One of the neat things about being a range officer at major matches is that you get to see a lot of guns. This means you also get to see a lot of guns malfunction in various ways; reinforcing the truth that there are no magic swords. At a Steel Challenge match, you’ll see every kind of gun from .22 rifles and pistols to stock Glocks, and all the way out to custom built Open guns. For fun, here’s a little list of guns/malfunctions I saw yesterday during the match.
1. STI 1911 – failure to extract. The extractor head actually broke off the gun.
2. Glock 19 – failure to feed/extract. Not sure what the culprit was here, but my guess would be that the reloads weren’t quite in spec.
3. GSG-5 .22LR – failure to feed. A round coming up out of the magazine went nose up and completely borked the gun.
4. Unknown 1911 – multiple stovepipe malfunctions.
5. Glock 35 – failure to feed. It seemed this shooter had not changed or cleaned his mags in quite some time and they were causing feeding issues.
In addtion to the above, I did see another 1911 briefly turn into a machine pistol – that was a little wild. The moral of all of this not to start a debate about which gun is “best”, but rather to remind shooters that if you depend on a firearm to defend your life or win a match, make sure you keep up on the maintenance. Change your springs, clean your mags, and do what’s necessary to keep your gun in proper working order. There is no such thing as a perfect machine, all mechanical parts are subject to wear and tear and other forms of breakage.