22 November 2018

Broken Record

I admit, I am a broken record (ask your grandparents) about endurance abuse & neglect testing handguns.

The proponents of such "testing" consistently fail or refuse to explain what we're learning from the experiment.

They seem to be claiming that guns that don't make it to the end are somehow unsuitable for use as self defense tools, but is that really true?  Does the testing demonstrate this?

I posit that it is not true and the testing is irrelevant to practical concerns.

Remember 2,000 rounds of 9mm is 52 pounds of cartridges, 3-1/4 pounds of cardboard boxes and the weight of the container you're lugging it around in.

Are you carrying that much ammo on a daily basis?

Are you even carrying 100 rounds?  That's just two boxes.

Spraying the ammo as fast as you can work the trigger only dumps about six shots a second and that's gonna give NYPD accuracy.  Shooting that fast, for most everyone who's not Jerry Miculek, is called "criminally negligent".

Still, six shots a second takes a bit more than five and a half minutes to burn through if you didn't have to stop and reload every 17 shots or so.  If you are using magazines that hold 17 instead of 2,000 rounds you're looking at 117 reloads.  That's going to add at least two minutes to your time, probably more like four.

So, for your pistol to be acceptable it has to be capable of ten minutes of shooting as fast as you can go?

THAT would be a test of a gun.  Because that doesn't allow for cool-down and subjects the parts to some real heat and fatigue.

What we really get is 2,000 rounds stretched over weeks or months.

Pray tell; in the intervening time between strings why didn't you clean and lube the gun?  You had time.


  1. Yep I'm only carrying 13 rounds on me right now, generally it's 25. If my gun can go through this, plus a hypothetical 200 round range session that I didn't have a chance to clean and lube the gun, then really it's just a glamour shot.

  2. I agree - if it can't handle 100 rounds without a problem, then yes - I wouldn't carry it, and I can see stretching that to 200 or 300 to get an idea of reliability. To me, sitting on a range and shooting doesn't reflect many factors in self defense - such as shooting from awkward positions, clothes/ people/ objects in the way, trying to draw while grappling with an opponent, etc.
    I'd rather see firing after drawing from odd positions and storing in unusual ways over firing thousands of rounds. An example of an oddity is that one gun I carry gets wood chips in the barrel when I use my chainsaw; another one, carried in the same pocket holster, doesn't.

    1. That's a great point. I personally never do anything to my carry guns BEFORE I shoot them on the range. Being dry and covered with lint and fuzz, and maybe sweat is more realistic than being gunned up by the residue of thousands of rounds.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. For a writer you're still no damn good at reading, are you?

  4. Still waiting for a proponent to explain what firing 2,000 rounds is proving.

    I have punch-down insults, but no explanation.

    1. I don't think it proves anything, but it is a data point. If a new gun can run the gauntlet it does speak well to it's design and reliability .

      Does it mean the gun is junk if it chokes before the 2k mark? Nope , maybe if it can't make it through 200...

      There is nothing wrong with CONDUCTING the test, and the way Tam publishes the data with malfunctions given in detail at each round count, there is a lot to learn.

      But like all science, data is good, but the INTERPRETATION of said data is where much of the controversy occurs.

    2. When this started being a thing it felt like it did when I first learned about systemic data collection and noticing how you could systematically collect data on pretty much anything.

      There was always someone who did collect data that had no application. Like tracking the time they did anything for a week. The data might have an application, but the person doing the tracking never stated a reason for measuring beyond collecting the data.

      But the articles and posts for the 2,000 round challenges are phrased like this data is meaningful, and that meaning is self evident. I've been trying to say that it's not self evident and would you, please, explain what we're getting out of it.

  5. Does it have to prove anything? Like the "gauntlet" tests Tim at MAC on youtube does, it can be good entertainment and abusive to a gun I don't own or have to fix at the same time.

    1. No, it doesn't have to prove anything.

      The realm we're getting into isn't about the testing, it's about the attitude of the professionals and their minions when you ask, "what is this proving?"

      How hard is it to say, "the test proves nothing, but isn't it fun?"

      That's not the answer I get. I've gotten defensiveness and insults.

  6. Been thinking on this a bit. The one thing I can see this giving useful info on would be how likely a (sample size of 1) particular firearm would be to successfully survive a high round count 2 or 3 day pistol class. While those guns can be cleaned and lubed between days, by the end of each day they get pretty nasty.

    Makes more sense to do that 2000 rounds over a week or 2 instead of months to provide relevant data though.

    1. That would, at least, be offering an explanation of what the test is trying to accomplish. It's an experiment without a hypothesis.

      I've ranted about the pistol class round count thing before too. There were a couple of trainers who were going on and on about guns not being able to do the round counts and the tempo of the classes were such that preventative maintenance couldn't be done; so they banned guns they deemed unable to make their round counts unmaintained.

      They appear to have forgotten that the point of the round count wasn't to test a gun, but teach a student through repetition. I wonder if the break-neck pace of such seminars is preventing learning. If so, that's lot of money down the drain for lessened benefit, no?


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