There’s a story developing in south Florida about the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office experiencing a high number of malfunctions in their GLOCK handguns. Specifically, firing pins are cracking and chipping in the handguns, causing failures to fire. The local CBS affiliate has the story . . .

Obtained by CBS4 News, the confidential sheriff’s department document outlines a series of incidents in which problems with the Glock firing pin caused the gun to malfunction and not fire.

Issued by the department’s armor, or gun expert, the March 13 report is titled simply: Firing Pin Issue. In each case where there was a misfire, the gun was taken apart and the firing pin was found to be cracked or chipped.

[…]

A spokesman for Speer Ammunition, the company that provides ammunition to the PBSO, told CBS4 News:

“We are committed to providing our customers with the best ammunition available to meet their needs. We have been working directly and swiftly with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department and their firearms manufacturer to determine a solution for their concerns about premature firing pin erosion. We are confident that we’ve jointly addressed their concern.”

It sounds like GLOCK is focusing on the ammunition that the department is using as the culprit, and that seems to make sense. Every incident that the PD’s report lists seems to have been from the last few months, a time when we were at the height of the ammunition shortage and some substandard ammunition was making its way into the supply chain.

The real clue here is that this seems to be an isolated incident. Only one police department is reporting the problem, and even surrounding departments have re-checked their weapons and found no issues. So whatever the problem happens to be, it should be something related to either a unique maintenance method used at that one department or some sketchy ammo purchased there.

90 Responses to Palm Beach Sheriff: GLOCK Firing Pins Breaking, Not Reliable

  1. I know I’m a dinosaur, but this is another reason that I’m glad that I have remained a faithful follower of John Moses Browning’s design of 1911……….

    Over 500K rounds through various stock, semi-custom and custom 1911s and I have never seen a firing pin failure. Load, press trigger, bang, rinse and repeat as warranted………

    Let the flames begin!

    • Glad you like the 1911 – I’ll eventually get one. I’ve got 3 Glocks now, and they all work well. I had some magazine issues on my Glock 35, but that’s it.

    • No flames here, the finest gun ever made. I have a 3/4 size Smith 4516 for CC, otherwise I would have a fullsize 1911 on me, Randy

    • No flaming, sorry to ruin your day. I have a 1911A1 GI-type sitting right next to a Glock 23 with a drop-in .357 SIG barrel. Neither one has ever let me down. So long as I’m allowed to own both, I’m not picking a side.

    • This is a little off topic, but am I the only one who thinks Fate of Destinee’s videos are unwatchable? Mind you, I can’t quite put a finger on WHY they are so bad. However, I can never seem to make it through one of her videos without wanting to cut myself…

      She’s pretty and I appreciate her support for the RKBA. I also like her advocacy for physical fitness as a critical part of shooting and life in general. But…

      • It’s called not bringing anything new to the table. I like Fate of Destinee. Attractive. I’m sure she’s good company. But I am also not a fan of her videos.

      • Several factors. The topic: aside from Gunracer1958 et al, I think many of us don’t get excited with this whole “my gun is better/etc than yours”.
        The delivery: rather bland.
        The information presented: to even handed, almost. She tries hard to be professional, scientific. She is also right, but no one outside of a multivariate statistics class would care. And she ends ups contradicting her point: that empirical or anecdotal evidence is no evidence.

    • Sometimes the old time proven weapons are the best . I have 2 Browning hi-powers . Trust them with my life . Not too fond of plastic guns for protection . Although I do have a few for my own testing . But like you I prefer metal over plastic any day .

  2. I have been using a lot 0f crap ammunition over the past few months and neither my XD 45 nor my XD/m 9mm has failed to fire. Don’t think it was the ammo. What is more likely is that the Palm Beach Sherrif’s Department purchased a Glock lot with a manufacturing defect. That would explain the uniqueness of the problem.

    • It’s pretty unlikely that all the involved officers got their weapon at the same time though. New handguns tend to be purchased and issued to officers as they are hired, so it would be very unusual for the entire department, or even a significant portion, to receive new handguns simultaneously.

