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Non-metallic handguns?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Mark-Smith, Jul 18, 2011.

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  1. Mark-Smith

    Mark-Smith Member

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    The infamous 'Porcelain Glock 7' scene from Die Hard 2 came up in conversation today (Youtube video of scene in question) and it got me thinking.

    "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 metal detectors and probably costs more than what you make in a month."

    Ceramic and composites have been a rapidly advancing field in the last decade - I'm surprised there isn't a ceramic that could withstand the pressures found in a gun barrel.

    No, not these:
    [​IMG]

    Other than some speculative but un-authenticated articles about the CIA having a 'glass gun', there doesn't seem to be anything out there.

    Has anyone else seen something along these lines?
     
  2. CmpsdNoMore

    CmpsdNoMore Member

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    That's a Walther P99.

    And the weirdest firearm art I've ever seen...
     
  3. Jackal1

    Jackal1 Member

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    There are some composites used in the aerospace field that would work on the slide of a firearm.... but they would make gun ownership cost prohibitive and they also exhibit brittle failure. If an overpressure round blew out the slide the shattering composite would send shrapnel into your body. With traditional metal slides the metal yields/bends as it breaks so it does not throwing (as much) shrapnel when it fails. Also, if the metal does blow out a piece of shrapnel, it would have more mass than the composite shrapnel and would thus move slower and have somewhat less likelyhood of penetrating your skin.
     
  4. David Charlton

    David Charlton Member

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    Hello,

    I would like to say that, non-metallic handguns are fake guns that shoot plastic balls even though they are fake guns they can hurt and inside it has a thing that hits the ball and it fly's fast through the canal how do you know if it is an air soft well in the tip of the gun it has a white tip do not take off or it will look like a real gun.

    Thanks a lot for your help!!
    David Charlton
    ____________
    Gas Guns: Evike.com
     
  5. Mark-Smith

    Mark-Smith Member

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    What??
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Just to get you past the "can it be done?" question. Yes, you don't even have to use fancy "space aged" materials to make a breech loading "firearm" out of UHMW "plastic." Don't intend on it lasting like a real gun but it can fire more than once, at least if you use .22lr. Other than the tremendus erosion that occurs I would bet the 2" od barrel was stronger than the lined/plastic barrel on the AR7 in the pressure it would hold.
     
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I have a plastic gun that I've fired over and over. It shoots a spud a good hundred yards.:neener:
     
  8. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Firearms that cannot be detected by airport style magnetometers are illegal by Federal law, therefore nobody will make one, right?
     
  9. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    no one will make one legallly. I'm sure there will be backyard tinkerers who would try. The movie "In the Line of Fire" shows John Malkovich making a polymer zip gun. Granted, thats Hollyweird, but I'm sure it has inspired others to try it.
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Yes, they will -- but such people can easily be identified -- just check for missing fingers.:D
     
  11. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I don't doubt that an all ceramic and polymer gun is quite possible. But given the laws about not making such things as mentioned above first you'd need to find a company willing to produce them and then you'd need to have a NASA like budget to buy them since there would just not be much demand. I can only think that the potential customers would be some certain agencies which would not want the knowledge that such things are available to get out. The rest of the folks that could use such guns, AKA the "Bad Guys", tend to not have the NASA like budget to support such desires.
     
  12. Mark-Smith

    Mark-Smith Member

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    Nothing says it has to be developed in the US!
     
  13. Point4orLarger

    Point4orLarger Member

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    AR- poly

    Didn't an outfit make and sell poly or CF lowers for the AR- types? Surely there is a nerd gun-lover experimenting with poly / nylon / carbon fiber guns somewhere in the free world. Remember when an SKS-7.62 pistol was introduced and got all "metal-core" ammo banned? What the BATFU COULDN'T do by banning all ammo that could be fired in the "X-ray-invisible" pistol.
     
  14. bigbomar4

    bigbomar4 Member

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    Im kinda thinkin mad scientist on this on at this point in time. At some point yes it will happen but I think that will be right around the point that we will also have to be worryin about the bg havin a ccw laser or what have you. Yes I do think it could be done now but I would cost WAY to much.
     
