Hairline Cracks Found In Kentucky PD’s Glocks

Glock handguns used by the police department of the Kentucky city of Bardstown have developed serious cracks after more than 15 years of duty. WDRB 41 Louisville News covered the issues in a segment available online, saying the issues affected a dozen handguns – about half of those issued to the Department. The guns were purchased in 2000, and have seen heavy use since then, leading to the cracks that in some cases caused the guns to disassemble. The firearms are chambered in the .40 S&W caliber, and that – combined with a decade and a half of training that could include the duty handgun being fired in an officer’s off-time practice, caused hairline cracks in the guns’ slides, causing failures of the slide to lock back, and in at least one case spontaneous disassembly.

The handguns that have developed the cracks have been retired, and the city’s officers are now carrying either personal firearms or spares. The Department has received $12,000 to purchase 30 new handguns of a soon-to-be-decided type. The Department has said new training will be required for the new handguns, suggesting they have decided against purchasing additional Glocks.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • FrenchKiss

    Cue the 40 cal haters in 3…2…1

    • Steve Truffer

      I’m sorry you chose a round that has neither the capacity & low recoil of a 9mm, nor the power of a 10mm.☺I kid.

      • kipy

        40 S(hort) & W(eak) 🙂

        • Cal S.

          That Austin officer didn’t think so when he one-shotted an active shooter at over 100 yards with a .40SW in the chest. A 9mm would have fallen short and rolled slowly toward the shooter.

          • n0truscotsman

            9mm produces similar energy levels and penetration as 40, so your anecdote about “one shot stop at 100 yards” is an exception to the rule, not a baseline capability.

            This is why there are always mocking comments about 40. Because 40 fans really do believe the stuff they say.

          • Cal S.

            Oh yes, the caliber war. We know, you’re just jealous.

            That’s alright, I’ve got big shoulders, I can take it.

          • n0truscotsman

            My goodness, you’re right!

            Im jealous of your higher recoil, faster slide cycle rate, cartridge cases being pressed more to their limits, and generally lower service life for the same kinetic energy and penetration.

            Im seething in jealousy and envy! 😉

          • Nicks87

            The .40S&W community really is delusional. Cost alone is enough of a reason to stay away from .40 not to mention it’s other short comings.

          • RickH

            Well I don’t think we can always count on “divine intervention”.

          • Armand Fight

            It is a poor musician that blames his instrument.

          • petru sova

            Actually the opposite is true as the 9mm is ballistically superior to the 40 when comparing apples to apples. The 9mm generally has the higher velocity, flatter trajectory and better penetration. In WWII in a test by the U.S. Military the 9mm penetrated a helmet at an astonishing 125 yards while the .45 acp bounced off the helmet at a scant 35 yards. Generally the larger a diameter projectile the harder it is to get them to penetrate which is the opposite of what most people have been led to believe because of incompetent gun writers over the years who wrote gun articles touting the superiority of the big bore calibers.

          • Cal S.

            Right. I’m no apologist of the .45 acp, so what’s your point? The .40 S&W is much higher-powered than the 9mm or .45ACP. I’ve seen too many barrier penetration tests to believe in the 9mm’s superiority as far as that goes. The sad fact of the matter (For some) is that the .40S&W is much better in some respects than the 9mm. Conversely, the 9mm is better than the .40S&W in some respects. At least I don’t go around with my eyes closed on the matter.

            Besides, we all know that 9mm ball ammo sucks. Big time. The military is handicapped by that international provision. I seem to recall they were looking for a bigger cartridge at some point in the last year or two. At least with the 45acp, it’s big enough and slow enough to cause its own tumbling and deformation on contact with tissue. The 9mm just zips right through in a lot of cases.

          • petru sova

            I am afraid you have got it backwards. Higher velocity causes greater tumbling. Case in point and one of many. In Massillon Ohio some years ago a cop was shot in the buttocks with a 30 Tokarev. The bullet tumbled upwards through his upper body and made hamburger of his insides killing him instantly and it was a full metal jacketed bullet.

            This cartridge can often approach 1,600 fps and when it hits bone it does indeed tumble precisely because of its high velocity, and deep penetration and because of its small size.

            Remember contrary to gun writer myth smaller calibers penetrate deeper on average than slower moving bigger calibers. The 6.5mm Mannlicher cartridge was the only cartridge W.D.M. Bell used that would shoot right through an elephants head every time while big bore elephant cartridges would not and often actually got old time ivory hunters killed because of their lack of penetration, exactly the opposite of bull crapping gun writer articles written down over the years.

            P.O. Ackley shot right through 1/2 inch hardened armor plate with a 48 grain .22 caliber Swift rifle at 4,000 fps but he failed to do so with a 30-06 complete with steel penetrator core.

            The myth as always been that bigger calibers are more lethal but the real truth about the lethality of smaller calibers was actually proven 116 years ago by Agnes Herbert along with Bell, Stigand, Sutherland, Lyell, Pease, just to name a few. They used the 6.5mm and .303 British cartridges. In addition 95 per cent of African Big Game was deliberately wiped out and left to rot by hired Government hunters to make way for farmland and they did it with the .303 British military cartridge and old surplus military ammo and worn out military rifles.

            For the Military today the 9mm is the superior combat cartridge, something the Europeans have known about for 100 years. They did not adopt the .45 acp because they knew what a superior cartridge the 9mm was and still is. Milder recoil, flatter tragejectory so you hit at longer ranges, higher capacity, superior penetration, the ability to carry more ammo and much, much longer service pistol life.

