Hark! What light foot betreads the doorstep?1 Forsooth, it is the letter carrier. And what bringeth she, apart from the usual boxes and envelopes of gun books?
‘Tis a box that is not of gun books.
It cometh from brave, brave Sir Bryan, Customer Service Knight of the castle of Polymer80 in the far realm of Carson City, Nevada, named after the famous night show host Johnny Carson City. Let us breach the seal upon this box, and behold what wonders dwelleth therein.
And what, perchance is in the box? More boxes!
With wisdom inscribed upon them, each and every one. Ah, a sage knight indeed is Sir Bryan, and all the Kingdom, that is so wise in the ways of science.
The box is mark-èd with dark and forboding signs. She’s a witch!
And what do we do with witches? Let us avaunt and begone, and exit character, stage left.
The underside of the box, of which we’ll spare you a photo, notes that it’s an “80% Multi-Caliber Glock-Compatible Pistol Frame and Jig Kit”. And it lists the configurations, which basically are a nine-cell matrix of Glock configs: service length, “tactical,” and Long lenghts, which in 9mm would be a G17, G34, or G17L in the mothership’s model numbers. (You can also, with appropriate slides and barrels, build the three versions in .357 SIG or .40 S&W). They also proudly emblazon the American flag and “Designed and Manufactured in the USA.”
The opposite end of the box (from the one with the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution on it) bears a hint of things to come: like Henry Ford’s Model T in 1908, you can get one of these frames right now in any color so long as it’s black. But the box has check-boxes for FDE, OD Green, Tactical Gray, and “Other,” as well. Polymer80 suggests that we may see colors in a few months, when pent-up demand for the black frames is exhausted and the guys at Polymer80, who have been working flat out to ship preorders intra alia, have recovered from the hangovers from the shipped-the-last-preorder party.
Fun fact: This is one of the first, if not the first, polymer frame blanks to be presented to Firearms Technology Branch for an opinion as a 3D-printed mockup.
Back into character.
Shall we open the box? Is this the long-sought Holy Grail, or just a beacon, which she suddenly remembered is grail-shaped? There is much peril here, but we open the lid.
SFX: creaking old door, or retired SF guy’s joints (same thing).
Wizards of Carson City have marked strange figures upon the jig, in an attempt to ward off evil spirits, and idiots using the wrong tool.
The markings are in the archaic measurements of Kings Arthur, Alfred and Canute. Behold the power of sixteenths!
The frame is contained within the solid, square jig, like the prince who is to be guarded and not allowed to leave this room.
Exit character, stage left, again —
Well, that’s interesting. Because of the angles you actually use when working with this jig, there’s no reason not to let the grip protrude from the jig. That is, however, a problem for our plans to work up a GhostGunner solution for this lower. Not an insurmountable one. It just changes the conceptual design of the 3D-printed hold-down jig. A jig that holds a jig — the two worries there are that this is getting kind of “meta,” and more concretely, that we’d be risking a tolerance stack-up.
Back to character…
Alchemists must have made this material, which seems strong and, mostly, smooth, but seems to have a metallic powder embedded in it. There is but little molding flash.
The tools required are embedded in stones (or plastic containers) in the box, and Whoso Pulleth Out This Tool of this Stone, is Rightwise King Born of this project. There is no need to seek the Lady of the Lake (or MSC or Grainger) for them. The jig is sacrificial and meant for one-time use; the cutting tools might last longer, but it’s a moot point as you get a new set in every box.
The magical heart of the Glock system is the locking block. This is included with two screws to secure it in place. (It is also held by the standard Glock locking block pin).
We’re not really thrilled about the screws, but that’s probably the best option the designers had. The locking block seems to be an investment casting or possibly metal injection molding (requires a more careful examination).
To complete the firearm, you need the instructions. The kit comes with a two-sided, business-card-sized info card that has support information on one side and a link to “milling instructions, lower part kit installation, and full rifle (?) assembly instructions”: www.polymer80com/info. At that site there’s rifle-lower information, but also:
PF940 V 1.0 80% PISTOL FRAME:
80% POLYMER PISTOL FRAME INSTRUCTIONS (PDF): CLICK HERE
9MM G17&22 PARTS DIAGRAM & VENDOR LIST: CLICK HERE
PF940 MILLING INSTRUCTION VIDEO: CLICK HERE
Until it is built into a firearm, estimating its handling properties is probably foolish. Our impression was that it is somewhat bulkier, “blockier,” and more angular than a factory G17 G3. The plastic also feels a bit harder, We brought in our assistant Thing T. Thing for a second opinion.
His opinion: “Build this article!” (He’s sensitive about calling things, “things.” You understand).
Thanks. You know who. You know why. Owe ya one.
- That remindeth us, gotta replace that Small Dog. Snuck right up on us this time!