View Full Version : Polymer guns. Will they last?

07-27-2012, 11:59 AM
Sorry if this has probably been discussed here before.

I personally love polymer guns. The Glock 26 that I carry everyday is the best CCW pistol I can imagine. My concern is wether or not polymer will degrade over time. I'm talking about generations.

Growing up, guns had a historical air about them. Guys would show off old guns that their grandpa brought back from the war or got in a trade during the depression. These guns would shoot like the day they were unwrapped from the wax paper.

Part of me feels like polymer will just get brittle after 40 or 50 years. The plastics we use today are very different from those made some 30 years ago that are brittle and fragile now. How do we know what will happen to the frame of a Glock after a generation?

07-27-2012, 12:09 PM
Plastics have changed a ton over the past 100 years. Early ones like Bakelite are still around and kicking and they where just sawdust and resin.

They say it takes hundreds to a thousand years for a simple water bottle to break down so I would think the advanced polymers used in firearms will last much longer...

07-27-2012, 12:30 PM
The first gen Glocks with over 100k rounds through them will go first.

I haven't heard of any issues outside of normal wear and tear, so they're probably good for at least 30 years IMO.

07-27-2012, 3:36 PM
There will likely be replacement frames made of something we can't even imagine yet. With that said, having a couple of steel handguns around too ain't a bad idea...

07-27-2012, 3:44 PM
Have 100+ year old wood stocks all degraded? They're more susceptible to environmental damage than most polymers, yet plenty of them have survived(some get beat to hell with use, some look amazing). Even the polymer finishes on those wood stocks have lasted quite a while.

07-27-2012, 8:09 PM
Enjoy your Poly weapons. You'll be dead before they turn to Shxxxt. I own a first year Glock. Lost track of rounds down pipe. Still an amazing pistol.

07-27-2012, 8:18 PM
I own a 21 year old Glock 17 that is still going strong. I'm confident I'll be able to pass it on to my kids one day.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

07-27-2012, 8:45 PM
Firearms are consumables.

07-27-2012, 8:56 PM
a thousand years for a simple water bottle to break down

Believing that is a problem. In a year, exposed to sunlight, a water bottle disappears.

Polymer guns are going to last for hundreds of years. Doesn't mean you should get one in the first place.

07-27-2012, 9:22 PM
I would keep them out of the sunlight or UV light as much as possible though to be on the safe side. The US military supposedly has a chemical weapon that was designed to melt tires & gas masks. It will probably melt a Glock also. That's why I have all metal guns like the High Power, in case my Glocks get melted.

07-27-2012, 11:47 PM
I think the only way they would become brittle and fragile is if they were left in the sunlight or exposed to the elements for months or years but general gun maintnence and care they will probably be fine for a loooong time

07-28-2012, 1:46 AM
We will see in the next 30 years or so what happens to the gen 1 glocks and other similar polymer pistols.

07-28-2012, 4:14 AM






The War Wagon
07-28-2012, 4:48 AM
Nah. Just a passing fad. ;)

07-28-2012, 8:49 AM






Right, because a metal frame pistol or rifle has never failed in the same way. :rolleyes:

07-28-2012, 12:11 PM
To counter your anecdotal evidence of non-polymer guns being passed down in good condition, what about all the non-polymer guns that have gone to crap from being neglected? Store any gun improperly, polymer or not, and it will not last a long time.

07-28-2012, 2:11 PM

I hope this is a bad joke, I can post pics of 1911's, revolvers and other metal guns that kaboomed as well.

07-28-2012, 6:03 PM
I hope they last, I have an XD. I thought the polymer was very durable and long lasting.

07-28-2012, 6:10 PM
Polymer is NOT a stable molecule. Exposure to heat, chemicals, and ultra-violet light can alter (denature) plastics of all kind. Some are just more durable than others. I doubt that a well cared for polymer frame will fail due to age any faster than guns that we have that are already over 200 years and whose metals have not fatigued to failure.

I expect that an abused poly frame will fail as often as their metal counterparts. Sunlight just won't break down a metal frame like it would a poly frame. Not all things are equal. What kills metal won't touch poly what touches poly wont harm metal. In the end, with care, centuries of life may not be unreasonable. Or rather, guns can easily exceed 100K rounds and not be EOL with proper maint.

07-28-2012, 8:24 PM
Doubt they will wear as quickly under normal use.

07-29-2012, 1:04 AM
I'm sure they're currently working on materials that are 1000x better than today's polymers. So when those come out just upgrade. Then your plastic gun will be guaranteed to last 1000 years.

Of course if you really want longevity, might I suggest titanium? :cool:

07-29-2012, 5:45 AM
I have a pre civil war revolver made out of steel and brass that still seems to work just fine, the cylinder rotation, lockup, trigger and hammer all work seamlessly. I havent fired it, but I'll bet I could if I had it checked out first.

I would love if my Glock was in some dudes hands in 150 years, but I dont know. I wonder if guns like Glocks and AK's and AR's will be much easier to find in a hundred years because of the volume made. I mean things like K98's, Mosins and M1 Carbines are all over the place, even if in private hands, and they made millions and millions of those.

In 200 years I can definitly see the plastic hand gaurd and stock on my AR being either missing of broken. Especially that damn handguard.

07-29-2012, 6:00 AM
I have a dream, that one day guns will not be judged by the material of their frames, but by the ease of replacing their parts.

07-29-2012, 6:01 AM
Also I envision everyone having 3d printed Glock frames made at home for cheap before the first Glocks start deteriorating.

Jack L
07-29-2012, 8:22 AM
I have a dream, that one day guns will not be judged by the material of their frames, but by the ease of replacing their parts.

I agree with that. If in doubt, people should buy numerous handguns so they always have a fine working piece while others are in a state of repair or customizing. A survey of the first M-16ís used by the military might shed some light on the materials. Glocks will be another good study. I have both like most people do. Being an older member, I really like the feel of a S&W 686 or Model 10. They feel like 'victory'.

07-29-2012, 10:02 PM
I doubt normal US citizens will be allowed to own pistols or even most long guns long before properly taken care of Glocks will have issues with their frames. That is of course if America lasts that long. With the current path America & the 2A does not have a bright future.

07-29-2012, 10:23 PM
Modern man made polymers will last longer than carbon steel. Hell, lets make structures and firearms out of hardened styrofoam. It will last long after man had gone :D