Glock 22 KABOOM

This Glock 22 (.40 S&W) blew up while firing reloaded ammunition.

From AR15.com

Was at the range with some friends today, and a friends glock 22 grenaded with some commercially reloaded .40. This brand is really popular up here for idpa and ipsc as well as plinking.

The trigger, mag release, and slide stop disintigrated, but were recovered amongst the rubble around the range. The head of the case was found about 20 yards downrange.
Also, the top of the chamber took a chunk out of the ceiling. not to mention the slide coming off of the rail on one side, and the frame being completely warped in that area.

his hand is alright, no cuts, but will probably be bruised soon.

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 for emailing me the link. ]





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Redchrome

    I’ve heard FOAF stories of Glocks in .40 ‘letting go’ even with good factory ammo. (No firsthand verification, no assurance that it was nothing but factory ammo, the plural of anecdote is not data, YMMV, etc).

    It does look like the chamber walls on a .40 Glock are pretty thin when you consider there’s ~32K PSI held inside them (albeit for a short period of time). That said, I am not a metallurgical engineer; and the guys working at Glock are, and by and large seem to know their stuff very well.

    I’m just wondering if the safety margins on .40 caliber Glocks are less than on some other models.

    It’s things like this that make me want to stick to .45ACP and it’s comparatively low pressures.

  • Matt Groom

    Factory Reloaded… on a progressive reloader.

  • Cerberus762

    Got to say this kind of worries me. I just picked up the new Gen 4 Glock 22.

    • John S

      You have nothing to worry about. I own a G22 and a G27. See my response above to Romey Rome. It’s all about the right ammo and barrel pressures with any firearm. Any weapon can go KB on ya. Don;t worry, you have a quality weapon in the Gen.4, Glock 22.

  • Carl

    “commercially reloaded” ammo… what the hell is that?!? Sounds like the shooter bought “mystery surprise ammo” from some other bloke who reloaded it. Good luck with that.

    Having said that, it is, like Redchrome notes above, noteworthy that the .40 caliber Glock barrels (and chambers) are the same external diameter as the 9mm versions.

    Of course that doesn’t neccessarily mean the .40 cal Glocks are too weak. But they probably are more likely to blow up when using mystery ammo than the 9mm versions are.

    Lesson: Use quality, brand name ammunition.

  • Lance

    There been alot of problums in the local Sheriff’s deapart ment with there G-22s. The pressure from .40 S&W rounds is wearing out there Glock long before there suppost to. Rummor is there going to 9mm Glocks to replace the problum pleged G-22. It might be the bigger problum with .40 S&W.

    An I thought it was Steves Glock like his AR a few months ago….. lol

  • Maigo

    Does Glock even acknowledge this is a real issue?

  • Lead bullets it looks like. That’s the classic Glock issue.

  • Jared

    The 40 Smith is not “unsafe” but a lot of the safety margins were trimmed back from the original 10mm specs to make it fit into 9mm platforms. When tolerances in powder, charge weight, OAL, or brass quality get a little loose things go very bad very quickly. Glocks have more than their fair share of the problems from this because their chamber specs leave more of the base exposed and glock has made a ton of 40’s that find their way into high volume shooters hands.

  • f-stop

    I’ve seen evidence of a Glock 22 firing a round out of battery with similar results. I’ll stay away from the Glock in .40 S&W and stick to the .45 ACP as well. Glock makes fantastic guns, but this combination seems problematic.

  • jdun1911

    Maigo,

    All guns have a chance to go KB!. Firearms use contain explosion to lunch a projectile after all. There are always risks every time you pull the trigger on whatever firearms.

    With that said, pistol KB! rarely lead to serious injuries or deaths.

    The Glock KB! is probably due to reloads (double charge).

  • Bud John

    If you mess around with guns long enough, regardless of how careful you are, things will happen. With the amount of fact information given here, it’s illogical and unfair to blame Glock for this KB.
    The fact is that there are more Glocks in service with U. S. LE than any other brand. Add to that the Glocks in service with U. S. civilians and throw in who knows how many more Glocks in service worldwide. Statistically, then it is a reasonable assertion that there will be issues with Glocks; however, some of the issues that are blamed on Glocks certainly impact other brands.
    Glock has certainly stepped up to the challenge and is now on their fourth generation.

