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The GLOCK 23 may be the best pistol ever made. Powerful, Reliable, Accurate, Concealable, Safe... and Affordable! They start at $399!
Glock Pistols may very well be the best pistols in the world. Powerful, Reliable, Accurate, Concealable, Safe... and Affordable! They start at $399!
And, when it comes to selecting any handgun, you really only have three options or “firearm abilities” and, of those three options, you can really only pick two of them. Let me explain.
Those three options are: Compactness, Round-capacity, Power - Pick Any Two!
Take a Glock .45 pistol, that holds 14+ rounds, which makes it powerful AND capacious... but NOT small. In fact, it’s like carrying a motorcycle battery with a 2x4 as a grip. Seriously!
Or, a .44 Magnum Derringer. Powerful, concealable, but NOT many bullets.
Next, a Micro 22. It holds eleven rounds, and is small, but is in .22 caliber.
Many choose .380 sub-compact or pocket pistols for a nice mix of all three options.
When you buy a self-defense pistol, there is only ONE thing that matters. Just one. It is NOT color, style, maker, price, grip, feel, sights, or even accuracy. Not even safety matters! Now, before you get all upset, hear me out on this...
I don't care if your gun is pink, black, or engraved gold and silver. I don’t care how much you spent on it. Price does NOT denote quality and performance. And... listen carefully... It does NOT matter if a gun "fits" in your hand. We adapt shooters to the environment... not the other way around. In my advanced classes, you will be shooting them upside-down pulling the trigger with your finger.
Consider this: A Cadillac may be comfortable... but it will NEVER win a NASCAR race! Race-cars, tanks, and jet fighter-planes are NOT built to fit the operator. They (like combat firearms) are designed to do ONE thing: Win Through The Maximization and Implementation of Superior Performance. It has been my experience that a comfortable grip usually hinders that ability. Also, I care very little about sights and accuracy. The historically proven fact is that you will be within twenty-one feet of the threat (in reality, more like 7 feet and closer) so, ANY handgun should achieve solid hits at that distance.
Finally, external and magazine safeties are only good for the bad-guy. They keep him safe by making it more difficult for you to use your firearm. Now, of course safeties “might” be beneficial, but since all these guns are “drop-safe” and the muzzles will be pointed in a safe direction as you carry them, and the triggers will be covered, you really don’t need more than that. I’ll talk more about this later.
The ONLY thing that matters is: Reliability.
That’s it. Does it work? Does if fire every time? Does it go "BANG!" every time you press the go button? If not, you have a serious problem and no amount of money or accessories can help you. Now, Glock pistols are unarguably and historically proven to be the most durable and reliably pistols... ever.
Edward Wilks of The Tradesmen Gun Store & Advanced Combat Training issued the following letter in response to an internet assassin spreading lies about the Glock.
Saying Glocks are not safe is the biggest lie out there. Only the truly inexperienced or deeply ignorant say Glocks are not safe. That is the lie that is constantly regurgitated by lesser skilled shooters and competing gun companies... Safety is a behavior, not a device.
A short video cartoon Edward Wilks made on this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak0e0y2SNAw
Glocks have 4 safety features... One more than ANY OTHER pistol on the planet. The Glock is the ONLY self-decocking, spring-recessed-firing pin, self-loading pistol like that in the world. There is a trigger safety, drop-safety, self-decocking safety, firing-pin-block safety. No other gun of this type can say that. If Glock pistols are unsafe, or suck so much, why is it that every manufacture in the world has tried to copy or duplicate it... only to fail and be sued in the process?
Glock is a combat pistol. Period. Thumb safeties, tang safeties, magazine safeties only make it safer for one person, and that is “the bad guy” who kills you because your safeties got in the way. Look at the NIJ statistics that show how many police officers are injured or killed because a “safety feature” got in the way or failed their gun from firing. Did you ever consider that?
I have been a law enforcement and tactical firearms instructor and armorer all my adult life and I won’t even OWN some the guns out there. I have been on everything from CBS News to America’s Most Wanted as an EXPERT in this exact area.... So, let me inform you a little. (Sorry about the lecture, Sean...)
