Test Fire Your New Guns!

Written by Greg Ellifritz

Topics: News and Tactical Advice

  • SumoMe

Written by: Greg Ellifritz

Notice anything wrong?

Notice anything wrong?


Here’s a quick cautionary tale…


I recently purchased a Smith and Wesson 351C.  It’s a cool little titanium airlight .22 magnum 7 shot revolver.  I have a couple of other similar guns.  They shoot well and are great pocket “backup” guns.  I was excited to shoot my new purchase.  I took it to the range, loaded it up and started shooting.


It fired exactly four rounds before breaking.


After the fourth round, the trigger got stuck, failing to fully reset.  It wouldn’t move.  I had to force the trigger forward by prying it with a screwdriver so that I could open the cylinder to unload the weapon.  Once the trigger was in its forward position, it became free.  I could pull the trigger and it reset each time, but now the cylinder wouldn’t revolve.


I sent the gun back to S&W and they replaced the cylinder and hand.  The gun works fine now.


It just made me think about all the folks who buy a gun, load it, and then rely on it for self protection without ever having fired it.  That’s somewhat less than ideal.  While someone would assume a $700 brand new revolver from a quality manufacturer would work flawlessly out of the box, that isn’t always the case.


Never carry a gun for defensive purposes without test firing it first!




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4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Steve Owens says:

    In your opinion, how many rounds should be fired thru a new gun prior to putting it in service as a primary defense weapon? I have heard anything short of 500 rounds is not enough. My experience with quality weapons makes that number seem like overkill. You have more experience with a wider variety of weapons so I’m interested in your thoughts. Thanks!

  2. Rod De Leon says:

    A firearm is not like a fire extinguisher where discharging it reduces its capability. I’m not sure what people are thinking when they put a sidearm on their belt straight out of the box. I bought a S&W 625 brand new and after shooting a couple cylinders through it, the yoke screw backed out. The cylinder dropped to the ground when I went to reload it. I’m not bringing this up to bash S&W. I’m just pointing out that even an ultra-reliable design from a reputable, 150-year-old company can have issues out of the box. After this experience, not only do I thoroughly test fire every potential carry gun, I inspect it completely before even getting to the range. It’s also a good idea to repeat this procedure if you make ANY modifications to your gun. Even something as simple as a grip change can mess things up. For example, your speedloaders may no longer work.

  3. Shooter1911 says:

    Good advice for sure, but this story brings up an unrelated question. Why in the world would you personally want a .22 Magnum as a back up gun?

    • Greg Ellifritz says:

      With the Hornady Critical Defense round, it reliably expands to .35 and penetrates 15″ of gelatin. That’s better performance than many .38 rounds. It’s accurate and has no recoil. The gun is lighter and holds more bullets than a .38 J-frame. If bullet performance is similar it makes sense to me to carry a gun that has more bullets and allows me to fire more rapidly.