  • Caedis

    I JUST bought a used police issue G-22 from a gun show 2 weeks ago, and this news is slightly discouraging. Also I found out shortly after I purchased it that there was a problem with the frame rails on this model as well. *sigh*

    I plan on keeping it clean and only shooting quality ammunition through it as well. I just bought some Federal Hydra Shock ammunition for it myself. I’m not cool enough to reload anyway.

    I will Def. do more research before I make my next firearm purchase.

    • John S

      Check the frame. If it does not have two pins above the trigger send it to Glock for an uprade.

  • Redchrome

    It should be noted that even ‘factory’ ammo from big-name brands can and does go wrong occasionally. Even some stupidly expensive stuff. It’s not common, but as was pointed out by Bud John, the odds do get even eventually.

    It’s also entirely possible for the above reasons, that a gun which has not been abused, might fail anyway. Given enough opportunities, a part with a flaw in it might very well get out into the wild. Really, the quality control we see on firearms is amazing when you compare it to most anything else.

  • Maigo

    jdun1911,

    Agreed, it can happen to any gun, but it seems to happen to non-9mm Glocks more often than it should.

  • Matt Groom

    Fear not, Caedis, your Glock is likely quite serviceable. The above explosion is a double charged round, and the fact that the shooter was unhurt is a testament to the Glock. That’s no regular metal fatigue, I assure you. It was bad ammo, pure and simple.

    The early G22s were simply 9mm frames chambered in the new round, but when the frame rail separation issue started to appear, in as little as 3000 rounds according to some sources, Glock came out with a beefed up frame and has been selling them ever since, including on the 9mm. If your frame has two pins above the trigger, you have the new frame. Even most of the used, Police trade in Glocks on the market were sent back to Glock to get the new frames (which is why many departments got rid of them to begin with). If you don’t have two pins, send it to Glock and they will give you the new frame with the old serial number, probably gratis.

  • jdun1911

    Maigo,

    It happen more to Glocks because it is the best selling handgun in the USA behind the 1911. Glocks are more likely to be abused then 1911 due to the price difference. Also the marigine for errors is less on .40 S&W then in many pistol calibers.

  • TheGunGeek

    I think it’s much more likely that the bullet was seated too deeply, and not necessarily at the point of manufacture. From what I’ve seen, the factory reloads (and there are a number of companies making ammunition using “once-fired” cases) for 40S&W have, until recently, almost always been 180gr.

    If the bullet ends up pushed in a little too far it can drastically raise the pressure. Having a FTE and the next round being jammed against the empty shell can push the bullet further into the case. I had that happen to me, but managed to notice it before it was too late.

    Go read a bit on how little setback it takes for the pressure to get too high:

    http://www.greent.com/40Page/ammo/40/180gr.htm

  • Marty C

    My agency issued each officer a Glock 22 and a Glock 27 (to encourage off-duty carry). All of these weapons have had several thousand rounds of Federal 155 grain JHP fired thru them and not one had had any problem as mentioned above. I do not claim to be an expert but after almost 30yrs + of range instruction and training i have found most “ka-booms” are linked to faulty ammo (read that as aggressive re-load or factory oops). I know of one agency that loaded hot 9mm into one of their S+W 5906 pistols and got what they were looking for, a ruined pistol. But they were able to use that as a reason to upgrade to a better caliber/handgun. Not too smart but in the end all went well.

  • V

    having seen 5 kboom’d glocks up close and personal , (is 2′ from me close enough?) and having bits in my leg from someones g22 letting go , i have zero confidence in the breed…
    i have seen 9mm 357sig 40sw(2) 10mm and 45 acp kboom’d with factory ammo …
    don’t need the risk or the grief…

  • V

    i know the above statement totals 6 guns , but i only saw the 45 as they were getting ready to ship it off to glock , it was in 5 large chunks of plastic and steel…
    the owner wasn’t very lucky either…
    can we say ‘handburger’ ?

  • Big-FED

    I was shooting some of the many “old maid” rounds one accumulates over time and had a factory Fed Hydro-Shock 135 gr “disassemble” my new GLOCK M-35. Called Federal and they advised that the ammo head stamp (FC) indicated it was early 1990’s mfg when they had some “issues” with ammo from that period. The case head totally separated and blew the extractor parts out. No parts were destroyed or broken, just forcibly disassembled.

