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Friday, May 22, 2009

Glock’s Model 23

The Glock pistol in .40 S&W cartridge is America's most widely-used law enforcement sidearm and it has proven entirely capable in that application. That fact has not been lost on the general shooting public, either.

I'm an old-school pistol shooter and Glocks, initially, did not impress me. There were well-documented issues with KaBooms and the grip angle was all wrong for us 1911/P35 guys. Glock (who will never admit they screwed anything up in the first place) eventually made subtle changes and both issues were mitigated to my satisfaction. So when a Department-Issue Glock 22 was offered to me in September, 2008, I accepted it and committed to mastering these guns.

My duty gun came with the 8 pound trigger, which I didn’t exactly see as an asset. Despite the trigger pull, ‘Total Immersion’ in the G22 soon resulted in my shooting it as well as the 1911 in typical defensive shooting exercises. This was a startling revelation to me, after spending three decades with the 'Army 45'. It also led me to try the Model 23 which is still a.40, but in the next smaller size.

My Glock 23 was purchased via OMBGuns “Individual Officer Purchase Program”- and the savings to privileged categories is substantial. Unfortunately, so is the wait and it took about six weeks for the gun to arrive. One of the first things I noticed was how much sharper the G23's grip checkering and finger-ridges were, compared to my old issue G22. They were also noticeably 'taller', to the point of limiting contact surface between my hand & the G23’s grip.
Shooting the gun only confirmed that its unnatural feel was not helping my instinctive shooting with it. Trends may change, folks-but absolutes don't. You have got to be able to attain a firm firing grip on the gun, and it must be an instinctive, subconscious process.

I have never been afraid to modify a handgun to suit my purposes. A sheet of 240 Wet & Dry emery cloth was wrapped around various bench paraphernalia and applied to the G23’s grip, until it’s feel matched that of my duty gun. The de-horned G23 appears on the right in both photos:

The grip modification made for much nicer handling and the results on target validate the work. I shot my Dept's Basic Qualification with this 23 and posted a ‘possible’ on the first run. This course includes 'yank & blast' at 6 feet, 2-taps from the holster, 3-taps from low ready and it finishes with 10 rounds each at 15 & 25 yards. The time constraints are realistic. The improved contact surface made a hurried firing grip easy to acquire and this helped me keep all but two rounds inside the 5 inch ‘X ring’'. Both of the ‘stragglers’ were still good centerline hits, maybe 3" below it.

The little gun is fairly accurate, too. Rested 25 yard groups with Remington UMC 180 FMJ are right at two inches; 50 yard results are five rounds of the same load into four and one half inches. All this requires, of course that I get off five, perfect shots and in that regard I am far less consistent than the gun. I shoot much better on 3D targets and anything the size of an empty cartridge box is likely to get nailed out to 75 yards.

Is there a significant ‘velocity loss’ from the G23's shorter barrel? To answer that question, I chronographed four, .40 S&W factory loads through the 4.5” G22 and the 4” G23. Given the current ammo situation I fired only ONE round of each. (Want more? Ship me ammo ;) My Chrony Beta Master was used to record this data at a firing distance of about six feet.

  • Load Tested-----------Glock 22 Velocity-----Glock 23 Velocity
  • Remington 165 Golden Saber----1105 fps-----1076 fps
  • Remington 180 UMC/FMJ------1061 fps-----1015 fps
  • Remington 180 UMC/FMJ------1016 fps------990 fps
  • Fiocchi 165 JHP------------------1085 fps-----1058 fps

In every case, the compact gun lost less than 50 fps and this is inconsequential.

The Glock 23 is only ½” smaller, in grip and barrel length, than the fullsize gun. It weighs 31 ounces, loaded with 13 rounds. These fiqures simply can't reflect how much better the Glock 23 conceals. I just finished a week of carrying it under a loose shirt, using a cheap Uncle Mikes IWB holster. The weather was warm and much of that time was spent in & out of a classroom. Whether sitting, driving or just walking around, the gun stayed put and rode in relative comfort. I was surprised at how well this combination worked.

Is the Model 23 ‘Perfection”? No. It definitely needs conventional rifling as an option for the US market, where we still cast bullets and load our own ammo. While the factory sight picture works just great, they are plastic. Even the basic gun should be furnished with steel sights. Why? Cops are notoriously 'hard on equipment' and the holstered duty pistol often gets a few knocks on door jambs, car doors and the like. Plastic sights aimply cannot be fitted as solidly to the dovetail as steel ones can. As an old range officer I can recall more than one occasion where a Glock shooter was unexpectedly grouping left or right- and upon examining their issue plastic sights, I invariably found something like this:

Image courtesy of Tango44, at GlockTalk

The good news is that the user can easily change the gun to suit his or her tastes- Glock pistols enjoy fantastic factory and aftermarket parts availability. Even in stock form, the Glock 23 is a powerful, accurate carry gun that lives up to Glock's reputation for reliability.

The Model 23 is a heck of a lot of gun in a nice, compact package. To say that I am impressed with it would be an understatement. Coming from an old 1911 man, that is no faint praise.


Blogger Tony said...

Hi Sarge,

Just stopped in to say, “Hey!”

I genuinely enjoy reading your blog; it breaks up the monotony of shooting those Euro-Fifi guns I own.

Be well.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 1:07:00 PM  
Blogger Sarge said...

Hi Tony,

Good to see you here. I busted off 5 rounds with the 23 offhand today, just for grins.

At least they were all on the paper ;)

Monday, June 08, 2009 12:03:00 AM  
Anonymous rjf415 said...

Sarge--been reading your blog and came across you input on the Glock 22 & 23 in .40S&W. The LE Agency I serve uses the same Glocks, plus the the 27 as a "BUG". I too like the .45ACP, but in the end I prefer the .40S&W more. I fully understand that it's a high pressure round, but the size of the Glocks fit me well. I've been carrying a Glock 30SF in .45ACP for a year, but find it to bulky for my taste...anyways keep on blogging, really appreciate your thinking and wisdom-- Code-4 --rjf415 (336bl levergun forum)

Monday, October 22, 2012 12:45:00 AM  
Anonymous MA firearms license said...

I like the attractive look of Glock 23. It is an extremely reliable gun to carry. The .40 cal. packs a punch and with the right ammo is a great self-defense carry gun.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014 2:41:00 AM  

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