better than any trigger on any striker-fired pistol ever invented or that ever will be invented. Period, end of discussion, thanks for playing. If I need to aim real small, a revolver is going to let me do that better than any “defensive” semi-auto.

      • “a bedside trebuchet launching flaming toilets at my intruders”

        If only I could find a way to aim this…..

      • I resonate with all of that. I don’t think a decent 1911 is unreliable, but I am afraid that I won’t use it reliably under extreme stress. I might either forget to flip the safety off or shoot when I don’t mean to due to the lighter trigger. With my SW 642 EDC, it’s almost impossible to squeeze the trigger unless I really mean it, but it will basically always fire if I do mean it. I feel comfortable with this, and I don’t mean to change. I do wish SW or Ruger would make something like the CA Bulldog, though. Everything I like about the little snubbie, but in .44 instead of .38. I’m sure many charter arms guns are great, but I have some trust issues with CA.

        • One thing you learn with a 1911 or any single action combat trigger is to keep your finger off the trigger. Shooters who grow up on striker fired, DA/SA or DA revolvers can get sloppy with their trigger discipline and unconsciously register their finger on the trigger. Robert had a post on this a while ago. Once you realize that you can get off a more accurate shot with a single action then you develop the confidence to keep your figure outside the trigger guard until you want to pull it.

        • Now here I *will* agree with tdiinva. I too prefer single action over DA/SA (differing trigger pull), and I’ll agree with whoever said that striker fired triggers are not as nice as revolver SA. (He said nothing about semiautos out there that aren’t striker fired.)

          On another note (and tdiinva probably won’t agree with this), the key word in PhilWilson’s comment was “decent.” An awful lot of 1911-style guns out there aren’t “decent,” and price isn’t an indicator either, at least not in the direction one might expect.

        • I have a Ruger speed six 2.75″ in 44 spc that I now think is the best gun I own for the bedside. It replaced a 2″ model 12 S&W 38spc.
          While I have a few auto’s, I agree with others here that a 3 am, bump in the night, response gun needs to be somewhat “thought free” as to operation. The Ruger has not bobbled in 300 or so rounds, and I keep it clean, so it should continue on this path.
          I also use a revolver as a “truck gun”. In the confines of a automobile, there are many hindrances that can cause an auto to malfunction. Close proximity to surfaces that will kick a ejected case back, improper grip due to tight spaces ( seated, seat belted and a close steering wheel) ie “limp wristing” it.
          I use a old police trade in model 64 2″ that has had some reliability work done on it. Works great for my needs.
          Now for a “zombie” situation, A PMR30 and 10 extra mags will be my go to choice, hope that never comes to pass.

      • I hear Taurus is working on a tactical flaming toilet launcher. It’s supposed to have a side mounted picatinny rail for mounting optics and a built in flamethrower for backup. No word yet on whether or not it will share magazines with the Curve.

        • Too bad the libtards are going to limit the trebuchet toilets to 1 liter per flush, instead of the standard (American Standard? lol toilet joke) 3 gallon per flush. It’s common sense after all, who needs 3 gallons? Also, it should not have a flush handle, it should have the California flush button.

      • Interesting evaluations.

        I’m not particular. I trained with the 1911 in the service and carried that rattle trap whenever I was on duty, more so than an M-16. Post service law enforcement I trained and carried for duty 4 inch .357’s mostly the Smith Mod. 66. The vast majority of my training was to put the handguns into single action mode. With the .45 that’s self-explanatory…first round cock and rock…everything else is SA unless the auto jambs, which those .45’s never did.

        With my agency probably 95 percent of the revolver (and we carried .357’s exclusively) training was draw cock and aim single action shooting. That muscle memory became so second nature that I go to that mode of use with every pistol I use, revolver or automatic every time I shoot. It works well with every handgun I own, no matter what other options there may be. That instant cocking mode takes a split second and accuracy is excellent first shot out the muzzle.

        Personally, as much as I like automatics, the reliability factor of a pistol in a non-duty *self-defense* situation can’t be beat and outweighs other factors, including mag capacity. If 6 (or 7) rounds aren’t adequate, you’re likely dealing with skilled, determined attackers…such as SWAT.

        Keep a shotty near-by for back-up.

  10. For me it’s not when is it reliable — it’s when does it start becoming unreliable.

    Torture tests are great and all – but what practical use are they? You take your firearm, you function check it. You service it regularly and function check periodically (shoot it with your chosen carry ammo).

    More than that? Ok this one particular specimen of a firearm ran dirty for 2000 rounds. The question is, what does that mean for my identical gun? Nothing you can’t guarantee my firearm will do the same; nor can you guarantee that after 2001 you won’t suffer a catastrophic failure.

    You pays your money you takes your chances. Which is why the periodic servicing/Function testing is so important because HOPEFULLY if there’s a problem – it’ll show there. at the same time, Murphy is a bastard — Which means he’ll chip your firing pin on the last round of your function test.

  11. I try and run 100-150 rounds of my chosen self defense ammo through any gun that will be used to protect myself and my own. Yeah it costs a lot, but getting shot while you clear a malfunction is arguably worse. Will that matter to the majority of us? No… but still, the money spent is worth knowing that short of a visit from Mr. Murphy the gun will likely go bang and cycle the next round into the chamber when asked to. For all the major brands of SD ammo you can get the 50 round law enforcement boxes from any online ammo store for nearly the same price or only a few dollars more expensive than the 20 round boxes you find at the local gun shop and the bog box retail stores so that should keep the cost down a little. Even if you cant get ammo online though, just freaking do it, you only have to do it once and then live with extra peace of mind (well until you change guns).

