Saturday, December 19, 2009

Will Dropping the Slide with the Slide Stop Lever Hurt My Glock?

It is not unusual for this question to be found on general firearm forums, but those dedicated primarily to Glock handguns as well.

Some express concerns whether or not the stamped steel slide stop lever will eventually round off and no longer retain the slide after the last shot is fired if they use it to release the slide after inserting a loaded magazine. Others worry that the thin slide stop lever might round the rear vertical edge of the notch cut in the slide for hold-open after the last round is fired.

In some of these threads, the original question may actually be answered but in many instances it becomes very secondary to generally boorish behavior such as crude remarks, personal attacks and name-calling.

I thought it might be novel to attempt a sensible approach and check with the manufacturer. Looking on page 23 of Glock’s “Instructions for Use” (REV.11/08) manual under “Loading and Firing”, we see that Instruction 4 states: “After the last round has been fired, the slide remains open. Remove the empty magazine from the weapon by pushing the magazine catch (19). Insert and new magazine and then either push the slide stop lever (27) downward (see photo 2), or pull the slide slightly backward and allow it to spring forward. The weapon is now again ready to fire.” (Bold added for emphasis.)

My goodness gracious alive! Either method can be used. It seems that the shooter has a choice and will not be struck blind and dumb if he or she chooses either least not according the pistol's actual manufacturer.

Someone frequently brings up the concept of fine motor skill loss under stress and suggests that retracting and releasing the much-larger slide is more easily accomplished than depressing the smallish slide stop lever. On one site this suggestion was countered with the claim that a very well-known competition shooter uses the slide stop exclusively to drop his Glocks’ slides, and reports no damage.

My opinion (and that’s all it is; feel free to disagree) is that anytime a steel part rubs against another steel part a tiny amount of wear occurs. For something to never wear out, it must never be used. It strikes me that despite the company’s claim of “perfection”, there will also be miniscule wear on the Glock slide stop lever if it is used to release the slide. The keyword here is miniscule. For those shooting their Glocks but moderately, it will probably never be an issue. Based on my own observations and conversations with “heavy duty” Glock users, it is quite unlikely that the practice will damage the lever (or slide for that matter). If it does, the part is quite inexpensive and very simple to install yourself.

Pick the method that works best for you. One requires but a single hand to accomplish but might induce a tiny bit of inconsequential wear to an inexpensive part that will not cause the pistol to “jam” or otherwise suffer a stoppage. The other requires the use of two hands, but both hands are already in close proximity if a fresh magazine has just been inserted and it is unlikely to be injured in the time taken after seating the new magazine to pulling the slide rearward and letting go.

That’s as honest, accurate and civil an answer as I can provide.


Monday, December 07, 2009

9mm Glock Case Support: Adequate or Not?

Whether a fan of Glock handguns or not, most agree that the Glock “KB” (“Ka Boom”) is a topic that is both enduring and widely-discussed on many firearm boards. Glock detractors frequent speak of inadequate chamber support, flawed gun design allowing the pistol to be fired with the barrel slightly out of battery to skyrocketing pressures from shooting non-jacketed lead bullets through the factory barrel’s polygonal bore (which Glock does advise against). Glock enthusiasts blame these KB’s on improperly loaded ammunition, defective factory cartridge cases if factory ammo was being used, and worn-out cases reloaded too many times if handloads were being fired. Improper reloads mistakenly stoked with too much powder is frequently cited as a possible cause, too. Who is right?

Though not as much in 9mm, the widely-used Glock pistol does suffer from the stigma of blown cases in what is called Glock “KABOOM’s” or “KB’s”. Is this something just inherent in the Glock design or might it be the product of other factors?

The first Glock KB’s that I personally witnessed were with a state-issued Glock 22. Texas’ Department of Wildlife had recently issued them to the state’s game wardens, one of whom was a friend of mine. He fired a few shots using brand new factory .40 S&W 180-gr. JHP’s before he got a KB. He was not hurt but the extractor left the gun as did the magazine. The case was still in the chamber and had blown along the extractor groove ahead of the rim. His pistol was repaired in short order and within few days he took it back to the range with the same issue-ammunition…and with the same result, another KABOOM! Damage was about the same but he was losing his enthusiasm to fire his Glock 22, and I admit declining his invitation to shoot it as well!) About this same time, a friend of mine bought one of the first 40-caliber Hi Powers to arrive at the local gun shop. He had not fired it but with a few days received a call from the gun shop owner advising him to call a specific number at Browning. He did so and was asked to return the pistol for a free “upgrade” which had mistakenly not been performed on his brand-new Hi Power. Though it was like pulling teeth, he eventually learned that the Hi Power barrel was to be replaced with one that had been given a little bit more barrel support in the chamber due to possible KB’s with but one brand of factory ammunition: Federal. This was the same brand being used by the game warden in his Glock 22. (It should be noted here that I am both a fan and user of Federal ammunition and that the problem with their earliest initial runs of the then-new .40 S&W appears corrected long ago. I have personally shot lots of it through many 40’s (Glocks and others) over the years with exactly zero problems. I do not know if Glock has increased chamber support in their 40-caliber barrels or not.

Though I didn’t witness it, a friend of mine reported a KB in his Glock 21. Neither he or nor I can blame it on the pistol. Seems he mistakenly left a cleaning swab in the barrel. Though a “low-pressure” cartridge compared to the .40, 9mm or .457 SIG, escaping gases around the trigger-area nearly severed his trigger finger. (He checks barrels before firing now for some reason!)

