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A GLOCK is significantly more reliable than a 1911. I carry a 1911. Why? Because reliability is only one variable in a defensive gun use, and far from the most important one . . .

Defending your life with a firearm is all about minimizing risk. The first and most important variable that you can control: avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things.

Sure, bad things can happen anywhere. But the chances of being attacked in a good neighborhood are significantly less than the chances of being attacked in a dodgy area. At night. Alone. If you can’t or won’t avoid times and places where an assault is more likely to occur, like, say, a parking garage after a concert, fair enough. Your risk is higher than mine.

The second variable is situational awareness. If you can sense danger before it turns life-threatening and avoid it, perhaps by leaving, result.

The third variable is your ability to move out of the way. If you have a choice between moving out of the way of an attack or shooting from a stationary position that puts you in harm’s way, which would you choose first?

The fourth variable is your ability to bring your gun to bear on the bad guy or guys as you move. Most defensive gun uses end without a shot fired. If you have quick access to a firearm, if you can draw your gun efficiently, you significantly lower your chances of being a victim.

The fifth variable is shot placement. If you can hit the bad guy or guys with bullets it will provide a strong disincentive for them to continue their attack. Everything after that – including the caliber of round with which you hit them – is relatively unimportant.

And that’s why I’m not bothered about my gun’s reliability: I place all of the above above my gun’s reliability. Especially accuracy. I have confidence I can hit what I’m aiming at with my 1911. I also shoot my gun often enough to know that it’s acceptably reliable. In other words, the chances are high that it will function when I need it to.

Yes but – why not carry a GLOCK and take that variable off the table?

Again, I value accuracy over reliability. And I am mentally prepared to continue fighting if it doesn’t function. I’ve got a spare mag to try to fix a problem and enough sense to not try if I don’t have the time. Or ditch the idea of using my gun entirely.

If you own a GLOCK because you believe it will never fail, you are making big mistake. All guns fail, whether through mechanical function or operator error. Especially operator error. As in failing to get it out in time or dropping it or missing your target or running out of ammo.

At the end of the day, it’s best to carry a gun that you can use effectively. A gun you carry well and shoot well. I will never question anyone’s choice of weapon – if they’re comfortable carrying that gun and can hit their target, they’re good to stow.

Truth be told, I have three carry guns: a 1911, a compact 9mm SIG and a Kahr pocket nine. I feel comfortable with all of them. But I don’t assume that any of them will work. Why would I?

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    • Let me be blunt: If you know your pistol is less than 100 percent reliable under ideal conditions (normal periodic maintenance after practice/training while using your carry load), and you haven’t taken steps to correct the problem or replace the pistol, you’re just making excuses, and very poor ones, to boot.

      And spewing a bunch of words about how you believe this and that are more important than reliability is just whistling past the graveyard. There is nothing that prevents a person from practicing stoppage clearance and other important drills with a reliable pistol, so the person who carries a reliable pistol can be just as well-trained and “mentally prepared to continue fighting” as the person with a reliable pistol. But the damage to your confidence that a intermittently unreliable pistol subjects you to cannot be minimized. Just like a poorly trained or practiced person, a person with a gun that may not function reliably will be pushed by their own subconscious to present the firearm earlier, and perhaps even shoot earlier than a person with a reliable pistol might, to allow themselves “extra time” to clear a stoppage, should they need it. And unlike all those other situations you listed which take place under far less critical time constraints, clearing one or more stoppages AFTER the gunfight has begun, simply will not allow any room for contemplation or error. In fact, there may not be enough time for it at all.

      If the possibility exists that when it comes time to shoot, you may only have barely enough time to shoot, then it is incumbent on the carrier to do their very best to make sure that their pistol will shoot as near to every time they need it as possible. Start with a reliable pistol/ammo combo, and work backward from there.

      I even have confidence you can equal your 1911 accuracy-at-speed-under-realistic-conditions record with a box-stock Glock, if you only practice a bit more and decide it’s an important enough goal. It’s just not that difficult.

      • No gun is a 100% reliable. What you want is a gun that is reliable for 3 rounds in 3 seconds at 3 feet. There are millions of GIs who have used the 1911 in far harsher conditions than you will who say it is. It has practical reliability. It doesn’t matter whether it is less likely to make it through a 1000 round training session than a Glock because you aren’t going to get into a 1000 round fight. You are probably more likely to limp wrist a Glock under pressure of a real DGU than it is for a 1911 to jam.

        • “It has practical reliability.”

          Precisely this.

          Is a Glock more reliable? Sure is, especially when you go through a gauntlet of mud-crawling with your pistol to off hand, weak hand shooting in the rain putting over 1,000 rounds down range. In that scenario I’d take a Glock over a 1911, but in a practical scenario when I carry my pistol IWB and the most severe environment threat it faces is maybe a little body sweat and some shirt lint I think any decent 1911 is on pretty even footing with a Glock,

        • Mine are as close to 100% as I get reasonably get, and I’ve never felt I had to choose between accuracy and reliability as the article indicates.

          You throw out many points that have no bearing on the situation as stated. Robert’s pistol has only superficial resemblance to a mil-spec 1911A1, and I’m guessing his defensive ammo is VERY different as well. I don’t need 1000 rounds to tell me my gun is reliable, but if reliability problems are cropping up often enough in normal range training/practice that a person feels they have to choose between reliability and accuracy, they are using the wrong gun/ammo combo.

          Your 3/3/3 standard is an average, based on a study of cop shootings that is long out-of-date, and if you are ever involved in a DGU, you’ve already busted the “average odds” quite badly. No one ever finished a gunfight and said “Wow, I was carrying WAY too much ammo, I think I’ll cut back from now on.” In fact, one of the saddest things I can think of would be a well-trained person with the skills and tools to survive an otherwise-manageable defensive encounter, that failed to do so because they followed some dated advice on how many total rounds they thought they might need.

          Or a person that died because they thought it was more important to have a really accurate pistol, than a really reliable one.

        • I bet the average GI 1911 rattled like a old screen door as well. Very well broken in and probably started off lose. Most 1911 owners these days run really nice tight fitting 1911’s that are custom in some way.

          If I had to run a 1911, I would get a no frills colt or springfield and shoot the snot out of it to break it in nice. I would not run any custom crap to make it a hair trigger or whatever.

          On my Glock’s I replace the sights (Amariglo I-Dot Pro) and install the Glock OEM “-” connector to slightly smooth out the trigger wall, probably gives me a 5 lb trigger? Nothing else is changed. I even shoot a Glock at least 200 times before I use it as a carry weapon, if not more like 500 times.

        • +1. Doesnt take much to limp wrist a Glock and get a stovepipe. A little distraction, moving while shooting, etc. I think this goes for any lightweight compact handgun in .40 or .45, however. These are not guns for beginners. If you want more reliability get a revolver.

        • Another over-hyped “weakness” from which all semi-autos suffer.

          I can fire my defensive Glocks with a one-finger grip (the middle finger, to be precise) with perfect reliability, so as in many other things, I’m not too concerned about this supposed problem.

        • I ran 1000 rounds through my Springfield MILSPEC without cleaning it just to see how far I could go without cleaning it. Not one hickup. I figured that was enough.

          The best 1911s for Carry are in the $700-$1000 range. They are meant to be shot and not babied for competition. A lot of shooters by these guns and customize them for competition. Then they break and the platform gets blamed.

        • I’ve put several thousand rounds through my mil-spec Springfield 1911 and never had a malfunction.

        • “What you want is a gun that is reliable for 3 rounds, for 3 seconds, and 3 feet” and if you need more, what then? Maybe you used up that 3 rounds at the range, and on the way home, you needed 3 more!

        • tdiinva and Mike in OK,

          Unless those rounds were all your carry load, they mean almost nothing when it comes to screening your gun for carry reliability. FMJ/RN target/range ammo at low to medium velocities will not test how well sharp-edged JHPs will ride up the ramp and chamber, whether the mags can “keep up” with the higher slide velocities produced by full-power defensive loads, or whether your pistol can extract and eject full-strength loads cleanly. You’d have been much better off (and learned much more about your carry system) to spend the same money on 100-200 rounds of carry ammo, and test that instead.

        • #gunr;

          What part of 1000 rounds between cleanings without failure don’t you get?

      • I carry a Glock. I also have used a Colt 1911 and Commander for years and have complete confidence in both those weapons. Reliability is not the reason I’m currently carrying a Glock.

        • I keep hearing a lot of good things about the CZ P07 – it’s routinely referred to as “The best pistol nobody knows about”. I would almost put the FNX-45 in that category – I treat it worse than my lawnmower and it keeps humming along. Only downside on the FNX is you must have Cro-Magnon hands to hold it. A full size 1911 or Glock actually looks small in my catchers mitts, so the FNX is to scale for me, but too big for EDC. I’m definitely going to look into a CZ.

          • A colleague of mine bought an FNX is cracked its plasticy frame behind the trigger guard at 4,000 rounds. Another friend bought a CZP07. He found the accuracy level far, far below that of his CZ75.

          • I have medium to large hands. The FNX feels extremely comfortable and not large at all. It is a double stack .45 but the grip is square, not wasting space on ergonomics. I hate anything ergonomic. To me, it feels like gripping a tennis racket.

        • +1000….cz’s work for me. With that said, I see more glocks and 1911’s go down during competitions than anything else. BUT, after the talking with these people, they worked on the guns themselves…. Oh ok…that explaines a lot. Normally, no issues with stock glocks or 1911’s, or those that were worked on professionally. I think most guns are reliable these days. But in the end, I’ve had the best luck with 3 cz’s so I will carry on. Find what works for you a.carry it…be safe..

