Bardstown PD Chief mimes gun defect. Show us the GLOCK! (courtesy wdrb.com)

“Dangerous defects were found on the guns that Bardstown Police Officers carry with them on a daily basis,” wdrb.com reports. “Hairline fractures appeared on 12 guns, which were immediately taken out of commission. That’s nearly half of the weapons of the 27-man department and Captain Tom Roby says it’s a serious concern . . .

“At one point the gun would actually fall apart,” said Cpt. Roby. The issue was discovered on the Glock model 23s during recent training practices. Those guns were purchased back in 2000. “It’s a hairline crack,” Roby said. “But with a little pressure you could spread it open. And .40 caliber is a high pressure handgun.” Cpt. Roby said, over the years that pressure adds up. He said officers continually train with their weapons. Many even practice shooting on their off days.

OK, you lost me . . .

In the main, cops do not “continually train” with their department-issued firearms. Nor do they spend their off-days at the gun range, generally speaking. (More’s the pity.) That’s especially true when the ammo cost comes out of their own pockets. So that smells. And what are the odds of 12 15-year-old GLOCK 23’s having a hairline fracture problem at the exact same time? Five words: picture or it didn’t happen. Curiously absent from the video at the link. Nice mime, Chief . . .

Sure, the guns in question are .40-caliber, a “high pressure” round that’s snappier than an alcohol-deprived Dorothy Parker. But I’d bet dollars to cop Krispy Kremes that the firearms have seen no more than 5000 rounds in their service life. Which reminds me: GLOCKS are plastic, with bits of metal on board. Bardstown, Kentucky ain’t Plano, Texas but the Bluegrass State can get plenty hot in the summer. Were the guns cleaned, lubricated and stored properly? And now that I think of it, were the Bardstown cops using the correct ammo and nothing but the correct ammo? Maybe it’s a miracle they lasted as long as they did.

After about 15 years of wear and tear, the police department will receive $12,000 from the city. That money will be used to purchase new guns after the severity of the cracks was demonstrated to council members.

“Once the last round is fired, the action should be to lock back. In this case it wouldn’t lock back and then basically the slide would fall off the front of the barrel if you tipped it down,” said Roby.

The guns will be sent back to Glock for repair and possibly be resold. In the meantime, twelve of the officers have to make do without their standard weapon.

“Some officers like myself are carrying a personal weapon until we can get them replaced,” said Cpt. Roby.

Cops should have the best possible firearms to do their jobs. As should all civilians. But when the taxpayers are picking up the tab, someone should be putting an eye on the boys in blue, just in case they’re playing fast and loose with their firearms procurement process. Just sayin’ . . .

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91 Responses to GLOCK 23s Falling Apart! Or Not . . .

    • No kidding. What kind of a hairline fracture would cause the slide to fall off after the last round? If it would fall off after the last round, why wouldn’t it fall off, or fly off after any round?

  1. —And what are the odds of 12 15-year-old GLOCK 23’s having a hairline fracture problem at the exact same time? —

    Yeah, I’d agree something seems a bit fishy there — What do you want to bet somebody wants to get off the .40cal fad & on to the new 9mm craze sweeping the nation?

    Not that I disagree of course, but somebody should have told them the guns would probably have had a higher resale value if they didn’t damage them before trading them back to Glock.

  2. Well no surprise. The 40 S&W beats the daylights out of firearms. The 40 is a bad mix that was meant to be a 45 with a 9 speed. Like I said a bad mix in my personal opinion.

    • What the .40 Short & Weak really was was a wimped down 10mm. Smith got the idea since they FBI had a bunch of whiny little bitches and started having Federal load their 10mm in FBI Lite loads. The figured why waste brass capacity and came up with the .40. The problem that pisses me off is now many companies like Federal still load the 10mm as FBI Lite loads. In fact the only one of the big 4 ammo makers with a hot load ironically is the Winchester 175 Gr SilverTip HP.

      • The difference is that 10mm was put into .45 ACP sized guns. Once they Slow and Wimpie’d the 10mm, they put it in 9mm sized guns. Thats where the problem comes in.

        • Actually that isn’t completely true. If you exclude the Bren-Ten which was basically a prototype, the first gun was the Smith & Wesson 1006 series and the Glock 21. It was Colt that tried to retro-fit a 1911 which the called the Delta. That was never really in the running for the FBI. The FBI went with the Smiths and Glocks for a short period. There is nothing 9mm size about that 1006 series of 10mm nore the Glock 20.

        • You forgot about the Colt Delta Elite. I don’t think they held up all that well, actually.

