I don’t carry small guns. I began carrying a pistol over 20 years ago and at the time the 1911 was enjoying something of a renaissance due in no small part to the magazine capacity restrictions of the Assault Weapons Ban. For nearly a decade I carried a 5” steel frame .45. The pistol was very accurate and reliable when properly cared for and fed. Eventually I transitioned over to primarily carrying Glocks. Along the way, I became a certified Glock Factory Armorer and will eventually take the Advanced Armorers Course. I do not consider the Glock to be “Perfection” but it is a very good pistol and does many things well. For some time, I carried a Glock 21 but even with a grip reduction I never could shoot one to my potential. I gave up on the 21 and eventually settled on a Third Generation 34 to carry daily for many years, the guns only modifications were a set of Warren Tactical sights and a grip reduction. I shot many classes with it taught by some of the best instructors in the nation, thousands and thousands of rounds. The gun never bobbled and I had complete confidence in it. I built two others exactly like it. During all the years I shot and carried it I replaced the recoil and firing pin springs (I always swap them as a system) nine times according to my records but that was the only parts replacement needed.
Awhile back I semi retired my old pistol and replaced it with a Red Dot capable Glock 17. I haven’t shot the old 34 for a long time. Recently my son needed to take a CHL qualification course and I pulled the 34 for him to use. I did so thinking it was a known, vetted, 100% reliable pistol. He did well on his qualification shoot but commented that he had three stovepipes and several light strikes while shooting. Out of 50 rounds, that was a red flag to me. At first, I brushed it off rationalizing the failures away as being due to the ammo which was some 20 year old Federal 115 grain ball from Walmart. That ammo is not known for being the best, it’s plinking grade ammo and not particularly snappy…… But, it gnawed at me. My old reliable friend that I had relied on for a long time to defend home and hearth was sick. So, I completely disassembled the pistol, looking for a reason for the malfunctions, and I found one-
I have no idea how the firing pin safety spring left it’s cup and ended up sideways in the bottom of it’s recess and bent to Hell and gone….. Likely, when I last broke the pistol down to clean it I failed to fully seat the spring properly and mashed it into place. None of that matters. The point of the whole thing is that I would have staked my life on that pistol. I KNEW that it would work if I needed it to….except, there’s a good chance that it wouldn’t have. The Lesson? Always check your gear and if something isn’t 100%, don’t just brush it off, start digging until you find the problem and fix it!