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Is the age of aluminum alloy framed handgun a thing of the past?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by AirPower, Oct 2, 2005.

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  1. AirPower

    AirPower Member

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    Alloy guns used to be everywhere, Sig Sauer, Beretta, Ruger but these days all new models tend to be polymer guns. Steel guns are still popular (or necessary) in certain handgun types such as 1911, HiPower. Since the advent of polymer guns, the alloy frames lacked both weight savings and flexibilty of the new material so I can see why polymer is the wave of the future.
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Polymer is indeed going to be the wave .....

    While the tooling to produce the frames (or whatever) is expensive, the parts themselves are dirt-cheap. The alternative materials only make economic sense if the proposed quantity of product isn't enough to justify tooling costs.

    However the maker still has to satisfy the ultimate buyer, meaning you.

    Somehow I can't see "plastic" cap & ball revolvers ... :neener:
     
  3. KONY

    KONY Member

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    Arguably, the CZ P-01 is a "new" design that is aluminum. I think I read somewhere that steel slides riding on aluminum frames leads to premature frame wear when compared to steel riding on a polymer frame.
     
  4. EghtySx

    EghtySx Member

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    I have a Colt XSE lightweight commander for a carry gun. It has an aluminum alloy frame coated in teflon.
     
  5. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    Not everyone likes polymer, yet we still want lighter weight. I think aluminum will be around for a while.
     
  6. phantomak47

    phantomak47 Member

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    Polymer might be light weight, but it is extremely cheap to produce. While most gun makers are looking to produce a quality product, lets face it profit is the goal of any buisness. They arent making a product to break even.Polymer does have many advantages, but cost of making a pistol plays a big role. 1911 guys arent going to warm up to a polymer frame any time soon.

    The cost of a polymer glock frame is around $4.00. Do the math
     
  7. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    True, poly is cheaper then steel or aluminum alloy but one thing that many people forget is that there are people out there who LOVE poly guns ... who buy them OVER steel ... and their numbers are a significant chunk of the market.

    Even if poly was more expensive to work with then aluminum, I bet you'd still find as many guns being made out of it.
     
  8. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Aluminum Is Here Too Stay

    as the lightweight polymer frame guns haven't been 'round long enough to
    establish a good "read" on their durability. Its just been since the early 80's
    that the first generation Glock's arrived here in the good ole' U.S. of A. :D
     
  9. Safety First

    Safety First Member

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    I think S&W has the right idea. They are making light weight alloy guns stronger by adding a pinch of Scandium in the mix. So it is reported it adds tensile strength to the light weight alloy to nearly the extent of all steel. I have the S&W 1911Sc in the Commander size version, it is a very well designed gun for the money. I am just waiting on S&W to add a true CCO to the line up in a light weight version, I don't think I will be able to resist it for a carry gun..
    The demand for light weight carry guns for CCW purposes will continue to grow since states are now giving us back our rights to carry, (that's another subject all together) demand will hopefully fuel the improvement for carry guns well into the future, I hope...Just my thoughts on your question.
     
  10. CAnnoneer

    CAnnoneer Member

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    I don't see myself buying a plastic handgun any time soon. So long as there are customers like me, the companies would continue making alloy-frame and steel-frame guns. They may be more expensive to make, but they also fetch a higher pricetag too.

    My long-term prediction would be companies concentrating more and more on interchangeability of parts within their line of similar weapons and within models themselves. Then they'd keep some unassembled inventory and assemble different variants according to what the market is requesting at the moment.
     
  11. TMM

    TMM Member

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    i never really liked aluminum- or alloy-framed guns... polymer, though... i like that.

    ~TMM
     
  12. KONY

    KONY Member

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    TMM,

    If your sig rings true about your age then I am not surprised! :neener:
     
  13. Seven High

    Seven High Member

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    I believe that you will soon see polymer and aluminun slides on auto pistols.
     
  14. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Probably.

    The polymer frames seem to be a good deal more durable than aluminum...
     
  15. AirPower

    AirPower Member

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    Polymer with steel inserts seem to be the best solution for light weight and durable firearms. There's always talk of 1911 steel frame cracks, Beretta alloy frame cracks, but you seldom hear about polymer frame cracks (unless due to KB).
     
