Opinion: A love/hate relationship with Glocks

Glock has become touted as the polymer wonder pistol worldwide, the pistol that anyone and everyone should own. A question that should be asked though, does the Glock brand of pistols truly deserve this level of fame or is its iconic status simply due to diehard fanatics and loyalists refusing to lay down the “Glock or nothing” flag they’ve been flying for so long? Should Glock really be the go-to pistol for newcomers and seasoned firearms veterans alike or are the brand’s supporters bound to a myopic mindset just like that one guy we all know who still has his mullet from the 1980s? Let’s dive in and discuss my personal experiences with and opinion of the Glock pistol. I’ll get this out of the way first. I’ve been accused of being “that guy” more than once in my life. All too often, my friends and family will accuse me of disliking things simply because they’re popular. It’s like they see me as some sort of hipster constantly trying to go against the grain of societal norms. Truth be told, I can’t say that they’re wrong. I’ve never liked the idea of someone telling me that something is good and just blindly following that. I want to find out for myself and at my own pace if something is of quality or not. I’m 30 years old as of the beginning of this month. My first experience shooting was while I was still in the single digits age-wise. I grew up with a Police Officer for a father, here in the free state of Arizona. Marksmanship and gun ownership were in my blood from day one. I can still remember the very first time I fired my father’s Department issued Glock 17 Gen 2. I had never shot a semi-automatic firearm before and had no idea what to expect. He chambered 1 round and removed the magazine so that there would only be 1 round at my disposal and then allowed me to take aim and fire at my own pace onto a paper target. I remember the pistol’s grip feeling like a brick in my child-sized hands, the grip angle feeling super awkward and the recoil feeling very light but strange. Now over 20 years later, my initial opinions haven’t changed. I still find the Glock grip to be fairly brick-like, the angle of the grip to be uncomfortable, and the recoil to be very light but strange. While these observations never seemed to change, another thing that didn’t change was that the Glock was an inherently lightweight, low profile and reliable platform that would make a solid defensive tool. As I got older, I began my quest to find the perfect pistol. It was like a coming of age thing for me to search out that one gun that would do everything I wanted. I ended up finding my way to the Springfield Armory XD line of pistols. This was just a few years after their adoption by Springfield Armory, originally having been made as the Croatian HS2000 pistol, and long before the introduction of the XDm line. I loved all things about the XD except for one element, it has a ridiculously tall slide for a polymer defensive pistol. I purchased 4 XD pistols over time, still owning 3 of them to this day. I loved the XD but realized that it just wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I continued my search and subsequently ventured down the paths of the Smith and Wesson M&P line, the H&K VP9 and USP series, the Sig Sauer P320 line, so on and so forth. Along the way, I also dived further into all-steel pistols like the Beretta M9/92, the Sig Sauer P series, and of course the 1911 platform. All of these are a blast to own and hit the range with but none of them checked all the little boxes as far as what I wanted for a gun to carry and trust my life with day in and day out. During those years I worked in contract armed Security, which had a wide-open approved weapons list because you had to supply your own firearm. I continued to carry the XD 9mm Tactical during this time just because it is what I was most comfortable with. I later became certified and licensed as a Firearms Instructor and Range Safety Officer, as well as took on some armorer training to make me as well rounded as possible. This gave me a fair amount of experience not only handling pretty much every modern defensive firearm on the market but also seeing the regularity at which they would experience malfunctions and catastrophic failures, along with the actual engineering behind many of these pistols. There was a common trend that I observed when it came to reliability, Glocks just run. Dirty, clean, wet or dry, I’ve observed more Glocks prevail through crud and keep shooting than any other type of defensive pistol. Where I’ve experienced some platform of pistols have reliability issues with different brands/types/weights of ammunition, Glocks seem to be far less ammo-prejudice. I can specifically remember my Beretta 92FS completely refusing to cycle Winchester Ranger 124g +P and 127g +P+. My XD’s all seemed to hang up on Hornady TAP ammo. We’ve all seen 1911’s, as badass as they are, that had feeding issues with various makes of hollow-point ammunition. Despite all that, I cannot think of any type of ammunition that I have ever observed a Glock just flat out refuse. They’re like a garbage disposal that will just keep taking whatever you put in them. I later shifted to working for a Government Security department, where the use of a Glock pistol in 9mm was required. The Glock 34 Gen 3 became my choice for a duty gun since it has relatively the same dimensions and barrel length as the XD 9mm Tactical that I was already so familiar with. I also bought a G17 and G19, both in the Gen4 flavoring, to have in case something took the G34 out of service for any length of time. I still hated everything about the grip of the Glock and found the recoil to feel light but strange compared to something like the beautifully smooth and flat shooting P226, but I felt secure in the outstanding reliability of the Glock. An interesting side note is that the Glock’s recoil impulse feels far more balanced to me when you add the weight of a Streamlight TLR-1 or similar weapon light, so I run every Glock I own exclusively in this configuration. Instead of the muzzle feeling like it is trying to lightly twist to the 2 o’clock after firing, the addition of a weapon light makes the Glock shoot super flat.

My faith in Glock's reliability only grew stronger as I went through the Glock armorer’s course right around the time of the Generation 5 introduction. I got to study the minor changes on the internals that, in my honest opinion, make the Glock Gen 5 the best evolution of an already solid platform. Sure they added a goofy and debatably useless magwell flare and an ambidextrous slide stop lever that a majority of folks will never touch but those features are complete afterthoughts to me. What actually matters are the changes such as the improved trapezoid-shaped firing pin safety and the way that it interacts with the connector. This is an incredible improvement to what was already a solid design and makes for a superb feeling trigger when compared to previous generations.

Seeing this opened my eyes to the fact that Glock isn’t still the most famous polymer gun because of fanboys who refuse to change. Glock is staying on their toes and constantly looking for ways to improve in order to keep their guns as the reigning champion of the defensive pistol market. For a company that has always stood by the simple two-word slogan of “Glock Perfection”, it is good to see the company humbling themselves by admitting where improvements can be made instead of just letting the Gen3 and Gen4 sell on for decades without the evolution of revision.

In conclusion, while I still have my qualms with the Glock grip angle and grip contour, I’ve grown to love the Glock brand of pistols and trust my life to them entirely. I still haven’t found my holy grail of defensive firearms but I truly believe that a Glock is as close as I’m going to get.

Author: Michael Wylie is a lifelong Arizona native and full supporter of the Second Amendment. He is currently employed with a County Government security Department within the state of Arizona, with prior work experience as court administration in the behavioral and mental health division of the Superior Courts, as well as Security contracting in the private sector. Michael currently holds multiple certifications for Firearms Instructing through the National Rifle Association, with additional licensing as an instructor through The Arizona Department of Public Safety. He holds an Administration of Justice degree, with aspirations of going to law school. He may be reached at Instagram: 7.62_dude Snapchat: seven.62dude

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