MidSouth Shooters SupplyInline FabricationADvertise hereLee Precision
Titan ReloadingStainLess Steel MediaGraf & SonsRotoMetals2

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27

Thread: Looking for some plastics/polymer experts: Chime in on Gen 1 Glock

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    516

    Looking for some plastics/polymer experts: Chime in on Gen 1 Glock

    Well--Glocks have always been a little bit like a welcome ***** in my life. I love the pistols when I have one, but once it is gone, I really don't miss it--until I see a good deal on another one. Then I am in love again.

    I have had every caliber made, and just about every OAL and frame size--except the first generation guns. For some reason, they just do not come up in my neck of the woods.

    Long story short--I put the word out that I would like get a gen 1 Glock 17 and it appears that I will be the proud owner of a nearly new on this coming sunday.

    My question is aimed at some folks who have actually studied the molecular structure of polymers. I know there are some die hard Glock lovers who might chime in here--please try to refrain. I am only wanting to know the possible longevity of the Glock frame as far as overall strength and durabilty over the course of........maybe 2 lifetimes. Does the chemistry suggest a long and stable lifespan if used under normal circumstances or are there some inherent structural and chemical bonds that might break down over the course of a couple of generations (my life and my son's to be exact).

    Keep in mind, I will never come close to putting thousands of rounds down the pipe of this gun a year. I have plenty of pistols to share, and I enjoy them all. I also won't be leaving this out in the sun for long periods of times. However, I am a firm believer in cleaning my guns, so they will receive liberal amounts of CLP, Hoppes and G96 along with medium power handloads of the cast boolit variety.

    Thanks in advance. This gun will turn 32 years old this year.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master lefty o's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    1,066
    my brother has a gen1 that has a ton of rnds thru it. still going strong.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Eastern South Dakota
    Posts
    3,395
    It'd be easy to call me a Glock fanboy. But, like you, I was/am curious about the polymer's lifespan.

    I have read every thread I could find on the subject since I got on the internet (1999). By then I'd been a Glock owner for ten years. In my opinion, nobody's worth listening to on this subject unless they are some sort of polymer scientist or engineer. Everybody else has opinions, which of course are worthless.

    From what I've read, polymer's #1 enemy is ultraviolet light. Carbon black is added to the Glock frame to counter this issue. That's why it's black. Nylon is normally a milky white. With this additive, the frame should last for many years. How many? Good dang question, and it's one I haven't been able to find an answer to.

    So if you find out it'd be great if you'd let me know too!


    Cat
    Cogito, ergo armatum sum.

    (I think, therefore I'm armed.)

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Cecilia, Kentucky
    Posts
    869
    Be interesting to know how the glocks frame would hold up to laying in a window sill for a decade. Wonder if it'd be lighter on the side that was facing the sun, like all other plastics.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



    Idaho45guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Idaho/Washington border
    Posts
    312
    Believe it or not, those Gen 1 Glocks are beginning to achieve collector status and prices are going up. Saw a couple listed on Gunbroker for $800 and $1200. If it comes in the original matching Tupperware box and has original magazines, then it might be worth holding onto as an investment...

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    516
    I thought it a bit of a joke to think of Glocks as collectors items, but I have not seen a gen 1 Glock at a gunshow or gun shop in over 10 years. I have seen way more yellowboy Winchesters!!!!!

    I know they are not going to stand the test of time like steel guns, but it sure would be interesting to here from a chemist on this topic.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    dragon813gt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in SE PA
    Posts
    8,267
    Why is it a joke to think of them as collector's items? They have a large customer base. Lots of people have grown up w/ them. It's usually the older generation who doesn't see the value in what the younger generation likes. While still being produced history has shown when a model ceases to be produced its value rises. Look at Savage 99s as a recent example. There will be people who collect every Glock model just like there are people who collect every S&W.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Brushy Mountains of NC
    Posts
    570
    I have had a Gen 1 since the late 80's, box and everything. I'm just not sure witch mags are the original and I did buy a couple of extra at the time. Is there anyway to date the mags, I think there have been some changes but I don't know what.

    I know that some of the early mags cracked at the back. I think one of mine has and was wondering if that hurt the reliability ?

    I fell into a Gen 2 a several years after I got the first , I've never really been a Glock fan or shot them a lot but kept them because they seem to work and keep working.