I saw a minor Glock KB in 9mm while a police firearm instructor. The department was using “remanufactured ammunition” (commercially reloaded) from an obscure company because of the price. I saw this 115-gr. ammunition blow and expel magazines from both a Glock 19 and a Beretta 92. I had no problems with it in a Browning Hi Power but still refused to personally shoot or issue it for practice after that. It could be that the Browning just took the ammunition in stride or more likely, I happened not to get one of the company’s inadvertent overloads by pure luck or chance! It is possible for brand new factory ammunition as well as factory reloaded rounds to be out of spec.

I thought that it might be worth the time and effort to compare the Glock 9mm barrel with other factory barrels and see if anything can be deduced. (I understand that 9mm is not the primary caliber in which Glock KB’s are being reported, but 9mm is the only caliber in which my Glocks are chambered, so it will have to do, at least for this initial report.)

If interested, details are here:


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Anti-Freedom Lautenberg at it Again...

This is essentially federal registration of new firearms though by the FBI and not BATFe, though a separate amendment later own could certainly allow them a copy. Another amendment and the ten-year time-limit disappears and we have firearm registration and eventually confiscation with the “wrong” administration.

Note anti-gunner Attorney General Holder’s comments and recall that he has wanted firearm registration:

“ Last week, Attorney General (AG) Holder announced his support for a separate Lautenberg bill, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Criminal Act of 2009, which would give the Department of Justice discretion to deny a gun purchase to someone on the terrorist watch list.”

The question is, “Who or what constitutes being on the ‘terrorism watch list’? Does being a conservative, NRA member, current gun owner, military veteran (You already know of course that DHS has suggested that veterans are potential terrorists.”) The idea is to use fear instilled by the “terrorism” camouflage to do what they have so far been unable to: register firearms.

Here is the press release from Lautenberg:

“Press Release of Senator Lautenberg

Lautenberg Introduces Bill to Preserve Gun Records Critical to Law Enforcement, Terrorism Prevention

Contact: Lautenberg Press Office (202) 224-3224

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today introduced the PROTECT Act, legislation to preserve records of gun sales for longer periods of time to aid law enforcement officials in preventing gun crimes and terrorist acts. Under current law, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) must destroy these records in most cases within 24 hours of allowing a gun sale to proceed.

“It makes no sense to immediately destroy information linking a gun purchase to its buyer and seller,” said Sen. Lautenberg. “We are too often asking law enforcement to protect our communities with one hand tied behind their back. Preserving background check information would help law enforcement do its job and keep our families safe from criminals and terrorists. We must overturn the ill-conceived 24-hour destruction policy so we can successfully combat gun violence and terrorism in America.”

The Brady Law requires federally-licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) before they sell guns. The NICS system creates an audit log of the purchase during the course of the search. A rider that has been attached to appropriations bills each year since 2004 mandates that the FBI destroy this audit log within 24 hours of allowing the gun sale to proceed.

The 24-hour destruction requirement hinders the FBI’s ability to verify that gun dealers are conducting background checks properly and to retrieve guns from those who are prohibited from having them. In 2002 - prior to the 24-hour rule - the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that over a six-month period the FBI used retained records to initiate 235 actions to retrieve illegally possessed guns, 228 (97 percent) of which would not have been possible under a 24-hour destruction policy.

Records are also destroyed when known and suspected terrorists purchase firearms, since nothing in current federal law prohibits them from purchasing guns. The FBI’s current practice is to keep background check records for these purchases for 90 days. If, at the end of the 90-day period, the FBI still has not found any other disqualifying reason to prohibit the purchase under current federal law, all records related to the purchase are destroyed.

At the request of Sen. Lautenberg, the GAO released a report earlier this year finding that from February 2004 through February 2009 there were 963 cases in which a known or suspected terrorist identified in federal terrorist watch list records attempted to buy a gun or explosives. In 90 percent of these cases -- a total of 865 different times -- the known or suspected terrorist was cleared to buy a firearm or explosive. Last week, Attorney General (AG) Holder announced his support for a separate Lautenberg bill, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Criminal Act of 2009, which would give the Department of Justice discretion to deny a gun purchase to someone on the terrorist watch list.

Sen. Lautenberg’s legislation, the Preserving Records of Terrorist & Criminal Transactions (PROTECT) Act of 2009, would:

• require the FBI to retain for 10 years all records related to a NICS transaction involving a valid match to federal terrorist watch list records; and

• repeal the requirement that other background check records be destroyed after 24 hours, and instead require that the records of all non-terrorist transactions be maintained for 180 days.

When asked about the 24-hour destruction rule at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in April 2007, FBI Director Robert Mueller said, “[T]here is a substantial argument in my mind for retaining records for a substantial period of time.” Video of Director Mueller’s remarks can be found here.

Last week, Tom Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey and Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, and Mayor Bloomberg of New York City wrote an op-ed opposing the 24-hour destruction of gun records and the inability of law enforcement to block gun sales to terror suspects.

The measure is cosponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Carl Levin (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Sen. Lautenberg is a long-time advocate for responsible gun safety measures. He has also introduced legislation to close a loophole that allows guns to be sold at gun shows without a background check. And Sen. Lautenberg is the author of the domestic violence gun ban, which has successfully kept more than 170,000 guns away from domestic abusers.”

Note the usual anti-freedom co-sponsors.

Folks, it is time to contact our elected officials again and oppose this.