Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Some Thoughts on Pocket Pistol Reliability

BEARING ARMS references Richard Mann's test of the new Remington RM 380 pocket pistol. Bob Owens, a very thoughtful gunny in his own right, notes that the RM 380 held up well under more continuous fire than you'd expect in a pocket pistol.

My experience has been that once you get past the "Old Skool" pocket pistols of the previous era (think vest-pocket .25s, etc.), pocket pistols, especially guns from from "name" manufacturers, are pretty much as reliable as dirt. I've shot the crap out of a half-dozen or more Ruger LCPs without a single failure. Kahrs are legendary in their reliability. I can't estimate how many rounds I've put through little Kahrs over the years. One is in my pocket right now.

I know a lot of guys carrying S&W Bodyguards and I don't recall any issues there.

I even once intentionally tried to break a Kel-Tec .32. I took a couple of cop friends and 1000 rounds of hot Spanish ball to the range, and we put at least 500 of those rounds (in truth, I don't remember the exact number, but we got tired after about half the case was gone...but I was getting tired of moving the case of .32s around my gun room) with zero — ZERO — malfunctions. The little gun was blazing hot and it did indeed seem looser, but it kept firing. It still shoots just fine.

I think there's just less to go wrong.

OTOH, especially on the older versions, if the little gun doesn't run, it is a godawful nightmare to get them to run. We used to joke about the perfect, jewelry-like Walther TPHs. If they ran, they were perfect. If they didn't, all the forces of heaven and earth couldn't fix them.


Anonymous said...

I can't agree with the comment: ".....pocket pistols, especially guns from 'name' manufacturers, are pretty much as reliable as dirt."

Nearly all of the recent mini-guns from 'name" manufacturers had major recalls and in one instance, a new gun was pulled from the market. This was after reading articles that lead us all to believe otherwise. Some guns had serious failures in the reviews that were widely published, while others had multiple defects that showed up after production models got into buyers hands. Some guns featured in articles showed signs of issues which included metal shaving in frames and barrels, poor reliability and in one photo of a much-celebrated gun, it actually showed critical assembly pins walking out after firing!

I expect companies to deliver what they say they will. I don't want my gun, or any product recalled after I perform the field-testing that the maker should have. And I certainly don't want gun writers to dismiss defects that they find in testing as being forgivable on early production models nor do I want them to overlook them.

I'm not saying that this is what's going on here, I'm just saying.

Life Member

Michael Bane said...

I can only speak to what I have personally tested. As I said before, I alternately carry a Kahr 380 or an LCP as my standard pocket pistol.

Other than a handful of people whom I know and respect, I could care less about what somebody published on the Internet.

Of course, there's probably a lot of people who thick the same thing about me!!!


Anonymous said...

Kahr, huh?
I have seen and shot two- both owned by friends, both new, one 9mm one .380- both were unreliable. The 9mm was corrected by the factory, the 380 never was fixed after repeated attempts.

Michael Bane said...

Gosh...do we have to go through this again? I currently have 3 Kahrs, including my EDC, a CW9 that has hundreds of rounds through it. I have shot maybe a dozen additional Kahrs, including one
s I've borrow at the range or at a match.

Here's Massad Ayoob's Kahr .380 review.


Him, I trust.

If you don't want to buy a Kahr, vote with your wallet.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply Michael. I should have been more specific about who I was referring to when I talked about "writer's" assessments of guns that turned out badly. They were mostly the major print magazines. The 'net was also full of similar stuff, including articles form otherwise credible sources.

As an example, the "mini" that had the pins walking-out was in one of America's most popular gun magazines. I don't frequent any of the gun-gossip sights and don't put any stock in what arm-chair "operators" espouse either. I expect quality in my reading, just as I expect quality in my guns. That's why I frequent your blog and watch your shows. So, keep up the great work.

Thanks again,

Life Member

Michael Bane said...

Thank you for the kind words, Anon!

You always gotta remember that I have my own axes to grind, favorites, sponsors and the like. I try to give people a heads-up on who's sponsoring what (I have my personal sponsors, plus each show has sponsors...lots of sponsors, I hope) and, as much as possible give you a heads up on what sort of weirdness is rumbling through my head at any given moment.

I've been very lucky in having an enviable list of sponsors; especially, my sponsors understand that I am not willing to ignore non-sponsors. Ruger is a sponsor, Kahr has been a sponsor; S&W and Kel-Tec are not sponsors.

I have a Kahr in my pocket now, and it's probably the pistol I'll take to Nashville...

Again, thanks.


CR Cobb said...


Anonymous said...

How about someone mentions that it is just a Rohrbaugh?

Or would that be too honest?

Along that line, didn't the Rohrbaugh cost three times as much? I'll wait to see Remington's quality. Color me politely skeptical.


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