A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pawn Shop Circuit: Glocks

I went by Kenny's pawn Shop today. He had a selection of semi-automatics underneath the glass. The Llama was still gathering dust alongside the Taurus P92. Sharing the dust was the James Bond P99 Walther incarnation. That was a rather forgettable pistol after the movie hit the DVD sale rack. Along with the Walther Kenny did have several Glocks available though.

I confess that I am not a Glock fan. I respect their reliability, and they are certainly durable. They are accurate enough. I dislike the safety on the trigger. The whole idea seems silly to me. A gun ought not go off unless the trigger is pulled. So to make the gun safer through a mechanical means, it only follows that the mechanical safety be independent of the trigger.

Oh, I know that the safety being on the trigger supposedly makes it less likely to be forgotten about in a life threatening crisis. No argument there. It also makes the safety less likely to be effective if something accidentally enters the trigger guard and presses the trigger. By contrast, the 1911 uses the thumb's placement in the firing grip to disengage the safety. When combined with the necessity of pulling the Glock trigger in the field stripping process, I simply prefer another design.

I dislike the idea of plastic sights. In a gun as well engineered as the Glock, why it doesn't come from the factory with aluminum sights dovetailed front and rear is beyond me. I am not a 1911 fanatic that spits on the ground when Glocks are mentioned. I did own one at one time. A Glock 26. The plastic sights were a primary reason I traded it off.

In trained hands, the Glock is an amazingly competent fighting gun. In my hands, although the grip angle is similar to the Ruger MKII, it does not seem to fit well. As a result, I do not shoot the pistol as well as I feel I should be able to.

Now I know that I speak heresy to some of the most die hard brand disciples in combat pistoldom. I fully expect to hear from them in my comments here. Guys, I just shoot the 1911 faster and more accurately than the Glock. I do not find perfection in a shovelmaker's pistol. If you do, Glocks seem to be running around $425 to $450 used in my area, but Kenny has a Glock 26 with three magazines available for $379.

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Blogger Sean said...

Well, I'm going to steal from DeNiro in Ronin here - tools in a tool box... take what works for you & is appropriate, and use it.

I have a 1911 I love and shoot well. Department regulations quiver at the thought of me even carrying it - so I carry the Glocks and they work just fine as well.

Is one "better" than the other - greater minds than mine have argued that without success.

Would either choice "work" if I have to put rounds on a live target - I have no doubt, provided I do my end of things.

That's what matters in my opinion - everything else is just frosting.

10:45 PM  
OpenID tomcatshanger said...

Ya know, for a fella that swaps parts on 1911's all the time, how did it not occur to you to put different sights on the Glock?

You change out the MIM parts of factory 1911's, so it's not anything against changing factory parts.

11:30 PM  
Blogger "Tarak" said...


You'll have to read my post about selling my 1911 :(

I don't know how I came to own 2 glocks, because I honestly hated them.

I hated my sprinfield xd even more, tested a G17, and shot it very well. I went for it. Recently I bought a G23 too. I am not one of these crazy Glock fanatics- but they do shoot well, are quite reliable, and hold up well in conditions. I like not worrying about my gun. Also, I know my g23 will go bang, and I like that.

I had a lot of trouble with my 1911with hollowpoints and jamming- but I think I have a misunderstanding of that platform and what can be done to it.

Right now, for semi-autos, I'm all Glock. But guess what is on my list? A 1911 :)
PS- thanks for not being a 1911 snob and outlandishly bashing anything else

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Q said...

A defense of the Glock trigger safety.

I think it's a mistake to compare the trigger tab to a manual safety. When you look at it like any other passive safety it looks a little less silly. Every passive safety is connected to the trigger in some way. The tab's function is to prevent the trigger bar from moving unless there is a finger on the trigger. This is exactly analogous to the hammer safety on a revolver, which only moves out of the way when the trigger is depressed.

A safety is not there to save you from a violation of Rule 3. Put a weapon on safe and haul on the trigger hard enough to break something and it might just fire. Safeties are there to prevent mechanical failures from firing the weapon.

Is the trigger safety necessary? Is it there only so Glock can claim three passive safeties instead of two? I have no idea.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Ruminator said...

I acutally adore the 1911A1 platform. I have a pair of Para Ordnance 1911s, one classic .45 ACP and the other a double-stack 9mm. The .45 ACP shoots ball exceptionally well and is a wonderful piece. The 9mm is even better.

