My Handgun Journey: There and Back Again
I wrote this for THE TRUTH ABOUT GUNS, and after taking my new Glock 34 out yesterday for its first outing, I can't tell you how pleased I am with it. For whatever reason, the trigger feels really good on this G34. It was made just last month, the casing in the little envelope is dated 3/20/14. The trigger reset point is superb and heck, I even shot it well with stock sights. I just love the G34, the long sight radius is superb for me. I had laser surgery and so my dominant eye is also my distance eye and that sight radius get it out in front of me just far enough that I can really focus on that front post. I put Arredondo mag extensions on it with Wolff power springs and it performed absolutely flawlessly with no dreaded "brass in the face" issues either and it was dead on accurate, as accurate as I could be with it, it just made me VERY happy to be "back home again" with Glock.
My GLOCK Journey: There and Back Again
A number of years ago when I got into shooting in a major way, I was eager to run out and get my first handgun. I had spent a good bit of time shooting long guns earlier, but never a handgun. Without much thought, I bought a used GLOCK 22. I loaded up the G22 and blazed away at a torso-sized target at about 20 feet. I think I may have even hit it a few times. Maybe . . .
Since then I’ve moved from handgun models to handgun models: SIG, HK, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Remington, FN, probably others, and I’ve purchased and used striker-fired and DA/SA semi-autos. I’ve given them all a decent workout at the gun club and at the range and training center I frequent. Revolvers too.
So here is my true confession: I’ve been there with GLOCKs, left and now I’m back again. I’ve come full circle back to where I started. Why?
First, for me, the GLOCK just works. I have owned and used a G26, G17, G21, G22, G30, G34, and a G20. I’ve been there and done that with all of them — Gen 3s and Gen 4s — and I’ve had no issues with any of them. Did I just “luck out” or could it be since there are a bazillion GLOCKs out there, the incidents reported on gun forums are unrepresentative? Who knows? All I know is that they have always worked for me.
Second, the trigger. Yes, you read that right, the trigger. I spent so much time learning how to shoot GLOCKs relatively effectively that I grew used to that mushy bangswitch and learned to master the reset point. I have dropped trigger upgrades into a few of my GLOCKs. I like them and they’re nice, but I’m not sure they did me much good.
I thought I would prefer the DA/SA trigger system, hammer systems, etc. They’re good, but ultimately not that big a deal either for me. I realized I really hate the DA-then-SA function of the HKs and SIGs. Frankly, when I want to enjoy a truly great trigger, I pull out my 1911 with its custom trigger set at 2.5 pounds.
Third, I like the feel of the GLOCK. I know that for many the GLOCK is a “brick,” a “plastic monstrosity” and a “piece of junk.” Blah, blah and…more blah. For me, with my monster-sized hands, the GLOCK feels very comfortable. The grip is just fine and I really like the Gen 4 beavertail options that now are standard on GLOCKs.
Fourth, there’s the simplicity of the GLOCK. Chiefly I’ve come to realize that I dislike external safeties. Hate ‘em. I like the “instant-on” of the GLOCK manual of arms. Round chambered…holstered…unholster…fire. No safety to mess with or remember to disengage, nothing to interfere with the function of the handgun. Same trigger pull regardless of first or last shot. Just grab it and pull the trigger. I know this has been one of the chief criticisms of the GLOCK — too easy to have a negligent discharge. Yes, one must be super-aware of the basic laws of safety with a GLOCK as there’s no heavy trigger pull on the first shot as on most DA/SAs.
Fifth, there’s the return on investment. A GLOCK is significantly less expensive than the (ridiculously overpriced) HKs, and nearly anything else. I’d rather spend my “extra” money on accessories and ammo and…you name it. Sure, it’s cool to use the higher priced handguns. I’ve had a HK MK23, a HK USP 9mm Expert, a HK45 and a FNX 45 and 9mm, etc. But was I achieving better results with any of them to justify, for me, the extra $500 bucks required by a HK, or the several hundred more for an FN? Nope.
Sixth, the reality check: Handguns are just fun to shoot. They are. Remember what “fun” is? Sure you do. The oh-so-serious crowd scoffs at the thought, but come on, you know it’s fun to shoot all kinds of handguns. At the end of the day, though, a handgun is still a tool. If you’re able to get rounds into the center mass area of a target consistently at 21 feet, that’s good enough. Sure, you may not be able to take your handgun out to the gun club and punch small groups in paper from 25 yards with your GLOCK (though some of you probably do), but I can get off double taps all day long in various drills with plenty of accuracy with mine.
So after my wandering, I find that I’ve returned to the GLOCK as my go-to handgun platform. The G26 is and has been my primary EDC for quite some time. The G34 is my main training handgun — I love the long sight radius on that thing. They say confession is good for the soul, so there you have it: my GLOCK true confession, there and back again.
