Glock G17 9mm
Gun Tests recently shot three double-action-only pistols designed for duty or personal self defense. Medium to large in size, they carry few levers, and this snag-free characteristic also made them attractive for concealed carry. The $599 Glock G17, arguably the gun that started the polymer DAO revolution, relies on the preparation and release of a striker to impact the primer.
They began their tests from the 25-yard line supported by bench and sandbag. What better way to learn a trigger than limiting variables to grip, sight alignment, and a controlled press? They then added a second test. This would require landing rapid-fire hits on an 8.5-by-16-inch target from a distance of 5 yards, two shots at a time. Their shooter began each string of fire standing unsupported with a two-handed grip and sights on target but with finger off the trigger. They pasted a black 1-inch-wide dot in the center to provide a point of aim. Upon audible start signal from their CED electronic timer, they engaged the target as quickly as possible. Given that each stroke of the trigger both prepared and released the striking mechanism, they wanted to know how quickly and accurately they could land two hits on target one after another. They fired ten pairs and looked for a total of 20 hits on target. This test was performed twice. The second time they concentrated on applying what they learned from the first run. The rapid-fire test was performed firing one of their favorite practice rounds, Black Hills 115-grain FMJ ammunition sold in blue 50-round boxes. From the benches they tried Winchesters 105-grain jacketed softpoint Super Clean NT (nontoxic) ammunition; 124-grain full-metal-jacket rounds by Winchester USA, and 147-grain Subsonic jacketed hollow point Match rounds by Atlanta Arms and Ammo. Here is what they learned:
Glock G17 9mm, $599
Todays G17 is likely the pistol closest to the original Glock. To date Glocks have proven durable and economical. One of the latest changes is the addition of an accessory rail along the dust cover. The initial appeal of the Glock pistol was largely based on its capacity (16+1) and simplicity. The field-stripping regimen is a good example. Retract the slide about one-quarter inch while pulling down on the slide latches. Remove the slide by pushing it forward off the frame. To reset the slide, apply it from the front and shift it rearward until it clicks into place. No tools necessary.
The G17 fired from a barrel that measured just less than 4.5 inches. The trigger on this pistol was the least complicated and easiest to learn of our test guns. We measured resistance to be about 8.5 pounds, and there was little variation in feel throughout the sweep of the trigger. Glock refers to this design as the SafAction trigger, but it qualifies as being double-action design because it serves to both compress and release the spring that drives forward the striker. If we were to provide a visual image of how this differs from a hammer driven system perhaps the striker could be referred to as being a cue stick and the cue ball the primer. A hammer-driven gun might be illustrated by using a hammer and chisel to strike the primer. When the chamber is loaded, the extractor bulges outward, and this can be confirmed visually or by touch.
From the bench we discovered that the sights offered very little light to the left and right sides of the front sight blade. But we were able to print a 1.3-inch group firing the Winchester 105-grain Super Clean JSP rounds on the way to establishing a 1.7-inch average firing this new product. During rapid fire we found it impossible to track the thin cracks of light showing between the interior of the notch and the front sight blade. Instead, we tried to keep the large white dot on the front sight inside the bold white outline surrounding the rear notch. The more experienced competitive shooters on our staff said they would have preferred a more open sight picture.
Setting up for our rapid-fire test we noticed right away how much bigger the G17 was than the other guns in the test. One characteristic that added to this sensation was the square profile of the slide. The average elapsed time of our first set of ten two-shot drills was 0.64 seconds with one shot off target. We tried slowing down on our next set in an attempt to land all 20 shots. But at the end of the second set, we were still missing one shot on target.
We would like to point out a positive to the boxy profile of the Glock slide. At closer range we experimented with using the rear profile of the gun instead of the sights. We found that as long as we saw the rear panel of the slide as a perfect square and not the sides of the gun, our shots were lined up.
Gun Tests Grade: A-. We think the G17 might be Glocks best all-around pistol. Its still a bit boxy in the hand, but it is very accurate, simple and economically priced.