But I shoot Glocks 95% of the time. I admire their simple design (I'm an engineer). They field strip and clean easily. You know the drill. I'll stop singing now.

I probably shoot 1911s better than Glocks. But, I've presented my Glock so many times now that it points naturally for me. The triggers are not as nice at 1911 triggers (not even close), but they work. I replaced the sights with tritium/fiber combinations and those work well enough.

I think it's like the difference between BMW and HD motorcyclies -- what's beautiful to one is butt-ugly to another.

Did I mention I like both pistols? ;)

2:54 AM  
Blogger TheBronze said...


I was always a 1911/Sig guy until I had to carry a G-21 for duty. From that day forward I was a convert. It was a great gun to carry as a duty weapon. I liked it so much, I bought one of my own. And then I bought a G-30. I'm kind of in the process of buying either a G-19 or a G-23.

Then I carried a G-22 for duty-use. Didn't like it as much as the G-21 though (felt like a toy).

I went to the Glock Armorer's Course in January and remain convinced that the Glock pistol is the best combat handgun (out-of-the-box) around. I learned that the Glock pistol truly is an engineering marvel.

I think if you used to a compact-size Glock (G-19/G-23), you might have a different opinion on Glocks.

I'm with TCH, why didn't you just put tritium sights on your G-26?

4:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and the glocksters appear....

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plenty of room in my safe for both. :)

Thanks as usual for the great work!

(BTW, in your opinion, what pistol offers the lightweight reliability of a glock and the features of a 1911 for carry?)

9:36 AM  
Blogger the pawnbroker said...

simple advice that i gave customers for thirty years...

if it "feels right", it almost certainly will "shoot right" and therefore "is right" (for you)...

my son loves his g27 and shoots it well...for me the sig feels like a natural extension of my hand.

but who doesn't love a 1911...especially a colt? because, well, it's a colt 1911!


10:20 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I sold the one Glock I owned.

The grip angle is distinctly odd, the trigger was horible, and the huge grip circumference is more suited to a guy named Mongo than Mark.

Very slow to bring on target because you have to bend your wrist way forward.

While I can respect their reliability, they have the ergonomics of a brick.

My wife is less kind, she says that "A safety on the trigger is the stupidet things she's ever heard of."

10:43 AM  
Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

I carry a 1911, and overall find Glocks to be ugly, bulky, and point skyward in my natural grip.

Still the day I find a G29 on sale for a decent price, I likely won't hesitate.

Glocks are what they are, and the do what they do very well. I happen to like 1911s more, but I'd be a damn fool to somehow spurn the Plastic-Fantastic.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

In some hands, the pen is mightier then the sword...except in the hands of illiterates. Folks, what is mightier in your hands, a Glock or a 1911? For me, having only shot the 1911...well ;-D.

Good post, Xav. I've never shot a Glock, but I must say the concept of its trigger safety intrigues me. I would like to ask if you HAD shot the Glock better or at least as well as your preferred 1911 CCW, would you ever make the Glock your primary CCW?

12:34 PM  
Blogger Jay G said...


Interesting. Under $400. That's market forces for ya...

Here in the Volksrepublik of MA, Glocks are not "approved" for sale by dealers. This means that you can only purchase a used Glock (made before 1998) from a dealer, or find a new/LNIB Glock from a private sale.

What all this means is, a G26 like the one you show for $379 will command upwards of $650 - $700 in MA.



12:39 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

I like shooting my roommates 1911. I like shooting my father's P226. I like shooting my girl's XD9 compact. I CHL my Glock 19 because I shoot better with it.

If I shot better with any of the previously mentioned guns, I would carry them instead. If I shot crap with the Glock, and could out shoot God himself with a Hi Point 9mm, I would carry that instead. If I could achieve that half inch at 50 yards group with a RRI, I would carry that. I can't, but at "self defense" range with the Glock, I can keep a very tight, very nice group. So I carry that.

Why can't we all just get along? Why can't Glock and 1911 and Sig and Beretta and all other owners just be glad that many of us at least have a right to own these guns?

Sean and Sam are right. Tools in a tool box folks. Tools in a tool box.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Less said...

I love my Glocks - especially the ETool (shovel)!
I use it to dig latrines when camping!

