Contrary to the title of this article, I am not a hardcore Glock enthusiast, but I have carried them and used them extensively. While you may not agree with my thoughts on the Glock, I provide them to you based upon my personal experience with the Glock. I may be wrong, but I am sure of what I know.
So, you are prepping for a WTSHTF scenario and are contemplating what handgun to choose. You’ve already settled on your rifle, but now you want something else. You want something that can be: conveniently carried, is concealable, is of a respectable caliber, is reliable under harsh conditions, and requires very little maintenance to keep it running.
Your choices are limited to either a revolver or a autopistol. Now, I started out shooting revolvers and have a fondness in my heart for them. However, while a revolver fits the above criteria just fine, I would not consider anyone who chooses a revolver as being under armed. For me, I would lean towards the autopistol. Unless of course your main threat comes from a rather large and furry four legged animal, then I would lean towards favoring a large caliber revolver starting with the number 4.
My reasons for this choice are simple, thought out, and borne from experience. Autopistols generally have a higher capacity than revolvers and can be reloaded rather rapidly with some practice. Revolvers, for most of us, are slower to re-load and do not have the firepower of an autopistol. A malfunction in a autopistol is relatively easy to clear and can be done quickly. Although a malfunction in a revolver is rare, it does happen and may require tools to get it back into action. Not a challenge one wants to take on in the middle of a self defense situation. Keep in mind though, that there is a reason that virtually all police departments have made the switch from revolvers to autopistols. While revolvers are extremely reliable, modern autopistols produced from major manufactures have also achieved enviable reliability. Yes, I know that autopistols can be prone to a malfunction if you do not have a solid grip and “limp wrist”. And for the novice shooter, revolvers are safer to use. I’ve used autopistols that were so extremely reliable that the presentation of a malfunction left one in a state of almost utter disbelief. Just remember, that the heart of a autopistol is the magazine. Purchase only top quality spare magazines for your autopistol. Don’t skimp on this.
Become well acquainted with your pistol and practice with it as often as possible. Dry firing is a good and cheap way to practice. Concentrate on the front sight and trigger press. The trigger press is one of the hardest things to master on a autopistol, but absolutely essential to shooting a handgun well. Remember however, that while dry firing is a good way to practice, you still need to hit the range and go live. After all, you can’t learn to swim if you don’t go in the water.
Caliber selection is always a topic of debate. Some people are more comfortable with the ubiquitous 9mm round, while others lean towards the uniquely American .45 ACP. You can’t argue with history, and personally I’m a .45 ACP fan. Yes, I know that with modern hollow point ammunition the best 9mm round can be almost as effective as the best hollow point 45 ACP round. However, if there is ever a WTSHTF scenario, ammunition may be difficult to come by and you may not be able to obtain hollow point ammunition, only the hardball ammunition. So ask yourself, would you rather have a FMJ 9mm round or a FMJ .45 ACP round? Bigger bullets equal bigger holes. Yes, we can talk about shot placement, recoil and all that stuff, but there is a reason that the .45 ACP is preferred by some elite military and law enforcement units as their caliber of choice in a crisis situation. Enough said on this topic. This is a personal choice. Just learn how to shoot correctly and to hit what you are shooting at! 9mm, 45 ACP, 40 S&W, 10mm, 357 Magnum, etc, will all get the job done if you do yours. That brings us back to practice, practice, practice!
As for me, I chose the Glock 23. This is Glock’s compact size 40 caliber version. My choices for choosing this caliber are personal, but thought out. While the 40 caliber is a snappy round, it is controllable with the proper technique and can be shot rapidly and accurately. It is a uniquely American round, and the best of the breed nips at the heels or equals that of the best 45 ACP bullet. Moreover, it is the round that is carried by a large percentage of the law enforcement agencies in this country which may make the round more accessible in a WTSHTF scenario. While it does not have the cross sectional density of the 45 ACP it is still much larger than the 9mm (.355) as opposed to .400 for the 40 caliber.
