Quantcast

Life of “plastic” guns?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by BruM, Dec 5, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. BruM

    BruM Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Messages:
    139
    I wonder about the life of composite parts in those ‘plastic” guns. Most plastic items I have owed over the years have suffered some sort of degradation due to age or heat over time. So what will be the aging properties of the composites used in guns today??
     
  2. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    5,080
    Location:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    Ask owners of early 1980s Glocks. They don't seem to degrade appreciably.
     
  3. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    6,201
    Location:
    The Peoples Republic of IL
    Exactly, I beleive the first year glocks were offered stateside were guns manufactured in 1986. They are 23 years old now and just as good as when new. HK made a polymer gun in the 70s. It wastn hugely popular but I dont think I have ever heard stories of the plastic failing.
     
  4. Kingofthehill

    Kingofthehill Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,806
    No chance their gonna be around like the 1911 though :)
     
  5. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    15,710
    Location:
    Hot and Humid FL
    Based on what type of scientific knowledge and experimentation?

    Metals degrade, rust and decompose....plastics tend to live forever....try again..:rolleyes:
     
  6. Ascot500

    Ascot500 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Messages:
    197
    Location:
    NC
    Um, plastics may "live forever" but they do not function forever.
    Just recently I had a plastic "milk crate" used for storage disintegrate when I lifted it. It was about 20 years old and had been exposed to the sun.

    Now some will claim that you can't compare cheapo plastic to whizzbang "polymers" but I don't buy it.

    For one thing, it took about zero stress to break that crate.

    Look at any car over 15 years old, what part are cracked?

    As long as metals are protected from corrosion (which a cared for firearm will be) then their behavior is pretty predictable.
     
  7. ConstitutionCowboy

    ConstitutionCowboy member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Messages:
    3,230
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    People are already making metal frames for Glocks. I'm sure metal frames will appear for other plastic guns in the future. That said, look how long arms with wooden furniture have lasted. Bakelite, hard rubber, and Micarta grips last nearly for ever as well.

    It took a long time for me to warm up to plastic guns, but other than pistols, I stick to all metal frames with one exception - my Beretta CX4 Storm in 45ACP.

    Woody
     
  8. ConstitutionCowboy

    ConstitutionCowboy member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Messages:
    3,230
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Question: Does anyone know if the polymers in todays guns are thermosetting or thermoplastic? It would make a difference in how long they last and stand up to heat.

    Woody
     
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    51,908
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    I've fired HK VP70Z's that functioned just fine. Nothing weak or degraded about them.

    BTW, polymers designed for all-weather applications aren't as subject to UV degradation as those not intended for exposure to the vagaries of sun and heat and rain. There's no rational comparison between them because they're formulated differently.

    The answer to the OP is, Probably longer than any of us will be alive.
     
  10. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5,961
    Location:
    Near Camp Perry
    What, a hundred-year old design being pumped out by so many manufacturers that the market is over-saturated with knockoffs and overpriced "custom" models?
    JMB would laugh at you for clinging to an essentially un-updated design with no thought for modern materials or manufacturing processes ... dude was a innovator, I highly doubt he was of the opinion that he had made a "final design for the ages"
     
  11. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,651
    I'm not sure of the compound used in the polymer guns but I know that High Density Polyethylene HDPE piping has been around for quite a few decades and after carrying some very bad stuff and laying in the sun it seems to hold up very well.
    They are not the same makeup but I bet the guns use some of those properties.
     
  12. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    4,047
    Location:
    Michigan
    The vast majority of "plastic" guns are made of some variant of Nylon 6/6. A few Rugers (P95, P97, not the SR9 [which is nylon] and unsure about the P345) are made of a polyurethane plastic. Both materials are extremely well proven and are formulated for durability when used in firearms. I would reasonably expect 30-50 years or more of service if not worn out through shooting; and these materials are also very durable against wear from shooting (e.g. Glock 17's usually go over 100,000 rounds). They are formulated to withstand UV but I wouldn't store them in a greenhouse or on a beach (use them there, sure).
     
  13. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,295
    Location:
    Alabama
  14. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5,961
    Location:
    Near Camp Perry
    The first example is some moron who kept his Glock in a truck box for an unknown amount of time, subjecting it to the oven effect and possible freezing as well.
    The second appears to be a manufacturing defect.

    I can pull up pictures of busted metal guns, too - obviously the problem guns will get photographed a lot more than the ones quietly working as designed.
     
  15. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    15,710
    Location:
    Hot and Humid FL
    Ascot - and I can come up with something having metal sit out in the rain and fall apart - your assumption that a metal gun will be taken care of is misleading - anything taken care of should outlive any of us. My s.s. grill here in FL lasted 1-1/2 years before rusting out, yet my Glock from over 20 years is still going strong.....

    IMO, if JMB were alive today, his HP would be a polymer gun
     
  16. atomd

    atomd Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,298
    Time will destroy anything man-made. If you don't believe me, just wait. If your 1911s and Glocks degrade 1000 years from now, I will offer you a full refund. :D
     
  17. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    3,703
    Location:
    Arlington, Republic of Texas
    The polymer parts of the M16s that the Army uses are Basic training are mostly very old. There are even some A1s floating around. The plastic on those has definitely been subjected to sunlight and all sorts of other abuse. They still hold up.
     
  18. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,476
    Location:
    Idaho
    They aren't PLASTIC guns. They are made of the same types of polymers that are used to build some of our most advanced fighters and bombers.