  15. Mark-Smith

    Mark-Smith Member

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    Cost too much to do as a production item, sure. I imagine the market for non-metallic firearms as being a bit... On the small side. However, I'd love to see a 'one off'. What the feck ever happened to American ingenuity?
     
  16. Danb1215

    Danb1215 Member

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    whats the deal with the legislation that prevents this? I know I've read the text detailing the required content but can't remember what it was part of/when it was passed?
     
  17. David E

    David E Member

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    And some people say punctuation doesn't matter......
     
  18. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Ya know? I never thought about the ammo. To be invisible to a metal detector it would also need to use non mettalic bullets and cases. So now it's not just how to make a gun with no metal at all in it but also it needs a custom developed ammo as well.

    Keep in mind that we're talking about ALL parts being non metallic here. Including any small screws and springs needed to make it work. It's not enough just to make a ceramic barrel, slide and polymer frame. And now a specialty ammo on top of all this? That just kicked the level of this project firmly into the NASA moon landing sort of budget near as I can see. Likely we'd be looking at a new gun set up for the new cased telescopic rounds being developed. But far as I know no one is doing such stuff in handgun calibers yet. And it would require some sort of ceramic bullet to be done as well.

    Keep in mind too that such a gun would still show up under Xray viewing. It would be strictly to avoid metal detectors. If you've ever looked over the shoulders of the airport Xray operators you'll have seen that they can clearly see all sorts of stuff in cases in an overlapping image sort of manner. Bottles, shoes thickly folded pants with zippers and other objects with sharp density outlines jump right out.

    OK, without jumping into the whole illegal or secret agent thing. Can ceramic parts be used in general handgun construction to lighten up the load? Hard to say. Tough ceramics that would be needed to contain chamber pressures and that would make for good slides would not be all that light. Also one reason that even guns with polymer and aluminium frames still have steel slides is that the slide has to be a certain weight in order to tune with the recoil spring in order to hold back long enough for the bullet to leave the barrel before traveling back too far to where it allows the case to begin being extracted. So making the barrel and slide lighter becomes counter productive. And no, it's not enough to just make the recoil spring stronger. If you make it strong enough to resist the recoil force it won't allow the lighter slide to extend far enough to the rear to achieve a good ejection force. The weight of the barrel and slide and the strength of the recoil spring is a tuned system. Some fudging can be done in this regard but not a lot. And it's fair to say that the makers of lighter duty carry guns and the bigger pocket guns that shoot 9mm and bigger have already pared down the weight of the slide and barrel as much as they can consistent with keeping the gun working well.
     
  19. AethelstanAegen

    AethelstanAegen Member

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    Yeah, I think someone's a little lost and wandered onto the wrong forum.

    I could see someone being able to knock together a homemade one shot .22lr (maybe it could take a few repeated shots) deal that would service much like the .45acp "Liberator" pistols from WW2. If any other, serious/professional, research is going into creating a more durable version I doubt we'd ever hear about it.

    In general, I imagine it would be cost prohibitive to create a non-metalic pistol. As I understand it, the only reason to do so would be to get through metal detectors, but then again you still clearly have a gun shaped object, so it wouldn't fool any closer inspection. I'd say the more popular research would go into disguising firearms as non-firearms (ie the "pen" firearms of WW2 and the Cold War). I would think developers wouldn't see the point in creating, say, a plastic pistol which wouldn't give you greater functionality over a disguised firearm which would prove significantly cheaper.

    Furthermore, any pistol you'd have would have to fire bullets (as long as we're still talking about firearms and not weapons such as the air pressure powered "umbrella gun" used by the Soviets in the Cold War). Even the military's latest developments in plastic cased cartridges still use metal bullets, which I'm pretty certain would still set off a metal detector. I think we're clearly seeing another example of hollywood fantasy.
     