        • I still have my Colt Delta Elite 10mm with the original Hornady “hot” rounds, 170grains at 1350 fps with 631 pound feet of muzzle energy. Those rounds did damage to my frame rails after only 300 rounds. Took a file to them and kept on shooting. Still have about 600 rounds of that stuff—love it!

        • The Delta Elite is what he was talking about. The S & W 1006 and variants were made for the 10mm and were large pistols. The G20 was also made for it and is the largest frame pistols that Glock made.

      • Actually, the FBI irdered S&W 10mm guns and had special ammo made with 180 GE bullets at 1050 fps. They never used the hot stuff. The .40 S&W came about as a result of the FBI load. When the smoke cleared, it was exactly what Jeff Cooper had tried to get built in the first place. Instead, he got the Bren Ten with super hot loads.
        Flocks are known to begin having serious issues after 3000 rounds, especially the springs in the 40s. Slide failures are not as common but does anyone remember when Berretta bought the U.S. Govt. contract for a military sidearm? Politics aside, they had a number of slide failures. When the slide would fail it would come off the gun and into the shooter’s face causing fairly serious injuries including one fractured jaw. The 92F was modified with a “slide catch” and renamed the 92FS to indicate that the slide catch was installed. Berretta gad a heat treat problem and chose to install slide catches even though our tax dollars were used to help them solve the heat trea issue.
        It is possible that all of the flocks in this department were ordered at one time out if a single batch. That batch may have had issues. I worked in tool manufacturing and sometimes metal just would not act right when heat treated and would fail our destructive testing or would slip out the door and get returned under warranty due to fractures and failures in use. Turns out the Japanese steel we would get was not always to spec. We bought a spectrum analyzer and discovered that steel was sometimes mid labeled or was just manufactured wrong. Things happen. Mechanical things break.
        It appears they are pleased with their Glocks, just want them fixed.
        Most manufacturers consider 5000 rounds to be the life of their product so if officers shoot 500 rounds a year that would be about 7500 rounds through those guns. Might be time for new ones.

        • Stupid spell check. I wrote it right. You will figure it out I am sure but I DID write it correctly. Grrrrr.

        • Which manufacturer considers 5,000 rounds the life cycle of a gun? The recoil spring, maybe, but surely not the rest of the gun (particularly the steel slide which appears to be at fault here)?

          I ran through 3,500 rounds in my first year as a gun owner, and I’m hardly the heaviest shooter around. I imagine there are competition shooters out there who shoot that much in a single year.

        • The Beretta M9 is considered to only have a service life of 5k rounds per the Army contract. Change a few springs and a dip in an ultrasonic cleaner would probably make it good as new, but thats what the Army says

      • It/s not like the FBI light round is a wimpy. It is still about 50% more energy than comparable 9mm and 45ACP rounds. But I guess that’s not good enough for real men.

        • The .40 S&W really is a good round; Jeff Cooper was instrumental in its development as a round for law enforcement and it has proven itself to be a good round. It is halfway between the 9mm and the 11mm (.45ACP) so it fills the void nicely. I might have bought into it if I had not already started with the .45 and the 10mm first. Since I already own a dozen or so .45s, I most likely will not buy a .40 but I will never badmouth it; it is a great round with lots of energy (441 ft/lbs) and velocity (1050 fps) with a 180 or 200 grain bullet. That is a lot of power in the hand. Many of us waited a long time for the Bren Ten (Don Johnson, Miami Vice) to hit the market but when it did, no magazines were available for it—small problem unless you like single shot pistols, so when Colt released the Delta Elite, many of us jumped on it. It is truly an impressive gun/cartridge. I had no problem carrying it as a defensive weapon in Grizzly country—300fps faster than the 10mm with 200 ft/lbs more energy. Hard on the gun but oh so sweet in the hand!!!

        • My only .40 is a Glock 20 with a LoneWolf long slide and the conversion barrel (I have a 10mm and 9mm for it too).

          That nice big heavy slide eats up any recoil, and makes it a pussycat to shoot.

      • Yeah, please stand in front of the target while I empty a mag in to it. We’ll see how wimpy a round it is then.

        • The .40 S&W is really just a .41AE but S&W was the first to make a standard production round out of it so they got to name it.

        • I will tell you what genius. I will do it after you let me dump a magazine of 9×18 Mak in your face from a CZ82.

  3. Wow.
    When you have a clueless reporter trying to interpret a disingenuous statement from law enforcement brass, you really wind up unintelligible garbage.

    Glock has some pretty sweet trade-in programs for LEOs so $12,000 should go a long way.

    • you hit the bullseye with that statement. stuffs broke and nobody wants to take the flack….

