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Thread: VP9 firing pin block design, is it a theoretical safety issue?

  1. #1

    VP9 striker block design, is it a theoretical safety issue?

    Preface
    Ever since the VP9 was released I've been weirded out by the striker block design. While I am without a single piece of evidence or inductive reasoning to suggest it can fail, I wouldn't be a true PF member if my neuroses could be suppressed. Now before I get flamed for hating on HK, I've owned many of their pistols over the years without a single issue. I've never even had to drift a sight for POI correction. I've owned three VP9's with a combined 4014 rounds and not a single stoppage. Given my affinity for TDA's I haven't even considered carrying the VP9 although many do carry it and I'm in no position to question that.

    Question
    The striker block engages the striker just to the right of the sear. When in battery and under tension, if...and this is a huge if...the striker "nub" were to physically fail this would allow the striker to disengage from both the sear and the firing pin block. Redundancy in design is a good thing, although naturally one wants to incorporate levels of redundancy in distinct areas rather than concentrate them in one spot such as the VP9 appears to do. Other SFA's I've examined appear to block the striker movement in totally different location on the striker, such that it would two highly improbable mechanical failures to discharge. Digging around PF search function I haven't found this specific topic being discussed. Is it something that others have observed or considered? I'm wondering how such design is interpreted or viewed by other PF members with vastly more experience than myself. Thank you in advance.


    Picture
    Glock tool pointing towards the striker - sear engagement. the small notch on the R side is where the rotating striker block engages, and where my neuroses congregate.

    Name:  IMG_5756.jpg
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    Last edited by Squib308; 11-20-2019 at 05:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Hammertime
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squib308 View Post
    Preface
    Ever since the VP9 was released I've been weirded out by the striker block design. While I am without a single piece of evidence or inductive reasoning to suggest it can fail, I wouldn't be a true PF member if my neuroses could be suppressed. Now before I get flamed for hating on HK, I've owned many of their pistols over the years without a single issue. I've never even had to drift a sight for POI correction. I've owned three VP9's with a combined 4014 rounds and not a single stoppage. Given my affinity for TDA's I haven't even considered carrying the VP9 although many do carry it and I'm in no position to question that.

    Question
    The striker block engages the striker just to the right of the sear. When in battery and under tension, if...and this is a huge if...the striker "nub" were to physically fail this would allow the striker to disengage from both the sear and the firing pin block. Redundancy in design is a good thing, although naturally one wants to incorporate levels of redundancy in distinct areas rather than concentrate them in one spot such as the VP9 appears to do. Other SFA's I've examined appear to block the striker movement in totally different location on the striker, such that it would two highly improbable mechanical failures to discharge. Digging around PF search function I haven't found this specific topic being discussed. Is it something that others have observed or considered? I'm wondering how such design is interpreted or viewed by other PF members with vastly more experience than myself. Thank you in advance.


    Picture
    Glock tool pointing towards the striker - sear engagement. the small notch on the R side is where the rotating striker block engages, and where my neuroses congregate.

    Name:  IMG_5756.jpg
Views: 647
Size:  63.6 KB
    Great post and I also find this interesting. Donít have an answer for you other than I suspect firing pins are made of pretty high quality metal and donít just break in half easily. At least at that part of the firing pin.

    I remember having a similar feeling about the Steyr M9 pistol. It was drop safe, did not have a striker block even and was totally dependent on that striker nub. If the striker nub ever failed...well, it was going to fire.

  3. #3
    Member SecondsCount's Avatar
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    There are thousands of VP9 pistols out there now. Any news of the striker "nub" breaking?
    -Seconds Count. Misses Don't-

  4. #4
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    I started a similar thread about 6 months to discuss differences in striker safety/FPB mechanisms, but it didn't get much interest. I assume because most of the designs out there now have no known major unresolved issues resulting in ADs. I can think of theoretical ways a striker could break and bypass the FPB in several designs of SFA pistol, but I don't think this has actually occurred in real life. I imagine the engineers have thoroughly considered the materials they are using and devised ways to minimize the risk of catastrophic breakage. Probably minimizing stress points, adequate thicknesses, and adequate radiuses for parts.

    Still, I feel a bit uneasy carrying many types of striker fired pistols in the AIWB position even though I know that the chance of a catastrophic breakage that bypasses safety mechanisms is highly improbable.

    As far as nubs breaking off of strikers, I haven't seen this on a VP9, but I did see a picture of a broken nub on an M&P striker (which thankfully has a separate protrusion that engages the striker safety).

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by SecondsCount View Post
    There are thousands of VP9 pistols out there now. Any news of the striker "nub" breaking?

    There's millions of 1911s out there too. There's not many reports of sears failing, but I know of two personally.

  6. #6
    Member SecondsCount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M2CattleCo View Post
    There's millions of 1911s out there too. There's not many reports of sears failing, but I know of two personally.
    But H&K didn't build those that failed

    Strikers and sears are cheap. Swap in a new one every 10K rounds if it really bothers you.
    -Seconds Count. Misses Don't-

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SecondsCount View Post
    But H&K didn't build those that failed

    Strikers and sears are cheap. Swap in a new one every 10K rounds if it really bothers you.
    in practice I agree with @SecondsCount that the #ís support the VP9 as safe and unlikely of direct risk to a user. like others my decision to only AIWB a TDA is a personal one, and that includes the VP9.

    however as addressed in the OP, inductive reasoning is a not a solution for what could be a design shortcoming. history is overflowing with examples of mechanical designs that were well built but lacked redundancy. combined with other factors like human error or (frequently) cost saving measures for maintenance led to a catastrophic failure.

  8. #8
    Inconsiderate Pendejo Greg's Avatar
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    Waiting for the hate directed at OP for placing a Glock tool near an HK....
    Hey careful man, there's a beverage here!

  9. #9
    Member SecondsCount's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of redundancy but you drive a car every day with one steering shaft to the front wheels that if it broke at 70 mph could be a very bad situation.

    Has there ever been a case where a sear or striker has failed in an unmodified gun that caused injury to a person?

    Glock has a drop safety but nothing else to prevent someone from shooting themselves in the leg when the trigger is "accidentally pressed", which happened often enough that the term "Glock Leg" was created.

    If you want redundancy, carry an 80 series Colt with a grip safety, firing pin safety, and a thumb safety
    -Seconds Count. Misses Don't-

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondsCount View Post
    I'm a big fan of redundancy but you drive a car every day with one steering shaft to the front wheels that if it broke at 70 mph could be a very bad situation.

    Has there ever been a case where a sear or striker has failed in an unmodified gun that caused injury to a person?

    Glock has a drop safety but nothing else to prevent someone from shooting themselves in the leg when the trigger is "accidentally pressed", which happened often enough that the term "Glock Leg" was created.

    If you want redundancy, carry an 80 series Colt with a grip safety, firing pin safety, and a thumb safety
    You're absolutely right. We routinely accept risks by using mechanical devices without giving it any second thought. Cars, bikes, planes, nose hair trimmers, etc. Somehow though, none of these scare me as much as certain types of SFA pistol holstered next to my sack. It's irrational I'm sure, because I don't know of any cases where someone was injured from a spontaneous sear or striker failure in an unmodified firearm.

    There's still a lot of us out there who are going to obsess about it though. Maybe someone will make a YouTube channel about torture testing strikers to exploit us for ad revenue. Maybe videos where they throw various strikers into a bucket of rocks and feces, stomp on them, and then make assertions about which designs are better?

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