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Another Apex Extractor Review

Discussion in 'General Glocking' started by dhgeyer, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. dhgeyer


    Jul 15, 2011
    I've had mine for, what, a week or so I guess. I shoot pretty much daily. I put it in my new Glock 17 Gen4 USA. As a disclaimer I must say that the gun came with a non-dipped extractor, and before firing it the first time I put in a White Sound Defense 20% extra power extractor depressor plunger spring, and a homemade spring loaded bearing designed to tension said spring even more. In this configuration the gun wasn't a problem. It ejected everything from WWB to Gold Dots and 2 power levels of handloads reliably and in the right direction. It would not eject without the magazine in place.

    When I installed the Apex extractor I noticed that after less than 300 rounds the extractor depressor plunger was showing wear from the slide at the front. I replaced it with one I made that has a longer front expanded portion and is much harder than the stock part. I put one of these homemade jobs in my G19 and it shows no wear at all after over 1000 rounds. I also switched out the White Sound Defense spring for the one supplied by Apex.

    First, I must say that the appearance of the Apex unit is head and shoulders above the Glock MIM part. Edges are precise, surfaces are clean, and the finish is very well done. It is a class item. I think, intuitively, that the claw edge being parallel with the inside of the slide, rather than at a 17 degree angle, is a very good idea, as the extractor is fully tensioned when it needs to be: when the spent case is at the ramped down position of the barrel.

    In shooting tests it is flawless. I actually loaded up some 115 grain ammo with the starting load of Bullseye powder, which makes for an even weaker load than WWB or REM/UMC, or any other ammo I've ever tried in any 9mm pistol. Weak loads seem to bring out the worst in some of the problem stock Glocks, so that was a test I wanted to do. I also tried it with stronger reloads, CCI Lawman, and Gold Dots.

    I forgot to try it with the magazine removed, but I'll add a post when I remember to do that.

    In several hundred rounds I have had no failures with the Apex extractor, and the cases have all gone in the same direction - up, out, and to the right at 4:00 o'clock or so. I kind of like shooting the weak loads, because I don't have to chase the brass as far.

    Since my gun wasn't a problem to begin with, was it worth the $67.00 with shipping? I think to me it was. I've been into all kinds of mechanical stuff for a long, long time. I have developed an appreciation for quality work. Also, with this part I know I don't have to worry about the extractor going South after 800, 1000, or 2000 rounds downrange.

    The only possible downside I must mention is that it is a non-LCI extractor. I don't care personally. I've never had a problem with knowing if the chamber is loaded. But, I can see some scumbag lawyer making an issue out of the fact that I have removed one of the gun's safety devices. In this case, that's a chance I'm willing to take.


    Feb 1, 2012
    Thanks for the update

  3. TxGlock9


    Nov 22, 2010
    BMT, TX
    great update.. might have to try the apex one day.
  4. TheExplorer


    Apr 16, 2012
    Excellent review. Thank you for writing this.
  5. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    I wish it were an LCI extractor. It's a useful feature for a defensive handgun. Not a deal breaker, but why should I be losing functionality, in addition to spending more money, for something that I already paid for?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  6. dhgeyer


    Jul 15, 2011
    Thank you those who responded.

    cowboy1964: You ask a very good question. Why indeed is the Apex extractor not an LCI (loaded chamber indicator)? The answer lies in the way Randy Lee and his team at Apex have solved what they perceive as one of the problems with the Glock LCI extractor.

    The Glock LCI extractor indicates a loaded chamber by being pushed further out from the center of the slide, allowing a rectangular nub at the front of the extractor to protrude from the slide. This nub can be seen or felt. If there is no round in the chamber, the front of the extractor is allowed to sit, under spring tension, far enough into the slide that the nub does not protrude.

    In order for this system to work, the case, as it is loaded from the magazine into the chamber, must push the extractor outward. In the Glock design, this is accomplished by angling the end of the extractor claw in such a way that the case, as it moves upward, ramps the extractor outward. This is the 17 degree angle that is often referred to.

