It's the definition of the phrase "at the expense of quality"
that can start to become problematic or contentious. I've heard personal opinions bordering on the innumerable, expressed by owners among various online gun forums, and most of them aren't exactly what you might call an "informed" opinion.
The use of MIM for parts in firearms is an example. Some folks have an instant abhorrent reaction, and often without knowing anything about the process or the achievable quality if results.
S&W owns their own MIM molds which is an expensive proposition, and they made the decision to do so reportedly because they wanted to retain control over the quality of the molds. The MIM houses they use aren't located offshore, either.
They operate the largest forging & heat treating facilities on the Eastern Seaboard, making parts (and performing other processes) for many other companies. I've heard they're supplying parts, assemblies & processes for other gun companies, as well as making parts for at least one well respected motorcycle company, and landing gear for aircraft. They have the capability to manufacture all parts needed for their products, but they still use outside vendors where possible ... supposedly not to save on costs, but to save on using up floorspace and manufacturing capability, in-house (until it's ever necessary, someday).
I remember when gun owners reacted the same way to the use of aluminum
as pistol frames, or cast
steel parts (versus forged
) being used.
The funny thing is, I've seen more problems occur with cast & forged steel parts over the years than I have occur with MIM parts. Go figure, right?
Perish the thought of using a plastic compound for a frame!?!
Kind of depends on the application, the design and the quality of the materials, doesn't it?
Just as some cast
is not representative of what's possible (and desirable) for all cast
parts ... and ditto with forged
... the use of plastic
depends on why, how & where it's used, and the way it's produced.
Quality control (and the consistency thereof
) also has a lot to do with how a product turns out, right?
Does anybody really think that Glock's introduction of the Gen4 guns was done as a cost-cutting measure?