  20. RedAlert

    RedAlert Member

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    Most of the discussion here seems to revolve around making a common pistol design out of ceramics. The modern pistol's shape has largely been determined by function and material.
    So why assume the ceramic pistol would look like a steel/poly pistol; just made out of ceramics?
    I'd think that the shape of a ceramic pistol would be very different from a steel/poly one due to the strengths and weaknesses of ceramics. Perhaps the best design would be a single shot pistol that uses a rubber band as the firing pin spring...carbon fiber barrel and tension components rather than a revolver design or auto loader, having a rolling block or falling block breech would be more practical.
    Aren't there Ruger 10/22 barrels made with CF wrapping the metallic barrel liner. I bet if you weren't interested in shooting multiple rounds you could skip the liner.
    I'm certain in my belief (no proof mind you) that such firearms have been made. Its too neat a concept to be ignored by the "Alphabet Agencies!"
     
  21. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    More by function than by material. A pistol, regardless of what material you use needs a barrel, a grip and some method of firing it.

    There have been odd guns -- walking stick guns, the infamous Nazi belt buckle gun, and so on, but anything designed to used like a pistol is going to look like a pistol.
     
  22. fletcher

    fletcher Member

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    For ceramics, the raw strength is there, but being brittle limits their usefulness as an engineering material in an application like firearms. Things that are necessary for being in a firearm environment like fracture toughness and impact resistance just aren't there in a ceramic. This also makes them very notch sensitive; any flaws (which includes holes, grooves, etc.) will result in much more pronounced loss of properties than with a metal. There are very expensive ceramics such as PSZ (partially stabilized zirconia), which have high toughness for ceramics, but still only attain 10-20% that of 4340 steel. While I don't doubt great advances will be made in the future, they're just not ready for use in an application like this.

    As for polymers, there are probably a few components which aren't highly stressed that could use some sort of polymer/plastic piece short-term. Metals just offer the required properties that the environment of a firearm needs.
     
  23. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    I don't think it would be hard to create a single shot gun and bullet that lacked metal with the ability to kill but lower pressures than standard rounds. I think a gun that could repeatedly fire would be the tricky part. Ecspecially if one expected it to be semi-automatic. The inability to use a spring would also be challenging.
     
  24. Iramo94

    Iramo94 Member

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    No illegal intent ---> Would the bullets really need to be non-metal? That depends on what technology is used to see them. A "metal detector" only finds magnetic material if I understand correctly. That means no iron (steel), copper, lanthinides, or organic materials cooled to near absolute zero (but who in his right mind would make a gun out of neodymium, diamond, or sugar?). In that case, I think lead would be okay. However, if it is being X-rayed, they would just check the signature that came off of it and see that, yea, it weighs seven ounces per mole, so it's lead. I would think that it is only in that situation that you would need non-metallic, or at least not heavy metallic, bullets. Try zinc or aluminum...
     
  25. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Fletcher, ceramics these days covers so wide a variety of materials that I don't doubt that there are some out there which would work. For example, the sintered carbide inserts used in metal shaping machines is one type of ceramic that uses tungsten carbide as part of the makeup of the cutter bits.

    The idea of a rifled ceramic liner with a wound carbon fiber composite jacket would also work. It's good enough for making high pressure cylinders with a thin aluminium inner bottle wound over with a high strength carbon and epoxy jacket to produce a light pressure cylinder.

    And a hearty "HELL YEAH!" to the idea that a non metallic gun would not need to totally replicate any existing designs.

    Iramo, the metal detectors in the airports and at other locations are simple magnetometers. They sense metal by sending out a magnetic wave and then sense how the current in the coil which you walk through is affected by metal in the region of the coil. In effect it's like a very loosely coupled electical transformer with no core. ANY metal in the area of the magnetic field produced by the coil in the loop or in the wand at the end of the "treasure finder" will react to the magnetic field by seeing an induced electrical current in the metal object. So all that is needed is that whatever metal you have must be electrically conductive. It doesn't matter if it's magnetic on its own or able to stick to a magnet. Just being able to conduct electricity is enough to be detected. Otherwise how else would the treasure finder sets find gold rings? So zinc or aluminium is detected just as easily as carrying a magnet.

    It's a good thing that terrorists aren't all that smart on the whole. Other wise we'd have legions of air travel terrorists carrying bits to assemble guns such as what "The Man With The Golden Gun" used in the old James Bond movie.... :D
     
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