      • Unless the Sheriff’s office is using just-in-time purchasing they would have an inventory in the armory. Purchase date is different than issue date.

  3. I’ve got thousands and thousands through my stoeger cougar, no issues, I’m not even religious about cleaning it, ammo of all types, +p, brass, steel, aluminum, foreign, domestic, cheap, expensive, HP, SP, FMJ. Even glock can let a few lemons through

    • How long have you had yours? I really liked the ergonomics and the price point, but when I owned one about 2-3 years ago I couldn’t get it to fire more than five shots in a row. If they have fixed some of the problems, I might consider getting another one to mess around with.

  4. For what it’s worth, my glock 23 gen4 firing pin is fine and I’ve put 2300 rounds through it since I got it in November. Nor have I heard anyone at my sportsman club’s IDPA league have an problems with their glocks and they all have been shooting them longer than I have.

    • My Glock 42 has jammed several times with different types of ammo . I still have it but I went back to carrying my Ruger Lcr 357. Also have a Smith 36 .

  5. Or maybe the armorer is trying to justify not having his position eliminated b/c of budget cuts? Just saying, always bet on the whore.

  6. The “A Few Thoughts on Cody Wilson’s Plastic Fantastic” story seems to have bug in it for my browser. I can’t see the story and no story below it appears.
    You can use the previos/next story to get pat it but something is amiss.
    Anyone else??

  7. a time when we were at the height of the ammunition shortage and some substandard ammunition was making its way into the supply chain.

    This is one complaint that I have conspicuously NOT heard so far through this shortage. Any sources to cite?

    • I can show you the picture of an AR that blow up because someone bought reloads. It was a dumb move but he needed ammo at that was all he could find at the time. Might not mean that Federal was producing bad ammo but people were taking whatever they could get there hands on and not always being picky about the brands or source.

      Thanks
      Robert

      • If you search you will find factory ammo blowing up guns as well as reloads. Going boom in a bad way is not a reload problem. I have used thousands of rounds from Freedom Munitions (reloaded brass) and not a single issue.

  8. Is it possible this is an armorer issue? I have known several people who ruined their guns through an “improvement” to the design; that does include a LEO who ruined his Sig duty weapon. (He was his department’s armorer.)

    • I suspect that if TTAG digs a little, they will find that perhaps the armorer’s position was going to be nixed for budget cuts, and this is just a way for him to save his job.

      • You know, that’s a pretty serious accusation there. Sabotaging his co-workers’ primary means of protection and self-defense in a field that requires self-defense routinely? :/

  9. I have fired 100’s of cheap surplus and chinese rounds through my Gluk, no problem.
    Isn’t this the same scum PBPD Chief that was in tghe news a few weeks ago?
    I’ll bet he’s trying to extort a vaction deal outa Gluk, or he switches to another firearm

  10. Personal guess is it will turn out to be one of 2 things. 1) A bad batch of firing pins. 2) They got a good deal on a batch of old ammo that was really old and cursive and the officers didn’t clean there guns after shotting it and the metal part have been getting eaten away on there Glock’s.

    Thanks
    Robert

    • Corrosive ammo(primers) is generally only a problem with the barrels if left dirty. The residue attracts and holds moisture, but not a problem if cleaned after firing. I would hope that LEO’s would be motivated to clean their weapons after range use. The firing pin is isolated from most of the blast crap. Now a primer surface that is too hard could cause premature wear.

    • I don’t know… Speer makes good stuff and what kind of ammo is THAT bad? It begs a lot of questions. Because what is a firing pin exposed to, really? It physically strikes the primer and it is also exposed to gases from the primer and power, right? It’s not like Glock’s haven’t fired cheap, POS corrosive Russian ammo before with no issues in the past, or am I wrong? To say that one pallet of ammo distributed amongst their officers (probably 500 rounds per officer at most) was corrosive enough to eat a Glock firing pin just seems like an AWFULLY big stretch. It seems far more likely that Glock made a bad batch of strikers.