  16. specoperator

    specoperator Member

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    Not at all on my opinion

    SIG is still making a alloy frame, and their SIGPRO series is all but done, at least that's the word from my dealers, so if you have a SIGPRO, it will be an item to keep for collectors value. I have yet to see a 1911 platform in polymer, and probably wont. I dont know of one handgun enthusiast will purchase a John Browning design if made in polymer. although H&K is probably the best at applying a polymer frame, afterall, they were the first to introduce it, not Gaston Glock, they have demonstrated that thier polymer is as good or better than most alloy when applied to the tortures of combat. SIG is still one of the better guns going with an alloy frame, and they have proven that they are not in the business of making tupperware anymore.
     
  17. KONY

    KONY Member

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    I'd be willing to bet that once you learned that such a person bought a JMB design polymer handgun, you'd probably start doubting whether he was an "enthusiast" in the first place. ;)

    I said this jokingly but I think its true. Myself? I really like the idea of polymer. I like the weight savings, durability, etc. Heck, they even look ok to me. Only reason I don't own more is because I just haven't found any that I shoot as well as my wheelguns yet. The new Smith M&P will be the next candidate. :cool:
     
  18. hnm201

    hnm201 Member

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    I love polymer (go glock or go home) but you can't put wood grips on a poly frame. However, you can put sexy wood on a aluminum frame. A Colt XSE lightweight commander is the way to go.

    Yet, I am very curious about that S-n-W M&P. Could be a glock killer for sure.
     
  19. otomik

    otomik Member

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    I for one predict more aerospace inspirations in pistol design

    look at the Browning BDM, all steel and very lightweight.

    Eugene Stoner came into firearms design as an outsider using aluminum materials from the aerospace industry, similarly the outsider Gaston Glock did the same thing with polymer. I'm not sure what the next big thing is, "scandium" is mostly marketing, not much scandium in the mix and there isn't any gun that's "total titanium", all are alloys. What i think is interesting right now is Beretta's PX4, Cx4 and 9000S which all have fiberglass reinforced thermoplastics (like on the F35 JSF). Kel-Tec also impresses me in how they make guns with polymer grips/body, aluminum frame and steel slide. One also have to keep in mind that at a certain point weight saving are detremental to performance (smith and wesson .357 scandium snubbies, carbon-15 rifles uncomfortable to shoot with even a "poodleshooter" round). Perhaps with modern design steel can catch up to offer enough weight savings at a good price. All and all it's quiet possible that the Browning BDM is the wave of the future, wave of the future, wave of the future, wave of the future, wave of the future. ;)
     
  20. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    Perhaps you aren't listening hard enough. Taurus Millenium Pistols had a real problem with frame cracking not too long ago.
     
  21. 45auto

    45auto Member

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    Sig seems to be the only non-plastic gun that you read about getting large contracts. There are exceptions of course.

    I don't think the vast majority of people shoot enough rounds through one gun to crack an aluminum or plastic frames. Often those cracks are cosmetic and not a functional problem, depending on the gun. The "other" parts of the gun are the ones that can give you trouble...no plastic or aluminum slides for me. ;)
     
  22. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Polymer frame Browning design: Israeli Bul version of 1911.
     
  23. Rexrider

    Rexrider Member

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    Personally, I don't care what they make it out of as long as it works everytime I pull the trigger.

    Steel, aluminum alloy, polymer, I like them all (and I own at least one of each). I am more concerned with the design then the materials.
     
  24. otomik

    otomik Member

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  25. dsk

    dsk Member

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    If I have to choose between polymer and aluminum I'll take the plastic any day of the week. And this is coming from a die-hard all-steel 1911 man! Aluminum is a pain in the butt, because black anodizing nicks easily yet can't be easily repaired, I always seem to find fine aluminum shavings when I clean the firearm, and because I flat don't trust the material to be durable. I've seen too many alloy 1911 frames with boogered feed ramps, and more than a few guns with press-fit through pins that began to walk once the holes began to enlarge. And I won't even begin to mention the issues with frame cracking. While it is of course entirely possible to screw up a polymer frame (such as the issues with Taurus mentioned earlier), if the design is properly thought-out the problems are minimal.
     
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