Thursday, May 04, 2017

The OTHER "other Reason to Carry a Spare Magazine": Malfunctions

The OTHER Reason to Carry a Spare Magazine | Jerking the Trigger:
The OTHER Reason to Carry a Spare Magazine by Matt on May 3, 2017 in EDC “If you need more than X rounds, you shouldn’t be there in the first place!” “If you can’t solve the problem with X rounds, you shouldn’t be carrying a gun!” “What do you need all that ammunition for?”
I started competing in IPSC match in 1983 ... which is perhaps earlier than some readers may have been born.

I had crappy equipment:

  • a 1911 army surplus pistol (not a 1911A1 .. it was built in 1918, according to the serial number).
  • Army Surplus ammunition'
  • Army Surplus holster
  • Army Surplus magazines
  • Army Surplus ... well, everything was Army Surplus; even the shooter.  (ME!)
The first thing I learned was that the way to be competitive was not to be a good shooter, but to have good, reliable equipment.

Good gun, good holster, good magazines, good ammunition.

I bought a good gun ... a brand new Kimber 1911 in.45 ACP   for under $300.  (I should have bought two of them, but The Beloved Kimber is still my "go to" gun for many applications; I still use in competition even though I've run over 30,000 rounds through it.   I had the trigger assembly replaced) last year, because the yoke broke.)   I understand that many people consider the Kimber to be no better than "entry level" equipment.

As long as I did the maintenance, and replaced parts as they became worn, it works for me.  

When I didn't perform the maintenance, it failed me; with catastrophic (thankfully, only competitively) results 

I bought good magazines. 

 I put a Smith & Alexander arched mainspring housing in the pistol, because I have big hands. 
 I bought several magazine carriers which I didn't have to "unsnap" to reload.
Holster .. one which was cut-away so the pistol was always presented in a good 'quick draw' profile, but retained the pistol under the worst conditions.

 I bought a heavy belt which would support the weight of the loaded magazines

I learned to replace the magazine springs, also the recoil spring, on a regular basis. Mainspring .. not so often.

Why did I do all this stuff?  Because I was getting HEAVY usage out of the gun and it's accouterments, and I learned the hard way that if you don't do maintenance, and keep your equipment fresh, a gun that won't function is just a club; and it's too damned short to go you any good.

And I bought a LOT of magazines, and bought magazine springs by the dozens.

Now, you may not be impressed by the way that Competition drove my drive to 100% reliability, but the lessons learned in Competition transfer smoothly to Self Defense.

A gun that doesn't work 100% of the time is a short club.
Ammunition which doesn't feed reliably is suicide.
Magazines with weak springs are suicide.
A gun that jams during a magazine change is suicide.
Your personal inability to perform a magazine change quickly, smoothly and reliably is suicide.

You unwillingness to use your defense gun on a regular basis (at least once a month .. preferably more often) may not be suicide; but if you care enough to consider personal defense a priority, don't you care enough to practice the skills you need?


I just made a date with my neighbor and his wife to go shooting at my local club.  They're not "shooters", but they enjoy a trip to the range to shoot my gun and my ammunition.   We've done this every couple of years, and it's something which all of us enjoy.

I don't make them pay for the ammunition.  I figure, if they can make the guns work every time, all the time, they the guns will probably work for me.

My landlord's wife is a charming lady and very very small.  She has a hard time gripping the gun hard enough to make it work.  I've got a P3AT which needs to be tested by her, so I can be sure that (weighing 100 pounds more, and 19" taller) it will work for me, too.

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