Pistol Break In Proceedure

Mar 3, 2017
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#1
Do you do anything special to break in your pistol? Clean the storage grease off of it, lube it, and shoot it pretty much?

A gentleman told me to run an oil patch down the barrel after every mag for 250 rounds and stressed that I not break the gun in with hollow points.
 

Basher

Sergeant
Dec 13, 2004
1,065
434
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Mesa AZ, USA
#3
Do you do anything special to break in your pistol? Clean the storage grease off of it, lube it, and shoot it pretty much?

A gentleman told me to run an oil patch down the barrel after every mag for 250 rounds and stressed that I not break the gun in with hollow points.
What handgun are we talking about here?

Breaking in a barrel is generally accepted as a waste of time and ammo anymore. Shoot it. As far as "breaking in" the rest of the pistol:

1) Lube where the manufacturer says to do so.
2) Load magazine with good ammo.
3) Insert mag and chamber a round.
4) Aim.
5) Press the trigger.
6) Repeat.
7) Be happy. :)
 

79steeler

Full Member
Jan 16, 2012
1,094
56
48
#8
break down and clean factory grease off, it's not a lube. Lube weapon and shoot at least 4 or 5 humdred rounds thru it so you feel its comfortable to carry. clean and carry.
 
Jan 22, 2013
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Seattle Area
#9
You shouldn’t need to if the manufacturer did their job. That said, I bought a Walther PPQ a few years ago and put a couple of boxes of ammo through it out of the box. What a terrible gun, failures to feed every 5-10 rounds. Got it home and the internals had a bunch of fine silver particles everywhere. Cleaned it real good and it shot fine, I think it was material from the recoil spring coating. Sent it down the road, no more Umarex guns for me.

Have heard people say you need to put 500 rounds through a new Les Bear before it’s broken in, might as well spend the money on a Nighthawk and have it ready to go out of the box.
 

Bender

Something witty here
Feb 12, 2014
2,983
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Cheyenne WY.
#10
If your FNX has any issues feeding or ejecting, leave it cocked and (empty chamber) full loaded magazine for a couple weeks, then just shoot the snot out out of it.
 

Unknown

Gunny Sergeant
Sep 17, 2009
3,186
270
83
Pacific Northwest,USA
#11
It is unfortunate that so many pistols have to be "broken in". If the machining to make the pistol was done correctly in the first place, things would fit properly, and "break in" wouldn't be required.

I understand the reality of needing to "break in" many pistols, but this is simply the result of parts that were improperly fitted to begin with. It is possible to make pistols that work reliably right out of the box, but they will often (not always) cost more money.
 

gunsnjeeps

Retired Swab Jockey
Dec 15, 2009
698
21
18
Norfolk, Va
#12
Buy a pistol, load the magazine, drop it in a holster. No reason to make sure it feeds. Your not breaking int he pistol as much as making sure it's reliable. Loose tolerance of production pistols don't need broken in.
 
Mar 26, 2006
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#13
Buy a pistol, load the magazine, drop it in a holster. No reason to make sure it feeds.
I've read a lot of questionable advice on various forums, but this makes the finals for the dumbest advice I've ever heard.

If my life may depend on a gun, damn straight I'm going to make sure the gun is reliable and reliably feeds the ammo I will carry in it.

My wife's carry gun is uber reliable....except with the first ammo we bought for it. It hated it and misfed every other round. Figured that out on the range and simply switched ammo to a better bullet profile.

I have a gun right now I bought as a carry gun but needs some work or work on the ammo before I would trust it in that role.
 
Feb 13, 2017
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32
28
Wellington, OH
#14
I've read a lot of questionable advice on various forums, but this makes the finals for the dumbest advice I've ever heard.

If my life may depend on a gun, damn straight I'm going to make sure the gun is reliable and reliably feeds the ammo I will carry in it.

My wife's carry gun is uber reliable....except with the first ammo we bought for it. It hated it and misfed every other round. Figured that out on the range and simply switched ammo to a better bullet profile.

