Polymer versus Steel/Aluminum drop durability

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Cowboybebop, Jun 1, 2014.

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  1. GoWolfpack

    GoWolfpack Member

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    I'm willing to offer to take on the responsibility of making sure you're all safe from randomly shattering glocks. Send them all to me and I will make sure they're safely dispositioned.
     
  2. Blackshirt

    Blackshirt Member

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    Stop the Insanity!

    What possesses people to continue to do these stupid tests. If you don't like "plastic" guns don't buy them if you don't like "heavy old steel guns" don't buy them. Police agencies world wide adopted "plastic guns" decades ago and they actually shoot them a lot. If they were junk I think they might have switched back.
     
  3. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I agree with Blackshirt and, by the way, welcome aboard.


    I fall into that camp. I am not a big fan of polymer frames. I do own a couple but just like the heavier steel and wood. Having said that, I would trust my life with my springfields or, heaven help me, even a Glock. I don't like they way they look or feel but no amount of testing will be able to determine whether bullet holes were made by a steel or polymer framed gun.
     
  4. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Wow, somebody has invented the firearms equivalent to batoning their survival knife.

    I'm sure all the polymer gun makers are looking forward to more of this.
     
  5. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    I have often posted that I run 500 rounds trouble free through a semi-auto before I will use for self- defense with the exception being due to magazine or ammo issues. I am currently conducting this test on a old Ruger 9mm that I replaced all the springs in. Mainly for grins and giggles I going to keep shooting the gun with cast lead bullets without cleaning just to see if it will keep ticking without any problems. If I don't have any problems I'll probably stop the test at 2,000 rounds and clean it.

    Then again I just might keep shooting it just to see how dirty it can get and keep working.
     
  6. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    To make this a valid test, you should hang it by a rope on your porch and wack it a good one with a baseball bat first.

    :neener:
     
  7. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I would argue that a gun is far more likely to get shot by another gun than be hit by a baseball bat... Maybe the test should be to shoot a Glock with another Glock just to make sure.
     
  8. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Heh!

    I'm of the opinion that one should shoot the bad guy holding his Glock and see if that causes his Glock not to fire back.

    :D
     
  9. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    Plastic might flex and return almost to original shape, but it will usually leave light-colored flash marks where the material bent. These spots are now much weaker than they were before the bend and subsequent bends will exponentially weaken it until it breaks. I am sure that this would happen on a plastic frame with less applied stress than it would take to deform aluminum. Steel is going to be even higher.
     
  10. justice06rr

    justice06rr Member

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    If you abuse/neglect your guns that much, you should be worried about other things and also replacing them after such incidents.

    Most Military and LE guns that are issued are expected to be expendable at some point, which includes aluminum 1911's and AR15's. These servicemen are the ones who really see damage to these guns that are used for decades, dropped from vehicles, and abused unlike civilian-owned guns.

    For the most part, polymer guns are ok in the Civilian world.

    Leave the abusing of firearms to M&P's!
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  11. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    Most polymer guns flex a bit with every shot -- but I have yet to see the colored flash marks you describe on the grip frames -- even on weapons that have been fired many thousands of time. Metal frames bent too far, on the other hand, won't return to their original positions -- it'll take a new form or break. But I would argue that it's in our best interest to prevent that sort of damage by not letting ourselves or our weapons get into situations where that can happen!

    To further complicate the debate is the fact that many, perhaps most, of the polymer-framed guns, have metal INSERTS inside the polymer frame to which other critical components are attached. These metal components would generally prevent or minimize the sort of deformation described above. Repeat damage through rebending or subsequent slams isn't likely to be an issue with any gun -- unless you make a point of using your weapon as a shield rather than as a handgun.

    If your gun is out of your control and has been smashed by a baseball bat or has been exposed to similar forces, I doubt that you'll really care whether it's functional later -- as you'll have other bigger issues to contend with if you're still alive.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  12. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    The marks won't show up unless it deflects it enough to cause permanent deformation. Like if you tried to crush it or hit it with a bat.

    The difference is the amount of stress required to cause that deformation. Steel will be highest, aluminum takes second, and polymer takes third.
     
  13. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    Flip back up to response #3 and look at the photo of the smashed gun. No stretch marks are visible and there are no signs of bending, etc. Just clean breaks. ("Shattered" seems more descriptive of the damaged material than "bent" or "stretched".) One Glock I examined after a catstrophic KABOOM looked much the same, but that was years ago and there may have been some "bending" there, somewhere. The shooter had used reloads bought at a gun show, and while his Glock died, he only experienced a badly numbed right hand. (He doesn't buy reloads at the gun show any more.) I suspect the "stretch" or flash marks won't show unless the transfer of force is done more slowly than was the case with the baseball bat strike. I also suspect that making stretch marks takes more time than kabooms or baseball bat slams allow -- those are truly explosive encounters.

    But I would argue that all of this is essentially meaningless...

    What does such an test (like smashing a gun with a baseball bat) tell us about the normal or even abnormal use of a weapon? I don't think the U.S. Department of Defense uses sledge hammers or baseball bats in their evaluations, nor do most police departments. That's probably because if that sort of force is encountered while someone is holding or carrying the weapon, it's not going to matter whether it was steel, aluminum, or polymer.

    They might have tried a blowtorch, too, while they were at it -- and that wouldn't have told us anything more useful than the baseball bat strike.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  14. justice06rr

    justice06rr Member

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    Exactly.

    More common abuse may be from being dropped by hand/vehicle, run over by vehicle, submerged in water/dirt/snow, and blown up by ordnance at the extreme. Most modern polymer guns will pass these tests save the explosion which a metal gun won't survive either.

    I really don't know what the "bat test" proves if any...
     
  15. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    I find most of the Glock "torture tests" just stupid. The things they did to those pistols have been done to Hipoints. Why are we supposed to automatically assume that because the Glock can do it no other pistol can? There is nothing about the Glock that is SO innovative that it is impervious to everything that would destroy every other pistol made. There is a conspicuous absence of head to head tests in most cases.
     
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