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Glock 19: the Swiss Army Knife of handguns

May 11, 2012

2011 saw two incredible (as in “hard to believe”) events — I shot my first competition match and the Swiss Special Forces dumped their homegrown SIGs in favor of the Glock.

The competition was a Glock Shooting Sports Foundation (GSSF) indoor match, and I was inspired to enter by a recent purchase. My wife never warmed up to the .380 we kept in the bedroom safe, so she authorized an upgrade with the following parameters: easy to use; reliable; enough stopping power with manageable recoil; and not too big. And no pink guns. She really hates pink guns.

I knew exactly which gun to get — the Glock 19. Now, I have never drooled over a Glock the way I’ve salivated over Hi-Powers, 1911s and even SIGs. But the mother of my children is a practical person, and the Glock is the epitome of easy-to-use and reliable. The 9mm round strikes a good balance between recoil and power and the Glock 19 offers a four-inch barrel in a package not much bigger than our Bersa Thunder 380. And it doesn’t come in pink.

My wife does not like guns. She appreciates their utility, but she’s nowhere close to being a gun nut. The first time we shot it, she admired its simplicity and the lack of safety levers or decockers that could slow deployment. She found the 9mm round very manageable. The first time she shot the 19, she managed to keep the holes in a four-inch group at seven yards. Eventually, she closed it down to a two-inch group, with the group opening back up to four inches at twelve yards. Keep in mind this was her first time with a Glock and a round heavier than .380 ACP. We loaded up a magazine full of Cor-Bon +P and Winchester Ranger +P+ loads and she did not report a substantial increase in recoil or manageability. Frankly, neither did I. After a few magazines of man-stopping JHPs, she was beginning to actually like the Glock 19.

U-dot Glock sightThe wife also likes the fact that Glocks have an unassailable record of reliability and durability. She likes the U-dot sight arrangement (I prefer the bar-dot pattern on SIGs and Kahrs.). But what she really likes is that I don’t get all starry-eyed when I see a Glock. To her, it’s a tool and nothing more, and where Glocks are concerned, I must agree. Maybe that’s why the Swiss Special Forces jumped ship for the Austrian tactical plastic. The Swiss are nothing if not practical when it comes to arms.

A bonus to owning a Glock was being able to shoot in GSSF matches. At only $35 to join and $15 per match, it’s an ideal place for beginners to start competing. I was a little worried my 19 wouldn’t give me as much of an edge as the 17, but it’s what I had. The first time I shot, the range officer took one look at my gun and said, “Glock 19 — best all-around gun.” Again, I must agree with that comment. The Glock 19 is light, neither cheap nor unaffordable and allows civilians the parity with police and military our Founding Fathers wanted. I discovered very quickly that the Glock 19 is amazingly concealable. I never considered carrying my Ruger SR9 (with a 4.14” barrel) inside the waistband. But when I tucked the Glock 19 in a cheap IWB holster, the compact pistol surprised me — it was comfortable and invisible, even on my small frame. I could only imagine how easy it would be to carry the Glock 26.

Shooting the GSSF match was fun, even if I did end up placing dead last. I forgot to control my breathing on the 25-yard shots and put my holes all over the paper. In addition, I confused my magazines, so I shot the ten-round course with five rounds. Yeah, that didn’t help. And then, as if I couldn’t be even more emasculated, I ended up shooting next to a woman who would end up in second place. I tried not to feel too bad. I know when I suck.

My Glock 19, on the other hand, performed exactly as expected. It’s only a tool, after all.

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