        • Most amateur gunsmithing is right there with a DIY home open heart surgery kit – just a bad idea across the board. Every class I’ve been in a class where a Glock has gone down was where they plucked all the stock stuff out of it and randomly replaced it with aftermarket items not fitted for the gun. I wonder why it won’t run. I’ve shot 1911’s for years, but you must be locked on regarding their specific issues and maintenance or you will have problems eventually. Larry Vickers has a nice description of this. I once learned this sage wisdom from a class I took with a former career SF/Delta guy: “The pistol you train properly and frequently with is probably the most effective one for you.”

        • +1 on the CZ. My 75b has been customized with the omega trigger, short reset sear, slightly lower hammer spring, and longer firing pin to offset the lighter spring. Reliability is 99.999%. A couple years ago I used the Action Magic dry lube process on it and then ran 1500 rounds through it just to see what would happen. The gun didn’t miss a beat and I blew what little bit of crap off it that was visable. That sold me on a dry lube process for semi auto pistols. That gun is still my favorite range and hunting backup gun. I think John Browning’s high-power was the best design he came up with and CZ does a great copy of it. Its the only handgun I can hit a man size target with 95% of the time at 100 yards. If I had to pick one pistol to keep me safe no matter what its this pistol. To bad its just to big and heavy for EDC for me.

      • I have ripped through 250 rounds in average afternoons with my Kimber Grand Raptor. Except for that effin TULA it is very reliable. I’ve mixed “hock shop” combs of FMJ, ordinary HP and bonded defense. No mater the combo of loads it has yet to hiccup in 5 years due to regular cleaning and use of Slipstream lubes.


      • Nice reply. After reading the initial post a second time, I thought it should be retitled. “M1911 owner says ‘reliability is overrated.'” LOL.

  1. Interesting thought. I don’t live my life in fear. Sounds exhausting to plan out every detail of your day to be sure to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actually, to me it sounds impossible. Even locations that people believe are safe and “Gun free” can be dangerous at times. A church shooting comes to mind.

    For me, reliability is a huge issue. I would never carry a SideArm that I believe to be unreliable. That would be unresponsible and maybe dangerous.

    • True, but there is not really such a thing as an inherently UNreliable mid to top shelf handgun these days. Most of them have performance records that WWII era pistols would kill for. I think the author is talking about having a safety margin in accuracy be more important than a safety margin in reliability.

      • I agree that (overall) the pistols are very good nowadays, but it is only one part of the defensive combo. There is enough off-the-wall/weird ammo available that you can take a perfectly good pistol and choke it into unreliability with crappy ammo. Or fill it with good ammo and never clean or lube it, carrying it until it gets so dry/dusty/rusty it will not shoot more than one shot reliably.

        People need to shoot their carry pistol with their carry load at least a couple of times a year, and make sure the combo of gun/ammo/maintenance is still producing reliable results. If not, diagnose the problem and fix it, or use another combo altogether.

        • Oh, I 100% agree. But let’s be honest, after a certain point, it’s all fanwank. We’re not Army SEAL Ranger Team Six Recon tactical operators operating strategically in a high speed environment. We’re not going to be shooting these guns for ten million rounds without cleaning, while buried in molten lava… on the Moon.

          My friends mock me because I normally carry either a P99 or PPK/S, but while neither gun has the reputation of a Glock, they have worked 100% for me, and I don’t expect to be baking them into any cakes any time soon.

        • If your pistol works 100% or the time (really) with your carry load, and you shoot it regularly (twice a year?) with that load, then I wouldn’t criticize it at all, no matter what it is. What we are talking about is giving up ANY increased level of reliability for some smidgen of accuracy, or a pretty blue finish, or nicely checkered walnut grips, or any other non-contributing-to-effective-defensive-use feature.

        • But that’s not really true. if you read the article, it doesn’t dismiss reliability. It just states that since all handguns are more or less reliable these days, practical accuracy should take precedence over fanwank.

        • He says “I also shoot my gun often enough to know that it’s acceptably reliable. In other words, the chances are high that it will function when I need it to.”

          “Acceptably reliable” = not reliable. It either is, or it isn’t. Unless his definition of “acceptably reliable” is actually “reliable” (works all the time), in which case he invalidated the entire need for the article and his stated choice.

          He also says “Again, I value accuracy over reliability.” First, this is a false choice when it comes to practical accuracy of the type needed to defend your life. Second, it also implies, like the other statement, that his chosen pistol is not 100% reliable, or there would be no need to make this statement (or choice).

          I’ll say it again, as it bears repeating: giving up ANY level of reliability to gain any small amount of accuracy is false economy. Reliability is far more likely to have a practical effect on your defensive use than any perceived increase in square-range accuracy. If your reliable pistol flat isn’t accurate enough to meet your needs, find another gun (or try other ammunition, as this can make a big difference).

        • I took “acceptably reliable” to mean that any stoppages were related to issues that were identified and resolved. Robert is not an idiot. I tend to give an author the benefit of the doubt. My PPK/S used to have serious cycling issues where the slide wouldn’t return to battery. I did some work on it, changed the ammo, and it’s been running 100% for years.

        • Again, if his reliability problems had truly been solved, why would he feel like he had to choose between reliability and accuracy? Answer: he wouldn’t.

      • Clearly, I wasn’t clear enough in my post.

        I’m not arguing that reliability isn’t a factor. I’m saying that it’s one of many. Anyone who focuses on their equipment, generally, more than their awareness, training and technique, generally, is making a great landing at the wrong airport.

        Most guns are hugely reliable. What are the odds that your EDC will MALF at the exact moment you need it? Low. Really low. So . . .

        If most guns are acceptably reliable, then the criteria for carrying it should place reliability lower on the scale than comfort and accuracy. For me.

        • But RF, aren’t most guns, even the lowly Hi-Point, also sufficiently accurate for DGU purposes? As I said elswewhere, it would take a HUGE accuracy fail in a DGU situation to equal a “normal” reliability fail. Why would you give up “significant” (your words) reliability advantage in favor of meaningless accuracy improvement?

        • Well– your first three variables don’t apply to firearm selection. Your fourth is the first addressing a point where you might compromise in selecting between firearms that meet your minimum reliability criteria. You would choose the one that you shoot better while on the move vice one that was more reliable than your minimum.

          Similarly, you make a good point about choosing (again assuming several meet a minimum reliability) the holster/weapon combo that you can draw more quickly.

          I think the compromise decision also comes into play in terms of concealability. That is, choosing the holster/weapon combo based on ability to conceal under particular conditions being more important than some increase in reliability over the minimum acceptable.

        • I think you were clear. I chose m&p 9 core for reliability over accuracy. And it is highly reliable, but not nearly as accurate. Both are accurate and reliable enough to count on. 1911s are just so 2nd kind of cool.

  2. The first thing a gun must be is reliable. The most precise weapon or the best accessories in the world are useless if the gun doesn’t go bang when the trigger is pulled. I love my USP for this reason. The thing is built like a tank and I can put holes through holes.

    • No matter the number of firearms that are what you would call reliable, it still must be the first priority in a EDC gun. Just because you have more choices and the selection is easier to make, doesn’t push reliability out of the most important consideration.

    • Reliability is so high amongst modern pistols that it’s no longer THE issue for gun selection. IMHO.

      I’d buy any GLOCK, Springfield, H&K, Walther, FN, Smith & Wesson or other mainstream brand with confidence that it would go bang when needed.

      Yes, I’d test it. And maintain it. But I wouldn’t worry about a failure. Nor freak if one happened. Persistent failure? Yes, of course I’d get it fixed or get rid of it.

      I’ve only encountered two handguns that didn’t work. The Cabot and a Smith & Wesson 686 where the lock failed. Both were fixed and tested (by me) and I’d carry either without hesitation.

      • I have a Walther P99 with a tight chamber and it is not reliable with all types of ammo. I have a Walther P88 which is even worse.

        • are your pistols reliable with any ammo choice? if not, would those pistols be marked for self-defense? does ‘reliability’ mean a pistol must be capable of shooting any proper caliber ammo you might find lying about on the ground amidst a gunfight?

          there are 1911s that have a reputation for being bad choices, no matter who has it. that does not make the 1911 type ‘unreliable’. it means that a 1911 should be from a manufacturer who demonstrates they produce a 1911 that runs great, has a 6-sigma manufacturing capability, is sold in numbers greater than those proven unreliable, is used by a recognized competition team, can be used right out of the box, feeds whatever ammo the user depends on, can go 35,000rds or more without cleaning….that sort of thing. if one is contemplating a 1911 that is not as reliable as a block, do not buy that 1911. all the complaints about 1911s generally relate to some horror story long ago, or some weapon known for being poorly manufactured, or is known to not feed any ammo with regularity.

          as to limited magazine capacity, how many civilian (i mean, non-military/leo) gunfights have you read about/heard about where 15, 20 or 33 rounds were used? if you are gearing-up for the zombie apocalypse, i guess it is a good plan to have massive firepower because under that sort of stress there is likely to be a bunch of misses.

          • My definition of reliability is a pistol that will fire all types of ammo without a burp. Reliability must also include working when dirty, frozen or over or under lubed as well. The gun must not crack its frame or slide at low round counts with any type of ammo. Its parts breakage must be zero for at least 20,000 rounds. Many modern guns will not go even 5,000 rounds.

            I have seen even 1911 guns go inert at 4,000 rounds due to the springs wearing out and what was even more amazing they were used with mostly cream puff mid range loads and the springs still went kaput.

