Perfect Eight: 8 Reliable GLOCK Pistols Chambered in 9mm

Posted by jhingarat21 on 23rd Oct 2015

From the frontlines to the square range, GLOCK’s Parabellums deliver reliable, on-target results shot after shot!

Almost 115 years ago, the 9mm cartridge was designed by Austrian Georg Luger, to meet a military requirement. To say that it has achieved success in the military milieu would be an understatement. Today, the “sun never sets” on the 9mm cartridge, as users from American law enforcement to Special Forces around the world pack a pistol with the “Parabellum” cartridge. Free citizens utilize it in sport-shooting events and for protection of life and family.

The cartridge itself has evolved from a basic full metal jacket projectile, to intricately designed hollow points, to sintered metal, non-toxic, disintegrating bullets, to even a “snake load” like a miniature shotgun shell (which your correspondent has successfully utilized). While Luger designed a cartridge for the centuries, it fell to another Austrian near the end of the 20th century, Gaston Glock, to design a pistol that would become a pinnacle of reliability. The Glock “Pistole 80” became the Glock 17 (so named because it was Mr. Glock’s 17th company project), which in turn has generated a whole family of different Glocks for the 9mm cartridge.


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The Glock 43, introduced at the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting, was perhaps the most anticipated Glock pistol yet. The G43’s 3.39-inch barrel yields an overall length of right at 6.26 inches and an unloaded weight of 17.95 ounces. Glock had delivered.

Exhaustively tested, this “slim nine” became an instant paragon of a small and concealable yet eminently shootable pistol. While there are slightly smaller nines, to be sure, none have the qualities to match Glock’s “Safe Action” fire control, lightweight polymer construction, hammer-forged barrel and hardened surface finish. Minimally larger than the G42 to accomplish control, reliability and durability, the G43 again provides Glock with another CCW champion.

Your correspondent has begun a series of publicized tests and drills, and has to date passed the Hackathorn “Wizard Drill” from concealment, the “3-Second Head Shot Standards” test and the “Three-Fifty-7” drill, which includes seven individual shots, each in three seconds, to a silhouette at 50 yards. Needless to say, the G43 is a daily companion for me.


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The Glock 34 has won just about every “action shooting” championship over the years, including events with the United States Practical Shooting Association, the International Defensive Pistol Association and Steel Challenge matches. Its accuracy has proven itself at the Bianchi Cup, and it is one of the most popular divisions in the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation.

The G34’s 5.3-inch barrel coupled with an extended magazine release, a slide stop lever and a target trigger often places it in the winner’s circle so long as the operator does his or her part. This writer used a “two pin” version to shoot a class win in the World Shoot-Off Championships “back in the day.” G34s can also be found in the hands and holsters of many elite law enforcement officers, with members of the Atlanta SWAT being a prime example.

This year, the Model 34 has adopted Glock’s Modular Optic System (MOS), which allows the operator to mount a variety of electro-optical reflex sights for even more versatility and accuracy. The G34 is also available in a Gen4 variant, which offers further enhancements including modular backstraps.


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Considered revolutionary when it was introduced, the subcompact Glock 26 became an instant backup piece for those with larger 9mm Glocks like the G17 or G19, as it could receive and function with the larger pistols’ magazines. Surprisingly accurate in its own right, the G26 at one point held the U.S. federal law enforcement record for accuracy at 50 yards. Your correspondent has successfully hit a silhouette at 100 yards with it in demonstrations.

In speed events like the GSSF’s “GLOCK the Plates” plate rack runs, we typically see six plates at 11 yards being knocked down in around three seconds with the G26 from the low-ready position, start to finish. The terms “small” and “easy to shoot” perfectly describe the G26. Measuring 6.49 inches long and 4.17 inches in height, the subcompact weighs just 21.71 ounces unloaded.

As a primary weapon for concealment with the optional 12-round magazine, or as a backup with the flat 10-round mag in an ankle or vest holster, this little gun has no equal. Now available with Gen4 texturing, a reversible magazine catch and Glock’s Multiple Backstrap System (MBS), operators from the NYPD to USSOCOM carry the G26 with confidence.


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The Glock 19 is truly compact—4-inch barrel, 6.02-inch overall length and 4.99-inch height—yet it’s large enough to be both a service and off-duty weapon with the NYPD and other law enforcement organizations. A favorite of the U.S. military’s special operations community, the G19 rides equally well with concealed carriers as a tool for reliable self-defense in today’s unpredictable world. Recently, an NYPD officer saved his partner from a vicious attacker wielding a claw hammer by stopping that attacker with a couple of well-placed 9mm rounds.

The G19 was originally prototyped for the Miami Police Department, which was adopting the then-new Glock 17. A compact version was desired for investigators and administrators. Both Gen3 and Gen4 versions of the G19 are offered today with accessory rails for lights and lasers. A threaded-barrel version, the G19 TB, has also been introduced for the addition of a suppressor.


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Sometimes tagged the “secret Glock,” the G18 is a true machine pistol, and perhaps the best example of this category. This Glock is only available to law enforcement agencies and military entities. Developed as a concealable, select-fire handgun for counter-terrorism use in Europe, the G18’s design includes several extra and modified parts, largely to accommodate the selector lever. The internal specifications of the G18’s barrel, slide and frame are also slightly different so the parts are dedicated and cannot be interchanged with those of standard Glock pistols.

Externally, from a distance, it appears identical to a G17. A bit closer examination reveals a single selector switch for semi- or full-auto operation. The G18’s rate of fire in full-auto mode is 1,200-plus rounds per minute; the pistol’s standard mag takes about 1.3 seconds to empty. A special tool for special circumstances, the G18 has been used successfully in various law enforcement and military situations. For an operator with a ballistic shield or in a vehicle, the G18 offers loud, powerful and multiple surprises to a lethal opponent.


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These so-called “C” Glocks are smaller in numbers distributed (and are now only available on the secondary market) but deserve to be counted apart due to a unique quality shared amongst them. The slide and barrel “upper” have matching compensation slots and ports. The G19C and G17C models have two, located at about the 2 and 10 o’clock positions near the muzzle. The G18C has a four-port arrangement located atop the slide.

The G19C and G17C were conceived as economical options for the competition arena. This author cautioned in classes for years about the appropriateness of compensated weapons for self defense. And then, of course, several years ago, an Orange County, California Sheriffs deputy saved a partner’s life when he fired upon and stopped a knife-wielding assailant with a G17C. Muzzle flip in the “C” models is reduced by about one-third compared to the standard models.


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The G17’s standard capacity of 17+1 rounds, its simple and elegant design and its superior reliability have led to many faint imitators. Weighing 25.06 ounces unloaded, it has recorded perfect 125-plate scores on the demanding Rogers Shooting School Tests, one of only a very few pistols to do so.

Recently, at the Atlanta Police Department’s “action steel” range, your correspondent was consistently striking a silhouette at 50 yards with a G17. Federal and state agencies such as the FBI and Georgia State Patrol are transitioning to it due to improvements in bullet technology. Individual examples of the G17 over the years have fired tens of thousands of rounds comfortably, reliably and accurately. In its current Gen4 configuration, there is not much more you can ask for in a handgun than the G17.


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Another unique version is the G17L (for long slide), with a 6.02-inch barrel and target-grade sights and trigger.

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