I went to the range earlier this week. A friend wanted to go, so we scheduled for Monday morning. I took the opportunity to wring out my recently repaired HiPoint, and verify the operation of my KelTec daily carry pistol. Epic fail on both.
I started with the HiPoint. I was using some older reloads – 230 grain Rainer plated hollowpoint over a max load of Power Pistol powder. It’s a proven combination that I’ve shot in two different H&Ks and a Glock, neither of which do I still own, in addition to a shooting buddy’s Taurus and Colt. The Taurus is a jam-o-matic regardless of what it’s fed, but none of the rest of them had any issues with the ammo.
The first couple mags were uneventful, and I was optimistic. Mag number three had a failure mid-magazine. OK, maybe a fluke. Then mag number four hesitated when chambering the first round out of the mag. And a failure mid-magazine. Mag number five also had a mid-magazine failure. Fuck this, it’s going back.
Then I brought out the KelTec. I pulled it out of my Remora holster where it lives every day, and started firing with my carry ammo. Bang, bang, click. Fuck! Tap, rack, bang. Bang, click. FUCK! Tap, rack, bang, bang bang, bang. Both times, the fresh round made no attempt to chamber at all. I ran several more mags through it, with no additional failures. I don’t know what the problem was. I have suspicions, but no way to confirm them.
I clean the gun every week or two, and shoot it every month or two. Between cleanings, it is either inside my waistband or on the table. Either way, it stays loaded. It is possible that the rounds walked forward within the magazine, causing them to be missed instead of fed into the chamber. It is also possible, but less likely, that some dust or debris had built up somewhere inside between cleanings that somehow caused a problem.
Two failures in one magazine after already having to replace the ejector at ~300 rounds doesn’t exactly instill confidence. A few years back, I sold a $800 S&W revolver after having to return it for a hand replacement, despite having no additional problems following the repair. I just wasn’t comfortable trusting it any after that.
The fact that there were no additional failures with the fifty or so rounds of target ammo that I shot through the KT helped. I keep trying to convince myself that it is made to be carried a lot and shot a little. I need to remove the mag and seat the rounds properly every day before I put the gun on. I need to buy or load more 9mm ammo and seriously put it through the wringer, to prove that I can rely on it to do what it’s supposed to do. In the interim, I have no choice but to carry it. Nothing else is discreet enough.
As for the HiPoint, I boxed it up and sent it back to Ohio within an hour of returning home from the range. It was delivered to them today. Within thirty minutes, the technician was on the phone. He wanted to know what ammo I was using, because he had put nine mags of S&B and PMC (both 230 grain FMJ) and couldn’t get it to jam a single time. When I explained that I was using hollowpoints when it failed, he said that he would try that and see if he could repeat the failure. He said that if push came to shove, he’d just send me a new gun. He explained that they only run the frame machine one day per week, so it would be a couple extra days before I would get it back, if it was decided to go that route.
I’m still reserving judgment on the HiPoint. I know that most of my readers have poor opinions about them. I’m quickly developing one, but since it is a house gun and not a gun that I carry regularly, I’m willing to give them a chance. I’ve heard a lot of stories about $1,000 1911s that won’t feed certain hollowpoints. Maybe this is a similar situation. I wish I’d thought to try different ammo before sending it back this time.
When I get it back, I’ll note whether it is new or not, and then will proceed to feed it several hundred rounds. If it has issues with one particular projectile, I will switch to another. If it has no issues, or only has issues with one certain ammo type, I can live with that, and will continue to defend their honor. If it will only feed one kind reliably, somebody else is going to own it very soon and I won’t be shy about telling everyone I know exactly why HiPoints are shit.