polymer framed guns with polymer tabs......


August 3, 2008, 05:07 PM
I have noticed a rash of guns where the frame tabs are polymer. I'm not talking about Sigs, Glocks, HK's where the frame is plastic, but the frame is actually metal, but rather where the slide rides on plastic.

It would seem the Ruger P95, P345, SR9, CZ Rami, Witness Polymer, and the Rear of the XD.

While I don't mind Polymer grips with metal tabs as the frame, I'm not too comfortable with the others, that are %100 polymer. It would seem they would wear out too quick, or flex too much and accuracy would be lost. As anyone ever seen a Glock shot in slow motion? I saw it once on line, and the front accessory rail flaps like a leaf in the wind.

Any thoughts?

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August 3, 2008, 07:03 PM
Are you SURE the rails are polymer only? MANY people make this mistake with the poly Kahr pistols. They actually have more metal rail surface than a Glock. Check out this link.


And, it wouldn't affect accuracy. The lock-up between the barrel and slide (sights) is what determines accuracy.

August 3, 2008, 07:14 PM
ok, what is ur example then. Kahrs are also metal rails just like the glocks. I can't recall one handgun with plastic slide rails. Would have helped if you could have given some examples....

August 3, 2008, 07:29 PM
I know the Ruger P-95 and P-97 had all plastic frames with no metal reinforcement. Do not know for sure about the P-345 but think it is the same.

August 3, 2008, 07:38 PM
The ones I listed above....I'm pretty sure have Plastic frame rails. I called CZ myself to ask about the poly Rami.

I have see the XD and Rugers with my own eyes.

August 3, 2008, 08:30 PM
I have a Ruger 345. And yes it does have the polymer frame/ slide rails.
I raised my eyes at that too. But after 600 plus rounds through it, there is no difference as when it was new. I have never found any shavings, or dust or scoring on the frame rails.

August 3, 2008, 08:34 PM
Can you take a pic and show those what I'm talking about?

Maybe it works because they are so large and chunky?

August 3, 2008, 09:00 PM
Here's some bad pics.




August 3, 2008, 09:30 PM
u made a believer out of me, I guess they must work ok, or these companies would not be rolling them out the doors.

August 3, 2008, 09:31 PM
There are some guys on XDtalk with over 25,000 rds thru theirs with no problems.... As long as its kept lubed like any other gun should be I dont think it will be a issue.

August 4, 2008, 09:42 AM
The rear frame rails on the XD are not structural. There is nothing to worry about.

August 5, 2008, 10:54 AM
The frame of my CZ 100 is plastic, excuse me, polymer except for the steel insert for the slide stop and trigger pins, fire control group, and mag well reinforcement around the mainspring. The frame rails are polymer; this arrangement was a first for me. I won't put 20,000 rounds through the piece as a torture test or even 500 rounds in a single range session, so I guess it'll last. The CZ engineers know a lot more about weapon design, metallurgy, stress, etc. than I do, although I think I could've designed a better trigger/striker geometry:)

Gun Slinger
August 5, 2008, 12:58 PM
Being that the XD's rear frame rails are composed of entirely of unreinforced polymer, I would think that they would be subject to a much higher rate of wear than traditional metal rails since they are exposed to the abrading action of the interior metal slide rails and are very much softer than even the most mild steels. They hardly inspire confidence and I question just how durable and resistant to wear they would be when exposed to long term continued usage as opposed to the well proven metal reinforced rail design.

I had considered the purchase of an XD45 until quite recently when, after having the opportunity to examine one more closely at a local gunshop, I noticed that the rear frame rails were completely unreinforced. That really dissuaded me from further consideration of the XD.

I suppose that in a gun that would be used very little and fired infrequently throughout it's service life, such an arrangement might be OK but, for a much more durable gun, I think that I'll stick with Glocks and HKs and any others that utilize metal reinforced frame rails as opposed to those designs (like XD and the Ruger P-series) that eliminate the metal frame rail reinforcements solely to reduce production costs.

August 5, 2008, 01:37 PM
Just to note, I have several thousand rounds through my two XDs, and the rear frame rails don't even have a scratch on them. The slide doesn't scrape them, and there's no pressure on them whatsoever. It's really a non-issue.

August 5, 2008, 01:37 PM
Also, the new XD M still only groups 2.5 to 3.5 inches at 25 yards. I cannot help but think it has somewhat to do with frame to slide flex or lack of support.

August 5, 2008, 01:37 PM
Well, I'll be... Never personally seen a pistol with only polymer rails. I definitely would not trust one as I've personally seen polymer frame rail wear with my PM9 when it was new. It never suffered any stoppages, but when it was being broke in, I'd find "strands" of polymer which I cut off with an X-acto knife and lightly sanded. Probably would have been find had I done nothing, but I tend to take care of things. Is it possible that there's metal imbedded UNDER the polymer? Here's some good shots of the Kahr PM9 that show some pretty beefy frame rails. People ALL the time make the mistake of thinking it has only polymer rails when, in fact, it actually has more metal frame rail than any Glock. Kahr says they are only there to help guide the slide back on the frame and they could be completely cut away and not affect function. See here... Note the picture in the last post of a "kaboomed" PM9, which was faulty ammo related and NOT the gun's fault. Some pretty beefy metal reinforcement in there.


August 5, 2008, 02:04 PM
Also, the new XD M still only groups 2.5 to 3.5 inches at 25 yards. I cannot help but think it has somewhat to do with frame to slide flex or lack of support.

The XD is also a combat pistol... not a competition pistol. It is not designed to shoot 1 inch groups at 25 yards. There is no slide flex on even the original XD pistols. The XD's slide does not ride on the polymer portion of the frame. The slide rides on the steel insert near the middle of the frame.

If you think the XD's have a possible wear problem due to the nature of its design, you need to do a bit more reading and less assuming.

Chaim Stein did a torture test on an XD a while back. They started and completed Glocks "1000 round" torture test after they had already fired 17,500 rounds through the XD... After the test, a total of 20,000 rounds had been fired through the firearm without a single failure. It is currently the authors nightstand gun...

August 5, 2008, 02:15 PM
Got about 9000 rounds thru my XD, no problem. If there had been a problem with an XD, it would have reported over and over by some of the obsessive forum users, who blow any mechanical problem way out of proportion.

August 5, 2008, 02:22 PM
Polymer frame rails put me right off, heck I don't even particularily trust aluminum frame rails over the long term on a hard use gun. My prefered solution is as on some of the newer poly pistols where the rails are fixed to a heavy steel subframe.

August 5, 2008, 02:29 PM
I don't know if it's been stated, it doesn't appear so, but the XD slides rides on the locking block which is metal, not the rear frame rails. The rear frame rails on my old xd showed little to no wear .

In regards to the p95 there may not be any metal in them, but they are built like a tank, I never had any problem with mine, and they are on of the few handguns where the manual states it is capable of and just fine to fire any ammunition including +p and +p+.

I think you are short changing yourself of some excellent firearm designs on what you perceive are shortcomings that are in fact non-existent.

August 5, 2008, 02:32 PM
Some advantages of Polymer:
Self lubricating
Not subject to stress cracking
No granularity in the material
molds precisely to spec
Very little or no thermal expansion within reasonable temperatures
Acid resistant
corrosion proof

August 5, 2008, 02:37 PM
You forgot the most important advantage of polymer.

It's much lighter!

I will disagree with you on stress cracking. I've seen it happen personally on one of my Glock frames. Here's a friend's P3AT polymer grip with some serious cracking. As you can see from the rest of the pistol, it did not experience a "kaboom".




lee n. field
August 5, 2008, 03:22 PM

Very seldom have I heard of it being a problem. Some Glocks can develop cracks in the frame rails, in some models, so I hear. That's about it.

August 5, 2008, 03:47 PM
XD 9mm Tactical. About 14,000 rounds through this one in a little less than two years. No problems except changing the recoil springs.

August 5, 2008, 05:12 PM
Hope this not too far off topic.
Are not all the polymer framed guns "combat style" pistols?

They seem to have loose tolerances (relative to a match pistol). It seems metal rails or not they seem to be very sturdy.

Does anyone make true "target" pistol in polymer? (Think Colt Gold Cup or Smith and Wesson mdl 41)

August 5, 2008, 05:23 PM
My Ruger 22/45 has a polymer frame/grip and, with the bull barrel, it's pretty darned accurate. Not a true "target" pistol, though, because it doesn't have those funky ergonomic grips.

I have a high capacity 1911 style pistol with a polymer frame/grip that is also very accurate in .45 cal. It's the Kimber BP Pro Ten II. Nothing like 13+1 rounds of .45 goodness that's no heavier than an all steel single stack 1911. No wider than a single stack 1911 with standard wood grips at the widest point, either.

I really don't think having a polymer frame affects accuracy. Accuracy is mainly determined by the quality of the barrel/crown and the lock up between the barrel and the slide/sights.

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