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 Autoloader gunfight failures?
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
4975 Posts

Posted - August 12 2017 :  11:42:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I keep seeing references to all sorts of different autoloaders failing in actual gunfights. Is there any reliable data on this?

Gun was unreliable in the first place?
Poor grip under stress?
Limp wristing?
One handing the gun when the shooter practices with both hands?
Trigger reset failure?
Other?

I'm betting the human element is the weak link here and this is a training issue. Is the same problem cropping up in timed competition or Force on Force exercises?

Jeff



jle3030

Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
2918 Posts

Posted - August 12 2017 :  11:57:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jle3030

I keep seeing references to all sorts of different autoloaders failing in actual gunfights. Is there any reliable data on this?

Gun was unreliable in the first place?
Poor grip under stress?
Limp wristing?
One handing the gun when the shooter practices with both hands?
Trigger reset failure?
Other?

I'm betting the human element is the weak link here and this is a training issue. Is the same problem cropping up in timed competition or Force on Force exercises?

Jeff






I can't speak to recent gunfights, but I do have an insight on 'timed competition', having been a SO/RO for the last 15 years..

Those shooters who experience zero malfs are the ones that feed the gun either carefully crafted handloads, or factory, and make sure the gun is cleaned and checked before the match.

Those who experience malfs fail in one of those areas.

I also note that many civilians and some LE fail in the 'clean&check' department. I also note that some civilian CCW folks I chat with think it's perfectly fine to run whatever reload, scrounged, or junk ammo they can find in their gun. "Hey, it's a bullet ain't it!?"...Not.

Another malf factor is if the fight is 'hand to hand' and the semi-auto gets jammed against an opponent, or the opponent manages to grab the gun on the slide. Autos will FTE or FTF (slide out of battery) in that situation.

Many people fail to understand that a semi-auto pistol is a piece of machinery that has design parameters, and requires proper lubrication, and must be fed SAAMI spec ammo. I can't blame the gun there.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.

Edited by - Chris Christian on August 12 2017 11:58:40 AM
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Evan
Administrator

34097 Posts

Posted - August 12 2017 :  1:24:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Every gun can and will fail. I carried a second gun daily for the last 47 years for the reason I have a spare tire in my car.

I lube my guns with Mobil One and run them wet and where available they are loaded with plus p or +p+ ammo to help it get over any bumps in the road.

Understand this, qualification is not training and yet in my dept qualification was the only time we shot our weapons in an official environment.

Most precincts had a range and I would try and shoot 50 rnds a week.

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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Evan
Administrator

34097 Posts

Posted - August 12 2017 :  1:34:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Should have added that reliable data is often hard to get because PD's have an appalling tendency to lie to cover their own screw ups.

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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wolfgang2000
Advanced Member

USA
3740 Posts

Posted - August 12 2017 :  3:13:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm no expert, but I can attest to some of the firearm failures I witnessed.

First, I've seen revolvers fail more than semiauto's. That usually entailed the revolver being dropped and the cylinder lock breaking.

Most of the semi auto's failure involved the officer and bad guy fighting over the gun.

One other thing. Cops a notorious for lack of maintenance of their firearms and the ammo. A personal experience I had, just prior to dark the teamed me up with another officer. He told me that he had a shotgun. First call was a man with a gun.

Upon arrival sure enough he was standing in the middle of the road holding a S&W model 29 6". I grab the shotgun and try to jack a round into the chamber. But I couldn't get the bolt to lock home. Long story short, I made the arrest, then went to the district, disassemble the shotgun.

The shell had swollen to the point that it wouldn't fit in the chamber. My "partner" told me that he hadn't cleaned the gun or changed the ammo in the 8 years he had it.

“The key is to hit them hard, hit them fast, and hit them repeatedly. The one shot stop is a unit of measurement not a tactical philosophy.” Evan Marshall
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Arvinator
Advanced Member

USA
5244 Posts

Posted - August 12 2017 :  10:06:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not a expurt. but Evan & wolfgang hit the nail on the head.

I've seen cops go the range and have AR's with red dots and the batteries are DEAD. Pistols so dry they choked on qualification day after the 3rd or 4th round.
Pistols dry, and one wise one used a #2 pencil and rubbed the rails with it saying it was "Same a graphite" ( he retired at the rank of captain of a 50 man dept)
I know that pistols are like every other man made object, they can fail.

I had a new Glock 22 in Dec 1995 that was a real piece of junk. Traded it for a "Reconditioned" Glock 17 in June 1997 and still running fine to this day. Many +p and a few +P+ rounds and very reliable, just the frame/ grip getting slick from wear.

