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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I did a search and did not find sufficient information to answer my question, so here goes. How do the polymer pistols hold up compared to steel frame (1911) pistols? Already have a SA mil-spec, but have kind of had my eye on a SW99 for my next addition. I just don't want to spend the money on the SW99 if it's life-span is going to be noticeably shorter than a 1911. If so, I'll just go with another 1911. Oh, and assume generic ball ammo being used 99% of the time. And--.45 of course!
 

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PLASTIC?

If you really really really want a plastic 45 ACP suggest H&K, Glock, or STI.
 

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You might also consider the Wilson KZ-45. I have over 4000 problem free rounds through mine and it shows no signs of wear, breakage or any other problems. I'm going to shoot another 150 or so rounds through it today.
 

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The jury is still out since Polymer Frame technology is simply way too new to really know the answer yet. But since most of the wear items are still steel or alloy, the lifespan should be comparable. A few of the designs, like the SiGPros, have inserts that can be changed out or upgraded if needed.

We know that the all stell frames can have long life spans. It's not unreasonable to find 50, 60, 70 even 100 year old handguns that still function flawlessly. Whether or not the Polymer frames will last that long is still open to discussion. But as long as you can change out those components that do wear, the barrels, firing pins, springs and such, longevity should not be an issue.
 

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I can't say how plastic will last compared to steel, but I can say that the one time I got to play with a SW99, I got to experience the worst trigger I've ever seen. Gritty and sproingy to put a glock to shame!

It's a neat gun, but I'd go with a glock or sig before I chose a SW autoloader. Revolvers are their forte....

For defense, competition and daily carry, I prefer steel over plastic. I've never noted any really appreciable weight difference between the two.
 

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Synthetic plastic was invented in 1907 and patented in 1909. Some of that plastic is still in use.

During World War II the US Navy issued a plastic framed pistol to members of their Underwater Demolition Teams. A sample can be seen at the UDT/SEAL Museum in Florida.
 

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Dave T said:
You might also consider the Wilson KZ-45. I have over 4000 problem free rounds through mine and it shows no signs of wear, breakage or any other problems. I'm going to shoot another 150 or so rounds through it today.
Have you found any good holsters for that pistol? I like the looks of it, but was curious as to holster availability. Also, any problem with the wilson MIM parts?
 

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Why does everyone dog on the smith and wesson 99 and still love the walther version? They are more or less the same gun. The smith is a great pistol. It is everything a glock should be and more. Try the QA trigger and you will never go back to anything short of a tuned 1911. I have worked with a lot of 99s (Unlike most of the folks that have such negative opinions on the internet) and I can tell you that you will not regrett buying one. I would much rather have it than any glock I have handled. The walthers are nice too, but I like the smiths better. As for polymer...I wonder the same things, but I do see a lot of very well respected gunfighters like Chuck Taylor and Gabe Suarez carrying them...and they should know what they are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies everybody. I should have mentioned in my original post that I absolutely positively hate Glocks more than anybody should have a right to. Yes, I have shot them on several different occasions, and reliability is the only thing I like. I have done quite a bit of research on the SW99 and the early models had a few production bugs to work out, but Smith jumped right on it and fixed them. I find very few bad reviews about them (regarding the trigger, after a few hundred trigger pulls the trigger supposedly smooths out). Plus, the price is right and money talks, or so they say. For the record, I don't like the looks of squared trigger guards, so the Walther version is out for me.
 

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The older I get, the more my lower back feels any added strain. I try to stretch and exercise each day, and it helps. Wearing 41+ oz. of steel a whole day while walking, bending,m stooping, etc. is tough. Wearing 24 oz. of polymer in 45 or 40 is downright pleasant and comforting as well as comfortable. Yeah, who cares about longevity of polymer? The factory will replace it, anyway, due to liability and reputation concerns. In fact, I think teh consumers are the true field tests for the gun manufacturers to further improve and develop new technologies. Buy polymer for comfort, blaze away, and forget about any wear issues. I think our great grandchildren will still be able to shoot the polymer framed guns of today.
 

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I have the Walther P99 (which as others have said is pretty much the same) and it is absolutely true that the trigger smooths and lightens considerably with firing/use (though mine wasn't awful to start). In fact, mine is almost lighter than I would like now in single action--definitely lighter than my 1911. Also, someone said there wasn't much weight difference, which simply isn't true--the walther feels lighter to me fully loaded than my 1911 does empty. It is also supremely easy to take down for cleaning. Mine has been utterly reliable--not a single failure of any kind w/ any ammo. And its nice not to have to worry about them as much.

Don't get me wrong, my 1911 is probably still my favorite pistol overall, but certainly some of the polymers have many things to recommend them, and I think you will be doing fine to buy the SW99.
 

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METALHEAD

But I was thinking.................

H&K has offered 'plastic' pistols for over 30 years; the delicious P9S, and the VP70 (how many here actually held one of those funny-feeling ray guns?).
 

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Re: METALHEAD

WESHOOT2 said:

the delicious P9S, and the VP70 (how many here actually held one of those funny-feeling ray guns?).
The VP70 is strange. There is no side lock, and its got the european heel release. But its got an 18 round mag! and its DAO
My Grandfather has both, they are OK, aside from being bulky. I dont think, however, that too many people carry them ar subject them to abuse.

BTW, here in Seattle at Central Gun Excahnge, they have a 100% VP70 for $399! Thats cheap!! The owner said since mags are hard to find, and expensive, the price is low!
 

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I have the .45 version of the SW99 and I really like it. One thing, though - if you shoot high thumb, get it down and keep it down. If you don't, there is a definite tendency to bump the slide release during recoil and lock the slide back. At least for me, anyway. As long as I keep it locked down, I haven't had any reliabilty problems at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks everybody for all the input! However, I have taken a slightly different path than planned and am now enduring the waiting period for the People's Republic of Wichita so I can pick up my Sig P220. I had discounted the Sig because I couldn't find one to shoot, but walked into a local range and guy behind the counter pulled his out of his holster and told me to go shoot it. I fell in love. Plus, they had a used one with no visible wear on it at the best used price I could find around here. So again, thanks for all the input!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It is of recent manufacture, and is all black. I know the frame is aluminum alloy, but I'm not worried. I've heard some guys had problems with them, and I've talked with more who had zero problems.
 

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IMNSHO&E

Seem to always group 2"-or-under, reliable with 'correct' ammo (ONLY woes I've observed are with crap handloads), durable (enough, although I've seen two cracked frames, and a few that shed their sights), greatly liked by those who 'fit' them.

Too high a bore axis for ME, weird balance in MY hand, and control locations uncomfortable for ME.

Nice gun.
 
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