I know we have all seen those awesome YouTube videos where people are "Breaking In" their carry pistols by shooting 500 rounds from a static range. Perhaps they plink at steel from varying distances, test the accuracy with slow fire, or even just casually shoot one round every few seconds to judge the recoil. This is a terrible example of how someone should be testing their new carry pistol in order to run it through its paces.
I am not going to start out this article by pointing out a million different things I have seen people do wrong. Instead, I am just going to start off with bringing you into my own mindset and why I do what I do. Then, we can get into how to properly test pistols for carrying, from my experience and perspective.
First thing I want you, the reader, to think about is how fast you could find yourself shooting in a worst case scenario. I would hope that you will aim to get all rounds on target, and be accountable for all your hits. I am not saying that you will always have the LUXURY of having a perfect sight picture when you fire. Sometimes, all I was able to acquire was a GHOST reference of my sights. This means I was concentrated on my threat and just brought the weapon up to my line of sight. Some may critique this with an anecdote from Jeff Cooper, but I can tell you that time is of the essence and worrying about perfection will only delay your response. I have learned the hard way that good enough is good enough. Be sure of your hits and be speedy about delivering them.
I understand that alot of people have ideas about what they need to look for when they first buy and shoot a pistols that could be their carry gun, but I assure you that their priorities are often wrong and misguided. If we are going to test a pistol and break it in, shouldn't we do so by simulating the situations we expect it to perform in? That is what I think is the least we should do in order to ensure that our pistol is good enough to serve us in our time of need. This means heating it up and shooting it fast and testing how well it shoots when we are under pressure and we are just pulling the trigger. We can learn alot about a guns' durability and reliability when we get it hot and shoot it as fast as we can while moving and trying to retain good accuracy.
The standard that good enough is enough came from the fact that I realized that all that I need to do is make good center of mass hits on my target. Prior to this realization, I concentrated on doing whatever I could to make sure my multiple shot groups were in the tightest group possible. This was far from the standard that kept me alive on deployment. Sometimes, when your life is on the line, perfect shots are not realistic or possible. In those cases, you need to have the ability to act and accept the fact that hitting the target is probably the best thing you can ask for.
Now that I have rambled on and on about why you may wanna change your ways, I might as well tell you what to try. First thing to keep in mind is the fact that all guns can fail. It depends on how you treat the pistol and how many rounds you have on target, but I would say that most full sized pistols will typically show a poorly made spring or part in 2,000 rounds. I would estimate that subcompacts and small single stack pistols will start showing issues in about half that round count due to the fact that they are generally under alot more pressures. I am not saying that you need to machine gun 2,000 rounds through your Glock 19 right when you get it. I am just saying that I would keep in mind that it may take about this many rounds before you encounter a true issue. This is just my experience and I simply recommend shooting this much and dry firing 10 times for every shot fired before declaring your parts to be well made and your pistol to be completely reliable.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.