Is Plastic An Advantage?


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cslinger
December 22, 2007, 11:56 PM
I'm sorry, high tech, carbon infused, techno-polymer :neener:

I have really been thinking about various firearm build techniques and polymer has me intrigued a bit. Is it an advantage over steel/alloy?

Polymer will deteriorate over time but technically so will steel, albeit much slower assuming proper care. That being said is the perceived shorter lifespan of polymer really that big of a deal? I still see HK P9s and VP70s and they don't seem to be showing much age and they are going on 30 years.

Polymers do handle sweats and other water type deterioration better.

So is polymer really an advancement or just a way to build obsolescence into firearms in order to sell more?

What say you? Any chemical engineers out there?

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Regolith
December 23, 2007, 12:15 AM
Its lighter, cheaper, probably easier to work with and resists certain types of corrosion better. Its pretty much a no-brainer as to why many companies decided to start using it.

Outlaws
December 23, 2007, 12:32 AM
Only time will tell.

Master Blaster
December 23, 2007, 12:34 AM
Boeing's newest airplane the dream liner IIRC is made from carbon fiber techno polymer, they did have to inbed some wire in the fuselodge to take the lightening strikes, but they think its better than aluminum they were making jets from.

In archery new limbs are being made entirely from carbon foam, fiber and polymer and they take tremendous stress when a bow is shot.

I suspect if properly cared for a Glock can be passed down to a great grand child.

Geronimo45
December 23, 2007, 12:47 AM
So is polymer really an advancement or just a way to build obsolescence into firearms in order to sell more?
I have no idea what the 'expiration date' for Glock polymer would be. I'd guess that they could go a hundred years at least. Polymer's definitely an advantage, in that you can do the same job with less weight. It makes things easier to carry around, less susceptible to corrosion - all good stuff. I don't think it'll make steel in firearms obsolete... you still have incredible pressures to deal with, and steel seems to deal with 'em better than polymer. For parts with less stress to deal with, polymer seems to work just great. I think polymer's here to stay, for a long, long time.

Nolo
December 23, 2007, 12:50 AM
Wood: Not made for (or shaped for), nor ever will be made for the applications it is used for.
Metal: Not made for, but can be mixed/shaped for the applications it is used for.
Polymer: Made for and shaped for the applications it is used for.
You tell me which one is better.

DENALI
December 23, 2007, 01:20 AM
I would expect a Glock reciever to with good care, and lets say without being fired, to stick around between 500-1000 years more or less. I don't think the standard respirometry applies as no polymer I've heard of is identified as food by the required micro-organism's and it's therefore not biodegradable. Photo-degradation is another matter though, but how many guy's are gonna leave there pistol in the sun for a couple hundred years for us to find out. Plastic bags, you know the disposable one's have only been around for about 50-60 years and there thought to have a half life of roughly 500 years but nobody really know's for certain now do they.......:what:

Ragnar Danneskjold
December 23, 2007, 01:43 AM
Yes, there is a decided advantage. All the strength and durability of metal at a fraction of the weight, and it's unaffected by moisture.

If you're OK with grey and black workhorse guns, polymer is the way to go. But sometime metal just looks way better.

tasco 74
December 23, 2007, 01:53 AM
i always wondered if the plastic framed guns wear out faster than good ole carbon steel..... it seems a glock that was shot alot would wear out pretty fast to me.. i need enlightened............

PTK
December 23, 2007, 01:54 AM
I have no problem with plastic. I love my PS90, for example.

brighamr
December 23, 2007, 02:15 AM
I think polymer (XD) and steel both have their places:

For a highly accurate target shooter, I would buy a steel based firearm

For a dependable, drop it in water\mud and shoot it, carry every day, i would buy polimer

Have any polimer revolvers been done? Just curious...

TAB
December 23, 2007, 02:33 AM
2 main reasons for using "plastic"

1 is cost, its alot cheaper to tool up for and manufactor a plastic, then it is steel or al

2 wieght.

Ultrachimp
December 23, 2007, 02:35 AM
it's cheaper. 'nuff said.

rust collector
December 23, 2007, 09:41 AM
Better living through chemistry, as Dupont used to say.

We already opted for lighter weight when we started incorporating aluminum alloys as a way of saving weight. Plastics won't corrode or fatigue as quickly as alloys. Plastics are so inexpensive that good makers will make sure that they are properly stabilized.

My only concern is that there are many chemicals out there used to clean, lubricate and protect. Some of them may be capable of cracking those polymer bonds. And extreme heat surely does them no good. Nonetheless, the plastic "frame" we are seeing on pistols is more like an oversize grip. Most of the mechanics are still handled by metallic bits

Guns of all types have been amazingly durable goods. With a little care, the polymer parts will live to a ripe old age. And they will help keep guns affordable in an age when metal machining is increasingly expensive.

The Lone Haranguer
December 23, 2007, 09:46 AM
If used in appropriate applications and of good quality to start with, there is nothing at all wrong with plastics, er, sorry, polymers.

Old Fuff
December 23, 2007, 10:39 AM
Polymer pistols are very functional, but they have the personality of a toy Ė with a trigger pull to match. Compare if you will, a fine handcrafted handgun of yesteryear with one of the new plastic ones.