      • A primer should NEVER get directly exposed to hot gases, UNLESS you have a primer pierced. I expect that I have shot over 200K of major power .38 Super or 9×23 rounds through my IPSC Open guns (115 grain JHP at 1400+fps) using small rifle primers and never had a FP failure…………

        • When you first use the word “primer” in that reply, did you mean to write “striker?”

          If so, then that would mean either the primer is too hard and it cracking the striker or Glock is full of sh*t and they made a bad batch of strikers.

        • Hal,

          My bad, I did in fact misspeak. The original post should have said firing pin (striker in Glock parlance) should never get directly exposed to hot gases.

          Thought process overloading fat fingered typing skills!

        • It’s not big deal I actually did the same thing in my reply but caught it in time to edit it. Haha.

  11. Any firing pin pictures? Ammunition cartridge pictures on the ones that didn’t fire? Enquiring Armorers want to know!

  12. In any other industry “Polymer” is known as “plastic”. I’ll keep my Sig Sauer that does not have a plastic frame thank you!

    • Patriot certainly keeps one in the tube ready for the polymer bad guy doesn’t he.
      I’ll have to check my XD and M&P’s to make sure I don’t have a plastic firing pin.

      • Some polymers are thermosetting not thermoplastic. There is a technical difference in the terminology. Just because one does not know the reason there is a difference doesn’t mean there is no difference.

  13. I’d be interested in knowing just how many firing pins were bad. Also, if any mods were made to those guns.

  14. Cant say I have thousands of rounds through my Gen 4 G23 but I have had it for a year and have probably shot it more than the average police officer. Not a single issue yet. The range I shoot at has 2 of every Glock except in 10mm and they dont take the best of care of their rentals but never any issues with them either. I agree with another post above mine, they probably got a bad lot when they ordered.

  15. Trying to read the CBS article was annoying as hell. I sure don’t need some imbecile ‘reporter’ trying to educate me on the various terms – that just manages to make himself look even more stupid than he really does (and yeah I saw his picture – he’s pretty repulsive to begin with) and makes his readers even more stupid in the process.

    Does everyone not know that Glocks have STRIKERS, not firing pins? I’m sure the differences are largely one of semantics but still.

    Valid issue or not? I dunno, but my personal instinct would be to dig down for motives. My first hunch upon reading the article is that the PBSO just wants more money for new guns and needs an excuse to milk more taxpayer dollars from the cow.

    • It would not be the first time a PD used questionable info to get “something” or to justify an expendature. Or, a way for the PD to get something from Glock.

      That said, stuff breaks, Glock has had their share of extractor issues and the striker sleeve was an issue on some models in that it would crack.

      These news blurbs are always too generic with the person reporting having less clue than the person who they spoke with.

      We will never get the full story

      • They use a striker action instead of a hammer, but both actions have a firing pin that actually hits the primer.

  16. I bought my Gluk (used) in 1991 or so simply because it was more ergonomic than my 1911(one of 5 custom builds) and weather resistant, My AO gets more than 45 inches of rain a year.
    As to corrosive ammo, I have seen handguns ruined, inside and outside by corrisive ammo.
    A Ruger blackhawk in 30 Carbine comes to mind. French surplus corrosive amm was to blame

  17. As a retired armorer from the Riverside County Sheriffs department I have seen all types of failures. Working for a department with 3000 sworn I can site a failure in just about any gun you can name ( we have 160 authorized hand guns). I have had my share of Glocks, rear rails coming off, the 40 S&W song and dance from Glock when it has a light one it. Glocks answer, it’s the light it needs to be our light, oh we fixed it we added another coil ot the mag spring or it’s the ammo or the shooter.

  18. Not a single issue with Glock strikers in close to 20 years. Magazine springs, yes. Replaced them with Wolf +10% – no more issues.

