Glock successfully sued – should it have happened?

My diagnosis: CHEAP GARBAGE AMMO

Glock 36 Malfunction – Lawsuit Timeline

Note the following from the article:

I fired 120 rounds that day at the range. 100 rounds of Remington UMC ammo and 20 rounds of Corbon JHP +P. I experienced three of the same malfunctions with the Remington ammunition

No problems with the Corbon.  Coincidence?

My son and I fired the weapon on August 13 with 50 rounds of Winchester White Box and 50 rounds of Blazer Brass, both 230g ball factory ammo. I had one malfunction with the Winchester ammo, and my 16 year-old son had the same malfunction with the Blazer Brass

Again, the cheapest ammo you can buy.

I have had similar problems using cheap ammo with my G26.  I would get the occasional FTE (Failure To Extract) when I was positive I was not limp wristing.  This was ALWAYS when I was using a low end ammo such as Winchester white box, Remington UMC, Blazer, or Wolf, all which are notoriously underpoweredI never had one problem with higher priced self defense ammo.

Reading the forums it seems to happen a fair bit with sub-compact models.  I agree that it is unfortunate that the issue exists, but you can’t blame a malfunction on the gun itself, when you are feeding it garbage.

I’d like to see a few hundred self defense rounds ran through that G36.  I would be willing to bet there would be no issues at all.

From what I have read, I don’t believe Glock should have lost the lawsuit.  That said, the situation should never have even reached that point. I would have liked to see them step up earlier on (after the 2nd set of issues) and apologize to Chris about his G36, and offer to exchange it for another gun.  If they would have done that, both parties could have saved a lot of time and effort over something so trivial.

25 COMMENTS

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Josh December 22, 2009 at 01:28 pm

It looks like your determination that this guy shouldn’t have prevailed in his lawsuit against Glock is based on your dislike of cheap ammunition, not on the legal issues of the case. As to the facts and legal issues of the matter, here are my thoughts (if anyone cares):

1) The ammunition being used was factory ammunition, and while it was not the most powerful type, was not modified in any way.
a. Presumably, this ammunition passed all factory tests to meet its minimum specifications for that particular caliber/cartridge
b. I don’t know if there are for sure, but I would think that there are some legal minimum specifications set by some agency for ammunition manufactured and sold retail to customers, presumably this ammunition would have to meet or exceed those specifications. (While typing this I did a quick search and found something about SAAMI standards, perhaps these cartridges have to meet those. If I’m wrong on that please feel free to correct me.)
2) The weapon that was purchased was designed for the caliber/cartridge that was being fired from it.
3) There was (apparently) no manufacturer stated requirement for any type of “special” ammunition, or any particular brands or types of ammunition required to allow the weapon to operate properly; and there was no disclaimer that any brands or types of standard factory ammunition (low power “target rounds” or otherwise) would cause excessive malfunctioning of the weapon.

So, despite the fact that “cheap” ammunition is lower power and lower quality in general, there seems to be no reason that a person purchasing this particular pistol should not expect it to function properly with any type of factory ammunition.

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Admin (Mike) December 22, 2009 at 01:54 pm

Hi Josh,
Thanks a lot for your detailed comment. I agree with you on most counts.

As you probably know, guns being picky with ammunition is definitely not a new thing in the shooting world. It seems to be happening across all major brands. I agree, there is no disclaimer on these guns that says “will have problems ejecting lower powered rounds”, but at the same time I would argue that the users choice of ammunition is out of the gun manufacturers control, so creating a warning about it would likely just result in a decrease of possible sales, when in fact the problem “might” be non existent most of the time.

You’ll notice on the lawsuit webpage the plaintiff (Chris) has the number of rounds he fired on numerous occasions, and the number of FTEs which occurred, he appears to be having 1 to 3 for every couple of boxes of ammo. That really does not surprise me. I few years back when I bought 1000 rounds of WOLF ammunition and was having issues I decided to pull 50 of the bullets and weigh the powder. Although I can’t find the actual data anymore, the amount of powder definitely varied. I am sure (I hope) that it was an acceptable amount under SAAMI, but who knows? Maybe a combination of under powered cartridges, and a less than perfect extractor design is a bad combo for the sub compact glocks? Needless to say I don’t buy Wolf 9mm anymore, although it would be good for training on clearing FTEs :P

I think Glock could have handled that whole situation a lot better, regardless of whose “fault” it was. Very disappointing!

