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Hello, I'm pretty new to Walthers and I'm looking for some advice.

After years shooting revolvers, I've recently shifted to shooting semi-automatics thanks to the gift of a P1 and a PPK/S from a friend. Those gateway Walthers led me to purchase a P99 and a PPS, and I would like to shift to them for home protection and carry. Before doing that, I want to be sure of reliability. I've chosen a type of defensive ammo for each pistol (Federal HST 147 and 150 Micro, respectively), and have run about 40 rounds through each without a glitch. How many test rounds of a specific ammo type would you consider necessary to be confident in reliable cycling?

Thanks for any advice.
 

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I'd suggest 100 rounds JHPs between two dedicated HD mags, but run another few hundred rounds of FMJ just to get the hang of running the pistol.

You might consider loading the mags from two or three rounds each to full capacity. Sometimes partially-loaded mags can be finicky, plus you can practice efficient magazine changes at the same time.


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I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
 

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Testing reliability is is not just how many rounds to shoot. You shoot most guns and get get 20 JHP through it without a failure to feed and you have proven your ammo feeds properly. If you shoot 100 rounds in testing but do it slowly all you proved is that you shot 100 rounds. Reliability is is proven by shooting that simulates real life conditions: a flurry of rapid sequence shots, like double and triple taps. Make the gun work hard. If it holds up with a hundred rounds through it is rapid succession, I think you can see it as reliable as long as you keep it clean and oiled.

It tested my PPS M2 with Winchester Train and Defend. Both train and defend are 147 grain with the same design except trained is FMF and Defend is JHP. I selected that ammo after reviewing dozens of tests of 9mm out of a 3 inch barrel by Ammoquest on eBay. Check out this video and see why I carry Defend and practice with Train. HST 147 was my previous favorite. I do not see any reliable testing of the Micro so I passed it by. Maybe in time there will be more to learn about it other than ads.

This video is worth watching.

https://youtu.be/xc5n_JsY3aw
 
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I wouldn't EDC a weapon until I've taken it through a full day level I proficiency course. Failing that I'd follow a lot of 42's advice...

Minimum of 500 rounds fmj as similar to your defensive ammo as possible. Minimum of 100 rounds defensive ammo. Run the weapon hard, two to five round strings rapid fire drawn from your carry holster.

Shoot it clean, shoot it dirty, shoot it enough so you really know how the weapon handles...

Personally because you want this as your EDC, even if you've been carrying for years (or even for work) I'd look at getting Level I or Level II training. You'll really know your weapon by the end of the course. You'll certainly know your ammo and its shooting characteristics in most situations.

After all your weapon is life support...how much is your life (or that of your family or your friends) worth?
 

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It's not the number of rounds you fire, it's what level of imperfection are you willing to accept? In just 3 responses it's obvious that the number and type of rounds looks like a scattergram. Olsoul gave the best recommendation I know of.....training, consistent and varied practice.
 

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Depends somewhat on the weapon. Guns with a rep as reliable don't need quite as much skepticism; I've taken Glock 42s straight from the dealer to a club match.
Since the P365 has had its issues, I've run maybe 300 rounds of mixed (defense and handload practice of roughly equivalent power) ammo. The gun's current rep is excellent, and the 8 I now know of perssconally have run 100%.
Another issue; whatever ammo you end up choosing, make sure you can get enough of it. Gold Dot .380s were scarce for a long time.
Finally, an aside, and a twice told tale. My first centerfire auto was a Ranger PPK/s .380, 35 years ago. Because of the cost of factory hollowpoints, I decided to feed it careful reloads. I'd load 10 of something, if that ran, then 25, then 50. I never did find a load that would run 100 straight, and finally traded it.
Moon
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all for your advice, it's very helpful. The issue of how much to buy was part of the motivation for my questions, as I want to have enough to test and enough left to be of use, and want to plan against shortages of specific loads. I will definitely test with rapid fire, partially loaded mags, one hand, weak hand, etc. Again, thanks.
 

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Depends somewhat on the weapon. Guns with a rep as reliable don't need quite as much skepticism
Moon
It isn't so much the "rep for reliability" moon. I'd think it is a matter of how the weapon is going to function in your hands with a given load under various conditions. Each weapon has its own idiosyncrasies.

In a match you might lose points, in the real world it could be a bit more... :).

I agree to a certain extent with your assertion about reputation, as that is the yard stick we all need to start with but where the rubber meets the road you always want as close to perfection as possible and know it for a fact not a supposition.
 

