It was the numerous delays, Glock's organizational arrogance, and the discovery that other G36 owners were experiencing the same malfunctions and indifference that pushed me to file the lawsuit.
I made 11 of the 15 total phone calls to get status during the last 6 months. Eight times I left a message - seven of which were not returned.
Arrogance of the Organization:
If it says "meets factory specs", then there is nothing to talk about.
In the numerous discussions with Glock it was said that either ammo, grip tightness and/or magazines could be the reason for the malfunctions.
- Ammo. My G36 malfunctioned on three of the four brands fired. Remington UMC, Winchester White Box and Blazer Brass all had the exact same malfunction. The brand that did not jam was Corbon 230g +P. At over $1.50 per round, only 20 rounds of Corbon was tested.
- Grip Tightness. Or "limp wristing" as others call it. The photos and the video clip above are proof this cannot be the cause. In this malfunction the slide goes back all the way. By definition, a malfunction caused by a less-than tight grip would show the slide failing to go back all the way. A malfunction caused by "limp-wristing" can be cleared with a 'tap-rack' procedure, whereas this G36 malfunction cannot be cleared with a tap-rack as the slide is fully back. To explain it another way, grip tightness does not cause an extractor to let go of the spent casing before the casing has fully exited the chamber.
- Magazines. I used new factory magazines. I now have a total of 14 between those I've purchased and the free magazines Glock shipped back to me with the gun.
- Glock Website. If the G36 requires certain ammo or a different type of grip, why doesn't it say this on their website? Here are screen shots from August of the G36 main page, and the G36 technical page. It appears Glock is marketing these weapons the same as their other models - yet Glock Technical Services suggested I stay away from certain brands of ammo and modify my grip. One could also note that the same grip and 'bad' ammo resulted in a 97% success rate.
- How Many Test Rounds? Call me picky here, but with everything else mentioned above, the number of rounds fired by Glock adds to my complaints of poor service. Did Glock fire 200 rounds as Fred promised on February 22? Or did they shoot 250 rounds as Jonathan said in his June 26 call? Or did Glock shoot 300 rounds through my G36 as Doug, the Technical Services Manager, said on July 13? Or, did Glock fire 350 rounds "without malfunctions" as Carlos Guevara's September 16 Response to Plaintiffs Statement of Claim states. Or, did Glock shoot 500 rounds as Carlos Guevara and Jonathan both stated in court? This was during the Spring/Summer of 2009 when I could not find .45 ACP ammo anywhere, and the rumors were that 50 rounds were priced at $30 or more when found. So Glock shot $300 in ammo, during an ammo shortage, to prove my G36 is functional when it is known that their cost of providing a replacement pistol is close to half that?
GlockTalk is an Internet Forum frequented by gun-enthusiasts. My G36 woes led to my joining GlockTalk. I discovered others who were experiencing the exact same malfunction and same frustrations with Glock. I prepared comments they had written in the forum, and in some cases their testimonials for this lawsuit. It was later that I learned the only witnesses allowed were those who attend in person.
Of all those owners of defective G36s I spoke with, only one had a favorable resolution. All the others either sold their G36s, took them back for a refund or trade, or tossed it into the back of their safe. Many tried to work with Glock but experienced the same "meets factory specs" disappointment. The one gentleman who resolved his G36 issue: he bought a 2nd G36 which has worked fine for him.
Others have suggested, and I tend to agree - Glock deserves a class-action suit over its continued production of a product with a high defect rate and its continued refusal to replace defective G36s. I'd rather Glock make it right for those with bad G36s than see lawyers make $$ off of an otherwise deeply respected and appreciated company.
Specifically, Glock should post a notice on their website that explains the specific G36 malfunction and the company's offer to replace defective G36s, including those out of warranty, with either a new G36 or a new Glock pistol of the consumer's choice. The resulting bruised corporate image and costly recall pales in comparison to the legal and public relations disaster that would be caused from the death of an off-duty police officer who, while under fire, had to remove a magazine, clear the action, replace the magazine, chamber a round, then get back into the fight.
The obvious current strategy at Glock is to wait-out those with problems and stick to the "meets factory specs" line. By the time I received my G36 back in August, I was out of the warranty coverage. How many G36 owners are willing to travel to Atlanta for a small claims case that they may or may not win, and if so, be awarded only a portion of their total G36-related costs? For example: the judgement did not include reimbursement for the night sites, magazines, G36-only holster, the Bladetech mag/flashlight carrier, the shipping expenses I paid, or my travel expenses. In the end, my total loss was equivilent to throwing the G36 in the trash the day I bought it.
After the case was heard, but before a judgement was rendered, Carlos Guevara told me he would replace my G36 with another model "regardless of the outcome of the case". He said it was Glock's way to "keep a good customer". This was a generous offer! I wrote him the next day to take him up on this offer and gave him my requested model and local FFL dealer's address. I will update this site with news of this transfer.
I decided to make the switch from 9mm to .45ACP in 2008. The main reason was that I owned all the 9mm pistols I ever wanted, yet I was ready to add to my collection. While buying 1911 model .45s was the goal, any switch to a new caliber meant my first purchase would be the ultra-reliable Glock brand followed later by some cool 1911's. I bought two Glock .45s: a Model 30SF in May 2008, then this Model 36 in June. Both were defective. The 30SF had a defective trigger bar that took Glock 12 weeks to replace in the summer of 2009. It now works perfect. I started buying 1911's in 2009 and currently have three, a Kimber, a Colt and a Sig, all of which work perfect.
The intent behind this site is not to smear my favorite gun maker, Glock, nor the many helpful and best-intentioned Glock employees I've come in contact with during this issue. Instead, like the lawsuit, this site was motivated by the 8-month timeline with no resolution, and by those with similar stories. I hope this information helps other G36 owners and those considering a G36 purchase.
My advice for buyers of new or used G36's: Put 100 rounds through it before you pay.
UPDATE Dec. 2, 2009:
Corporate Counsel Carlos Guevara called me to ask me which option I wanted: the replacement gun or the award from the lawsuit. It turns out his offer to replace the gun "regardless of the outcome of the case" had some fine print. I could replace the gun with a new Glock pistol, OR get the award ordered by the judge. My mistake. When I told him that I'll take the check, he then said he'd send me a fedex slip for me to return the G36. I told him that was not part of the judge's order and that I will have to sell it to recover more of the damages.
UPDATE Dec. 11, 2009:
Check received. 323 days.
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