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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here is a hot subject in the gun world. I would like to have a down to earth unbiased discussion based purely on facts. In the gun community I see a lot of guys knocking polymer or holding aluminum above polymer. Both materials are rigid and have proven to be affective. Some of the finest defensive rifles and handguns on the market are made with polymer lowers, furniture or even complete body shells for example, (scars, ps90, tavors, arx 160, acr, Glock) just to list a few. Some of the guns I listed are regarded as some of the most reliable and advanced firearms on the market today. So my question is, is why do you think some people hold aluminum lowers above polymer? Do you think over time polymer will be the future in light weight advanced weaponry?



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Here is a hot subject in the gun world. I would like to have a down to earth unbiased debate based purely on facts. In the gun community I see a lot of guys knocking polymer or holding aluminum above polymer. Both materials are rigid and have proven to be affective. Some of the finest defensive rifles and handguns on the market are made with polymer lowers, furniture or even complete body shells for example, (scars, ps90, tavors, arx 160, acr, Glock) just to list a few. Some of the guns I listed are regarded as some of the most reliable and advanced firearms on the market today. So my question is, is why do you think people hold aluminum lowers above polymer? Do you think over time polymer will be the future in light weight advanced weaponry?



Thanks for looking
Ask Beretta.:spank:

I think it is very cool to have a few items with metal internals and poly wraps, but still cool to have a Vepr12, Kalashnikov, or a 1911 that can survive certain things.

Certain 5.7 pistols made around a specific idea of polymer will last in its own way, away from the rust factors of time.

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Old school takes a while to die. When the M16 was first introduced, a lot old salts turned their noses up at it, thinking if a rifle wasn't made of blued steel and walnut it was not a proper battle rifle.
 

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I have only had a few polymer pistols. I had no problem with them being polymer, there were other things I didn't like about them. I had a USP 9mm compact with the worst trigger on earth. An FNP .45 that was extremely ammo picky and the mag could not take a 2 foot drop without falling apart and spitting ammo and parts everywhere. A 5.7 that was lucky to cycle an entire mag, the trigger was crap as well. Out of all the polymer pistols I had, the SIG SP2022 had the best trigger, ergonomics, reliability, and value of them all. The FS200 is my all time favorite rifle, and I have a SCAR 17 on order, so I am not opposed to polymer firearms or parts.
 

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With the oncoming of 3d printing, I believe that the mindset that steel/aluminum is stronger than polymer will die off (with the exception of revolvers). The problem I have with polymer has actually nothing to do with polymer itself but instead with the guns that are made of it. Glock, M&P, Springfield, etc have all been using the same basic designs for years with little to no improvements or new styles/models. With that said, I always have and always will prefer 1911s, CZs, SIGs & Beretta to polymer guns. I do not fear nor dislike polymer itself, I just don't like the function/ergonomics or the cosmetics of the guns currently made with it. My :th_002:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I normally see the people knock polymer when it comes to the ar 15 / m4 variant type rifles. I could never understand how the guy who told me that poly ar lowers are crap and went off then went off bashing the material properties of polymer as well. But the same guy owns a Glock, this is why I could never understand why certain people have no problem trusting Magpul pmags and glocks but not a poly lower. So based on factual reasoning the only thing I can come up with is that certain people have an ignorance to the tolerances of polymer. Often times they know very little about aluminum and trust it because metal is suppose to be strong. While I think the misconception may be that people think polymer is just like any other plastic and there fore weaker and less reliable than metal. I think a lot less people would bash polymer if they were to look at both of the materials and their properties and weigh out the pros and cons and physically torture testing both materials.
 

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"I had a (thing) made of metal and it was great, I got a (thing) made of plastic, it wore out quickly and broke, conclusion, all things made of plastic are crap and metal is better."

Not all metals or plastics are equal. Rumor, tradition, misunderstanding and the human need to pontificate, especially on the Internet, fuel this perpetual argument. Forged Vs machined Vs cast is another one of those perpetual arguments with no clear winner for all applications. It all depends on the application and the material.
 

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In other products the merging of plastics and alloys is really a good advance in technology. As a truck driver these production products make big trucks lean and mean and economical to run. If we keep Big Government out of companies production, it would be left up to the market to decide which is better. Me i have no problem with my Tupperware Firearm.
 

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I normally see the people knock polymer when it comes to the ar 15 / m4 variant type rifles. I could never understand how the guy who told me that poly ar lowers are crap and went off then went off bashing the material properties of polymer as well.
I'm not a fan of polymer lowers on an AR-15, mainly because I don't quite trust the section the buffer tube screws into. That is part of the serialized firearm (unless you have a homemade poly one). On the SCAR and some other rifles, that's not the part that's serialized and there isn't as much stress put on the lower.