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Not really arguing that point, but I pick defensive guns using several criteria, rep for reliability being one. An analogy; Toyotas are expected to work, Alfa Romeos, maybe not. I was skeptical of both the 42 and the 365 early on, but assured myself through extensive personal usage, and that of friends.
Nah, I wouldn't have loaded the 42 with Gold Dots and stuck it in my pocket, but I wasn't surprised it ran just fine in a match. It was actually my 'spare' 42, and the previous ones have always run just fine.
I've a 100+ year old Smith lemon squeezer top break; doubt it's ever been fired. Somebody bought it, loaded 5 .38 S&Ws, and stuck it in the drawer. That sorta works with revos; not so much with autoloaders.
Moon
 
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Most answers are going to come down to your level of comfort. Some folks are okay with 'good enough' and others will accept nothing less than absolute certainty.

My opinion is on a self defense pistol with a reputation for reliability (like either the PPS or P99) that experiences zero problems out the box I'd be willing to settle with a significantly lower round count.

For example, my Ruger SR1911 was flawless right out of the box. I put 100 rounds FMJ through it with no hiccups and then put a box of high quality HP self defense loads. Cleaned it and then put it cocked and locked on my nightstand, ready to roll.


I would consider that 120 rounds to be at the very, very low end of acceptable, but I was personally comfortable with it based on Ruger's reputation for making functional 1911's and my personal experience with that specific serial# gun meeting that reputation (at least initially, time will tell).

By contrast, My Taurus TCP is from a company with a reputation for putting out some weapons with very questionable/mixed reliability and function - and when I purchased it the thing, my particular SN# gun had problems right out of the box and required a not unsubstantial amount of amateur gunsmithing.

That pistol I still never fully trust. I make it prove itself every time it goes to the range. It took around 400 rounds and some judicious polishing/filing for the thing to even resemble reliable. I probably have close to 3k+ rounds through the thing now and it will run about 150-250 rounds without a cleaning before rounds start choking on the feed ramp.

Some would say why carry such a pistol if you don't have 100% confidence... My reply is that the choice to carry any micro .380 is going to be the result of a compromise. The majority of micro .380's have similar concerns with reliability, regardless of manufacturer. I'd rather have a 99% reliable pistol that I can commit to carry 100% of the time over a 100% reliable pistol that I don't always have with me.

Plus, in 100% of cases I've experienced that <1% unreliability factor in the TCP is remedied by a tap/rack/bang.

My final thoughts are that auto-loaders are inherently unreliable. Revolvers are clearly a superior choice to anyone putting a premium on reliability... Of course you lose capacity and (for me) I find revolvers more difficult to shoot accurately.

Long story short. Life is a series of compromises. Choose the ones you make wisely - and never compromise your morals for money. You can always get more money, but once you compromise on your personal integrity you can't get that back.
 

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I would use the ammo you plan to carry, exclusively, as the judge of reliability.

Some guns will feed round-nose bullets fine, but have issues with hollow-points. Even the design of the hollow-point can make a difference for some guns. For defense, reliability with sub-par bullets is irrelevant.

I probably fired over 200 rounds of HST .45s in my carry gun without a failure before calling it good. I fired a few hundred rounds of other ammo without any failure as well, but the reliability with HSTs was my major concern.

Even revolvers can have issues, but not necessarily the same type. My .357 SP101 doesn't like to fully eject the spent cases of some rounds easily. So while it does always go "bang" when the trigger is pulled, it still requires some testing to confirm your selected ammo doesn't cause any issues.
 

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I use a mix of qualitative and quantitative.
Qualitative. After clean and inspect how well does it assemble and shoot.
Some will shoot but have uneven performance. Yet same model but different handgun works great right out of the box.
Round counts shoot at least one box fmj just to see how it does.
Then clean lube etc.
If works great then try different jhp.
If ok then just practice with it.
After deem it is ok let others try it out.
This is informal and as I have discovered first hand manufacture process is not hand fit.
So regarding Walther. My first PPS classic worked until round count 450.
Then had a notable distinct failure to feed .
As I purchase with Davidson's I got a replacement PPS classic.
The replacement qualitatively was much "smoother" maybe sweet spot of tolerance stacking.
Shot 50 rounds fmj fed great.
Once I got about 200 rnds had others try it out
Always worked. Experienced or new shooters.
So subjectively I would carry it at about 250. The other one that failed never seemed right to me and eventually failed.
Other makes brand similar too. Some are just put together right others may be off or fail.
Round count I prefer more than less also try fast double taps limp wrist etc.
If good the good to go.
I carry ,the replaced PPS, since 2015. I never carried the first one.
 

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I just put 11 different brands and designs in my P99c and fuhgettaboutit. I figure one of them is bound to work. :D
 

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Hate to cloud the waters by trying a whole variety of ammo, in an effort to make the gun choke. It's expensive for a start, and if you like the performance of a particular round, no use shooting others. Too, if you do finally produce a hiccup, that event will be in your mind every time you pack the piece.
BTW, Col. Jeff Cooper opined that the failure rate in revos and autos was about the same. Cooper was a 1911 guy. Personally, if a revolver malfs, it's apt to be actually broken, or has dirt under the extractor.
Moon
 

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Sometime the magazine may be the problem, if not feeding.
PPS classic 7 end magazine. One had misfeed.
I had to remove some flashing from the follower. A small flashing was causing the follower to stick.
So now I disassemble all new magazines ( any manufacturer not just Walther) first time before shooting.
Remove any flashing and manufactures storage shipping oil.
 