    I wish I could 1000 round test my SD handguns but that isnt in the cards so I settle for something reasonable. Keep your guns cleaned and lubed and you will be happy.

  12. Truth if the matter is that no one can really swear reliability until they’ve put the proper rounds through.

    Plenty of 1911’s could pass the test. I am sure there are at least a handful of Glocks out there that wouldn’t (almost all businesses have an acceptable error rate – some less than others, lest they wouldn’t be in business / we couldn’t afford the product).

    User test – user test – user test!

    • ^ Exactly. My EDC is a 9mm 1911 (Springfield EMP). It has seen countless range trips, two 1200+ round training classes and is, in a word, bulletproof. Should there ever be an occasion to use it, if I do my part it will do it’s part. However, not every firearm is like this. I used to have a SIG 1911 C3 and couldn’t get it to load a JHP no matter how many trips back to SIG it had. That particular 1911 and I parted ways at a gun show….

  13. My current carry is an XDM 3.8 9mm and I ran 200+ ball and self defense rounds through it after the initial clean and lube. I was looking for any trouble and didn’t see any. That was reliable enough to start.

    Now when I had to the range, I make a point to pull it from the holster and empty the magazine of the Hornady Critical Defense rounds I carry. If it doesn’t function perfectly, I’m worried. So far, it’s always worked do my confidence of warranted.

    It’s more expensive than just shooting ball ammo but that’s not what I’m counting on, I want and need it to work with what I carry every day.

  14. I’m not running marathon torture tests with utterly filthy guns drenched in syrup or honey or chocolate or whatever, then dragged a mile down a dirt road behind a pick-up truck, then firing 10,000 rounds and recording in minute detail the results. After all, fun is fun, but at some point I’d rather go do something different, because I have a life.

    Reliability therefore comes down to realistic scenarios, for me. Will it fire flawlessly, brand new, right out of the box, from whatever angle, with whatever reasonable wrist resistance, with the first 100 or so of whatever random fmj and hp ammo I jam in it? Yes? Ok, it’s looking good. No? Instant second stringer, likely never an EDC. Does it fire flawlessly a few hundred rounds with months between cleaning, no matter how much lint it’s picked up over that time? Yes? Looking better all the time. Let’s clean it and do it all again. No? Not worth carrying, but will clean it, lube it well, and reserve it to prepositioned hidden gun status from here on out.

    Beyond that, it’s all just so much B.S. comment board chit chat from self-appointed experts who revel in going around bragging about their supposed expertise and experience, while denigrating all dissenters as fools and dilettantes. Good grief.

    • ^^THIS^^

      Reliable enough for EDC to me, is taking it right out of the box, NOT cleaning or lubing it, and running around 50 – 100 SD rounds through it to check for FTE/FTF issues. If one makes it through that, I’ll clean it up, lube it, and put it in a holster.

      • Do you expect a new motor to run right out of the box with out any oil in it? Why would you expect your fire arm to work properly without the lube it needs?

        • We all do things differently 😉 I can’t go bang out a couple thousand rounds to see if it’s going to be reliable right off the bat, so I like to see how well it performs straight out of the case. If I can get through a box or two right then, and there, I feel more than confident about it’s performance once it’s been slicked up with lube.

    • Jonathan,

      I appreciate and respect your perspective. Having said that, please read my post below about breaking-in a new semi-automatic pistol. Unless the manufacturer purports to shoot a few hundred rounds through the pistol at the end of the assembly line (which no one to my knowledge does), I strongly encourage you to withhold any judgment on the reliability of a new semi-automatic pistol until finishing a proper break-in.

      Additionally, there is a widely known principle in manufacturing called infantile failure. That refers to the all-to-common event where a newly manufactured object looks great and passes all testing with a hidden/latent defect which appears quickly after the end-user deploys the object. A minimal test period — aside from addressing break-in concerns — will also flush-out any objects with hidden/latent defects that would appear promptly after deployment.

      • No argument there, US. I was a bit flippant in my post when I said 100 or so rounds. I really just meant a relatively small quantity. 100 is perhaps too small, but it’s in the ballpark; albeit in the cheap seats. 200-300 rounds is probably more fair and consistent with my and maybe most people’s actual practices. I’m standing firm on the honey and stuff, though.

        I hadn’t heard that term infant failure, though. I guess because even in manufacturing, it sounds harsh. People I’ve worked with will just say infant mortality, even when discussing an inanimate objects’s failure rates.

        You’re entirely correct on the principle, too. There’s an actual statistical distribution that describes a product’s lifecycle, the Weibull. Extreme over simplification: the probability of failure is highest early on (not necessarily at birth, but through infancy), then very low throughout its life, then shoots up high again as it nears its life’s end. Statisticians call it the “bathtub” curve.

        The key is knowing at what point in time or quantity of output you’ve moved beyond the first steep infancy slope and are safe to operate reliably in the long flat bottom of the tub where failure rates are lowest. 100 may not be enough and 200-300 is better, but thousands and thousands is overkill.

        Of course, then there’s the back end when long reliable products all suddenly start going to hell at once, as they reach the opposite steep slope of the bathtub; representing the high failure rates associated with that time period or overall output level.

  15. I want to see 1000 rounds of failure-free function with range ammo after break-in and ammo testing. I don’t disqualify the gun for not liking one or two loads, and I do clean between range trips. Then I want to see 250 failure-free rounds of my chosen fighting load. If I’m confident in my ability to hit with the gun after that process, I’ll carry it.

    I always close a range session with at least a couple mags of my fighting ammo, and if I have any functional problems with that, I’ll put the gun/load combo on probation.

