Priorities

5-May-12 – 09:29 by ToddG

When it comes to shooting, I’m a performance oriented guy. I measure. I track. I care about hundredths of seconds and tenths of inches. Whenever possible, I make choices about techniques and gear based on maximizing that performance.

But sometimes there are other higher priorities. It is those priorities which define us as shooters in many ways. I’ve seen countless high level competitive shooters, for example, who were more concerned with performance than dependability… to their despair when a gun craps out in the middle of a major championship.

Yesterday during practice, the slide stop (aka slide release lever) of my Glock endurance test gun failed after less than 4,000 rounds of use. The breakage caused multiple premature slidelocks. It was the second time in about twenty thousand rounds that a Glock factory extended slide stop broke in my gun and caused the gun to malfunction.

My reloads are definitely faster and less fumble prone with the Glock extended slide stop now that I’m running the Crimson Trace LG-850 Lasergrip. I have shortish thumbs and the added grip circumference from the laser makes reaching the slide stop difficult. From a performance standpoint, the Glock extended lever is the best choice. But if I cannot rely on the gun to cycle properly, that little performance advantage is meaningless. So I’ve gone back to the Vickers Tactical slide stop. My first one went 45,000 rounds before I needed to replace it. While it’s not quite as easy to manipulate when I put the wide LG-850 on my Glock, it works well enough… and I can rely on it long term.

Chasing performance has merit. If you didn’t want to be a better shooter, odds are you wouldn’t be reading at pistol-training.com. But chasing performance also has its limits. Being a tenth of a second faster may impress your friends at the next IDPA match, but it probably won’t be worth it if your gun malfunctions in the middle of a home invasion.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 6 Responses to “Priorities”

  2. Great post, food for thought concerning performance/reliability. Often times, most people assume one leads to the other.

    By Jesus Banda on May 5, 2012

  3. This past year I’ve competed L-10 with a M&P45. I’ve never placed or won anything because I shot that pistol; but I never lost anything because of a stoppage or malfunction either. Trouble free is worth something to me.

    By Matt on May 5, 2012

  4. While there are certainly competitors who pray for everything to come together on match day to have a chance to win, virtually everyone else is obsessed with finding the right gear combination that will lead to top performance – including perfect reliability (just like you).

    I would submit two very possible reasons for your Glock extended slide stops failing: First, Glock has had their parts QC go to hell. Second, you are inducing a problem either via your gunhandling technique or your gun assembling technique.

    By Andy on May 6, 2012

  5. Andy — You’ve clearly been to different matches than I have. I’ve watched a number of nationally recognized competitors DNF or otherwise struggle because they’ve chosen to tune their guns more toward performance than reliability. They don’t all do it, but some certainly have. Step down to the middle class and it becomes more common, not less. In IDPA, for example, I couldn’t even begin to count the number of people I’ve seen fail at major matches because some gimmick they added to their Glock to improve the trigger broke.

    As for why my two slide stops broke, I certainly agree that it’s possible I’ve done something wrong. The most recent one did break about 1,000 rounds (one day) after I’d cleaned the gun. But I don’t think it was me. I verified with one of Glock’s armorer instructors that I was installing both the lever and the congruent pins correctly. And both the installation and day to day use have been identical to what I did with the first Vickers release, which went 45k or so rounds. Compare that to having two Glock levers break in about the span of one month and I think it’s reasonable to say Glock is the more likely culprit.

    By ToddG on May 6, 2012

  6. As for your first point, things do break, even to top shooters. Case in point: Your slide stops on your G17. I also agree that it happens more in “the middle class” but I think that’s often simply a case of part of the learning experience of competition. It’s all about pushing the envelope to see what works and what doesn’t, right? And part of that envelope is equipment related.

    As for the second point I would tend to also think it is Glock’s QC that is to blame. Something is not right over there…

    By Andy on May 6, 2012

  7. This is spot on.

    Even if a CZ Shadow have a superior trigger than a Glock, HK P30 or a M&P9 Pro, the later guns run and i consider them better competition guns for IPSC Production.

    And this is why Open division ain’t for me.

    By faksen on May 6, 2012

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.