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RP-in-TX December 22, 2009 at 01:58 pm

I’m wondering how much he shot the G36 before he contacted Glock. I’ve had FTE problems with several new pistols in the past including a Glock, and always with low power “cheap ammo” like this guy used. In every case the malfunctions disappeared over time. It’s a matter of breaking it in. With enough use the recoil spring loses some stiffness and the slide loosens up a bit. FTE problems tend to disappear. How much break-in depends on the pistol. My CZ-75B took almost 1000 rounds, but will now function with anything I throw in it.

When my G19 was new I got a few FTF’s and FTE’s. I had a friend who just couldn’t help limp wristing it – she could never fire more than 2-3 rounds through it without a failure. However, after I had put 600-700 rounds through it she was able to empty full magazines without any problem. Lube helps too. Most failures I’ve had in pistols after breaking in were because they were dry. A quick squirt of Break Free and they run like a champ.

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Admin (Mike) December 22, 2009 at 02:08 pm

I agree RP, most people expect a new gun to work 100% of the time right out of the box. In an ideal world that would be great, but like you said, there appears to be a “break in” period before most guns.

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redeux December 22, 2009 at 06:10 pm

its the ammo , my CZ75B fired perfectly until i tried to get it to work with the bulk-pack’ ammo then nothing would get it to go thru a complete mag without the same kind of stoppage happening…
the full power defense ammo works perfectly…
cheap ammo = problems…

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Admin (Mike) December 22, 2009 at 06:20 pm

Problems with yours and bulk pack too hey? :( That’s a shame that happens. It’s not very economical to show up at the range with a couple hundred rounds of self defense ammo. Well on the bright side I guess for those of us without the kind of money to do that, we will at least become experts and dealing with malfunctions. :P

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Josh December 22, 2009 at 07:05 pm

That’s too bad about other problems with ammo. I am still inclined to blame the gun, unless there is a disclaimer regarding what type of ammo to use, or to avoid. Even then, I think that it’s not unreasonable to expect a particular caliber weapon to be able to fire any round of that caliber that is manufactured to standard specifications. On a personal note, I have a P226 and have never had a problem with cheap ammo, and that’s what I almost always put through it. Blazer or UMC.

I also agree Glock could have handled it better. I assume that at some point someone decided it was better to roll the dice in court rather than admitting a faulty product or design. I suppose it would cost more to admit fault and run the risk of having to issue a recall than to settle problems one on one as they occur.

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Chris December 22, 2009 at 08:43 pm

Hi, I’m the guy that took Glock to court.

First, thanks to Mike for passing on the info to your readers and posting a link back to my site. If this news helps one of our fellow enthusiasts avoid the 8-months of BS that I endured then the effort was worth it.

You may be on to something with the ammo theory. You’ll see at the site that I’m selling the G36 and a bunch of accessories for $500. Total value is over $1100. If this gun is not a defect, this deal is a steal.

But I have to ask the question: After over 900 views of my site in the past 2 days, why hasn’t one offer come in for the pistol and accessories?

I’ll post a link back to this site. Again – thanks!

Chris

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Admin (Mike) December 23, 2009 at 02:03 am

Hi Chris!
Good for you for standing up for yourself. I’m glad you got the whole situation somewhat resolved.

I agree $500 for that G36 is a really great deal, I’m surprised no one has taken it off your hands. It’s too bad I already have enough Glocks in my collection. Heck, those 10 magazines alone are worth more than half your asking price!

I admire your honesty with the sale of the gun. A lesser man would have just put it on consignment at the local gun store and made the issues someone else’s problem.

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Mike W December 23, 2009 at 04:02 pm

I have to side with the owner on this. If the Glock is designed to fire only one type of cartridge or just a few priceir brand than it should say so. It sucks that the owner had to go through all that and Glock didn’t handle it better. I would say that it is the ammo too-except for the fact that I have used several of those brands in multiple guns with no problems from the ammo. Also he mentions and I have read before about same problems with the same model. YMMV.

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Admin (Mike) December 26, 2009 at 12:01 am

It appears to be an issue across the board with Glock subcompacts.

I still disagree with you guys that are saying that Glock should put a “warning” that it wont work with certain types of ammo. I say why? Glock can’t control what these companies do with their ammo. If you choose to buy the ultra cheap ammo and it doesn’t work properly then don’t buy that ammo anymore, or else sell your Glock. I’m sure they would tell you the same thing if you called them and told them that you were having problems with a certain type of ammo. The same as if you called them and told them you were shooting your own reloads and were having issues, they wouldn’t care.