    I’m not comfortable unless I have a sizable sample of positive shooting experience with the ammo I intend to rely on. That’s why I only carry fighting ammo I can afford to shoot in quantity. Maybe the PDX1 is better than the Golden Sabers–but with the latter selling for $25 per 50 it’s no contest. I’d rather feel proficient and familiar with the best affordable hollow points.

  16. At least 200 rounds of FMJ and 50 rounds of SD ammo without a failure and call it reliable. Of course I shoot most of my guns much more than this, but wouldnt carry a brand new gun without at least putting it through those 250 rounds first.

    • Actual story: my dad purchased an almost new full size 1911 knock-off made in Turkey. The previous owner shot about 40 rounds through it without any trouble. My dad shot about 20 rounds through it without any trouble. Then I decided to finish the “initial reliability test” and set out to shoot another 140 or so rounds through it. After something like the fourth magazine, it started failing on almost every magazine. (The slide would hang almost wide open and I would have to manually provide a slight nudge before the slide would then unstick and move itself into battery.) So my dad brought it back to the previous owner (who had is FFL) and he confirmed the defect. He sent it back to the manufacture under warranty and the manufacturer — apparently unable to diagnose/correct the problem — sent a new replacement.

      Thus, it is important to adequately test a new semi-automatic handgun.

      Follow up: the replacement 1911 functions reliably … but the front sight fell off! Arghhh!

  17. Two lessons to be learned here:

    1) If your EDC isn’t reliable, it shouldn’t be your EDC
    2a) Go clean them now. Stop reading, get off the intertubes, and go clean each and every one. For every dirty gun in your safe Gary Busey will kick a puppy. Save the puppies.

    • Oh crap. Gary just kicked a litter or two. I fire one round out of my guns after they are disassembled and cleaned. So technically, all mine are dirty.

      • Hey Tom,

        I do something similar and I recently thought of a critical concern. When I am finished cleaning a firearm, I run an oil patch down the barrel to neutralize any remaining solvent and to protect the inside of the barrel from rust. However, I have to believe that shooting even one shot removes all of that oil from the inside of the barrel. Does that mean our barrels are in danger of rusting on the inside if they sit in a uncontrolled environment for long periods of time?

        • Between the friction and heat, the oil is gone. My feeling is that if it fired right before I stripped for cleaning, and it passes a function test, there’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t fire properly. If you’re doing more than a basic field strip on something you intend to use as an EDC or home defense gun, then firing a round makes more sense. Personally I’d rather have it clean and oiled if it’s going to sit for more than a week. Then again, I baby all firearms when it comes to maintenance. It was drilled into me from a very young age that when it comes to any machine, “you take care of it, it’ll take care of you.”

        • Having been through quite a few armorers schools, I like to detail strip mine. Reassemble, function test, shoot one, then run another lightly oiled patch down the tube.
          Then I know it works. It’s mostly clean, and oiled.
          I’m also kind of ocd

      • 1 round doesn’t qualify as dirty.

        Unless you feel you need another shower 5 minutes after your hair is dry.

        • 1 round qualifies as dirty to me, but I’m a little OCD about my firearms. All it takes it a couple grains of powder left in the barrel to start the rust process.

          Fortunately, a solution is readily available. Bore Snakes are great for a 1 pull pass for oiling the bore on fully assembled firearms. 🙂

        • “All it takes it a couple grains of powder left in the barrel to start the rust process.”

          Modern powder & primers are not corrosive. Yes, in the olden days the materials used were corrosive & even some Mil-Surp or foreign ammo can have corrosive compounds in it still – but modern US manufactured stuff isn’t going to corrode the barrel.

          Assuming of course you’re talking modern cartridge ammo – not black powder.

  18. I don’t have enough money to do that kind of testing. What I can say, though, is that my EDC piece — a 9mm Springfield XDm that is also my only piece, and therefore sees plenty of range time — has been absolutely reliable over the 3+ years I’ve owned it. It had one stovepipe failure-to-eject on the third magazine we ever put through it, when my super-petite sister-in-law was firing it. And that’s it.

    It’s tough to say how many rounds I’ve put through it…probably about 3,000 or so of varying types, including my preferred defensive stuff…and it gets cleaned about twice a year, so while I haven’t pushed the limits of grime, I know it will run dirty. And it hasn’t yet met any ammo it can’t eat.

    Good enough for my purposes.

  19. Ideally, I want my everyday carry gun to run at least 200 rounds of plinking ammunition and 200 rounds of self-defense ammunition without any failures. Since self-defense ammunition can be VERY expensive, I sometimes modify the test to run 400 rounds of plinking ammunition and 100 rounds of self-defense ammunition.

    As a couple other commenters have mentioned, we also have to be careful about running too many rounds through a handgun. At some point metal fatigue will be a problem and something will crack/fail. If you want to train that hard, I recommend two identical handguns: one proven reliable for everyday carry and one for training. If metal fatigue causes your training handgun to fail after 4,000 rounds, it is no big deal. For obvious reasons you wouldn’t want your everyday carry handgun to fail on the 4,001st round — during a defensive gun use of course.

  20. My Kimber TLE/RL II is extremely reliable…I’d trust my life to it any day.

    Yeah, you have to keep it somewhat clean and lubed before you can assume it’ll be guaranteed reliable. Duh.

  21. I’m a little confused why the test of reliability for a firearm is a dirty one. What is wrong with cleaning your guns? I clean mine after every firing.

    • Some people shoot a box of 50 each range session. Some people shoot 1k+ rounds each day of practice. The latter will not stop and clean his gun every fifty rounds.

