Letter Re: Pros and Cons of Glock Pistols

Dear Jim,
Having considerably less sense than most, I’ll wade into the discussion. More blood has been spilled over the “Glock vs. 1911” argument than practically any other firearms topic. (Possible exceptions include the Revolver vs. Autopistol Great Debate of the 1970s, the 9mm vs. .45 Screamfest of the early ’80s, the .40 S&W vs. Everything Else Howl-O-Rama of the ’90s and eruptions of 10mm, .357 SIG and .45 GAP Mania. I’m sure avid readers of the “gun comics” can speak to other examples.)
FWIW, here are my opinions on Glocks, having owned five and having shot thousands of rounds through each.
1) Reliable as a dinner fork. You pick it up, it works. Period. Glocks will tolerate dirt, mud, damage, abuse and neglect better than any handgun, with the possible exception of a Single Action Army.
2) Durable. Your readers are quite correct in their views that Glocks are durable to an almost pathological degree. Aside from the (ecch!) plastic sights, they simply don’t wear out. Ever.
3) Simple to operate. The “Safe-Action” is simplicity itself. You press the trigger, the firing pin strikes. End of story.
4) Lightweight. Most Glocks will rival and exceed far less durable alloy-frame pistols in weight and “carryability.”
5) Accurate. Glocks tend to be “match accurate” without modification out-of-the-box and after untold thousands of rounds.
1) The ka-Boom! phenomenon. Occasionally, Glocks go “boom” instead of “bang.” (Other pistols can, too. The problem is, however, seemingly more common with Glocks.)
2) Questionable suitability for hand loads/substandard ammunition. This is a major concern for use in a “survival” situation. You may have thousands of rounds of fresh, clean (and expensive) factory ammo stored now, but you may end up with scroungy reloads with cast wheel weight bullets someday. I submit you chamber these in your Glock at much greater peril than other designs. So does the manufacturer.
3) Grip/frame dimensions. Most Glocks have grip dimensions that are unsuited for shooters with small hands. And, Glock proponents notwithstanding, their wide slides and magazines make them more difficult to conceal than functionally-comparable designs such as a Colt Commander.
4) Lack of a positive safety. Glocks are carried in “Condition Zero.” The only insurance against an accidental (not negligent) discharge is a moderately heavy trigger pull and a plastic “dingus.” It’s true that accidental discharges with Glocks are rare. But, call it a character fault, I could never quite get comfortable with my Glock 36, in a SmartCarry holster, pointed directly at my femoral artery every time I sat down. (Both Steyr and the Springfield XD line answer this concern, if one is committed to a “Safe-Action” style firearm.)
5) Heavy triggers. Yes, Glock triggers are better than DA auto/revolver triggers, and fine work can be done with all of them. (With practice. Lots of practice.) Improved aftermarket triggers can be had, most of which lighten the pull to a degree that mandates the use of a separate safety mechanism.
Note that nothing about a Glock detracts from its ability to address the need for accuracy, power and speed in a combat handgun.
My take on the matter: If you do not reload and anticipate shooting only copper-jacketed, factory ammunition, get a Glock. If you’re a hobbyist who wants to customize or build up a firearm to suit your specific needs and taste, get a 1911. (A friend of mine summed it up succinctly: “Glocks are for people who have to shoot. 1911s are for people who like to shoot.”) They are two different firearms, appealing to two different kinds of shooter.
The endless, pointless bickering between the shooting “camps” has done nothing but result in “friendly fire incidents,” replete with needless invective, hurt feelings, damaged reputations and ugly grudges. 1911 enthusiasts need to recognize “Tupperware” shooters as brethren. Likewise, Glock fans need to set aside prejudice about “that obsolete old relic.” It’s long past time to put this sort of thing behind us. Remember that when the chips are down, it will be skill, not equipment, that makes the difference. Regards, – Moriarty