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Old January 23, 2019, 08:52 AM   #26
saleen322
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People looking for serious target pistols want steel construction. I know Hammerli tried plastic frames with the 280 and SP-20 but all of the shooters I know, including myself, kept the all steel 208. The 208 is older but it is still seen more on the line than the plastics and it brings more money when resold. I don't recall any other plastic serious target pistols. If there ever was a plastic Free Pistol I never seen one. The plastic guns are inexpensive, functional, and accurate enough for general use. I think they are here to stay but there is always a market for quality steel pistols for serious target use.
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Old January 23, 2019, 09:19 AM   #27
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When plastic/polymer/etc. materials used to make firearms have been around for 100+ years, we'll have a better understanding as to how durable and long-lived they are.
Bakelite has been around for over 100 years, and has been used in firearm construction for as long.

Granted, its use has largely been in lower-stress areas, but verifies that some polymer formulations aren't just going to magically crumble away when they hit a certain age.

And the chemistry of modern firearm polymers are far more advanced.

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Which would you rather be pistol whipped by: An empty Glock 17 or a S&W Model 29?
Maybe that provides an answer to the steel vs plastic for some.
If that is your primary reason for choosing a steel over polymer frame pistol, you are probably using it wrong.


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Old January 23, 2019, 01:32 PM   #28
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Fishbed77 knows what he is talking about and is very specific on each issue with polymers. Good job!! Sure clarifies a lot of stuff for me Thanks
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Old January 23, 2019, 02:10 PM   #29
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Plastic seems cheap(and it is cheap compared to steel) but it has proven to be serviceable for some parts. It is NOT as nice as steel and walnut on a gun. If you like plastic buy plastic. It's a free country.
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Old January 23, 2019, 03:42 PM   #30
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Plastic seems cheap(and it is cheap compared to steel) but it has proven to be serviceable for some parts.
Depends on the plastic. Some polymers like PEEK (used in aerospace and biomedical products) are quite expensive and have properties far in excess of what is likely needed in most firearms applications where polymer is used.

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It is NOT as nice as steel and walnut on a gun. If you like plastic buy plastic. It's a free country.
From an aesthetic point of view, I tend to agree, but this is a subjective viewpoint.

From a functional standpoint, all of these materials have their strengths and weaknesses (with wood all but replaced by polymer or other materials in situations where utmost durability and accuracy/repeatability are required).
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Old January 23, 2019, 04:49 PM   #31
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I own plenty of polymers and have no trouble admitting that for actual practical use, they are pretty much objectively better than metal. I'd certainly take a USP into a warzone before a 1911 or Hi-Power.

Still, since the vast majority of my guns are used for enjoyment at the range, I tend to prefer the added weight, craftsmanship, and sentimental connection to the "old world" that steel (and, to a lesser extent, aluminum) frames give me.
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Old January 23, 2019, 05:06 PM   #32
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We shall see in about 80 to 100 years if polymer guns, manufactured today, or within the last 15 years, will last as long as metal guns, which have been around for over 300 years. It is not so much about reliability or quality. I think its the notion that anything plastic is cheap or cheap looking, and not as durable as metal. The only reason manufacturers went to plastic, IMO, is because it is cheaper to manufacture. I am a big fan of all metal pistols, even though I own a Glock 19, which is a great handgun. I just think metal pistols are classic, and plastic is just cheap. That's why all, but one, of my handguns are metal.
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Old January 23, 2019, 05:15 PM   #33
Walt Sherrill
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Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs
TMK - there is no handgun with an all-plastic frame. They all use inserts for the rails and trigger group. These inserts are either steel or aluminum.
By law- all handgun frames must have a metal insert containing the serial number, BTW.
Therefore the grip frames are plastic. The actual frames are metal.
Maybe. Maybe not. I think there was at least ONE (possibly TWO) all-polymer framed gun, but I suspect a mix of polymer and metal might be more practical. While metal is used in some frames, the metal is HELD in place by the polymer in those frames -- there's not always a subframe within the polymer holding the metal parts together keeping them properly spaced, etc.

