It sounds like gun skills are like musical skills: you have to practice regularly with your firearm or musical instrument (piano, trumpet, harmonica, guitar, banjo, fiddle, drums, etc.) to remain good. It's different from riding a bicycle sans training wheels: once learned this ability is never forgotten for life: permanent muscle memory.I'm going to be honest with you about pistols. In current times, it's really hard to get a semi-auto pistol that isn't reliable. Granted, ANY pistol I buy, for carry or self defense purposes is tested with a minimum number of rounds to make sure it's reliable. I don't just assume just because a particular brand or model has a stellar rating that the one I have will be reliable.My thoughts are, the time to discover problems or issues is at the range, not when you life could depend upon the pistol.
Also regular range trips keeps you a better shooter. Shooting skills will degrade over time if you don't practice on regular basis. Keeps you sharp, and keeps you in tune with your equipment. If you have multiple firearms, that you use or carry, practice with all of them as well. Different types of gun have different operations.