Are we shooting more than we used to?
People routinely ask about the lifespan of a particular gun, while at the same time suggesting that somehow the guns of yesteryear would last longer under use than today’s offerings. I’m not sure that this is the case.
Let’s jump back to, say, 1935 or so. Someone has just bought a new .38 Special revolver (take your pick of quality makers) and a box of ammunition. If they were an average shooter, that box that might last them for a decade or more!
What I’ve managed to decipher from the “old folks” I’ve talked with is that they just didn’t shoot guns all that much. There weren’t a lot of competitive shooting events back then, and even those that existed demanded less ammunition in a year than a typical IDPA match consumes in a weekend. A box of handgun ammo (50 rounds) per year was considered a “lot” of shooting by many of these folks; at that rate, our mythical 70-year-old revolver would be considered to have been heavily used by the standards of the day, yet only fired a total of 3500 rounds!
Flash forward to 2006, and a certain maker says that their gun has an “expected lifespan” of 6,000 rounds. Doesn’t sound like much to us, but it may be two or three (or possibly ten) times the number of rounds that guns sold in 1935 would expect to see over their lifetime.
Perspective, people. There is a lot to complain about in the craftsmanship (or lack of same) coming out most of today’s manufacturers, but one generally can’t fault the durability of the guns. There are exceptions, of course, but in the aggregate I suspect that your average Ruger GP100 will last longer than the folks of 1935 could even imagine.
-=[ Grant ]=-
- Posted by Grant Cunningham
- On October 30, 2006