    GLOCK "SAFE ACTION" PISTOL

    THE top product among the small arms of the world is without doubt the GLOCK "Safe Action" pistol. It employs innovative safety features which makes the pistol easy to operate. No other pistol offers a better price-performance ratio. Its minimum weight and legendary GLOCK reliability are unsurpassed.

    It is exactly these characteristics that meet the requirements of police, special units, security services and the military. Extremely tough tests by public law enforcement agencies prove time and time again that GLOCK "Safe Action" pistols function without compromise, even under the most extreme conditions.

    ACTION
    Safe and ingeniously simple: Contrary to conventional, the trigger is the only operating element. All three pistol safeties are deactivated when the trigger is pulled -and automatically activated when it is released.

    TENIFER
    Unique GLOCK hi-tech surface refinement for barrel and slide. Apart from optimum corrosion protection and anti-reflective finish, a degree of hardness of 64 HRC - close to that of a diamond - is achieved.

    POLYMER
    Corrosion resistant, tougher than steel and still 86% lighter. More than 20 years ago, GLOCK pistols were the first industrially manufactured handguns with high-tech polymer frames.

    http://www.glock.com/english/index_pistols.htm

    It's these qualities that make Glock a super pistol that will be popular and will last for years and years to come.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  19. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,651
    But they told me it would go through a metal detector:confused:
     
  20. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,476
    Location:
    Idaho
    The Glock's frame

    The Glock's frame, magazine body and several other components are made from a high-strength nylon-based polymer invented by Gaston Glock and called Polymer 2. [14] This Polymer was specially formulated to provide increased durability and is more resilient than carbon steel and most steel alloys. Polymer 2 is resistant to shock, caustic liquids and temperature extremes where traditional steel/alloy frames would warp and become brittle. [14] The injection molded frame contains 4 hardened steel guide rails for the slide: two at the rear of the frame, and the remaining pair above and in front of the trigger guard. The trigger guard itself is squared off at the front and checkered. The grip has a non-slip, stippled surface on the sides and both the front and rear straps. The frame houses the locking block, which is an investment casting that engages a 45° camming surface on the barrel's lower camming lug. It is retained in the frame by a steel axis pin that also holds the trigger and slide catch. The trigger housing is held to the frame by means of a plastic pin. A spring-loaded sheet metal pressing serves as the slide catch, which is secured from unintentional manipulation by a raised guard molded into the frame.

    http://wapedia.mobi/en/Glock_18
     
  21. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,358
    Location:
    Alaska
    They're thermoplastics. Ever see a heat stippling job?

    Big Bill, Glock frames are made of plastic. Most plastics are composed mostly of polymers, sometimes with other additives. I don't know what exactly goes into a Glock frame, but it is plastic and it's fine to call it that. Glock has a smart enough marketing department to call it "polymer", good for them. The Tenifer "surface refinement" is a carbo-nitriding process. Under high heat, carbon and nitrogen molecules are diffused into the surface of the slide. The trade name may be exclusive to Glocks, but the process isn't.
     
  22. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,476
    Location:
    Idaho
    GLOCK - Plastic pistol myths

    Contrary to early reports, GLOCK pistols do set off metal detectors and can indeed be detected by X-ray machines, due to their metal barrels and slides. The claim that they could not was first made in an article published in the Washington Post on January 13, 1985, entitled, "Quaddafi Buying Austrian Plastic Pistol." In this article, vocal gun control advocate Jack Anderson made the allegations, which were then reported without fact-checking by the Associated Press and further reported by many United States television news stations and newspapers. It has since become an urban legend that to this day continues to appear in news reports and movies, and has even been a topic of debate in the United States Congress.

    In fact, 83% (by weight) of the GLOCK pistol is ordinary gun steel and the "plastic" parts are in fact a dense polymer known as 'Polymer 2' which is radio-opaque and thus also shows up under X-ray security equipment. In addition, virtually all of these "plastic" parts contain embedded steel to make them functional, not to make them "detectable". Contrary to popular movies like Die Hard 2: Die Harder and In the Line of Fire, neither GLOCK nor any other gun maker has ever produced a "ceramic" or "plastic" firearm which is undetectable by ordinary security screening devices.

    Die Hard 2 specifically refers to a non-existent GLOCK 7 with many fictitious characteristics from the character John McClane portrayed by Bruce Willis:

    That punk pulled a GLOCK 7 on me! You know what that is? It's a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn't show up on your airport X-ray machines, and it cost more than you make here in a month!

    In fact, GLOCK pistols are made of polymer and steel, are made in Austria, are visible to X-ray equipment, and are not significantly more expensive than comparable firearms.

    http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/glock - plastic pistol myths/id/5070784
     
  23. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,476
    Location:
    Idaho
    MrCleanOK - they're not plastic in the traditional sense - like the squirt guns you and I had when we were kids. The concept of "plastic" has evolved in every way except in the minds of people. All the plastics I grew up with as a kid shattered easily. Then along came lexan and some other higher grade polymers and everything changed.

    Polymers
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  24. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,358
    Location:
    Alaska
    Lots of different types of plastics, just like there are lots of different types of woods, metals, etc. Different plastics have different material properties, doesn't mean they aren't still plastic.

    I wonder why manufacturers of wood and blued steel guns never caught on to the Glock high-tech marketing scheme. They could have said their stocks were made of cellulose-based uni-directional organic material.
     
  25. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Messages:
    1,358
    Location:
    Alaska
    Also, I believe this. . .
    . . . was intended to be a joke ;)
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice