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Proprietary Parts!

All of these 1911 magazines are listed as having the same application, but obviously the follower, feed lips, and even bodies are different. Which one will really work in your gun?

I recently saw a forum post in which someone was looking for a "this vs that" answer and one of the responses listed option B as disadventageous due to proprietary parts. This triggers a rant that I've been meaning to do for a while because I'm not sure folks understand what "propietary" really mans both literally and what it means for gun owners.

Definition: Oxford Languages defines Proprietary as, "relating to an owner or ownership.

"the company has a proprietary right to the property""

Let's think about that for a moment. All the word means is that the parts (in our case design) are uniquely owned by the manfacturer. For gun owners this means that they have but one source for those parts, but also just one company taking responsibility for the quality and characteristics of that part. This also means that the part likely has a valid patent protecting it.

Conversely, a part that is not propietary means that it likely once was, but that either others have begun to produce it or the patent has expired, ie. that part has been in production for two decades; a long time in today's age of modernly-advancing technologies.

All of these magazines are "Glock pattern" and yet time and again we've shown one to work in one gun and not in another.

To bind yourself to non-proprietary parts means binding yourself to either products that weren't deemed worth patending when they were created, or binding yourself to technology that is at least 20 years old. Would you make the same commitment for cars, television, phones, medicine, or running shoes? Mankind's ability to design and manufacture has advanced rapidly in the last twenty years. Even manufacturing method relevancy has changed. Metal injection molding once meant weak parts, but that has changed. What we expect plastics to do has changed. Chrome lining rifle barrels used to be the best way to prevent corrosion, even at the cost of consistency, but now we have nitriding and other methods that do a better job and cost less.

Yet expired patents don't always mean doom. Look at what Glock's antiquity has done for us. Because the Gen 3 Glock was such a good set of bones, the aftermarket has been able (at first through need, now through exploration) to do with the platform. There are now several great pistols available at reasonable prices in part because the manufacturers didn't need to develop core elements of the pistol and were able to improve upon a prooven design. Their savings has either been passed on to we the consumers through lower prices or enabled further development with final product prices near the original.

The Ermox Defense X-Fire is another example of a firearm we have thansk to expired patents.
The Ermox Defense X-Fire is another example of a firearm we have thansk to expired patents.

What Do You Think? One one side "proprietary" means currently-owned and defended. "Non-proprietary" is effectively abandoned or expired technology. While the core science of firearms remains relatively unchanged for a few lifetimes, what is your response to hearing the word "propietary"?

To me it means I might have to pay a few dollars more for a magazine or part, and may have to search ahrder to find that part. If I can't find the part I either decide if I can live with the thing as it is, or if the need for somethign different requires going more mainstream.

Yes, I realize this post comes from the mind of a gun guy who loves things that are different or at least attempting to try something new.

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