Some people love James Yeager and some people hate him, but what he says here is true: if your gun has never malfunctioned, you simply aren’t pushing it very hard for very long in real-world conditions.
Appleseed events I’ve worked as an instructor or attended as a student place mild to moderate demands on rifles. There are never more than 13 shots in a string of fire (most strings are 5-10 shots). 2-5 minute breaks between each string of fire keeps these rifles from coming close to their thermal limits. Rifles may get wet if it rains, but mud and other outside debris in the action is rarely (if ever) a factor. Even when we’re pushing the shooters “hard” (for Appleseed, which is a family-friendly marksmanship program and not a tactical course), we rarely exceed 250 rounds a day… and we still generally have multiple minor malfunctions.
Compare that moderate level of use against dynamic courses like those taught by Yeager and many others, which take place rain or shine, in real-world conditions of mud, sand, grit, and dirt. Add in round counts of 500-1000 rounds/a day in these sorts of classes. The firearms and shooters are pushed a lot harder than they would be in our much more moderately-paced course of fire. In these conditions, minor malfunctions due to both shooter error and equipment issues becomes much more commonplace.
Now, what kind of shooting do you see at most ranges from the average shooter?
I think it is fair to say that depending on the kind and caliber of firearm, you’ll see somewhere between 20-200 rounds fired, total. You might see the occasional rapid mag dump, but even then, that is generally the exception, not the rule. It’s no shock that firearms that shoot a few dozen to a few hundred rounds over the course of a range session, generally in temperate and clean conditions, hardly ever malfunction if basic maintenance is performed.
I think Yeager makes some valid points as he addresses his “keyboard commando” critics. If your gun has never malfunctioned, you aren’t shooting it hard.