I have a gun right now I bought as a carry gun but needs some work or work on the ammo before I would trust it in that role.
Agreed, I don't carry a gun until I know it's reliable. With both ball ammo and carry ammo.

Dave
 

Mooncake

Sergeant of the Hide
May 29, 2018
492
502
93
Central Mountains, CO
#16
Some pistols require heavy or hot ammo for the first couple hundred rounds to work the spring before they'll reliably feed on garbage.

I don't believe I've ever even thought of breaking in a pistol barrel.
 
Feb 15, 2005
136
44
28
Mission, KS
www.donttouchme.com
#17
All machines need a break-in period. Since gun makers (like essentially all machine makers) don't bother to do it for you, it is up to you.

Part of you purchase price needs to be at least 200 (preferably 500) rounds of ammo. End with some of what you want to carry.
  1. Take gun home. Read manual to make sure nothing odd and hidden. It happens.
  2. Take it apart per normal field strip instructions.
  3. Clean it. More than you ever will again. Do not trust manufacturing process. They often leave metal shavings, cutting lube, grease pencil marks, etc. etc. Rod and patches in the bore. I only boresnake my pistols day to day, but this gets a full cleaning.
  4. Check for proper assembly. Are all pins in place, all screws tight, etc? Not usually on firearms, but every accessory (of ANY price) needs to have loctite on the screws, lube on the battery ports and o-rings.
  5. Lube. Appx per mfg instructions, but I tend to myself over-lube.
  6. Shoot it. Be SURE to cycle through all mags you have for it. Shoot in every mode to assure all bits are exercised.
  7. After some reasonable period (end of the day, whether that is 50 or 200) take it apart, clean and inspect again. Do not worry about metal flakes, etc. but note them for future purposes.
  8. Repeat until you have at least 200 through it.
  9. Note stoppages after the first 50-100. Do they repeat? Are they specific to a mag, to some ammo? Are you gripping wrong and dragging the slide or engaging the slide stop? Do NOT do practice, and quickly clear, but investigate all stoppages for cause.
  10. Make sure it is 100% reliable with your carry ammo. A 1% failure rate is awful, but you'd need at least 100 rounds to detect that. That's a lot of money so you are doing a quick gut check here. If it works with 20, we call it good...
.... if it has no stoppages after the first 50-100, and no failures in your gut check carry ammo: GTG!

Still stopping? Find ammo it likes. Cannot? Send back to the maker, or just return on general principles.


While atypical, I like my CA33 as an example. Would not shoot two rounds in a row the first 20. Then slowly got better, but took 200 to fully break in and get all the parts working.

Now? 100% reliable. Never stops. It has had a registered auto-sear in it, and shoots full auto without a hitch. Perfect gun.

Once it had a break-in period.
 
Last edited:

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Aug 10, 2001
5,556
810
113
Arizona, good place for me...
#18
I have a Ruger American Pistol 9 Pro (no external safety).

I dry patched the bore, loaded it up with S&B 115gr Ball Ammo and went at it for 200rd.

I disassembled it, foamed the bore with Outer's Gunslick Foaming Bore Cleaner, flushed the fore control module and slide assembly with Hoppe's Gun Medic Cleaner and Lube, dripped it out, wiped the main groups dry, punched the bore several times with dry patches, reassembled it and Voila, done!

This firearm has never malfunctioned on me from shot number one, and shoots at least as well as I can.

I practice with Independence (Aluminum) 115gr Ball and keep the mags loaded with 147gr Federal Hydra-Shok.

I couldn't be happier.

Greg
 

mi223

Full Member
Feb 14, 2017
370
49
28
#19
Huh. I have glocks and m&ps. They have all shot out of the box regardless of ammo.

If i spend good money on a weapon and i have to use a particular ammo, i am pissed!