My first handgun was a Python, my second was a Colt 1911, and my fourth was a Glock 17 about 20 years ago. I am a mechanical engineer. The Glocks aren't as pretty as other handguns, but they are dang near perfect in fir, form, and function. How can you make a device any simpler? They just do the job well all the time.
I have gone back to enjoying my revolvers recently. I reloaded for my Colts in 81-85 and have gotten back into that.
That's ok. Nobodys perfect. We forgive you for your faults.
Just kidding. Glad you enjoy them.
I also have several handguns and have tried countless others. I resisted trying Glocks for a long time until a deal came up that was too good to pass up. $275 for a G17 police trade in. I figured if I didn't like it I could flip it and be no worse off for the money I had in it. I also figure if it was decent enough I could use it as my reloading and questionable ammo test platform, so that if it had problems I wouldn't be out much money. I took it to the range with the expectation of confirming my hatred of this heavily worn bargain basement gun. I ran some light reloads through it, some Wolf, and Georgia Arms reloads. I found that it pointed easily, was easy to control for controlled pairs, double taps, and rapid fire. It didn't take me long to appreciate the odd but consistent trigger pull, or to manage the trigger reset for even faster follow ups. The low bore axis made it have very little muzzle flip. And it digested everything I fed it, with a soft recoil spring, and some pretty heavily worn mags. I was unable to dislike the pistol anymore.
I had a TAD trip up near Smyrna, GA and had called ahead to The Glock factory to see about having the internals refreshed, and having the gun given a full once over by one of their armorers. They talked me through the procedure for bringing it into the factory. I dropped by and they had it done for me in about a half an hour at no cost. They replaced all springs and internals, replaced all three mags, upgraded to extended mag and slide release, and test fired it with all three mags and handed it back to me warm, from the test fire. Cost was nothing but my time.
I've since run it in informal matches, and made it my home smithing experimentation platform. I've chopped the frame to allow for the use of G19 mags, put on Trijicon night sights, stippled the grip for sweaty and wet use, and refinished the slide with a baked on finish. I've replaced another recoil spring, and probably put close to 6000 rounds through it since then. I didn't really keep track if round count from its factory trip to my last recoil spring change.
I've got Sig, Smith and Wesson, 1911s, Beretta, etc. That old 17 still get the majority of the range time. It's not my most accurate, but it is predictable, simple and comfortable. It falls into a comfor zone for me like my '97 4Runner, my Fender Stratocaster, and my favorite pair of patched up Levi's.
I've added other Glocks to the collection as well, to include a 26 and 19.
I wanted to be an Anti-Glock guy but failed. I have got my first S&W M&P, that could give Glock a good run for the money, on shear feel and shooting comfort. Very similar to the Glock. This one is a .40 though, so its not likely to displace the niche that has been carved for my G17 as far my 9mm shooting goes. If I do manage to find a bargain on a G34 I see that the 17 could lose some range time, but for now I think it's safe.
I never liked Glocks. In fact, I have never met anyone that liked a Glock, not even police officers that carry a Glock every day. Then I started exchanging pistols with friends at ZSA matches. I shot the fastest times in my life with a Beretta 92fs. Then I shot a Glock 19. The pistol felt like a brick. The first course of fire I doubt I hit anything. Before the night was over I was shooting some of the fastest times I have ever shot. I borrowed the Glock again. I had a repeat performance of the previous week, except I did much better on the first couple courses. I bought a Glock 19 a couple days later.
Whats funny is the worst pistol I shot was the Glock 17. I must have run 40 rounds through the G17 before I hit anything but dirt. There was no getting used to the big clumsy beast.
Good stuff, Amsdorf. I'm a fan of Glocks too. They're tough, reliable, accurate and field-proven. Like you, I EDC a G26. It's never suffered an FTF or FTE. It's very concealable and I trust it to work every time I pull the bang switch.
I own other handguns, but my G26 is my go-to EDC.
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It is great that you love your Glocks but for me they just dont fit. The only time a Glock fit me is when someone handed me theirs with a Crimson Trace laser that goes on the back of the grip at the top. It filled that hole and had the correct grip angle. Otherwise they are uncomfortable and dont point properly. I have not tried the Gen 4's as I have plenty of handguns and why bother.
Sorry, I need safeties which actually exist.
All my "handguns" have one thing in common:
- redundant external safeties- a thumb safety, and either
a half-cock hammer position, grip safety, or DA long pull. I
have to admit a certain lack of self-confidence carrying a loaded
weapon with an "internal safety".
But it's great to see so many folks who trust the big G,
and themselves, with such a controversial safety system.
Good luck guys, and try to not blow your balls off.
If you keep your finger off the bang switch, you'll be fine. :D
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