      Clean (well, more importantly, lubricated) guns run better than dry dirty ones, but it takes quite a few rounds (how many will of course depend on which gun, but if all it takes is 100 or less then that’s probably a crappy gun) to build up enough gunk to impede function.

  22. Important Note to Everyone:

    Some manufacturers and many people believe that you need to shoot something like 200 rounds of ammunition through a semi-automatic handgun to break it in. If this is correct, then it is absolutely critical that you shoot at least 200 rounds through your everyday carry handgun before evaluating its reliability, much less carrying it for self-defense.

    Looking at this another way, failures during those first 200 rounds could lead you to falsely believe that your tentative everyday carry handgun is not reliable when it would be after a proper break-in. For this reason I shoot at least 200 rounds of target/plinking ammunition through a new semi-automatic handgun before shooting another 200+ rounds to assess reliability.

    • Second.

      Case in point, my wife’s new Gen 4 Glock. It took about 400 rounds, and at least three cleaning/oilings to get the thing to cycle practice ammo properly. It cycled HSTs just fine, but it had at least one FTE or FTF per mag until it broke in. We pretty quickly ran through ammo to make sure it was going to run properly, non-reliable guns make me nervous.

      • Limp wristing + weak ammo. I have 2-Glock 17’s Gen-4’s and I have only had one issue, a single FTF, bad primer on a wolf ammo. You could see the primer strike, but the round never went off.

        Both of those bought brand new Gen 4 blocks started off with nothing but Wolf steel case ammo and they did not need any breaking in. Glock’s are prone to limp writing especially with weaker ammo if you don’t know them well.

      • Was the gen4 purchased shortly after they came out?

        The new double-spring was too strong. You either needed replacement springs or a fair amount of break-in.

  23. I have a 4″ Kimber 1911 that was horribly unreliable through 1400 rounds. I finally replaced the recoil spring (ordered from Wolff instead of Kimber) and it hasn’t had a bobble since. I won’t carry it though, but that’s because the acute angle at the end of the grip is either digging into my ribs (and it is SHARP!) or printing. I instead carry a Kahr CW9 that has had a single FTF (my fault,not the guns) in over 600 rounds of ball and HP ammo. It weighs only a pound and disappears into a pocket.

  24. My S&W 649-5 is dead reliable. Humpback 2″ .357 mag J Frame. I rarely clean it and after carrying it for a while the first couple of shots from always blow fuzz and lint everywhere; it’s quite comical.

    I have also tested firing it from a pocket and purse as its design was intended to allow. No binding. No snagging. No issues at all. Just firing and a little tan on my fingers. Oh and a couple of ruined jackets and purses.

    I have also yet to remove the internal lock/plug the Hillary hole but I still trust the gun at this point.

    My friends and I tested this same thing with a variety of other pistols that might be carried in the pocket and no such similar luck. All semi autos bound up after the first or second shot and revolvers with a non shrouded hammer would get the hammer spur or the hammer face bound up on stuff.

  25. Seems like shooting a couple thousand rounds through a pistol to make sure everything works every time is a good way to make sure something will break sometime—sooner than it needed to. In fairness to those who run such tests, I guess it would be a confidence builder to have this data in case I ever have to defend myself against an entire Roman legion. I just hope my burro can handle the extra weight of several hundred loaded magazines!

  26. Does it function between infrequent cleanings? I define infrequent as between 200 and 1400 rounds. And I only set the bar at 1400 because my 1911 with Cerakote and tolerance issues waited till then to start failing to chamber and still would with a love tap.

    With the exception of limp writing or overpowered recoil spring tension that I personally screwed up I’ve never had a gun jam in my normal rotation. Sig Scorpion needed too much love and lost my confidence but anything else runs and runs hard.

  27. I’m not saying that tests like that are useless. They can contribute to the overall reliability record of a manufacturer. But, it doesn’t mean that much on a per gun basis. And I certainly wouldn’t generalize results to an entire platform style.

    I carry a Glock because they offer 10mm, there’s no manual controls other than the trigger, and they are generally reliable. But maybe mine is a lemon. Maybe it’s perfect. Who knows? I’m not going to wear it out trying to help my sleep quality. I bought a gun that is great for defense use on a few levels. It’s not pretty. It’s not fancy. It’s not spectacularly accurate. But, it is very likely to work when I really need it.

    I’m no 1911 expert, but I wouldn’t judge all 1911’s by any one gun. You need to pay attention to who you’re getting that 1911 from. Who makes it matters way more than what design it follows.

  28. Based on the filthy state of every used gun I’ve bought, the informal conclusion I draw is that the typical gun owner doesn’t know or apply the concept of “frequent maintenance”.

    Tightly made, metal frame weapons require at least occasional cleaning and lubrication.That’s a problem when the average person is too busy to do a weekly takedown to clean lint, filth, etc.

    Which is one reason among many why most folks need a Glock, XDm, VP9 for defense and should reserve the nice guns for display only unless they’re willing and able to maintain them.

    • ST,

      I don’t have the motivation to clean an everyday carry gun every week. Additionally, every time you take a semi-auto handgun apart to clean it, there is a small chance that you re-assemble it improperly. The old addage, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” comes into play here.

      Finally, every time you break down a semi-automatic pistol to field strip and clean it, you have to eject the cartridge from the chamber. That in and of itself is no big deal. The problem is reloading the handgun which requires slamming a cartridge against the feed ramp and into the chamber. Each time you do that, you risk seating the bullet a little bit deeper into the casing which can cause an over-pressure situation and catastrophic chamber/barrel failure. For that reason, I rotate my previously chambered round to the bottom of my magazine. And, I don’t rechamber a round more than twice. That means a 14 round magazine would only allow you to clean your semi-auto handgun for 28 weeks before you would have to discard or shoot your self-defense ammunition for fear that the bullets are jammed too far into the brass casing.