            The Germans after WWI switched from the 115 grain 9mm bullet to the 125 grain precisely because they wanted more penetration in a combat cartridge. People in combat do not pose picture like for you to shoot them. They often dive behind cover and you must shoot through cover to hit them which is precisely why the .45 acp was such a failure as a combat cartridge. Its also why the U.S. Military switched to a longer heavier bullet in the 5.56 mm cartridge and a faster twist barrel as they wanted more penetration not less.

          • Cal S.

            Ok, you are literally comparing apples to oranges.

            I can clearly see your point, and I agree to an extent, but you’ve got to follow through with it. Yes, smaller projectiles with a disproportionately large powder load behind them are completely superior to larger bore projectiles with a proportionate powder load behind them. That is indisputable.

            However, we are talking about proportionate powder loads in similar-sized cartridges with similar sized projectiles. Honestly, what makes the 9mm superior to the .380ACP? They’ve got the same size projectile, so therefore they must both be equal and must both be better than any other handgun cartridge, right? If smaller bore really equaled better penetration, then everyone must be singing the lasting praises of the .32ACP. What, you mean they don’t?

            Why don’t they? After all, it’s almost the same small bore size as the 7.62x25mm, right? Shouldn’t it therefore be whipping the pants off the 9mm, .40S&W, or .45ACP? In regards to your Tokarev example, I’m sure you’ve seen what a 7.62x25mm cartridge looks like. I’m sure therefore you know that the reason the 7.62x25mm is superior to the .32ACP is the same reason the .223Rem is superior to the .22LR. Following that train of thought, I’m sure you’ll then agree that the dreaded and scoffed at .357SIG has to beat out the 9mm? Same projectile, bigger powder load. Like I said; I agree because you’re technically right in some aspects, but you’re lacking in the follow-through.

            This is the follow-through: the same thing that makes the .40S&W edge out the 9mm is the same reason the .454 Casull edges out the .44 magnum. Bigger cartridge, yes; but proportionately higher powder loads to make up for it. However, if you were to argue that the .357SIG with its 9mm projectile and the powder of a .40cal was better than its parent cartridge, then I may have to concede the point to you.

          • petru sova

            They’ve got the same size projectile, so therefore they must both be equal and must both be better than any other handgun cartridge, right? If smaller bore really equaled better penetration, then everyone must be singing the lasting praises of the .32ACP. What, you mean they don’t?

            Actually the German Army did. They chose the .32acp over the .380 acp because the .32 acp.penetrated a German Helmet and the .380 acp would not.

            Without going into a long dissertation here are 100 years of proof.
            Bullet placement and penetration not size (caliber) is what kills. Bigger Caliber, more lethal, is a myth and has been proven wrong over 100 years ago. When a person drops dead on the spot from a .177 caliber pellet gun (which continues to happen) is he or she any more dead when they drop over dead when hit with a 20 mm cannon. Answer No, because dead is dead not deader.
            The 9mm is more preferable to the .380 because of deeper penetration but at close range providing the penetration is sufficient is it really? In that case , no but at longer range it would be the opposite. Ditto for the 357 Sig v/s the 9mm.

            In the 1980’s Pistolero magazine went to Mexico to get around animal cruelty laws and shot pigs which anatomically are very close to humans except of course pigs are better behaved.
            When Pistolero shot pigs under ideal conditions at point blank range with the 9mm, .45 acp, 357 Magnum and 38 Special where the short range penetration was adequate guess what? They found no difference in killing power what-so-ever. Now this was even with expanding bullets which you would have thought if you believe in bigger and or faster is better would have gone to either the .357 Mag or the .45acp but real life results don’t lie, there was no difference simply proving that as long as bullet placement and penetration are adequate caliber is irrelevant and even faster velocity is too providing the bullet gets to the vitals, therefore more velocity is only relevant if long range shots are taken and irrelevant at short range when penetration is adequate.

            As a side bar I have shot 180lb White Tailed Deer with the 9mm with the 125 grain expanding bullet and they fell down dead as compared to a colleague of mine who attempted to do the same with the .45acp with the wrong bullet weighing 185 grains but at much higher velocity than the standard 225 grain bullet. The result because of inadequate penetration was complete failure with the .45acp.

          • Cal S.

            Hey, if we were all trained assassins, then yeah, we wouldn’t
            need anything bigger than a .22LR and we could run single-shot derringers. I’m sorry, but assassin school was just too expensive for me. I had just enough money to buy a pistol and take my state’s mandated CCW class. I know, I’m a scrub.

            I’m sure you could find a way to kill stationary pigs with a
            nail gun, too. Or just the nail and a hammer. Or you could just save all your money and strangle the poor thing with your bare hands. After all, you can’t get deader than dead, right? To be clear, I’ll reiterate that I get what you’re saying. I do. I also agree with it. To a point. However, I feel you’re ignoring some very important things.

            Again, I go back to the penetration testing I’ve seen first-hand.
            I’d post videos, but my comment would get modded. I’ve seen sheet metal, plank wood, and other penetration tests that have shown the .40 S&W to be better. I don’t know, maybe it’s a hallucination. Or, what it boils down to is that there is something to be said for projectile energy as well as bore. Think again of the 9mm versus .380ACP or the .22 TCM versus the .22LR. The 9mm/.22TCM is going to have superior penetration at any given range because of its higher energy level. All I’m saying is, in the tests that I’ve seen, the .40S&W has proven it has better penetration power than the 9mm. I believe that harkens back to the higher muzzle energy of the .40S&W over the 9mm.

