27 Aug 19

Worn parts and UDs!

Students and trainers around the world will now and then report a slam-fire-engendered UD when chambering a round on pistols, even pistols from reputable manufacturers, manufacturers that I recommend!

Some of this is “urban legend,” of course, but not all.

Fire-control parts can become so worn-out, from lots of shooting, combined with user-level neglect, that slam-fires have been licitly recorded.

Flat spots and burrs on badly-worn parts can allow firing pins to become “stuck” in a forward position. Thus, the nose of the firing pin can protrude from the bolt-face, and this can result in a slam-fire as the slide is vigorously cycled when chambering a round, absent any pressure on the trigger.

Periodic detail-strip and inspection by a qualified armorer, particularly with pistols that are shot a lot, will almost always preclude the foregoing. When excessive wear is detected, armorers will routinely replace the firing pin, firing-pin safety, trigger bar, and install a full set of new springs, particularly the recoil spring/spring assembly.

It’s the cheapest insurance you’ll ever buy!

Slam-fires do not happen very often, and even when they do, the pistol in question is usually pointed in a relatively safe direction (as it should be), so only minor property damage results. In fact, most such recorded incidences of slam-fires happen on gun-ranges as the pistol is pointed downrange, so there is no property damage at all!

Because there is usually little or no damage, this species of UD mostly goes un-noted and unrecorded, only rarely reflecting on any statistic.

Yet, for serious guns, owned and carried by Operators for serious purposes, this kind of extreme neglect is, of course, unacceptable.

As with your car, ignoring worn brakes until it gets so bad that pressing the break pedal to the floor does nothing, and your car subsequently hurdles through a red light, is all avoidable, with even “reasonable” maintenance, much less “good” maintenance!

Just as your teeth need to see a dentist now and then, your pistol needs the attention of an armorer on some kind of regular basis.

Not all “bad outcomes” are avoidable, but most are, when you do your part!

“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build, and nobody wants to do the maintenance.”

Kurt Vonnegut