Weaponsman’s Experienced Opinion

 

Over the years I have carried a lot of pistols in the field, and in a concealed carry role. My first unit in the Army still had M1911’s on the circular tiered pistol rack, and although I not only own, but  have carried M9’s in stateside and overseas combat duty assignments, it is not the best all around pistol when you want something that fits most people, and might need to be concealable.

My first Glock handgun was a G17 back in 1989. I also had a Browning Hi Power (P35) because the “Old Heads” in the unit said that was what they were gonna carry when we deployed (and they knew their shit, right?). I eventually got rid of the Browning, but kept the G17, because I liked its magazine capacity, lightweight, and reliability. When I decided my regular field gun was going to be a .45ACP, I purchased a Glock G21 (I’ve had a few 1911’s, but I liked the G21 more for the same reasons I liked the G17 over the Browning HP), and put a stainless, threaded Wolf barrel in it because it had standard rifling to shoot cast bullets (Glocks have an issue with lead build up in their hexagonally rifled barrels).

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Glock G30 (10 round mag), Glock G21 (13 round mag), AMT Backup 45 (5 round mag)

I feel the .45ACP is the best automatic pistol “survival cartridge” out there, since it does well with cast bullets, and doesn’t need a hollow point bullet to expand to almost a half an inch in diameter on target. After purchasing the G21, I also bought a G30 (compact version of the G21), and it is one of two guns I normally use for concealed carry. I have a very compact AMT Backup .45 that I carry concealed in the field, but I normally don’t conceal carry it for everyday carry, because it is not as accurate as my two everyday carry guns.

Although I sometimes carry the G30 (especially in the Fall/Winter), I usually carry a Keltec PF-9 in a shoulder rig. Why a PF-9? Well, because Glock didn’t make the G43 when I purchased it in 2007. I have carried and shot the PF-9 a lot over the last nine years, and can tell you that it is not only reliable and durable, but it is plenty accurate, especially for a pistol the weighs 13 ozs. empty.

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Keltec PF-9 on left (Glock G43 is slightly larger) Beretta M9 on the right. (Glock G19 is smaller with the same 15 round mag capacity)

The G43 is 10mm longer overall length (barrel is 7mm longer than the PF-9), 1mm shorter in height, and 4mm wider than the PF-9. It holds one round less than the PF-9, and does not have the ability to mount a light (on a pistol that small, is that a problem?) With all that being said, I might eventually get a G43, even if it is a little bigger, simply because every Glock I have ever owned works every time, and you can bet you life on them out of the box.

Weaponsman’s post about the Glock 19 is about the same rumblings I’ve heard over the last few years from Buddies that are still in that career path. The G19 is also what my Best Friend in NYPD carries as his duty gun, and NYPD picked it for the same reasons the military did. Although I am a big fan of .45ACP, when I’ve been asked of late what I would recommend for self defense pistol purchases, I have been recommending that people get a G19 and a G43. Same battery of arms, both are concealable (G43 very much so), and I recommend an Advantage Arms .22 kit for the G19 for small game and practice.

Although my Duty Gun is a S&W M&P.40, I do not recommend that pistol or that cartridge to people that ask my opinion. I think it (.40S&W) is an answer to a non existent problem (no role that a .45ACP or a 9mmP can’t fill). There have been many issues with the M&P .40’s, not least of which is the locking block cracking at less than 5,000 rounds. That is an unacceptable failure from a part that could lead to a catastrophic failure, and is the reason I sold my M&P Compact. The .40 S&W is very hard on pistols, and as I said, is an answer to a non existent problem to begin with.

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It’s Over. Glock Won.

No, we’re not talking about the Army’s chaotic and spendy Modular Handgun System program, which is miles from any conclusion, but has plenty more chaos and spending to offer in the next two or so years.glock-19

We’re talking about the pistol of choice in American special operations, where SOF has, to some extent, their own procurement money (Major Force Program 11 budgetary funds) and channels. And pretty much everybody’s running a Glock now.

They’re still maintaining their old service pistols, but they’re carrying Glocks, and specifically, Glock 19s like the gun in the file photo here. While older Glocks are on hand, now the military’s buying G4s, and sometimes uses the ability to convert the mag release for a left-handed shooter, which requires G4 gun and G4 mags.

This has been in the news lately because the Marine Raiders (MARSOC) have publicly  announced ditching their unique M45 .45 ACP pistols for bog-standard Glock 19s in 9mm.

But the Marines were not just the last guys to cling to their treasured 1911 platform, they were the last to pick up the Glock. Army SF has been using Glocks for a while — sure, they still have M9s, but the go-to-war gun is the G19. The SEALs, who stuck to their SIG 226 for quite some time, and still have them in their arms lockers, are running Glock — namely, the G19.