    Found all the extractor parts, put it back together and it has been working fine since.

  • shannon rogers

    If you are going to reload .40 s&w , You need a barrel that fully supports the case! Glock has supposedley fixed this by now with the new models. If you are going to shoot reloads in your .40 s&w, get a barrel that fully supports the case..for example a KKM precision barrel.

  • shannon rogers

    One more thing, .40 s&w is a good round, so is a .45, and a .357 SIG. Have you ever seen the Navy SEALS and the British SAS gripe about the 9MM ?

  • carlos

    Am I imagining things, or are those bullets in the KB pic shiny gray LEAD???

    • John S

      Good question. You cannot use lead bullets in a standard lock barrel.

  • Allen Robertson

    Plastic isn’t as strong as steel. That is a universal truth.

    • Robert Two Bears, PhD

      Your univ. truth, is univerally wrong. As there are literally thousands of blends of “Metals”, and likewise with “Plastics”, those words (plastic/metal) encompass literally thousands of different materials. And, there ARE “plastics”, that are stronger (also a Poor word choice) than metals. I worked in this area for 25 years for DOD, and now teach it at a Local State Univ., a Professor of HIgh Energy Physcis. For example, people rave about titanium, PURE titanium, is Miserable to work with, and near useless in it’s native form. BUT, when blended with the proper elements, you HAVE something useable. Take aluminum , add a bit of Scandium to it, Completely different “metal”. Taurus is now using Scandium (a rare earth “metal”) and alloying aluminum with it, and using it as a framre for some .44 Magnums. The SAME thing is done with “Plastics”, some used as bullet/rocket proof glass on autos. Can stop a RPG MAYBE. I’ve seen it done. LOTS of metals, can’t do that. After all, it’s a tank killer, or supposed to be.
      I don’t mean to sound lilke a know it all, but, the words Plastic, and Metal, are just too Vague nowadays. And, the word “Strengh”. Try ductile, Harder, softer, RTT, BFPL, deformation prior to failure, words that actually describe your “materials” properties.

  • Carl

    “Plastic isn’t as strong as steel. That is a universal truth.”

    No, it is not.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_fiber_reinforced_plastic
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high_molecular_weight_polyethylene

    And even if the particular plastic of the Glock frame breaks easier than a steel frame when the weapon blows up due to an overcharged round, that doesn’t necessarily mean a steel frame will protect your hand better. If something breaks it is soaking up energy. That is why motorcycle helmets are designed to break when impacted.

    • John S

      Excellent comment Carl.

  • SPINSON

    I have been into weapons for thirty plus years from .40/.45ACP/.44 Magnums to the single shot 22 but, I am new to the Glock pistol. So, here is my report:

    I recently bought a brand new Third Gen G22 (02/20/2010) and it has managed a FTE (Failure to Eject) three times out of about 200 rounds plus or minus 50 rounds. I had been using Speer Lawman ammo (165gr TMJ/FMJ) at the local range on two of the occasions and Blaser Brass on one of the occasions (only .40cal I can get here). Luckily for me it happened at the dealers range the first time for documentation. It (G22) is currently on its way back to Glock.

    The service I have gotten so far in my Glock experience is dubious to say the least and the jury is out on the final result. The dealer was of absolutely NO HELP at all and I am very sorry I purchased the weapon at that reseller (Live & Learn). That will certainly be my last purchase/visit there (Target World: Cincinnati, Ohio) beware to all who read this about that reseller their idea of help is to tell you “There are no refunds”. Always make sure you buy from a quality dealer … I found one after I made this purchase. Thanks Shooter’s Supply: Loveland, Ohio

    I was asked by Glock to send the weapon back on my dime which I did not care for (cost me $70.00 @ UPS to ship up and up) but, I was assured a minimal peace offering for the trouble. I mention this to be fair to Glock customer service (John, did his best with the Glock policies) … they were the least of the G22 bad tastes so far. FWIW

    • John S

      Spinson, I am sorry for your trouble. There is absolutely no excuse for that. You need to send a writtin complaint to Glock customer service. If they do not make this right, let me know please.

  • Carl

    Spinson, is it leaving the cases in the chamber or stovepiping?

    If the extractor drops the cases the it could be the plunger that has been inserted the wrong way. The metal rod should be towards the front, and the plastic thing to the rear.

