Gun lifespan

I have a question does a gun have a life span - like a car - how many miles (shots) can you put on a gun

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Ok, so what do you consider lifespan? Does that mean that the frame and slide are still viable but all other parts could be replaced? Or do you mean that all you have to do is springs?

The answer will somewhat depend on the gun (pistol/rifle), make, materials, and caliber.

For an example, not long ago I sold a 1911 that I had over 110k rounds on, and was due for a rebuild. Last year I re-barreled a rifle that had 15k down the tube. Some rifle barrel are ‘shot out’ at 3k.


@DavidM58, you have made good comparison to a car.
If you take care of your car, do maintenance, replace fluids, repair any small failures on time - you can run 500K miles without any problems.

Coming back to guns: Clean and lube. Replace springs. Repair failures. Check you barrel at 50K rounds.
I would say 100K rounds for good quality firearm…
I can confirm in 8 years :slightly_smiling_face:
So far my mostly used CZ75 has 12K life rounds + 20K dry fires - still looks and shoots like new. :+1:


The simple answer is that a firearm is a mechanical device and like all mechanical devices they are prone to wear. How much wear depends on the rate of use, type of use (high pressure loads, extensive dry firing, etc), and the maintenance cycle. Also, usable lifespan is a function of the users expectations (1/4 minute accuracy, human life depends on its malfunction free cyclic performance, etc).

My personal opinion is that the average owner who goes to the range a few times a year and who keeps his firearms properly cleaned and lubricated will likely never see the end of life of any component, serviceable or otherwise.

Service life comes most significantly into play when you’ve given in to the addiction. At this point you are shooting hundreds of rounds a week and the smell of gunpowder gives you an erection. Now you are considering barrels that are shot out, broken or weak springs, component upgrades, and breaking into your kids college fund for that match grade smooth as butter love affair that costs more than your first car several times over.

If you are asking because you are considering a used gun, try to make sure you can verify the kind of life the gun lived before it came up for sale. But in general a well worn firearm will look and feel like a well worn firearm. A simple close inspection can tell a lot and if you arent sure look at and handle a few new guns at a reputable dealer before making your choice.


Interesting - I have A GLock43 I am at that addicted stage where I want to practice so I have been avg a weekly visit to the range and shooting 100 shots / I clean after each use- I started thinking 100x52 weeks 5200 Rounds a year, I am using Target Practice ammo I buy at the range - so I started thinking is this gun going to last ?, I assume that I may miss a few weeks here and there but still a high volume


@DavidM58, you are good for few years. You are gonna buy another Glock before your current wears out.


Unless he buys a Sig… :+1:


:joy: :point_up:


Ok, I’ll confess that I was in the market for a Gen 5 19 with a cut slide and an RMR as my first dishwasher safe purchase… before firearms started flying off the shelves faster than toilet paper.


Manufactures often provide information on when you should replace items like recoil springs etc… and I believe you should follow those recommendations. That being said abuse and neglect are a bigger threat to the longevity of your gun than round count. My favorite hunting shotgun is 121 years old, and it will outlast me as long as it is cleaned and maintained properly.


I guess I will need to buy another gun :slight_smile:

Any suggestions ?


Nope, not gonna take the bait.

The best gun in the world is the one you like best.
The more you like it the more you’ll shoot it.
The more you shoot it the better you’ll get.
The better you get the more you’ll like it…
Wash rinse repeat…


Start counting your rounds… once you reach 52K (10 years) on G43 then we come back to this thread :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

…or buy Nighthawk 1911 now and we never come back to this discussion anymore :joy:


I think you need one of these in titanium

Well, if you don’t need it, I think I do :grin:


Normally I would say no as the average user may not put an excessive amount of rounds through a firearm. It’s funny you ask this as I just sent my main SR9C into Ruger to have it worked on and i guess overhauled. I have 3 of these pistols and the one sent in is my main EDC as well as the one I have been trained on and practice with weekly.

I have an estimated 15,000-18,000 rounds through it. about a year ago it would start failing to go 100% into battery after a discharge. So, part of your training would involve malfunctions and how to clear them. Whenever this would happen I’d instantly know and part of my muscle memory was just smacking the back of the slide to get it to go into full battery.

Then after a while longer, during disassembly and reassembly the slide would either get hung up coming off of or going onto the lower. This was pretty bad, but I lived with it.