Reminds me of my buddys kimber 1911. His famous words are "i bought the wrong ammo"
 

Gooldylocks

the pistol shooter guy
Jan 22, 2018
160
63
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OREGON
#21
I think it would somewhat depend on your definition of "break-in" period. Some guns, specifically customs like the Baer mentioned above or a lot of custom 2011 types really do benefit from some amount of breaking in. Just as people talk about their custom rifle action smoothing out after several hundred cycles, so will a pistol. It will lap itself in. When I first got my newest open gun, it was so tight I could hardly rack it. After the first 300-1000 or so rounds, it lapped itself in to now be incredibly tight while still being 100% reliable and smooth as glass. Never had malfunctions, but certainly needed to be broken in.

For a normal plastic fantastic type gun? I would just shoot a couple hundred through it to work in the recoil spring and get it to take a proper set then call it good. Make sure it runs on your carry ammo if that is what it is for, if it is just a range gun make sure it likes your preferred bullet profile. Then just shoot it, a lot.
 

Veer_G

Cunning Linguist, Emeritus
Jun 15, 2008
8,597
5,550
113
SEPA
#22
Even with the right ammo Kimbers can have issues.
I regard most Kimbers as range toys. I've seen one exception. 1911s carried for self-defense should not be lowest common denominator, mass-market weapons.

Gentlemen, that was sarcasm for Unknown's post read my earlier post.
You don't suggest that someone carry an untried pistol for self-defense, even in jest. Hobbyists irritate the fuck out of me by uttering shit like this. I fire hundreds of rounds through a pistol before I trust my life to it. Leave the sarcasm for other discussions, lest someone take you at your word.
 

Vodoun daVinci

Sergeant of the Hide
Dec 17, 2017
242
85
28
#23
The only thing I do before I take a new gun to the range is clean it and get my own oil on it and then rack that rascal a couple hundred times to burnish the moving parts and contact points.

Then shoot a couple hundred rounds watch for any failures. Now days with brand new pistols it's not uncommon to have a few hickups in the first few hundred. But if I get any kind of issues after 200 rounds the gun will probably get moved along and never carried.

VooDoo
 

Unknown

Gunny Sergeant
Sep 17, 2009
3,186
270
83
Pacific Northwest,USA
#24
Gunsnjeeps' point about ammo selection is correct. Some guns simply don't like some ammo, regardless of how well the pistol was built to begin with, or how high quality the ammo is.

One of the officers at my department had a Glock 21 that would work just fine with any ammo except Fiochi hollow point ammo. With Fiochi ammo, it would malfunction about every other round regardless of which magazine was tried. Any other Glock 21 at our department fed the same Fiochi ammo just fine. It was just that one gun with that one kind of ammo.

Only a fool would trust a gun/ammo combination without trying it first.
 
Likes: shoobe01

gunsnjeeps

Retired Swab Jockey
Dec 15, 2009
698
21
18
Norfolk, Va
#26
I posted the third post about 200 round break in. This checks all the springs, makes sure pins don't walk, etc. Even a revlover needs a break in period to test springs and make sure it will take the ammo you use, some companies have a thicker rim on their case.

Post 11 was sarcasm, maybe a bit heavy but not in purple. Hand assembled high performance racing engines require a break in period, that is more meticulous than any precision gunsmithing.

I'm not a Kimber fan they have had their ups and downs on the market depending on ownership. I wouldn't knock them for much except living on reputation too often. If I were to carry a 1911, my Springfield and the one I built are excellent candidates. For carry, I have Glocks in .45 with rebuilt triggers. If anything happens to them they are easy to replace and don't have any sentimental value.
 
Feb 15, 2005
136
44
28
Mission, KS
www.donttouchme.com
#27
5 years in USPSA, reliability is 99% in the ammo and mags.
I hope this is not a serious number, because think of your actual Mean Time Between Failures. 1 stoppage per match or so is acceptable?

To me, it is not. My good guns have no stoppages (under normal circumstances)... ever. Any not-user-induced stoppage is worth investigating, and if not ammo, mag, etc. then I mark it down and get suspicious. My one carbine had some issues with an extractor spring, so has only run about 800 rounds since I got it fixed and I am ever so slightly un-trusting as yet. Next year, maybe I'll believe in it more.

(Exceptional circumstances are things like having to keep the carbine racked with bolt open on a windy day on our floodplain-dusty outdoor range. Any self-loaders will begin to have stoppages even if kept wet. Environmental.)
 