            I have seen various brands of plastic pistols both high dollar and low dollar break right behind the trigger guard and at low round counts. Example: An H&K 40 S&W at 4,000 rounds. A plasticky .380 at 200 rounds.

            I have seen the Late model Browning High Power Break its slide back at the passive fire pin slot as well as the Beretta 92 break its slide as well as the Walther P38 break its slide.

            I have seen the S&W 39 break its cast safety more than on just one gun and I have seen the same gun break off its rear aluminum frame rails all at less than 5,000 rounds.

            I have seen the Sig .45 p220 German stamped sheet metal slide gun break its slide and ditto for its aluminum frame.

            I have seen the Kimber 1911 break its slide stop but remember this is a cast part not the high quality forged part that Colt used to use which never gave me any breakage.

            I have seen the front sight fall off the Tanfogleo TZ 9mm. I have seen the Tanfogleo sear fail on the TZ 9mm in a brand new gun.

            I have seen the inner ejector rod on a S&W model 29 mushroom out inside its sleeve and jam up the cylinder on a gun with less than 250 rounds out of it.

            I have Seen the expensive Colt Python go out of time in less than 2,000 rounds.

            I have seen the H&R 929 jam its empties in the cylinder and refuse to eject until the guns cylinder cooled down and even then you had to beat the empty cases out of the cylinder.

            I have seen the P38 blow off its stamped sheet metal top cover taking away some of the inner workings with it. I have seen the P38 lose its extractor under recoil.

            I have seen the German Luger crack its breach block.

            I have seen the Polish Radom break its firing pin.

            I have seen the Browning High power break its firing pin and the 1911 get its extractor out of whack because the operator did not feed rounds out of the magazine but occasionally dropped a live round directly into the chamber which screwed up the bend in the extractor.

            I have seen the glock magazine fly apart when it hit the ground loaded scattering live rounds all over the pavement because the plasticky magazine flexed when it hit the concrete. This is one reason Glock redesigned the magazine floor plate catch with the new detent button located in the middle of the floor plate. Hopefully this cured the problem.

            I have seen magazine springs in various auto pistols weaken in a very short period of time when left loaded which caused feeding problems both in plasticky pistols and even in the 1911 as well.

            I wish I could find some of these modern reliable miracle weapons everyone here seems to tell me are as common as leaves on trees. In my neck of the woods I have yet to find one of any brand that fills that bill.

            The smart man buys his defense gun and tests it with the ammo he will use for about 200 rounds, then cleans the gun and never shoots it again. The more you shoot it the more likely the pistol which is a machine is more likely to break. When practicing use an alternate gun that you will never use for self defense. I think today this is more necessary than ever since many manufactures are now using MIM cast parts. If you have not heard about these parts then you have not kept up on what has been happening in the gun industry with some people like Detonics and Seecamp refusing to use any MIM cast parts in their guns. Does yours have them?

            • all forged steel.

              not sure why any gun needs to be able to flawlessly use any ammo manufactured for caliber. has there been a civilian self-defense situation where either opponent needed to scrounge the ground or building for more ammo, hoping to find something that would keep them in the fight. my thinking is avoid guns that have notable and recent significant episodes of failure (taurus, tang, kimber, amer classic, etc). find s/d ammo your gun uses well, and stick to it. my 1911 has a diet of random sources and weights; no problems. do 1911s fail, do their internals cause problems? have read such. but also read the same for the striker crowd. i have only sampled 9 different types of handguns; 1911 is the most successful for me (btw i like the idea of a real gun and a practice gun; great justification for a new one). there are a couple more i can get comfortable with, and not hesitate to edc. i just don’t want to switch back and forth between fire control systems, hoping to remember which is which when the crisis comes.

      • I know people are flipping out about this in the comment section, but i think you hit the nail on the head with this article.

        People say things like “i only trust brand X, because they’re the only manufacturer who makes guns reliable enough for me” all the time. Even though reliability differences between major manufacturers are negligible.

        When something truely unreliable comes onto the market, it doesn’t last. When the R51 released , people called it out for being shit within days, and the gun was recalled within a few months.

        If a firearm is still in production, its reliable enough.

        • As a group, that is true, but even within a group of reliable guns, you can find one or more less-reliable examples.

          People should test THEIR gun, with THEIR carry load, and use those results to determine whether or not THEIR gun system is reliable. Then they should re-rest it over time, to make sure it remains reliable (parts wear, ammo changes, and maybe your gun is not being lubed well enough or often enough; you’ll only find out by checking it periodically by shooting it).

        • Sorry, but anything you can say about the overall reliability of modern handguns you can say about overall accuracy, particularly in reference to the relatively mundane degree of accuracy that is really necessary in DGU-type situations. At this point, I am seeing the argument as conceptual rather than practical (as someone else noted, the general run of decent modern handguns are both “reliable enough” and “accurate enough” to successfully serve in DGU). And conceptually, the bullet has to leave the barrel before accuracy ever comes into play. I am now thinking it all comes down to this: Glocks are “accurate enough” as well as being “reliable”. RF’s 1911 is “reliable enough” in addition to being accurate. Both are “good enough”, then. RF prefers his 1911, but that is a matter of personal preference; to try to go beyond that and posit that, as a general matter, incremental increases in accuracy (insignificant in a DGU, essentially) are more important than incremental increases in reliability (again, insignificant once you reach a certain level of reliability, which pretty much all first-tier modern handguns have) is just puffing, and invites the kind of “angels on the head of a pin” back-and-forth that I found myself indulging in. But it is fun, up to a point, I guess.

  3. It’s all about probabilities. Nothing is absolute, except for Glocks. Glocks are absolute.

    I’m with you at least where defensive shotguns are concerned. If your autoloading shotgun isn’t reliable, get one that is. Buying a pump gun instead, for the sole reason of “reliability,” is foolish in my book.

    Defend your life with whatever tool you can use with confidence.

    • I don’t always expect my gun to go bang, but when I do…I choose Glock.

      Stay frosty my friends.

      • I own over a dozen Glocks, and I usually carry one (if I’m carrying at all). Glocks can have problems too, just like anything else; I’ve owned at least one that wasn’t reliable with any common defensive load, so I converted it to a range-only gun, useful only for target-shooting and for stoppage-clearing practice. Unreliable Glocks are much more rare than unreliable pistols of other types, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and the only way to find the “bad” ones is to shoot them regularly.

        Remember, too, that the gun is only one part of the combo; if you use crappy ammo, or by luck of the draw get a bad batch of ammo, the best pistol in the world can’t overcome it. Same thing for poor maintenance; if your Glock is clean and bone-dry, you’re asking for problems (if not in the first few rounds, then shortly after).

      • My plastic is Springfield and it is as reliable but it has a better trigger and is more accurate. However if you want to shoot 45 ACP there is no better platform than a 1911. Far superior trigger, more benign recoil so you will put more rounds on target in shorter period of time. And if you really want accuracy with a 9mm than there is no substitute for a Browning Hi Power.

        • Agreed on the reliability of the Croatian wonders. Pretty nice trigger, too.
          More accurate? That depends on how well you can handle a Glock trigger.

      • My plastic is Springfield and it is as reliable but it has a better trigger and is more accurate. However if you want to shoot 45 ACP there is no better platform than a 1911. Far superior trigger, more benign recoil so you will put more rounds on target in shorter period of time. And if you really want accuracy with a 9mm than there is no substitute for a Browning Hi Power.

  4. “reliability is only one variable in a defensive gun use, and far from the most important one . . .” you need to put down the pipe and step away. I guess you guys sometimes just write stuff to get a reaction or to see if anyone is listening/reading. Accuracy is just like great customer service…neither is worth a intercourse if your gun goes down and you are up to your neck in bad guys.

    • I don’t care about reliability either. I think a gun should be satiny and blemish free first. Then, I want it to be clean and lubed. I hate carrying a dirty gun. Third, a gun should have adjustable sights and excellent checking or stippling. I prefer guns with big billboards on the side so everybody knows what I’m OC without having to ask. Also, did I get it on sale? That’s huge in determining if I carry it! Most gun fights never happen and the first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun.
      In fact, this is how I practice: tap, rack, tap, rack, tap, rack, tap, rack, tap, rack, tap, rack, tap, rack, reload. I’m not dead yet. Must be doing something right.

  5. I understand the point that weapon reliability is not the prime consideration in the whole scheme of self-defense, but it is, in my opinion, the most important matter regarding the gun itself. With that said I don’t think the 1911 is inherently unreliable, but it is far more demanding in terms of maintenance and fine tuning than are modern designs. If you are willing to spend significant time at the bench the 1911 is still a perfectly viable defensive gun. It is still the top dog for shoot-ability, but it is a commitment to keep it running reliably. If you are willing to make the commitment it is an awesome gun.

  6. Usually your articles are on point, but in this case I completely and unequivocally disagree.

    I define my gun’s reliability as the confidence I have that when I pull the trigger, the gun will go bang. Until the gun is actually drawn, you are not in a defensive gun use situation, so variables 1-3 are not applicable in a DGU but rather negate the DGU completely. It is certainly possible that you may be able to draw the gun and point it at a perpetrator (variable 4) and in doing so, intimidate him/her into surrender or flight. But all the accuracy and shot placement in the world (variable 5) won’t help if the bullet doesn’t leave the chamber when you pull that trigger.

    Is there a such thing as 100% reliability in a handgun? Of course not. But if I’m not confident in a gun’s reliability, it doesn’t matter how accurate I am, it doesn’t matter how fast I can fire and get back on target, I’m simply not carrying the gun.

    • William,

      Mr. Farago is NOT advocating that people carry defective handguns. Rather, he is prodding people to think about other extremely important variables of self-defense that many people overlook.

