October 2002

Compact Polymer .40 S&Ws: Glock, Springfield, and H&K

Glock’s GL23 leads the way with polymer innovation, but Springfield’s XD pistol and the H&K USP/LEM show us how those companies are trying real hard to catch up.

While older designs, such as the double-action revolver and the 1911 semi-automatic pistol, continue to prosper through new materials and manufacturing techniques, the polymer-framed pistol may be at the forefront of pistol development. The .40 S&W is the leading round chosen by today’s local and federal law-enforcement professionals. Compact .40s (3.5- to 4.25-inch barrels) bridge the gap between plainclothes duty and civilian concealed carry, and of these, the lightweight “plastic” pistols lead the way. And the Glock line of pistols is perhaps synonymous with the word “polymer.”

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