Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rock Your Glock

Ever since Glock pistols emerged onto the international shooting stage in the early 1980’s they became the thing of urban legend, mostly due their polymer frame. Knee jerkers from all sides surrounded the Glock pistols. “The polymer frame will never hold up!” “The polymer frame will flex, loosen, and be inaccurate!” My favorite was from the gun-grabbing liberals “the plastic pistol cannot be detected by security x-ray machines or metal detectors!” Wrong, wrong, and, as usual, stupidly wrong. Time has proven the first two prophecies decidedly incorrect and last declaration was stupidly wrong because it was uttered, accepted as fact, and published in the news media before anyone actually sent one through an x-ray machine or ran one through a metal detector. By now everyone should know that there is plenty of metal in the frame components, slide and barrel to set off any metal detector and everything in the pistol, including the polymer grip frame is visible on a airport x-ray machine; yet I still hear people refer to the Glock as being undetectable to airport screening equipment.

The Glock Motto is a simple one “Perfection”. One of the things that I have come to like about Glock pistols are their engineered simplicity. As such, I can appreciate the minimalistic slogan. However, “perfection” may be a stretch. I have been on the search for the perfect carry pistol for many years and have not yet found one which offers a terminal caliber, accuracy, controllability, capacity, and ease of concealment. Should I ever find the perfect carry pistol my life will become a bit dreary. The mid-sized Glock however, comes pretty close to filling the bill. They are easy to operate, the controls are conveniently located, they are easy to field strip and the Tennifer finish makes cleaning and lubricating a snap, the sights are good and the trigger is not bad. What all of this means is that the Glock is pretty good right out of the box.

My favorite mode of carry is the utilization of the clip draw attachment which I find has worked pretty well with the mid-sized Glock. I had been put off to trying to carry the the mid-size or, for the purposes of this review, the model 19C (9mm compensated barrel) and 23 (.40 S & S) concealed as people both in and out of the firearms media usually refer to them as the “Commander” sized Glocks in reference to the Colt Commander model which was downsized at ¾ of an inch from the Colt Government Model Model 1911A1. However, as the picture below shows, the mid-sized Glock is comparably smaller.

The mid-sized Glock is 1.15 inches shorter in length than the Commander sized 1911, and is a quarter of an inch shorter in height. This gives them an edge in concealment and, with the Clip Draw attachment it conceals easily under a bulky, loose shirt (if a Glock is to be employed with a Clip Draw attachment then the rearward movement of the trigger must be blocked. Please see the April 4th posting entitled “Clip Draw Concealed Carry Device” for more information). If the dress requires a lighter shirt, then the Smith & Wesson “J” frame revolver gets employed.

After deciding that a Clip Draw on a mid-sized Glock would be a good idea I eventually wound up trading for the .40 S.&W. model 23 and the 9mm model 19C. I have intended to write about these pistols in separate reviews, however along the way I added some customized features to both of them that begged to be compared in one article.

To the Model 23 I added AmeriGlo Speed Ring night sights and the Side Lock trigger (with manual safety) as the Clip Draw had been added. So far I am not sure if I will keep the Speed Ring night sights. Prior to their arrival and installation the model 23 had been extremely accurate. So much so that I sold the larger model 22 .40 S&W for which I had traded at the same time. I couldn’t justify tying up the capital when the smaller pistol was more accurate and with a capacity of 13 + 1 rounds of potent .40 caliber ammo, it was more utilitarian. However, with the addition of the Speed Ring sights accuracy has suffered. These sights are designed for combat and get you on target quicker for both the first and follow-up shots. However, in the process accuracy decreases; for a while I thought that I was coming back on target so quickly that follow up rounds were flying loosely due to the speed of acquisition. Since then I have taken my time with the follow-up shots and the truth of the matter is that the Speed Ring is large enough that it is difficult to place the front sight consistently within it. For the purposes of close quarter combat the Speed Ring is fine, but I would feel comfortable with more accuracy and may switch the model 23 to regular night sights. The targets below were fired prior to the addition of the Speed Ring sights (all targets were fired at 21 feet with either Winchester white box or Remington UMC 180 FMJ ammo unless otherwise noted):

The following targets were fired after the installation of the Speed Ring night sights:

(Top and Center 3 targets were shot with CCI Blazer Brass FMJ ammo. Bottom left was shot with CorBon 135 grain JHP and Bottom Right was shot with Speer Gold Dot 180 grain GDHP. Target was placed at 21 feet.)

The model 19C is a 9mm pistol with a capacity of 15 + 1 rounds. The “C” in the model number designates that it is has a compensated barrel/slide. I am here to tell you that this arrangement makes the 19C a real pussycat to shoot. Even the hottest +P+ ammo was very comfortable to shoot. I would put the felt recoil somewhere between a .22 LR and .32 ACP. The reduced recoil assists the shooter in making accurate shots and follow-up shots. This pistol again was very accurate right out of the box.

One of the caveats of a compensated barrel is the amount of barrel flash visible when shooting in the dark and how that would affect your vision. Unfortunately I am not in a position to tell you. My thinking is that this could be an issue however, the range on which I shoot is hardly what I would consider “well lit” and I have noticed no appreciable flash during my shooting in their more subdued lighting. On the other hand, when shooting my S&W 586 L-Comp .357 magnum, the fireball is quite pronounced in normal indoor range lighting.

Because I was adding the Clip Draw attachment I also added the Side Lock trigger. I also added an extended slide release and would recommend this enhancement to anyone who carries or shoots their Glock pistol a lot. The extended slide release does not add appreciable bulk to the control but makes it easier to access and operate. Best of all, like a lot of Glock replacement parts, they are inexpensive (the slide release was $18.00) and usually pretty easy to install yourself.

The final enhancement to the Glock model 19C was the addition of the Advantage Tactical sights. These are an odd looking affair consisting of a front sight in the configuration of a blaze orange pentagon. The rear sight is a triangle with two bright yellow bars making up the right and left side. They come together at the top and form the base that the pentagon fits into to complete the pyramid shape of the sights when they are on target. All that geometry makes it sound a lot more complicated than it is. I will tell you that I was a little apprehensive to put additional sights on the pistol when it worked so well out of the box. However, the Advantage Tactical sights may be a good compromise between the Speed Ring and regular sights. They can get you on target quickly and can be used slowly to line up more precise sighting.

At the moment the model 19C is my go to pistol for most occasions due to it's 15 +1 capacity, accuracy, and speed of target acquisition afforded by the Advantage Tactical sights.

All targets fired at 21 feet with Winchester white box or Remington UMC 115 grain FMJ ammo unless otherwise noted:

(35 rounds fired at 50 feet)

(Defensive Ammo: Target on the left is CorBon 115 grain +P JHP. Target on the right is Remington Golden Sabre 124 grain JHP)
Going back to my original criteria for making a perfect carry pistol, the downside to the 19C would be its ability to conceal easily. It is just a tad large for summer carry otherwise it fits the other criteria, dare I say, “Perfectly”.