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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, ladies and gents, why are polymers so popular?

The U.S. military has always used steel handguns, but it has been using aluminum receivers and plastic stocks for half a century in its rifles.

If the U.S. military switches to a "plastic gun" would that mean the end for steel guns?
 
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Nelson,

I voted for Marketing. I think that the polymer makes plenty of sense for guns that are going to be carried a great deal and shot a great deal, then pretty well thrown out and replaced. Can you imagine General MacArthur with a nickel plated Glock (wrap it in foil?)? It is preposterous. So maybe I should have clicked the "people like the sci-fi look of plastic", and I suppose that means they like Ms. Jolie better than the gals that made WWII Bomber nose-art, too!

I'd say for those of us that buy guns because we like to collect them, shoot them from time to time and then write about the experience with others, there is no substitute for good old steel and wood. That said, my j-frame is aluminum. But it just sits in my pocket. Not nearly as attractive as my model 10 snub with lovely bluing and wood grips.

So really, it probably is a good thing. We've seen from the Glock that they are incredibly durable. We know they are light. We know they are inexpensive and reliable. Kids dig the sci-fi look, and its kids we'll depend upon to be the rough men in the dark that protect us.

Bruce
 

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Howdy folks,

I often joke that I am a dinosaur, and this thread really drives that point home to me. I voted "other" simply because you did not list any type of negative answer, lol. Why they make and sell a ton of Fords, Chevys, and other brands every day too I reckon.

Personally I am not impressed with polymer pistols in the least. I was forced to carry a Glock at work for several years. I was not a Glock fan prior to that mandatory issuance. I was even less of one following it. I was very happy when I could turn my Glock back in and return to carrying a personally owned handgun.

Make mine steel please. I do not own a polymer handgun, and will be shocked if I ever do. But again that is just a matter of personal choice. Sig has recently understood that and while going against what you perceive as the trend against steel frames, has recently added steel framed pistols as an option to several of their more popular models. I own one P226 on steel and am waiting for my buddy/dealer to receive its second mate now from the factory.

Personally I am glad so many folks seem to prefer polymer pistols, as that simply means there will be more built in steel for me to purchase. Everybody wins that way, so I don't mind at all.

If I had to guess, I would think it may well be a combination of several of the choices you offered that leads some shooters to select polymer pistols. Many will like it for its lower cost, reduced weight while carrying, and perhaps some for its sci-fi appearance.

To me newer is not always better. But then I said I was a dinosaur.
Interesting question. But from my viewpoint, polymer pistols are only more popular with some shooters, not with all of us - as your title implies (tips my hat).

twoguns
 
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Mr. Twoguns,

Since there are only two votes, and I made one of them, and the other one was already there, I am going to hazard a guess that you forgot to hit the "submit" button after voting.

Shades of "hanging chads"

Ho Ho Ho,

Bruce
 

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TG - I voted for price. Most anything made of metal requires skill and we no longer live in a world where that is reasonably priced. I have my Glock and my KelTec - they are just tools. Then I have my revolvers and my BHP and my 1911s. They are weapons.
 

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I voted 'other' because I think it's a combination of several factors, some of which were listed in the poll.

One: weight. They're lighter and easier to carry, and if people can get the same firepower in a lighter and/or smaller package, they're going to do it.

Two: reliability. Most of the polymer guns I'm familiar with have a good reputation for reliability. I don't think that has so much to do with the polymer, as it does with the fact that they designs are so new that they don't have 50 different companies making clones and mucking with the design.

Three: affordability. Plastic guns are cheaper, and if they do the job reliably, they're going to sell.

I'm not sure where looks factor in. I'm sure some people like the modern looks, but I don't think that very many of the polymer designs are all that good looking. There are quite a few that don't look 'bad,' like the Walther P99 or the FNP, but even they aren't anything special compared to a 1911 or HP. I hate to admit it, though, but the looks of the Glock are growing on me. All these polymer guns are working guns, and not supposed to be fancy, yet the manufacturers try to give them attractive styling, which is hard to do. The Glock is plain and utilitarian looking, because that's what kind of gun it is. It's slick, with no unnecesary adornments (unless you count the finger grooves on the newer ones, but those are functional). I prefer plain jane 1911s, like Colt's 1991 or Springfield's GI, and I think Glock follows in that same vein, and that's starting to appeal to me. The difference, of course, is that 1911s already look good. They don't have to grow on you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My first handgun was a Glock. In hindsight, I would have been much happier with a CZ but I don't have the heart to sell it. At the time i bought it, I wanted something in a .45 that wasn't going to break the bank and there were no CZ97s around for me to handle.

