The Stuff Guns Are Made Of
Mar 13 2020
Firearms are made from one or a combination of metals and plastics. They are most usually constructed of steel, aluminum, plastic or a combination of those materials. These materials offer a natural benefit to handgun manufacturers to construct an effective gun. These particular materials go a long way to creating efficiency through weight, strength, and aesthetics. Because of the different purposes of the materials, some firearms manufacturers prefer certain materials to others, especially when it comes to strength. Top gun manufacturers will apply directional force to stress test the strength of a material used to build a firearm.
Handgun manufacturers will evaluate the maximum force a can withstand without permanently damaging the material by applying torsional strength, compressive strength, and tensile strength. Firearm manufacturing and testing is a rigid, precise, and complex process that involves meticulous engineering, specialized metal alloys, and rigorous testing in order to build a reliable handgun.
Using Aluminum to Construct a Firearm
One of the most important and widely used components in modern guns is aluminum framing. Aluminum framing can save 35 to 40% in weight compared to steel framing. One drawback, however, is aluminum framing is not as durable as steel. Steel has a tensile strength that aluminum just cannot match. It’s important that must properly consider the weight distribution or balance and grip width to build for effective ergonomics.
Small arms manufacturers prefer aluminum as an alternative for certain handguns like 9mm pistols. The aluminum offers an aesthetic look, it’s lightweight, and it feels great to hold.
Using Polymer Plastic to Construct a Firearm
Polymer plastic was typically used to construct non-structural components of handguns like grips and recoil spring guides. Now, they can be used as part of the frame in small gun components. Polymer plastic is another popular alternative to traditional steel in frame production. Some benefits of plastic are its lightweight nature and being resistant to recoil impact damage.
Plastic is more comfortable in a wider temperature range and allows for versatility in interchangeable grip panels for hands of different sizes.
Compared to aluminum and steel, however, plastic polymer has a low tensile strength and can fail more easily compared to denser, more resistant metals. Plastic’s lightweight can also compromise recoil control and aim stability, depending on the type of gun and the shooter.
Using Steel to Construct a Firearm
The material in all guns is steel. uses high carbon, heat treated steel. The heat treatment scale is measured according to the Rockwell C scale.
Steel is incredibly strong, more efficient, and cost-effective when manufactured by computerized machining. Steel is and very strong, being able to easily be manipulated into components and small parts using machine injection molding and castings. The weight of steel makes a gun easier to control and aim steadier and more efficient, but heavier than plastic polymer and aluminum. Steel can easily be finished with stainless alloys, nickel, and chrome plating that make the final gun product resistant to corrosion and adds a great aesthetic.