New Pistol Break-in

Fairly recent new gun owner and purchaser of a brand new Walther PPQ SC. I did quite a bit of research into the types of range ammo and self/home defense ammo and used some testing results like those from Regardless of the brand, I purchased a nice brick of 124 grain fmj for my range time because it was cheap and 9mm ammo can be tough to get a good deal on. Over the past week, I watched a video on youtube talking about breaking in a new weapon and the associated ammo to do it with. I also heard that I should use a heavier ammo in smaller guns and lighter ammo in ones with longer barrels.

So I’m curious, is there a real need to “break-in” a weapon and if so, what have you used to do so in terms of weight of the ammunition? Does it matter if I use 115, 124, 147, …? What would be considered the “break-in” period?


I’ve never heard of a break-in period of a gun. Clean it, shoot it, clean it. Repeat…

Anyone else use a break-in period?


Everything depends on the firearm.
You don’t need to “break-in” 1911… and in your case you don’t need to “break-in” Walther PPQ…
I wouldn’t think about “break-in” for self-defense handgun. Does it really matter if the trigger pull is 5lb or 3.5 lb? No, definitely does not.

“Break-in” period make sense for sport shooting, when you care about smooth, precise shot.

Anyway… if you need to break your firearm in, just spend some time at the Range, put 500 rounds (any grain, use the same ammo as you planning to shoot everyday) and see if you can feel any difference. If yes - your firearm just broke in, otherwise it wasn’t needed :slightly_smiling_face:

My PPQ never needed break-in period, neither 1911.
All my hammer fired alu and steel CZ handguns needed it. They just came very tight and loosened a little after 400 - 500 rounds. Additionally these needed hand work with Flitz paste to make them perfect.


Thanks Jerzy. I have about 700 through it already (in just a week :grimacing:). Cleaned and oiled after each session. I’ve shot a variety of brands, weights, fmj and hj w/o a single issue, as I hoped and expected. There is certainly less kick with the lighter ammo and I can stay on target better at 7 yrds, but anything further is simply me and the need to get skilled.

It was very dirty after the first session, but probably because I didn’t get all the factory oil out of it. Second and third sessions weren’t as bad. I’m going to assume its good to go.

I took my wife to the range with me this past weekend and although a little skeptical of her ability to hang on to it, I let her shoot, and shoot, and shoot some more. She’s never handled a gun and never thought about it before. Now she wants to go with me this coming weekend. I assume the next step is I need to increase my budget.


It’s no secret around here that my cleaning methods are vastly different than most especially when it come to rifles. On pistols, especially brandy new ones I will COMPLETELY disassemble it down to bones before going to the range and clean the snot out of it to get any and all packaging/storage lube off it. Then reassemble with assembly lube and lite oil. Probably run 50 rounds through it and completely disassemble it again and look for wear unusual rub marks and such. Then I pit it back together again. I may clean the slide face to keep gradoo out of the extractor but that will be about it until I feel the pistol is slowing down or there is an accuracy issue. About 5K rounds. If something happens before that range of ammo expenditure it’s time for an autopsy. The very few times this has occurred was due to a broken part. At 5K remember to buy new mainsprings, firing pin sprigs and recoil springs.




700 in a week is awesome! That is all good quality practice right? :smiley:

Depending on factors such as barrel length, barrel twist, and maybe some others, you will find that a gun ‘tends’ to shoot better with certain grain bullets than others. The ‘old’ 9mm standard was 115gr. I find that most newer ones shoot best with 124gr. Some do shoot even better with the 147gr. I am talking from an accuracy standpoint, but it could be feeding etc too. My goto loads are 124gr since most of mine shoot that the best. I have one that prefers 115gr, so it is a compromise for that one.

In my experience, NATO guns, and I would put the PPQ in that category, tend to shoot 124gr best. The typical NATO load is 124gr. YMMV…


Some of the semi and custom 1911’s do have a recommended break in period. Usually because of a very tight fit, the guns need some shooting and such to get them broken in. Never needed a break in on a non custom type gun. I usually just give a new gun a quick cleaning, lube it as per the instructions, and shoot, clean, lube and repeat.