Now if functional reliability is all youíre concerned with then plastic might well be the way too go. I suspect one might be my choice if I was going to be shipped off to a sandbox or jungle in the near future.

But thatís unlikely, and I like the heft, better trigger pull, and accuracy of the old iron kind.

And I also like the ability to make modifications that will make the gun more adaptable to my needs and personal requirements. For example, more and more of the polymer frames are coming with finger grooves that arenít where my fingers go. :cuss:

And did yaí ever see one with a nice set of fancy wood or ivory stocks??? :neener:

H2O MAN
December 23, 2007, 10:50 AM
I don't care for the old style pistols of yesteryear, sure they are pretty to look at, but they just don't fit my hand as well as a big Glock.

I wish someone would make a Glock type high tech, carbon infused, techno-polymer E2 stock for the M14 type rifle :evil:

silverlance
December 23, 2007, 06:41 PM
there is cheap plastic and good plastic. good plastic is like the stock on my ruger pc9 - solid, self-lubricating, and rugged as all hell. if i buttstroke someone with this gun, they will not get up and say, "ow that really hurt." on the other hand, the buttstocks on my saiga 7.62s are all to reminescent of Fisher-Price and milk jugs.

Millwright
December 23, 2007, 06:50 PM
Considering there's a hell of a lot of early plastics still around almost 100 years later - a lot of which appeared on guns of the time - I'd say plastic is here to stay. >MW

dracphelan
December 23, 2007, 06:53 PM
The answer to your question is yes and no. One big advantage polymer has over steel is weight. When you are carrying a weapon all day, weight is a consideration.

Geno
December 23, 2007, 06:59 PM
My interest in Glocks was for the Michigan temperature and humidity swings. Because I have to lock it in my vehcile's safe when I am at work, I thought it best to have a pistol more resistent to rust.

Chris Rhines
December 23, 2007, 06:59 PM
Polymer pistols are very functional, but they have the personality of a toy Ė with a trigger pull to match. Compare if you will, a fine handcrafted handgun of yesteryear with one of the new plastic ones. Let's not get into too much anthropomorphism here. Guns are tools. They do not have any personality, be they plastic or metal. Furthermore, I'd put the trigger on my M&P up against any custom 1911 made.

I don't think that plastics give up any lifespan to steel or aluminum, as long as they're manufactured properly and used in the proper applications.

- Chris

Walkalong
December 23, 2007, 07:16 PM
think polymer (XD) and steel both have their places:

For a highly accurate target shooter, I would buy a steel based firearm

For a dependable, drop it in water\mud and shoot it, carry every day, i would buy polimer :what:

Steel for my drop it in the mud etc. gun, all day long.

Old Fuff
December 23, 2007, 07:16 PM
Guns are tools. They do not have any personality...

Well I 'spose that's true of the plastic kind. Now "quality guns" are entirely different... ;)

I mean, has anyone ever seen an engraved, gold inlayed poly-pistol??? :neener:

possum
December 23, 2007, 07:19 PM
i love polymer handguns, there are alot of old glock and h&k poly guns that have been around a long time, and still going strong. even if my xd's deteriated in my hand i would call sa and they would square me away so that really dosen't bother me, plus i think i will be long gone by then!

phantomak47
December 23, 2007, 07:29 PM
Polymer glock frames cost about $4 to make, end of story and I like Glocks.

DENALI
December 23, 2007, 07:38 PM
As a matter of fact there old fuff I have minus the gold inlay's. An overzealous Ruger nut at Rugerforum.net has an engraved P-95 and all the (my God) photo's to back it up..............

Old Fuff
December 23, 2007, 07:53 PM
Now why do you think I put "gold inlayed" in there... :evil:

Gaston really has something going... He can sell a pistol with a $4.00 frame for $400 to $600 give or take. :scrutiny:

I don't give a hoot what guns you guys buy, but really... I think you're being taken to the cleaners. Well to each his own.... If they float your boat go for it. :D

Jamie C.
December 23, 2007, 07:55 PM
I think plastic/polymer is better, strength and durability-wise, in applications where wood is typically used. Stocks, grips.. that sort of thing.

For uses where steel or other metals have historically been used, I just don't think polymer technology has gotten to the point that the other materials are really in any danger. After all, in the poly guns all the working/wear surfaces are still usually metal on metal. The polymer frame only acts in much the same way as a rifle's stock does, only serving to hold/contain the action.

So, when polymers are developed to the point that a revolver... or an entire semi-auto... can be made from them, then I think it might possibly be argued that they have some advantage over steel or other metallic alloys.



J.C.

Chris Rhines
December 23, 2007, 09:17 PM
Well I 'spose that's true of the plastic kind. Now "quality guns" are entirely different... I could comment here on some of those "quality" guns that need mechanical work right out of the box...

I mean, has anyone ever seen an engraved, gold inlayed poly-pistol??? Frankly, you can keep the engraving, gold inlays, and other bling-bling. I'm only interested in performance, and my polymer pistols perform better.

