Glock: What is a striker-fired semi-automatic pistol?

One of the most innovative designs in the history of handguns is the striker-fired semi-automatic pistol. But what does that mean?

Having said this, the term used to describe these guns isn’t quite correct, or perhaps it isn’t quite complete.

With the modern guns we now designate as striker-fired pistols, the energy for the striker is stored when the slide comes forward and the striker hooks on the sear, much like the tail-hook of an aircraft landing on a carrier. When the trigger is pulled, the sear lowers and allows the striker to spring forward and fire the gun.

In some guns, like the Glock, the sear moves both to the rear and then down, the slight extra rearward motion completing the cocking process and then firing the gun as it moves down.

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The first commercial success in this type of pistol was the Glock 17. But the Glock wasn’t the first striker-fired pistol, or even the first polymer and striker-fired pistol. H&K produced a pistol that was polymer framed and striker fired in 1970 but it saw little commercial success.

Whether you like striker-fired guns or not, the system is here to stay, and as an enduring fan of the 1911, I’ve come to realize that striker-fired guns are much more suitable than other systems for military, law enforcement and civilians for almost every application.

This article appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Modern Shooter magazine, presented by Gun Digest. Click here to download this issue.

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1 COMMENT

  1. QUOTE: Whether you like striker-fired guns or not, the system is here to stay, and as an enduring fan of the 1911, I’ve come to realize that striker-fired guns are much more suitable than other systems for military, law enforcement and civilians for almost every application. Quote:

    I cannot believe any gun writer would even publish such non-sense but then again maybe I can when all it is, is hype to sell a product and an unsafe one at that. NOW LETS LOOK AT THE UGLY NAKED TRUTH ABOUT HOW UNRELIABLE AND DANGEROUS THE PRE-LOADED STRIKER FIRED WEAPON REALLY IS WITHOUT A MANUAL SAFETY. WHAT FOLLOWS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE BY UNDERSTANDING HOW THIS SYSTEM REALLY WORKS.

    First off no pre-loaded striker fired gun should be used by the military and only marginally so by police. Pre-loaded striker fired weapons have notoriously weak ignition systems. Doubt my word then take an empty case and seat a high primer and do a test with both the anemic Gock pistol and a bone crushing blow from a Hammer Fired Gun. The Glock and copy cat ignition systems like it will fail every time while guns like the Beretta, Browning High Power or 1911 Colt will drive the high primer down into the pocket, crush it and set it off. This translates into a weapon that will work in mud, ice, snow, dust and all adverse conditions while the anemic pre-loaded striker ignition system is a CATASTOPHIC FAILURE in this regard.

    Now lets look at how unsafe many pistols like the Glock and copy cat guns are. First off it is surprising how many people these days have little understanding on how these pistols actually work and it must also be remembered many people who join the military have no prior experience handling deadly firearms which means the pre-loaded striker fired handgun without a manual safety is an accident waiting to happen not to mention the unsafe take down system of the Glock (more on this later).

    Carrying a Glock is like walking around with a single action revolver with the hammer cocked back on a loaded chamber. No one in their right mind would slip one in his pocket cocked or stuff it in his waist band without a holster but because the average Glock owner has not got a clue how these guns actually work they do this because they cannot see the danger like the visible hammer at full cock on a revolver. No wonder so many people shoot themselves with Glocks either handling them in everyday use or trying to carry them loaded with one in the chamber and without a holster.

    Now lets look at the Moron Engineer that invented the Glock take down system. Who in their right mind would have developed a take down system that requires you to pull the trigger with the slide almost al the way forward and not expect accidents to happen. Contrast this with the Beretta just to name one of a few handguns that require you to pull back the slide. If you forget to take a round out of the chamber the loaded round will fly right out of the chamber when the slide is pulled back. EVEN A MORON CAN SEE THE DIFFERNCEC IN HOW UNSAFE THE GLOCK TAKEDOWN SYSTEM IS COMPARED TO THE BERETTAS.