    Certain maintenance practices could call for replacement of the plastic striker sleeves and spring cups. Not replacing them could lead to striker issues.

  19. I bought a boatload of Speer Lawman .45acp both fmj and flying ashtrays in the 90’s. Still shooting it. My 20 year old G21’s firing pin looks fine. My 5 year old G36 is fine as well. I ain’t going to panic.

  20. Only issues I’ve had with my 4th Gen G23 is that my grip would engage the slide stop, no big deal. 1,000 rounds fired after I pulled it out of the box, I didn’t wipe down the gun. No issues other than my grip. I’m now 5k down and zero issues. My S&W Shield in 9 ran the same tests. I removed the grip sleeve on the extended mag and slammed it in once and the mag went past the release and wedged itself in the extractor.

  21. Bad ammo? Were the cases made of concrete? Or was the department shooting extra-hot loads?

    Or maybe a few defective strikers escaped the perfection factory. That would make it time for one of Glock’s “voluntary exchange” programs, as it did with the perfect Gen4 springs that weren’t so perfect.

  22. See, that’s why you buy Russian guns. They designed to run perfectly on crappy, low-quality ammo and when you feed them something nice they just smile and say “Thanks!”.

  23. I own a Glock 17 (smooth grips) from about 1990 that STILL works just fine. Couldn’t even guess how many rounds through it. This kinda stuff happens all the time, you just dont hear about it. Department I used to work for: SigPro’s that jammed constantly, SW99’s that the rear sight popped off constantly, current issue M&P’s that won’t feed copper wash vs. copper jacket bullets. It happens, you fix it and move on…

    • That is all fine and dandy but paper targets do not shoot back at you.
      Would hate to have my a firing pin break at the moment my life or someone else’s life was counting on it working.

  24. Feh.

    First, this isn’t the first time Glock strikers have broken off their tips. It happens. Firing pin breakage has happened on guns going back to… well, the first primed cartridges. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking a Colt SAA, S&W first-gen wheelgun, Springfield 1903, Mauser, Luger, whatever.

    Second, if the rate of striker failure is statistically outside the norm, it might be a heat treating problem (my first guess as to steel failure in modern guns is most always a ‘heat treat issue’).

    Third, I’d really have to doubt that ammo is the problem. Most people who don’t shoot service rifles (or reload) fail to understand that there’s a pretty wide variance in primer cup “squishiness” (for lack of a better term) among various primer manufactures – CCI trends harder, Federal makes some pretty squishy primer cups, and Rem/Win are in-between. Speer ammo uses (last I knew) CCI primers. I’ve never, ever had a FP break on CCI primers, but then I detail-clean my guns more regularly than most. On my reloads for service rifles, I use CCI primers which are rated for service rifles, which have even thicker cups than normal to prevent slam-fires. Never, ever had an issue.

    Now, they claim they’re shooting Speer ammo. Well, if they’re constrained on ammo, I’ll bet that what the truth actually is goes like this:

    “We normally shoot Speer ammo… but we’ve been shooting some other stuff that we could actually find without dipping into the donut fund…”

    If the PD is shooting “Wolf” or “Tula” or whatever from a former Commie country… well, they deserve what they get. Every time I hear of a complaint about Russian/Chinese/ComBlock ammo or arms, I put my palm to my face and mutter “The stupid… it burns so badly.”

    For those ammo manufactures, the thing to remember are the immortal words of Comrade Joe:

    “Quantity has a quality all it’s own.”

    That’s all you’re getting there: Quantity. And maybe cheap prices.

  25. I think Destiny makes an excellent point that much about what we perceive regarding a particular brand and/or model of firearm is often only based on general reputation and the opinion of one or two reviewers.

    Military and Law Enforcement procurement trials are the most scientific efforts to determining a guns reliability I can think of.

    For example, the extensive tests results done by DHS, DOD, and the FBI before selecting Beretta, Sig Sauer, or Glock models.

    The design of those tests included many test guns of the same model fired during varied conditions, and for long durations.