      The takeaway here: every time you fiddle with a working system, you run the risk of introducing a failure agent in the system — whether you were careless or altered something that you didn’t even realize you were altering doesn’t matter.

        • Drop loading a round into the chamber eliminates any chance of pushing the bullet farther into the case from contact with the feed ramp. I like it.

        • I’ve heard it’s bad for the extractor, and I’ve also heard it’s bad for the gun to let the slide slam forward not pushing anything.

          Any idea whether that’s actually true?

      • “fear that the bullets are jammed too far into the brass casing.”

        This is largely an overblown fear.

        Quality ammo should not do this as a general rule. But test it. It’s VERY easy to test. A quick double check with a dial caliper tells the tale.

        I’ve got ammo that’s been cycled through the action dozens of times.

        I chalk this one up as mostly Geezer Science and oft repeated. I’m not saying it doesn’t EVER happen, but it’s pretty rare.

  29. I cycle all of my guns through the range and since I put about 150 rounds downrange every weekend, they all get pretty good use. I do not, but should, cycle my self defense ammo. But that’s not my point. I consider every one of my guns my carry, or better to the point, gun to save my life. If any one of them fails to work relatively flawlessly, I investigate immediately how to fix the issue. Even if that means goodbye. I have my first 1911, a Ruger SR1911. I have a lot of faith in Ruger but I am under no illusion the SR1911 is a top of the line gun. But for my first foray into the 1911 arena, I didn’t want to put out $1500 bucks. I enjoy the gun, but it is showing feed issues. I stopped using the Ruger mags and bought two Wilson Combat 47’s. All was good first time out, but at about 65 rounds the FTF problem reemerged. So, right now, the SR1911 may be loaded in my safe, but it’s my last go to gun when needed. I’ll stick to my SIGs and Colt snakes for first defense.

  30. 2,000 rounds you say?

    Well done! You’re one-third of the way to repeating the acceptance test the US Army gave the 1911 over 100 years ago for acceptance as the new pistol design for the US armed forces.

    • The 1911 isn’t my first choice. Weight, complexity, and capacity are my reasons, not reliability. I do find the scale of 1911 reliability an interesting one: the cheaper the gun is new, the more likely it is to function flawlessly, until you hit about 3 grand, then reliability is right back up there. Kinda odd that the cheap, large tolerance RIA’s and such run better than the colts and the kimbers and the springfields.

    • That’s pretty badass – but it was only FMJs and today’s guns need to run JHPs. JHPs also can have a significantly different profile and can hang up on feed ramps even though round nose FMJs feed just fine.

      • To be clear, half the rounds I fired through my EDC were not FMJs. They were LSWCs, which are usually my EDC loads. JWT

  31. I think we all diverged a bit from the original question.
    When is your EDC reliable?
    I’m not sure how to answer that until it’s all over. For those of us who have been lucky enough not to have to find out how reliable our EDC actually is, then in my opinion, my EDC is the most reliable gun on the planet. That’s the story I’m going to tell myself all the way up to the point I find out it isn’t.

    • If I can load a gun with CCW-type ammo (and ShootingTheBull has given us lots to think about in this area), can feed two mags or speedloaders through the gun without issue, and then if I can draw a gun from concealment and dump a magazine or cylinder of CCW ammo flawlessly into a fist-sized group at 10+ yards without pausing to think about it, then IMO, it is a reliable-enough-for-CCW gun.

      Trials with thousands of rounds are interesting to me, but only because I’m interested in the finer points of gun operation.

  32. I never really had a problem with 1911 reliability.. My issue is that my $300 Makarov that I carry daily can fire 2000 rounds without cleaning, too, and has been the most trustworthy thing I own outside of my CZs and my Modelo B.

    so yeah :B

  33. Every gun you have owned or ever will own will malfunction. Buy a quality firearm from a manufacturer of combat weapons (Glock, HK, SIG, S&W) and carry on.

    LEARN TO CLEAR A MALFUNCTION. Why is it so difficult for people to get over this? Same thing with caliber wars “LOL 9MM isn’t enough LOL”. Shoot them twice. Or as many times as necessary to stop the threat.

    If your firearm isn’t malfunctioning, you aren’t shooting it enough.

    • Yep, things happen in a fight. You might have to make a contact shot. The other guy might have his hands on your gun when you pull the trigger. You might not have a perfect grip, and everything might be covered in blood. No pistol will always work in these situations so you have to practice dealing with malfunctions, and you should know how to do it with only the wrong hand, too, cause your good hand might get wrecked.

  34. I like to do a 500 round test on a new handgun before I even decide if I want to keep it.

    When the gun is new, a least 200 rounds of assorted factory range ammo and 300 reloads. With more than half reloads this isn’t prohibitively expensive and can easily be done in one afternoon on the plate racks. I like to see no malfunctions during this initial 500 rounds, but will tolerate 1 or 2 in the first N rounds of the if the manufacturer recommended a N round break in period.

    For a carry gun, then in addition to my 500 round test, at least 1 box of the carry ammo I intend to use. Clean/lube then carry for a while, and for the first year put a box of carry ammo through it every few months to make sure lint or whatever isn’t screwing it up. After about a year of doing this I only shoot off my old carry ammo once per year. The stuff is expensive.


    • Great way to “test the gun”. Everyone should do this. I also do this. Where most go shoot it a few rounds then thrown it in the glove box or holster. In fact i shoot my carry guns at least every couple of months for 25-50 rounds also, just to make sure they are on the up and up

  35. I shot 4-5 matches with my Sig 1911 Scorpion Carry, Dan Wesson Specialist, and 9mm Colt Combat Commander. Oiling in between matches, not during. That’s roughly 500 rnds and the only reason I cleaned them is I could barely see the shiny barrel hoods. I say it’s good enough for a self defense situation.

