When the assignment to write on this topic was offered I was excited to volunteer. That initial enthusiasm was followed by an ‘oh no’ moment. Why, you ask? I realized that this was going to be one of ‘those articles.’ See this topic is similar to the 9mm vs. .45 debate. In other words, no one wins and people argue over how the other one could believe in such nonsense. Yup, this is one of those topics.
So I know this article will divide the readers into those who are with me and think I am the smartest dude ever, and those who think I must have had a lobotomy prior to writing. But, wherever along the spectrum you find yourself, we all are entitled to our opinions, and here is mine:
My Take on Glock Perfection:
The Glock pistol is arguably the most reliable, durable and shoot-able handguns one can buy. Its simple and no frills design allows it to be used by the widest variety of users. Its simplicity also translates to ease of maintenance, replacement and after market part replacement by any user. These reasons, along with a host of others is why I choose to carry a Glock handgun for my everyday carry (EDC) gun.
Love it or Hate it, Gaston Glock Started a Legacy in 1963:
In 1963 a guy named Gaston Glock created a company in Austria that you wouldn't likely recognize as it is today: The company who produces the most recognizable firearms across the globe. This initial company fabricated plastic and steel components for other companies' products, but it wasn’t until the 70s that Glock began making its own products.
Initially, they manufactured military products like knives and training hand grenades. The emergence of the Glock pistol we have all become aware of occurred in 1981. After they won a contract to produce the firearm for the Austrian Military the real work began, and the Glock company we have all come to know began to take shape.
In 1983, after much R&D, the first Glock 17 handguns are supplied to the Austrian Military. The hammer-less, striker-fired guns used a polymer frame and was not something the stainless steel 1911 and revolver owners were accustomed to.
The very next year, the Swedes jumped on the bandwagon and the G17 became the sidearm of choice for Sweden’s military. And in the mid 80s American law enforcement agencies began to be infiltrated by Glock handguns. Besides the reliability, and economical price point, the higher capacity of the G17 and a shift toward the cheaper 9mm cartridge provided an excellent niche for Glock to seize upon.
The dependability, ease of maintenance, and value of the Glock handgun forced ever more agencies to replace the revolvers and DA/SA guns that many officers had been carrying for years. As a testament to its popularity, in 2007 Glock recorded its five-millionth handgun sold! Yeah, that's quite a few, no?
While the first generation Glock looks a little different than the Gen 4s most are familiar with today, they are amazingly similar. As with any product that has endured over time, improvements must be made to stay relevant, but the fact that the Glock has remained mostly unchanged shows how solid Gaston's original design was. This ability for the gun to remain mostly unchanged for years is similar to the 1911's iconic design (wow! I found something that Glock fans and haters can agree on).
I Didn’t Always Carry a Glock:
The first handgun I carried regularly was assigned to me and I didn't even get to choose what I would carry. See, I was in the Marine Corps and what I was issued was a Beretta M9 (92FS). You may have seen one or two of these DA/SA guns that shot well and were insanely durable.
I mean, you could literally use the thing as a hammer, swap parts, run it dirty, basically abuse it, and it still worked. All of which is great for a military issued gun. The problem with it was that it was heavy, bulky, the grips were fat and the DA/SA trigger pull wasn't ideal.
When I left the Marine Corps (yes, it was a sad day) and went to the police academy I was again told which gun I would be carrying. It would be the Gen 3 Glock 22. The G22 is the .40 brother of the gun that is most widely used by law enforcement agencies across the globe, the 9mm G17.
Why I Ultimately Chose the Glock:
After being forced to carry it at the police academy, I found things about the Glock I really liked. I didn't know a ton about handguns but had shot a fair amount of different types of handguns to know that these pistols had some really positive things going for them.
Ultimately I ended up buying a Glock 27 to carry as an off-duty carry gun. That same pistol is my go to EDC to this day. Over my time as a firearms instructor, I have had the opportunity to shoot a lot of different guns. Some have been awesome, some, not so much. After shooting all these different guns, I have stuck with the same one.
How did I get to the point where, even while liking many other guns, I have always returned to the same Glock handgun? Well besides familiarity, there are a ton of things I love about these handguns.
From the first time I held a Glock, I was in awe of its simple disassembly and utilitarian design. Most handguns are not very difficult to take apart, but some designs involve springs that can go flying across the room or pins that can be misplaced. They break down simply without tools or tons of tiny parts to lose. This simple design made the gun easy to clean and maintain.
I like the Glock's features, or really, lack there of. Sometimes when I think of these pistols, I am reminded of a Henry Ford quote. Ford, the inventor of the assembly line process, which forever revolutionized production, said “the customer can have any color Model T, as long as it is black.”
In other words, Ford came up with a great product and didn’t get caught up in trying to provide a hundred different options. He stuck to what worked and made the decision for the customer. Buying a Glock is sort of similar to buying a Model T … You know what you are going to get, nothing fancy just a solid piece of machinery.
Over time the lineup of handgun models they offer has grown but still remains surprisingly straight forward. Pick a caliber, choose a size (duty, compact or sub-compact), and decide if you want factory sights or night sights. Also an option are ported guns, guns with the slide cut for an optic, and a few frame colors. But, that is about it.
You don't really have the choice to buy different finishes, hand grips, lasers, or get one with lever safety. What you see is basically what you get.
Maybe it is because I am not flashy, but I actually like this approach. I guess if I wanted something shiny I would wear jewelry. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don't appreciate a beautiful 1911 with polished chromed, because I do. But as a duty weapon or EDC, nah not for me.
As mentioned, Glock makes duty, compact, and sub-compact sized firearms, with magazines to match. Obviously, depending on the frame, the capacity of the magazine will change. What is great in my opinion is that the magazines are compatible across models in the same caliber.