The Glock 23 has a 13 round capacity and will accept the magazine of its larger sibling, the Glock 22 with a 15 round magazine. As an additional bonus, you can purchase a 9mm barrel for the Glock 23 along with some 9mm Glock magazines and you now have two calibers on one frame. You can also purchase a 357 SIG barrel and have three calibers on one frame. This gives the user versatility when the ammunition supply begins to dwindle. There are also 22 caliber conversion kits that you can order to convert your Glock 23 into a 22 LR shooter. So, with a little expense, you can have four calibers in one autopistol.
The Glock, right out of the box, comes with an extremely tough finish that resists rust like nobody’s business, and it requires very little lubrication or maintenance to keep it functioning. Thus, one of the reasons it is favored by law enforcement.
Simplicity of use? It’s a point and shoot gun. While it does have three safeties (a trigger safety, firing pin safety and drop safety), there are no external safeties to click off. Pull the trigger and it will go bang, just like a revolver. It’s just that simple. The trigger pull is the same for each round so there is no need to acclimate to two different trigger pulls as one would find with a traditional DA/SA autopistol.
While I would admit that the Glock is a very easy pistol to learn to shoot, it is not as easy to learn to shoot it well, as the trigger takes a bit of getting used to. But with proper training and familiarization, you can shoot this pistol competently, quickly, and accurately under combat conditions. Remember, the Glock was not developed as a target pistol but rather as a military autopistol for the Austrian army.
If you read the various published gun magazine articles and internet blogs, they claim that the reliability/durability of the Glock almost reaches legendary proportions. However, my experience has been to the contrary. It does go bang when you pull the trigger, but it can break. Now, I primarily use the .40 caliber round which is a high pressure round. Folks using the 9mm round may have a different take on the durability of the Glock. From my personal experience, the Glock 23 will break on you with lots of use. I have had a number of broken parts on a Glock 23. All the breakages occurred somewhere within approximately 17,000 rounds down range. The good news however, is that the Glock is a “plug and play” gun. It does not require you to be an armorer (but I would advise that you invest in a complete Glock guide) to get the pistol back into action within minutes. Just pop out the broken part and plug in the replacement part and you’re ready to go. All you need is a pin punch tool, maybe a pair of needle nose pliers and small flathead screwdriver for all of your repair needs. Remember, the Glock has a high level of parts interchangeability with other Glocks, so if you don’t have the spare part, there is a fair chance that you can cannibalize it from another Glock, even if it is not the same caliber or model as yours. The Glock only has 34 parts. That is fewer than any other autopistol that I know of.
The Glock 23 weighs only 21.16 ounces (unloaded) and has a height of 5 inches, so it is relatively easy to conceal and light enough to carry all day, but packs a wallop when you need it. The pistol’s low bore axis makes recoil relatively easy to control despite its light weight.
The Glock does not require a break-in period. It will come out shooting right from the box. However, I would definitely change out those cheap plastic sights and replace them with night sights that have a cocking shelf to allow for one hand racking of the slide. For me, I would also replace the factory slide stop lever with an extended one from Glock. This type of lever just fits my style of shooting better.
While the Glock is not my favorite autopistol it has a lot going for it in a Mad Max scenario or a Get Out of Dodge event. It has a tough as nails finish, it is dependable under harsh environmental conditions, low maintenance, low weight, easy to shoot, easy to fix, and ubiquitous. What more can you ask for in a WTSHTF autopistol?
Just my opinion folks, nothing more, nothing less.
JWR Adds: I cringe whenever I see cannibalization mentioned vis-a-vis home gunsmithing . It takes just a few minutes of Internet research to determine which are the high breakage and high loss parts for any particular gun. By high loss, I mean small parts that are under spring tension such as various detents, extractors, and ejectors that tend to go flying across a room and getting lost in the Great Dacron Forest of deep pile carpeting, never to be seen again. Do the research, and stock up on the requisite spare parts. After all, a complete spare gun is a mighty expensive source of a few spare parts, and once you start cannibalizing, you of course lose the use of a functional weapon.