The Eternal Firearm
I would imagine that the polymer frames of modern "plastic" pistols will most likely last for the lifetimes of their possessors. That is, of course, just a guess. However, due to stress, and time, which will rob them of essential oils and cause various chemical changes, they will eventually suffer cracking and degredations that will cause them to disintegrate.
It struck me that these firearms are indicative of our modern culture in which almost nothing is built to be permanent. Our emails are stored on ephemeral media. Our books become yellow and brittle within ten years. The plastic "art" in our museums is decaying at a rapid rate. There will not likely be any bundles of letters and poems to be found from another Emily Dickenson, or ancient papyri unearthed from our culture in two thousand years.
However, today we still have the golden straws from which the Sumerian elite sipped beer 5,000 years ago. We have the Rosetta Stone; countless ancient clay tablets in strange languages; 500 year old, vintage books that were printed on non-acid paper. And we have steel firearms, some of which have been preserved from the earliest examples.
Perhaps the answer to a culture with no permanent medium is the stainless steel gun. Long after the Glocks and their competitors have crumbled away, there will be steel; elegant revolvers produced in the heydays of Smith and Wesson, Colt and others; perhaps in times still to come. Virtually any steel firearm can be almost timeless; and stainless steel will outlast them all.
Perhaps we should all, for our own peace of mind, possess at least one, ageless firearm that we can perceive to be in existence when our moribund civilization is long vanished. A short note about the gun, written on acid-free paper, and rolled up inside a cartridge in a chamber, would make a time capsule of unique perspective in a time when archaeologists are attemtping to solve the riddle of so many steel slides from pistols without frames, among the rubble.
Today I picked up a 61 year old Smith and Wesson revolver that is like new. I wonder what a 60 year old Glock will look like; and if it will still function? Or perhaps that does not matter in a civilization whose entire, physical culture will likely decay into oblivion. Do not will your treasures to undeserving offspring. Seal your Rolex, your gold and your Model 65-2 in a Halliburton and bury it for posterity.
A few years ago, I went skiing and before I got to the chair lift, my trusty old (about 5 years old) Nordica ski boots self destructed - all the plastic shattered all at once.
While different types of plastic age and degrade at different rates, it makes you (or me at least) wonder what the shelf life of some of the poly guns will be. Especially after being exposed to a variety of cleaners, solvents and oils over their lifetime. Its a bit of consolation that the most stressed parts are either made of metal, or at least reinforced with metal.
I think you're paranoid.
If a plastic water bottle in a landfill can outlive all of us combined, then I'm not worried about it.
I think my Glock and XD will both be around much longer than myself. I really don't care if it lasts 600 years.
But, that's just me.
I've got a Remington 870...
That'll be around to fight the Terminators... and it'll still knock-em back a step...
Except maybe for that one, which my Dad used for 30+ years... I plan on wearing out my guns... Like my Corvettes, my Mustangs, and my current SUV... Drive it till you break it. Shoot til it won't shoot any more.
I tend to disagree on a philosophical level... I'll let others save for posterity. I don't plan on having anything left to leave behind. But that's the word of a guy without any kids... LOL
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