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Forged Steel or Stainless Steel?

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Old 12-14-2010, 02:14 AM   #1
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Default Forged Steel or Stainless Steel?

I am new to the world of handguns and am doing my homework - read that "research". I note that the Smith & Wesson MP semi-autos have stainless steel barrels and slides, whereas the Springfield XDs and XDMs have forged steel barrels and slides unless you get a model with a SS slide.

So, what are the pros and cons of using forged steel vs. stainless steel for these two components? I find that both the SA XD9 and the S&W MP9 fit my hand really well, but there is that specific difference in construction.

Thanks for your insights in advance

Len C
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:35 AM   #2
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Len, dis-similar metals will produce electrolysis under the right conditions. I don't know that a forged frame and stainless slide would be reactive or not.
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:50 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Dunerunner. Both of the reference pistols have polymer lower parts so I was not thinking that electrolisis would be a problem between them, but I can see that a SS slide with a forged steel barrel might be a problem.

I am primarily wondering if the forged steel components on the XDs are more prone to corrosion than the SS components on the M&Ps are or if it just isn't a big issue.
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:43 PM   #4
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Not a big issue. What you may gain with SS being corrosion resistant, which is a direct result from it's Chromium content. The only downside to a stainless slide is it's mirror like effect when exposed to light.

There are those that claim SS will chip and can crack due to it's hardness vs. other alloys, but this is only relevant in extremely high pressure situations, which you won't see even in the realm of the two guns you described.
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Old 02-05-2011, 05:02 PM   #5
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Electrolysis is really not an issue with firearms unless your store yours underwater.

In the real world, there in no practical difference between stainless and forged gun parts. Buy the firearm that fits you and you can shoot accurately.

Forged gun parts by definition are stronger, stainless steel parts by definition are more rust resistant. Stainless can be more brittle or can cause galling, but this would depend on the type/hardness of the stainless steel. Since both S&W and SA are experienced gun makers, the strength or longevity of either type of parts is not an issue either.

The S&W M&P has a coated stainless steel, stainless steel reflectance is not an issue. If the stainless was uncoated, a simple bead blasting would reduce the surface finish of stainless to a non-reflective light gray color.
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