For the record, I love 1911 pistols. (They would not have lasted 100 years if John Moses Browning didn’t get it right the fist time.) However, they are not safe. Not safe for the shooter, not safe for anyone around the muzzle at the wrong time. Before the Series 80 safeties, the old S70 models had serious problems. Hence the change and upgrade. There are numerous reasons most police agencies WILL NOT allow them for on-duty or off-duty carry because there is too much liability. They are always cocked and ready to drop off the sear and fire. (In our classes, we’ve had some drop and go full-auto on us...) But any pro who has run those professionally for defense or competition will tell you the same thing. They only work when they are totally broken in, perfectly clean, and only lightly oiled, but not if it is too hot or too cold.
XD are worse. They are always cocked, the firing pin is always back (that is why you can see it sticking out the back of the gun) and they have serious issues. XD pistols were a failed attempt to breed a totally whacked out hybrid of a 1911 and a Glock... Because they are always cocked, an XD’s firing pin is always under tension and will do one of two things. Either slip off the connector and fire when it shouldn’t. Or, be so weak from constant stress that it won’t even dimple the primer on some nickel-plated primes. That translates into does not fire when it should, or does fire when it shouldn’t. There is no room for that in our arena. YOU may not see that, but shoot 60,000 rounds a month in serious training like I do and you’ll never own one.
Did you know that XD’s and 1911’s cannot shoot upside-down? Did you know that not only can you not fire an XD without having that tang safety in, you cannot rack it? So tell me what to do when there is a round in the chamber and dirt blocks the lever, or it bends and won’t disengage, and not only can you NOT fire the round in the chamber, you cannot open the chamber and pull the round out. So what do you do? You do what we do... Cook the round off by heating up the chamber up with a gas torch and then send it back to Croatia where it was made.
Your standard pistol has (on average) 85 parts. If you take out 3% out of a Beretta, 1911, etc, the gun simply won’t work. Period. A Glock only has 34 parts. Total. And, you can take out 12 of them out and it will still work. And reliability? There is no pistol superior to a Glock. We have demonstrated that with a 25-year old Glock that we bought in Feb, of 1986. We pour dirt and sand down the barrel and mag-well. We bury it in the mud, fill it with sand, and sink it in a dirty pond, beat it out of a frozen ice... we can prove in a court of law that we have between 700,000 and 1.1 million round through that gun. Every student of our firearms training school gets to see us do that and then they get to shoot it. Oh... and by the way... we NEVER clean it or oil it... EVER! I repeat... We never clean or oil that gun... ever!
The following is other info on Glock from various sources such as Glock Inc., and Wikipedia. I will update all of this as I have time...
Founded in 1963, Glock was a manufacturer of curtain rods before branching out into the firearms industry in the 1970s. They manufactured machine gun belts, practice hand grenades, plastic magazines, field knives, and entrenching tools for the Austrian Army. In the early 1980s, the Austrian Army requested a pistol model; Glock responded with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol dubbed the Glock 17, because it was Gaston Glock's seventeenth patent. The Austrian Army adopted the Glock 17 in 1982 with the Norwegian Army following suit two years later. In 1985, Glock Inc. was established in the United States in Smyrna, Georgia. Over the next few years, Glock expanded its 9 mm product line, developing the select-fire Glock 18 in 1986 and the Glock 17L and Glock 19 in 1988. In 1990, Glock became the first manufacturer to offer models chambered for the .40 S&W cartridge, beating Smith & Wesson to the marketplace with pistols for their own cartridge.
In May 1980, the Austrian military invited Glock to bid on a contract to supply them with a new duty pistol to replace the WWII-era Walther P38 service pistol. Samples were submitted for assessment trials and, after passing all of the exhaustive endurance and abuse tests, Glock emerged as the winner with the Glock 17. In 1982, the handgun was adopted into service by the Austrian military and police forces as the Pistole 80 (P80). Shortly thereafter, the Swedish, Dutch, and Norwegian armed forces accepted the weapon into service. As of 1992, Glock has sold approximately 350,000 pistols in over 45 countries, of that 250,000 to the USA.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation issues all agents graduating from their academy a Glock 22 or Glock 23 according to the agent's preference. Glock .40 caliber pistols are issued to all new agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Glock 19 remains the standard issue of the U.S. E.P.A. Criminal Investigation Division. Most Australian police services use Glock pistols. Glock pistols are also issued to Australian Customs officers. The New Zealand Police carry the Glock 17 in situations where weapons are issued. Glock 17’s and Glock 19’s are standard service pistols in certain Israeli military and paramilitary units and are popular pistols among Israeli citizens.