@Jeffrey77, you get the one of the best handguns for a new shooter. As you can see even your wife love it :slightly_smiling_face:
PPQ is very easy to clean so you should be able to enjoy this tool a lot.
Depends on your cleaning technique, I’d suggest to disassemble striker from the slide and clean the striker channel after 1K rounds (Q-Tips fits perfectly). Clean, lube, dry completely. It may be dirty for the first time, it means either factory oil was there or you pushed solvent there during cleaning. Check it again after another 1K :slightly_smiling_face:

As @MarkinMT has said - this handgun likes 124 grain, however nothing wrong shooting 115, just pickup whatever is less expensive.
Don’t use +P ammo with this pistol. Or try and decide if your recoil management is good enough :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Anyway, after 700 rounds you shot - your handgun won’t be any better.

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I don’t trust any tool or my ability with it without trying it for a personally set interval, with whatever accessories (like ammo) I am using with it. I consider all of that part of the break in.

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I have done it for rifles, using the 1 shot clean for the first 10, then clean every 10 shots until I have 30 rounds through it. For guns like a pistol I put 20 through and clean and check for wear etc. It is different reasons for the different guns. For the rifle I want to break in the barrel, for hand guns and shotguns I want to make sure it is not tearing itself up because of a manufacturing issue.

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Walthers rock! Congrats. I love my PPQ. I’ve never noticed any difference from out of the box to what might be considered broken in…just shoot it!


I never heard of a breakin period. The only
Thing that there is, is cleaning and oiling. That’s they only thing that will make a firearm feel different. Other than upgrading the firearm

I feel like if it breaks in over a short period, it’ll break down over a similar period… A good gun shouldn’t wear at all until many years of ordinary civilian use.

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I had a new pistol which went through 1st couple of mags ok, then the slide would just stick on recoil in far back position. 200+ rounds and 2 cleanings later it performed flawlessly, never complained about it since. I believe break in period is a must, especially if you can’t afford any surprises from your weapon.

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What the heck am I reading here?
Yes. Break-in periods exist for gun. @Dawn We should probably have the training department do a video on this.

Rule of thumb:

  • Custom 1911s need a few hundred rounds
    50 at a time. Clean. Shoot.
  • Striker fire guns like Glocks need about 25-50 rounds. One cleaning and good to go.

It’s like this:
Would you buy a new car and immediately make a cross country trip? That’s all a break-in period is.


I do believe in a break period (with a catch). Some people refuse to carry a gun that has malfunctions early on or claims to have a break in period (some guns claim a break in while others don’t).

Break in period included a user error. Let me explain. My first gun had multiple malfunctions my first trip to the range. The malfunctions were specifically failure to go into battery (I had to slap the back of the gun to finish chambering the round). #1 I failed to clean the gun before going to the range (you are supposed to clean a gun before you shoot it the first time). #2 I was riding the slide of the gun. #3 MAYBE the gun itself needed to be broken in. (Probably all just user error). My second carry gun S&W shield 45. I had multiple malfunctions the first couple of trips to the range. I did clean the gun BUT I experienced new malfunctions (failure to lock back, and a really couple really bad failures to feed). Why did these happen? Failure to lock back was my hand setting on the slide release (S&W 45 is not an exact same design as 9mm/49). Fixed my hand, not a problem anymore. Failures to feed: me limp wristing a more powerful gun after I was tired at the range. I also used some really cheap range ammo I didn’t trust, and that may have been part of the issue. MAYBE the gun itself needed a break in.

I think a “break in period” is just the time period you learn the weapon and become proficient/ knowledgeable enough to shoot it without malfunctions.

I will say, guns do loosen up a bit after range time, and maybe become less finicky to user error over time BUT I really think break in period is for the user to become competent with the fire arm.


I actually did exactly that…“buy a new car and immediately make a cross country trip” with my current vehicle. Picked it up on Wednesday, loaded it up on Thursday, and left Friday on a 1200 mile trip. 77k miles later not a single issue.

I know that’s’ not what you’re supposed to do, or at least that is what your father used to say, but with today’s oil and engine technologies, I don’t think it is as bad as those old carburetor engines with conventional oil.

BTW - if you want to make a video of the break-in process, I’m purchasing another handgun in the next week and would be glad to offer up my time and tool to use.

Agreed. User break-in is a great idea.

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I think that this is why many cars get sold!

It definitely depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation. I’m fairly certain some Kahrs specifically require a 200 round break-in period. I don’t own one, but the PM9 was on my short list, and several of the reviews that I read mentioned it, both that it was called out in the manual and that the FTF or FTE (or whatever it had exhibited) went away before the 200th round.

My PPS and VP9, on the other hand did not require one.