            It’s still the old balance, my friend. You can’t count on the ability to penetrate alone 100% of the time. There’s got to be enough energy left over once you get to your target to scramble its insides enough to make sure they can’t get deader than dead.

          • petru sova

            You are odds with FN Manufacturing in Belgium as they developed a .22 cal pistol cartridge that even out penetrated the 9mm. They did this for soldiers who needed to penetrate body armor. FN did not use the 40 S&W cartridge as its inadequate penetration was no good for this job but the smaller diameter 5.56×25 mm cartridge did. And I would not doubt the 9mm/22 TCM if velocity and bullet weight were close to the FN round (which maybe it is as I do not have time to compare the two) would again be superior to the 40 S&W just as the FN round already is.

            As far as scrambling insides even high velocity rifle bullets cannot be counted on to do this and by the way almost never do anyway. Observation of wound channels verify this. It would be nice if bullets were computer programed to enter to the right depth and explode like an anti-personal grenade but this is not possible today yet.

            Bullets that break apart do cause secondary damage but again it varies as to penetration, amount of particles, what parts of the body they damage and how far they travel inside the body. Bullets that yaw do more damage eventually but they must hit a vital organ to kill otherwise the damage may take hours or days to kill an organism or they may not kill at all. But again if a vital organ is hit because of proper shot placement and penetration the living entity whether animal or man dies even when hit with a full metal jacketed bullet.

            As a matter of fact most of Africa’s big game was killed with full metal jacketed bullets because they were often used instead of expanding bullets because penetration is what was needed all of the time not some of the time as when using expanding bullets. Failure to penetrate got African hunters killed that’s why they shunned expanding bullets and even do so to this day on really big dangerous game. It was found that the 6.5mm killed Elephants because of deeper penetration than the big bore bullets and again it was used with full metal jacketed bullets.
            W.D.M. Bell killed over 1,000 elephants with the 6.5 and 7 mm calibers which translates to 26 and 28 caliber but people think it takes a .40 or .45 caliber to kill a much smaller human being. Again History provides the answer but people refuse to believe history.

            The Russians used the .30 cal Tokarev both in their pistols and sub-machine guns and believe me when you count all the millions of Nazi’s they blew away they would have dropped this small caliber as fast as a cat jumps off of a hot tin roof if the Tokarev .30 would not have worked.

            Lets look at the actual size difference in the extreme. When comparing a 9mm size bullet to a .45 acp we have a scant 1/10 of an inch in diameter difference. This size difference is totally inconsequential as far as making a bigger gigantic hole in an animal and even if we increase the size to 20mm so what. The heart stops when hit with a .177 caliber pellet or a 20 mm cannon shell.

            Felons and even innocent people shot by cops sometimes were hit with 70 caliber 12 gauge slugs multiple times and they did not die sometimes because vital organs were not hit. Again it shows the fallacy of “the bigger caliber causes a person to suddenly disappear in a red puff of mist”.

            And one more African Hunt Fact. Several years ago on TV an elephant culling operation was shown. They mowed down an entire herd of elephants and they dropped dead as if hit by lightning. So what did the use? Just a .308 with 150 grain full metal jacketed bullets shot out of FN FAL Rifles and it took just one shot per elephant to do it with as was “seen on TV”.

          • n0truscotsman

            “The .40 S&W is much higher-powered than the 9mm or .45ACP”

            Oh okay. So where are your references for this statement?

            Because ballistics 101 tells a different story.
            40 and 9mm have more in common than they do differences.

          • Cal S.

            Inb4 everyone points out that the .40S&W has the highest chamber pressure of the three. We all know that’s why they wear out 450% faster than a 9mm, right? There you go. Honestly, I thought every .40-cal hater out there knew that one.

            On the honest side, though, just look at equivalent SD loads in the same ammunition brands. You’ll see just as plain as day that amongst the three calibers, .40S&W has the greatest muzzle energy. That’s even comparing 9mm/.45ACP +P loads against normal pressure .40s.

          • n0truscotsman

            “.40S&W has the greatest muzzle energy”

            25-100 ft/lbs is not a measurable difference when it comes to lethality. My point was that if you compared the two in terms of defensive cartridges, you notice a trend: all within the ballpark of 4-500 ft/lbs.

            This is 9mm vs 45 vs 40 vs 357 sig vs 45 GAP.

            “Honestly, I thought every .40-cal hater out there knew that one.”

            Well you were being pretty specific, but the trend of 40s lasting far less longer than 9s is something that has not gone unnoticed.

          • Cal S.

            Well, you can’t blame the cartridge for that. Just like crankcases or axles, guns can be designed to withstand a certain number of cyclic stresses. A competent engineer with CAD software can predict when a design will fail within a few dozen cycles (Which I personally have done). Where are we seeing this ‘trend’? This article refers to firearms that haven’t been well-maintained at all, and seen extraordinary usage.

            .40S&W is a junior in the cartridge world, and it makes sense that companies are still getting things straight. Look no further than Glock itself. Their first-gen .40s were poorly designed, leading to some kabooms (and don’t forget their 9mm kabooms, too). But, because Glock can do no wrong, everyone blamed the cartridge instead of the manufacturer.

          • n0truscotsman

            Im not one to leave glock blameless. And nobody is arguing that 9mms dont kaboom either. Since the 9mm versions are the most popular variants sold, its no surprise there are kabooms statistically speaking. A large number of kabooms associated with both cartridges are handloads, which leaves the cartridge and gun blameless.

            There is also no escaping the inherent idiosyncrasies of 40 either. No amount of engineering can do that.