      The generally accepted wisdom is that a self-defense handgun should exhibit no more than 1 failure (failure to feed, extract, stove-pipe, go into battery, light primer strike, etc.) in every 200 shots with your self-defense ammunition. Fewer failures is frosting on the cake. If someone thinks their particular handgun will exhibit even fewer failures, great! Either way, the chances of a handgun failure causing you to loose an attack are acceptably low. And more importantly, less critical than the other factors like avoiding stupid people/places/times, maintaining situational awareness, and the king of all factors — MOVING if an attack occurs (e.g. “getting off the X” as many people say).

      • Mr. Farago clearly stated in the article “I value accuracy over reliability”, which I believe is not only a false choice, but a darn poor one. Accuracy is only a factor after the bullet leaves the barrel, therefore the pistol must be reliable before we can even BEGIN to discuss accuracy. If it isn’t reliable, try different magazines or ammo, or get a new pistol and start over with your testing.

        It all begins with reliability, and either it is, or it isn’t. Period.

  7. In my view, reliability is by far the most important feature of a defensive gun. If you need it and it goes click, nothing else about the gun matters, except how well you can throw it.

    • “except how well you can throw it.” This ; P

      Don’t practice this with range guns. They will kill you.

      : )

    • To somewhat quote Joe Biden here…

      “Buy a Hi-Point, buy a Hi-Point!”

      Now you have a funny shaped brick that occasionally can fire a bullet or two.

    • ok, so my 1911 doesn’t fail even once every 200rds (should i get a different one?). samples of my 1911 are used in competition, and have not failed in 10s of thounds of rounds. am i overlooking something to believe my 1911 is reliable?

  8. Wow really? I don care how accurate your 1911 is if you cant rely on it! Reliability is by far the most important feature of a defensive gun!

    • You can rely on any decent 1911. If a gun is basically reliable extra reliability versus extra accuracy becomes a value judgement.

      • That only applies if you judge reliability on a linear scale.

        If you judge it as pass/fail, either it is or it isn’t, there is no “extra reliability” or value judgement to be made.

        • That would be silly. There is no such thing as 100% reliability. As such, binarizing the value makes no sense. Is gun A that’s 99.9975% reliable a liability compared to gun B that’s 99.998%? What if Gun A is significantly more accurate?

          Combat value is a combination of effectiveness, availability, and reliability. You’re taking the Soviet approach that reliability is the ultimate deciding factor. (That’s the mentality that led to the AK series.) Robert is willing to trade a sliver of reliability for an increase in accuracy. (That’s how we got the AR series.) I’m willing to take a slight hit to both in favor of a gun I can routinely carry and conceal.

        • Accuracy only matters once the bullet leaves the barrel.

          The bullet you never get to shoot due to a stoppage cannot be considered an “accurate shot”, so reliability MUST take priority over accuracy. Period.

          Guns are good enough nowadays that we no longer have to trade-off practical accuracy for reliability. 2-inch tighter groups at 25 yards isn’t needed to defend your life.

          Especially when you take into account that you may only get once chance, one single moment, to defend your life, knowingly choosing a pistol that might not allow you to take advantage of all your training and super-duper accuracy due to it being jammed seems more than a little bit silly. It’s irresponsible, in my opinion.

          It all starts with finding the most reliable gun/ammo combo possible, or everything else is potentially wasted.

          “If it doesn’t go ‘BANG!’ when you need it, you might not ever need it again.”

        • But the point remains that all the “reliability” rep that Glocks have is surplus to requirement. We’re not going to abuse them nearly that much. It does not matter to me that a Glock will fire submerged in lava while my P99 won’t. I don’t plan to be shooting submerged in lava. I do, however, plan on being able to hit what I’m shooting at, which I am far better at doing with my P99 than I am with my Glock 19.

        • If your P99 is reliable with your carry load, then that’s not what I am talking about. What I’m talking about is HIS pistol/ammo combo in the article, where he says “Again, I value accuracy over reliability”, firmly implying that (with that pistol and his chosen ammo) he feels he must chose between the two. Not that he had some stoppages when submerging his pistol in lava, but that he’s seen stoppages on the range in the course of normal firing/training.

          THAT’S the problem — thinking that any small increase in accuracy is worth ANY decrease in reliability.

          It’s not.

        • pwserge,

          “It does not matter to me that a Glock will fire submerged in lava while my P99 won’t.”

          I love it. I am still laughing out loud. You sir win the Intertubez for the day!

        • NineShooter,

          You are failing to consider the reliability of the ENTIRE SYSTEM which consists of both the firearm and the operator. A firearm which goes bang every time and never hits the attacker is an unreliable system. A firearm which hits the attacker every time it goes bang but only goes bang once out of every 7 times the operator squeezes the trigger is an unreliable system.

          The ideal system goes bang every time the operator squeezes the trigger and hits the attacker every time. A reduction in the frequency of either event (going bang and hitting the attacker) is a reduction in the reliability of the system.

          Thus, a system where the operator hits the attacker 9 out of 10 times and the gun goes bang 49 out of 50 times is much more reliable than a system where the operator hits the attacker 5 out of 10 times and the gun goes bang 999 out of 1000 times. Get it?

          Now, I didn’t include any possible benefit of a system where the gun goes bang and misses the attacker and nevertheless psychologically stops the attacker. That would be yet another factor for each person to consider. At any rate, I wanted to illustrate that going bang isn’t the only factor to consider.

        • MORE false choices.

          You cannot evaluate the accuracy of the system, until the system functions. Poor accuracy is one thing, but a failure to fire is ALWAYS a miss, a failure to stop, a chance for the opponent to score a life-altering (or life-ending) hit.

          You also falsely equate a complete failure to fire (reliability) with a failure to hit the target due to accuracy problems. No one is saying folks should use highly inaccurate pistols, nor do any pistols with this level of accuracy problems exist in our world. I’ve seen and owned some really, REALLY poor-shooting handguns, but they ALL would hit a person-size target at 3-5 yards, given the correct guidance by the shooter. The “accuracy” that Robert is referring to is either his personal level of accuracy with a particular pistol type (which can be improved with training), or is a totally meaningless fraction of the comparative group sizes of the pistols he’s tried on a square range under calm conditions, which has NO bearing on how well they would shoot or perform under defensive conditions.

          I believe Robert carried a Glock for a time when his Caracal went down, so he simply can’t be THAT bad with it that he’d be worried about missing an entire person-sized target, so I’m leaning toward the inconsequential-fraction-of-an-inch-more-accurate theory, which should have NO BEARING on defensive gun selection.

        • NineShooter,

          I used the extremes to illustrate the point that the reliability of the handgun-operator system is what matters. You keep stating, incorrectly, that the only outcome that matters is whether or not a handgun goes bang because you assume, incorrectly, that all operators only care about engagements at 3-5 feet.

          And I am telling you that the outcome which actually matters is whether the operator can place accurate hits that will stop their attacker at the engagement distances that the operator expects to encounter. If an operator wants the capability to stop attackers during engagements at 40 yards, a firearm that goes bang every time is useless if the operator cannot place accurate shots on their attacker at 40 yards.

          Look at this very simple and very realistic real world example. Suppose an operator is considering handgun A and handgun B. Handgun A always goes bang when the operator squeezes the trigger. And the operator is able to put 1 out of 10 shots on human attacker sized targets at 40 yards. Handgun B goes bang 98 out of 100 times when the operator squeezes the trigger. And the operator is able to put 9 out of 10 shots on human attacker sized targets at 40 yards. Which is a better choice for that operator? The obvious answer is handgun B which goes bang 98 out of 100 times and with which the operator can place 9 out of 10 shots on target.

          Saying it another way in that previous example, there is a higher probability that the operator will stop the attacker faster with handgun B than with handgun A, even though handgun B only goes bang 98 out of 100 times. If you only expect engagements at contact distance, then yes, accuracy is irrelevant and the most sensible option is to choose the handgun that goes bang the most often. When accuracy is relevant for longer engagements, the handgun that enables the operator to place the most shots on target is the best choice.

          Each operator has to decide which engagements they are most likely to encounter and prioritize proper cycling versus accuracy accordingly. If they find a solution that delivers both proper cycling and accuracy — great! If not, well they can evaluate and decide.

        • Accuracy is more than mechanical accuracy, 1911s despite being more mechanically accurate are also more practically accurate. The Glock grip angle with the fulcrim trigger leads to most right handed shooters throwing shots left. That can mean the difference from a centermass fight stopping hit and a hit on a shoulder or grazing the rib cage at handgun distances beyond bad breath range (40-50 feet). Most people can pick up a 1911 and shoot it more accurately than a Glock. Most people can pick up a CZ and shoot it about as well as a 1911 and better than a Glock.

        • uncommon_sense,

          40 yard defensive handgun shots are “very realistic”? *snort*
          Fact is, to try to even make this faintly equal, you had to stretch the range to a ridiculous engagement distance. Fail.

          A failure to fire means 0 out of 10 hits, and giving your opponent much more of a chance to hit YOU while you clear the stoppage or go to plan B. And that’s AFTER you realize there is a stoppage, which may take far longer than you expect. As a trainer, I’ve seen folks pull the trigger again and again on a jammed pistol, not immediately realizing that they were no longer firing shots. How do you figure THAT kind of problem into your stats?

          It all starts with reliability. If a person had gone so far as to figure the reliability stats you quoted, the same smart person would have tried different ammo or switched guns to get the same (or better) reliability out of the good-shooting gun.