    If it is stovepiping make sure you get a good firm grip on that thing and lock your wrist. I realize you are not new to shooting but if you are new to the Glock it could possibly be that simple. Because of the very light frame it needs good support from the shooter to cycle properly.

    Do the FTEs happen when the magazine is towards empty or full?

    • John S

      Certainly something to look into. I have never heard of anyone personaly who had a problem with a Glock as long as it is correctly assembled and the proper ammo is used.

  • romey rome

    Hi to my fellow glock owners. I sold my ruger p95 to get a glock g22. I chose the generation 2 glock because i liked the frame over the generation 3 frames. I dont use night sights and i have no reason for finger grooves since they aren’t set for my hands. My only problem so far is that after shooting 1000 rounds of winchester 180gr FMJs my barrel has a crack on both sides of the breech/chamber. What sucks is its not covered by the warranty because they say it comes from over charged ammo but i was using winchester ammo. someone said it could have happend due to my gun failing to eject and the slide slamming a shell into the chamber/breach. glock says its $135 to replace the barrel. Anyone know if its a good idea to buy a factory barrel or try an aftermarket one? other than that its a great pistol. i thought about getting rid of it and buying a smith and wesson sigma in .40 s&w but i was told they where/are horrible glock clones.

    • John S

      Sounds like a barrel pressure problem to me. I own a Gen.4 Glock 22 and a Gen. 4 Glock 27. I contacted Glock about barrel pressures and if I could use .40 S&W+P ammo in a standard Glock Barrel and they assured me that I could. I have read many articles advising not to do this. Glock advised me that the Gen 4 Glock barrel is pressure tested around 150,000 PSI. I elected to go to an aftermarket Bar-Sto stainless steel barrel that is pressure tested at 280,000 PSI and I can shoot .40 S&W +P+P if I so choose. I can also shoot lead rounds if I choose. You can’t do that with a Glock barrel.The Barrel is custom made and fit, also the lands are deeper. It is a competion barrel and extremly accurate. You can contact them at Bar-Sto Precision Machine, 3571 Hansen Ave., Sturgis, SD 57785. E-mail barsto@eee.org, Tele. 605-720-4000, Web site: http://www.barsto.com..
      I have stayed with the factory barrel in my Glock 27 and have had no problems.

  • romey rome

    also, does anyone know if i can find factory glock g22 .40 sw barrels for under $135? if do emil me at r0me803@yahoo.com and put g22 barrels in the subject

  • Brent

    My 40 cal. glock blue apart last week while my brother-in-law was shooting next to me. No one was hurt but he said it kicked pretty good.

  • Mark

    My new Gen 4 Glock 27 went kaboom today. I was using Hornady ammo.

  • Mike

    What Hornady ammo were you using? What grain? Was it factory or reloaded ammo? Please give more details.

  • Mark

    Factory 155 grain TAP.

  • Allen

    I had the same problem with a 40 Cal. Glock and Hornady ammo. Glock says it’s the ammo and Hornady says it’s the Glock. I’m out a new Gen 4 Glock.

    • John S

      Allen, as long as you use factory ammo and the pressures are right, it is not an ammo problem.

  • Stephen

    Mystery Ammo Fail!

    I used to own an old, somewhat beaten-up .45 1911. I was shooting some ‘old’ ammo that hadn’t seen the light of an outdoor range for aeons, so I thought I’d ‘get rid of’ the ammo by discharging it at the local club.

    I’m holding the thing two-handed, with my palm *underneath*, ‘cupping’ the bottom of the magazine, my hand, and the gun.

    First round, KABOOM! The KB happened in about one second or less (or so it seemed), and something felt different. For one, my left ‘cupping’ hand, was somehow ‘away’ from the gun. For another, something about that left hand felt kind of ‘airy,’ meaning I could feel air moving along my palm area a bit more acutely than usual.

    The gun is still in my right hand, and I’m pointing it down range the whole time, waiting. I can see that the slide is slightly out of battery, so I’m just holding the thing there, tightly, and pointed downrange, just in case it might be a hangfire.

    Well, after about 3 full minutes of waiting, I finally decided it’s not going to go off, so I carefully–while still keeping it pointed downrange–pull the slide back to eject the case.