The popularity of Glock pistols can be attributed to a number of factors, especially reliability. They function under extreme conditions and are able to fire a wide range of ammunition types. The simplicity of the Glock design contributes to this reliability, as it contains a relatively small number of components (about 34 components; nearly half as many as the typical handgun) making maintenance and repair easy. Disassembly for the Glock pistol is simple, making it easy to detail strip without expensive tools.
Glock sidearms are common among law enforcement agencies and military organizations around the world. They are standard-issue sidearms for the Austrian, Dutch, Norwegian Army, Northern Irish police, Belgian, Australian police forces, and various special units such as the German GSG 9 counter-terrorism unit of the German Federal Police, Specialist Firearms Command of the London Metropolitan Police Service, and the new Iraq security forces.
The polymer frame makes these pistols lighter than typical steel or aluminum-framed pistols, which is attractive for police officers and civilians who carry firearms for an extended period. Glock pistols do not have any external controls such as levers, decockers, or manual safeties. This removes a potential source of errors when operating the pistol under stress. However, this can also cause problems. A criticism of the Glock action is that the trigger has to be depressed prior to disassembly or insertion into the original design of its storage case, which can result in an unintentional discharge if the operator is extremely negligent.
Most of the steel components in a Glock pistol are treated with a nitriding process called "Tenifer", which increases the surface hardness and makes the weapon resistant to corrosion and wear.
The popularity of Glock pistols seems to have inspired other manufacturers to begin production of similar polymer-framed firearms, including the Springfield XD, Smith & Wesson M&P, and Walther P99 pistols. The Smith & Wesson Sigma so closely resembled Glock's design that it resulted in a patent infringement lawsuit, with Smith & Wesson settling out of court and paying Glock an undisclosed amount.
The Glock 17 is a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol that uses a modified Browning locked breech short recoil operating principle. The firearm’s locking mechanism has a vertically tilting barrel with a rectangular breech that engages a guide in the slide, on the breech face, and a cut in the top front of the ejection port. The barrel recoils rearward, locked together with the slide approximately 3 mm until the bullet leaves the barrel and pressures drop to a safe level. The ramped lug at the bottom of the barrel then mates with the angled locking block in the frame, camming the barrel downward, while the slide continues back in a straight line. The slide also contains a spring-loaded claw extractor, while the fixed ejector is a steel protrusion in the trigger housing. The striker firing mechanism has a firing pin that is cocked in two stages, powered by the firing pin spring. The firing pin remains only partly tensioned upon the forward return of the slide, it's fully cocked and released after the trigger has been depressed all the way to the rear. This is known as a pre-set trigger mechanism, referred to as the “Safe Action” trigger by the manufacturer. A connector ensures the pistol can only fire in semi-automatic mode.
The Glock features a triple safety system against accidental discharge that consists of three independent safety mechanisms: an external trigger safety and two automatic internal safeties - a firing pin safety and a drop safety. The external safety is a small inner lever contained in the trigger. Pressing the lever activates the trigger bar and sheet metal connector. One of the internal safeties is a solid hardened steel pin, which, in the secured state, blocks the firing pin channel (disabling the firing pin in its longitudinal axis). The firing pin safety is only pushed upward to release the firing pin when the trigger is actuated and the safety is pushed up through the backward movement of the trigger bar, the second, drop safety guides the trigger bar in a precision safety ramp that is only released when a shot is triggered by pulling the trigger right back. The safeties are systematically disengaged one after another when the trigger is squeezed and then automatically re-activated when the trigger is released. This triple safety system guarantees safe handling of the pistol with a cartridge introduced into the chamber, reducing the time required to deploy the weapon. This allows the user to concentrate on tactical considerations, rather than manipulation of levers, hammers or external safeties found in other, conventional handguns. This design however does not allow the pistol to be decocked in case of a squib round.
The Glock 17 feeds from a double-column box magazine with a 17-round capacity or an extended 19-round magazine. After the last round has been fired, the slide remains open on the slide stop. The slide stop release lever is located on the left side of the frame directly below the slide and can be manipulated by the thumb of the shooting hand.
The Glock 17 has a fixed sight arrangement that consists of a ramped front sight and a notched rear sight with white contrast elements painted on for increased acquisition speed; a white dot on the front post and a rectangular border on the rear notch. The rear sight can be adjusted for windage as it has a degree of lateral movement in the dovetail it is mounted in. Adjustable and illuminated night sights are also available.
