Testing Three Super 9s!
Glock 17 Gen4
Joe W Gorman
The original Glock 9mm pistol has only been around since the early 1980s but it shook up the combat handgun market like Elvis shook up music! Today, the Glock is the most prolific law enforcement duty weapon in America.
This weapon has generated a cult following like no other! Heck, Ernie (an otherwise mostly emotionally-balanced man) even has a Glock tattoo! The frame is crafted from uber-plastic. This Gen4 is also configurable for increased grip thickness and a beavertail if you prefer. The Gen4 even allows lefties to switch the magazine release button to the other side of the frame. Doing so means you have to stick with Gen4 magazines, but if you leave the mag release alone, Gen3 or Gen4 mags work just fine.
It has no “thumb safety thingy”, as my buddy Ernie Traugh from Cedar Valley Outfitters likes to say. The Glock 17 is a striker fired, polymer framed pistol that holds 17 rounds of 9mm and I think you’d go broke shooting +P through it before you’d hurt the gun.
The Glock is not old school by any stretch. If you remove the magazine you can compress the grip with your hand. But the plastic is made up from some reverse-engineered alien super-material because, unlike Tupperware, if you were to throw a Glock as high as you could straight up, and it were to land on a concrete driveway, rest assured you could pick it up and it would still go bang. I did not test this. But when Glock salesmen wanted to break into the US law enforcement market in the 1980s they did.
Relative to the other guns tested it is inexpensive. Like the other pistols tested, it is 100% reliable with everything it fed. I only fired about 300 rounds through the Glock because it showed up last, when my 9mm supply was almost gone and let’s be honest: no one faults the Glock for reliability.
The Glock requires the center of the trigger to be depressed in order for the pistol to fire and this serves as the safety. The trigger weight is just under 6-pounds on my scale. The trigger is no match trigger for sure, but after 100-rounds or so I could finesse it to get some 4” groups with it from a sandbag rest at 25-yards.
Field stripping the Glock requires you to pull the trigger. Just so you know. Then you have to slightly retract the slide and pull down on two frame mounted tabs at the same time. It’s fairly easy once you get the hang of it. Concealing the Glock 17 is no more difficult than concealing the SIG P226 SAO. In fact, out of the box, the Glock G17 Gen4 has a thinner grip than either the SIG or the Browning.
I’m not gonna lie, the thought of carrying a pistol with a sub-6 pound trigger and no thumb safety thingy makes me a bit nervous. Ernie rolls his eyes when I say stuff like this. I told him I have a fear of returning the Glock to the holster and the thumb strap is in the way, or a jacket part etc and I get a ND! Ernie says “Check your holster before returning your pistol to the holster.” Oh and buy a good, rigid holster!
The logical/analytical side of my brain says, if I was to be inserted into a jungle, or serve as a deputy/patrolman/ranger I’d welcome a full size Glock as a sidearm. I’d Teflon grease a few parts, clean it when I got bored and I’d be good to go. I know that given enough time I could master this platform and I totally get the enthusiasm with which some advocate this weapon.
Alas, my review of the Glock 17 is not objective. Surprisingly, while the G17 Gen4 points very naturally with a from the hip point, or a hands-close-to-the-chest, point-instead-of-aim technique, it is hard for me to group under 5 inches at 25 yards in standard slow fire target shooting. I realize the odds of me needing to make a 25-yard shot in real life are in the tenths-of-one-percent of possibilities, but my inner target shooter craves accuracy. Perhaps with a different trigger, this could be accomplished. The slide release a bit small for my muscle memory, but I could get used to it. The mag release was easy to hit. The G17 has all the physical attractiveness of an Estwing hammer to my eye. Then again, it is also about as durable as an Estwing hammer.
My emotionality aside, make no mistake, the Glock is an awesome weapon. If you gravitate toward no-nonsense utility, the Glock would be a logical choice.
Sum it all up
Are you a romantic who favors the history and old world craftsmanship of the Browning. or a high-tech practical type who prefers modern designs with old school cues like the SIG P226 SAO? Or thirdly, are you a purely logical tool user looking for the simplest most effective defensive tool you can find like the G17 Gen4?
If I were to purchase the Browning, I’d send it to Cylinder and Slide and have it slicked up and the trigger work done. If I wanted an accurate out-of-the-box pistol with night sights and a SAO trigger, I’d get the SIG and if I wanted a hyper-low-maintenance, hyper-robust defensive pistol that points well at close range, I’d get the Glock G17 Gen4(it also holds the most rounds in a standard magazine).
Well, it doesn’t really matter, as you can’t go wrong with any of these weapons. They are all up to any challenge that a concealed carrier might face. They all have served with distinction in the holsters of law enforcement officers and military units. You can’t lose no matter which direction you go!