The link below is to the article about the Ruger P95, from which the quote below was taken. (I had a P95DC for several years before moving on. It a reasonably accurate and very functional weapon that never malfunctioned.) I think the Ruger P97, which was a .45, was a very similar design.

http://www.shootingtimes.com/editori...ger-p95/99567# I added the underlining, below.
The Ruger P95 was produced from 1996 until 2013, when it was dropped from the company's catalog. It's a recoil-operated autoloader with an external hammer, a 3.9-inch barrel, and a 10-round magazine. Magazine capacity was increased to 15 rounds in late 2005.

Features of the then-new pistol included a blued or stainless-steel slide, double action only (DAO) or decocker mechanisms, a 3.9-inch barrel, a three-dot sight system, and a polymer frame. The frame did not have any metal inserts or steel bearings in its rails and was described by Ruger back in 1996 as being a "magic" injection-molded, custom-compounded, high-strength polymer with long-strand fiberglass filler. It was tested extensively for strength and durability and outperformed other brands of polymer-framed pistols and even steel-framed models for durability. Eventually, Ruger offered a variation of the P95 with a manual safety, and in 2006 Ruger added an integral rail to the underside of the polymer frame.

One of the unique aspects of the Ruger P95 in operation is that when it's fired, its barrel and slide move rearward together for a short distance until an angled surface on the integral camblock of the full-length recoil spring guide engages the underlug on the barrel and cams its breech end downward and out of engagement with the slide. The slide then travels fully to the rear and ejects the spent case. This camblock system was totally new for Ruger back in 1996.

By the way, unlike so many of today's auto pistols that have magazine disconnect safeties, the Ruger P95 will fire with the magazine out.

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; January 23, 2019 at 08:19 PM.
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Old January 23, 2019, 06:56 PM   #34
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If you ever have a case head separation you will appreciate a metal frame, because you might not have to replace it. My Glock 20 didn’t fare so well and needed a new frame when it happened to me.
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Old January 23, 2019, 07:59 PM   #35
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[QUOTE]Quote:
When plastic/polymer/etc. materials used to make firearms have been around for 100+ years, we'll have a better understanding as to how durable and long-lived they are.

Quote:
:
Bakelite has been around for over 100 years, and has been used in firearm construction for as long.

Granted, its use has largely been in lower-stress areas, but verifies that some polymer formulations aren't just going to magically crumble away when they hit a certain age.
Bakelite is hardly an apt analogy when comparing steel vs aluminum vs polymer when discussing the merits of a material best suited in terms of long term longevity involving the frames/receiver/slides of firearm. Bakelite was used in "lower-stress" applications like grips, stocks and tea kettle handles but never, to my knowledge, was it ever used to make a gun. And, as scoobysnacker pointed out, "...that stuff is getting VERY brittle now."
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Old January 23, 2019, 08:17 PM   #36
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When you run out of rounds with a plastic pistol, what you have is a lightweight piece of plastic. When you run out of rounds with a steel pistol, ya got yourself a hunk of effective non compromising steel. Just couldn't help myself, i actually bought a couple of plastic pistols couple of years ago. Course i waited several decades till they proved themselves.

Yes please feel free to take it in the humor it was intended.
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Old January 23, 2019, 08:31 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by zeke View Post
When you run out of rounds with a plastic pistol, what you have is a lightweight piece of plastic. When you run out of rounds with a steel pistol, ya got yourself a hunk of effective non compromising steel. Just couldn't help myself, i actually bought a couple of plastic pistols couple of years ago. Course i waited several decades till they proved themselves.

Yes please feel free to take it in the humor it was intended.
What you're left with is a polymer handle attached to a decent impact weapon. You can jab with it or swing it with the slide as the impact point. Could you do this with a metal framed pistol too? Absolutely. And while I get the above was in part a joke, it's a real comment that gets repeated a lot. Pistols aren't just crude clubs, and frankly with the ergonomics of them jabbing with one can be pretty effective and to me easier than trying to bop someone on the head. If you look at a polymer framed pistol and don't think that could hurt hitting you, you're mistaken.

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Old January 23, 2019, 08:45 PM   #38
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Buy what you like. I like blue steel and the quality and craftsman ship in these guns. Military weapons are tools. Tools wear out and have to be replaced. When you replace a tool
you buy the newest technology. That only makes sense. That has little to do with a guy like
me who is not worried about shooting anything but game and targets. If the situation arises
I feel perfectly well protected with my old steel guns. I know from experience that several
top selling sporting arms have been ruined with casting & plastic parts. There was no other
reason to do this than bottom lines.
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Old January 23, 2019, 09:04 PM   #39
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If God wanted us to have plastic guns then JM Browning would have invented one.


jk I love both and will be around until the aliens get here in their ship.
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Old January 23, 2019, 09:37 PM   #40
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Steel autos and revolvers have souls.

