Editor's Note: Master Gunsmith Patrick Sweeney is no starry-eyed fanboy of the Glock. Just read his new book, Glock Deconstructed, and you’ll see why. But even Sweeney, who authored 1911: The First 100 Years—and countless other articles on the Glock v. 1911 debate—could not discount the advantages of the Glock auto pistol. Here are his top 10 from the Gun Digest Book of the Glock. – Corey Graff
In those preceding years, the other pistols had in many cases been manufactured to a less demanding standard. They had been made when precision meant hand fitting, and everyone expected pistols to be somewhat less reliable than revolvers. Soon the “hand-fit vs. reliability” debate would sputter out, but until then, Glock was first. The level of reliability that Glocks demonstrate can be approached and matched by other pistols, but there is a definite advantage in being first.
Here Glock has a definite advantage. The polymer frame shrugs off impacts that would dent or crack other frames made of aluminum or steel. Unless you’re willing to make your handgun excessively bulky (and thus solid) it won’t be as durable. And that heavy, who’d want it?
The Glock’s big Glock advantage is its weight. Or lack thereof, really. The standard G-17 tips the scales empty at a feathery 22 ounces. Comparable pistols come in 25 to 30 percent heavier, and revolvers must be quite compact to beat the Glock. Big revolvers can’t do it; small or airweight can; but they all lack capacity.
The advantageous shape of the Glock grip stems from two things; the polymer design and the European search for a “natural pointing angle” between grip and bore. The polymer design of the Glock frame means that there is no need for grips. And the deletion of grips also means no grip screws, no bushings for same and no need to worry about them coming loose.
The Glock … rails are so small they hardly add anything to the parts stack height up to the bore. There is no hammer, so the hammer pivot isn’t in the way of lowering the bore. The barrel locks into the ejection port of the slide, so the thickness of steel above the barrel is no more than that needed for structural integrity. And the firing pin height is only what is needed for the tail to reach down to the cruciform of the trigger bar.
Low Felt Recoil
Low felt recoil results from the combination of the flex of the polymer frame, the grip angle and the hand-filling grip that doesn’t have joints where the (non-existent) grips meet the frame, and the low bore line. The low bore aids low felt recoil, as the cycling parts do not have as much leverage when they bottom out against the frame. Also, the flex of the polymer frame changes the nature of the impact between slide and frame.
On a Glock, you can practically teach your dog to swap extractors. You can swap parts yourself, once you’ve had about 10 minutes of coaching. You can replace worn or broken ones, or replace lost ones that you dropped on the last cleaning. About the only things that might require extra tools or some training would be installing new sights or fitting a new, non-Glock-made barrel.
For its size, the Glock holds more rounds than any other pistol. For a brief time during the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, all pistols held a maximum of 10 rounds, at least those with magazines made at the time. Since the sunsetting of that egregious law we are back to full-capacity magazines. When the G-17 came to be, the top capacity pistols were the traditional Browning Hi-Power at 13 rounds and the S&W M‑59 at 15.
Simplicity of Use
For training, less time spent learning the “knobs and buttons” meant that more time could be spent learning sight alignment and trigger control. Students issued Glocks posted higher qualification scores with less time and shooting than those issued revolvers or other pistols.
They Look Cool
The Glock design exudes a businesslike air unlike any other firearm. Yes, it is irrational to attach an emotional state to an object, but as emotional creatures that is what we humans do. And just to make sure you know where I stand on the issue (firmly in the middle) it is my personal feeling that a Glock has all of the warmth, charm, personality and character of an industrial tool.