          • iksnilol

            Other people experienced 40 S&W stopping just before the heart of a suspect.

            So what Armand Fight said IMO.

        • 10mm kurz!

        • petru sova

          You hit the nail right on the head as the original 180 grain load blew up so many guns because of lack of air space coupled with bullet set back that the ammo factories quietly scaled back the powder charge to anemic levels which caused most 40 nuts to switch over to the less lethal 160 grain loads because of their higher velocity but lower penetration.

        • FrenchKiss

          Sure it is. Yes or no, would you stand in front of one coming right at your head?

          • kipy

            I’m not for or against the 40. I just know the short and weak jab gets people fired up. The only thing I don’t like about it is the price.

          • FrenchKiss

            Fair enough

          • iksnilol

            That’s a really weak argument. Would you stand in front of a .22 LR coming right at your head?

          • FrenchKiss

            If my choice was a 22 or 9, I’d stand in front of the 22.

    • David

      It’s the only caliber you ever see have problems in Glocks.

      • Cal S.

        Really? Please Google “Glock Kabooms.” You’ll see just as many 9mm blow-ups as you will .40S&W.

        Also, there was another article published (maybe here?) last week that expounded on the problem that these guns had gone at least a decade without proper servicing.

      • FrenchKiss

        Know why? I have a CZ75 in 40 and have over 10000 rounds through it. Works fine. No cracks. Its not the caliber, its the gun. Forty cal Glocks are poorly designed and made. My CZ is all steel. That’s the difference.

        • David

          I’m glad you edited your original post, that cupcake comment really stung. Enjoy your CZ.

          • FrenchKiss

            Sorry, I thought I was replying to someone else here. That would be Nicks87.

        • iksnilol


          We might disagree over watches but we don’t disagree when it comes to guns (maybe on caliber but not guns :P).

        • Frank

          These are talking about slides cracking, not frames. The frames on the glocks are steel also. The CZ has a different slide for the .40 cal guns BTW.

          • FrenchKiss

            What’s different about it?

          • Frank

            Uh look up pictures of the 9mm CZ. That’s thinner toward the front of the slide. The 40 has the same slide thickness throughout.

          • FrenchKiss

            Not having closely examined a CZ75 in 9mm, I never noticed, but you are correct. That’s why CZ75 in 40 works forever. Its properly designed.

          • FrenchKiss

            I do know that internally the 40 has a full length spring guide rod, the 9 does not. So there’s that.

  • Steven Ling

    Exactly where are the cracks in the slide? Since this is what I qualify with, it’s of particular interest.

    • Canadian Vet

      I’m actually intrigued by that as well. I’d really like to see the damage myself.

      And I’ve had a pistol spontaneously disassemble in my hands too, a Browning Hi-Power during a qualification shoot. The takedown pin just dropped out of it and I’m damn glad the next shot didn’t go off, but the slide slipped clean off when I pulled the trigger.

      Mind you, that particular pistol was ancient to say the least. Ancient and in dire need of replacement. Howvever, at the time a widespread replacement for the Brownings wasn’t really on the table yet.

    • J.T.

      I have not read anything that has definitively said where the cracks were on the guns but a couple of them implied that the frames might have been what were cracked. None of the news reports I have previously read, including the one linked state that it definitely was the slides were cracking. TFB is the only place i have seen slide cracks mentioned. I am having a hard time picturing how a slide crack could cause both the gun to fail to lock back and the slide to fall off the frame, but I could potentially see a crack in the locking block area of the frame possibly causing both.

      My guess is that wherever the cracks are, they were caused by the guns not being maintained properly. They all probably had worn out recoil springs and the guns were beating themselves to death.

      • Paul White

        That and if they’re being shot a lot, 15 years isn’t too bad. I mean I’d be made if my 1911 only lasted that long but at this point (after a break in period) I only do maybe 500 rounds a year on it

  • Anonymoose

    “spontaneous disassembly”

    • Don Ward

      That’s a way to improve stopping power…

      • BryanS

        I heard Massad Ayoob’s cousin said that a lawyer will have a field day if you use a glock and the barrel ends up sticking out of the bag guy’s chest.

        On the internet.

    • kipy

      The true hollow point. Wonder if the polygonal rifling gives it a better twist?

  • Ed h

    The guns are 15 years old and showing wear, really

  • Kevin Riley

    This story is about a month old.

  • Bill

    Like with cars, It’s not the years, it’s the miles and the maintenance. There are enough .40 cal GLOCKs in service that if this, or the legendary kabooms, were a STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT problem, it would be major news, and there’d be much better documentation. That this appears to be effecting one agency, my money’s on a funky lot of over-pressure ammo, reloads, or remanufactured rounds.

    SIGS have had frame cracks, Beretta 92s, one of the toughest handguns ever made, had issues with parts cracking. Any mechanical device can and will fail, given the wrong circumstances.

    • petru sova

      Sigs and Beretta’s are anything but tough handguns. German made Sigs had junk stamped sheet metal slides that failed so often they no longer make the slide out of this junk material. Beretta 92’s inherited the weak slide of the P38 from which they were derived. Both guns are notorious in cracking slides at the ejection port. And both the Sig and Beretta’s have aluminum frames which have proven over and over again to wear out and crack far sooner than the old fashion guns that were made with high quality forged frames.

      • Bill

        Find a new drug dealer, yours is selling you something horrible.