  4. Yeah that mean ole .40. My Gen 3 10mm with real 10 ammo runs just fine. Im tired of the .40 high pressure excuse too.

    • Furthermore, what does high-pressure have to do with anything? Aside from stressing the brass casing and the barrel near the chamber, the pressure of the cartridge does not affect the slide or anything else. The only thing that “high-presssure” could do is create a higher velocity for a given bullet weight which creates more recoil. Are people now going to claim that .40 S&W creates too much recoil for full-size polymer pistol frames? Inquiring minds (and people who own full-size polymer framed pistols in .40 S&W) want to know.

      • Conceivably, the increased recoil throws the slide back at higher velocity and puts stress on various (composite plastic) parts as the slide slams to a stop.

        It’s still a fishy story.

        • I would argue that its not the pressure that dictates slide force but rather the overall energy. While the 40 runs at higher pressures its overall muzzle energy is not out of line with other defensive cartridges. The only real spot where you’ll notice significantly more material to deal with the increased pressures would be in barrel thickness.

          Finally given the nature of how these Glocks and most other semis work the slide speed is controlled by the recoil spring. I’m pretty confident given their track record that Glock can size a recoil spring properly.

    • 40 s&w runs at the same SAMMI pressure as 9mm. It does have more recoil due to tossing heavier bullets at similar velocities.

      • It does, but the .40 S&W case isn’t nearly as strong. 9mm brass handles +P+ like a champ, and nato loads get up over 40kpsi. You push .40 over 37kpsi you’re going to start having problems.

        • 9MM cant handle +p too much either and a steady diet of them in a 9MM design will cause slide and frame issues. I have been reloading for 20 years. 9Mm and 40 are same pressure. 40SW are not “HIGH” pressure. The problem comes from a gun designed to run 9MM, then later changed to run 40SW. Do this and yes the guns will fail sooner then if running 9MM. Other problem with Glocks is they don’t run with a support chamber and therefor run even high pressure. now take a gun that was design to run 40SW or more and no issues. just wait the FBI is in for a load of shit. They picked because of price the “Special FBI glock” but they are running 9MM +P+ at 41,000 PSI. Who wanna bet they fail equal to or faster then the 40SW glocks?

  5. yeah, I would be willing to take it at face value. BUT, i would love to see a armorer strip these babies down and see what there is to see.

    • Nothing to see here. Move along.

      I mean the Chief MIMES the defect. And the reporter never asks to see the guns? Give me a break.

      • I’d bet someone did a very thorough examination on ‘old’ guns as a safety review, either after someone had an issue or the examiner wanted to drum up business… or both. If they needed magnification or dye to show hairline cracks, pictured may be too much of a bother once the council was convinced. I’d certainly not want to do a live-fire video demo of my self-disassembling handgun.

        That said, it’s entirely possible that many of the damaged guns belonged to enthusiasts who really did rack up some massive round counts. Not to forget possible abuse from heat, chemicals, funky ‘cleaning’ practices, improper ammo, etc.

  6. What evidence do we have that .40 S&W beats up Glocks … and Smith and Wesson M&Ps while we are at it?

    Better question: about how many rounds can we expect to fire through a full-size polymer pistol (such as a Glock) before we should dispose of it?

    • Just to be safe, please send all used Glocks, super-high capacity glockazines, and any related accessories to my FFL. For the children.

      • Dickie J, if you have any overstock, please feel free to have it forwarded to me – I’ll help save the children too!

    • I have over 1000 in my polymer framed ruger SR40C. And the frame is 0.2 inches thinner. No hairline cracks.

    • I know right. Given the deals Glock gives departments and the value society puts on men in blue you would think it would be a pretty easy pitch to get some new guns when you haven’t bought any for 15 years.

  7. Coast Guard .40 cal sigs are experiencing large numbers of similar failures after about the same age/number of rounds.

    Fractures in the slide, mainly around the guide rod and recoil spring, some failures have resulted in the slide completely shearing off and falling off the gun.

  8. Tragically all of our old Glocks are broken, and it is with a heavy heart that we will replace them with a bunch of expensive brand new guns! WOOHOO! I mean, uh… it’s very tragic.

  9. I remember reading here iirc about the LEO trade in program mention above in the comments, I wonder if there were some issues in getting the city counsel to sign off on the expenditures. I imagine it would go something like
    “Well the guns you have now go bang dont they?”

    “Plano, Texas”

    Thanks for the shoutout haha not too hot today, but it sure is cloud and humid.

