GLOCK handguns are among the most dependable and durable made. Following is a general description of the guns, as well as some interesting (and intelligent) conclusions about GLOCK barrels. These GLOCK reviews are based on considerable study and personal experience with the guns referenced.
GLOCKs are polymer framed handguns chambered for most popular rounds manufactured today. My personal experience with GLOCKs has been with the G21 - the big .45 ACP high capacity pistol, the G22 .40 S&W - my favorite pistol of all time, and the G17 .9mm famous for a reason and ready to go out of the box.
NOTE:Updating today - 07/2012, Since this article was first written, I've had significant experience with, and/or owned another half dozen GLOCKS, all excellent guns.
Nothing about a GLOCK is complicated. When selecting one, you don't have to decide between action, color, style or anything cosmetic.
Writing GLOCK reviews, you have a lot of guns to work with. Problem is they all look basically the same. Black. Blocky. Simple. Nothing "sexy" about these guns.
The only thing you have to choose between is the caliber and size of the gun for your particular needs (or wants). The guns come in sizes ranging from the big G21 through the sub compact models. Competition guns are also available with longer barrels.
GLOCKs are striker fired pistols with a unique "safe action" operating system that has become both famous and controversial.
REALITY CHECK: For GLOCK lovers like me we have to stop and take a reality check about the issues with handling and/or carrying these guns. The shooting part is easy - pull the trigger, it shoots.
But safe handling is paramount in GLOCK ownership. There are no external safeties to compensate for human error--being inadvertently fingering the trigger or getting some loose clothing or cord caught in the trigger guard while holstering. There are no second chances if the trigger gets pulled.
Keeping your finger off the trigger is one of the most basic of firearms safety rules. If you do not regularly handle and shoot this semi auto pistol you would be ill advised to own and carry one.
Durability is a GLOCK trademark. No review of these guns would be complete without mentioning this.
I'm not going to include them here, but if you do an internet search you'll find a number of GLOCK torture sites. They demonstrate the remarkable ability of these guns to take a beating and keep going strong.
The tenifer treatment of metal parts is diamond tough and among the best in gun metal treatment. The black coloring of a GLOCK is not the tenifer. That is an oxide like finish that protects the surface. Tenifer is a treatment that actually penetrates the metal.
Disassambly of a GLOCK is a snap with them breaking down into 5 serviceable parts - barrel, slide, spring, frame, and magazine.
GLOCK front and rear sights work fine (if you're a masochist) right out of the box. Actually, if GLOCK wants anybody to believe their claim of "perfection" they should ditch the $3 plastic sights. They're functional, but I haven't owned a GLOCK that I haven't changed the sights on.
Aftermarket parts for GLOCKs are plentiful and nearly any type fixed combat or adjustable sight combinations can be purchased for them. My G22 had Truglo TFO Sights that glow like kryptonite in outdoor light or total darkness.
Holstering and carrying a GLOCK ready to fire took some getting used to. The thought that a cartridge was in the chamber and a 5.5 lb pull of the trigger was all it would take to set it off bothered me. However, after carrying (legally) a number of pistols, I came full circle back to carrying a G23, cartridge in the chamber, ready to fire.
I finally stretched my brain far enough to realize that these guns will not go off unless you pull the trigger.
They will not go off if you drop them. You can sit with them in an inside the waistband holster (key to safe carrying is a good holster), hike through the woods, or go shopping with them. If they're properly holstered they will not go off.
My GLOCK 23 is comfortably carried in this modified Galco holster. Check out my article: Carrying A GLOCK Pistol
The holster above was actually for a Taurus 24/7, but fit the GLOCK 22 so well I use it for carrying it daily. The belt clip shown is not the factory plastic clip that came on the holster, but a metal clip taken off of an Uncle Mike's nylon holster. The clip fully grips the belt and makes for a very secure and comfortable concealed carry.
The commentary below compares a 3rd generation GLOCK barrel to a Bar Sto aftermarket barrel only. A comparison of older GLOCK barrels and other aftermarket barrels may result in different conclusions being drawn.
Before making a decision on changing barrels or reloading for a GLOCK, consider the generation and configuration of the barrel and do a comparison of your own.
Pay attention to warnings about shooting reloaded ammo through a GLOCK barrel. But not because of lack of support at the "six o'clock position".
The loose tolerances of the GLOCK factory barrels are what contributes to their legendary dependability in feeding and extracting. However, those loose tolerances also make it necessary to do exactly as the GLOCK manuals state. They instruct the shooter to only shoot factory ammo in excellent condition through the factory barrels.
There are now many documented cases of GLOCKs suffering catastrophic failures with the use of reloaded ammunition. Below is the actual reason why. And it's not because of lack of support at the infamous six o'clock position.
Here are pictures of two barrels, the GLOCK barrel on the right, and a Bar-sto semi drop in barrel on the left. Both have cartridges in the chamber and the picture is of the "six o'clock" position with the cartridge seated. So, which has more support at that position?
The barrels have support in the six o'clock position that is virtually identical. But Bar-sto claims a "fully supported chamber"....what gives!? Now look below at two .40 S&W cases fired once through each barrel. Left - Bar-sto, Right GLOCK.
Note the case bulge on the right that is bulged around 2/3 of the way down. The same case is expanded all the way to the mouth.
The cases were scuffed by people moving around while they were loading and shooting. Interestingly, the one on the right is scuffed on the highest point which is the bulge caused by firing it through the GLOCK. Then people take these and reload them over and over again, increasing the possibility of a case failure.
Now we see that the bullet case fired in the Bar-Sto barrel still appears in perfect shape. But since we see from the pictures that both barrels have the same support at six o'clock, why does the case bulge from the GLOCK barrel?
You would have to just drop a cartridge in the chamber of each barrel to quickly find what the difference is. The difference is in the TIGHTNESS of the chamber, not the support at six o'clock. Just a quick moving of both cartridges in the chambers reveals that the Bar-sto chamber is considerably tighter and consequently protects the case from damage when fired.
Those cases can be reloaded safely and fired an average number of times without fear of failure due to "lack of case support".
My conclusion for my GLOCK 22 was to get a Bar-Sto barrel, adjustable rear sight, and tritium front sight. The result was an increase in accuracy and the ability to reload safely for my GLOCK.
Holstering and carrying the GLOCK: Now that I have carried a full size GLOCK concealed for a while I am quite comfortable both with the fit and safety of the gun. I carry it in casual summer and winter clothes in my day to day leisure and work activities outside the office.
It hides surprisingly well under just a loose summer shirt in my inside the waistband holster. Forget trying to conceal a full size G17 or G22 in a regular belt holster, though. They are too large and print too dramatically. Go with one of the compact GLOCKS for that.
BOTTOM LINE: I love GLOCKS. But my love of this gun does not blind me to the understanding that to reload safely, I must modify the gun or significantly modify the way I reload. To carry it I must take consistent safety measures every time without exception. And I must absolutely obey the basic rules of firearms safety. Do all that and a GLOCK will serve you well, and serve you for a long, long time.
An update on reloading for the GLOCK barrel: Since writing the article above, I have changed the way I reload and have loosened up on my reloading cases shot through my GLOCK barrel. See the conditions under which I do this here. Do not do it yourself because I write about it here. To do so may endanger your property, cause injury or death.
TRUGLO TFO sights for my GLOCK 22. Thankfully, these sights were worth the time, effort to install, and money expended on them for my favorite GLOCK.