  36. If it only fails after being soiled by more rounds than you could possibly carry into a fight without seeing so much as a bore swab, then I’d consider that plenty reliable.

    We’re looking at EDC, not TEOTWAWKI. 😉

  37. I do not EDC. But as far as reliability: My Rem R1 was flawless until the recoil spring needed replacing. My S&W 15-3 was flawless until the plunger rod came loose and jammed the cylinder.

  38. I got a 5 letter word that comes to mind when I think of a reliable carry gun.. starts with the letter G! With that being said, iv never experienced any failure of any kind from my gen 1 kimber 1911 either.

  39. I’m convinced that the people who say 1911’s aren’t reliable are the owners of 3″ barrels. The Officer 1911 seems to not function quite as flawlessly as the Commander or Govt.

  40. Ive never been able to wrap my mind around the thought people have of using the cheapest gun they own as the one they either carry on their person or in their vehicle. Most will go to the excuse that if it gets stolen or confiscated they can just buy another or not really look at it as a major loss. I have always disagreed with this. I will always keep pr carry one of my pistols in my car or on my person that I KNOW will not fail me, has always been reliable and functions flawlessly 99.9% of the time. Ruger SP101, I know this will almost always shoot the way i want and function. I keep the gun well cleaned, well oiled, and make sure it stays that way weekly with checks. I dont just leave it in the glove box for years without ever opening it to check. And in car I always keep my Colt 1911 or my Walther PPQ .40. Again, neither one has failed me and both have stellar reputations of guns that are extremly reliable, accurate, have great triggers and are a LOT less likely to give me an issue when i know it matters. Then you take people that carry a Kel Tec or High Point and then sit there even though both have horrible reputations and say thats the gun they trust their lifes too. Just because they are cheap and inexpensive and have never failed “them”. And if they lose it no big deal. I also believe you should carry one of your best guns as your carry. If you lose it, yea it sucks. But better to lose a gun than your life because you decided to carry a poor and low price firearms that at any moment could decide not to work right on that day. And for those that will say either one of the guns I mentioned above as bad examples of guns to carry, or try to defend them, get real. Seriously. They arent good guns with good reputations. Sorry. Its true. I would carry a gun that gets glowing marks and has a great number of people saying they are great. Internet reviews are useful. They are actual consumers giving feedback on a product via video or write up. And if a large portion are saying something is bad, it usually is……

      • But would you not agree that most of the time the “higher” priced guns are the ones that usually function and perform the best? now I know there are some high priced guns such as Kimber’s that have some function problems with certain ammo. But as a whole, the high dollar firearms are usually the ones that are functionally really great. So it does come down to cost. Because the lower end guns usually are the ones with chronic issues. Just like in everything else in life. Pay more, get better. Pay less, get less overall quality.

    • 99.9% reliabity is 1 issue per 1000 rounds. I only say that because 99.9% of the time that people say 99.9% of the time they don’t actually mean 99.9% of the time.

      • Now that you mention it……..a lot of my guns have actually less than one failure per 1000 rounds. So My carry guns are usually even higher than 99.9%

  41. Uh, you ran Mozambique drills at 25 yards and shot 3″ groups? That stretches the bounds of what I think possible.

    • At the end of the exercise I shot paper at 25 yards from a seated bench. Unless the silhouette you are shooting at has a head in an anatomicaly incorrect position, a 3″ group for the Moz is impossible.

      • Ok. Thanks. That makes a lot more sense. I train on the Taylor target and the A Zone on the head target is right about the size and shape of a playing card. I would be mightily impressed if someone could effectively punch it at speed and in recoil recovery from 25yds.

  42. Most people crying about reliability in a carry gun do not have much through their own carry gun. I chuckle on the local trader board with all of the “only 100 flawless rounds through this…” Not much of a sample size!

    • ALmost all of the guns I have sold have NOT BEEN my carry gun. If i liked it enough to carry it, chances are Ive kept it. People do buy guns with the sole purpose of selling them. I do it all the time. Get something at a steal, then dump it a year later for profit. I would say 50% of the guns I own have less than 100 rounds through them. Now my carry guns, no. I shoot them often and clean them often. Make sure they are functional and ready

  43. What’s an LSWC hand load? If it isn’t a JHP, your 2,000 round test is impressive enough but doesn’t prove diddly if you plan to carry JHPs. My beef on 1911s is they are too big and too heavy to comfortably carry, especially every day. I switch between a Shield .40 (no thumb safety) and my M&P .40 pro series full size, both have about 2k rounds through them (of both JHP and FMJ) without failure.

      • Which, for people who like to carp about how “unreliable” 1911’s are, is one of the bullet types well known to be one of the most troublesome rounds for the 1911 to feed.

        That the author fed so many LSWC’s through his pistol without a hitch means “it really does work well.”

  44. This web site is horrible. It is slow as hell at times and its a 50/50 shot if my posted comments will actually post.

    My EDC is a Glock 17. Nuff said.