        Funny thing about cracks in SIG frame rails, of which the USMS had a couple in .357: the pistol still functions just fine, as it has 4 separate frame rails. I guess you may have seen a couple pictures on the internet, but I’ve seen a couple hundred thousand rounds shot out of various SIGs and the only parts we’ve worn out have been springs.

        • petru sova

          The real reality is that Gun Companies make guns a cheap as possible and if Sig could have kept using the cheaper stamped sheet metal slide they would never have switched to the more expensive to machine bar stock slide that is currently being used. They did it because they had to if they wanted to keep selling pistols to the police and to future military contracts. In the older contracts the buyers got stuck with the stamped sheet metal slide pistols.

          • Bill

            Actually, the switch to the one-piece slide reduced the number of parts needed, including a separate breech block that had to be held in with a double roll pin that was incredibly tedious to remove and replace.

            I spend about 130 bucks for a thousand rounds of training ammo, and over the years that may have pushed that high. Each pistol is detail stripped and has it’s springs replaced every 5,000 rounds, give or take. Each basic trainee is budgeted for a thousand rounds, and the pistols aren’t even serviced until the end of the course, unless rain requires them to be re-lubed.

            And we have never, ever had a catastrophic failure or a pistol go back to the factory. I don’t know where you are getting your info from, but it isn’t from the military or the feds, both who used SIGs extensively for decades.

          • petru sova

            The stamped sheet slide originally used just on el cheapo stamped sheet metal roll pin that promptly broke. Rather than use a solid pin they used two stamped sheet metal pins one inside the other. Brother that is really being cheap. At any rate when they went to the 40 S&W the stamped sheet metal slides disintegrated so it was believed this is why they switched over to the bar stock slide but they quit using the stamped slide for the 9mm too and it was not because they wanted to. Gun Week reported over the years that police were experiencing slide failures even in the milder 9mm caliber.

            Several Gun Writers over the years on commenting on why the U.S. Military chose the Beretta over the Sig stated that in their interviews with the Military the P226 was considered not to be rugged enough with the Stamped slide so it was actually rejected before it was ever even tested in the trials.

            True the Air Force now uses the P228 but this gun is not used in completion as its a small more concealable pistol for Air Pilots so It is not being subjected to the thousands of rounds often fired out of the full size Beretta’s because this is the gun used in competition.

            The P228 was not bought in the very large numbers the Berettas have been purchased in either or been in service as long so any sampling on wear or failure would not be fair either when comparing it to the much more numerous and well used Beretta guns.

            Yes the bar stock slide was less parts but more expensive to make considering all the machining operations it takes to make it that’s exactly why they used the quickie made stamped slide originally. The American Rifleman Magazine ran an article on the development of the Sig P220 and it was stated that “It was designed to be made at the lowest possible cost to the Manufacturer” and that mandated the stamped slide.

            Cracked aluminum frames have also been reported by Gun Week down through the years as well. No pistol I have ever studied or used personally that had an aluminum frame held its accuracy as long as a good forged steel slide or lasted as long either. As a matter of fact the U.S. Military has special built Berettas with added on steel rails to the aluminum frame for competition at Camp Perry so they hold their accuracy. A detailed article on this appeared some yeas ago in one of the gun mags and if memory serves me right it was in “Gun Tests Magazine”.

            As far as Sig rail wear just last year there were people on the Sig forum posting pictures of frame rail wear on their aluminum frames and this was on brand new pistosl not an old used one. The wear was where most people would not see it and that was the underside of the upper frame rail. Once again this was on brand new pistols.

            Sig .45’s in the P220 model were returned to the factory by one Police Department and if I remember correctly they came from a department in the state of Illinois as was reported by Gun Week that had cracked frames.

            The Model .220 .45 ACP was a reversed engineered catastrophe as well as the larger caliber left not enough room between the top round in the magazine and the recoiling slide to allow the slide to move backward without pressing down on the top loaded round in the magazine which cause the loaded round to catch on the empty being ejected from the chamber which caused the loaded round in the magazine to get its case mouth peeled back like a banana resulting in a mangled round being force jammed into the chamber. Later in time according to a gunsmith I talked to said that American made guns were made with an interrupter pin that held the top round in the magazine down a bit. I do not have an American made P220 so I have not been able to see exactly how this works or even how well it does work.

            Lets face cold hard engineering facts. When you cheapen anything you get less reliability and less service out of any machine. Any manufacturing repair man that has been at it even for a short period of time can tell you horror stories on how over the years everything being made including manufacturing machinery has been cheapened with the inevitable shorter service life and reliability. Firearms are no different as they are not above the laws of physics or metallurgy. And if anyone claims that modern made guns are as well made as the early guns of the 20th century which would be pre-WWII they are either very inexperienced with firearms and machinery or they are living in a self made fantasy world.

            When visiting the few professional gun test forums that tell the truth about modern guns such as “The Gun Zone” which details Glock failures or “The Truth About Guns” you will being to find out about the endless recalls and failures of many modern designed firearms both in terms of safety, reliability and workmanship. Although not as critical as they used to be “Gun Tests Magazine”
            has reported on many problems with todays manufactured guns as well.

          • CommonSense23

            You realize that the P226 is the standard handgun of the SEALs right. None of the key players in the SOF community use M9s. CAG, Damneck, SF, Marsoc, CCTs/PJ all use either Glocks or Sigs. The

          • petru sova

            People erroneously think that just because the U.S. Military adapts a weapon it is the best there is. History has often shown just the opposite. The Military during Viet-Nam chose the Remington 700 over the Winchester 70 because they heard rumors Winchester was having problems with the post-64 Gun. This of course was not true and the Winchester was a much more reliable gun in regards to the trigger and bolt attachment not to mention the much safer 3 position safety. Military people who adopt small arms have proven more than a few times they often know less the man in the street when it comes to small arms. And I am not just beating up on the U.S. as Europeans have also made some very big blunders in procuring small arms.

