Glock 34 Rare 9mm Kaboom: More Questions than Answers

| December 29, 2014 | 11 Comments

Whether a fan of Glock handguns or not, most would agree that the Glock ?KB? (?Ka Boom? phrase coined by journalist Dean Speir) is a phenomena that will simply not go away for Glock. On many firearm related boards it seems that I am seeing some sort of Glock “KB” headline once a month or so. For those few that have been fortunate enough to have not experienced one or have ever heard of one a simple google search for Glock “KB” or Glock Kaboom will make your head spin. A quick visit to TheGunZone?will provide plenty of information for you to familiarize yourself with a Glock “KB”. They have put together a detailed analysis of a Glock “KB” and possible ways to prevent such from happening, it is worth a read.

In fairness of Glock this?phenomena is possibly more popular due to the number of firearms they have on the market. Theoretically 1- 4 a month to a company like Glock who has over 1million on the street is a very small percentage.

If this is such a widely known issue you may wonder why I refer to this particular incident as rare or continue to call the Glock “KB a?phenomena. No matter what we call it and as you do your research and become more familiar with it. I believe there are two things you will most likely walk away with.

1st — The Glock “KB” theory has more questions than it has answers.
2nd — This rarely happens in 9mm.

Unfortunately for you today I am going to possibly present even more questions. I personally have never experienced, have witnessed or had any relatives or close friends experience the Glock “KB”, until this weekend. I was contacted by a very close friend who began to tell me about his brother-in-law and friends who were practicing on the range and had his Glock 34 explode out of his hand. This group of guys are all experienced shooters and before getting to the pictures everyone is ok, a slight bruise on the trigger finger and a little confusion about why it happened outside of that everyone is healthy.

No serious injuries

No serious injuries

What we know:
1. A Gen 4 Glock 34 Kaboomed — According to many experts researching this and following this topic, the Glock “KB” happening in 9mm is very rare compared to the other Glock models. Most state the 9mm Glock models having more chamber support than other models. I believe this to be a high probability because if you think of it in terms of SAAMI spec pressure generated by each catridge 9mm=35kPSI (Glock19), 40S&W=35KPSI (Glock22), 10MM=37,500PSI(Glock20) you can see they are all fairly close in max safe pressure. Another term to familiarize yourself with is the Glock Case Bulge this is known to happen in Glock models that fire 40S&W and 10MM which also happens to be the models which exhibit the most failures. Again taking into consideration SAAMI Pressure Spec being relatively close and the design being relatively the same across all Glock model pistols it leads me to believe chamber support is part of the “main” cause.
2. The ammunition utilized in this Glock “KB” was Factory re-manufactured ammunition otherwise known as factory reloads.

More Questions:
1. Should we trust factory reloaded ammunition? Glocks manual and many other firearm manufacturers say not to use reloads. I have very little experience with re-manufactured ammunition but there are many reputable re-manufacturers out there. A range I visit from time to time only sells re-manufactured. Yet they will not let you shoot your own reloads because of insurance. Which tells you insurance companies believe re-manufactured ammunition is safer than what you can produce at home on a standard press. What I find most interesting is that there are disproportionately more problems with re-manufacturered ammunition in semi-auto’s than revolvers than I personally have ever heard about.
2. Considering the first statement could the problem be bullet set back in re-manufactured ammunition? Maybe the cases used for reloading are used one to many times and the case neck is losing it’s ability to retain firm pressure on the bullet itself when the slide strips the round from the magazine and loads it into the chamber, forcing the bullet deeper into the case causing extreme rise in pressure?
3. Could this problem be related to an out of battery firing, where the slide is not in it’s fully forward position when the trigger is pulled? Though not normal and mainly seen on improperly maintained pistols or while firing reloads it happens frequently (I firmly believe this is the culprit, although subjective). I have seen reloads especially in 40S&W be used and fired out of battery but nothing catastrophic has ever happened like the pictures you see below. What you will notice in these situations normally if you get the chance to examine an unfired round causing an out of battery situation is a round that’s to long and won’t fully chamber, or an over pressured round fired in a glock then that case being reloaded and not fully removing the bulge. Any any case this can range from trivial to catastrophic.

When you started reading this page I informed you, there were more questions than answers and there are many more in my mind I have not listed here. The one answer I do have is that Glocks are very strong. Most of these incidents I read about end with everyone being ok from no injuries to brusied ego’s, bruised hands, minor cuts and abrasions. I just wish we could get to the bottom of it before someone seriously gets hurt.

Be safe out there.

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11 Comments on "Glock 34 Rare 9mm Kaboom: More Questions than Answers"

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  1. Klingon00 says:

    What is that copper ring with what appears to be some lead residue on it? Could that be a piece of jacket shaved off? I think that may be your biggest clue as to what may have happened.

  2. MattW says:

    So many KaBooms are due to improper hand/re-loads. Showing a ring of the jacket in the first pic leads me to believe it was possibly an over-crimp in combination with a over-charge. If the bulged case is from the same source, the over-charge situation is definitely the most likely root cause. With an over-crimp that could cause a case to completely fail causing the KaBoom to the frame.

    Do you know if those were hand/re-loads or commercial ammo?

  3. MattW says:

    Nevermind, I didn’t read the “What We Know” section thoroughly enough.

  4. Josh W says:

    The copper ring was found inside the chamber in front of the case that exploded.

  5. Scooter says:

    That picture of a case you posted indicating a Glock Bulge. That isn’t a Glock Bulge. That is a combination of an out of battery event and an over pressure round. It’s also as close to an OOB explosion as you can possibly get. The reason I state this is the nature of the bulge. Glock Bulge is a one sided bulging that corresponds with the feed ramp intrusion into the chamber. The picture you posted appears to be full circle and covers at least something well beyond 180 degrees.

    Unfortunately your images are too small to clearly indicate the cause of this mishap. However, if that bulged case came from the same gun that was blown up and was produced at that same range session I would suspect two separate causes for this mishap. One is a batch of ammunition that was overpressure. BTW, a good clear closeup of the primer in the case head would be helpful in determining if excess pressure was present. The second cause is an out of battery ignition event, which is typically a mechanical issue with the pistol.

  6. Christopher Hunt says:

    I suspect that insurance companies like re-manufactured ammunition because they know they are covered for liability, unlike individual reloaders.

  7. Gene Stangel says:

    Oh GREAT! I just last month bought a G-34, my first ever! From the sounds of these comments this is a very rare event. But if I had read these articles first I would likely have made a different decision for a first gun… Thank you all for your comments. I will be sticking with new ammo! Gene

  8. Boris says:

    Not Glocks fault, the gun did as it was engineered to do, blow the excess pressure out the magwell. The frame bulged but there were no metal fragments and the guy didnt get lacerated. The fault was entirely a bad round of ammo, overcrimped or overcharged. 1911s blow the link pin into your hand with similar kabooms. Glock is actually safer to handle bad ammo than any other gun because they just dump the pressure out the magwell.

  9. Andrew LB says:

    Boris,
    Then please explain why we don’t see constant posts about other handguns doing this? The problem with glocks is that the feed ramp is too long and the result is a crescent shaped area that isn’t supported properly when in battery.
    I had a G23 KB on me about a decade ago. Burnt my hands and face pretty good but nothing beyond that. I was shooting winchester white box factory ammo.
    Lastly, your comment about dumping the pressure out the magwell is complete bull. Just run an image search for “Glock KB” and try and tell me it dumps it like that. If it did, i wouldn’t have had my face burned.

    There’s also a big class action suit reguarding this. And no, im not part of it. Had i been seriously injured, i would have.

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