Can You Make a Better Firearm Through Injection Molding?

With high demand comes tough competition. Firearms manufacturers are no stranger to this and know that gun owners expect high quality, high performance, reliable, and good-looking firearms. Using plastic to replace steel or aluminum parts, such as stocks, receivers, and rails, has been helping many manufacturers to remain competitive and innovative. Plastic parts are used for magazines, holsters, LED marker lights, and more. Gun owners and users are reaping the benefits of engineering firearms using plastic injection molded components.

Glock Takes Plastic Component Firearm Global

Today many manufacturers use plastic components in firearms, but this wasn’t always the case. The very first polymer component on a firearm was the stock of the Remington Nylon 66, which was manufactured from 1959 to 1989. The very first pistol using a polymer receiver was the H&P VP70, introduced in 1970. It had a heavy double-action trigger pull, among other issues, and today is primarily purchased by collectors.

The Glock 17 is the pistol most associated with the first polymer used in firearms because of its popularity and interesting history. Gaston Glock, an Austrian Engineer, created the Glock company in 1963 to manufacture plastic injection molded and steel products, such as curtain rods, doorknobs, and commercial appliances. Glock soon became an expert in combining plastic and steel, and in the 1970s, he began making field knives, machine gun belts, practice hand grenades, plastic clips, and entrenching tools for the Austrian Army.

In the early 1980s, the Austrian Army requested bids for a new duty pistol, and Glock was invited to bid, even though the company had never made handguns. After just six months of development, the first prototype was manufactured in 1981.

Glock used polymer to make the gun 40 percent lighter than the steel guns on the market and designed it with three internal safeties (the trigger, firing pin, and drop safeties) to ensure that the pistol would perform consistently and safely. Not only did Glock meet the additional requirements of the Austrian government by including a high-capacity magazine, lightweight materials, consistent trigger pull, and a hammer-forged barrel, he also designed it with as few parts as possible, making it easier to maintain. Glock won the contract, and in 1983 the Glock 17 became the Austrian Army’s new service pistol. It wasn’t long before the Glock 17 became the preferred international law enforcement sidearm.

Benefits of Plastic Injection Molding Firearm Components

The are many benefits to plastic injection molding, no matter what industry you are in, including the ability to create complex geometries with precision, repeatability, strength, and increased efficiency. Firearms manufacturers will see many advantages to using plastic injection molded components.

  • Design Flexibility – Plastic injection molding provides greater flexibility in design, allowing improvements in form, fit, and function (e.g., improved grip texture can improve traction and comfort).
  • Weight Reduction– Plastic injection molded frames and components are much lighter, making them more desirable for carrying.
  • Durability – Decades of data have demonstrated that polymer-framed pistols are just as durable as metal-framed pistols.
  • Corrosion resistance – Unlike polymers, steel guns can rust if left in high moisture or humidity.
  • Lower Costs – Polymer frames firearms are less expensive than steel-framed firearms in many cases.

Choose Greenleaf for Your Injection Molded Firearm Components and Accessories

We know you have choices when selecting an injection molder for your firearm components and accessories. We strive to be the preferred supplier for our customers by engineering quality into every part we manufacture, actively implementing cost-containment measures, and guaranteeing on-time delivery.

We’d love to speak to you about your next plastic injection molded Firearms project. Contact us today.

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