    Now think about all the people in the Military than are non-savvy gun people attempting to handle and carry a Glock or copy cat pistol with no manual safety and no-de-cocker. Its just an accident waiting to happen and happen it will because the net is full of horrific pictures of people who have accidentally shot themselves with Glock’s because they do not have a clue as to how they work. I sometimes think the ridiculous trigger safety (which seldom works) would have been better left off the gun altogether to wake up some of the Neanderthals that own these pistols as to how fast the trigger can be bumped or snagged and set the gun off.

    QUOTE: One of the most innovative designs in the history of handguns is the striker-fired semi-automatic pistol. But what does that mean? QUOTE:

    You had better do your HISTORY HOMEWORK AS THEIR IS NOTHING MECHANICALLY INOVATIVE ON THE GLOCK SYSTEM, NOTHING. Yes it was the first time they used junk plastic for the frame of a pistol but that is the only thing innovative about the Glock. Glock himself admits he sent out his Engineers (who actually designed the pistol and who were obviously non-gun owners or users) to study all of the old patents on automatic pistol development. They actually stole the trigger design from the 1908 Roth Styer pistol. Some innovation eh? Lock up is pure Colt/Browning.

    Many police departments have given up on the unsafe Glock and went over to the “traditional long pull double action only automatics” and guess what, accidental shootings dropped dramatically. The moronic babblings of the “unwashed” about just keeping your finger off the trigger does not work at all in the real world because history has proven simply that “people just do not” period with the accompanying accidental discharges.

    The U.S. made the right move when they adopted the Beretta as it had a manual safety, and a safe take down system and a de-cocker. Its nearest “acceptable competition without prejudice” was the Sig but it had no manual safety and an anemic stamped sheet metal slide that the military told several gun writers that horrified them.

    Of course the gun they should have adopted was the best 9mm double action automatic of the 20th century and that was the Star Model 28/30 that was solid forged steel without the cheap brittle aluminum frame found on the Sig and Beretta. But prejudice against Spanish pistols never gave this outstanding gun a chance at all. I laughed when the ignorant foul mouthed moderator on the Sig Forum bad mouthed the Star because it did jam up in the ridiculous muddy water test but he conveniently ignored a later test where the “gold standard” the military 1911 45acp jammed up more than did the Beretta and the Sig in the same test. So according to our genius moderator’s screwed up thinking the 1911 should therefore be a turd of a pistol right? Wrong. The mud test does not put the same amount of contaminates in every pistol so therefore it should not even be used but rather the pistols should be lightly lubed and shot until they break a part putting it out of action and in this test the Star went 180,000 rounds with no parts breakage. It was so far ahead of every other pistol that none of the other pistols ever came close to its performance. They quit making the Star because it was “HIGH QUALITY FORGED STEEL OLD SCHOOL” and cost a few pennies more so the bean counters would never have approved it. The Bean Counters love to spend millions on just one jet plane but to spend just a few bucks on a decent pistol for the military is just absolutely forbidden so we get stuck with guns that are way more inferior.

    In conclusion you could carry a plasticky Glock into battle that goes click when you need it most or carry a gun like the Star with a bone crushing hammer blow ignition system and a manual safety and de-cocker that can take a licking and keep on ticking and you can even beat a man over the head with it and the slide will not fall off the frame because the plasticky frames of platicky pistols flex under recoil of these designed pistols. Forged steel frame guns do not crack behind the trigger guard because again their frames do not flex under recoil like the econo-grade junk plasticky pistols. There are many pictures on the net that show plasticky pistols cracking behind the trigger guard because the frames flex on recoil. There is even a high speed picture I saw that shows the dust cover (forward bottom of the frame) flexing so much it actually bent up under recoil and touched the underside of the barrel in full recoil. I wonder how many times it will do that before the dust cover just cracks and breaks off?

    Is anyone dumb enough to believe that when you build econ-grade plasticky pistols that they will last as long as “old school high quality” forged frame guns. Wake up and get real.