Glock G34 9mm
According to the manufacturer, the Glock pistol was the first “industrially manufactured handgun with high-tech polymer grips.” The barrels and slides are coated with what Glock describes as a “high-tech surface refinement” that they call Tenifer. The benefits of this “carbonitriding” coating are not only corrosion resistance and reduced glare but also resistance to abrasion. Tenifer coating is highly rated on the Rockwell Cone hardness scale at 64 HRC.
Some Glock pistols are available with different color frames, but our G34 was basic black. The defining feature of the G34 was its long 5.3-inch barrel with polygonal rifling, covered by a slide that included a gaping hole just to the rear of the front sight. This relief measured approximately 1.75 inches long by 0.75 inches wide. Glock says that this serves to reduce stress on the frame. The dustcover beneath the slide was also longer, making room for a healthy sized accessory rail, which was molded into place. The schematic breakdown of the Glock pistol with magazine lists only 34 separate parts, 36 if you count the magazine insert at the base plate (part 32a), and the front sight blade, part number 16a.
Beyond its overall length and long 7.6 inches of sight radius, what made the G34 special were optional “hop-up” parts. Both the magazine release and slide release were larger for faster operation. We found the increased size of the magazine release to be very helpful, without creating the danger of dropping the magazine unintentionally. But we thought that the slide release could have been larger still or simply checkered to assist operation.
The rear sight unit was adjustable for windage and elevation but still managed to maintain a low profile, making it less vulnerable to damage by snagging, impact, or even a tight-fitting retention strap. Adjustment was by two screws. A tiny screwdriver that proved too easy to misplace was included. Other supplied parts that we didn’t lose were a cleaning rod, a bore brush, owner’s manual, two fired cases, a magazine loader and a cable lock. The two supplied magazines held 16 rounds each.
Our G34 came with a factory-tuned trigger. Actually, producing a light trigger on the Glock system does not necessarily require elaborate parts or machining. The design of the connector is the primary point of control, and all G34 pistols are fit with a 3.5-pound connector as standard equipment. The result was a measured trigger-pull weight of about 6 pounds. At the range we did not find the trigger to be dangerously sensitive, but it did help us land impressive groups from the very first shot.
Without any warm-up or practice, our first group firing budget ammunition measured less than 2 inches across. After a few groups, we had to remark that the G34 was one of the easiest pistols to shoot accurately, even at 25 yards. The longer sight radius helped us focus on the front sight and steer it into place as each shot broke. The G34 offered smoothly modulated recoil, making it easy for the shooter to follow through on each shot.
Our best groups with both the Glock and the Springfield Armory pistol were achieved with the Remington 115-grain JHP rounds. We landed more than one five-shot group that measured less than 1.5 inches across with the G34, for a final average of only 1.6 inches. The Speer GDHP rounds were in second place, but they produced the most power in both of our test guns. The Speer ammunition registered muzzle energy in excess of 400 foot-pounds, proving that longer-barreled guns maximize the power of a given round. We found that the Winchester ammunition performed the same in both guns, producing an average group measuring 2.3 inches for a virtual tie. Perhaps it was merely an indication of a happy range session with many rounds well spent, but even with the 6-pound trigger we managed to wear out our trigger fingers.
The Glock trigger was easy to manipulate, but it asks the shooter to work different muscles than a single-action pistol or even a revolver. The trigger press felt somewhat isometric, but unlike a number of striker-fired pistols we’ve tested, the shooter never had the feeling of an endless struggle devoid of feedback. Overall, the G34 was a well-balanced package expertly tuned for 9mm ammunition.