            If the U.S. procurement people would have had their heads screwed on straight they would have adopted the Star Model 30 Series of pistols as they proved to be the best high capacity pistols of the 20th century. The stamped sheet metal Sig was not even in the same class as tests proved in durability. There were some documented real tests on the gun, one done by a multi-millionaire and another done by a gun store that rented two of these guns out and both tests done independently showed no handgun ever tested matched the high round count of the Star in durability. It was absolutely astonishing.

            So why were they not adopted. Simple way back in WWI the Spanish wanting to cash in on the arms trade during WWI made a lot of small .32 acp pistols for France and they were made in very small workshops. The metal used in manufacturing was very soft and the Spanish Arms Industry never lived that one down to this very day even though Spain has through the years manufactured some outstanding firearms. Misplaced prejudice alone prevented the Star Model 30 series of guns from ever being seriously considered and as a result the U.S. missed out on adopting the best high capacity 9mm ever made.

            Unlike the el-cheapo trash materials that have gone into making the Sig “P” Series of pistols Star used nothing but the finest forged steels to manufacture the Star Model 30 series of pistols. The gun was so expensive to make it went the way of all old fashioned high quality guns. They either had to be cheapened with junk castings, stamped sheet metal or plasticky parts or dropped altogether from production.

            I might add Colt thought so highly of Spanish made guns it marketed an Astra made .25 Acp pistol which they called the Junior was highly regarded by everyone I know that ever bought and used one. I also have the predecessor of the exposed hammer fired Astra .25 which was called the Fire Cat and this model was also outstanding in every respect.

  • Ed

    Is it really due to the high pressure of .40? or is it due to poor maintenance by the PD? Thats the question.

    • iksnilol

      I would say it’s a combination of the factors. High pressure, plastic frame, poor maintenance.

      NOTE: I am not an engineer or anything, so take my opinion for what it’s worth.

      • guest

        9mm and .40SW are virtually identical in CIP/SAAMI rated pressure.
        But I have seen ONE glock in very, very active club use fail, and it was not due to pressure or “plastic frame”, but a fatigue crack in the barrel lug.

        What will destroy a gun eventually is the use of various useless +p rounds and have it chew trough even worse homemade +p rounds which are in 99.9999% of all cases based on some idiot’s “pressure readings” from just looking at spent brass and guesstimating, while in reality having a roller coaster of pressure.
        Add to that the plethora of complete ignorance many people have about how clean/lubricate/maintain their firearms and you can break just about anything.

        Or in other words: the problem is behind the trigger.

        • iksnilol

          What about bolt thrust?

          Since something is causing increased wear with .40 S&W.

          • n0truscotsman

            As it was explained to me, 9mm and 45 operate well below the limits of their cases, which is why you see overpressure ammunition.
            40 and other cartridges that are “shortened” from much longer variants, however, are pushed within the limits of their cases, which is why you dont see overpressure 40 ammunition.
            I agree with guests’s assertion about overpressure ammunition too. It is needless because you are increasing wear and tear, recoil, etc for an extra 100 ft lbs of energy. Not worth it IMO.

          • iksnilol

            So .40 S&W is essentially overpressured by default?

          • n0truscotsman

            “overpressured” isn’t a term I would use, although ive heard it used by smiths.

            “pushed to its mechanical case limit” is a better description I think.

  • 277Volt

    I wonder if or how often the recoil springs were replaced. Weak springs could sure beat the snot out of a gun.

    • petru sova

      Very true. Here is an interesting bit of info from long ago when Chucky Taylor was writing for gun magazines. He claimed he threw his Glock 17 into the ocean for a year salt water and all and they retrieved it and fired 180,000 rounds out of it with no parts breakage. Yeah sure Chuck as there is no recoil spring assembly on the planet that would take that much abuse and not at least cause jams not to mention broken parts. The cost of the ammo alone would have been close to $108,000 dollars and that’s at wholesale prices. As cheap as gun companies are today they never would never have forked over that kind of money and Chucky would not have either.

      • God

        Didn’t bother to figure out who Chuck Taylor was but 180000 rounds is 3600 boxes of 50. At the moment of this writing, you can buy a box of 50 target loads at Walmart for between $10.50 and $15.00 per box for an average cost per box of $12.75 per box. $12.75 x 3600 = $45,900.

        • petru sova

          I was basing my price on the wholesale not even the retail price of 50 rounds of .40 S&W ammo which was my error as it should have been 50 rounds of 9mm expanding ammo which in my neck of the woods goes for $21.00 plus which comes to $75,600 dollars.

          • God

            I found the Charles Taylor Glock 17 torture test. I haven’t bothered to read all of it but I didn’t see anything about the use of expanding / hollow point ammo. Did “Chucky” specify expanding ammo in his 2nd Gen 9mm pistol?

          • petru sova

            I read this article many years ago and do not remember but I would be much appreciative if you could let me know what magazine and year and month it was. I would like to go back and read it again.

          • petru sova

            I went on line and put in Chuck Taylor Glock test and found he kept re-writing the same article. So far on line I have not found the magazine article that I read as in that one he said he threw it in the Ocean for a year and that it did not rust. Considering the fact that a Glock barrel is not stainless this would be totally impossible.


