Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anyone heard of this possible Glock safety issue?

A few weeks back I got this comment on my "Glocks and Safety" post:
BH1218 - 2 weeks ago

I almost agree with you but there have been reports from Glock that some model .40 can discharge when first chambering a round do to design issues of part of the extractor touching the primer. check it out.
Hmmm....

It would not be possible for the extractor on a Glock to touch the primer under almost any circumstances; and even if it did, its too broad and blunt to set a primer off.

I wonder if he meant the ejector? As in the ejector was bent too far over towards the center of the round and was hitting the primer and making a round blow up out of battery when someone was racking the slide to eject an unfired round?

Not sure how that could happen either, because there shouldn't be enough force from pulling the slide back to pop a primer no matter how hard you're pulling... and even if there was, the extractor should act as a pivot point and the round should just pivot on the ejector and fly out as normal.

In order for that to happen, the cartridge would have to be jammed between the slide and the extractor (which shouldn't happen given how large the ejection port is, but it's possible with certain bullet weights and profiles).

This would put the primer further over to the ejector side of the gun than it should be, such that it may conceivably be possible, that an ejector that was bent over towards the center of the gun as far as possible and still be functional (it CAN happen, I have actually seen that) might strike the primer, and the cartridge might jam between the slide hood and the ejector, and you might be racking with enough force to pop the primer...

Maybe...

At that angle, bent over like that, as thin as the ejector is, the alloy it is, as brittle as it gets like that... I'd think it would just bend over further, or break off. It'd have to be in a perfect position, with a soft primer etc...

Maybe...

I kinda doubt it.

UPDATE: The consensus around the gunblog world, is that what this guy is talking about, is a known issue, but not what he thinks it is.

If you eject a live round with force, while the objection port is obstructed, you are covering it with your hand etc... (for example, trying to catch the ejected round in your hand); the round can rebound off your hand, and end up in a position where it can be set off by the ejector.

Not only is this a known issue by anyone who spends much time in the competitive shooting world (where doing so is generally a procedural violation); but it's not an issue just for Glocks. Most rimfire and centerfire semi-auto pistols have this particular potential problem to some degree or another.

The way to solve the problem is either to not cover the ejection port, or to eject a live round slowly, or both (I generally recommend both; though some pistols will jam a case or live round up if you don't eject smartly).

So it has nothing to do with the pistol being a Glock, or a .40. Though, I'll grant this may happen easier with the Glock design, given it has a very small and pointy ejector tip that is slightly closer to the firing pin than in some other designs; that doesn't make this a design flaw or safety problem for Glocks.