Now the last straw, the magazine ejection button doesn’t work. Even after cleaning the little pop out hinge thing (best way to describe it) doesn’t pop out to grab hold of the freshly inserted magazine.

So, yes, I think based on usage there can be an EOL to a firearm. Or at minimum, a time when it needs a helping hand from a smithy.


Absolutely. Everything will wear out eventually. On my EDC that I have carried for 30+ years I have replaced every part on the gun EXCEPT the barrel, frame and slide. I’ve modified the slide and the barrel both early on in it’s life but the barrel is the only untouched thing left in the gun and I have a spare ready to go all ready fitted up and test fired. There is at a MINIMUM of 250,000 - 400,000 rounds through that single gun. That said on the main parts I have done 2 slide squeezes and 2 rail peenings to tighten things back up. Not for functionality but for accuracy.

Most folks will never have the opportunity (or ammo) that I had to put that many rounds down range in a lifetime especially from one platform and I’m still FAIRLY young. I’ve seen failures in almost brand new guns and guns with more rounds than mine keep on going. Barrel life is your biggest failure with most any gun except a 22LR (I have a LOT of stories about rescuing “dead” .22’s) and more damage is done by cleaning them than is done by shooting them. In a “good” 308 you are looking at 5000 rounds, a 300WM you will be lucky to get over 1K rounds. 5.56 depends on how fast you roll them but about 5000 - 7000. I have very seldom seen a worn out pistol barrel (from shooting) except in black powder guns.

Springs need to be replaced not only for functionality but to keep the parts in alignment. Sears, Hammers and such will wear because the rub in opposing directions. Pins much less so.

Poly framed guns are “supposed” to last more than 100,000 rounds and I have seen evidence of that. Most folks will never put 100K through a pistol, just like most folks will never put 1000 rounds out of a 300WM. If you are an exception to the most folks rule, pay attention to your stick.




Wow that is a nice gun, unfortunately way past my affordability

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100% correct.
110k on a 1911! Nice!!!

Springs and barrels will need replacing but if the frame is still good, than the gun could last a lifetime.

I don’t know when polymer breaks down, but it’s probably quite a while. 30 yrs+?


I just Calculated 250K into a year thats 710 rounds a day wow

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When I was competing I shot 200-500 rounds a week between practice and competition. Over the years that was through multiple 1911s, but mostly just a couple (one custom-built race gun and one stock). I’ve had to change parts for sure, springs and shock buffers multiple times of course. And I’ve shot them loose, to where a gunsmith has to tighten up the slide to frame fit. But if I pull them out of the safe you would have no idea that both are circa 1990. Because they were competition guns they really only had lead through them, so the barrels are fine. If I’d been using jacketed bullets I might need a new barrel. So generally, at least when it comes to 1911s, lifetime is many decades and 10s of thousands of rounds.

To be honest I’ve even semi-destroyed a gun (reloader broke and triple charged a case), and the gunsmith was still able to replace the barrel and some other parts and put the gun back in service.

There are two times when a gun is toast. The first involves cracking the frame. Since on most handguns the frame is legally “the gun”, if you replace the frame what you are really doing is taking parts off the original gun and putting them on a new one. Maybe on metal frame guns there are some cracks that can safely be welded, but like a chipped windshield even a minor crack is probably the beginning of the end. And for a polymer-framed gun I don’t know if there is anything you can do about a frame crack. The second is when parts availability makes repair difficult, expensive (i.e., having a gunsmith custom make something), or impossible. I have a couple of guns that are orphans. They aren’t particularly collectible, but they were not commercial successes and were withdrawn from the market within a few years of introduction. There is no parts availability for them. So if a part needs replacement the gun is essentially (at least economically) dead.

There are ways you can ruin a gun of course. Like a car, especially cars prior to the 1990s, rust is a serious threat. Because I live in an arid climate I have forgotten how quickly rust can develop on a firearm and am relatively lazy about cleaning things. But when I lived in New England it felt like I was in a constant battle against rust. And there are a lot of guns that are rated for +P, but couldn’t handle a steady diet (like my 200-500 rounds a week) of it. That might be a way for you to help cause a crack in the frame. Ask an old-time IPSC competitor about “.38 Super Face”. Or you could replace the recoil spring with one that is too light. Or make other modifications that lead to destruction of the gun. But with proper maintenance, most have a near infinite lifespan.