For example, I have a sub compact .40 S&W G27, which holds 9 rounds standard. I can use a 15 round magazine in my G27 without any problem. In fact, I have used 9mm mags in it when using a 9mm conversion barrel. Again, without modification or problem.
Aftermarket parts and products:
If you shop around online for parts you'll find they are readily available. Have a G19 and a G26? You can use the same holster for both. What about if you want to enhance your Glock? Sights, triggers, magazines and extensions, grips etc., are all produced by a ton of different companies.
I equate the ease of finding parts for a Glock to aftermarket products for Honda automobiles. Nearly every company that makes products for a vehicle, makes it for a Honda car. Not only do they make them, but usually they have them ready to ship. If you want a holster for your gun, and you have a Glock, I would bet you can go to nearly any holster maker and they will have a holster for you. Some other guns, not so much.
I have changed out a few parts on my G27 over time (Cruxord stainless steel recoil spring and guide rod, extended slide stop lever, SSVi trigger, and XS Big Dot sights) but not because of reduced performance of any of these components.
Reliability and Durability:
Maybe I should have made this clear at the beginning of the article, but I don’t get paid by Glock (although I wouldn’t turn it down.) But my experience is like that of so many others. That is, that Glock firearms are about as reliable as it gets. They don't need to be tuned up, broken in or treated like a baby. It runs dirty, clean or anywhere in between.
They also don't need special ammunition or load to run flawlessly like many other popular firearms available today.
It just runs and runs, and most of all, lasts! Some guns start off running great, only to start to have major problems as springs and tolerances begin to degrade. Not so with Glock pistols. For example, mine has had easily 80,000 rounds through it over the 10 + years I have owned it. Not to mention, I dry fire like a mad man. At least 3 times a week I am dry firing. That G27 has had NO malfunctions or components fail. Seriously, not one.
By no means do I treat my gun like a safe queen either. It gets carried every day, used, and dirtied. I have placed it in mud, water, snow, whatever (purposefully of course), to test its reliability. I haven't had any problems. Not to mention the finish on the gun is exceptionally strong. Glock has used various finishes on their guns over the years, but even with above average usage, they hold their finish nicely.
You don’t have to take my word for it, there are plenty of sadistic gun owners on YouTube showing how their Glocks fire under water or filled with mud.
For obvious reasons, this is an extremely important factor of why I chose the gun I own for EDC. It has a very neutral bore axis and grip angle. This just means that when gripped properly, the way the gun naturally sits in your hands, places the muzzle at a natural angle, and the slide is not extremely tall. The shorter slide allows more of the rearward movement of the slide to be better managed by the shooters hands. The factory Glock trigger, while nothing close to a nice single action 1911 trigger, is very easy for the majority of users to get used to.
Glock finally got on board with their Gen4 models and equipped them with an interchangeable backstrap, allowing the pistol to fit more comfortably in various sizes of hands. Even with my smaller hands, I find my that G27 is the perfect size and allows for the exact natural trigger finger placement that I struggled to find on other guns.
Glock has customer satisfaction that is second to none. Ask anyone who has had to warranty a gun, or replace a part and they will tell you how responsive the company is. They've been around for a long time, and while it is highly unlikely, should they ever have to issue a recall, you bet they are going to handle it the right way and take care of their customers.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery:
Glock’s design has been widely copied and can be seen in so many of the guns we see today. Once again it is the simple design that makes it so dependable and appealing to so many people.
Is the Gun Perfect:
Well, no. It's pretty darn close, but not perfect. A Glock comes from the factory with its undeniable dependability, but also with some bare bone sights. The sights are very usable, and functionally, they work just fine but leave a little to be desired when it comes to self-defense or duty applications. The sights are plastic, and while the rest of the gun is a tank, the plastic sights are susceptible to denting.
Additionally, they have a mediocre factory trigger feel. Personally, I became used to the trigger and did not find it atrocious as some other have described it, but I have felt better ‘out of the box’ feeling triggers.
Glock doesn’t get too fancy with its design and that extends to the texture of the grip. Because some people like aggressive grip texture and some don’t, they left it somewhere in the middle. This kinda sets up a situation where no one is 100% pleased but everyone is pretty happy. Fortunately, you can find all different types and applications of grips to enhance your gun’s feel.
The fact that they don't come perfect from the factory doesn't mean it is a deal breaker. As mentioned above they are incredibly easy to learn how to completely strip apart, even beyond what is needed for routine maintenance. Upgrading your sights and enhancing your trigger feel is a breeze once you know how to do it. And, if you do some routine maintenance, your Glock will be spewing lead down range without a problem for decades.
I know there are pictures of twisted, mutilated Glock frames out there. And every time I see them posted in a chat, people use it as a chance to somehow blame the firearm itself for the owner having used an overloaded cartridge, or something similar.
It's as if Glock are the only pistols to ever have catastrophic failures from situations like this. Somehow because there are a few pictures on the internet, it's just a matter of time before the more than 5 million other guns being used simply explode. I am pretty sure any reasonable person can admit that every firearm company has had instances of firearms failing in certain situations. I can assure you, there is no propensity for Glocks to fail or explode more than any other company's gun.
If you like Glocks as much as I do, I'm sure you enjoyed the views expressed in this article. And, if not … sorry, NOT sorry. Are there other guns out there that I really like? Sure (maybe I will write about them in the future) but I haven't found anything that has moved me away from the same gun I have been carrying for 10 years now.
I bet you're wondering what this banner is that we've placed in a few spots:
It's actually a video course for both current and future Glock owners and it is called Glock Crash Course. It's designed to give you all the knowledge necessary for you to be proficient in all things related to your Glock Pistol. It's our sincere hope that you take this course offered from former Army Infantryman, EJ Owens, to up your level of training.