    The problem with this angled claw is that, as the case ramps the extractor outward, it compresses the spring which tensions the extractor. Thus, by definition, the extractor is under the LEAST tension when the back of the barrel is ramped down. That is when the extractor actually does its job and wants to be under maximum tension.

    Apex solved the problem by making the extractor claw straight up and down - not angled. That way the extractor moves very little, and is under very near maximum spring tension when it needs to be. But, this prevents the extractor from providing information about the state of the chamber.

    By and large, I think Apex's reasoning is sound. S&W, and others, cut a notch in the back of the barrel hood so that one can look down and see any case in the chamber. I personally once did this to a 1911 barrel. As long as this notch does not go further forward than the solid portion of the web of the cartridge case, there is no compromise of safety in doing this. Other companies find other ways to indicate a loaded chamber. I think some states require some sort of loaded chamber indicator. I do personally believe that Glock did not take the best approach to meeting this requirement.

    I must note, however, that it is possible to use the extractor as an LCI without angling the claw. Kahr pistols do this. They do it by placing the "at rest" position of the extractor further in, and relying on the recoil spring to force the extractor outward during feeding. This approach requires a delicate balance, though. If you try to have too much movement of the extractor by having it too far in when at rest, you make feeding more difficult and may encounter problems at that end of the cycle. If you make the recoil spring very strong (which Kahr does), it can get kind of hard for someone with small or relatively weak hands to cycle the action, for example to clear a jam.

    My bottom line is I'd just as soon have some other LCI, and not use the extractor for this purpose. The notch in the back top of the barrel is one approach. Another that Ruger uses on its target .22's is a separate pivoting piece on the left side that is pushed out by the cartridge case. There are several ways to do it. I say let the extractor do its job and be an extractor.
  7. 19crew


    Aug 26, 2012
    Nice review, I have an apex sitting here just waiting for the spring plunger to come in the mail.

    In case it matters to anyone, this batch of apex extractors have "apex" engraved on their side.
  8. GThirtyTwo

    GThirtyTwo Amor patriae

    Feb 7, 2007
    Martinez, GA
    Great post I'll have to give one a try even though I don't really need one :supergrin:
  9. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    Yup! Somebody has very good mechanical instincts. Glock's LCI extractor was, indeed, created as an afterthought to all of the good press Springfield XD's were getting on their loaded chamber indicators. Since day one I have regarded Glock's LCI extractors as an expedient mistake. After reading this thread I, now, know exactly why.

    Well done! :thumbsup:
  10. Beanie-Bean


    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    Installed one today (extractor+EDP spring that shipped with it) in one of my G19 Gen4 models (the black one) and noticed the claw has a much different shape/fit when compared to the original #2 extractor.

    Anyway, I put two 100-count boxes of WWB 115 gr. through it today, and only got hit in the head once. Everything else ejected where it was supposed to: away and right. There were a few (maybe two) which just dribbled out of the ejection port, but I recognize that from underpowered loads. I haven't shot 115 gr. in quite a while, and I really wanted to see how the Apex extractor ran with it. In my opinion, I'd say that it did just fine, and would probably be flawless with 124 or 147 gr. ammo. However, I'd like to try loading up some 115 gr. FMJ over Power Pistol and Unique on the low-side of the spectrum to see if it'll work as described in dgheyer's posts. I will also try to use some more stout loads that I've marked in green on my load spreadsheet for different powders.

    As long as the factory extractors are working fine for me, I think that I'll just leave them in after the Apex tests are completed.

    If you're having trouble with BTF on your 9x19 Gen4 model, I'd recommend checking out one of these to see if it may help you out. If anything, the workmanship is really nice on the part, and I'd use it in confidence when mine finally needs replacement.

    I'll load up some 124 gr. FMJ for the next run, and will put the Apex through another set of tests.
  11. dhgeyer


    Jul 15, 2011

    Don't forget that Apex recommends you use a non-LCI spring loaded bearing with their setup. It has a longer "head", which compresses the EDP spring more. In my tests I used a homemade SLB that does the same thing. I think that the more tension you can get on that extractor, the better. Maybe on your next test you'll get 0 BTF.
    I haven't had any yet, but I haven't shot as many weak loads as you have, although I think I've shot weaker ones.
  12. Beanie-Bean


    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas

    Thanks for the reply. I looked back at the site, and saw that the old non-LCI slb was prescribed by Randy for optimal performance. I'll try to see if the LE shop has some on-hand so I can re-test the 115 gr. ammo.