    I know a little OT but I thought a few Glock people might be at the party.

    Dave

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Eastern South Dakota
    Posts
    3,395
    beemer,

    Your original mags will have a U shaped notch in the rear where the slide strips the cartridge. Newer ones are squared. The floor plate will have a step all the way around it except at the rear. The mags probably won't drop free from the weapon even if loaded.

    Hope this helps.


    Cat
    Cogito, ergo armatum sum.

    (I think, therefore I'm armed.)

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Cecilia, Kentucky
    Posts
    869
    The older mag like catshooter said will have a U shaped cut in that back instead of a flat bottom notch. If im not mistaken, original mags were made to swell when loaded so they couldnt be inadvertently released from the gun, but they almost immediately offered standard drop free mags too for the US market.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    516
    Good stuff!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    478
    Does anyone know for certain the exact resin that Glock uses? Need to know that, unless someone is going to run some sort of aging test on an actual piece.

    Someone mentioned nylon in this thread. Assuming this is true and that Glock uses something comparable, consider the plastic upper intake manifold used for a number of car and light truck engines. The underhood environment is probably much worse for temperature extremes and also sees a variety of chemicals in pump gasoline. There are plenty of high mileage engines out there. The only caveat is that engines are generally shielded from UV light, which will degrade even UV stabilized plastics given enough time.

    Frankly, we stopped doing UV and environmental aging tests on plastics for our products in the lab I managed. The chemical companies that manufacture the resins rate their materials to trusted standards. As long as the molder sources and processes the specified molding resin there is nothing to worry about.
    Last edited by BeeMan; 08-17-2017 at 08:36 AM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Brushy Mountains of NC
    Posts
    570
    Thank you for the info on the mags. I have 8 mags and the only two have the square notch, a 10 round and a 17 round mag still in the blister pack. That means the Gen 2 came with the older mags.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    390
    The U notched mags go for a premium in restricted states that grandfathered in higher capacity mags. When I left a restricted state I traded mine to people in states who could use them.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    464
    I'm sure if even a small sample of these had started to break it would be all over the internet. I imagine even some of these early guns spent years in duty holsters exposed to various elements on a regular basis.

    Given the lack of failures being experienced I'd bet 50 to 100 years shouldn't be a problem for your average Glock. However any gun can fail at any point in time.

    With out knowing the exact materials and processes used to manufacture the original Glocks even an experts opinion is just going to be a guess.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    The Willamette Valley, in Oregon
    Posts
    299
    Materials engineer checking in. :wave:

    Also, I have worked with the artifical ageing of polymer samples in industry.

    One eventual demise of plastics can be their loss of plasticizers or other components over time (think about soft vinyl seat covers that eventually start cracking due to age). You know how modern manufactures like to brag that their product is a "polymer COMPOSITE" - well any engineered composite can be susceptible to component dissociation or desegregation over time. And the term 'plastic' means that this sort of behavior is always present.

    With regards to threats, UV can & does break polymer chains - DEPENDING on the bond strengths of the molecules. This can be engineered around, so as to not be an issue - i.e. ensuring that the bond strength is greater than the energy associated with specific UV wavelengths.

    However, the possible presence of plasticizers or dissimilar components in the plastic composite is a critical variable:


    Part 2:

    An engineer can use the Arrhenius equation to simulate age-related degradation of plastics, related to diffusivity.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrh...on?wprov=sfla1

    Elevated temperatures over limited time periods can be comparable to much longer time periods at 'normal' temperatures; 60 deg C is a reasonable upper temperature limit for artificial ageing experiments, although I have used 70C when preliminary results were needed quickly.

    The last test of this nature that I ran was to simulate 5 years of aging on a plastic sample, which required approx. 1-2 months of exposure at 70C - if I recall correctly. (After which, the part can be evaluated for remaining strength, etc.)

    The short version is that given a reasonable amount of laboratory time, even 100yrs of product life can be simulated accurately. Given a highly-engineered, high-quality plastic, I wouldn't expect many surprises over the long term. Although I do not know the specific characteristics of the polymer that Glock has used, /if/ they did a good job on the 'front end', I see no areas of looming concern on the 'back end' i.e. usage.

