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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Straight Talk on Glocks...

Sixteen years of exposure to Glocks, in the agencies I worked for and on ranges that I ran, has taught me a few things about them. I still don't own one, but not because they "aren't any good." Like Jeff Cooper, I have learned to be objective about them. There are reliable accounts of 9mm Glocks running into the HUNDREDS of thousands of rounds, with only minor parts replacement. You can't argue with that kind of durability.

The handling qualities either work for you or they don't, and for me, they don't. I believe if I shot them to the exclusion of everything else, I could overcome this. The Glock can be learned, and any gun you are going to bet your life on deserves this much effort. I also note subtle changes in the grip of the 9mm/.40 frames over the last 10 years, which have to some degree minimized their propensity to "point high" for those of us raised on classic handgun designs.

The trigger is weird by conventional standards, but you'll get used to it. Resist the urge to install all manner of lightweight springs and levers, and leave it alone. I find that by pretending that a Glock is a DA-only revolver, I can shoot one pretty dang well. I have yet to get ahold of one that wouldn't group its shots in the 9-ring of a B27 at 50 yards, from a rest. It ain't a target pistol, but it wasn't designed to shoot targets with either.

Aside from that, they have a few little design issues that are easily remedied. Some of them have plastic sights, which are easily knocked akimbo with the slightest collision. This is dangerous, because the best defensive handgun cartridges are marginal at best, and you need good centerline hits to be effective with them. Put a good set of steel sights on the gun, if yours don't have them, and them zero them for 50 yards with one bullet weight.

Like all automatics, they can and do jam- and you have to plan for it. They are more reliable than a poorly set-up 1911, which a plethora of manufacturers seem to specialize in these days- but properly set-up 1911 combines qualities not available anywhere else. I consider Glocks more reliable than the first and second-generation S&W autos, and about equal to the Beretta 92’s-which is very good indeed. FWIW I have seen a lot of jammed guns, and less of them were Berettas and Sigs than anything else. I have seen some Glocks (and other modern service-pistol designs) give years of perfect service, while requiring nothing more than good ammo and an occasional cleaning. The finish Glock uses on its exposed metal components is exceptionally durable.

The KaBoom issue. It's real, and no it's not "the ammo" as the KoolAid-drinkers will attest. Glock .40 brass typically exhibits a bulge at the unsupported juncture of the feed ramp and chamber. Look at the fired brass from full-snort .40 loads, and you will understand without a doubt that you are dancing on the rim of the volcano.

I am personally aware of three explosive-disassembly events, one of which resulted in a wrist injury to a friend of mine. His 10mm Glock let go with the first round of a reload (can't say what it was- I didn't load it) that we had been using with fine results in Colt Deltas. The other two were .40’s, which cracked up with factory ammo. Glock seems determined to correct neither the out-of-battery firing nor unsupported chamber issues, which obviously contribute to this. Lead is a no-no in their barrels. The polygonal rifling may also be a factor, but I suspect it is more the manner in which the leade is cut into the rifling, which collects bullet metal until it contributes to a KaBoom. Wild speculation on my part; I can’t say for sure. Glock is obviously selling enough guns that they aren’t concerned about it, and a very small percentage of their .40+ guns have KaBoomed.

There are several manufacturers who make aftermarket barrels for these guns, which feature much better chamber support and conventional rifling. You can bet your reloading press that I would be installing one in any .40+ Glock that resided in my holster.

Thanks to its popularity the Glock also enjoys a superb aftermarket support network, and the factory offers replacement parts freely. I used to recommend the Springfield XD- but have withdrawn that recommendation based on Springfield’s recent policy prohibiting the direct sale of internal parts for them.

Aside from the above, get a good hard holster that covers the triggerguard and work on your trigger-finger & muzzle discipline. Be damn careful when disassembling the gun, as it requires the trigger to be pulled. The internet is loaded with ‘shot left hand’ images from folks who forgot that pesky little round in the chamber- and somehow got their off-hand in front of the muzzle when the were pulling the trigger, prior to disassembly.

With a few little improvements and a lot of practice, the Glock excels at one thing- keeping good guys alive in car-length gunfights, that ‘come out of nowhere’. You could have made a lot worse choices as a carry gun.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Saturday, August 12, 2006 11:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very best site. Keep working. Will return in the near future.

Friday, August 18, 2006 2:59:00 AM  
Anonymous LivesLongEnoughToBecomeABald-HeadedFatMan said...

Glocks aren't my cup of tea, but for those who are willing to train and use them exclusively, there are alot of advantages to having something which works "out of the box" without any gunsmithing or add-ons, using only factory ammo.
A retired MSGT buddy of mine, now a 3-letter fed badge wearer-gun-toter, carries only Glocks exclusively both on and off-duty. He got rid of everything else, so that nothing changes. There are advantages to carrying the same weapon(s) all the time, so that their use is instinctive. The only thing that works for me that way is a revolver, or two, or three. Heck, but I'm an old fart.

Monday, December 17, 2007 8:50:00 AM  
Anonymous rjf415 said...

I too have sold off everything else and have exclusively gone with Glock. Even my woods gun is a Glock 23 stuffed with Buffalo Bore Ammo...You're writing on the Glock is by far the most honest I have found--thank you

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 7:31:00 PM  

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