Gun Review: Glock 17 EXO

I’ve been a Glock fanboy for my entire shooting career. I’m not ashamed to say that I look forward to new model releases with as much anticipation as a COD player. Glock doesn’t scratch that itch, much. Save the introduction of the Glock .45GAP and .357Sig, Gaston’s product line has remained almost identical—at least to the naked eye. Sure, there’s Gen4. But even I’m not thrilled by new textures and recalled recoil springs. In fact, I’d given up hope that I’d ever see a rad Glock. Until the Glock EXO arrived . . .

The big news is . . . wait for it . . . a stainless steel slide. Yup, it’s the same satin / high-gloss nickel look seen in Bad Boys II and The Dark Knight. Only those guns were custom pieces that cost more than a Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry 1911. The EXO coated Glock clocks in at $580.

I wanted one. Bad. Securing a Glock 17 EXO proved more difficult than casting Heath Ledger in a new movie. After watching a brace of EXOs at my range vanish faster than an iPhone 4s, I asked my dealer to give me the odds of securing the elusive semi. After a few minutes pinging his distributors he laid it out: “Better luck next year.” I’d put it out of my mind (mostly) until Lady Luck walked in.

My dealer brought out a Glock 17 EXO with just over a hundred rounds through it. It had been blessed with Trijicon HD sights, a 3.5 pound trigger and an extended slide release lever. Sold! Only I couldn’t convince him to sell it to me. Cool as a cucumber in a Sub-Zero, I pleaded with him to let me know if he changed his mind. A week later the almighty dollar whispered sweet nothings in his ear. I had a new (to me) firearm for about $620 after tax.

The EXO finish is an aftermarket affectation created at the behest of our often taste-challenged friends at Talo distributors. You may remember their commemorative high gloss, jewel-barrelled G19 a few years back. In this case, they commissioned Fail-Zero to refinish the standard black oxide Glock 17 coating with an EXO finish. As the Tenifer metal treatment cannot be reversed, the EXO finish is overlayed on top.

[Note: you wouldn't want to affect the Tenifer; it rust-proofs the Glock, not the black oxide. If the black is scratched off it still doesn't rust; the surface of the metal itself is unaffected. In that sense, the Glock's black oxide really only functions as paint.]

Flash gun lovers note: the Glock 17 EXO’s finish isn’t really shiny. In low light you could easily confuse the EXO for any of my other Glocks. Never mind. I prefer a matte steel look for my weaponry.  I carry and shoot everything I own; excess gleam is simply scuff marks waiting to happen. Here’s a picture of the EXO next to its older, traditional brother.

It’s not all about looks. The EXO’s dusky steel-colored barrel produces a distinct metallic clink compared to a standard Glock Gen 3 gun. Any self-respecting gun nut will follow my example and rack the slide several times before getting down to business. In addition to its added sexiness, the EXO’s nickel boron finish is purported to be more corrosion resistant than the standard finish and virtually self lubricating. How sexy is that? But is it really better?

The short answer: yes. The long answer: not really.

I took the Glock 19 EXO to the range on a brisk, 55 degree Cleveland day and forced two friends to accompany me. One had a Sig Pro he wanted to break in, the other needed to get a feel for shooting 9mm.

The resulting groups were the best I could manage with the EXO using half-frozen hands in an indoor range owned by a skinflint who probably won’t really turn the heat on until February. Despite my icy digits, I shot passably, as so did my compatriots.

The Glock is neither overly generous nor noticeably punishing to a new shooter. My groups weren’t any better than I shot with a standard black weapon. But I did notice significantly less slide sparks from the side of the gun.

I don’t run my Glocks with a lot of lube. As I hadn’t cleaned it since I got it, I shot the 17 EXO pretty much dry. It functioned with typical Glock reliability, without noticeable friction wear at the end of the session. With the addition of a Hogue rubber grip, the weapon remained as controllable as a Zen Master’s temper. My one-handed groups weren’t my best, but not my worst either.

I shot all targets at 21 feet. I had to bow out early in the proceedings; after 200 rounds. I discovered my accuracy tends to suffer when my nose runs onto my shooting hand in near-polar temperatures.