Gooldylocks

the pistol shooter guy
Jan 22, 2018
160
63
28
OREGON
#29
I hope this is not a serious number, because think of your actual Mean Time Between Failures. 1 stoppage per match or so is acceptable?

To me, it is not. My good guns have no stoppages (under normal circumstances)... ever. Any not-user-induced stoppage is worth investigating, and if not ammo, mag, etc. then I mark it down and get suspicious. My one carbine had some issues with an extractor spring, so has only run about 800 rounds since I got it fixed and I am ever so slightly un-trusting as yet. Next year, maybe I'll believe in it more.

(Exceptional circumstances are things like having to keep the carbine racked with bolt open on a windy day on our floodplain-dusty outdoor range. Any self-loaders will begin to have stoppages even if kept wet. Environmental.)
He is saying 99% of failures are caused by ammo or mags. Which I completely agree with.
 

Gooldylocks

the pistol shooter guy
Jan 22, 2018
160
63
28
OREGON
#31
Seen a lot of bad guns fixed with shitcanning bad mags.
Yep, that right there. I've seen it more times than I can count in USPSA. Fancy custom 2011s that won't run for shit, then they try someone else's tuned mags or their ammo and all the sudden the sun comes out and starts shining hahaha.
 
Likes: shoobe01

Vodoun daVinci

Sergeant of the Hide
Dec 17, 2017
242
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#32
I have had bad mags. My Wife and I belong to a small group of concealed carry aficionados that share guns and work with each other to share experience and hardware in an effort to bring as many up to speed as possible. Some guns (mostly pistols) just plain are picky and inconsistent in the hands of multiple shooters with any mag we use.

Several Kimbers of various models in the group. They are unreliable in general even after several trips back to the factory and multiple mags.

Unfortunately there seems to be some top end shit that just doesn't run and some of it is really expensive. My point is that a mag change doesn't fix all the lemons I have encountered. There is some stuff out there not suitable for self defense.

VooDoo
 

Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
Jun 5, 2011
2,958
1,109
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42
Pierce County, WA
#33
Do you do anything special to break in your pistol? Clean the storage grease off of it, lube it, and shoot it pretty much?

A gentleman told me to run an oil patch down the barrel after every mag for 250 rounds and stressed that I not break the gun in with hollow points.
Was that guy a gun store guru?

Breaking in a rifle and a pistol are two different things. With a rifle the idea is to lay down a "foundation" in the barrel so as to fill in any microscopic imperfections and make the bore smoother. But it's not nearly as important today I guess, many mfg. say it's not necessary but Lilja recommends a 100rd. break in and for $500 custom barrels, what's 100rds. with a little cleaning in between the first time out?

But with a pistol it has to do with ramming 500-1000 rounds of whatever you plan on carrying in it, HP's or not, through all the mags in various holds, some mag dumps, etc., to see what, if anything, will jam it up, if all the mags are good, and the use will also wear down any new surfaces enough so as to make it a little smoother, more reliable. The pistol also has a chance to break you in, ie, the sights, draw, what works and what doesn't.

If it's a Glock, they do recommend to wipe down the anti-seize (that copper looking paste) and lube up those areas and the ones the book shows prior to use. That's it. Maybe an oily patch down the barrel then a dry one. Then it'll get cleaned when I'm done "breaking it in".

Good luck, and stay away from those gun shop gurus.
 
Likes: Bender

Unknown

Gunny Sergeant
Sep 17, 2009
3,186
270
83
Pacific Northwest,USA
#34
I recently acquired a Gen 2 Glock 19 that still had the copper anti-seize grease on the connector. It looked as if it hadn't even had 50 rounds put through it. Even though (or maybe especially because) it was a very new gun, I wouldn't trust it until I had run many rounds through it. I even mixed up old and odd ammo lots in the same magazines, hollow points and FMJ to see if I could get it to malfunction. II tried Slow fire, rapid fire, different magazines, short strings, long strings of fire, and essentially anything I could think of, including using the crappiest old ammo laying in the bottom of the 9mm ammo can to see if I could induce a malfunction. I finally got tired of reloading all the magazines, and never getting a single malfunction, so I called it good.

