Glocks have a reputation for running, running, and then running some more. They have been shot out of cannons, immersed in Jell-O, baked in ovens, and then shot some more. With that in mind, how long can you expect yours to last, and what are some tips to make sure it grows old with you.
The Bar Setters
A fellow firearms trainer of mine, Warren Breckenridge, has a GEN2 Glock 19 that has seen well over 40,000 rounds without anything other than (semi) regular cleaning. Gunwriter Chuck Taylor (no relation to the sneaker pimp) has a G17 with 300,000+ rounds through it. Combatives trainer Kelly McCann claims to have a G19 that has seen 750,000 rounds. Glock factory trainers whisper tales of million-round test guns back at Smyra during armorer courses. While these guns are extreme cases, you nevertheless can expect your Glock to last for tens of thousands of rounds.
High Power Rounds
You may notice the guns mentioned above with extremely high round counts are all chambered in the classic 9x19mm Parabellum. The bad news is if you shoot very high-powered rounds, such as 357SIG and 10mm Auto, in your Glock hand cannon, each round you fire does more damage to your gun than to your neighbor's 9mm/40S&W/45ACP gun. This is because these brutal rounds generate a higher-pressure spike in a shorter amount of time when they are fired than more traditional rounds. This results in increased 'peening' of the metal on metal locking surfaces inside the gun on firing. What this translates to is that your mileage will vary and your gun Glock will most likely have a shorter service life. Still, a figure of 20,000-rounds or more is not unreasonable before your super Glock will need extensive rebuild.
Even 25+ year old 1st Gen Glock 17s are still out there running as good as they did when Regan was in office...
Maintenance and Repair
Regularly inspect your gun after every range session, clean it and use a good lube made specifically for firearms to help keep it running as long as possible. Stay away from steel cleaning rods that can damage your gun and stick to nylon or cord-type. Glock recommends changing the recoil spring in the GEN3 models after firing somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 rounds, and in GEN4 models somewhere after that. This simple and cheap ($8-18) repair will keep your Glock ticking like a clock and eliminate broken locking blocks and trigger pins. Other springs, such as the around the firing pin, slide lock, trigger springs, etc., should also be inspected and replaced if you have a high mileage gun-- but be aware that this level of repair/maintenance should be done by a Glock certified armorer for safety.
The polygonal rifling inside Glock barrels seem to be made out of kryptonite. With that being said, anything made by man will eventually break, super Glock barrels included. If you notice your accuracy starting to go downhill, your rounds key holing (tearing jagged rips in the paper of your target instead of nice round holes), or a lot of lead/brass sprawl on your arms whenever your fire your gun, odds are you have a worn out barrel on your hands. Inspect and clean your gun, try it again with factory jacketed ammunition, and if no better then look for a replacement barrel. You can get an OEM Glock barrel replacement from Lone Wolf and others for about $140.
As long as your frame and slide are solid, odds is that your Glock will most likely last your great grandchildren long enough to pass on to theirs.
If anyone has successfully worn out a Glock, please post it below.