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TacticalReload

Gen3 Steel Guide Rods in Non-game Glocks

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I think it's almost a given that nearly everyone swaps to a different guide rod in their competition Glock. My question is... do any of you who use a Glock for self or home defense also move to an aftermarket guide rod?

I've never had a factory plastic rod break in half, but I did have one chip slightly at the end that seats against the barrel lug. I also have had two that were deformed. One was on a used pistol that I purchased that was so warped that it caused feeding issues because it was impeding the slide's movement. I don't plan on changing spring weight from factory, but I don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling from plastic guide rods any more after these problems. That being said, swapping functional factory parts that might affect reliability in a defensive pistol makes me a little uneasy as well.

So what do you folks think about the matter?

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I always swap them. Steel won't flex or break like the polymer rods will. If it's more dependable I want it. A steel guide rod does nothing to make a Glock less dependable so based on that fact alone I trade them out as soon as possible on a new gun.

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You always hear about how the factory polymer rods were "designed to flex" and therefore it's a feature, not a bug. In 99.9% of these type of cases, I take it with a grain of salt. I find it hard to believe, if steel happened to be cheaper than plastic, that they wouldn't be using steel instead. However, considering the issues that they experienced with weapon-mounted lights, I wonder if there isn't something to the whole "run it stock" thing.

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You always hear about how the factory polymer rods were "designed to flex" and therefore it's a feature, not a bug. However, considering the issues that they experienced with weapon-mounted lights...

There's a difference, though. The light is mounted to the polymer frame, which does flex, whereas the guide rod is mounted into the slide, which does not.

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How often are you changing guide rod/spring in your non game glocks? I know there is a recommended interval. Ive never had a problem with mine but i have none over 5k or so rounds. Game glocks get way more abuse with me.

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Glock seems to keep shortening the recommended interval. It's been a while since I went through the armorer's course, but I'm seeing online that people are claiming they now say 2k rounds. If that's actually true, I feel that might be the best indication yet that the polymer rod is a farce... certainly the spring itself can withstand a good bit more use than that. Good thing that (1) most people don't shoot much at all and (2) the RSA is a cheap part.

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Hummmm...Gen 4 guide rod in my 34 is 2 springs & steel...... That said, the only time I use a "Factory" guide rod is in a GSSF match, stock class AND it's spring is "lightened". For any other type of shooting it's the steel one w/screw & ISMI flat spring, usually a 13# spring..

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For my G31 (.357SIG) carry guns, I use a captured steel rod with a 20lb spring. On my old G20, I used the same setup with a 22lb spring. For my competition guns, OEM, and have only changed my oldest 2 pin G17 out maybe 5 times in 200,000 rounds.

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Well, technically it's mounted between the slide and frame.

Nothing touching the frame. It's between the slide and the barrel, not on the frame anywhere. Probably what you meant to say.

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Well, technically it's mounted between the slide and frame.

Nothing touching the frame. It's between the slide and the barrel, not on the frame anywhere. Probably what you meant to say.

No, I did mean between the slide and frame. We were talking about reliability and "flex". At all stages during the action of firing / feeding with the exception when the gun is basically at full lockup, the RSA is between the slide and frame. The barrel is loose when it's not locked up and isn't under tension from the spring and rod.

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Well, technically it's mounted between the slide and frame.

Nothing touching the frame. It's between the slide and the barrel, not on the frame anywhere. Probably what you meant to say.

No, I did mean between the slide and frame. We were talking about reliability and "flex". At all stages during the action of firing / feeding with the exception when the gun is basically at full lockup, the RSA is between the slide and frame. The barrel is loose when it's not locked up and isn't under tension from the spring and rod.

Hey, learned something new. :) TacticalReload is correct. Locking the guiderod into the slide only holds the guiderod in place during reassembly, and on the front end, it's actually the spring or retainer making contact with the slide. The guide rod itself is free. Then once assembled, the guide rod comes off its contact point with barrel and transfers to the forward side of the locking block, or more specifically, the polymer wall in front of but against the locking block. You can actually put your thumb on the guide rod and wiggle it around, even with the slide forward. There's nothing holding it at the front end. So I might even go one step further and say that the guiderod is installed into the frame only. The spring is retained on the front side by the slide, the spring retains the guiderod loosely, and the guide rod is retained on the back side by the frame.

Not that it makes a difference to the actual argument. The slide rod can't impose diddly squat on the frame while cycling except to drive straight back against the locking block. The front of the guide rod is free and touching nothing. This is opposed to the gun-mounted light, where it actually constrained the frame exteriorly and restricted how the frame flexed.

Edited by IDescribe

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And just (90 seconds) installed a Zev SS Guide Rod and reducer with an ISMI 13# spring. I'll let you kind folk know how it goes. ;)

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Now that i look at it he is right. When you remove the slide it just pops it back up on the barrel. i learn something new here every day. i still would rather have the steel guid rod given a choice but i appreciate the good information. You can teach some old dogs a new trick!

Now I have got to check out my CZ's to see if it's the same situation.

Edited by bowenbuilt

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For any "upgrade" to a firearm, defensive or competition, I use a 2 question system...

1. Does it actually make me shoot the gun better?

2. Does it affect reliability compared to an OEM part?

I'd say the answers to those are...

1. Yes, but only by the slightest margin, if it's even measurable.

2. Maybe, but probably not.

The safest (and cheapest) solution, is to purchase a new OEM recoil assembly ($7.00?) and shoot a few boxes with it for the warm and fuzzy, then leave it in and worry about something more important. And there are MUCH more important concerns, like "does I this hybrid tuckable IWB holster make my but look big?", just a thought.

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I don't disagree with your premise. Generally, for defensive guns, I leave the innards alone. For example, the Glock in question has an Apex trigger but it's mated to a factory trigger bar, factory "-" connector, factory NY-1 trigger spring, factory connector housing, factory striker, and factory striker spring. The striker block safety is Apex, but its spring is factory. The slide lock and mag release are both Vickers Tango Down. The mags are factory, but the base plates are Vickers Tango Down, as is the grip plug. So everything that would affect reliability is a factory part and everything that's aftermarket serves a legit purpose for me.

But then I come to that darn plastic guide rod, and I'm not sure how to answer the reliability question. I've had issues with the factory part in the past, but I had a buddy who had a different issue with an aftermarket replacement. Both however, are quite unlikely, I think... so I just wanted to see if anyone has strong feelings either way.

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Put one in a Glock 17 that I carry regularly. Factory weight spring. Went and shot a 100 rounds or so. Felt nice and no issues. I have no problem carrying it. Have shot it every once in a while since then, no issues. I would think an issue with a guide rod would surface pretty quick. I don't worry about it too much.

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