It wasn't a break in, I would call it more of a reliability check, and the pistol passed with flying colors. It is my belief that with bolt rifles, break in is done primarily to assist accuracy. With pistols and gas rifles, I am more interested in checking out the reliability of a weapon first....then I will check on accuracy. If a pistol or gas rifle isn't reliable, whether it is accurate or not isn't all that important.

For a fighting pistol, I would rather have a pistol that is 100% reliable and shoots 5"-6" groups at 25 yards, than a pistol that shoots 1.5"-2.5" groups at 25 yards with 98% reliability.
 
Feb 14, 2017
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#35
Don't you fire one round then disassemble and clean the barrel with 6 patches of bore paste followed by 6 patches of some super lube followed by 6 clean patches. Do this every round for the first 50 rounds then every 3rd round for the next 100 rounds and then noooo.... I can't believe you read this far. LOL
 

TheGerman

Oberleutnant
Jan 25, 2010
4,101
1,497
113
Out West
#36
1. Function check/lube new pistol

2. Fire ammo

3. Reload

4. Continue doing this until you dont want to shoot anymore

5. Lube all friction wear locations you find in the finish; eventually clean it

6. Throw pistol at anyone who tells you there is a break in procedure other than this

7. Pick up pistol.

8. See #2
 
Likes: Mater2009
Feb 15, 2005
136
44
28
Mission, KS
www.donttouchme.com
#37
I want to reiterate the term "break in" doesn't necessarily have the meaning everyone is ascribing to it from the precision rifle world.

Although I have a bottle of Sweets and sure did it for a long long time on my PSS around 20 years ago (logbook not in front of me, and my memory for dates sucks) I had to have it explained. As "break in" means "make the wear parts mate up in their final operating position."

It is a mechanical, industrial, and automotive term in my experience. Remember the old days when you were supposed to drive a new car gently for a few thousand miles? Break in. A good way to make cheap things run well is good break in: can only afford a Harbor Freight compressor? Fine, just run it for like 5 hours, then change the oil out (flushing the metal shavings,

So common, it's defined places like wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Break-in_(mechanical_run-in)

Break-in or breaking in, also known as run-in or running in, is the procedure of conditioning a new piece of equipment by giving it an initial period of running, usually under light load, but sometimes under heavy load or normal load. It is generally a process of moving parts wearing against each other to produce the last small bit of size and shape adjustment that will settle them into a stable relationship for the rest of their working life.

One of the most common examples of break-in is engine break-in for petrol engines and diesel engines.
So my pistol (and self-loading rifle) break in procedure is this. Mechanical break-in. Also function check, but literally break in, hence the oiling and cleaning.
 

gunsnjeeps

Retired Swab Jockey
Dec 15, 2009
698
21
18
Norfolk, Va
#38
Don't you fire one round then disassemble and clean the barrel with 6 patches of bore paste followed by 6 patches of some super lube followed by 6 clean patches. Do this every round for the first 50 rounds then every 3rd round for the next 100 rounds and then noooo.... I can't believe you read this far. LOL
I don't even "break in" match rifle barrels. Clean, assemble, function fire the magazine set, then clean and shoot matches.
 

Vodoun daVinci

Sergeant of the Hide
Dec 17, 2017
242
85
28
#39
I didn't "break in" my new precision rifle either....shoot 40 rounds, run a couple wet patches thru it so the bore get the gunk out and has a coat of CLP on it, shoot it again a few weeks later, 40 rounds and a couple wet patches. It's now shooting .5 MOA t 200 yards consistently in the hands of a newbie shooter. Handgun barrel don't need broken in either...I do think that newly machined automatic pistols benefit from the contact point burnishing of the first hundred or so rounds.

I only had one new pistol hickup on one round and it has never failed again with 1500 downrange.

Clean 'em, rack 'em a bunch before the first range session and shoot the heck out of them is my regimen.

VooDoo