          There is no reason to have to choose between accuracy and reliability in this day and age. Start with reliability, and find a reliable gun/ammo combo you can shoot well. Again, a “click” is ALWAYS 0 out of 10 hits, AND THEN letting the bad guy have one or more chances to kill you.

        • NineShooter,

          Yes, some people could realistically expect 40+ yard engagements. I do. It all depends on where you are and what you do.

          And a failure to extract is one miss, not 10 misses. If you want to add a time element to the model, if an operator needs 4 seconds to clear a failure to feed and that operator normally shoots 1 carefully aimed shot every 2 seconds, then you could say a failure to feed is equivalent to 3 misses, not 10 misses, because the operator would clear the malfunction and be firing again.

          Furthermore, who is to say that a handgun which only goes bang 98 out of 100 times will fail on the first shot? It could fail on the 5th shot or the 8th shot. Meanwhile, if you hit your intended target 9 out of 10 shots with a decisive fight-stopping hit, either your first or second shot should have connected and stopped your attacker. The fact that your handgun would have failed on the 5th or 8th shot had you kept shooting is irrelevant since you never needed to put that many shots on target. Now contrast that with the handgun that always goes bang and with which the operator only hits their intended target 1 out of 10 shots. They might connect on the 1st shot or the 5th shot or the 8th shot or it might take 10 shots to stop their attacker. In simple terms, using the less reliable handgun, you are almost guaranteed to stop the attacker within 2 seconds (on the first shot). With the perfectly reliable handgun, you are almost guaranteed to need 10 seconds stop the attacker (on the fifth shot on average). I’ll take almost guaranteed to stop the attacker within 2 seconds over almost guaranteed to stop the attacker within 10 seconds every time.

          In other words, you have to look at the probability of a desired outcome as well as how long it takes (on average) to get your desired outcome. Fast misses are not a desired outcome.

        • Misses from a reliable pistol are worth far more than no firing from an unreliable one. Misses might encourage the opponent to keep their head down vs. returning fire, they can force movement which makes incoming fire less accurate/effective, they might even encourage the attacker to break off the attack completely.

          Standing around (or diving for cover) while trying to fix your pistol gets you none of these possible results.

          There is NO upside to having a less reliable pistol. NONE. And many, Many, MANY possible downsides. Any significant accuracy problems are far more likely to be shooter/stress-related than gun-related, and apply equally whether the pistol is reliable or not.

          You MAY be able to hit a target at 40 yards on a calm square range (I can, every single time, even with my box-stock Glocks), but I’d bet that level of SHOOTER accuracy goes right out the window when you’re on a two-way range, so making sure your pistol is capable of 40-yard accuracy at the cost of ANY increased level of reliability is a fool’s errand.

    • [humbly] I believe that the most important PD factor, is your familiarity with it. It could be a million dollar comp race gun that aims itself, if your hands haven’t held it too much, your brain is going to be performing (at least in some small way) a portion of that function, when it should just be telling your hands “now do like we said before”.

      May your weapon never fail your hands.

  9. For the reliability over all guys,

    It’s not like he is talking about a Jennings that is made out of Zinc. A well put together 1911 has been plenty reliable for many military and law enforcement users over the course of over a century. Is it as abuse tolerant as a Glock? No. Does that make it unreliable? Absolutely not. Reliable enough for the task at hand is a real thing. We don’t all drive Toyota Tacomas because they are the most reliable. We drive other vehicles that suit our needs and are acceptably, if not perfectly reliable.

    • Using military and law enforcement users as a stand-in for personal carriers is a poor comparison. Historically, those folks simply used what they were given — period. And in the case of military folks, if their weapon didn’t function reliably in wartime, they weren’t around to b!tch about it later.

      I personally don’t care how well a firearm has worked historically; I care about how well MY EXAMPLE OF IT works. I’ve seen a few Glocks that didn’t work reliably, so it’s not limited to 1911s or cheap/crappy guns, either. Bad guns happen; make sure yours isn’t one of them.

      Test your pistol and your carry ammo, and if it doesn’t work all the time, fix it or replace it. Full stop.

      • Way back when I qualified for my CHL, two guns completely failed on the range, instructor had to give the guys loaners to finish. One was a Glock, the other was a Charles Daly 1911. Your point is well taken here as far as “no 100% reliability”. But I’m happy with 99% out of my comblock milsurp.

      • Oh come on. There were PLENTY of guys still around to bitch about the M16 when it had reliability problems in Vietnam. Even if the guy who had the malfunction got killed, his buddy was there to bitch about it afterwards. If a military-issue gun is unreliable, there is always an uproar from the troops. If the 1911 were an unreliable piece of junk, we would have heard about. It would not have served for 80 years and survived two world wars in abysmal conditions if it were unreliable.

        You still have to choose the right tool for the job. A match-tuned 1911 is not the best choice for a defensive handgun. (Neither is a match-tuned Glock.) A lot of 1911’s on the market today are built to be target guns, so it’s buyer beware. A 1911 built to service specifications is a better choice. I would trust one as much as I would trust a Glock to go bang when I need it to.

        • “A 1911 built to service specifications is a better choice. I would trust one as much as I would trust a Glock to go bang when I need it to.”

          And if we were talking about 1911s built to service specs, feeding ball ammo, than I’d probably agree with you. But we’re not. Not in this day and age.

          When you see the “average” 1911 at the range nowadays, we’re talking about an “improved” 1911, built (usually) with lowest-bidder contract parts that in no way resemble original mil-spec parts, assembled in a foreign country by low-paid laborers unconcerned with anything but the most minor fitting, with a contract magazine made who-knows-where, not tested with the latest defensive loads (as they are quite different from the ball round that this design was made to function with).

          Even the expensive hand-fitted 1911s will often choke on certain loads, needing occasional tuning (extractor tension, for instance) or product-improved magazines to work reliably.

          If yours works with your carry loads, no problem; that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the line in the article where he says “Again, I value accuracy over reliability”, as if he has no choice but to choose between them. I say with modern pistols and ammo he shouldn’t have to choose, but even if he does end up being forced into making that choice, he should NEVER give up any level of reliability for some small increase in square-range accuracy.

        • As I said, you have to pick the right tool for the job. There are more variants of the 1911 on the market than any other gun. Some are built for self defense and carry and will be reliable with most ammunition types. Others are match guns with tight tolerances. And plenty more try to split the difference. Whatever gun you carry needs to be broken in and thoroughly tested with your defensive load.

          On your point of accuracy vs. reliability, I agree with you. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other with a modern defensive handgun, and that includes a well made 1911. If you need more accuracy than a reliable modern platform can deliver, then you are overestimating the need for accuracy.

  10. I don’t disagree with your carrying a 1911, but I disagree that reliability isn’t as important as you say. I sold my P3AT piece of crap because of reliability. I fully disclosed reliability issues. It wasn’t a problem because all P3ATs are pieces of shit.

  11. I use a Glock for a defensive handgun because of simplicity, not reliability. You pull the trigger, and it goes bang. A 1911 has various gadgets that must be manipulated before it will fire (unless you want to carry it safety off, hammer back, and grip safety taped down). I prefer the simplicity.

    Also, according to the published research, the vast majority of defensive gun uses happen at very short distances, so I’m not sure prioritizing accuracy makes all that much sense, from an objective standpoint.

    Ultimately, just carry what you like, and call it what it is: a personal preference. There’s no need to rationalize a personal preference or make it “right” or better.

    Now, just to fan the flames, ever notice how folks that don’t like Glocks are always coming up with and writing about reasons why their guns are better than Glocks, but people that like Glocks don’t do this.

  12. Reliability in a firearm doing its job when needed is the #1 criteria, if the weapon Goes South while headed North then is the time to improvise, adapt and overcome! yes you should have other means available, Pepper spray, collapsible baton, Belt with sharpened buckle, pocket knife, monkey fist , roll of dimes in a scarf etc, not trusting a carry weapon is like not being armed at all, Gee I have a problem here but maybe my weapon won’t work, so I’ll chose another weapon, this sounds defeatist

  13. IMRO (In My Retarded Opinion) Carry what your hands like. They know (so you might need to try a few). Your eyes can fool your brain, but your hands know pretty quick. One of the OP’s here (forgive me for not immediately recalling his name) even said it. Your hands know, just by picking up a weapon, what the quality is [although Kel-Tec Sub 2000’s can deceive you even there : ) ].
    Don’t just train your hip or appendix or your kidneys, or your ankle to ‘tolerate’ a holster. Carry your weapon around, out of your holster, in your hand while you are at home / alone, and do everything possible to make your hands as intimately familiar with your weapon as you can. Clear and safe your weapon. Verify function checks, disassemble and reassemble the weapon. Present / Point / Aim, with each hand. Practice reloading (semi’s) with empty mags. Inspect it, clean it, put it on safe and put ammo back in it.

    May your weapon never fail your hands.

  14. The cognitive dissonance required to say this:

    “Defending your life with a firearm is all about minimizing risk.”

    in the same breath as this:

    “And that’s why I’m not bothered about my gun’s reliability”

    Is about the same as an Hillary Clinton saying she supports the 2nd Amendment, but she supports banning assault weapons.

    Reliability is something you can control – why not minimize the risk of that too?

    Glocks aren’t the only ultra-reliable handguns out there that are better than 1911s.

    • I was going to say the exact same thing, but since you said it first, I’m going to just echo your comment.

      When it positively, absolutely has to go “bang” the first (and second, and third) time(s), then grab a DA revolver.

      There’s no “tap, rack, bang” drill on a DA revolver. There’s no FTF, there’s no stovepipe, there’s no magazine issue. There’s also no safety to disengage, (at least on the pre-lock S&W’s, and Colts, etc).