            I think too that old timers that have put a lot of rounds through various pistols over their entire lives know damn well that once you approach even 2,000 rounds there are a lot of pistol makes out there that start needing parts replaced and when you get to 4,000 rounds recoil springs often create jams. I had a brand new Colt 1911 that started dropping its firing pin stop plate at 4,000 rounds and these rounds were 75 per cent cream puff target loads but the recoil spring was totally shot by 4,000 rounds. This is only one example of many times I have seen pistols malfunction and need parts replaced in this range so when I see gun writers make outrageous claims like Chick did I will not believe it until I see it myself.

          • God

            If your point is that machines wear out, I agree. I disagree that Glocks wear out at a greater rate than other machines that serve the same purpose and would assert that the opposite is more likely to be true. Will a Glock 17 go 100,000+ rounds. Unless you fired 100,000 rounds out of a Glock yourself, you will have to take somebody else’s word for it. Or not…

            Prior to your post, I was not acquainted with Chucky and I have no idea if he’s on the level. However, if you know (or know of) a guy w/ a Harley and a nice boat, he’s got the equivalent amount of money in non-essential expenditures. America is loaded down with men who could afford to spend the amounts in question. I meet them every day, all day. They aren’t even slightly rare.

  • petru sova

    Its not surprising it happened with the 40 S&W cartridge as it has a long history of destroying handguns expecially those that were reverse engineered from their original 9mm caliber. That it happened to a Glock is quite surprising as the Glocks slide is very robust. Now all this makes me wonder whether Glock reverse engineered their original 9mm gun or whether they built the 40 Glock with a more robust slide just for the 40 S&W. It would appear that they did not.

    • FrenchKiss

      The 40 hasn’t destroyed my CZ75. 10000 rounds and still going. Now what?

  • petru sova

    I would not be surprised if we later found out that it was actually the frames that cracked as it is well known with many pictures on the net over the years showing many types of plasticky handguns including Glocks that often crack their frames right behind the trigger guard. High speed photos of a plasticky Glock actually show the front dust cover bending up and touching the barrel under full recoil and that was with the milder recoiling 9mm, now think how much worse it would be with the harder recoiling 40 caliber.

    On the Snob Sig Forum they had a picture of an H&K plasticky pistol that cracked its plasticky frame behind the trigger guard with only 4,000 rounds shot out of it and another picture of an off brand .380 plasticky pistol that again cracked its frame behind the trigger guard when it was practically brand new out of the box and not even barely broken in yet.
    Lets face facts when you cheapen the manufacturing process and use sub standard materials to boost already obscene profits as when you use MIM cast parts the service life goes down dramatically and of course pics of cracked plasticky frames on guns with low round counts really separates the bull crap from horrific reality.

    I have seen old fashioned early 1900 pistols with thousands of rounds shot out them and even though the slide to frame fit had worn to the point due to no lubrication that they were loose as a goose they did not have cracked frames or slides but then again that was back in the good old days when manufactures took pride in making the best possible product they could produce and they often tested them for a year before even daring to sell them to the public. My how things have changed. Remember when Remington recently released their .380 wonder turd that not only did not work but I saw one picture of a gun they shipped that had the sights installed on backwards. Great quality control assuming they even had any, as maybe they were so cheap they did not want to higher any quality control people to save money.

    • Dukeblue91

      That Remington was 9mm just saying.
      R51 Remington.

  • tony

    .40 glocks are undersprung, .357 glocks are way… underspung.

  • /k/ommando

    Another victory for #teamsteelframe.

    • Anonymoose


  • God

    If you are going to read about handgun failures in police issued weapons, it’s not at all surprising that it’s Glock. This is for no reason other than that 65% or more of all Police are carrying a Glock. That means that ALL OF THE REST of the handgun manufacturers share the other 35% or less of that market.

    I’m NOT a Glock fanboy. I really don’t shoot my Glocks nearly as well as I shoot some other brands and types that I own. But, I don’t, for a moment, believe you can buy a more durable or dependable handgun made by anyone at any price or from any material for any caliber.

    • petru sova

      I would have to disagree strongly on Glock reliability or durability. Most of that is advertisement hype. There was and maybe still is a site called “The Gun Zone” that documented Glock failures and design problems with the Glock. I myself proved the inferiority of the ignition system on Glocks and its a simple test anyone can do. I seated a high primer in an empty case and tried to fire it off. Three Glocks I tested failed no matter how many times I tried to ignite the same primer. All of my hammer fired guns fired off in the same test. The open slot that exposes Glocks striker is also venerable to malfunction as well as any lint or too much lube will cause misfires from an already very weak ignition system. Glock plastiky frames failing were documented by “The Gun Zone” years ago as well as slides that fell off which resulted In 3 re-design changes on this sorry pistol.

      I will not even attempt to go into how unsafe the take down system is on this gun or all the accidental shootings by police and civilians have had and continue to have because of its lack of manual safety coupled with its short stroke trigger design either.

      • Ethan

        Unless you tested that against other comparable striker fired systems, and had a sample size larger than 1, your test is statistically meaningless.

        I sold my Glock and bought a CZ for ergonomic reasons primarily, but you cannot dispute the performance advantages of a Glock in an apples-to-apples comparison (which you have not done).