The cold hammer-forged barrel has a polygonal (hexagonal) bore with a right-hand twist. The weapon’s frame, magazine body, and several other components are made from a high-strength nylon-based polymer. The frame also contains hardened steel guides molded into the internal surfaces. The slide is milled from a single block of ordnance-grade steel. The barrel and slide are finished with a proprietary nitriding process called Tenifer.
Current production Glock 17’s consist of 34 parts. For maintenance, the pistol disassembles into five main groups: the barrel, slide, frame, magazine, and recoil spring assembly.
The firearm is designed for the NATO-standard 9x19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge (bullet weight: 7.5 g, muzzle velocity: 350 m/s), but can also use high-power (increased pressure) +P and +P+ ammunition with either full metal jacket or jacketed hollow point projectiles.
Many of the Glock pistols are available as “C” models (for “compensated”) which add a ported (slits cut into the barrel) barrel and slide to reduce muzzle climb while shooting the pistol.
The Glock has been modernized several times throughout its production history. In 1991, a modified version of the recoil spring and recoil spring tube was introduced that is now a single integrated recoil spring assembly that does not disassemble. Additionally the magazine was slightly modified (the magazine floorplate was changed and the follower spring was fitted with a resistance insert at its base) and the trigger pull was increased (optionally). The factory standard trigger is rated at 25 N, but by using a modified connector, it can be increased to 35 N. In response to a request made by American law enforcement agencies for a two-stage trigger Glock introduced the so-called NY (New York) trigger module, which features a flat spring in a plastic housing that replaces the trigger bar’s standard coil spring. This trigger upgrade is available in two versions: New York and New York Plus that are rated at 34-40 N and 41-50 N respectively, which require approximately 20-30 N of force to disengage the safeties and another 10 N in the second stage to fire a shot.
A mid-life upgrade to the Glock series involved the frame’s grip, which received checkering on the front strap and serrations to the rear (these pistols are sometimes called the Generation 2 models). In the late 1990s, the pistol’s frame had been further modified with a Universal rail adapter (used to mount laser pointers and tactical flashlights), thumb rests on both sides of the frame and finger grooves on the front strap of the pistol grip (Generation 3 upgrade). The extractor has also been changed twice and the locking block was enlarged along with the addition of another pin.
Plastic Pistol Myths
Glock pistols do set off metal detectors and can be detected by X-ray machines, due to their metal barrels and slides. The claim that they could not was first made in an article published in The Washington Post on January 13, 1985, entitled, “Quaddafi Buying Austrian Plastic Pistol.” In the article, vocal gun control advocate Jack Anderson made the allegations, which were then reported without fact-checking by the Associated Press and further reported by many United States television news stations and newspapers. It has since become an urban legend that to this day continues to appear in news reports and movies, and has even been a topic of debate in the United States Congress.
In fact, 83.7% (by weight) of the Glock pistol is normal ordnance steel and the “plastic” parts are a dense polymer known as “Polymer 2” which is radio-opaque and is therefore visible to X-ray security equipment. In addition, virtually all of these “plastic” parts contain embedded steel not to make the firearms “detectable”, but to increase functionality and shooting accuracy. Contrary to popular movies like Die Hard 2: Die Harder, neither Glock nor any other gun maker has ever produced a “porcelain”, “ceramic” or “plastic” firearm which is undetectable by ordinary security screening devices.
Glock pistols use an internal safety mechanism with three components, with no external thumb activated safety switch that may be found on traditional-design pistols. Glock calls this the “Safe Action” system. All three safeties are disabled one after the other when the trigger is depressed. They are:
• Trigger Safety: An external lever mechanism contained within the trigger that prevents the trigger from moving unless the lever is depressed.
• Firing Pin Safety: A spring-loaded pin attached by an extension bar to the trigger assembly blocks the striker from striking the primer of the cartridge until the trigger is pulled.
• Drop Safety: The far end of the same extension bar locks the striker into place from the rear until the trigger is pulled.
Similar systems for internal safeties have since become standard for many major manufacturers of semi-automatic pistols. The absence of a traditional safety switch means that Glock users who intend to carry the gun on their person with the chamber loaded must be cautious (as they should be for any type of firearm) of keeping their finger off of the trigger when holstering or unholstering the gun. However, the firearm will not discharge if dropped, requiring a deliberate trigger pull to discharge the firearm.