Yes, cops do make things up when they have bozo moments. Blame guns, ammo, the weather when they need to look in the mirror.


Be honest, fair, and always prepared...
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4949shooter
Senior Member

USA
584 Posts

Posted - August 13 2017 :  05:34:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I recall that video where a female officer had come across a bank robbery suspect while sitting in traffic. She got out of her patrol car, and had left it in drive. The dash video was able to film her as the car rolled and as she engaged the suspects in a running gunfight as the officer moved, fired, and reloaded.

The officer had a malfunction with her issued Glock 22 which no doubt (in my mind) was caused by limp wristing. She cleared the malfunction and continued the fight.

She could be my backup anytime.

Edited by - 4949shooter on August 13 2017 05:35:47 AM
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Evan
Administrator

34097 Posts

Posted - August 13 2017 :  12:48:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In spite of what Jim H may tell you Lincoln did not speak at my academy graduation, but it was a long time ago. I was so appalled at the maintenance of dept weapons I quickly acquired an on duty revolver, an off duty revolver and my own personal shotgun.

I remember when Smith stainless 9MM's 1st came out and because a rumor floated around they didn't require lubrication more than one was found locked up tighter than a bank vault when it was time to qual.

Today I carry a Glock 22 and a Taurus stainless snub in .40 S&W-both are lubed to the point they'll need SHOUT before your shirt goes in the wash. The snub is simply because it can be jammed up against the monster and emptied without going out of battery. Taurus semi auto's have been problematical but the snubs, so far, are fine.

b-u-t If you don't train to clear stoppages, it will take the mortician 29 hours to get the shocked look off your face!

Remember before Facebook we had to pass on all unsubstantiated rumors by word of mouth!

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
5024 Posts

Posted - August 13 2017 :  3:12:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Two for the Just For Fun column:

In my wallpaper file, I have a newspaper photo of an officer responding to something serious enough she thought she needed to unhorse her AR15 to be ready. Look close, you see the magazine is in backwards....

Also,the other site I hang out on, there are 'experts' (or 'expurts', as Arv says) who state categorically that there is no need to carry spare ammo or a BUG, because in the 'typical' (?) civilian self-defense scenario there will be no need to reload, or time to do so if needed; nor if your primary goes bosom-to-the-wind, there will be no time to access and deploy a BUG. Clearing a malfunction? The skill is not needed because you will have no time to do it before the bad guy will getcha. Anything with a manual safety of any kind is just your suicide waiting to happen, because in a social situation, you will boggle the safety or forget it's there.
One of these geniuses is a lawyer, if that means anything. Lubrication? If you carry a MSFP, lube is pretty much wasted effort. If you don't carry a MSFP, you're toast regardless, because nothing that worked BITD works 'efficiently' today.

I'm glad I have a safe space (here) to crawl into. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.

Edited by - Ace on August 13 2017 3:14:37 PM
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
2918 Posts

Posted - August 13 2017 :  3:25:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OMG!!! A lawyer weighed in? That would be the final authority for me. They are AWESOME!
I even tried to be a lawyer once, and actually applied to law school. My grades were OK. But there was this list of questions on the application for admission that I had to answer.

One of them was "Were your parents married when you were born?" Well.... mine were so I answered "Yes".

They denied me admittance to the lawyering school. They called it a "Character Flaw'.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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gw
Advanced Member

3979 Posts

Posted - August 13 2017 :  4:26:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ace

Two for the Just For Fun column:

In my wallpaper file, I have a newspaper photo of an officer responding to something serious enough she thought she needed to unhorse her AR15 to be ready. Look close, you see the magazine is in backwards....

Also,the other site I hang out on, there are 'experts' (or 'expurts', as Arv says) who state categorically that there is no need to carry spare ammo or a BUG, because in the 'typical' (?) civilian self-defense scenario there will be no need to reload, or time to do so if needed; nor if your primary goes bosom-to-the-wind, there will be no time to access and deploy a BUG. Clearing a malfunction? The skill is not needed because you will have no time to do it before the bad guy will getcha. Anything with a manual safety of any kind is just your suicide waiting to happen, because in a social situation, you will boggle the safety or forget it's there.
One of these geniuses is a lawyer, if that means anything. Lubrication? If you carry a MSFP, lube is pretty much wasted effort. If you don't carry a MSFP, you're toast regardless, because nothing that worked BITD works 'efficiently' today.

I'm glad I have a safe space (here) to crawl into. Ace



I used to get paid to jump out of airplanes, paid otherwise I would have tended not to do it.

always jumped with two parachutes, never needed more than one, but always thought an xtra was a good idea.