For me, price was definitely the top reason for going with Glock as my first choice. The hi power felt perfect in my hand, but it was pre-owned and still cost more than the Glock. Were it not for the hi power's magazine safety, I would have taken the bite and put down the extra money, but paying more for a gun with a feature that I didn't want or need seemed silly to me at the time.

I definitely like the utility of the glock; easy to take down, almost impervious to rust, built in safeties that automatically disengage and don't need to be reengaged, and a polygonal barrel.

Looks and feel on the Glock, I think are subpar . It is neither beautiful nor does it feel as nice as the steel guns. The steel guns definitely balance better in the hand, especially with near empty magazines. It also felt awkward shooting it after having shot a buddy's, ruger P89. The glock does not point naturally for me.

So, yeah, cost was the primary reason for polymer for me. My next handguns will definitely be steel: CZ75 SA and a ruger SP101.
 

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The weight is the biggest factor for me, probably followed by corrosion resistance. My current polymer guns are STI Tacticals and a Kahr PM9.

I can see that low cost, modernistic looks, and skillful marketing are factors that appeal to many folks.

With respect to reliability, I don't believe that polymer handguns as a class are inherently more reliable than other guns. My Glocks were very reliable, as are my STIs and my Para P18s, and so was my 1970s vintage Gold Cup.

Have previously owned several Glocks, and I appreciated the light weight, corrosion resistance, reasonable cost, ease of disassembly, low requirement for lubrication, availability of holsters, overall simplicity,etc. Did not like the lack of an OEM thumb safety, the slick finish on the slide, and the grip angle.
 

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Only my view but I think it was a sad day when polymer was introduced. Aesthetically it's very unsatisfying and gives the impression of being cheap in the extreme. I don't care how well they are suppose to work. I emphatically agree that they aren't inherently more reliable than other semi-autos. They are overrated. I grateful I'm not required to own them.
 
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i was banned from another forum for the disdain that i have for plastik'. garbage. junk. is it really have any heirloom value? plastic guns have just a recylce life span. maybe the military finds it appealing to have throwaways. or maybe even lawenforcement agencies. but here at home it is pure steel. the quality and craftsmanship luv it. cnc machining is wonderful for tighter fitting guns. luv that too. wood looks good on blued, stainless, parkerized and even rust. but plastic. it says phony. so what if they shoot. so do steels. they did not have plasitk' in the 1800's only steel and craftsmanship. enough said.
 

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It depends on whether you ask the average polymer fan, or ask me, or ask the manufacturer.

From what I gather from listening to others, I imagine weight is the big factor.
But to me, most polymer framed pistols have such thick blocky shapes that it offsets any advantage from the weight savings.

I have tried most of them, and stayed with none.
But the one thing I really liked was rust resistence.

I'm sure that manufacturers like the economy. It probably costs a bundle to set up the machinery and facilities to make polymer frames, but I would think they get it back in savings pretty quickly. I don't see how it could possibly cost that much to make them after the equipment is paid for.

I'd like to know what it really costs to make any polymer-framed pistol. I'd like to see the same figures from any 1911 maker too, and see how they compare.
 

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Hello, robone 1. Several here like polymer and others don't while some don't seem to much care one way or the other. It's clear that you have no use for it and that is certainly fine, too. I also prefer steel and wood in most instances. However, this site does expect at least civil responses to posts and from those starting threads, not rants.

Hopefully, you will find this acceptable. If not, feel free to leave on your own or be banned.

Best.
 

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I like the reliability of the Grocks. Light and corrosion resistant doesn't hurt either. They work for me. The BHP handles better than most of them. (except the G19)

The snubby in the pocket has rubber grips, because that works for me. Pistols I don't carry or shoot much have wood stocks.

I like blued or nickeled steel and fine wood for esthetic reasons. Stainless revolvers are very practical but I place them in the same category as plastic pistols; ugly but businesslike.