    On the other hand, a manufacturer can certainly use an inexpensive plastic if they're OK with a relatively short ~5-10-yr product lifetime. Either way; if they did their job correctly, there shouldn't be any big surprises. An early demise can actually be engineered in - saving the manufacturer money on the front end (using cheap component materials), and eventually obtaining repeat business for replacement products on the back end.

    One conclusion that can be of assistance here however; if you want to maximize the ultimate lifetime of your Glock, try to keep it stored at room temperature for the most part. Short-term elevated temps are not harmful per se, but do cause accelerated aging of the polymer. Therefore, a Glock that always resides in a car w/ hot summer temps should not last as long as one kept at room temperature. Whether that ends up being 50 / 100 / etc. yrs, I cannot say.

    Hope this helps,
    Last edited by Kestrel4k; 08-17-2017 at 06:30 PM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    The Willamette Valley, in Oregon
    Posts
    299
    Quote Originally Posted by Bazoo View Post
    Be interesting to know how the glocks frame would hold up to laying in a window sill for a decade. Wonder if it'd be lighter on the side that was facing the sun, like all other plastics.
    I have done this sort of testing as well, and it's rather fun. High-UV flourescent bulbs are available to simulate 20x (+) of sunlight, given the geometry of the specific test fixture. Keep a plastic or polymer fabric half-obscured, and check/photograph it every week or so. If it starts to show a 'tan line' after 1-2 months, well there you go.

    What usually happens is that the polymer dye additive is breaking down, so the resulting color changes or fades.

    So if you're worried about this, try to avoid red or green Glocks, lol.
    BUT since window glass is a rather effective UV blocker to begin with, I think you're covered either way.


    Please note that this is different than /yellowing/ in clear plastics, which is the polymer chains breaking down due to long-term light exposure - resulting in the scattering of light at specific wavelengths related to those bond lengths. While this sounds dire, this is only happening with the minutest fraction of molecular bonds and shouldn't really relate to the bulk strength of the material.

    Edit: So all in all, it's a pretty complicated topic - the many possible failure mechanisms of polymers can overlap in such a way as to obscure the specific failure mode for individual examples. And I don't /even/ want to get into the statistics, lol.
    Last edited by Kestrel4k; 08-17-2017 at 06:33 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    478
    off topic warning

    Waving back at you Kestrel - mechanical and reliability testing engineer here. Yes, we developed and executed a whole range of accelerated test protocols, most intended to simulate 10 to 20 year life cycles in harsh industrial environments like oil and gas production or heavy construction equipment. Simultaneous UV / temp / humidity was the primary acceleration environment for plastics and various bonded assemblies exposed outside the product enclosures. Several certification agencies required validation of as produced and post aged product to demonstrate deterioration was not an issue. Lots of fun 'toys' in the labs, all for the purpose of making sure our designs would live in the real world without waiting 5 years for field trials data.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    9.3X62AL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Redlands, NorKifornia
    Posts
    10,789
    This has been a really good read, so far. Thanks to all who contributed.

    It was that "magazine drop-free" element (lack thereof) in the Gen 1 Glocks that caused them to be rejected by my shop in 1987 when we adopted bottom-feeders to supplement our traditional 38 Special D/A wheelguns as duty arms. There was strong bias against the 9mm caliber as well, so the early Glocks lost out on 2 counts. The matter got re-visited c. 1994, and by that time the Gen 2 Glocks were in wide distribution, and in 40 S&W and 45 ACP chamberings. The mags fell free, the calibers were serious, so all at once the 40 S&W caliber--the 357 Magnum caliber--and the Glock pistol line came on board.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Eastern South Dakota
    Posts
    3,395
    I have read several times (so it might even be true) that Glock uses a Nylon 6 compound. Frames and mags appear to be the same.

    I have also read that Glock says that their other-than-black models won't last as long and that was one of the reasons they were slow in marketing them.

    I have also read (can you tell I read a lot?) that one in seven Glock manufacturing employees are quality control dudes.

    I think the weapon with the best chance of long life is an all stainless steel one. Thinking generational here. But after that, or for less than that sort of time span, I'd go with a Glock. Maybe even a Glock first. There sure doesn't seem to be anything easier to work on and availability of parts is way out in front.


    Cat
    Cogito, ergo armatum sum.

    (I think, therefore I'm armed.)

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check