    These results give you a foundation to support the more anecdotal evidence of a particular firearm’s reliability claims found on forums, blogs, gun magazine’s, etc.

    That said, you still have to test your own gun to greatest extent possible given your own resources. Even if its a model that has already been proven reliable by an Agencies extensive testing.

    So, to answer her original question I feel the best approach is to take a look at, and consider for purchase, which brand and models have been reviewed positively as a result of trial testing coupled with many years of positive field use reports.

    • Oops. I meant, Destinee. Not Destiny. My bad. I Can’t beleive the grammer cops around here missed it. 😉

    • “Military and Law Enforcement procurement trials are the most scientific efforts to determining a guns reliability I can think of.

      For example, the extensive tests results done by DHS, DOD, and the FBI before selecting Beretta, Sig Sauer, or Glock models.”

      That is why I tell people to steer clear of the P250. If you want a polymer Sig, get the SP2022.

  26. Anything from this agency is not to be trusted. This is the one whose so-called sheriff is spending grant money to have a program for people to report their neighbors if they hate government.

  27. Glocks and Glock owners remind me of Apple and Apple owners.
    People that buy things because someone else has one and thinks its hip.
    Who cares if they pay more for less it is all about being cool.

  28. Dyspeptic Gunsmith & I share mirrored thoughts. My bet is on the heat treat or that they simply got a batch of raw stock that wasn’t up to snuff. The softer primer cup…may compound it.

    Shot a few Glocks, but don’t own one. All donations accepted! They’re about as fussy about ammo Mfg and style of bullet as my Sig Tactical…both EAT ANYTHING, just seem to print better with certain loads.

    My only qualm is brass deformation from the Glocks. That ugly little ‘beer belly’ that appears toward the base of the brass and can render cases that won’t chamber in other ‘pickier’ pistols with tighter tolerances…(like a Taurus in the collection that I’d sell in a heartbeat since it refuses all reloads or at least has get-you-killed issues with home-grown fodder). Life happens, things sometimes don’t measure or hold up, but since one of our daughters is capable of tearing her G19 g3 down…I’m sure any LEO or other Glock owner can do the same. That’s the beauty of the premiere “plastic” sidearm; pretty damn simple to own, operate and even smith on one’s own.

  29. From what I have been told by a deputy at the PBSO, they also don’t take care of their guns. Cleaning and maintenance is unheard of in the department. Does that equal a chipped firing pin? I don’t know about that, but how can I trust that someone is saying that the manufacturer is at fault when they aren’t taking care of the gun per the manufacturers recommendations?

  30. CBS…yeah, the MSM will always go after the most popular/best foundation bedrock models: divide and conquer, nip in bud.
    Remington 700 safety. Glock firing pin. AR-15 period….what’s next ?

  31. It is the ammunition, green ammo. The fire clean primers are causing damage. This is not just a Glock problem, other handguns have had the same issues with high round count.

  32. The cops in Florida are shooting so many ppl they’ve run out of good ammo ROFLMAO….you can’t make this stuff up

    Hey chief did you get that new shipment of Nigerian reloads I’m out again!

  33. Sounds like this police dept wanted to justify buying a brand new batch of more expensive guns. Any pictures of these broken strikers? Any video? Any proof other than a cheezy statement and a poorly written news story? I call BS, or abuse and a lack of proper cleaning. Even a Glock should be cleaned once in awhile so soot doesnt build up in the striker channel.

    Cops everywhere seem to have unlimited budgets for new guns, Milwaukee Sheriff claimed Glocks only have a “lifespan of 4 years” which means my 1990 G22 that runs perfect after umpteenth thousands of rounds on the original barrel should be tossed? Or he just wanted an excuse to get Gen 4 Glocks? Do the math.

  34. I just hope Glock is not getting firing pins made out of junk metal from China . It seems companies go after the cheapest parts they can find to increase their bottom line . The FBI has apparently signed a contract with Glock . I believe for 38,000,000.00 . So has part of the military .

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