I really like polymer pistols, and like polymer on rifles that are not high stress points (AR, I could theoretically see the poly lower flexing and causing a stoppage of the bolt carrier from moving into the tube-not sure if that could happen or not-would likely have to crack first)
 

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I prefer aluminum lowers on my rifles. no educated reason really, I feel like the holes where pins a selectors are will wear quicker on polymer. But I don't "know" this. It's just an uneducated opinion I have because I haven't researched it I guess. I feel like direct gas AR's heat up so much I prefer aluminum. But so far, my Scar lower has done fine, but I've not subjected it to anything too extreme yet. But I became a bit of a polymer fan some years back, when leaving a pistol in my vehicle while at work in winter time. My aluminum Sig felt so cold I worried about it freezing up. When I left the HK in the truck, the polymer lower didn't retain the cold near as much. I felt more comfortable with the reliability of the polymer framed HK than with the Sig. I'm admittedly one of those old school type thinkers that takes a while to jump on new band wagons. I'm not going to knock, no praise polymer. For whatever reason I don't mind it on my pistols, but I'm still skeptical about it on my rifle, even though I have no negative personal experience with the polymer lowers. Maybe it'll just take more time for me to get use to.
 

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Polymer has been proven to be excellent. People who argue that will probably argue Laserdisc is better then DVD. Though metal is still very nice. A stainless steel 1911 adds weight and makes shooting a 45ACP feel better then shooting a Glock 23. This is my honest opinion on they whole polymer vs metal argument. If the weapon was designed to be made out of metal keep making it out of metal. If the weapon was designed with polymer in mind keep making it out of polymer. I wouldn't buy a metal Glock 19 just like I wouldn't buy a polymer AR-15 lower. You did mention specifically polymer AR lowers so let me give my experience. When they first came out I helped a friend build an AR with his polymer lower. It was a nightmare. When we added the upper the lower flexed and felt like it was going to break. It worked but I expected it to crack at any moment. I think if they strengthened it with metal or made it real thick it would fix it, but if they made it thicker it wouldn't accept normal AR parts. Like I said if it was designed to be made out of metal....make it out of metal. One other thing about polymer AR lowers......DO NOT run them full auto. Same friend who I helped build the polymer AR installed a Slide Fire stock thing. After the third 30rd magazine dump the lower started to melt where it touched the upper. After that he replaced the lower with a Spikes aluminum lower. He was going to put a blow torch to the lower for fun, but I told him not to because it was technically a firearm and to call ATF. It's sitting on his work bench last time I remember. Then I have a Scar 16s with polymer lower and it's solid and works amazingly. Though it was engineered with the polymer lower in mind. It doesn't have super hot gases being dumped on it like an AR. Though if it was made out of aluminum I wouldn't complain either. Especially if they anodized the FDE upper and lower in the same batch. Lastly let me get this off my chest. I hate it when people knock polymer or any functional firearm for that matter. If a handgun is made out of paper and functions flawlessly kudos to the company who makes it. I find people who knock firearms are usually elitists. I was at my usual indoor range on a weekday at lunch time and it was only me and two guys in business suits(Uppity white executives)(I can say that because i'm white to). One was shooting a HK USP Expert and the other had a really nice Wilson Combat 1911. I was two lanes over and they were loud mouths. They also couldn't hit the target. Then a black guy probably in his 20's came in and had a 9mm Hi-Point. I could over hear the two talking about how ****ty the hi-point was. The kid then loaded a mag and dumped all the rounds in a 4-5" group on the targets head. After the two douchbags left I introduced myself and started to chat him up. He told me how he couldn't afford an expensive handgun since the price of ammo is so expensive and that it was his first gun and how he leaned a lot since purchasing it. He mentioned how he's been trying to save for another gun, but always wines up spending the money on ammo and range time. I told him I thought he was an amazing shooter and if the gun works.... range time is better then a $2000 gun you can't hit anything with.
 

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Right or wrong... this has been my thought process on polymer vs. metal.

First off I love my FNP 45. I think mrcharlie got a bad one and that is a shame, but I think he is right about the magazines being flimsy. I can see them easily flying to pieces with a full mag or maybe even a half a mag dropped onto pavement, rocks or hard ground. I also think the safety is a little flimsy, but hope to fix that with JathTech's metal one. I like all of the polymer framed handguns I have, and I think they will serve me fine probably for the rest of my life, and then some. I think they are mostly just as reliable, lighter, can be more easily reproduced, and less expensive. However, as far as I know,(and maybe I'm wrong) polymers are organic based materials. All of which will eventually break down to the point of failure. The frame will probably crack or something to that effect that will render the weapon useless. For us right now, and hopefully long into the future, that is not a big problem because we can easily replace the weapon by warranty, or purchasing a new one.
But, at some point in the future..( Hopefully after I am long, long gone. ) the gun haters may get their way. and my children, or even grand, or great grand children may not be able to get or replace the weapons they may some day need to defend themselves or their country from enemy's foreign or domestic. I cannot see what is going to happen in the future, but I have been alive long enough to know there are a great many things that can go wrong locally and or globally, that can turn things south quickly. everything from Hurricanes, (such as we saw with Katrina) to civil war, to foreign invasion. Yeah most of those things are probably not going to happen tomorrow, or maybe not even next year, but bad things will continue to happen on this planet long after I am gone, or maybe sooner. People can get very ugly towards one another in situations like these... even neighbors and relatives.
For a fighting rifle I chose the AK-47 for the simple reason that it is made of strong steel and wood. They are reasonable priced so I can afford to outfit the whole family. easy to maintain and as tough of a rifle as you could ever ask for. replacement parts are cheap and readily available. The accuracy is plenty effective, (with a properly built one) They are easy to use and easy to train someone on. if properly taken care of, they could last for century's with replacement parts and limited use. a good stock of magazines, and magazine parts and ammunition to round it all out.
I applied this same logic to handguns and went with the Hi-power. its strong, reliable, easy to shoot, very comfortable and ergonomic for just about anyone, and has controllable recoil. If taken care of or stored properly it too could last for century's.

All that aside, and if I live long enough and have enough money, I would love to own some of the other FN products that are polymer or have numerous polymer parts. But I have to finish my Heritage collection first. :)

all of the firearms will only be passed on to those children that show themselves to be good, honest people, that are able to handle and understand the responsibility of freedom.

wooden parts, such as stocks and hand guards will probably break down as well, but new ones could be fashioned without two much trouble... they may not be pretty, but they could still be functional.
 

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It's because "Back in my day..."
 

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From a manufacturing stand point, having a mold, and cranking out polymer parts is easier/quicker than machining every part from metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks everyone for pitching in. I like fully understanding why people think certain ways. I appreciate all of your standpoints and thoughts. I think in time, with more and more poly guns pushed out there the certain people who may not like poly on their guns may warm up to the idea of it. As far as the ar 15 poly lower with the buffer tube situation. I can see why people may think I would snap or break off. I own several poly ar 15 lowers as well as aluminum and love them all. As far as function both my poly lowers and alluminum run great. I also own a scar and I couldn't really ask for a more reliable rifle. I plan to buy the arx 160 and the acr. Both use a lot of polymer as well as steel/ alluminum. Again thank you guys for pitching in to this discussion and giving me a better understanding from different standpoints.
 

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I think the question is, in part, what is one's definition of service life. If you ask a WWII service vet, it will be different (on avg) than a a sf guy. Maybe. There's something to be said about a design that has worked for over a hundred years. And that's why some guys like it. Experience counts for something, as well as caliber. Then, aside from a revolver, it's hard to say which is better over a decade...a single stack older/metal design, or a poly/high cap auto. Out of my experience, I'd give the nod of reliability to poly, but accuracy and comfort to old school (1911 mostly).
In the long (short) run, poly, alum, and other metals will be present. But weight and reliability, along with an acceptable level of accuracy will be an ever present mix. IMHO of course. Poly is awesome stuff, but it will be a long time before alum and steel variants are not part of the fray. Like a plasma rifle in the 40 watt range. That's silly...a 100 watt range is right around the corner. :D
 

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Can't wait for what people will complain about when we can 3D print a firearm. In the end it's how Well it goes bang. If you feel confident in it, plastic or metal is what counts, right?

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I have no issue with polymer guns. I do have issue with polymer guns when you could make such ergonomic quality parts for less money than a aluminum or steel framed gun and you fail to execute.

Polymer on M&P pistols, shotty, Polymer on the FNS9 (i owned one) felt so cheap (especially with the mag out). Best execution of a polymer frame? Walther PPQ! Just a great feel, very ergonomic, and the perception of quality.
 

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I was sold on polymer at 18 years old.
I was one of those geeks who jumped into SCA (people who get dressed up in armor and hit each other with wooden and rubber weapons). I saw someone take a 10 ft Halberd (Axe) to a plastic barrel as well as a kitana. Both are going to do some of the most damage of any weapons in the hand to hand combat field (there are anecdotal stories of men in WWII getting their m14's chopped in half by Japanese who only had a kitana). The barrel was scarred slightly but did not have much damage of any sort. The guy told me he had made armor of plastic and metal, and the plastic was easier to work with and less brittle.
Someone alluded to it in an earlier comment. Many manufacturers make things out of cheap plastic, and cheap metal is way stronger than cheap plastic. However, polymers can be designed to do some incredible things.
 
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