Oct 25 2011
Reliability is the single most important factor when choosing your carry gun. Nothing will get you dead quicker than not being able to follow through with your decision to fight rather than flee. So what makes for a reliable defense weapon?
I have this terrible, reoccurring nightmare. Sometimes the situation changes but the general idea and end result are always the same:
I’m in imminent danger and fear for my life. I pull my gun from my holster and point it at the threat, yelling “Get on the ground! Get on the ground!”. When the threat ignores me and advances, I pull the trigger. Nothing happens. I look down at my gun and notice that when I pulled the trigger the magazine fell out of the gun, and apparently there was no round in the chamber. Sometimes in my nightmare I’m trying to shoot a revolver and not a semi-auto; instead of the magazine falling out when I pull the trigger, the cylinder falls open. The threat then seizes control of the situation. No more special “tactical Barbie” Gracie, I become just another ordinary victim.
These dreams, though nightmares, have had a positive impact on my carry habits. They continuously reinforce the importance of a reliable sidearm as well as a reliable shooter behind it.
(click chart to enlarge)
Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of the semi auto vs. the revolver, lets talk choosing a reliable sidearm. Some things to consider:
1.Does the firearm cycle and shoot defensive ammunition consistently? *Note, some ammuntition feeds better than others in different guns. If your gun isn’t feeding and cycling properly every time, there are plenty of websites out there that will share what best feeds through which gun. Another option is to call the manufacturer. They will usually be able to recommend a specific type of ammunition. Other times it may be the angle of the feeding ramp on the gun that is causing the issue. If this is the case, I would recommend choosing a different carry gun.
2. Do YOU shoot consistenty with the firearm? Remember, you are responsible for every round you fire. You want to be sure those rounds are hitting where you plan on them hitting.
3.If you are carrying a semi automatic, do your magazines feed properly? Believe it or not, magazines need to be cleaned just like the gun does. Locate the disassembly notch or hole on magazine and inspect it’s parts: the spring, the follower (little black thing on top that the first round sits on) and the top curved edges of the magazine (sometimes these can get deformed). Clean it all and oil it a little bit to keep it in good working condition. You can check that your magazine is feeding properly with A-zoom snap caps (dummy rounds). Stuff a few in the magazine and hand cycle them through your gun.
Next article in this series: CHOOSING A CARRY GUN – PART 4: YOUR ABILITY TO USE THE GUN FAST AND EFFECTIVELY