2:12 PM  
Blogger Freddyboomboom said...

I really like my Walther P99...

Don't have a Glock.

My other polymer framed pistol is a Beretta PX-4...

The tools in a toolbox quote is especially accurate.

When helping folks choose their first firearm, I steer them towards getting what fits well in THEIR hand. The dude that was set on getting a Glock got a Sig instead... The dude that was set on a BHP got a CZ-75 instead...

3:20 PM  
Blogger James said...

I don't shoot Glocks as well as I shoot my Sigs, M&P autos, HK USP, Berettas, or my 1911s.
The Glock frame does not fit my hand.
I am sure they are fine reliable guns, just not for me.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Glocksters didn't appear. We were here all along. :-) I've been a daily Xavier reader for a long time.

As "q" said, you're making a major mistake in thinking about one of Glock's passive safety features as "The Safety." Glocks don't have a "The Safety."

Glocks have no off-switch that will render the weapon inoperable. This is the same as almost every revolver ever made. It is the same as most every DAO, DA/SA or Striker-fired automatic. You're getting mentally hung-up on a benign design feature by thinking of it the wrong way.

The purpose of that particular safety lever was, if I recall correctly, to keep the trigger and striker from being able to move in the event that the gun is dropped from height on it's backstrap or the rear of the slide. Without it, high enough g forces can cause the mass of the trigger and the striker to overcome the striker spring which would move toward the rear and would allow the striker to move freely and fall forward onto the primer. So, safety feature similar to the hammer block or transfer bar on a revolver, not an off-switch.


7:41 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I'm mandated to carry a Glock 22 on duty. I have no problem with that.

Off-duty, I carry a 1911 (Kimber Pro CDP).

Every year, the range I RO at hosts a GSSF Match. I carried my Kimber at this years match, just because.

I've had an ongoing love affair with the 1911 platform since 1971. I see no signs of that abating.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always liked the idea of the 1911. Indeed I have owned two. An early combat commander (sold in the 80's) and my current SA GI. I have also owned two Glock 19s. An early version (sold) and the 3rd gen that I currently own. I think its a heart and mind thing. I love the history, looks, feel, and soul of the 1911. I'm tryng to learn it and become proficient, But i know based on experience that the glock is the pistol that I would grab if I could only take one. It's a tool that just works. No need to tinker with, swap parts, or fret over. Deep down I think a lot of 1911 fans know what i'm saying. But,, I read your site because I like steel lugs vs. carbon, and film vs digital, albums vs cds and 1911 instead of.........


8:56 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

(BTW, in your opinion, what pistol offers the lightweight reliability of a glock and the features of a 1911 for carry?)
The SW1911PD would be my best response. Of course the greatest benefit of the Glock other than reliability is capacity. When fully loaded, the weight is similar I would think, but the 1911 seems to balance better on my hip. Your hip may differ.

If the front sight on a Glock had a dovetail, I might have tried replacing the plastic sights. That, combined with the trigger I did not care for, the failure to adequately address the frame/rail failures occurring at the time, and the poor carry characteristics for me led to my decision to pass on the Glock. It was a combination of things.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Jack, in all honesty probably not. The Glock does not carry as well for me, and the passive safety on the trigger has always bothered me as well.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

You're right. Maybe I am thinking of it wrongly.


9:46 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

I just hate Glocks. I totally hate them. My heart really goes out to the officers whose departments mandate that they have to carry them. If there's one gun that's over-hyped more than the 1911, it's the Glock. Anyone who buys into the mythology that Glocks don't fail, don't jam and don't break, are setting themselves up for a tragic enlightenment. Are 1911's perfect? No, they aren't, but I like them a whole lot better.

But, of course, I'm a partisan.

12:01 AM  
Anonymous cranky said...

I love my Glock and everything about it, even the grip angle and trigger.

And I agree with Xavier that it could use a better sight and needs a safety.

2:12 PM  
Blogger TheBronze said...

"But, of course, I'm a partisan."


5:55 PM  
Blogger "Tarak" said...

Okay Xavier- just to be fair I'll let you know...

My G23 stovepiped today.

The mighty have fallen.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why I like XDs... better grip angle, and that grip safety means something can't enter the trigger guard and cause it to fire, you have to actually be holding it and pull the trigger.

6:07 PM  

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