Breaking gun parts is normal – replace and move on

Gun Parts - Shoot them till they breakGun parts. Shoot them till they break.

In my last installment of Things Do Break, I looked at some high round count guns, and the fact that some stuff does eventually break. What a concept, if you use a piece of gear, a lot, it may eventually fail.

Now, I don’t say that as a point of reference for me to be a smartie. I say that from the point of reference that it has been on my mind quite a bit here of late. We have become a nation obsessed with hardware. Internet forums are littered with literal arguments over sights, which grip stippling, or whether or not to use the slide lock lever during an emergency reload. And 99 percent of these conversations do not lead to a worn out gun or broken gun parts. It is more mental masterbation of pundits. Table-top chess of the what-if club. There is more talk of worn out guns, than actual worn out guns.

Here’s my concept. How ’bout we just keep shooting them, and then when gun parts break, we’ll replace the broken parts, and shoot them some more.

Follow me on this. On a recent internet gun board conversation, someone asked the merits of using the slide lock lever to chamber a round on an emergency reload. This type of question leads to a number of sacred cows. One of which being the whole fine motor skill thing, which is a whole conversation for another day. Another point that was brought up was if you use the slide lock lever, it might wear it out or break it sooner. Seriously? That is a real concern for people?

Let’s say it takes 20,000 rounds and as many dry fires to break a slide stop lever on a Glock 17. (I use the Glock because I recently looked up prices and the amount is fresh in my head.) Let’s say for the sake of argument that we are shooting Blazer Brass from Ammo to Go at $220 per thousand. That’s $4,400. A slide lock lever costs $7.05.

Get it?

The next logical argument is “Well, I run the risk of it breaking when I need it the most.” Ok, check understood. Two options.

  1. PM your gear. Yep, every so often detail strip the pistol and look at the parts. If they look a wee bit worn, ditch them for new. Parts are cheap.
  2. Have two guns. If wear-and-tear worries you, have one gun that you shoot the crap out of it, and a second that is set up just the same to carry that you don’t shoot as much.

A few months ago, I taught a class in Ohio where I joked to a student that I was starting to show up to classes looking like Jed Clampett. (Millennials will have to look that one up.) All my stuff is worn out. I’ve got a couple of pistols I teach with the most that the barrels are near shot out. My work gun is going to need a major rebuild next year. Parts are cheap. Keep shooting them. Magazines are not supposed to last forever. Buy new ones. Keep shooting. When the frame cracks, buy a new gun for $500 and start over. Start shooting that gun.

Worrying about, and playing the what-if game on parts breakage, is a minor player in the overall scheme of things. Someone recently made the proclamation that round counts on designs have gone way above what John M. Browning ever dreamed of. To which I reply “Life is good.”

Shoot them till they break. Replace parts, keep shooting them.