We don’t know if Tier One units are still running .40s, and we are not 100% certain the Rangers are on the Glock bandwagon, but if they are, it’s over, because that’s where the top leaders of the Army come from these days. SF is on its way back to being a backwater of somewhat irregular irregular-war enthusiasts (thank a merciful God), and the lamprey-lipped careerists are all trying to get their tickets punched with the Ragnars and/or They Who Shall Not Be Named. (Careerists should be careful what they ask for. These assignments can make careers, but they can also break them beyond repair).

Why the Glock 19? This is strictly our own opinion, but there are a number of reasons that make it attractive.

  1. It’s a very good size for both uniformed and  undercover work. Not too small to shoot well, not so big as to be hard for average-build guys to conceal. (Some of your Belgian horse SEALs could conceal a Barrett, but that’s another story).
  2. It’s as reliable as a hammer. Like any gun, Joe can (and does) break it, but the breaks and stoppages are fewer and further between. It’s more reliable than its in-service competitors, the 1911 (M45), M9, and P226 (and the P228/M11 used in some undercover roles).
  3. It’s durable and tolerant of abuse, neglect, and environmental stress throughout the SOF operating environment, from 0º to 90º N/S and sea level to Himalayan terrain. It might get fugly but it won’t lock up.
  4. It’s easy to learn. Makes a difference when you need to be able to shoot it, but are in a job where shooting pistol is only one of hundreds of tasks you have to master.
  5. It’s easy to shoot well. Most shooters do better on a Glock than on a DA/SA pistol.
  6. It’s cheap. Sure, Uncle doesn’t pay what you do for a Beretta or a SIG, but Uncle doesn’t pay what you do for a Glock, either.

Some of the other Glock-offs, like the Smith & Wesson M&P, can match some or all of these Glock advantages, but it’s hard to beat the whole package, as the dismissal of S&W from the Modular Handgun competition suggests.

The next thing the military has to do is pull the plug on the sunk cost that is Modular Handgun, and instead focus on a higher-performing 9mm round. That would pay dividends to everybody without tying down lots of money and ordnance talent on the quest for a pistol, when every pistol Uncle owns together has probably fired fewer than 200 rounds at a visible enemy in over 15 years of war.

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There’s a very good reason Glocks rule the Mil and LE market. They are lightweight, reliable, durable, and usually have a higher or at least comparable magazine capacity to other handguns of a similar type.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

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6 thoughts on “Weaponsman’s Experienced Opinion

  1. Been running a Glock 19 gen 3 fir a few years now…ran a 17 in 94 for a few years…mostly have carried a Kimber pro carry II in the ensuing years, but the 19 had become my ‘go to’ choice…EDC is a S&W Shield in 9mm…124gr HST’s…VERY concealable….I had a Glock 43, but like the Shield better….I still likes my Kimber…..just sayin….

  2. I have not had a lot of experience with handguns(lucky if I have shot over 1000 rounds excluding .22 with handguns),my favourite that feels good in my hand is me buddies Gold Cup,hit ok for a novice with it.Another friend has a Buntline .22 revolver among his collection,7-8″ barrel,love shooting that and am getting pretty good with it.I hated me friends first Glock I shot,just felt wrong in my hands,luckily he has many handguns and one of his Glocks reworked the receiver /grips /customized and felt great(of course,for S&G’s he made his own 1911 receiver in machine shop of his with Gold Cup as model take off,pretty good at that stuff).My friends keep loaning me /introducing me to different pistols so I can find one that I will buy(Gold Cup of friends not a option!).Still working on the rifles but need to make a choice soon while I still have that choice,might go with a Glock as relatively inexpensive/pretty easy take down and buddy will rework the receiver/ grips for me ect. to my liking.

  3. JCD, interesting reading your experience with the PF9 given that I see Kel-Tecs trashed a lot online. I have a P3AT for those times when it’s to carry anything larger. While I have only used it on the range, BUG stage of hand gun matches, I’ve never had an issue. Not complaining if I never have to use it for anything else

  4. Much obliged for the article. I am not a LEO or have ever been in the military, just an old woodswalker / hunter. I also think the G21 is an awesome pistol and use the standard military Bianchi UM-84 flapped holster for field carry. Slow on the draw, but it protects the gun from damage very well. I should purchase the smaller G30 as well, but as of yet, have not done so.

    My most carried pistol is a Star PD. Very compact 6 shot .45acp long discontinued, the fully adjustable low sights really help me maintain zero when switching ammunitions. No Kentucky windage problem here – move them to stay zeroed.

    Any opinion on iron sights for the G21 ?

    Thanks again for the article.

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