      DA revolvers: The “original point-and-click interface.”

      • They are also difficult enough to shoot with their long/heavy trigger pulls on a short/light handgun that many shooters will actually miss a full-size target at defensive distances. And once you miss a few times, that lack of capacity comes into play. Not to mention that revolvers are only as reliable as the ammo you stuff into them; ever had a bullet back out of the case and prevent further rotation of the cylinder? You are DONE when that happens, as it did to me with my very expensive titanium S&W 337 PD (happened on the range, thankfully; another example of why we must test all guns with our carry loads).

        I carried a revolver for Uncle Sam for a decade, and shot PPC-style combat courses for many years, so I know the accuracy and reliability of a good revolver. But I also know that ease of hitting the target (trigger pull), capacity before reloading, and ease of reloading should it be needed, all favor the autoloading pistol over the revolver. I’ll not speak ill of a person who carries a good revolver if they can hit with it, but the vast majority of people simply CANNOT hit with it. Even those of us who CAN shoot a wheelgun well can still see and want the advantages in a good reliable autoloading pistol.

        • Which is where I think RF is on point that the gun is only one component in the self defense system. Weapon, ammo, holster, and operator.

          He doesn’t get into the cost/resources issue but I inferred that putting money into training and improving the operator component of the system is more important than some increase in reliability over what most modern firearms already provide.

        • NineShooter,

          In our other long thread where we went back and forth, you argued that reliability is all that matters and accuracy/ability to put rounds on target are irrelevant. Now you are saying that reliability isn’t so important as being able to put rounds on target. Which is it?

          What you are really arguing is that a person needs to balance reliability with their ability to shoot a particular firearm accurately … which is also what I was arguing. Saying it another way, we are both arguing that a firearm needs to be “reliable enough” as well as “accurate enough” for the particular operator and their intended application. While double-action revolvers are uber reliable, many people cannot shoot them accurately so they would be an unwise choice for some.

          Firearms like Glocks that are reliable may fit the bill much of the time … and sometimes they won’t if the operator cannot shoot them accurately at the engagement distances that they anticipate. Sure, Glocks themselves have ample inherent accuracy. That doesn’t change the fact that some operators cannot shoot Glocks accurately — just like some operators cannot shoot double-action revolvers accurately. IF that is the case, a Glock would be an unwise choice for that operator.

          In the final analysis, one size does NOT fit all. It is up to each person to evaluate their skills, ability to master malfunction drills, their actual marksmanship at the distances where they want to be able to engage an attacker, how much ammunition they think they need to survive an attack, and how they want to carry — e.g. concealed versus open, inside versus outside waste band, etc.

        • uncommon_sense, you’re doing your very best to put words into my mouth, but I know what I’ve said. You may well be interpreting what I’ve said in that manner, but it is definitely NOT what I have been saying. Pay attention this time:

          There is no reason to accept a less-reliable pistol to gain a small increase in accuracy. Virtually all pistols, both in a general sense and including all specific examples (with some simple ammo-testing), are accurate enough for personal defensive use, if the shooter is up to the task. If the shooter’s lack of accuracy (as in panicked trigger-slapping) is the problem, then any minor improvement in the gun’s mechanical accuracy will NOT fix that problem. Then you’ll have misses AND less reliability.

          If any one person, who has used any specific platform (revolver, for instance) for decades, has learned to master and use it effectively, then telling them they have to change to an auto because “That’s what all the cool kids are doing” is counterproductive. They have a level of confidence in their choice, built up by long use and practice, that they would probably never achieve with an auto in their remaining years. However, that doesn’t mean we tell the new shooters that DA revolver shooting skills are the path they should be pursuing.

          Along the same lines, we should NOT be telling ANYONE that they should gladly accept a lower level of reliability in defensive autoloading pistols to get some slightly higher level of mechanical accuracy that they can probably never take advantage of in a real-world situation. Yes, some folks will be able to take advantage of a more accurate pistol than other folks. And if they can find a more-accurate pistol that is equally reliable as the less-mechanically-accurate one, and they can demonstrate a likely ability to be able to actually USE that increased accuracy, then they should use that more-accurate pistol.

          However, if they cannot find a pistol with equal or better reliability than the less-accurate one, they should NEVER, EVER trade ANY reduced level of reliability for slightly better accuracy. They don’t NEED to (there are other ways to address this type of problem; new ammo, new mags, accuracy tuning, whatever), they certainly shouldn’t WANT to (it is counterproductive, as you can’t make up for poor reliability with better accuracy), and for us (or anyone) to allow the problem to be framed as “this vs that” is doing everyone a disservice. YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE — YOU CAN HAVE BOTH, as long as your standards for both are realistic.

          And to be clear — reliability testing is NOT 1000 rounds of FMJ/target loads through your pistol. It’s 100-200 rounds of your selected carry ammo. If that doesn’t work reliably, get new mags, try again. If it still doesn’t work, get new ammo, try again. If it STILL doesn’t work, and you think it’s a gun-specific-example problem (a lemon of an otherwise good/reliable pistol type), you can try another pistol of the same (or a similar) model. Finally, you can try a gunsmithing solution; but for me, after trying new mags, new ammo, and new gun of the same model, I’m probably jumping to a new platform at that point in time. To that gun I’d say Buh-bye, see ya later, don’t let the door hit ya where JMB split ya.

          Please note, I’m not arguing for Glocks, here; find what works all the time and use it.

        • NineShooter,

          I get that you prioritize reliability over accuracy and I see a lot of merit in that. I also see a lot of merit in prioritizing accuracy over reliability. Failing to stop an attacker is failing to stop an attacker. Failing to put shots on target is failing to put shots on target. Whether a defender fails to put shots on target because they cannot hit their attacker or because the slide didn’t go into battery, they still failed to put shots on target.

          Sure, in a perfect world, a person can invest the significant amount of time and money it takes to overcome their inability to put rounds on target and focus only on reliability. In the real world where someone is not willing to invest the significant amount of time and money it takes to overcome their inability to put rounds on target, a slightly less reliable gun that they can shoot much more accurately may very well be a better choice for them.

          The key here is degrees. A gun that is a lot more reliable and which the operator shoots only slightly less accurately is an obvious choice. A gun that is slightly less reliable and which the operator shoots a lot more accurately is also an obvious choice if the operator will not invest the time and money to overcome their inability to shoot the more reliable gun accurately. A gun that is slightly more reliable with which the operator shoots slightly less accurately versus a gun that is slightly less reliable with which the operator shoots slightly more accurately: who knows. That might come down to other factors, such as which one conceals better, is more comfortable, or costs less. At that point you would be splitting hairs.

          At any rate, I don’t think it reflects reality to say that everyone can always acquire a more reliable handgun. Many people have external constraints that severely limit their choices. For those people, choosing the best handgun could be a difficult process and I can envision situations where some of those people may accept a slight reduction in reliability for a large gain accuracy.

          Take a real world example. A person struggling financially finally scrapes together $200 to purchase a used firearm from the local small town gun store. Their only options are a subcompact semi-auto pistol and a full size semi-auto pistol. The subcompact pistol always fires when you squeeze the trigger. But due to its poor trigger, extremely short sight radius, feeble sight (a groove machined into the slide), and sloppy lockup into battery, the operator can only hit human size targets on 10% of their shots at their maximum expected engagement distance. The full size semi-auto pistol suffers from light primer strikes about once per 100 rounds. But due to its excellent trigger, long sight radius, quality adjustable sights, and consistent lockup into battery, the operator can hit human size targets on 80% of their shots at their maximum expected engagement distance. If I were that person, I would take the full size semi-auto and accept the fact that it will fail to go bang once every hundred rounds … as well as accept the fact that I can actually hit an attacker 80% of the time at maximum range. Someone else may opt for the subcompact and accept the fact that they will typically miss their attacker at maximum range and hope that their “suppression fire” is good enough. To each his own.

        • @uncommon sense I don’t think the example you give is even remotely fair. You are talking about drastically different (accuracy wise) pistols as opposed to accepting a failure rate of one percent, with the failure being the EASIEST sort of malfunction to clear (rack the slide), particularly since you specified the gun won’t ever jam or fail to go into battery (which is the endemic problem with many 1911s).

          In that lopsided a comparison, where you simply CANNOT hit with the crappy shooter, yes I’d go with the full size. But that’s not what’s being discussed by Robert; it’s two acceptably accurate guns, with the more overkill-accurate gun being less reliable than the less accurate (but still accurate enough) one.

          There’s never a principle for which you cannot imagine a case so ridiculously off kilter it ends up being violated. That’s all you’ve managed to demonstrate here. What it has to do with what Robert F chose to do is beyond me.

  15. I carry a Glock 1st gen model 17 ((mm) for warm weather and a 1911-A1 in .45 for cold weather. Both guns have been utterly reliable in my hands, and I choose the 1911 for cold weather to better penetrate multiple layers of clothing with full metal jacket “hardball” ammo and still make a big hole.

  16. “Never give a weapon a second chance.” — Dr. No (the book)

    Whatever the odds are, there is a strong psychological component to equipment reliability. If I doubt, however slightly, the reliability of my gun when I draw it, how will that impact my response?

    I have sold two guns that gave me chronic trouble. These guns have stellar reputations for most people, but for whatever reason, they gave me trouble. Why put up with that?

  17. Levels of reliability are important.

    If your gun runs smoothly without issue through all the ammo you feed it great.
    I won’t carry a gun that won’t do that.

  18. With all due respect; I used to feel the same way about 1911s and Glocks. Then I realized that having a reliable gun was more important than what other people thought of me.