  10. I carried a Glock 22 when I was a cop, manufactured in 96. I then used it after my year of law enforcement for competitions etc. I shot the hell out of it. Maybe 15k in total through it. Finish was worn but is shot sweet as can be and was an extension of me. Then one day I was shooting some CCI blazer through it, the kind with aluminum cases, and I had a KB. Blow the mag right out and left shards all stuck in the barrel. A quick cleaning and back to the competition without another problem. I never quite felt the same about the pistol and am now Glockless. Not that it was a bad weapon, it wasn’t. It was assume. I was just unnerved about it.

    • and that’s the fault of the Glock how? Especially if you could merely clean and get the firearm back in action.

      Most likely bad ammo. Hell one of the guys I shoot competition with had that happen to a 1911 about a month ago. (again, bad ammo) — he reloads, case blew out down by the case head (either double charge or just weakened old brass). Blew out the magazine, sheared off the slide stop pin, blew off the extractor. Slide and barrel fell off the front of the gun when he stopped to look at it.

      • I never said it was the fault of the weapon Chris. Not at all, obviously it was the ammo. Of course, the lack of a fully supported round might have factored in, but still it was the ammo. Shit happens. The Glock was tough and survived it. Would the XD with a fully support chamber have had a KB too? I don’t know, maybe. Maybe not. If it had what would the result have been with the XD? I don’t know. But, I was unnerved about the Glock and sold it.

    • I completely believe you about your experience, it still doesn’t follow that a police department would have 12 guns develop cracks at the same time. Besides that, a KB is an acute failure, not generally a gradual problem that develops over time, and I doubt the PD was issuing hot reloads to their officers for practice rounds.

      The vast majority of KBs occur when using commercial or home reloads that may either be hotter than factory loads, or may have been reloaded using brass that had been resized too many times causing the brass to be either too thin for the power of the load, or to have become brittle. The way Glock manufactures their chamber mouths to be just a bit over-sized to promote greater reliability, means that when you get a hot loaded round, their may be a slighter great chance of a KB than with most other makes of guns.

      • If you have a particular batch of frames that had a metallurgical (or plastilurgical) issue, it actually makes perfect sense that a run of similar serial numbers might have failures all at the same time. If they bought them all at once, it also makes sense that they likely have a collection of guns with consecutive, or nearly so, serial numbers. So if there is a root cause for failure, doesn’t surprise me at all that a bunch of them in a single department would fail.

        I have an instructor friend who shot Glocks exclusively for several years – one of John Farnam’s adjutant instructors. He went through multiple Glock frames, shooting .357 SIG. His 9mm Glocks held up just fine, but the .357 SIG ate them up much more quickly. I think his typically failed around the 15K mark though.

        • had the same experience a few years ago buying a gass hot water heater from home depot. every time the gas would shut off because it reached temperature it would never come back on , went through 4 before I got one that would work right. all consecutive serial numbers.

  11. Perhaps Capt Roby needs to fire his armory personnel. Expecting 15 years of service out of any handgun is pushing it. Is there an inspection and programmed maintenance schedule for all duty weapons? Are the guns on their original recoil springs?
    To the line officers – If your life depends on your gun every day, perhaps you should inspect and clean it often enough to see defects forming. Glocks are as simple as they come.
    I work at a gun range and our Glocks are fired thousands of times a month. They get cleaned and inspected at least once a month. We have very few failures of any Glock components.
    Me thinks the Captains pants are en fuego…

  12. Is it not possible that one gun had a catastrophic failure and all the others were checked and problems were found with a bunch of them?

    • … But that would make sense and you can’t have that on the internet. Glock fanboys will not allow it.

  13. My 23 has a dropped-in .357SIG barrel, and it handles that pressure load just fine. Without knocking back any GLOCK-brand Kool-Aid, I’m pretty sure that the ugly little bricks are built to withstand a good bit more stress than most users put them through.

  14. I’m not a Glock fan but this story stinks. The police department wanted new guns and used this as an excuse to get them. It would be nice if the powers in the town and police department were voted out in the next election. They are really gullible if they bought this story.

  15. I had a G23 gen 3 develop a crack to the right of the bottom mold seam forward of the SN plate.

    It had about 5k rounds of rounds of Winchester White Box through it.

    GLOCK replaced my frame.

    I was told to replace the recoil spring at 1k intervals.

    The GLOCK has limitations like all firearms.

  16. Wait, what? The .40 cal is a high pressure round? When did that happen?

    The .40 S&W and the 9mm are loaded to the same 35,000 psi SAAMI maximum.

  17. I’ve got a Gen2 23 with more than 5,000 rounds through it, every variety of good/bad factory and reload ammo. I’m going to give it a thorough look-over tonight, but I always check it pretty carefully during cleaning and haven’t noticed anything yet. Worn recoil spring, yes (since changed). Chipped extractor a couple of matches ago, also fixed.