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Hate to cloud the waters by trying a whole variety of ammo, in an effort to make the gun choke. It's expensive for a start, and if you like the performance of a particular round, no use shooting others. Too, if you do finally produce a hiccup, that event will be in your mind every time you pack the piece.
BTW, Col. Jeff Cooper opined that the failure rate in revos and autos was about the same. Cooper was a 1911 guy. Personally, if a revolver malfs, it's apt to be actually broken, or has dirt under the extractor.
Moon
I think there is a lot of wisdom in this post. I would, however, like to offer a different viewpoint.


Me, personally, I would like to know what my pistol is capable of. While the current climate for ammo availability is quite favorable, that may not always be the case as the past has shown us. A weapon that is only known to be reliable with one type of ammo is potentially of no use should that ammo not be available.



While I've already admitted to doing less than completely thorough testing of a self defense piece in this very thread, I would also say that it brings me great confidence to know that a weapon I'm carrying can eat up a variety of different rounds and provide performance under a broad array of conditions and variables. Were money not a consideration, I would run at least 100 rounds of just about every brand on the shelf in both HP and FMJ.


If I had two weapons, one that I knew was tested with 11 types of ammo and functioned well with 10 types of ammo but did not function well with 1 type of ammo and compared that to a different weapon that had only been tested with 3 types of ammo - all of which functioned well - I would probably still have a higher degree of confidence in the weapon that had the 1 failure but the 10 successes.


I'd also say that Col Coopers experience differs from my own. I had just about every last one of my semi-autos malfunction at one point or another. A couple of them are jam-o-matics regulated to range only use. I only own two revolvers (something I wish to correct), but both of them have never failed to go bang for me - ever! With that said, the Colonel has considerably more experience than me so I respect his opinion - but I would say it is also dealing with a different era of weapons than I'm familiarized with and speaking to.
 

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I was joking about 11 different bullets in one magazine.
 

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...

My final thoughts are that auto-loaders are inherently unreliable. Revolvers are clearly a superior choice to anyone putting a premium on reliability... Of course you lose capacity and (for me) I find revolvers more difficult to shoot accurately.

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I cannot completely agree with the statement that revolvers are a superior choice when it comes to reliability.

For decades I have shot over thousand centerfire rounds per month and have found that most problems, in both semi automatic pistols and revolvers, were ammo related. I had premium defensive ammo in a Glock not go off and dissected the round. The primer had no anvil.

The fix was easy, I pulled the slide and continued shooting.

On the other hand, I had experienced that some ammo failures in revolvers render the gun useless in the field. As an example I want to mention Hansen (Prvi Partizan) .357 Magnum, where I had a case separation and the front of the cartridge got pushed into the forcing cone, locking the gun up solidly. Primer blow out can cause the same.

Any mechanical device can and will eventually fail and the statistical probability does not matter as much as the convenient, or inconvenient moment that it does:D and that is one of the reasons why so many cops carry a back up weapon.
 

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Andyd_is_PzGren brings up some very valid points about critical failures.

While you've pointed out a few instances where you found that a revolver was not more reliable than a semi-auto, would you say in your experience that your revolvers are less reliable on the whole than your semi-autos?

Or roughly equivalent?

Or would you say that when accounting for all types of malfunctions revolvers experience fewer malfunctions on a round per round basis? (and do you have any thoughts on how much the difference is?)
 

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Angry Hippo,

I believe that certain semi autos that have a proven track record of reliability are as trustworthy as a revolver in a lethal firefight. I personally found that Glocks are dependable firearms when they have quality ammo and are well kept. Infusing oil into the firing pin channel is a great way to even mess up a Glock:). I find the ease of clearing a malfunction in a semi auto more comfortable than in a revolver - despite the common opinion on the internet of just pulling the trigger again with a revolver if it fails to fire, which as I had stated only works most of the time but not in all instances.

I have learnt lessons in a hard life and I have seen enough firefights and failures to stop people despite good COM hits to resort to higher capacity for my own comfort. I have learnt that lesson in a rather unique situation, where I had lived in a gang infested and highly insecure area of Haiti and as the only white man in that neighbourhood stood out like a sore thumb. Once you have a gun and can convince any attacker that you will fight back, you are no longer a sitting duck and scavengers are smelling that and look for easier prey.

Normally I carry a Glock but this morning when I went out, I just pocketed my old S&W M38 bodyguard in this relatively safe neighbourhood that I am in now.
 
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