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Wed Apr 10, 2019, 01:38 AM

the care and handling of firearms

I just got done watching yet another war movie; it inspires the soul, watching Good triumph over Evil, even if it is fiction; seeing socialists and totalitarianists and genocidists get what's coming to them, although alas usually too late.

But whether about a modern war or an ancient one (that involves the use of firearms), there's always been something that strikes me as being unreal, not possible. This was especially true in the long-running series "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific," although it shows up in every war movie.

I'm always seeing scenes of soldiers and sailors mistreating, abusing, their firearms, getting them wet, getting them dirty, dropping them in mud and water, throwing them violently around, smashing them, crushing them, bending them, breaking them.....but then as if by some miracle, every time one's shot off, it works.

I always thought firearms required tender loving care and careful handling; otherwise, why are people always cleaning and oiling them? And oh God no, don't dare get any ammunition wet.

But yet in the movies, even if they're substantially mishandled or negligently handled, the firearms work. Not all the time, but pretty much most of the time a soldier or sailor uses one.

Is this Hollywood illusions, or are firearms truly that tough?

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Response to imwithfred (Original post)

Wed Apr 10, 2019, 06:11 AM

1. Cops and soldiers usually seem to have much better aim too

Although some action heroes (the ones with bottomless mags) do tend to burn up a lot of ammo.

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Response to imwithfred (Original post)

Wed Apr 10, 2019, 06:27 AM

2. "Is this Hollywood illusions, or are firearms truly that tough??"

IMO it's a little of both. There's a reason that M1 Garand rifles and Model 1911 Pistols built 70 plus years ago are still in use today. Same with the AK-47.

The weapons were over designed and built to withstand the tortures that soldiers could and would put them through in combat as well as at the qualification range.

Does that mean they all worked every single time? Nope because even in WWII our gear was made by the lowest bidder.

A lot of today's firearms do require a lot of TLC and will only digest certain types of premium ammo. ANd they tend to cost a lot of $$$$ too.

But there are still guns being made and sold...and people out there using them...that can and do take a lot abuse...they get very little cleaning and get fed the cheapest ammo that can be had at the local gun shop or sporting goods stores and go bang every time the trigger is pulled.

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Response to imwithfred (Original post)

Wed Apr 10, 2019, 07:24 AM

3. Beyond normal, periodic usage at a range, with proper cleaning afterward...

Firearms can suffer from three categories of owner/user-imposed hardship:

1. Heavy use, including over-pressure ammunition

2. Neglect, including age, rust, dried lubricant, lack of cleaning

3. Abuse, as the type you are discussing, and more

Every single firearm design ever built and used is somewhere on a sliding scale of each of the above.

I had a Mauser, which is one of the toughest firearms designs in history, completely shut down because I lent it to a photographer who took it to the beach (sand dunes) to get some faux WWI photos. Beach sand got into the bolt and I immediately took it to a gunsmith who stripped it down and cleaned it.

I worked in a precinct for years in which the neighboring precinct had several sectors at the beach, and all the guys ever complained about was rust on their blued Model 10s.

I have a retired cop friend whose Model 10 shut down during a gun fight in Bed Stuy due to a broken internal piece, that worked for years at the range, and decided to shit the bed at just the wrong time. He finished up with his backup J frame, and got out unhurt.

Making a living carrying a gun means constant fiddling with firearms. Same with any mechanical object.

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Response to Model10RB (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 10, 2019, 08:52 AM

4. ".....Making a living carrying a gun means constant fiddling with firearms....."

Thank you for the much-appreciated illumination!

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Response to imwithfred (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 10, 2019, 12:55 PM

5. Just understand, I was one guy, in one corner of one city, carrying one design (in two sizes)

...of one type of firearm for one career.

I drew my weapon from it's holster several times while on patrol, but I never pointed it at anyone, and certainly never pulled the trigger at anything more dangerous than an old coffee can on a dirt pile.

And, in light of the phrase 'most cops are not gun guys' I don't really consider myself a 'gun guy' for a number of reasons. I shoot to stay proficient, but I have never been on a shooting team, never (to this day) have I 'upgraded' the type of firearm I carry, and I do not immerse myself in firearms information, whether online, in person or in print.

I just got paid to carry a gun for twenty-odd years. I carried one for self-defense off duty and during retirement, and I occasionally work part-time now for a small rural department.

And my entire gun owning experience was to go from a full size 4 inch service revolver and a 2 inch backup revolver to one shorter barrel (2 1/2 inch) service revolver.

However, in order to feel qualified to answer your original question.. In the span of my career and afterwards, I have seen identical firearms taken fresh out of the box, and some work and some do not. Identical firearms taken to the range, and some jam and some do not. Identical firearms retired with the guy, and some look like you would rush to place a bid on them on Gunbroker, and some look like they should be melted for scrap.

Maybe today they don't, but back in my day, most guns really did start out as individuals (especially Smith and Wessons) and continued to individualize depending on the habits of the person who owned, carried and shot them.

Some needed 'smithing right out of the box. Some shot loose and needed locktite. Some rusted (or pitted for stainless) more than others. Some needed to go to the armorer, some a full fledged gunsmith, and some needed to go back to the factory.

Some were babied, some were run dry, some were over-oiled. Some were stuck in holsters, until the gun rusted and the bullets turned green. Some (like mine) were used periodically, cleaned thoroughly, looked after constantly, and still rusted and shot loose.

Now your original question was about the military, and I really do not think that a retired police revolver has seen anywhere near the action of any military weapon, especially those that have been to war. Nor has it had the potential to run hundreds/thousand of rounds of the wrong ammo (as in Vietnam) nor suffer the neglect or abuse as being on an actual battlefield.

But I did take really good care of my handgun, and if the shit hit the fan, I was sure to protect it far and above any other piece of equipment that I carried (except maybe for my radio). Even to this day, when I am hiking, and I feel as if I am about to trip or fall, I somehow manage to throw my weight so that I fall on my left (non-gun) side.

Can you do that as a soldier when bullets, by the thousands are flying? I don't know.

But you can put your right arm in a certain position over the gun so the door of your 1985 Dodge Diplomat NYPD radio car does not whack your sidearm.

I did that every time I got out of the car, no matter how much of a hurry I was in.

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