Cleaning the 17 EXO was easier than Lindsay Lohan after a couple too many. Again, that’s a good thing not a bad thing—and no different than a standard Tenifer-finished gun. On the positive side, tool marks on the barrel were notable by their absence. The new finish may be harder and more scratch resistant. Or it could be that tool marks are harder to see with the lighter colored finish. Or maybe the Austrian Elves had a good day at the factory the day mine rolled off the line. Your guess is as good as mine.

My biggest hangup with the EXO: the hype. I expected something a bit, I don’t know, blingier. Because of the EXO’s darker shade, I’m never totally convinced it’s stainless. And no matter what my brain says about the tactical disadvantages of a high-gloss finish, I wanted the Joker’s pistol, dammit!

As a random sidenote, everyone I’ve let handle the gun who owns a Glock says it’s lighter than a usual 17. Which is strange as I’m positive it weights exactly the same as the standard gun. Yup, the Glock EXO is a mistress of the optical illusion. It’s worth a look if you want a little extra flair in your brick. Meanwhile, Lego mine.

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: Glock 17
Caliber: 9x19mm
Cylinder capacity:  17 rounds
Materials: Glass bedded polymer frame, stainless steel slide
Barrel Length: 4.6″
Weight: 22.04 oz empty
Overall length: 7.32″
Sights: Trijicon HD NightSights
Action: DAO
Finish: Matte silver EXO finish
Price: $580

RATINGS (out of 5 Stars)

Style * * *
I could add a star for it being stainless. But if Glock was aiming for flash (silly, I know) they might have added different shaped cocking serrations instead of using the muted EXO color. Cinema-worthy it is not. What it is is a Glock Block that looks a little off. You’ve got to learn to like it.

Ergonomics (firing) * * * *
I put a Hogue grip on mine to keep it from shifting in my hand, as I have issues from time to time and like the sure feel of rubber in palm. Glock ergonomics are what they are. You either like ‘em or you don’t.

Ergonomics (carry) * * *
Fancy schmantzy slide or not, the 17 is a full-size gun. Not an ideal carry piece. Even so, I find myself toting it more often than I thought I would simply because I like that steel color. But that’s just me.

Customize This * * * * *
There is the Glock aftermarket. Need I say more?

Reliability * * * * *
Come on, it’s a Glock. The EXO finish can only add to the already fabled G17 reliability.

Overall * * * *
You get a Glock 17 that doesn’t look like every other Glock without sending it to a custom shop. If a full-size duty weapon is your cup ‘o tea, it’s perfect. I’ll reserve my fifth star for the G19 EXO, though, which is sold out. Still.

32 Responses to Gun Review: Glock 17 EXO

  1. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I guess it’s not as ugly as most Glocks, but it’s still one ugly ass gun. I know you could buy 4 or 5 Glocks for the price of one Wilson, but owning such a beautiful masterpiece is worth the extra money.

    • avatarLC Judas says:

      Eh, I concur. The silver lining isn’t enough for an entry fee but at least Glock can get a ticket and watch a beauty contest now. Wilson has a design over a century old to work from that’s a little easier on the eyes to start with. Glock has to start somewhere, right?

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      +1

      I have a hard time bringing myself to buy an ugly gun, no matter how functional it is.

      • avatarrosignol says:

        If it’s going to be a range queen, yeah, get the pretty one.

        For a carry piece that’s gonna get stored in an evidence locker for weeks-to-months if you ever have to use it? Better to go with an ugly ‘n reliable inexpensive shooter for that.

        There are quite a few stories out there about someone’s custom hardware getting taken as evidence after a defensive shooting and never being seen again.

    • avatarJ.R. says:

      The Wilson combat? I have two of em, both priced well above the 3grand mark. Are they worth it? Not to me! I have broke a few things on them, they also don’t work for shit after 600 rounds with no cleaning, they also don’t work for shit when they are exposed to sand. They are super accurate though,, who cares? As long as I can keep in in the middle at 25 meters were all good! The Wilson’s and all 1911′s for that matter are finicky outdated overpriced guns, we have made them to tight and accurate to be of any real use in the combat world, they only feed certain typed of ammo, and they are a pain in the ass to carry with severely limited firepower , 7 or 8 rounds, plus the 8 rounders are mostly useless cause hardly any of them last! The Glock? 17 rounds, hardly ever needs maintenance or cleaning, does not give a shit about what kind of ammo you run, you can fix anything on it in the field with only what you have on you. It is completely impervious to the weather, is more accurate than any of you, and cost 600 bucks! Also note the armor tough on Wilson’s wear rite off! That stuff sucks! I will take a Glock any day of the week! You can’t compare a Ford model T with a 2012 Mercedes Benz! Save you’re cash and buy four new glocks that will serve you way better, and yes, I carry a gun for a living in the sandbox! Eat crap Glock haters!