  45. My EDC guns are tested with different ammo, my revolvers tested the best, in Dirt & mud
    Mix and match loads! weak hand etc must fire 50 rounds no stop ages or cylinder lock ups! 1911’s tested, well in a plain Jane model! trigger pulls were tested on all pistols
    when Problems are encountered find out why! Ammo? Bad Magazine, broken parts
    after testing shoot them without cleaning until you have a sore hand, a stoppage of some kind! make a basis to make your own value judgement! what you find acceptable, 0 to infinity rounds etc;

  46. I’m big on maintenance, preventative maintenance. As a licensed pilot and professional mechanic, I learned decades ago the importance of having quality equipment and taking care of that equipment, all of it.
    One of my favorite sayings and I don’t know if it’s something I thought up or just heard, as I have been using it for decades and that is: “you may not have the nicest and newest car, but you can always have a clean and well maintained car” I couldn’t come up with a number of people who’s hoods I’ve opened on their everyday car and the vehicle is in terrible condition. The most neglected items are cars that will leave you stranded are belts, hoses, and batteries. Folks would come in and within seconds of opening the hood, I can tell if the person takes care of their car or they are preventative maintenance deficient. Maintenance enhances reliability. No other way around it.

    With this concept in mind, my EDC is a Sig P229. Fired or not, about every week or so, I run a patch down the barrel. Every month, it’s field stripped and properly maintained. I have 100% confidence that if need be, I can jerk my pistol and go to work. As others have pointed out, every weapon should be tested at the range, but afterwords, properly cleaned. Not a week later, not a month later, NOW.

    If you carry a quality firearm, take care of it, for all practical purposes, you will be able to use that firearm anytime as needed with 100% confidence.

    You depend on your car and you depend on your EDC, why wouldn’t you provide the best possible preventive maintenance for both?

    • I feel incomplete as a human if I dont take my guns out weekly, almost all of them, and give them a good wipe down. Its almost part of my weekly routine. And my carry always gets checked. Amen!!!

  47. Just carry a revolver and that cuts down your probability of failure down like 95%. Plus IMO .357 is just a better round than the .45. Thats my take anyway. More shots in self defense is a myth. In almost all self defense situations the average number of shots fired is 2 shots. And hell, if i need more i got speed loaders.

    • “In almost all self defense situations the average number of shots fired is 2 shots.”

      And where did you get that from?

      If you are counting DGU’s, the average number of shots is very close to zero since the vast majority of DGU’s don’t involve shots fired at all. Lots of gunfights involve more than 2 or even more than 6 shots. I know of several right off the top of my head that were over 10.

      But, it’s not about the average DGU, anyway. We are talking about a specific DGU. It’s commonly said that no one that has survived a gunfight has ever said they wished they had less ammo.

      Not knocking revolvers, but “capacity” is an issue to carefully consider, not dismiss out of hand.

      • I don’t know about “almost all,” but in the following five-year tally of armed encounters reported in the NRA’s column, “The Armed Citizen,” the median is 2, the average is only slightly higher, and the mode is 1.

        Kleck’s data in his seminal book showed that in a huge number of cases, mere brandishing was sufficient to cause the criminal to break off the attack.

        It is the police who dump magazines, and there are studies available that show quite capably that when the cops had revolvers, and they had to make their shots count, they did (in the majority), and when the NYPD (and others) adopted hi-cap Glocks, they started into fusillades of dozens of rounds.

      • Well since you asked……Most self defense situations aren’t all out gunfights. Its not the movies here bud, where every instance is a small battle scene. I think you have watched a few too many Quentin Tarantino movies. IN real life self defense situations it usually, almost never comes to that. Maybe in very rare instances, but hardly ever. Im not talking about police shootouts, or robbery situations. Im talking about true, one on one self defense scenarios. Here take a look at the study, since you asked where I got it from…… are several posts on the matter. And almost ALL say 2 shots is the average. And I find it comical when people knock revolvers. Ahhhhh, people in this day in age. A revolver is so much easier and simple to use. And yes, it is far less likely to have issues. Very very rare it ever does if its kept up and maintained. And id like for you to find me a better round for self defense than the .357 mag. There isnt. Its the gold standard. And like I said. Thats what speed loaders are for if i need more shots. Practice can make it where speed loading is very fast and effective. I have considered all of this and still choose to carry a revolver.

  48. Why dont you just a get a sig 220? 1911’s are cool but who doesnt love the Sig reliability. If you want a low bore axis go get a Glock, or Splurge on a P7.

    I carry the Sig 220 Dk Elite, and while it is 32oz, it is thin and instills confidence.

  49. Since premium ammo is so expensive, I have a system that has worked well for me. I prefer Gold Dot for EDC, so when I get a new candidate I do the following: Run a couple of mags with Gold Dot while the weapon is clean and freshly lubed. Then 200 rounds of ball target ammo to get the gun good and dirty and dry(er). If it’s still functioning properly I then run a 50 round box of Gold Dot through the dirty gun. If it goes 100% through this test, no exceptions, not 99%, not 95%…but 100%, I’ll EDC with the Gold Dot. I also practice malfunction drills!

    The most important thing after determining that your gun is reliable with your chosen round is to PRACTICE MALFUNCTION DRILLS until they become second nature. I don’t care how many rounds you’ve put through your baby, if you think it can’t malfunction you are wrong.

    • One advantage to Gold Dots is that the 50 round boxes are actually semi-affordable; at least you’re not going to pay well over a buck a round for them; if memory serves they were under fifty cents apiece several months ago. They do tend to be hard to find off the shelf however.

  50. How do I know when my EDC is reliable?

    When it says, “Glock” on the frame. 😀

    I didn’t read all the comments. I’m betting I’m not the first to say it!

    • As of the moment I hit “reply” you were still the first one not to get flamed for saying it. 🙂

      This will change in… 3… 2… 1…

    • Well, as long as it says Glock on the slide and hasn’t been monkied with, same as 1911s.

      Lots of new issues are cropping up with guns using questionable mods. Yes, glocks.