In 2003, Glock announced the Internal Locking System (ILS). The ILS is a manually activated lock that is located in the back of the pistol's grip. It is cylindrical in design and, according to Glock each key is unique. Group key hierarchic solutions are available for law enforcement agencies. When activated, the lock causes a tab to protrude from the rear of the grip. This is done to give both a visual and tactile indication as to whether the lock is engaged or not. The Glock cannot be fired or disassembled when the ILS is activated. When disengaged, the ILS adds no further safety mechanisms to the Glock pistol.
The ILS is available as an option on all Glock pistols except for the G36, but not all ILS-equipped Glock pistols are carried by distributors or imported with the option. The most commonly available Glock pistols with the ILS are the G17, G19, G22, G23, G26, and the G27.
Our joke here in The Tradesmen Gun Store and Advanced Combat Training:
The S&W “SIGMA” which we say stands for “Smith’s Idea Glock Made Already.”
S&W And Glock Settle Suit
The Glock vs. Smith & Wesson lawsuit is history. After nearly three years of legal posturing, S&W has agreed to a multimillion dollar settlement and a slight modification to the Sigma Series Pistols.
To no one's surprise, Glock sued Smith & Wesson in early 1994. claiming "tortious acts, including without limitations, patent infringement, federal unfair competition, common unfair competition and deceptive trade practices."
S&W returned the salvo with "We firmly believe the suit to be totally without merit and will act accordingly."
Glock also sent an ultimatum to its dealers, giving them 15 days to decide on which to carry, the Glock or the Sigma. "If your decision is to continue to distribute Smith & Wesson products, your contractual relationship with Glock Inc. will be terminated," read the message.
In the end, Smith and Wesson agreed to "remove the surface located below the sear in the Sigma Series Pistols, which Glock contends is a positive guide means, and Glock has agreed that such a modification would resolve the patent infringement claim."
While no one in an official position is willing to say how much S&W will pay Glock, informed sources put the figure at between $5 and $8 million.
The original Sigmas in the 9mm and .40 were such a close copy of the Glock that Glock successfully sued them for patent infringement (note that though .40 is more properly "the .40 S&W" because it was developed by Smith, and early Glocks carried that designation, since the suite, Glocks now carry the stamp ".40" and have dropped the "S&W")
The original pistols suffered not only from this legal problem, but from problems (intermittent to severe) in feeding, extracting, and ejecting.
S$W addressed many of these problems in the V series Sigmas, but the gun still suffers from a bad trigger, fragile magazines, fragile sights (and it's hard to find steel replacements for them)and marginal accuracy for a handgun (not sure why exactly - whether it's intrinsic or just ergonomically hard to shoot well). I've seen a few of them in training, and put to hard use, every one of them has failed to perform (simple malfunctions to more serious problems).
What you're probably finding attractive in the gun is the price. With modern handguns, as with so much in life, you will get what you pay for. There are, of course, guns that are not horribly expensive, and represent excellent value-for-money, but the S&W Sigma series, in my estimation, does not fall into that category.
For what it's worth, here's my anecdotal tale of a Sigma: I had taken a friend and new shooter to the range. He shot one of my Glocks. He said, "I love this! Where can I get one?" and "How much does it cost?" The answer to that last question distressed him, as I told him that to obtain one he would have to part with cash approaching the 500 mark. "Doesn't anyone make a cheap copy of this?" "Indeed," I told him, "So close that they were successfully sued by Glock, but you don't want the Sigma." A few days later he called from a branch of the now-defunct Galyans. "They've got Sigma VE's here for $230!" he told me. "You think I should get one?" "Not really," said I, "because it will be the most expensive Glock you'll every buy." "What do you mean?" he asked. "If you buy that gun, you'll hate it, and within a year you'll buy a Glock - only now instead of paying $500 to get to that Glock, you'll have paid $730." He bought it. Within a year he also had a Glock and eventually sold the Sigma for $100.
You will find a sort of a cult following out there for the Sigmas. In the end, it depends what you want it for. If you just like the gun and want to shoot it at the range some, that's fine (most gun owners have a few of those). If, however, you were planning to rely on the gun for self or home defense, I would get something else. Your life is worth the couple of hundred extra bucks you'll spend on a proven firearm (look. e.g. at what PD's are using, and note that none use the Sigma - there's a reason for that).