Glock P80: The One That Started It All

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A throwback Glock? You heard right and the P80 has all the utilitarian charm of the original Pistole 80.

The term “retro” is all the rage lately, with some gun companies making “retro” versions of their most popular models. The term also has different meanings for everyone. For me, it means something that’s modern yet brings back memories of yesteryear. With the popularity of the “retro” style in the firearms industry, I was pleasantly surprised when Glock presented their Limited Edition P80 Pistol.

The P80 is not an exact replica of the Pistole 80, and it is very similar to the G17 Gen 1.
The P80 is not an exact replica of the Pistole 80, and it is very similar to the G17 Gen 1.

The Limited-Edition Glock P80 is a very close reproduction of the original “Glock Pistole 80,” which eventually became the popular Glock 17. The original Glock Pistole 80 was the pistol that Gaston Glock submitted in the early ’80s to the Austrian Army. This recreation of the Glock P80 is not an exact replica of the 1980s Pistole 80 or the Glock 17 Gen 1, but it’s a very close approximation and tribute to the pistol that started it all.

The Limited Edition Glock P80 is a collaboration between Glock and Lipsey’s Inc. to commemorate the adoption of the P80 by the Austrian Army.

“The Glock P80 was Glock’s first pistol and was the catalyst that led to the introduction of the G17, which revolutionized the pistol market and launched Glock as the pistol manufacturer trusted around the globe for over 30 years,” said Bob Radecki, a national sales manager for Glock.

The Glock P80 will be distributed in the U.S. through Lipsey’s, a Louisiana-based distributor. According to Jason Cloessner, VP & product development manager at Lipsey’s, “Glock took painstaking measures to recreate the original frames and packaging to make this P80 edition as close to the original as we could get. Not only is this edition a great shooter, it helps tell the amazing story of how Glock came to be.”

Take Me Back

The Glock P80 ships in a very nice commemorative box, but the surprises start when you open the box. Inside the fancy magnetic lid box is the original Glock Tupperware box, identical to the boxes we got with the first generations of pistols—yes, that one that you had to fire the pistol in order to put in the box.

The upper assemblies on both pistols, when seen from the bottom, are virtually identical.
The upper assemblies on both pistols, when seen from the bottom, are virtually identical.

The first thing I did was remove the white “warning” sticker on the box. I wanted to see the Tupperware box the way it was originally shipped. That’s when I got really nostalgic for the mid ’80s … it was like I could hear Duran Duran playing on the radio.


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At first glance, the Glock P80 looks identical to the original first-generation Glock 17. The only difference that I could actually see is the extractor. The Glock P80 has the slanted extractor adopted in the third-generation pistols, not the square, 90-degree extractor present on the original Glock pistol.

I wanted to determine what else was different between the new P80 and the original 17 Gen1, so I reached out to my buddy, James, who owns a Gen 1 Glock 17. He brought it over and photographed both pistols at the same angles with the same lighting conditions so I could highlight the differences between these two pistols.

The magazines are another difference. The P80 ships with Glock Gen 4 magazines, with the ambidextrous magazine release cuts—something that doesn’t surprise me. It would’ve been strange if Glock shipped the P80 with the original non-drop-free magazines of the mid ’80s. But after some testing, the P80 accepts and functions perfectly with just about any Glock 17 magazine I could find … and a couple aftermarket models, too.

The biggest improvement on the P80 is the Gen4 magazines. With every generation, the magazines get better and better.
The biggest improvement on the P80 is the Gen4 magazines. With every generation, the magazines get better and better.

Honestly, other than the extractor shape, these two pistols are almost identical. The main differences are that the front and rear sights are slightly different and the guide rod on the P80 is the modern captured style. Other than that, you have to spend a whole lot of time inspecting the photos to be able to tell them apart.

I know Glock probably didn’t want to make them exactly identical so people wouldn’t pass the new P80 as a vintage Glock, but they’re very close indeed.

But, Does it Shoot?

After spending some time dry-firing the P80, it was time for the fun part—shooting. For the testing platform, I used the new Ransom International Multi Cal. Steady Rest, a sturdy aluminum rest with all the comforts and adjustability I need. I selected Truglo Tru-See Splatter Targets, and I set them at the distance of 10 yards. I wanted to see how the pistol performed, not my ability to shoot the pistol.

For ammunition, I chose two new offerings from Federal: the new Punch 124-grain JHP and the newly packaged Practice and Defend 100-round Combo Pack, which conveniently packages 50 rounds of 124-grain Syntech Training Match ammo and 50 rounds of 124-grain HST JHP ammo. This convenient combo pack allows the shooter to practice with the Syntech Training Match ammo and load at least two magazines, depending on the pistol with the HST JHP ammo for personal defense.

Glock 9mm

All three of these rounds tested have an advertised muzzle velocity of 1,150 fps and, given that they all have the same projectile weight, you can expect about 364 foot-pounds of energy.

My results weren’t surprising. I’ve used both the 124-grain Syntech Training Match and the 124-grain HST JHP in the past, and I know how accurate they can be, but I had never used the brand-new Punch 124-grain JHP. It was as accurate as the other two rounds. With the 124-grain Syntech Training Match, I achieved a 1.185-inch five-round group. With the 124-grain HST JHP, I got a .995-inch group and with the new Punch 124-grain JHP, I got a 1.080-inch group.

After my range test, I fired 100 rounds of various reloads to test reliability. Like any other Glock, the new P80 performed perfectly. I had to take some time to clean it, but again, like any other Glock, that’s not hard at all.

After performing my accuracy and reliability test, I considered who’d be the target market for this “Retro” Glock P80. Collectors? Shooters? Glock enthusiasts?

The Upgrade Option

Then, I talked to others who purchased the new pistol and shared ideas with some of them—in particular, my friend Ed Head, retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent and current instructor at Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona. Ed picked one up, and the first thing he did was customize it.

Glock P80 4

“What?”

Ed was looking for a Glock without finger grooves and without a light rail. Then, it all came into place. Gen1 and Gen2 Glocks, which have the features Ed wanted, are few and far between and generally very costly. This new P80, even though a limited-edition pistol, comes in at a lower cost and with the modern enhancements mentioned.

I asked Ed about his upgrades plans: He started with the AmeriGlo Hackathorn Sights, Wolf Competition Pack Spring Kit and would eventually finish it with an Apex Gen 3 Trigger Kit. Ed mentioned that, even though he liked railed pistols for home guns and duty guns, he didn’t like them for EDC purposes—a very good choice if you ask me. Ed also said he’d eventually get another Glock P80 just to leave it as is as a collectible.

After my conversation with Ed, I got to thinking … What do I want to do with my Glock P80? Well, the answer is simple: I’m going to shoot it and shoot it and shoot it. I might leave it as is, with no modifications whatsoever. It’s a great performer, very accurate and … what else can I say—it’s a Glock; it’s pretty much indestructible.

With ample supplies of replacement OEM parts from Brownells, this pistol can be kept running for decades to come. Besides, we might get a special edition of this pistol in 35 years or so. Who knows?

For more information on the Glock P80, please visit lipseysguns.com.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the January 2021 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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