  19. Robert’s particular 1911 is a rather expensive example of that gun type, and I must believe that a good bit of the premium went towards reliability.

    Also, Robert’s daily schedule does not appear to involve dragging himself and his gun through sand and mud or doing other dirty activities which could jam a more finicky gun. Given his gun’s cost, I must assume it’s fairly well cared for.

    So – given all that – while Glocks are more reliable (or perhaps one should say more resilient under extreme mistreatment), in Robert’s circumstances Glock’s edge in reliability doesn’t really come into play.

    Or to put it another way, he’s giving up a heoretical reliabiliy edge, but not a practical one.

  20. I think the point is being missed here. I think where he is going is that the best way to deal with armed confrontation is to try and avoid it in the first place.

    • But you don’t even need a gun to do that, so why even mention firearm reliability if that’s the point?

  21. Reliability is not the issue with a 1911, it is the grip safety!!! And for every “It’s a training issue” comment, just let me say this. At the range is WAY different that a defensive situation. You are relying on getting a good grip on the firearm. A good grip is not always going to happen. Personally how I hold a 1911 in a defensive situation is not how I would hold it in competition. At a match i have my thumb over the safety as I get higher hold and better accuracy and recoil management. The problem is that with the thumb up higher, I get less pressure on the grip safety and if i do it wrong, no bang bang. If I started carrying a 1911 I would have to retrain, I would need to reevaluate the size of the safety. And that grip safety would still make me question if this is really a good idea.

    As to reliability, I have 1500 (including 100 Critical Duty)rounds threw my Rock Island in IDPA matches. No failures other that one bad case (and me not seating the magazine). Personally I think 90% of the reliability issues are with magazines. Mine loves the “cheap” Chip McCormick Shooting Star 8 rounders. And I keep the gun clean, Nice thing about a 1911 is they are very easy to detail strip ( something I do every 500

    • I was considering an XDs, but when I rented it at the range I tried something that I was very glad I thought of. I set the loaded gun down on the little table, then tried to pick it up and fire it quickly.

      My panic-speed grip did not disengage the grip safety.

      So much for THAT idea.

      • my 1911 goes bang every time i pick it up from the tray at the range. it goes bang when the back strap is in the web aligned with the arm, or when the back strap is mashed against the pad below the thumb. i don’t even think about the grip, just grab and shoot. all main body strikes at 30ft or less. all head strikes at that distance when i want to show off to myself.

        • [Goddamn POS “You are posting too rapidly” bullshit!!! Let me try again.]

          You are fortunate then, or at least more fortunate with your 1911 than I was with the XDs.

          I suppose there’s a way to make the XDs grip safety work better with my hands and my sloppy-when-rushed grip…but I have better things to do with my time and money than chase rabbits down that hole, trying for a solution. If I could try them out all at once and pick one, it might be worth it. If I have to experiment with replacement part after replacement part, which I have to sink money into every attempt… not so much.

          • no experience with XD, at all. didn’t even know there was a grip safety on anything but a 1911. shot a different 1911 (diff manuf), and had the same result. maybe the 1911 grip safety works for me because it is a hammer fired weapon? think i was trying to point out that maybe the grip safety for the 1911 would be more to your liking. but then plenty of striker-fired units have double-stack mags, which may be more interesting. i am also fortunate there are three ranges nearby that have rental guns allowing quick comparison of types.

        • Not sure why you chose to bring up striker fired weapons, as if they were the only alternative to 1911s.

          I carry double stack CZs. Even the polymer ones (which I don’t care for, but seem to be sterling performers) are hammered. Someone who is used to 1911s would probably be fairly comfortable with one, provided he picked the one with the cocked-and-locked safety, not the decocker (that, I know, would drive a 1911-ite nuts).

          (As an aside, This seems to be a blind spot that 1911 owners have; when someone attacks their preferred gun, they assume its some Glock (or at the very least, striker fired) fan. Personally, I never saw why people made such a fetish over either system, to the point where they’d refuse to say anything good about the other one and assume that operationally (as opposed to gunsmithing-wise), it’s the important one.

          As for me, I only commented on this particular thread of conversation to point out that grip safeties as a class can be finicky (as can anything, if it’s poorly engineered). I don’t believe I’ve ever had a 1911 fail to go “bang” because I wasn’t properly disengaging the grip safety, but I’ve probably only put a few hundred rounds through all of them, total, and I never tried a “quick grab and shoot” with one. I’ve had plenty fail to go bang a second time for other reasons, but that’s a different subject.)

        • Not sure why you chose to bring up striker fired weapons, as if they were the only alternative to 1911s.

          I carry double stack CZs. Even the polymer ones (which I don’t care for, but seem to be sterling performers) are hammered. Someone who is used to 1911s would probably be fairly comfortable with one, provided he picked the one with the cocked-and-locked safety, not the decocker (that, I know, would drive a 1911-ite nuts).

          (As an aside, This seems to be a blind spot that 1911 owners have; when someone attacks their preferred gun, they assume its some Glock (or at the very least, striker fired) fan. Personally, I never saw why people made such a fetish over either system, to the point where they’d refuse to say anything good about the other one and assume that operationally (as opposed to gunsmithing-wise), it’s the important one.

          continuing the aside: As for me, I only commented on this particular thread of conversation to point out that grip safeties as a class can be finicky (as can anything, if it’s poorly engineered). I don’t believe I’ve ever had a 1911 fail to go “bang” because I wasn’t properly disengaging the grip safety, but I’ve probably only put a few hundred rounds through all of them, total, and I never tried a “quick grab and shoot” with one. I’ve had plenty fail to go bang a second time for other reasons, but that’s a different subject. End of Aside.)

  22. QActually, in general I agree with RF’s orientation here, especially the biz about carrying is a matter of cutting the odds against you. But within that context, I can’t see how accuracy trumps reliability, especially in your typical conversational-distance DGU. At that range, I would think “more likely to launch lead” is better than “more likely to hit bullseye at 25 yards”. Just me, and my utilitarian view of SD carry.

    • All this talk of reliability is not the issue, TRAINING is. I you don’t believe me, You should see all the double misses we get at targets under 25 feet away. Hell, I was doing it at after not shooing a match for 6 months.. Yes I know a match is not training but it will tell you real quick if you are going to hit your target. FYI I sometime wish the Range Officer would let me shoot a match from the hip. I did some training drills like that one time and you would be surprised how accurate you can get. But we have new shooters at every match, and i would be a bad idea.

  23. Wow… The reliability Über Alles crowd is out in force today. Way to not read between the lines guys.

    Let’s break it down to simple math. Your gun’s capability in a self-defence scenario can be defined by the following formula.

    C = R x A x E

    C = Capability
    R = Reliability
    A = Accuracy
    E = Ergonomics (aka how likely you are to actually have it)

    What Robert is arguing is that a ΔR is acceptable as long as it produces a larger corresponding ΔA.

    To give you an example… Let’s take a hypothetical gun. It’s 99.5% reliable, 80% accurate, and it is carried 70% of the time. By the above formula, the capability would be 55.72%

    Let’s then compare it to a more accurate, but slightly less reliable gun. 99% reliable, 95% accurate, and the same egos of 70%. That gives us a capability of 65.84%

    Is the gun significantly less reliable than our earlier example? No. Is it significantly more effective? Yes.

    This holds especially true when you’re not dragging a gun through the mud and blood. For all you reliability aficionados… When was the last time you used the forward assist on your AR?

    • Reliability is a pass/fail. 1 or 0. What’s 0 x A x E? Yep, 0.

      Your standard for pass may be higher or lower than someone else’s, but ultimately if you can’t count on the thing to reliably go bang, then how wonderful it feels in your hand (E) or how awesomely you shoot it at paper targets (A) doesn’t mean a damn.

      • By that logic accuracy is pass fail. You either hit or you miss. So are ergonomics, you either carry the gun or your don’t.

        That’s an absurd argument. Reliability can only be evaluated as a probability of failure. For modern firearms, that probability is so low as to be rounded to zero for all practical purposes.

        But I take it from your response that you can’t accept the need for a forward assist on your AR and have completely switched to AKs or bolt action rifles for your long guns?

        • Accuracy means squat if the bullet never leaves the gun. A person’s standard for “reliable enough” is up to them, but if a person feels the need to hem and haw about how reliability isn’t that important, all that means is they’re too emotionally attached to their gun. Play with it at the range all you want, but as a life-saving piece of equipment, get something that you can rely on without having to make excuses.

        • Again John… Nobody is trying to make excuses for unreliable guns. What we’re saying is that a gun that runs 100% of the time and is more accurate than a gun that runs 100% of the time and has reliability fanwank is a better gun.

          Most of the uber reliable guns are tested to standards that are absurd for anyone using it as their daily carry. We’re not going to bet getting into hundred thousand round shootouts in the middle of a sandstorm. Thus, the reliability features necessary to make a gun function in those conditions are unnecessary and can be sacrificed if it improves our chances to hit what we’re shooting at. Otherwise, everyone would be packing Mk23s and all other factors be damned.

        • Again, not what the article is about.

          Robert’s quote was “I value accuracy over reliability”, not “in addition to reliability.”

          The person with a pistol he feels is 100% reliable doesn’t make that statement.