        Apples to Apples means:
        -Same theory of use (duty weapon)
        -Same design class (full size, poly frame, striker fired)
        -Same ammo
        -Same price-point (of course a Ferrari will drive faster than a Honda, but what does that really tell us?)
        -etc etc

        Now if you wish to debate the advantages of two different design classes (hammer fired vs striker fired) that’s a whole different discussion. It would be easy to make a list of pro’s and con’s.
        But even that is largely meaningless without the context of an objective criteria – what is it being used for? Without that, its just your personal opinion on which works best for you – which ultimately is what you’re really getting talking about here. You’ve established your own arbitrary and unscientific test criteria and are now talking about the results as though they are conclusive.

        -Test Engineer

        • petru sova

          I have indeed tested other striker fired pistols that are the pre-loaded Glock copy cats and they failed just like the Glock did. One prestige brand the Walther P99 also failed catastrophically. And by the way the test was conducted exactly like the Glock test..HK was aware of this problem and its latest addition into the dangerous safety-less Glock design is not a pre-loaded system precisely because of this problem.

  • God

    On the subject of the 40 Cal 😉

    We can debate the best caliber for the the “one shot stop” and arguments can be made for your caliber of choice. But, in the range rimless calibers between 9mm and 45 you can’t debate that the 9mm holds more ammo and that it’s easier to control if all else is equal.

  • CommonCents

    I think it’s just a little backlash on glocks since so many swear by them. Is it a statistical significant problem? That is the question.

  • uisconfruzed

    WHY won’t they show the cracks?

  • Tom

    So guns that have seen 15 years of law enforcement service are worn out? And this is a surprise? I hope people realize that things wear out when you use them. An airplane is only allowed a certain number of cycles and hours before the airframe is grounded, and scrapped. Quite frankly, a firearm is an incredible piece of engineering, and it’s a miracle that they last as long as they do.

    • iksnilol

      Miracles are for church… Firearms are just sheer engineering. Simple engineering at that when compared to other stuff.

  • myndbender

    1 detail about newer gen 3 & gen 4 glocks that kinda worries me is that they went to a MIM locking block. I know this isn’t pertinent to the 15 y/o Blocks in story, but I think it’s a bad move to weaken such a structurally important part to save Glock less than a buck per pistol.

  • spiff1

    The article is about a total lack of maintenance, not what caliber is best…As mentioned in the comments, it’s not caliber, it’s shot placement…

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    It’s high time PD’s dump (insert MFG, weapon and caliber here) and switch to (insert your favorite MFG, caliber and weapon here). I say bring back the Webley Army model in .455.

  • 5DecadeShooter

    It’s about time someone took a close look at those plastic toys. It’s not the caliber, it’s what you put it into.

  • 5DecadeShooter

    Whenever something like this happens, for some reason you guys argue about 9mm v. .40S&W. It doesn’t matter the caliber you use. It’s the plastic toy you put it into. It’s about time someone took closer look at those plastic toys made by Glock.

  • 5DecadeShooter

    So something like this happens again, then everyone argues 9mm vs. .40S&W. I guarantee that the Bardstown, KY police are reccommending to others that take a closer look the plastic toys that they’re carrying around, no matter what caliber is in it. I read it as the Glock cracked in half if not totally apart, not the bullets.

  • petru sova

    I think you missed the whole point about Glock ignition. Military and to some lesser degree Police often use handguns under extreme conditions. When you have a gun like a Glock that has a weak ignition system under extreme conditions of mud, dust, cold, freezing moisture etc. it is going to malfunction far sooner than the hammer fired gun. Many people leave their pistols in their cars on cold winter nights and if they suddenly had to use it would it work if it was a Glock. Maybe yes but more probably no when comparing it to the sure fire ignition system of a superior hammer fired weapon. That was the point I was trying to make so now I am elaborating on it in detail.

    • God

      I am able to take a Glock apart to it’s smallest pieces and put it back together in a few minutes. Nothing I have observed in that process suggests that the ignition is particularly ineffective or vulnerable.

      I’ve seen video of Glocks being dug up from the ground, hosed off, and fired. I think I saw one dropped from an airplane and fired afterward. In conjunction with my own experience, I’m not convinced of your assertion that they won’t operate under harsh conditions and do so very satisfactorily.

      While the use of MIM parts could, in part, be as a result of the desire to make more money on a particular unit. It is more likely as a result of these following: 1) The absolute imperative to be competitive with other gun companies who will be using the same type of parts and/or may operate from a country that has cheaper labor than Europe or America. 2) Cheapo Americans who will buy the cheapest thing they can get that is reasonably likely to work. 3) Spectacular improvements in the process of making MIM parts in more recent years and ever higher levels of interchangeable parts through a lack of need for hand-fitting.

      I own a few pre-MIM era guns (S&W, Remington and Colt) and I will agree with anybody who says they are nicer guns. Fit and finish are usually superior to the modern versions of the same guns. They feel like quality but, the thing is, they don’t work one bit better than an average moderate priced modern gun. I am sorry to say that Remington and it’s affiliate company’s have taken a nose dive on quality control.

      I will maintain my assertion that we live in a wonderful era of reliable handgun choices. Smith, Glock, Sig, Ruger, H&K, Kahr, Springfield and many, many more make good reliable handguns day in and day out.

  • 1911a145acp

    Jeezuz, please, not another juvenile caliber debate. I overheard a well known Military trainer state- “Amateurs discuss calibers, professionals discuss logistics” . 9×19 NATO and 40 S&W have nearly the same SAMMI working pressures, and not much definitive performance difference in the real world. A DECADE and a half of continuous service life for a cast slide, polymer frame pistol with minimal locking surface area seems pretty good to me. Call GLOCK and work out a good PR deal and I bet you can replace them all for $200 piece.

  • Martin Frank

    The way this article is written completely absolves glock of all blame.