Not only have firearms grown in popularity in recent years, but polymers have found a place in numerous applications in firearm manufacturing. Conventus Polymers LLC (Parsippany, NJ), a distributor and formulator of high-performance engineering thermoplastics, will highlight a broad range of high-performance thermoplastics at the annual SHOT Show, sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, on Jan. 23 to 26 in Las Vegas.
Conventus will showcase polymer materials that deliver high strength and heat resistance, as well as dimensional stability, in firearm components such as stocks, magazines, receivers, rails and other applications. The company differentiates itself from competing material suppliers with its strong focus on addressing challenging performance and aesthetic requirements and by offering a range of unique formulations that utilize carbon fiber, long glass fiber and other modification packages.
Conventus’ knowledge base and custom compounding abilities open up the design window for gun manufacturers, according to Alexander Fung, President of Conventus Polymers. “The ability to offer greater strength and heat performance translates into more metal-to-plastic conversion possibilities,” he said.
“Conventus’ product line addresses the increasingly challenging needs of firearm manufacturers who seek to reduce cost without compromising performance in highly demanding applications,” said Fung. “We work closely with our customers, utilizing our material know-how and application development expertise to meet the requirements of critical end-use applications.”
Polymers have grown in popularity in the firearms market, according to Conventus. In addition to lightweighting, they offer reduced recoil, corrosion resistance, serviceability, cost benefits and design freedom. Increasingly the company sees further adoption of polymers into various firearm components including pistol frames, lower and upper receivers, magazines, front sights and rails.
For example, in 2016, the U.S. military approved the use of polymer magazines. Educating the design community is an important challenge for plastics suppliers like Coventus. A small minority of design engineers understand the capabilities of plastics in the production of firearms, according to Fung.
“We’ve helped with material selection and design guidance on numerous firearm parts,” explained Fung. “Combined with our nimble service and low minimum order quantity, we can help designers get a product developed quickly and mitigate potential plastic design flaws, especially if they are used to working with metals.”
Conventus Polymers utilizes its expertise in other high-performance markets, as well, such as downhole oil and gas, where temperatures and pressures can be very high. The company’s primary product categories are specialty nylon, glass fiber and carbon fiber reinforced compounds, and long glass and long carbon fiber-reinforced compounds. Materials include short glass fiber nylon 6/12 and polyphthalamide (PPA) for lower moisture absorption and higher modulus. The company has also introduced polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK) materials for higher temperature components, and long-fiber-reinforced compounds to address concerns with the impact and creep performance of short-fiber-reinforced nylon 66.