  51. 5,000 rounds thru a Sig P290RS over two years (50 rounds/weekend). Cleaned & lubed every other weekend.

    Only failures happened because one box of ammo had about 10% of the primers pressed-in too deep and needed to be restriked to fire.

  52. Buy a Kel Tec. According to their owners, any malfunction is due to a “bad gun.” You get one of the “many” “good guns” and allegedly you will never have a problem in tens of thousands of rounds. They sound like the type of reliable gun to have. And if they break in the middle of a defensive gun use, you know kel-tec customer service is just so great 🙂

  53. I occasionally carry my subcompact springer, which I love and is quite accurate and reliable (with brass cases, my wilson combat mags aren’t huge fans of steel cased ammo, but they do give me good opportunities to practice clearing jams on the range). I’ve also carried a few different XD and XDm models, and like all of them, especially where you an open carry (they’re a little bulky to conceal).

    That said, it has two major flaws; the grip safety (which is easily overcome by pinning it down) and the mag capacity, which is pretty much impossible to overcome without carrying 2-3 spare mags (I usually carry one spare).

    If one studies close range gun fights (not so much in combat, but here in hometown USA, say, at the local stop’n’rob, for instance) one will quickly ascertain that the hands and forearm are very commonly struck by the incoming rounds from the other shooter. Not every time, but enough times to make you think twice. And I have personally heard accounts from guys who carried 1911’s who, ever with a big beavertail, did not have the grip strength to depress the grip safety, and pull the trigger (after being shot in the hand or forearm) which consequently, made the gun a small beating stick.

    Where magazine capacity is concerned, there are a few schools of thought. The first being “Well with my XX caliber gun, I only need (make up a stupid number here) rounds!” Wrong. Statements like that are made by the untrained who have never experienced a stress shoot, much less actual incoming fire with lethal intent. You will have an immediate adrenaline spike, your fine motor skills will go to shit, you’ll experience tunnel vision, and your fight or flight instinct will kick in. If you haven’t trained with your weapon a lot, simple things like closing the slide, taking off the safety, drawing from concealment, aiming, and or loading a fresh mag, will seem like they’re impossible (or very difficult). Consequently, you will likely, even if you train often, end up shooting a lot and hitting very little. And take into consideration that your enemy is experiencing the same thing, plus may be on PCP or some other drug; didn’t get a CNS, heart, or Lung shot? He’s still shooting. Statistics suggest that the guy who can lay down fire the longest, forcing the other guy to retreat, surrender, or get shot, will “win” the gunfight.

    For a long time, I carried my SP01 concealed, but it became enough of a hassle (due mostly to laziness of putting it on and the difficulty of keeping it concealed)that I noticed myself forgoing carrying over taking it along, and began carrying a Sig P938 instead, however when I found the springer micro compact, which is only a little bigger than the 938 (and at the same capacity), I decided to move up to .45, until I get my hands on a P01. But, every time I leave the house with either the 938 or the 1911, I have a little twinge down my spine, because I know if I find myself in a situation that I need to use it, I’m going to wish I had a whole lot more ammo.

    • Not to worry, Bill. Statistically speaking, you could probably leave your house with a turnip and a paper clip for EDC and never have to use either one. Sometimes I think a couple of these guys on TTAG believe they’re in Mogadishu or Sana’a every time they step out the front door; that kind of thinking can be contagious, so watch your six.

  54. Torture tests have their place, but running your EDC through thousands of rounds over multiple days without maintenance is doing nothing but accelerating wear.
    The question might be instead “Are YOU reliable with your weapon?”
    Do you know the difference between a jam and failure to feed or eject and know how to quickly clear them? Do you practice this sort of drill?
    Do you know the difference between normal wear and a part about to fail or out of spec?

  55. I was always under the impression that 1911’s were almost, if not the most reliable semi auto platform. I guess all these new designs have brainwashed and created a false impression for new shooters. I grew up with 1911’s. And GOOD ones, are pretty much dead on reliable. Looser tolerances also make for a nice reliable pistol. Sure there are some poorly made 1911’s floating around. But a good old Colt 1911 is about as reliable as anything ever made. People are full of shit these days. the 1911 if a proven and time tested reliable platform. Anyone who says otherwise is just misinformed.

  56. That Wilson is a 4″ gun not a 3″ gun. Wilson Combat doesn’t even make a 3″ 1911. The do make 3.6″ 1911’s in 9mm and 38 Super called Sentinels.

    On a blog called Truth About Guns the authors should be able to tell the difference between a 3″ and 4″ pistol.

  57. As long as you can fire every round available to you in a DGU with your properly maintained firearm without a weapon caused malfunction, then its reliable. If that means you carry two 9 round mags plus one chambered for a total of 19 rounds then what your gun might be able to do with a 20th round really doesn’t matter.

  58. My standard is pretty simple but expensive: shoot a couple of hundred rounds of my intended carry ammo with zero failures. Ball ammo results only count if that’s what you’re going to carry.

    I was carrying a Kahr P380, but it recently stopped going into battery, so it’s back to the Colt Mustang Pocketlite, which is very reliable. Yes, I’ve shot 200 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense with no failures. I know Critical Defense isn’t the best .380 round ballistically, but it is very reliable.

  59. “where do you set your bar for reliability?”

    Walther P1/38, running either Remington 147gr JHP subsonics or Hornady 135gr Flexlocks. Plinking I run any milsurp FMJs, usually 100 to 400 rd sets, dirt, dust, mud, snow or rain being rather normal.

    Love my Walther, hate to switch out but it is the 21st Century and I really should catch the f**k up. Any suggestions on a replacement that meets the safe carry/loaded standard of the P1?

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