Guns are tools. I buy guns because I like to shoot them. There isn’t much room in my gun safe for safe queens. Every gun owner has a gun or three that they would say is not as reliable as they wish it could be. During the last presidential campaign, I was on a one gun a month buying spree. That is, I was buying a gun each month from October of 2007 until January of 2009.The gun of the month for October 2007 was a Colt Combat Commander and the gun for January 2008 was a Kimber Pro Carry II.
I had problems with both of them right out of the box. The Colt failed to feed 2 or 3 times per 100 rounds. The Pro Carry II failed to feed at about the same rate. I consulted people that I respect on the subject, and was given a lot of advice. They told me to break the pistol in for 500 rounds and that would fix it. It didn’t. I was accused of “limp wristing” by people who hadn’t even watched me shoot. I was told to change ammo, because some 1911s are finicky. I was told to lube them more, and have also been told to lube them less. Both guns were returned to the factory under warranty, and “repaired.” The Kimber was worked over and had new springs, a new slide release, and other repairs. Both pistols continued to malfunction. The Pro Carry and the Colt became safe queens.
So this past weekend, I thought that it had been awhile since I had taken the Pro Carry for a spin, so I took it to the range. I brought 100 rounds with me, and I stopped after firing only 50 rounds because I had already had about 6 failures of the pistol to go into battery. I had the gunsmith there look at it, and he told me that the recoil spring was in need of replacement. It had been replaced at the factory only about 300 rounds before. I pointed that out, and he told me that Kimber 1911s needed new springs about every 500 rounds.
The funny thing is that both my Kimber Ultra Carry and my Kimber Eclipse Custom work well. I finally came to this conclusion: The Pro Carry and the Combat Commander were never going to be carry pieces for me. I just can’t trust my life to a pistol that has a mean failure rate of 300 rounds or so. I also don’t need a pistol that is finicky about ammo or about anything else. Above all, I want my tools to work when I need them. There are plenty of reliable firearms out there that function more reliably out of the box that can be had for less than $600. Why should I spend a kilobuck or more for an unreliable safe queen?
Before any 1911 fanboys out there tell me that there are 1911s that are perfectly reliable, I know that. I own two of the reliable ones. I also own two that aren’t. I know that there are M&Ps, Glocks, and Sigs that are not reliable. Overall though, a 1911 owner needs to spend hundreds or thousands more on average to get a firearm that is consistently reliable than does the owner of a modern pistol. JMB was a genius. His influence is seen in many firearms today, but the 1911 is an imperfect design, because many of the machine processes and materials available today were not in existence when JMB designed the 1911.
So, I traded that Pro Carry in for a Smith and Wesson M&P .40. I really like the idea of the M&P .40 being convertible to .357 Sig and 9mm with a barrel change (and magazine for 9mm). It’s like having three guns in one. Reliability is unknown to me at this time, but I will be testing that this coming weekend.
I am also considering trading the Combat Commander for something else. I don’t yet know what, but I will shop around. Maybe an M&P compact, or a.45. I don’t have a .45 that isn’t a 1911. (I ave my Sig 220 to my son for his 21st birthday.)
All I know is that this has been a bad month so far for my firearms. I rusted a Sig and broke a Kimber. Makes me wonder what is next.