    • pwrserge, I absolutely knew you would break this down to math eventually, and you are the only one here that seems to even understand the point of the original post.
      I remember, many posts ago writing about what is accurate.
      The 1911 that RF disparages in the original post went 615 rounds without any malfunctions using different types of ammunition. On the 616th it had a FTF. Is it reliable? Hell yes it is. My STI went 2,000 rounds without a failure until I just gave up. Is it more reliable? Sure. But at that point, it just doesn’t matter.
      Reliability is absolutely not a binary variable. If it was, no firearm on the planet would pass, as all eventually fail.
      Given that reliability can not be perfect, some arbitrary, subjective measure has to be placed on it. RF is saying that something like 500 rounds without fail is good enough, and he’ll take that 500 rounds with a 2″ group over 2000 rounds with a 4″ group.
      And that only makes sense, because you are giving up something real with the loss of accuracy, but at those failure rates, you are giving up nothing real with the “loss” in reliability.

      Also, just reminding everyone, including RF, because based on his first comment he seems to have forgotten it.

    • Your formula has a fatal error.

      Any reduction in R results in an immediate, catastrophic reduction in A.

      Gun don’t go bang? > No hole in target > Accuracy score = ZERO.

      • That’s true for any of the variables. A gun that goes bang and sends the round into orbit is just as useless as one that just sits there.

        • No one is claiming that the gun by itself is that inaccurate, and if the shooter is the source of the accuracy problem, then it applies to both sides of the equation equally.

        • Once more–it takes a helluva lot more “fail” to send a round into orbit from a properly-pointed gun than it does to pull the trigger and not get a “bang”.

    • Again, pwrserge,I agree with you to a point, just as I agree with RF to a point. And when it comes down to it, as a practical matter (and, as a matter of “cutting the odds”), the difference between 99.5% reliable (or accurate) and 99% reliable (or accurate) is not worth wrangling over. My point is, conceptually, how can the question of whether or not the bullet leaves the barrel at all be less important than the question of whether the bullet will go more or less exactly where you want it to go? To put it another way, in DGU terms it would take a nearly impossible degree of accuracy deficiency ( ie your gun is so inaccurate it will miss a man-sized target at conversational distance even if aimed correctly) to equal a not-that-uncommon degree of reliability deficiency (you pull the trigger for a second shot and the gun jams).

    • The premise of RF’s argument is that a 1911 is better for defense than a Glock because it is easier to hit a target in a defensive situation with a 1911 than with a Glock. I am not aware of any objective evidence to support this premise. I think the real problem with RF’s argument is there is no functional difference between the accuracy of a 1911 and a Glock in a defensive situation.

      If all RF is really saying is that he has a personal preference for 1911s for defense because he believes he is more likely to hit his target in a defensive situation with a 1911 than a Glock, then just say that. But don’t dress up a personal preference as an objective argument, which is how I see the article.

      • That’s only true if you ignore the importance of shot placement in a defensive situation. A bullet center mass is not guaranteed to stop an attacker. A bullet to vital organs, is. There’s a reason I aim for the upper chest.

  24. The reliability of your gear, not just your gun, is something you can control well before the fight, so you should. If you have are having “reliability” problems with a quality auto (HK, SIG, Glock, S&W, 1911, etc.) then it is probably THAT gun, and you need to have a gunsmith look at it, send it back to the manufacture, or sell it and get something else. Those major players have been making awfully reliable guns for the past two decades and some even longer.

    So I just don’t see the relevance of “worrying” about reliability if you are buying from a well-known manufacturer with a strong pedigree of building reliable guns. Far more important to get a gun that naturally fits your hand, that you immediately understand and can access its controls, and points right for you, rather than trying to figure out whether Gun A fails 0.3% of the time after 50K rounds and Gun B fails 0.6%. Because those are the types of failure rates you are talking about, which is unlikely to be an issue. If you have to use it, you will – in most, but not all, scenarios, be firing 4 shots or less.

    And if all you can afford is some variation of an SNS (Raven, Lorcin, or whatever crap is out there today), I’d say do your darndest to save up for something better, or buy a used wheel gun.

  25. No way. For a defensive handgun and short range shooting, I’m for reliability over accuracy. If you can rapidly put three rounds in the space of a paper plate at 7 yards, that’s pretty awful, but good enough. But if it malfs, you’re not holding a gun any more, just a rock.

  26. All this talk of reliability is not the issue, TRAINING is. I you don’t believe me, You should see all the double misses we get at targets under 25 feet away. Hell, I was doing it at after not shooing a match for 6 months.. Yes I know a match is not training but it will tell you real quick if you are going to hit your target. FYI I sometime wish the Range Officer would let me shoot a match from the hip. I did some training drills like that one time and you would be surprised how accurate you can get. But we have new shooters at every match, and i would be a bad idea.

  27. What was that song? How bizarre, how bizarre…

    Any of the attributes you place above reliability are completely unaffected by reliability. I can’t even see that reliability sits on the same table as variables 1-4, to be compared with them… As to variable number 5, the first thing that has to happen to achieve good shot placement is for there to be a shot in the first place…we could call that PGGO, or, Probability of Gun Going Off, or, more simply, reliability.

    Also sort of bizarre was comparing GLOCKS (why is it all caps?), which are all more or less the same thing, and made by one maker, with “1911’s”, which have been made by everyone everywhere forever, in every conceivable format between 3 inches and 6 inches or more.

    Also REAL bizarre was the announcement, now seemingly disappeared, of your new effort to collate news on marijuana. Not a hell of a lot of overlap between the POTG and the pot world, thank goodness.

    A bizarre day at TTAG.

  28. There may be a Glock somewhere that never fails, but I’ve not owned it. It’s in a footlocker with the Grail. No mechanical device with multiple moving parts is failure-proof and every shooter has to decide what’s “good enough” for their comfort level. While it’s axiomatic that highly accurate shooters, firing from cover, have a sudden problem with failure to fire, well, that’s why we have clearance drills to quickly get back in the fight. If you can’t hit POA, that’s going to take more time than you have, so for me, accuracy is more important. For a pistol, if it can cycle through more or less 150 rounds without failure in multiple sessions, and isn’t manifesting some mechanical issue, I’ll carry it. A revolver, I expect more because they’re less finicky about ammo and there’s no magazine. If a revolver misfires, and it’s not a bad cartridge, it’s highly likely to require major surgery.

  29. Spot on. Who needs a gun that works?

    Seriously though, if you can’t hit what you’re aiming at with a Glock, you don’t know how to shoot.

    Also, you missed the biggest point about carrying a modern firearm. More rounds on tap before the necessity to reload occurs. Then again with the stupidity of this post, it wouldn’t be surprising if you subscribe to the old red neck axiom of “If I can’t get it done with X (insert single digit number here) rounds, it ain’t gettin’ done!” Which of course completely ignores the possibility of multiple assailants.

  30. “And I am mentally prepared to continue fighting if it doesn’t function.” Being mentally prepared is one thing…being physically prepared (and/or capable) is quite another. Lots of people buy handguns because they cannot physically take on some aggressive male attacker, especially one who may have spent the last few months in prison pumping iron at taxpayer expense. No machine has 100% reliability, but unless you are an MMA fighter with ninja skills and hand-to-hand combat experience under your belt, its best to go with a handgun that you can have some real confidence in.

    For the fanboys and fangirls, I am NOT disparaging ANY brand, type, or caliber of handgun. If YOU feel confident carrying a Lorcin or Jennings, go for it.

  31. “A GLOCK is significantly more reliable than a 1911.”?????
    No, its not. It might be more reliable than a cheap knock off 1911 COPY, but that is a different issue. Just look at the video you posted. It shows a 1911 functioning flawlessly, even with the slide and frame cut to pieces! Half the locking lugs are cut away. The frame barely has enough material to hold the hammer and safety pins. It still functions. That should tell you something. Jennings and Raven striker fired .25s are jam city, but they are the same system as the Glock, just smaller(and built a lot crappier). There’s a lesson there about build quality vs design.
    If you really want reliability, get a DA revolver. They fail also, but significantly less than any semiauto. Revolvers jam, but autos have stoppages. There’s a difference and its not just semantics. Anybody who carries should know the difference, or they aren’t qualified, no matter what the license in their wallet might say.
    All the variables listed are true, but are just as true with a semiauto as with a revolver. I prefer that extra reliability, but then I have had failures with every type of firearm design known to man(even bolt action rifles), and I know that they always happen at the worst possible time. Mr. Murphy loves to show up when the situation gets critical.
    That’s why there are so many designs. Different strokes for different folks. Carry whatever you like. Carry it because its what you have, or because its comfortable, or because its accurate, or because it’s cheap, or whatever. For me, it’s the reliability.

  32. Amazing object lesson in cognitive dissonance and faulty, self-serving logic, and well-written nonsense.

    The TLDR summary: “I LIKE 1911s, so I’ll make any excuse necessary to justify carrying one, even though I wholly admit that it’s an inferior choice”.

  33. This is absurd analysis and no one should give it a moment’s credence. Most of the factors listed apply whether one has a butter knife or a cannon. None of the factors listed, including placement of shots and ability to bring the gun to bear, support deemphasizing reliability. An unreliable gun completely undermines confidence in a rational shooter, not to mention the dire effects when the gun actually fails under duress.

    Reliability is critical.

    I’ve said it recently, and I’ll say it again. TTAG is at its best when it is reviewing guns. It is less than stellar otherwise. It’s time to apply a bit of editorial supervision. Contact me if you need help.

  34. Silly me- I thought reliability was everything. Oh wait-it is. It trumps the “cool” factor of having a high-end 1911. Isn’t that why a lot of folks rag on Taurus? “You trust your life on THAT?” Yep I do. It’s 100% reliable for ME. Your chances of being in an altercation are slim-but it’s never none. My neighborhood has gone down hill in the 13 years I’ve lived here so I get it. Whatever folks-nothing made by mortal men if perfect…