    Possible that the cops are using some sort of hot load, quasi/sorta/+p ammo?

  18. It says on the can of safariland powder blast “do not let powder blast come in contact with polymer parts” I used powder blast on a Ruger P95 with polymer rails. Powder blast did discolor the rails on the Ruger. I cleaned up the gun and sold it. The gun has not broke but the current owner has a lot of guns. He may not shoot the P95 very often. Maybe the officers in Bardstown, Kentucky were using powder blast on their guns. I thought the polymer warning was just to cover safarlands butt. I cannot imagine anyone selling a gun cleaner that damages polymer considering almost all modern guns have polymer parts.

  19. As the owner of a 10-year old Glock 23, spot on Robert Farago. The 23 remains my favorite pistol and superior to my Afghanistan proven M11.

  20. Didn’t the early 40s&w Glocks not have enough case support in their barrels? If the little hexagon has a dot in it it means that it has the support to fire the case effectively? I had used the powder blast on my old sterling 22lr and it melted one of the plastic grips…Facepalm. I can attest to the Glock 23 gen 2-3 recoil spring issues. They fail quite rapidly. Less than 2000 rounds. Had a gen3 that was jam city after 1000 rounds on a recoil spring. Traded it for a “used” gen3 27 that looked like it was never fired. The double recoil spring and compact size let’s me get a tight hold with my huge hands. Double taps with the “snappy” 40s&w is not an issue.

  21. Bardstown, Kentucky ain’t Plano, Texas but the Bluegrass State can get plenty hot in the summer.
    Awww….cmon…I do not live that far away from Bardstown KY. The heat in KY is not going to cause a gun to fall apart.

    • I have a Nylon 66 made in the late 60s or very early 70s which has survived the intense heat of Indiana Summers.

  22. Cops should have the best possible firearms to do their jobs. Actually the community might be safer if the cops did not have any guns. I know the dogs would be safer.

  23. They did start with the hot stuff because that was what was available. The “office” based agents were complaining about the recoil. Once the loads were lightened, it made since to shorten the case.

  24. “Cops should have the best possible firearms to do their jobs.”
    And what would that be, exactly? You line up all of the plastic frame, striker fired guns from Smith, Ruger, Springfield, Glock, HK, SIG, ad infinitum, and I don’t think you could objectively find a sawbuck’s worth of difference between them. It’s all personal preference. Actually, an argument could be made that the M&P and the SR9/40 are the best choices for anyone who has to carry openly, due to their available manual safeties.

    • I am what most would call a Ruger fanboy, and I love my SR series gun, but it wouldn’t be my first choice for a duty weapon if I was a LEO, if for no other reason than the magazine disconnect safety. Granted I have that disabled on my personal gun, but I doubt if it was a department issue piece they would let me get away with that for too long.

      • I like the magazine safety. If you get in a struggle, you can push the magazine release, and disable the gun. I think some departments require guns to have them for just this reason.

  25. FBI tested the 1006 & 1076 it performed like a champ the females & small agents couldn’t handle it. They may be using reloaded ammo or +p+ not stated In KY.

    If it was. 357Sig cracking a frame I have seen personally in M&P. Generous trade in? Local department traded in 14 g22&23
    9 had never been issued they were allowed $83a pistol with mags for trade-in. Sold them to officer’s for $150 max of 2. Rest kept for emergency use. Then went to Sig. 229/226. Purchased just enough for the max personnel they ever have had as reserve or on payroll.

    Fun thing is in 2011 Fn was ready to donate pistols and rifles but the politicians blew it off. The only deal was on the. 45GAPs and as soon. as the money for ammo ran out back to pre-gap guns. Right now GAP ammo is hard to find & costs more than SIG.357 or even 5.7×28

    • Guys you are forgetting one thing
      The major employer in the area MUST be protected at all costs. Google locations of distilleries, see what comes up.

  26. Other than my natural reluctance to not like Glocks, I’m sure they hold together just fine. I see no reason to think this is even close to true considering the source.

  27. I would also like to see pics and more specific details regarding the cracks. GLOCKs are tough, but with enough abuse, I could see them developing stress fractures after 15 years… assuming these guys really are firearms enthusiasts and shoot on their off days. If I had access to free (taxpayer or employer funded) ammo, I’d sure as hell get in a lot more range time. As someone else stated, these probably didn’t happen at the same time – there was probably a failure or someone noticed an issue with a single firearm and they had an inspection of the rest in which they discovered the larger issue.

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