January 20, 2020 12:00:04 AM

Specialty Compounds for Firearms

Plastics Technology (January 20, 2020)

New specialty engineered thermoplastic compounds for firearms have been developed by Conventus Polymers, Parsippany, N.J., and launched at the 2020 SHOT Show, sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in Las Vegas. The company is recognized for offering a range of unique formulations that utilize carbon fiber, long glass fiber, and other modification packages.

Among the latest material introductions are injection moldable tungsten-filled compounds for high-density pistol applications that mimic the weight of metal. These grades allow for density adjustments up to 7, which may help reduce recoil in pistol frames.

Also new is a clear glass-filled nylon compound that boasts high-strength transparency. It reportedly offers a range of advantages over other compounds because of high dimensional stability, high strength, and transparency. It will allow accessory manufacturers to offer parts that have the strength of traditional glass-filled nylon 66, but with transparency.

Polymers have grown in popularity in the firearms market. In addition to lightweighting, they offer reduced recoil, corrosion resistance, serviceability, cost benefits, and design freedom. To create solutions for firearm customers, Conventus utilizes its expertise in other high-performance markets such as downhole oil and gas, where temperatures and pressures can be very high. The company’s primary product categories are specialty nylons, high-temperature polymers, glass fiber and carbon fiber reinforced compounds, and long glass and long carbon fiber reinforced compounds.

In nylons, the company has been a leading developer of new material options to replace conventional glass-filled nylon 66, the standard bearer in the firearms industry which has faced performance limitations. Conventus has introduced resins like short glass fiber nylon 612 and PPA (polyphthalamide) for lower moisture absorption and higher modulus. For example, in shot gun components, these types of materials fill an important role by offering resistance to both arid and humid environments where traditional nylon lacks dimensionally stability. The company has also introduced PPS and PEEK compounds for higher temperature components, and long fiber-reinforced compounds to address concerns with impact and creep performance of short fiber reinforced nylon 66, particularly in magazine applications.

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