Gorillafritz | What’s in a name?

In today’s cautionary tale, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training explains why you should never assume a gun is good (or for that matter bad) based solely on who manufactures it. It’s solid advice. Mad Duo


What’s in a Name?

[Shameless stolen from the Facebook wall of Greg “Gorillafritz” Ellifritz]

I require completion of at least one day of advanced firearms training (over and above a CCW class) from a known shooting school or traveling instructor as a prerequisite to take my close range handgun class. I find that after completing some more advanced training, students generally have a basic idea of how well their gear works. Bugs with guns, holsters, and gear don’t happen too often in my classes because most students have already done some training with their chosen carry setup and jettisoned what doesn’t work.

Because of this, most of the students in my classes tend to run Glocks or M&Ps. I occasionally see a 1911 or a Sig, but unique guns aren’t that common in my classes. Today was a bit different. In addition to the Glocks and Smiths, my students today brought some unusual carry hardware.

On the line I had a Lionheart pistol (the first one I’ve ever seen), a CZ P07, and a double stack compact 9mm from Bersa. What are your guesses about the relative reliability each of those pistols? You might be surprised….

The Lionheart operates with a really funky decocking system. To decock, you must push the hammer forward with your thumb. The student who was carrying the gun had relatively small hands and had real problems decocking. The gun itself wasn’t very reliable either, lots of malfunctions. It costs $750 and doesn’t run. Not recommended.

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I expected that the CZ would do fine. Not the case. The student would pull the trigger, the slide would move back enough to reset the trigger, but not enough to eject the empty case. The slide would then go forward, rechambering the empty case and automatically decocking. The hammer followed the slide forward rather than remaining in the cocked position.

This happened during about 75% of the student’s shots today. Gun would go bang, automatically switch to double action, and rechamber the empty case. It made for a frustrating day for the student but she chose to keep working with the broken pistol because that’s the gun she says she shoots best. No bueno.

I expected the Bersa to puke as well. Nope. 200 rounds fired (mostly from retention) and the Bersa didn’t have a single malfunction. Who would have expected that the Bersa would outperform the CZ?

Guns are weird. Some do unexpected crazy things. You really can’t rely on a company’s reputation for reliability. Specific guns can certainly be outliers for a company with a generally fine reputation for reliability.

The bottom line is that you can’t assume your gun will perform well just because it was made by a company that usually makes good guns. You have to push your gun and gear hard in order to really tell if your gun is a “good” one or not.


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