I have but one plastic stocked rifle, only because it wasn't available in wood. I'll be fixing that someday. None in stainless or aluminum.

Plastic pistols can be cheaper, and that can be a dealbreaker for folks with limited means.

Luckilly I like older revolvers with 'character' and they've not gone insane on price yet although they're creeping up. The days of the $100 K frame and $200 J frame are gone.


Regards,

Pat
 

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I very much like the polymer pistols I have handled, including the Glock 17 that I own. I admire their ruggedness and almost imperviousness to corrosion. Frankly I think Gaston Glock hit one out of the park when he designed the G-17. I think he got a lot of things right with it - not perfect perhaps, but the combo of ruggedness, dependability, combat accuracy, lotsa rounds, consistent and "light DA" trigger, and a reasonable price is hard to beat. I got one because it seemed the most "revolver" like of all the semi-autos. (So I voted "Other," meaning "all of the above.")

The only reason I gravitated to the Hi Power was that the HP fit my short-fingered hand better. I was not enamored by the single-action and having to learn to operate the safety lever, but unfortunately the Glock grip was just a tad big for me. It forced me to "crab" my grip so as to get a reasonable contact with the trigger, and ended up concentrating the recoil force on the bone at the base of my thumb. I did not want to spend the money to get the grip "Robar'ed" (I think it was Robar who does the slimming business) if there was another pistol that would fit me, and the HP filled the bill.

Now that other manufacturers are producing polymer guns with adjustable grips, it may be that Glock will or is seeing some market share erosion, and will have to eventually work this feature into the line up. I think the slim-grip .45 ACP version is one stab at this, as part of a work up to a new US military pistol, if the DoD ever gets around to this again.

So far none of the new polymer pistols has tempted me away from the HP, but I have no qualms with polymer, and do admire a couple of the new ones. I think wood and steel are prettier, but when it gets down to strictly business, I think the polymer pistols are excellent buys.

elb
 

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Hi there,

The reason polymer framed handguns are so popular are already cited in the previous responses, but I would like to add that the cost of manufacture is significantly less than the traditional alloy/steel framed handguns.

Gaston Glocks claim to fame was not just the Glock Pistol, but inveribly the the marketing and promotion that he put behind the product that launched its success into the marketplace. He literally transformed many of the paradigms that traditional handgun users had about the materials of manufacture incorporated into the development and manufacture of handguns.

I have owned 3 polymer framed pistols. A G-27, a G-23 and a CZ100. I owned the G23 for 11 years and finally switched back to the SiGARMS line of handguns. On the longer list of handguns that I would eventually like to own and shoot, the Walther P99 and SiGARMS 2022 on the top of the list. Both of which have polymer frames.

Chris
 

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There may be a minor secondary reason polymer works other than all listed above: they are more comfortable to use in temperature extremes.

I love my Colt 1911, but I haven't any doubt about it's ultimate durability over a high round count compared to "The Kalashnikov" of handguns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My one gripe with the early polymers is the inability to custom fit the grip to hand of the shooter. Steel semis have a plethora of different designed grips but no gun will ever compete with the revolver with all around grip versatility. I still miss the "handshake" feel of a properly fitting revolver, and for that reason will never be able to be completely free of steel.

The newer generation of polymers: Walther P99, PX4, S&WMP9
seem to offer a plausible alternative to the "one hand fits none attempt by Glock" by offering removable grips of different sizes.

I think that as polymer science improves we should be able to find firearms in the next 20-30 years that have frame profiles much more like the steel guns most of us started shooting with.

Barring that, I think that if Boeing can design a whole new plane out of carbon fiber, that carbon fiber pistol frames might not be too far off.
 

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I voted Marketing.
I thing Polymer is a new thing, discussions about this material are common, and almost everyone wants at least to try it.
I purchased a polymer Bul, because this was the only option I had. The full metal pistol was more expensive, and had no rail for accessories. Because of his 17 + 1 Capacity, I have improved my score in IPSC, but this has nothing to do with the polymer.
My FM Browning has no polymer, and I am very happy with this gun. Very trustable. Shoots even dummy ammo. No failures at all. It is just incredible. Problem: only 13 + 1 shoots.
So I think there are not so many relevant issues between steel and polymer. Relevant is to choose the pistol that fits your needs and hand size.
 
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