In response to the 1911 post, a lot of people have asked me what I define as “reliable”. It’s a good question, because that’s a top that subject to a lot of arbitrary nonsense when it fact it really needs to be objective. So here are my standards for a “reliable” or semi-auto rifle:
- Out of the box must be able to fire 1000 rounds over the course of a single week without a failure, either mechanical or shooter induced.
- Over the course of 10,000 rounds, it cannot have a failure rate greater than 0.5% (50 failures in 10,000 rounds).
- Less than 10% of the failures can be operator induced (more on this below)
Those are my general guidelines for reliability. The 10,000 round standard is actually VERY generous, as the S&W M&P, HK P30, and HK45 have all been demonstrated to absolutely destroy that number. Modern, well made pistols are incredibly reliable straight from the factory. We live in a delightful modern age, so there’s no reason to bet your trophies or your life on crappy guns.
As far as the operator induced failures go, that’s a big pet peeve of mine. If a gun is set up in such a way that it’s easy to induce failures due to riding the slide stop, short stroking the trigger, or ejecting the mag and thus activating the magazine disconnect, than I don’t recommend that gun for self defense if my experience has show those issues. All of those examples above are from guns that I’ve shot that I don’t recommend specifically because they do exactly that.
Set standards for your guns. If your guns cannot meet the first criteria (1000 rounds of the box with zero failures of any type) I’d strongly urge you to consider a new heater.