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jlw

Observation of pistol mags

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I assisted Tom Givens with a Rangemaster Instructor Development Course this weekend in Texas.  We were are Karl Rehn's range near Giddings, which I am told is the North Central Plains geographic region.

The sandy dirt on the range choked numerous Sig 320 mags to death. One Magpul G mag briefly succumbed. The only OEM Glock mag to have trouble was a pre-2004 stamped “LE” mag. I don’t think this really says much about a carry pistol as you won’t be repeatedly dropping your mags in the sand while walking about, but those Sig mags just kept failing while the others ran.

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Edited by jlw

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Well remember ...the Sig rep did say "reliability is not everything" when the FBI complained about Sig 250 reliability in testing......

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Running all of your gear in a realistic environment is critical.

I used to run Walther mags that magically transformed into HK mags when dropped free with some rounds remaining in the magazine.  That is, when you picked the magazine up, the top round would generally be turned around backwards. Happened with fair reliability.

I would have never known had I not chosen to run it in that course.

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Was there any effort to clean them before reloading?  Or were these partial mags that were picked up and reinserted?

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6 hours ago, Cruel Hand Luke said:

Well remember ...the Sig rep did say "reliability is not everything" when the FBI complained about Sig 250 reliability in testing......

Do you notice any trends in your classes or does Murphy seem to strike all manufacturers? 

 

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2 hours ago, peejman said:

Was there any effort to clean them before reloading?  Or were these partial mags that were picked up and reinserted?

Picked up off the deck, wiped off, filled, re-used.

Edited by jlw

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Erik,

Honestly, the full size service pistols (and most mid sized) of reputable manufacture generally work fine. In fact, full size 1911s that are fed with Wilson mags and kept lubed tend to work fine. Most issues come from either aftermarket mags, or from cheap , or small guns and worst of all from cheap small guns...with aftermarket mags. That just seems to be the reality of it. But the ammo used sometimes has a hand in it too....

I'm generally not an early adopter of new stuff until it has been out for a year or so hopefully to work any bugs out. I'll probably get a Gen 5 glock sometime in late 2018 or early 19....Even the reputable manufacturers seemingly have adopted an alarming policy of using customers as beta testers for their products. How many recalls has Ruger had on new products in the last 10 years? And then there is the Sig 320 "not drop safe" debacle , The Glock 9mm Gen 4 initial issues (here's a clue... if you spring the gun optimally for .40 it won't work right with weak 9mm practice ammo) , so forth and so on. 

Don't take my earlier comment as a wholesale indictment of SIG. I have several 220 series Sigs (226, 220 ,229, P6) and would not hesitate to carry one. The "reliability is not everything" is a comment that (according to Todd Louis Green) was blurted out without much forethought by the Sig rep when FBI complained about reliability of the Sig 250 in testing. I have shot the 365 and it seems to be a nice pistol . But according to Lee, if you live in an arid dusty environment you might want to be real careful about keeping your mags clean.

Or maybe Tom G just brings out the worst in mags. I hosted a Tom Givens Dynamic Marksmanship class back in 2008 in Ringgold Ga. My friend Derek brought his Browning HP . It was hot and dry and dusty (early August IIRC) and everytime one of his HP mags got dropped on the ground it had a fine film of red dust on it that clogged the mags and kept them from feeding reliably. He had to disassemble some and brush out the dust. My glock mags worked fine, but I also took them apart and cleaned them between day 1 and 2 just to be safe.....anything CAN malfunction.  

My general advice for reliable pistol function is to stick with factory mags (except for 1911s-Wilson works best in my experience), keep 'em  relatively clean and keep the gun appropriately lubed for the environment and use decent ammo and it should work fine. And remember a class is a lot harder on your gun and equipment than an actual defensive use is. 

Edited by Cruel Hand Luke
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One of the Sig shooters has confirmed to me that blowing out the mags with compressed air and using some Remington dry lube solved their problem.

One thing to keep in mind is that these mags were being constantly dumped.  That's not going to happen in daily carry.  It does indicate that the Sig mags are more susceptible to debris, but that can be minimized.  I'm not in the market for the 320 line; so, this discovery really doesn't impact my decision; however, I will be watching the 365 with some interest.

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Sig p229 mags will VERY reliably malfunction in dusty environments if you don't throughly clean the packing oil/grease out of the innards upon purchase. Don't ask how I learned, but an old t shirt and some coleman fuel sure gets them all cleaned up. 

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3 hours ago, jlw said:

Picked up off the deck, wiped off, filled, re-used.

Thanks, just curious. It seems that mags should be clean and dry to minimize the amount of dust that sticks to them. 

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Thanks for the post. I hadn't considered the long term impact of the environment.

Over the last four years, we've trained in all kinds of fun weather in the valley from 90+ dry and dusty to cold, wet, and muddy.

My mags have ended up on the ground numerous times. A quick wipe and tap and I always been good to go.

Factory (CZ) and MecGar mags.

Does the gun make a difference? It has to, my CZs are approved to operate for commercial and industrial use. Yes, I know a platform made in 1975, but to Randy's point, the G19 has a strong track record as well (along with a stable of other pistols)

I'm all for new, awesome, and innovation, but after a reasonable break in period, it needs to work, just like a hammer.

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I shot the 2016 MS State IDPA match with an STI Trojan 9mm.  The ground was covered with 2" of fine, powdery, dust (glad it didn't rain).  Everybody's gun in my squad took a dump that day, even the Glocks.  I ended up topping off (tac-loading) instead of reloading at slide-lock on the last two stages.  With the mags constantly hitting the ground, I'm not sure what could have prevented malfunctions, short of cleaning the mags between every stage.  Nobody's gun would run for long in that stuff.  

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