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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking after posting in another thread about our favorite or most trusted carry guns. No matter which gun, if it has zero rounds or tenthousand down the pipe each time you pull the trigger it has a 50/50 chance of working.

There are two possible outcomes when you pull the trigger.... It works.... Or it doesn't work. Those odds never change.... Or do they? We like to think that after a certain number of rounds the gun has "proven itself" to be reliable, but is that true?

Or are the odds increasing that the next trigger pull is likely to be a failure as parts wear, springs lose tension, metal fatigues?

So much had to happen when we pull the trigger and so much can go wrong with all those moving parts.... Yet if there is an issue the first to get blamed is the gun....
So many things have to work in concert to get that bullet down range and the two variables that are most likely to be at fault are the person pulling the trigger, or the ammo.

We like to think we are consistent and never have issues, but everything from accuracy to many types of jams and failure can be traced to the shooter and many we wouldn't realize unless someone watches us.

Ammo is another unknown, factory or reloads it is an unknown each and every round. So much can go wrong from a hot load to a squib. A charge that's a little light may allow the slide to cycle but not enough to do it fully.... While the case may eject it may not make it to reset the trigger.

Even with all of this is is still a 50/50 chance. The gun may work.... But the outcome may not be what you want.
Squib= gun works, bullet doesn't.
Miss target=gun works, something else went wrong.
Only if the trigger fails to release the firing pin due to a mechanical issue is it the gun.

While very complex mechanical items a gun will either work, or it won't.
 

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I don't do malfunction drills enough when I practice at the range. While I trust the guns that I carry 99%...like you say, there is that chance when you need it that it might not be there. I also do not usually carry a BUG.
 

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Two outcomes is different than the probability of an outcome. I will bet on the sun coming up tomorrow and choose a gun with as close to the same probability of working.
 

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Your 50/50 is just wrong. If you pull the trigger 100 times, and it fails once, that is a 1 percent failure rate, or a 99/1 chance of firing the next time you shoot. You can factor that out to any reasonable number. Depending on the gun, I use differing standards. A good revolver, including Taurus, I'll shoot 100 times before carrying. A glock, perhaps the same. An "off' brand, or a brand I'm not familiar with, maybe as many as 500 rounds.
 

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Personally, I've always been more quick to question ammo or myself before the firearm as far as malfunctions go, especially if the firearm has already long since proven itself to be reliable.

My reasoning is that firearms are typically built in a very precise manner which minimizes the possibility of failure under ordinary circumstances, whereas ammo has many variables regardless of how precisely it is made, as I'm sure anybody who loads their own ammo will attest to. Generally speaking, no two bullets will ever function identically, which any chronograph will illustrate, or easier yet, any bench rest/paper target will illustrate.
In addition, there's the factor that is human error, which can and more often than you would think, does increase the odds odds of malfunction

Speaking from personal experience, my carry gun (as I'm sure everyone knows by now, but bear with me) is a Smith & Wesson manufactured Walther PPK/S in .380 ACP, some claim that this particular firearm is generally unreliable, but mine has yet to ever malfunction on its own. The only times it has ever had anything close to a malfunction is when I short stroke the slide when chambering a round, otherwise it has fed everything trouble free, ergo if someday it should ever malfunction, (which I'm sure it will someday) my first assumption will be that either I or the ammo is to blame, which is to me, the most logical conclusion given its otherwise spotless track record for reliability/function.

Furthermore, I wouldn't consider a part breaking to be a fault of the firearm either, but rather the manufacturer for using faulty parts, or myself for failing to maintain it properly. For example, having actually read my PPK/S owner's manual, I know that according to Walther, after 15,000 rounds the recoil spring may start to weaken and negatively affect reliability, ergo when/if I ever near/pass the 15,000 round mark, I'll be sure to order replacement springs rather than continue carrying it/shooting it as is, then proceed to unfairly blame the firearm when it malfunctions.
 

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Thanks for spoiling my confidence in my carry gun.:tongue:
 
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My carry guns performance, gives me confidence that it will function properly when, and if needed. I'm certain, when I pull the trigger, it will fire.
 

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Two outcomes is different than the probability of an outcome. I will bet on the sun coming up tomorrow and choose a gun with as close to the same probability of working.
This^^^^^^^^^^^^

When you flip a coin there is a 50/50 chance of getting an outcome of “heads”. There is a 100% chance of getting an outcome of “heads” or “tails”. There is also a 100% chance of the outcome that the coin will come down after flipping it up into the air. All this is dependent, of course, on actually having or finding a coin to flip. So, when you are forced into a defensive scenario it is important you consider the outcome you are guessing/betting on.

What are the chances of an outcome that you are carrying when it happens? Then, what are the chances of an outcome of making a good draw and presentation? What are the chances of an outcome where you have to shoot and hit the BG, maybe more than once? You see where I’m going with this.

Ya, I don’t go for the old 50/50 oddsmaking - unless I’m flipping a coin. And the odds are much more in my favor if I have a two faced coin and I’m the only one who knows about it.
 

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While it is possible that a gun improperly function at any time, but the probability of malfunction is not coin toss odds. Consider that something is possible or it is not. There is no chance involved. It is like death. You are either dead or you are not. Probability is an entirely different situation.

Let’s look at a different circumstance. It is possible that a person could die without warning or known ailment. That is a coin toss. You live or die. Of course we all will die. But actuarial studies shows when we are more like.to die than not. They do that by the analysis of research data. life nsurance companies relY on that data to set premiums. Determining the likelihood of a firearm failure would require the study of an eneormous amount of data. So since that is not going to happen I have come up with my own way of dealing with gun unreliabiliy. I am 76. My G2C has not completed its first year. So I do not worry about the gun. I just take care of myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Your 50/50 is just wrong. If you pull the trigger 100 times, and it fails once, that is a 1 percent failure rate, or a 99/1 chance of firing the next time you shoot. You can factor that out to any reasonable number. Depending on the gun, I use differing standards. A good revolver, including Taurus, I'll shoot 100 times before carrying. A glock, perhaps the same. An "off' brand, or a brand I'm not familiar with, maybe as many as 500 rounds.
The one time you need your gun it will be a work/don't work. Not a 99 out of 100 as if it doesn't fire the first time you may not get a second try during a defensive use. Just because it had been fired 500 times without issue does not mean it will fire on the 501st. Each pull of the trigger had the same chance of work or fail. While 500 rounds may inspire confidence in reliability it is also 500 cycles that increase wear. I am only really talking about one individual shot... Each shot is a 50/50. While a history of reliability would seem to predict a future of reliability it can also show that the chance of failure increases with each pull of the trigger. It is this way with all mechanical things.... The more usage and wear the increased opportunity for failure.
But it still boils down to a 50/50 chance on each trigger pull.
 

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PT140, simple answer.
 

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This all boils down to the laws of probability and luck. Luck however favors the prepared.
 

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Well with that way of thinking, I guess it's a 50/50 chance of being alive the next day. We either are or we aren't . I'm 99.9% certain that my S&W MP Shield .45 will do it's job as long as I do mine, but it either will or it won't...:)
 

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How does buying 50 new guns figure into this amazing equation?
 

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That's not a function of probability. It's not a binary proposition. Too many other factors enter in to the probability that the gun will fire. That's like saying that every time you get into your car and drive to the store, the car will start, or it won't. You'll have a wreck or you won't. The stuff you went to the store to get will be there or it won't. Factors such as design, ammo, maintenance, etc., affect the outcome. If, in fact, the probabilities were binary, carrying firearm would not be a reliable means of self defense. YMMV
 
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