I remember when the “plastic pistol” first came on the scene, and like many traditionalist, I dismissed them.
I had been a 1911a1 man all of my life and had no desire to utilize a “plastic” gun or anything less that .45acp. I remember the hoopla of the ant-gun press and the paranoia of liberal muffin politicians about how the plastic gun could be smuggled through airport security, blah, blah.
Then in 1988 I was assigned to the US Army Marksmanship Training Unit #6 at Ft. Ord California. We had jus gotten back from shooting the National Matches at Camp Perry Ohio when I was able to convince my unit to allow 4 of us to go permissive temporary duty to compete in the Soldier of Fortune match in Las Vegas. They used to put on a fantastic firepower demonstration and I made sure I had a front row seat. The Glock representative came out to do a demonstration and pointed at me and asked if I would like to help. Sure. So in front of this huge crowd he handed me a cleared Glock 17 and told me I had one minute to do anything to it I wanted. “Anything?” I asked. “Anything” he replied. I threw it up in the air, threw it as hard as I could on the ground, jumped up and down on it, kicked it towards down range ect, for one minute. I then handed it back to him and while I stood there sweating, he blew down the barrel, inserted a 17rd magazine and shot 17 rounds down range without a malfunction. I was impressed. So was the crowd. My team mates and I won Glock pistols, mine being a Glock 19, which I tossed in my bag and we went back home. I took it out on the range, test fired it, kinda liked the way it felt. But it was still “plastic”. I ended up selling it to a Navy guy who was headed “over there “and forgot about plastic pistols.
Fast forward to 2005 and I am a contract security supervisor at the United States Embassy in Kabul Afghanistan and since Glock 19 was State Department issue I was going to carry the “plastic” pistol like it or not. When we went out to qualify, I maxed the DOS pistol qualification and it was lust at first bite. I carried that Glock 19 for two years and never had a malfunction with it. The first thing I did when I got back to the States was buy a Gen3 Glock 19 and it has been my primary carry gun ever since. I shoot it a LOT, and have only had one malfunction with it and that was with a brand new 33rd magazine, “happy stick” that I had one failure to completely chamber, and a quick slap on the back of the slide solved that. That mag has never malfunctioned since then.
Gaston Glock, the firearm’s designer, had no experience designing firearms but a lot in dealing with polymers and in an Austrian Army pistol bid in 1982, which he won with his original Glock 17. The rest is history. Glock describes their pistol action as the Glock Safe Action. It uses an internal striker and no exterior hammer. In actuality, it is a double action only semi automatic but since the trigger only has to pull the striker back a small distance it actually feels like a single action. It is estimated that 65% of U.S. Law enforcement agencies carry Glocks, and they are carried by a sizable number of the world’s armies.
Glock makes a large variety of handgun models in different calibers. You can review them on their website by clicking the link, and I am sure they have a model and caliber to fit any need. As the Glock 19 is the model I am most familiar with, my discussion will be primarily from my experience with it. I also highly recommend it for the first time defensive pistol buyer and the serious prepper for every day street and field carry.
Reliability= THE most important factor in a defensive handgun. If your custom combat highly tuned multiple bolt on widget bullet launcher fails to go bang when you need it to, then the guy that kills you gets to make off with an expensive dysfunctional piece of metal.
Highly visible sights= They don’t necessarily have to be luminous but I have to be able to get a good flash sight picture in a hurry. If you want to know what BAD sights are, try looking at the ones on a WW2 G.I. issue .45 in dim light. You will see what I mean.
Simplicity= It should be easy to disassemble into major components and clean without lots of little parts to lose in the carpet or sand dune.
Durability= It has to be rugged enough to withstand serious abuse under difficult conditions and continue to function.
Availability of needed after market accessories= I need to be able to procure needed holsters, extra magazines, ect. without having to send off to Lower Slobovia.
A satisfactory caliber with quality defensive loads available= Self explanatory.
Accuracy= I should easily be able to keep all shots in the chest area at 50 yards.
O.K. So how does my Glock 19 stack up against the above?
Reliability= I already described the abuse I gave a Glock 17 at the SOF convention in Vegas, plus the amazing reliability I have experienced with mine for the last 5 years. I think it was Gabe Suarez who coined the comment that the Glock was the AK of the pistol world, but whoever it was, they hit the nail on the proverbial head. ( For those who may not know, Gabe Suarez is one of the world’s premier small arms instructors and has been for years. I highly recommend his products and programs). One of the secrets to Glock reliability is their magazines, they are extremely well designed and manufactured.
High Visibility Sights= Glock factory sights are well proportioned and outlined in white. There are a number of aftermarket sights available including Trijicon’s well known line.
Simplicity= The Glock is simplicity itself. No bells, whistles, external hammers or safeties. The safety is a bar on the trigger and the pistol breaks down in four components easily and quickly. The Glock is very easy to clean compared to many other handguns. And there are no small parts to loose. It is frame, slide, barrel and recoil spring assembly.
Durability= The frame is made from Polymer 2 which is water proof and corrosion resistant. The slide is machined from a block of solid steel and is coated with a process called Tenifer which is more corrosion resistant than stainless steel.
Availability of needed after market accessories= There are a tremendous number of aftermarket parts and products for the Glock. Glockmeister is a good source. All of the major holster manufacturers offer models in leather and Kydex for Glocks.
A satisfactory caliber with quality defensive loads available= Glocks are offered in all the major defensive calibers which have modern defensive loads available.
Accuracy= I am easily able to keep all shots in the chest area at 50 yards.
So there it is. There are a lot of quality handguns on the market that would fit my criteria, and if you have one, go with it. But if you are a first time or new handgun buyer give Glock a try. You can’t go wrong with it.
Oh, also, just in case any Liberal Muffins accidentally dropped by and still think “plastic” pistols can be smuggled through x-ray machines, check out the picture below. That is my issue Glock 19 being x-rayed by the machine at the entrance to the Embassy in Kabul. You can easily see the slide and even the outline of the ‘plastic” frame. The large yellow dots are the lead cores of the rounds in the magazine.