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Ben There December 24, 2009 at 11:19 am

The “Cheap ammo” arguement is not valid. mostly for the reasons already stated. I own a Glock 19 and 17, and they eat all brands of ammo, primarily WWB target ammo. When you buy a gun from a reputable manufacturer, their manual always has a disclaimer about using factory ammo or warranty may be voided. Chris did just that. And so do I.

FWIW, I also have a G36 and it exhibits the EXACT FLAWS that Chris encountered. Glock should just admit that the G36 is crap, and own up to it, and fix the problem. What better PR could there be? I know, it’s about the MONEY. I forgot…

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Admin (Mike) December 25, 2009 at 11:54 pm

That’s your opinion. Anyone that has shot a lot will agree that the types of ammo I mentioned in the article are not comparable to defense ammo in almost every way. It’s not Glock’s fault that you choose to shoot the cheapest ammo available. It would be a different story if Glock manufactured a cheap line of ammo, and the G36 didn’t work with it.

The 17 and the 19 are not subcompacts. The subcompacts seem to be the ones with issues (such as my G26).

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Ben There January 4, 2010 at 02:18 pm

Maybe Glock needs to make a statement in their manuals and online that certain guns will not function correctly with certain kinds of FACTORY ammo that costs less that other kinds of FACTORY ammo.

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Mike (not Admin) December 26, 2009 at 09:02 am

Sorry, but this just sounds like an excuse for Glock to me. WWB and UMC is perfectly acceptable factory ammo and it is not at all unreasonable to expect a new pistol to eat it. IMO, it would be UNREASONABLE for the maker to expect an owner to not run this stuff. Probably 2 of the highest volume ammo sold.

I did have one gun (a P95) that would feed Winchester but not UMC. I’m hardly going to call that Ruger’s fault.

Is there “better” ammo out there? Like most things about firearms, it depends on what you want. More velocity? Sure. More penetration? Well, in what? More economical to shoot? Not much.

Now, if we were talking 50 year old corrosive surplus or somebody’s sooper special handloads, that’d be different. Common, popular factory ammo? C’mon.

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Admin (Mike) December 26, 2009 at 01:25 pm

Hi Mike,
You contradicted yourself by saying it would be unreasonable for Glocks to not reliably work with WWB and UMC, then in the next paragraph saying that your problems with your P95 and UMC ammo are not Ruger’s fault.

I agree with you in the aspect that the guns SHOULD work with all those types of ammo. Personally, if I bought a gun that couldn’t reliably (more than a couple FTFs per box) shoot target ammo after a few hundred rounds, I would just sell it. I can’t afford to shoot a couple hundred rounds at $30 for 50 every time I go to the range. I hold on to my G26 that occasionally FTFs because It doesn’t do it very often when I am using target ammo, and NEVER has when I was using self defense ammo.

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mark December 29, 2009 at 11:20 pm

I have a g36 and sofar havent had any issues w/ it as mentioned above. I do get the finger pinch when I shoot but its nothing. As for ammo, I get what I can to practice w/ (factory only) for the price and I buy defence rnds for defence. I did call Glock and ask them if I could shoot Wolf brand ammo and they said yes for it was factory and nato ammo. I love this gun, its a Glock and it will keep on shootn when other semi autos wont. I believe in the gun and I have faith in the gun but like all firearms if you are putting your life on them you must know how they work, operate (and murphys law) if it malfunctions how to clear it and get it in functioning mode again. TAP-RACK-BANG. However I do wish Ihad gotten the 30 for the more rounds and also it will take the mags of the 21. I also have a 17 Ive had for about 17 years and its a beauty also, always faithful.

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Admin (Mike) December 30, 2009 at 12:32 am

Hey Mark, thanks for the comment.

What kind of finger pinch? Do you mean from mag extensions?

I have mag finger extensions on two of my g26 mags and that always happens to me. I am thinking of going back to the factory floorplates on those.

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Mike (not Admin) January 2, 2010 at 10:50 am

Heh, I did contradict myself. I meant to say I wouldn’t consider that Remington’s fault. I would call it a gun problem, not an ammo problem. UMC has a a more rounded ogive than WWB. Regardless, a pistol oughta eat either. My Ruger did after a little polishing.

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mark January 3, 2010 at 06:05 pm

I have factory floorplates on my g-36 and I get the finger pinch. not all the time but at least 2-3 times out of a 6 rnd mag. I was reading reviews on the 36 before I bought mine and there was others experiencing the samething. However they said they solved their problem by adding the extension. I plan to do this and I will let you know if this stops the pinch.

