S&W Quality Control?.

This is making the rounds of the message boards:

N.C. wants Smith & Wesson to replace faulty revolvers

Faced with problems ranging from misfires to barrels breaking off, the state has asked gun maker Smith & Wesson to replace hundreds of sidearms carried by probation and corrections officers.

None of the revolvers have failed in the line of duty, and for now, the department is keeping the guns in service. But in testing, about one in four revolvers didn’t fire when the trigger was pulled. In some cases, the barrel of some models broke off when the gun was fired.

“In one sense it’s funny,” said Chief Deputy Correction Secretary Dan Stieneke. “In another, it’s alarming.”

So far, the state Correction Department has asked the Massachusetts-based gun maker to replace only 500 Model 64 revolvers bought in 2004, though there have also been problems with two other models. But officials could wind up asking Smith & Wesson to provide replacements for all 5,000 of the department’s revolvers.

At a meeting last month at a shooting range in Smithfield, Smith & Wesson representative got a live demonstration of the problems. During test firing of about three dozen revolvers, four misfired, meaning nothing happened when the trigger was pulled. The barrel also broke off a different model when it was fired, something that has happened 14 times in practice firings since 2003.

“On the one hand, statistically (the revolvers’ performance) is not bad, but it’s just the safety issue,” Stieneke said. “That kind of failure gets people’s attention.”

Officials at Springfield, Mass.-based Smith & Wesson, one of the world’s largest gun makers, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

For at least two decades, state prison officials have used Smith & Wesson revolvers. They are assigned to probation officers and correction officers who work outside of prison walls, patrolling perimeters and escorting inmates. The guns are not carried by officers who work inside prisons, where there is too great a risk of inmates getting a gun.

The guns cost about $320 each, meaning it would cost the state more than $1.5 million to replace them all. That doesn’t include the cost of buying new ammunition, holsters and other accessories, plus retraining officers to use a new model of gun.

“We’re at a point where if we have to make a quick switch, it’s going to cost millions of dollars, and it’s going to take a lot of training and effort to get back up to speed,” Stieneke said.

Many law enforcement agencies have moved away from revolvers in recent years, switching to semiautomatic pistols, something Stieneke is considering.

Here’s a picture of a couple of failures:

Just DAMN! (Edited to add: These guns are from a rental range, not the NC Dept. of corrections, so the problem apparently goes beyond a single contract run.)

Most people who like revolvers like them because they’re about the simplest, most reliable mechanism out there – the original “point and click” interface. This does not say good things about S&W’s new management. (Can’t apparently blame it on those Limey pooftahs who bent over for Clinton. Just had to get that jibe in!)

Further reading available at AR15.com, GlockTalk, and the Smith & Wesson Forum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *