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Handgun falls to concrete floor; how much damage?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by DefiantDad, Jul 19, 2012.

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  1. DefiantDad

    DefiantDad Member

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    Ignoring cosmetic damage, if a semi-auto handgun hits a concrete floor, what are the worst case damage scenarios (of any?).

    Is the recoil of a 9mm (say) actually stronger than impact with the floor?

    Or will the impact compromise the metal somehow, making the gun unsafe to fire?

    I assume the barrel must be the strongest metal out of the entire gun? What if the gun hits barrel first?

    Related: What if you are cleaning a gun and the slide assembly hits the floor?
     
  2. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    If nothing visibly breaks you're pretty much ok. Usually what would break would be a hammer spur or the like (more of a problem on revolvers though as even semi's with hammers usually don't have long spurs).

    Don't make a habit of it, but its probably fine - particularly if just dropped from a normal height. I've had cell phones, tablets, and calculators all survive falls to a hard surface from that height. ;)
     
  3. DefiantDad

    DefiantDad Member

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    Would such kinds of impact shorten the metal life of the gun somehow? I don't know enough about metallurgy to know if it is significant or not. I only know that guns are rated for a certain number of rounds so I assume the damage (from recoil) is incremental in some way, until it reaches a certain failure point.
     
  4. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Member

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    It's easier to mess up when the slide is off you could bend a slide rail or something but you'd notice because it wouldn't go back together easily.

    As for a drop of the whole pistol you could move the sights or ding the barrel crown. Maybe you could bend a safety lever or other fire control parts.

    J.
     
  5. DefiantDad

    DefiantDad Member

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    Related: So, what would cause a Ka Boom?
     
  6. seed

    seed Member

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    KaBooms are caused by many things related to over-pressure/lack of enough chamber support...usually an absence of chamber coverage at the rear 6 o'clock, deliberately designed as such to insure better feed reliability. Other big factors are rounds loaded way too hot, weak brass and bullet setback -- usually due to chambering a round over and over again without firing it until one day down the road.

    The biggest fear with dropping a well-built gun in terms of damage is if you drop it on the crown of the barrel, causing damage there which could impact the accuracy of the gun. This is because the angle has to be uniform so that exiting gas does not cause the trajectory of the bullet to be altered at the last millisecond due to uneven pressure.

    Of course any number of things can happen if you drop a gun, damage-wise. But the most important thing to do if you drop your gun is to let it fall. Do NOT try to catch it as you can inadvertently insert your finger through the trigger guard and BOOM!...wherever the muzzle might be pointing. To me, this is a training thing as it is my natural response to try to catch something I fumble.
     
  7. Upstater

    Upstater Member

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    I was always told if a gun was dropped it should take a trip to a qualified gunsmith for examination, I personally do not remember ever dropping a gun, but visiting a GS after such an incident seems pretty wise to me.FWIW
     
  8. rob i

    rob i Member

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    I had the same question years ago when I dropped my beautiful Seecamp and it landed on the only exposed piece of concrete in the room. Just my luck.
    I called Larry Seecamp to tell him, and his first response was "do you want to send it in so we can polish out any of the scuffs?". I replied that despite the fall it wasn't badly scratched and was more concerned with internal damage and compromising the steel. He laughed a bit and said that you could kick it across the floor if you wanted to and it would be fine. He explained that if a gun can handle firing a bullet, which causes a small explosion in the gun, a drop to the floor would do nothing.

    In other words, if you don't see any obvious damage, you're fine.

    Rest easy.
     
  9. DefiantDad

    DefiantDad Member

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    Wow. Important learning there!
     
  10. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I dropped my 9mm H&K P7PSP on the floor. It took a heck of a chip out of the floor. The P7 just scraped up the Teflon coating on the back of the gun. Gun was fine. No issues, The floor on the other hand has a permanent chip out of it.

    The key thing is what gun you drop on the floor. A P7 I would worry about the floor. My Sig 210's I would worry about the gun.
     
  11. DefiantDad

    DefiantDad Member

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    Good to know.
     
  12. David E

    David E Member

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    My guess is that you were told that by a "qualified gunsmith."
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    As has already been said.

    Nothing is likely to be damaged except your pride of ownership.

    A typical handgun can be dropped out of a helocopter and will still function if you can find it.

    At worst if it landed on the hammer spur, it could damage the hammer safety notch or sear.
    But most modern semi-autos have drop-safe features built in so nothing would be damaged.

    It won't do the finish any good for sure, but it positively cannot weaken the metal to the point of causing the gun to explode when you dust it off and shoot it again..

    rc
     
  14. DefiantDad

    DefiantDad Member

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    Another newbie question: is the metal used for a barrel especially hard? Harder than the rest of the gun frame and slide? (I assume so? although I've also read that harder means more brittle too)
     
  15. Win73

    Win73 Member

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    I dropped my Ruger P89 on my concrete driveway when trying to carry too many things at once into the house.(Yeah, I know it was dumb!) But there was not so much as a scuff on it. Of course it is the stainless model. I suppose it if had been the blued model it might have scuffed the finish. But that Ruger duribility came through, didn't effect it in any way.
     
  16. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    +1 to the general consensus.

    It might scratch it, but other than that you're fine. Shoot away.
     
  17. tryshoot

    tryshoot Member

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    Guns without a firing pin block can go off. All of mine do and will do nothing but hurt my pride and feelings.
     
  18. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    If a certain pistol would be compromised from a drop, it probably has a lot more wrong to begin with. The barrel crown could potentially be chipped, but that's one hit in a thousand. Don't worry about it.
     
  19. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Most semi's would not be hurt at all. If it happened to land on the hammer it could be damaged. A revolver is more easily damaged. If it lands on the cylinder you could easily bend or break something making the gun inoperable. The internal parts could also be more easily damaged from a fall.
     
  20. 918v

    918v Member

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    Depends. But barrels are never hard enough to be brittle.
     
  21. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    Give it an eyeball. If it was just the slide, the sights could have gotten clobbered bad.. it happens. Any "damage" should be immediately obvious.
    Oh and edit, if the barrel fell, in the slide or no, check the crown.
     
  22. DefiantDad

    DefiantDad Member

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    Sounds good
     
  23. Roadking Rider

    Roadking Rider Member

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    About three years ago I went to put my leather Motorcycle jacket on and when I went to it flip it over my shoulder my loaded with one in the pipe P3at came flying out of my inside pocket. The gun bounced three or four times across the garage floor the mag popped out. The mag butt plate had a small chip out of it and the slide and grip had a few scrapes on it but other than some cosmetic dings and scrapes the gun was fine. Still own it still shoot fine.
     
  24. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    On two separate occasions I have witnessed serious damage because of dropping - Glock 17 and 19, both with the slides locked back dropped from about 2,5 - 3 feet to a terracotta floor. Both resulted in bent and cracked slide rails at the back of the slides. The first one was a police officer showing his new gun to his colleagues, and the second one - a clumsy customer in a gun shop. So, Glock or something else - just be careful when handling a pistol with the slide locked back...

    Boris
     
  25. One_Jackal

    One_Jackal member

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    I have dropped a bunch of revolvers and never broke the hammer. I have broke an adjustable rear sight. My super blackhawk goes hunting all the time. I dropped the SB out of a tree. The gun hit several limbs on the way down. Nothing was broke but it did provide me with an excuse to get new grips.
     
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