Saturday, May 10, 2008

Glock Model 36 With Federal Arms Ported Barrel
I first reviewed the G36 in June of 2007 and was favorably impressed. I had the Gunsmith at Impact Guns in Boise put on a set of Hi Viz fiber optic sights which tightened the groups a little more and put a Pierce magazine extender on it which made it easier to hold. I felt that the pistol would make a fine concealed carry weapon however I could not find a way that was comfortable (in terms of physical comfort and psychological comfort or the perceived notion that no one could notice I was carrying it). That was recently corrected by the installation of the Clip Draw attachment. The only other issue with the G36 is that the recoil is fairly stiff slowing down the shooter’s recovery time for follow-up shots. Well, there are remedies for that as well.
First, a little more about the G36 itself. When Glock set out to make the G36 they went back to the drawing board and built it from the ground up. In 45 ACP they already had two models, the full-sized model 21 and the “Baby Glock” model 30. The model 36 was not just a cut down version of the full-sized model 21. Glock had already done that with the model 30. The 36 was their answer to their customers who wanted a .45 that was easier to carry concealed. To do this Glock had to design their first single-stack frame; this reduced the capacity from 10 + 1 rounds in the model 30 to 6 + 1 in the model 36. However this also reduced the width from 1.27 inches wide to 1.13 inches wide. This may not seem like much but every millimeter counts when you are carrying in a pocket holster or an inside the waistband rig. The reduced width remedied other complaints that the model 21 and 30 were too wide and strained some shooter's hands.
All of the Baby Glocks ( model 26/9mm, model 27/.40 S&W, model 29/10mm, model 33/.357 SIG, and models 30 & 36 in .45 ACP) have proven themselves to be very accurate pistols. One of the stories I have read claims that the Baby Glock Barrels are designed and manufactured on different machinery than their other barrels which provides the sub-compact models with a tighter fit and greater accuracy. I have not been able to confirm this allegation so I do not know if it is true or the product of range myth and shooter embellishment. Another published source that I do trust states that the double recoil springs not only help control the recoil but slightly retard the blowback of the slide just long enough for the bullet to exit the barrel before retracting. This allows the bullet to exit without being affected by any slide movement.
Going back to the recoil issue. Lone Wolf distributors offers a drop-in ported barrel from Federal Arms. The ported barrel extends about one inch beyond the slide which I have found to be a negligible difference when carrying inside the waistband utilizing the Clip Draw device. Although Federal Arms states that their ported barrel is of match quality, I did not find its performance to be quite as good as the factory Glock barrel in terms of accuracy. Additionally I had quite a few failures to feed with the Federal Arms barrel; luckily these seem to have smoothed out now that I have over 200 rounds through it. The real advantage to the Federal Arms ported barrel is in recoil reduction. In shooting the factory stock barrel and the Federal Arms ported barrel side-by-side I would estimate that the Federal Arms barrel reduces felt recoil by about 35%.

Factory Stock Barrel Targets:
12 rounds of Remington UMC 230 grain FMJ at 21 feet.

12 rounds of Remington UMC 20 grain FMJ at 21 feet.

My favorite load for the G36, the Remington Golden Sabre 230 Grain JHP at 21 feet.

Targets fired from the Compensated Barrel:

12 rounds of Winchester 230 grain FMJ at 21 feet.

12 rounds of Remington Golden Sabre 23o grain JHP at 21 feet.

12 rounds of Winchester Personal Defense 230 grain JHP ammo fired at 21 feet.

12 rounds of Fiocchi 230 grain FMJ ammo fired at 21 feet.

12 rounds of Fiocchi 230 grain FMJ at 31 feet (still good practical accuracy)
12 rounds of Fiocchi 230 grain FMJ at 50 feet. Clearly we have found that my limit for practical accuracy ends between 31 and 50 feet.
As I stated earlier, a critical examination of the targets with the factory Glock barrel and the Federal Arms ported barrel shows that the factory barrel gives slightly better accuracy. However, the recoil control from the ported barrel is an acceptable trade-off for the slightly better accuracy.