I saw others deploy their reserve and, at the altitude we exited the aircraft, they didn't get much time, most did get a functioning chute, a couple didn't.

still nice to have the option....

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

4318 Posts

Posted - August 13 2017 :  5:45:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"Hope for the best but prepare for the worst..."


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

Edited by - LittleBill on August 13 2017 5:46:33 PM
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

4318 Posts

Posted - August 13 2017 :  5:50:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ace

Two for the Just For Fun column:

In my wallpaper file, I have a newspaper photo of an officer responding to something serious enough she thought she needed to unhorse her AR15 to be ready. Look close, you see the magazine is in backwards....

Also,the other site I hang out on, there are 'experts' (or 'expurts', as Arv says) who state categorically that there is no need to carry spare ammo or a BUG, because in the 'typical' (?) civilian self-defense scenario there will be no need to reload, or time to do so if needed; nor if your primary goes bosom-to-the-wind, there will be no time to access and deploy a BUG. Clearing a malfunction? The skill is not needed because you will have no time to do it before the bad guy will getcha. Anything with a manual safety of any kind is just your suicide waiting to happen, because in a social situation, you will boggle the safety or forget it's there.
One of these geniuses is a lawyer, if that means anything. Lubrication? If you carry a MSFP, lube is pretty much wasted effort. If you don't carry a MSFP, you're toast regardless, because nothing that worked BITD works 'efficiently' today.

I'm glad I have a safe space (here) to crawl into. Ace


He should love Russian roulette then: the odds are 5-to-1 in his favor....


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9412 Posts

Posted - September 03 2017 :  10:41:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Long experience with shooting (mostly on the range) tells me that a quality auto-loader is *very* reliable if they are fairly well maintained (and don't take that as being anal about it - I clean my practice gun about every 6 months whether it needs it or not - then again, I'm not carrying it for self defense but I have not had a stoppage in at least the last 30,000 rounds or so). I do see some problems on the range in students however.

Long experience with Cops tells me Evan is right (big shock); cops often do not maintain their weapons.

But I believe there is something else going on as well. The first clue I had was once I was looking for instances caught on camera in which multiple torso hits failed to stop a threat. The first 9 videos I watched though sort of distracted me from that goal since in the 9 videos, 4 officers had a weapon stoppage on the very first round fired! Now that is not a study but it comes to 45% of those 9!

2 of the officers were able to take cover and clear their stoppage. 2 were not but they did survive the encounter by going to hands (one tried pepper spray to no avail).

Now of course the real overall failure rate is not even close to 45%. That is likely coincidence, but I am hearing the term "First Round Stoppage" show up in training more and more.

Experience in the live fire shoot-house has reinforced this. Of approximately 50 classes (of 8-12 officers in each) for one agency I counted over the years and we had exactly 3 classes in which there was *not* a stoppage in the house - there are not more than 100 to 200 rounds fired in each class *total* (more on the square range during that training and stoppages were more rare there).

The difference I *think* is that the firing positions in the shoot-house are not as stable - often leaning out around cover/concealment, often on the move and, since we often use realistic reactive targets the shooter happens on, often while pulling back when he finds himself too close.

IOW - as sort of unstable shooting platform.

On the square range, I also see problems with light people (women and kids) or folks with sedentary life-styles (read that as limited grip strength) having stoppages with auto-loaders, especially *light* and compact auto-loaders.

My only advice is when you consider a weapon for carry take it to the range and fire it with both strong and support hand only, fire it with a wrist that is not locked, fire it upside down (not necessarily holding the grip upside down, just turn your hand over). Make sure it works in at odd attitudes and with unconventional grip.

Just Ramblin'

Jim H.

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lashlaruhe
Starting Member

USA
30 Posts

Posted - September 03 2017 :  1:01:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
IMO, Mr. Christian gave one of the best reasons to dump the Kimber Swartz firing pion block "poor grip under stress" there are other reasons (arthritis. gun being grabbed by BG, sore hand, etc.) that will cause the Swartz to fail as it is entirely dependent on a firm, tight grip on the grip safety
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Evan
Administrator

34097 Posts

Posted - September 04 2017 :  1:19:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Only you can put a price tag on yourself. Me, I'm very very expensive!

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
2918 Posts

Posted - September 04 2017 :  1:39:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lashlaruhe

IMO, Mr. Christian gave one of the best reasons to dump the Kimber Swartz firing pion block "poor grip under stress" there are other reasons (arthritis. gun being grabbed by BG, sore hand, etc.) that will cause the Swartz to fail as it is entirely dependent on a firm, tight grip on the grip safety



Thank you for the nice words. Grip safeties are another thing that grates on me and I won't own a gun that has one.

