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Is Plastic An Advantage?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by cslinger, Dec 22, 2007.

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  1. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    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?
     
  2. Regolith

    Regolith Member

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    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.
     
  3. Outlaws

    Outlaws Member

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    Only time will tell.
     
  4. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    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.
     
  5. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    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.
     
  6. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    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.
     
  7. DENALI

    DENALI member

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    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:
     
  8. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    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.
     
  9. tasco 74

    tasco 74 Member

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    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............
     
  10. PTK

    PTK Member

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    I have no problem with plastic. I love my PS90, for example.
     
  11. brighamr

    brighamr Member

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    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...
     
  12. TAB

    TAB Member

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    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.
     
  13. Ultrachimp

    Ultrachimp Member

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    it's cheaper. 'nuff said.
     
  14. rust collector

    rust collector Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2007
  15. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    If used in appropriate applications and of good quality to start with, there is nothing at all wrong with plastics, er, sorry, polymers.
     
  16. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Polymer pistols are very functional, but they have the personality of a toy – 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 you’re 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 that’s 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 aren’t where my fingers go. :cuss:

    And did ya’ ever see one with a nice set of fancy wood or ivory stocks??? :neener:
     
  17. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

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    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:
     
  18. silverlance

    silverlance Member

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    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.
     
  19. Millwright

    Millwright Member

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    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
     
  20. dracphelan

    dracphelan Member

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    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.
     
  21. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Member

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    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.
     
  22. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Member

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    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
     
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    :what:

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

    Old Fuff Member

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    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:
     
  25. possum

    possum Member

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    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!
     
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