    I've got a little bit of 115 gr. FMJ and some Hornady XTP I can load up to test out the correct setup to validate the performance.
  13. dhgeyer


    Jul 15, 2011
    Back from the range. My Gen4 G17 USA with Apex extractor and setup will not eject a case without the magazine in place. I tried multiple times. The cases fall down the magazine well.

    My G19 Gen4 with stock new style non-dip extractor, White Sound Defense 20% extra power extractor depressor plunger spring and extra tension spring loaded bearing will eject without a magazine in place. Interesting. One of these days I'll go out and mix and match between the guns and see what happens.

    In any event, the Apex setup continues to run flawlessly when the gun is used as it was designed to be used - with the mag in place.
  14. clarkz71


    Aug 24, 2012
    South Florida
    Can you post a pic of that?
  15. gunsmoke92


    Jul 22, 2005
    Rigby, Idaho
    There is a question I just can't help but ask, but ask it I will (and because I haven't had the time or money to buy a bunch of parts and try them out). If the problems started showing up with the introduction of the LCI extrctor, why not just install an old non-LCI Glock OEM part and move on? Or did Glock change the slide geometry to the point the old part won't fit? :dunno:
  16. English


    Dec 24, 2005
    I fear that means that, although the Apex extractor is better than the Glock versions, it is still not right. It should eject without a magazine in place.

    Excellent write ups that extend the knowledge base by the way.

  17. JBS


    Apr 4, 2012
    Curious, will the Apex hold the case rim tight against the opposite side of the breach when in the tilted case position?
  18. dhgeyer


    Jul 15, 2011
    Not sure what you mean by the tilted case position. Do you mean the position the case would be in when the back of the barrel is ramped down and the slide is back at or near the point of ejection? If that's what you mean, then the answer is yes.

    There is a test that I was taught a long time ago that you do on a 1911 type pistol to adjust the extractor. For those that are unfamiliar with the 1911, the extractor is itself a long spring, inserted in a hole in the back of the slide. It has a cylindrical section at the back where it is anchored in its channel, a flat section in the middle, and the claw at the front. To adjust tension all you have to do is bend the middle part a little. You don't even need tools. Just stick it halfway in its hole in the slide and push sideways. You want enough tension on the case to eject reliably, but not so much that it impedes the case sliding up under the claw during feeding.

    So the test is, put an empty case under the extractor in the position it would be in when the barrel is linked down. Shake the slide moderately. The extractor should be able to hold the empty case against light to moderate shaking when the slide is held top up and bottom down. Then do the same thing with a live round. The extractor should have enough tension to hold the case with the slide top up, but any shaking should cause it to fall out. I don't know if people do that test anymore, but I always found that it got the extractor to a good working tension.

    So, I tried it with both my Gen4 Glocks. The G17 has the Apex setup. The G19 has a new style non-dip extractor obtained from, White Sound Defense extra power spring, and extra tension spring loaded bearing. Both guns held both an empty case and a loaded round against what I would call more than moderate shaking. I'm not sure what that means. The 9mm round is, of course, much lighter than the 45 ACP. Still, with that amount of tension one would think the gun would eject without the magazine in place. The G19 with the Glock extractor and aftermarket parts described above will eject without the magazine.

    Maybe what it means is that the Glock is not and never was designed to work without a magazine, and the "1911" test is not valid for these pistols.
  19. JBS


    Apr 4, 2012
    Yes that is what I was asking, and yes the 1911 test with the Apex. Interesting the Apex still exhibits the through the mag well eject.
  20. PM720


    Apr 2, 2011
    Vegas Baby!
    Well, that DOES eliminate BTF! :whistling::rofl:

    smokey45 likes this.