The reason the grip safety was included on Browning's original 1911 design is because our military still used horse-mounted cavalry. The cavalry INSISTED upon it so that a trooper on a galloping horse who was not able to properly work the small thumb safety would stand some chance of holstering his cocked gun without putting a hole in his leg, or his horse.

The grip safety is a a historical footnote (if I could spell 'achronnism' I would use that word) that plagues us to this day. There is no need for one on a modern handgun design. Browning realized that when he deleted it from his 1935 Hi-Power (P35) design.

Yet... 80 years later... we're still stuck with this useless add-on that nobody needs.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.

Edited by - Chris Christian on September 04 2017 1:43:56 PM
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9412 Posts

Posted - September 13 2017 :  4:44:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I used to not like them but I came to live with them but I'm all for each person making up his own mind.

Tape is cheap

Or the classy Texas Ranger thing is a strip of rawhide I think

I do make sure mine disengage with the slightest pressure. I surely have seen them cause some grief for the occasional shooter.

Jim H.

PS, yep the Cavalry are the ones to blame for the grip safety - they wanted the pistol to be able to be fired "without manipulation" and to be made safe automatically if it was dropped. I never did understand that first part - pulling the trigger is manipulation

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gw
Advanced Member

3979 Posts

Posted - September 13 2017 :  8:08:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
if you ever look at a 1909 Colt, I think there were maybe 23 made, you'll see a prototype 1911 made for testing.

it was designed by Browning with a grip safety only, no thumb safety. the manual thumb safety was added by the Ordinance Department.

the original manual of arms for cavelry troopers was to carry the automatic with an empty chamber, on the command of "lock and load one round" the slide was manipulated to chamber one round. at that point the manual safety was applied so that the handgun could be safely handled one handed while the trooper attempted to control a horse with the other.

the handgun had a lanyard that was attached to the trooper, if he lost control of his mount and needed two hands to control his horse, the handgun if droppd could be suspended by the lanyard, the grip safety would "safe" the handgun while it remained suspended.

I saw an example at the Browning museum on the Rock Island Arsenal recently.

years ago on Ft Bragg, I saw operators with the grip safety taped down, now highly discouraged.

leave the grip safety alone and adjust it correctly, it was designd that way.

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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gw
Advanced Member

3979 Posts

Posted - September 13 2017 :  8:29:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
the Colt 1907 ACP military trials gun, luger, and Savage 1905 submitted for trials testing also had grip safeties, I believe the Luger was the only one of the 3 that also had a manual thumb safety.

might be where Ordanance came up with the concept

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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fsilber
Senior Member

USA
510 Posts

Posted - September 15 2017 :  7:09:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ace

Two for the Just For Fun column:

In my wallpaper file, I have a newspaper photo of an officer responding to something serious enough she thought she needed to unhorse her AR15 to be ready. Look close, you see the magazine is in backwards....

You sure it was an AR15 and not an H&K? :-)
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9412 Posts

Posted - September 18 2017 :  10:25:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Evan

In spite of what Jim H may tell you Lincoln did not speak at my academy graduation, but it was a long time ago. I was so appalled at the maintenance of dept weapons I quickly acquired an on duty revolver, an off duty revolver and my own personal shotgun.

Snippage



You know I read this but I must have been asleep at the switch (not an uncommon occurance).

Of course Lincoln did not speak at your academy graduation - he was off fighting the Blackhawk War

Jim

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revjen45
Advanced Member

2230 Posts

Posted - September 19 2017 :  10:14:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After reading this I stripped and serviced my carry piece.

Better to perish in the struggle for freedom than live to see defeat.
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gw
Advanced Member

3979 Posts

Posted - September 19 2017 :  11:45:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
years ago I helped a friend clean and check a few dozen gen 3 S&W 9mms he had come up for his small shop.

they were a bunch of police trade ins he bought from a distributor

he told me to take my pick and he'd cut me deal when we were down cleaning the filthy things.

most had major damage broken sights, dinged slides, a couple of cracked slides, broken springs and parts. several were totally inop, few worked reliably during test firing. bunch of crap magazines also.

I don't know if these were still being issued to cops when they were traded in, but most were just a few years old.

I helped him out, but passed on buying any of the junk guns.

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."

Edited by - gw on September 19 2017 11:46:37 AM
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
2918 Posts

Posted - September 19 2017 :  12:30:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I field strip, clean, and lube everyone one of my carry guns (even the .38 snub) after every firing -- regardless of how many rounds have been fired. Old military training reinforced by current competition experience.






Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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