Gaston really has something going... He can sell a pistol with a $4.00 frame for $400 to $600 give or take. You know as well as I do that the material cost of a frame has nothing to do with the manufacturing cost. You also know as well as I do how much complex injection molds cost, and how much it costs to maintain them. I can only assume you're being sarcastic for the fun of it.

- Chris

DENALI
December 23, 2007, 09:55 PM
Why Old Fuff are you implying that the polymer kingpin is making money at our expense? Perhaps you should aquaint yourself with the importation maze navigated by Herr Glock and his polymer pal's. Further I'm fairly certain they have a shop of somekind in Smyrna and actually pay out some wage's and perhaps bene's of somekind. Why I rather imagine aside from some especially spendy R&D (those moulds ain't cheap) Herr Glock's greatest obstacles to lower pricepoints are imposed on HIM not by HIM. Further still both S&W and Ruger are now singing the polymer tune and there correct me if I'm wrong manufactured right here in the USA and as such do not have to contend with goverment imposed tariffs ect...Why what a wicked web we weave.......P.S I draw the line at etch-a-sketching a polymer pistol of any manufacture as it just flies in the face of the original concept anyway................

Old Fuff
December 23, 2007, 10:21 PM
I can only assume you're being sarcastic for the fun of it.

You might...

In my original post I said:

Now if functional reliability is all youíre concerned with then plastic might well be the way too go. I suspect one might be my choice if I was going to be shipped off to a sandbox or jungle in the near future

But then:

But thatís unlikely, and I like the heft, better trigger pull, and accuracy of the old iron kind.

I don't look at handguns (or any firearms for that matter) as being "tools" exclusively, with no other purpose. And in a age were cost cutting dictates designs, I don't concede that the latest is necessarily the greatest.

I don't know how long you've been around, but when Gaston Glock first came to this country I was one of the few within the industry that stood up and defended his gun and the concept behind it. I also stuck my neck out and said that any major handgun maker that didn't hire at least one engineer with a background in synthetic materials was going to be left behind. However I didn't say that he'd obsoleted everything else under the sun.

I also posted later,

If they float your boat go for it.

And so far as Iím concerned you can. But my focus isnít that narrow, and Iíd hate to live in a world where polymer pistols were the only choice. Beyond being utilitarian they donít have much to offer. ;)

hankdatank1362
December 24, 2007, 12:16 AM
I've had a couple of both... polymer and metal frame.

Polymers are nice... they do the job and do it well, and a couple even look good doing it. Downside is, most are striker fired (SIGPRO and Ruger Polymer autos being the only exceptions I know of) and no striker fired pistol has a trigger that can compare with a properly fitted and tuned 1911, SIG P-Series, S&W revolver, etc.

That, plus, when you pick up a big, heavy, metal-framed .45 (1911, S&W 4506, P220, etc...) you get the notion that, forgive me if I sound chauvanistic, you're weilding a real "man's" gun. Something with heft, with character, that you're not afraid to smash if you feel the need to pistol whip someone.

Either polys or metals are, or can be made to be, absolutely reliable, so that's a moot point.

I carry a polymer pistol daily.

If I knew I was going to be engaging hostile targets, I'd want a metal frame. (Not that I'd feel undergunned with a polymer framed pistol by any means... software over hardware any day.)

Bobo
December 24, 2007, 12:22 AM
Plastic can be easily molded rather than machined.

Plastic is lighter.

Plastic can usually flex rather than fracture.

Plastic costs less.

Plastic doesn't oxidize (rust or corrode).

Plastic can be colored completely through the material.

DAVIDSDIVAD
December 24, 2007, 12:28 AM
One thing is certain, certain polymers are superior to wood.


(well, they might not be as pretty, but they sure are tougher)

4v50 Gary
December 24, 2007, 12:36 AM
Had today's polymers been around at the turn of the last century, John Browning wouldn't have hesitated to using them.

NeoSpud
December 24, 2007, 03:30 AM
Had today's polymers been around at the turn of the last century, John Browning wouldn't have hesitated to using them.
Oh man, that gets my wheels a turnin'! :)

I wonder... what could you replace on a 1917/1919 with poly? ;) :p

Feanaro
December 24, 2007, 03:47 AM
Wood: Not made for (or shaped for), nor ever will be made for the applications it is used for.
Metal: Not made for, but can be mixed/shaped for the applications it is used for.
Polymer: Made for and shaped for the applications it is used for.
You tell me which one is better.

You tell me which one you want a barrel made of. ;)

FMJMIKE
December 24, 2007, 09:10 AM
Glock got its entire design right. I was a little doubtful about the "POLYMER" pistols but my G-19 is great. Not everyone would agree. Ever get everyone agree on anything ??? :D

cslinger
December 24, 2007, 12:32 PM
Had today's polymers been around at the turn of the last century, John Browning wouldn't have hesitated to using them.

Wow now that thar is a statement. Anywhere else those would likely be fight'n words. :neener:

tblt
December 24, 2007, 12:45 PM
It all depends on what you like I like the CZ p01 its not plastic.It is a tighter gun than most and shoots better.Glocks will last forever but won't shoot as good as the cz.

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