    This yielded up some interesting revelations. One, the case ejected; and when I picked it up, it did, indeed, show evidence of case malfunction; toward the back of the case was a small hole, just forward of the rear –evidence of a weak sidewall.

    Having found out the root cause, I began to assess the damage: It struck me odd, at first, that I could look straight down through the opened breech and *see all the way down to the dirt!* So I thought “my magazine was blown out the bottom. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “It’s an old magazine, so it’s not a problem there, at least it wasn’t one of my Wilson Combat Stainless 8-Rounders!”

    Looking a little closer at the ground, I realize that a lot of unfired .45 cartridges are ‘lying around’ near my feet, splayed all around me, circumferentially. “Weird,” I’m thinking to myself. So I look at the 1911 a little more closely, and am just dumbfounded!

    Whilst being dumbfounded, I also *finally notice my left palm!* It’s covered in blood, and there’s a big gash from about the center, to the edge of my hand; not very deep, but still deep enough to warrant attention. So I bandage it up, then take another look at the gun.

    It appeared that when the case burst out the sidewall, it fired the bullet downrange, but didn’t cycle the slide all the way; the force that would usually be committed to cycling the slide back for an eject, was instead redirected in the direction of the remaining 7 rounds (I was shooting 7+1), blowing off the magazine’s bottom piece (and this is a carbon steel fixed base, not a removable plastic one, like on the Wilson’s), and the entire shebang making a huge gash in my left palm!

    I learned many things from this incident. One, learning to handle my 1911 the way I did was definitely from my earlier training in my youth, essentially from my father; also formative, was by reading the magazines of the day, studying the techniques of the world’s master shooters, law enforcement professionals, and military shooters.

    I decided then and there to alter my handhold technique. I now make sure to keep my left palm off the bottom of the magazine, using instead a modified ‘side hold’ technique that still allows me to maintain control of the firearm, but gives the mag-base a ‘clear view’ if it ever decides to go flying again.

    Because of my previous studies, and practicing for just such a ‘hangfire,’ with a ‘dry’ firearm beforehand, I automatically proceeded to hold the firearm well away from my body, keeping the barrel pointed downrange, and not moving that radius anywhere for three full minutes, before doing anything.

    Also, I was listening for any telltale ‘hissing’ sounds that might indicate any type of ‘fusing,’ in which I was thoroughly prepared to hurl the thing away from me, downrange, and away from the main shooting area. Luckily, this didn’t happen.

    Now, having shared this story, and having read the comments above, I can say this: Glock should have completely redesigned the Glock 22 *for the .40 S&W cartridge from scratch* from the beginning! Granted, they ‘fixed’ the issue (so I surmise from reading the comments above), but, to me, it was negligent to not do so in the first place.

    Also, I remember working in 1990 at Steamboat Lake State Park, north of Steamboat Spring, Colorado, during the summer. It was a 5-day-work-week, minimum-wage state summer shindig, working in the mountains. There was a nearby quarry where informal shooting was done. I had just purchased a stainless steel Ruger GP-100 and the head ranger had just gotten the new Glock 19.

    He let me shoot the Glock, and I let him shoot my GP-100. The 19 shot okay, but I really wasn’t impressed by it very much, as it just didn’t fit my hand very well. For a 9mm, it also seemed to be louder than other 9’s I had shot prior to that day–and this was outside, wearing ear protection! This, as opposed to being inside with ear protection–his 19 still seemed louder, somehow.

    Since that time, I’ve owned 2 Sig-Sauer P229, one without a rail, and one with a rail. Both functioned flawlessly, and having shot many Glocks on the range (rented), and my Sig’s (now sold), I can say that, for me, the P229 rocks!

    I’d also recommend the Kimber Classic II Stainless, which was the gun I utilized for my local CCW qualification, twice! That was probably the ‘realest’ gun I ever owned.

    Ciao for now, folks!
    Good Shootin’ To Y’All!

    –Stephen, Outta Missouri

  • Food for thought: I have noticed on my Gen. 4 G-22 and G-27 that if I carry a round in the pipe on my carry gun, I have to rotate that round when I unload and reload the weapon. The reason is that If I use the same round in the barrel several times and close the slide on it, the force will cause the bullet to get pushed back into the case. When you look at the case you will see a ring around it and this can cause an increase in pressure. I intend to contact Glock about this and see what they have to say. Has anyone else noticed this problem?