Those who prefer them have souls.

And the rest who choose polymer
are soulless.
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Old January 23, 2019, 09:37 PM   #41
Walt Sherrill
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jk I love both and will be around until the aliens get here in their ship.
And that ship will probably be made of some exotic form of polymer.
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Old January 23, 2019, 10:52 PM   #42
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For me it’s about pain management. I have arthritis at the base of my thumbs and recoil in a polymer simply hurts more than steel. I like both and have had several of both but now every gun I own is steel simply due to the pain.

My EDC is a PPK in .32 because the small round in the steel frame allows me to practice... and I like to shoot.

Everyone has their own reasons for choosing but I don’t believe one is overall better than the other.
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Old January 23, 2019, 11:11 PM   #43
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I actually notice felt recoil less, assuming the same size pistol, with a polymer frame than metal, even if the metal framed pistol moves less overall during shooting. Others feel differently.

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Old January 23, 2019, 11:22 PM   #44
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I understand why plastic guns exist. They are cheap to make and provide excellent service and parts cast of plastics are ready to be assembled without extra machine work.

But like a lot of you I like metal guns. No matter if its steel or aircraft grade aluminum like my well loved model 39 and 615 semi-autos. But I sure can't find a single fault with the inexpensive S&W model SD9VE I own. It works like a charm and has been my truck gun of choice.

But i do wish my truck was a lot more steel and a heck of a lot less plastic. Trucks should be all steel and I remember when they were.
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Old January 24, 2019, 07:05 AM   #45
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Plastic over steel is a personal choice. I'll take steel.
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Old January 24, 2019, 08:06 AM   #46
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Quote:
Steel autos and revolvers have souls.

Those who prefer them have souls.

And the rest who choose polymer
are soulless.
You forgot the or or Uncle
Quote:
For me it’s about pain management. I have arthritis at the base of my thumbs and recoil in a polymer simply hurts more than steel.
Weight, I guess but I have a poorly repaired, dislocated, RH thumb and the down turn beavertail on this type really wrecked my thumb when I rented one.
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Old January 24, 2019, 09:36 AM   #47
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Why don't we use plastic slides? Why not plastic barrels? Imagine the fun.

It's not that common plastic parts got as strong as steel parts. What happened is that designers got really good at identifying the low-stress, low-wear areas in their new handgun designs, and were able to substitute a weaker/cheaper/molded material for those locations (e.g. most of the frame).

So yeah, a Glock will do its job well. And there is a sense in which its tool-like character is attractively true to itself. It will probably last a very long time. But, some appreciate parts with more strength than is strictly necessary for function -- and the craftsmanship that is required to make them. At that point, it's purely about preference.
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Old January 24, 2019, 09:43 AM   #48
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A point about craftsmanship. How much craftsmanship is in a CNC machine milling out a block of steel, or even forging? Is it more than injection molding? I guess so. But let's not pretend it's a choice between some middle aged person in a shop apron laboring for weeks (unless we're talking boutique custom work) on a pistol versus a machine popping out a polymer frame in a few hours. Take the classic P series SIGs. The slides were made from folded and welded steel and the frames we're aluminum. Or an HK MP5 that used as many stampings as possible. This wasn't about craftsmanship. It was about what was the most cost effective for the time. I can "appreciate" metal frames while still using polymer frames.

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Old January 24, 2019, 09:57 AM   #49
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Yes, there are many degrees of craftsmanship in steel. That has been recognized for a very, very long time.

My father recently wanted a highly accurate .22 pistol, and decided on the S&W 41. It was then down to a new one from the custom shop, or a slightly used one from the era of the Apollo program. He went with the latter, because it literally was assembled, fit, and finished by middle-aged experts at the time, and the difference is stunning. Still a personal preference -- I'm sure the modern ones shoot just as well.
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Old January 24, 2019, 10:10 AM   #50
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A lot of skill goes into making the molds, and creating the polymer.
Still a glock fills like plastic where as a good 1911 fills like someone spent time to craft
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