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Gary November 25, 2010 at 12:28 am

Greetings,

I don’t own a Glock but have several friends who do. If Glock does not stand behind a product, they will pay for it in due course. There have been many examples of a manufacturer losing favor for failure to remedy a problem. Take Beretta for example.
Allow me to relate my experience with Remington UMC. Some years ago, I had a job requiring firearm carry. At the time, I was carrying a Smith 4006. I had gotten the weapon shortly before a required qualification. At the range, I had several stovepipe issues. I was using the UMC. I cleaned the Smith and visited my favorite practice range on numerous occasions. I mixed several different types of ammo, hydra-shocks, golden sabres, etc., even mixing the differing types within a single magazine. In the absense of UMC ammo, I had absolutely no failures of any type. Other than being heavy as a brick, the Smith turned out to be very reliable, so long as no UMC was used. I even purposely left the 4006 dirty and mixed ammo with no problems.
I have owned many types of auto pistols over the years and I have learned a few things. First and foremost, most autos require a break-in period. This varies with the firearm. The next issue is ammo. I have found that some autos are ammo sensitive. It might not be the ammo you would expect to cause a problem, either. The bottom line is that you should shoot with what you are going to carry, to the extent possible. If you know your firearm, you aren’t likely to have any problems. If your life might depend on your firearm, then it is damn sure YOUR responsiblity to determine what functions well in a particular firearm. It is not unusual for a firearm to like or dislike various ammo.
As I don’t personally own a Glock, I cannot say for certain if this is a gun or ammo problem. If I had to make an educated guess, however, I would suspect the ammo is the problem. Multiple hundreds of thousands of rounds have been fired through Glock auto pistols all over the world.

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Fred January 27, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Just to be on the safe side, if you are having failures to extract check the extractor. I had a bad one and it caused type 3 malfunctions every so often. Ultimately, while in a training class, I was doing type 3 clearance exercises every other shot. I got real good at it. During the lunch break an instructor removed the extractor and showed me where the lip was almost completely broken off. This is not a complaint against Glock, because I had done some things with the pistol that may have contributed to the problem. My point is that you do need to check the part just in case.

As for the pistol being sensitive with a certain brand of ammunition, the gun press is full of examples in product reviews. I won’t argue with anyone who uses reliability with all spec ammunition as a measure of quality. You are free to have your own definition of acceptable quality for items you buy.

The only repeatable problem I have with mine is one of the cross pins breaks on occasion. It only causes failure on disassembly. This is on a frame with a modified grip, so that could be the problem. I also had a take-down lever split, and that was a catastrophic failure. Another time it sheared the lug off after-market barrel. I had a heavy training schedule. My own lesson is that parts eventually fail so I replace certain parts every so often. I have a parts kit.

If I was looking for a compact 45, I would buy Chris’ glock. I would load my own practice ammo and test it for carry ammo. But I stopped buying guns. I don’t need anything else beyond the glock’s I have.

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Brian April 17, 2011 at 07:07 pm

I have a Glock 36 made in late 2009 / early 2010 and I have shot very cheap ammo through it and have never had an issue. I have shot probably 500+ rnds of WWB and 500+ rnds of Blazer aluminum and it has worked every time no matter what (zero malfunctions with 3+ different shooters). I have tried to ‘limp wrist’ it and get a malfunction but couldn’t reproduce a ftf or fte.

I just got the +1 grip extension without getting a stiffer mag spring which could cause issues but I am willing to try it and see how it goes.

I would say there is something going on with his gun, but his best bet is getting someone else to shoot it and see if it is technique (maybe a 16 yr old is not the best baseline for that?) which I personally don’t think it is. He is holding it firm enough to let the slide come all the way back.

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mason July 5, 2011 at 07:54 pm

i new it would happen some day

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matt April 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I think the the decision was right on the case. Glock made it a major issue to do the right thing. I have heard of many reports of glock trying to deny any problems with their pistols, and there are some problems.

WWB loads their ammo to normal factory ballistics and is usually a good sound reliable choice for ammo. I agree I would never think of steel cased ammo as reliable, but winchester, yes.

Everyone raves about Glock being able to digest anything, but when a glock malfunctions everyone changes their mind and says you have to feed it high priced ammo.

Bottom line. The pistol did not work with factory in spec ammo and Glock chose to screw it’s customer. Glad to see right prevailing in this case

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