  2. avatarRob J says:

    Glock is good. More Glocks are better. Now I have a reason to buy another Glock.

  3. avatarpercynjpn says:

    That’s the same as putting perfume on a pig. Glocks are great guns, but just changing
    the color of the slide is like putting Volk Racing wheels on an Aztec – still ugly as sin.

  4. avatarJason says:

    1. It doesn’t look like stainless because it’s not stainless. It’s a nickel-boron coating.
    2. It’s not a special Glock model, Glock has nothing to do with it. A distributor just took a batch and had ‘em coated. Other than the color and any lubrication benefits of that coating, it’s a standard Glock 17.
    3. You didn’t have to rely on luck, Fail Zero will apply the same coating to any Glock’s slide and barrel, for a price. This is what beat-up police trade-ins were made for.
    4. Lube your Glocks. I know what the fanboys say, but just because you can get away with something doesn’t mean you should. And I’ve seen plenty of Glocks malfunction from lack of lubrication. One of them just the other day. (I fixed it with a few drops of Weapon Shield.)
    5. Clearly, nobody has ever taught you The Trick. At 21 feet with a full sized Glock, those shots should be going through the same ragged hole. No excuses. At the very least, they should all be in the black on that target.

    • avatarLC Judas says:

      1. I am aware of the Fail-Zero coating properties. It’s easier to refer to it as stainless as that is the visual function closest to what the average person will see in decent light.
      2. Between the marketing for it and how fast it is selling like it is a special model that difference you speak of is lost on the masses. I got this gun because the first owner hopped on the bandwagon, added things to it then didn’t like it but bought it simply because it was “special” so I can split hairs about it or talk about it like people are currently viewing it and save time.
      3. Luck being that this weapon dropped into my hands for a steal. A local gunshow had an EXO Plain Jane for almost $1000 despite the fact they’re not worth that and my dealer could have sold it for much more than he did to others but didn’t as a favor to me.
      4. I don’t run them with a lot of lubrication. I keep some CLP or Remington oil with Teflon on the rails, barrel and trigger spring friction point in the rear. I reviewed it and ran it dry for the review to see if it would function differently, it did not.
      5. I am self-taught and if you would like to personally fix my shooting I invite you to come teach me when you find the time. I’ll be sure to catch the flu again for your visit.

      • avatarI_Like_Pie says:

        GT distributors will have that slide and barrel coated with the exact same finish for $79.

        It really is a very good finish if you live in the humid south and wear the gun IWB.

        Even the tennifer finish that comes factory will wear thin and rust under a sweaty shirt and skin….not this stuff.

    • avatarHSR47 says:

      I concur; those groups *are* fairly crappy. Judging by what I see, I can do about about the same grouping size while doing full-speed mag dumps with my XD.

  5. avatarRalph says:

    Not very pretty but oh-so reliable? I got introduced to a lot of girls with the same description. Meh.

    FYI, I never run a gun dry — except for revolvers, and then, only when they’re new. It’s the only was to break in a DA revolver’s trigger without firing a bazillion rounds at the range or dry firing ten bazillion times while I’m watching the Military Channel.

    • avatarLC Judas says:

      Basically that’s the premise, a lot like my first girl coincidentally…

      It sells best to folks who were already Glock fanboys who didn’t have a Glock yet or to die-hard Glock fanboys who already found some kind of beauty in the whole idea of a gun more square than four rulers put together. If Glocks were f-ugly black bricks to you before then…they’re gonna be f-ugly gray bricks to you in this case.

      Dry isn’t an often occurrence; this actually counts as the closest I’ve come to it at the range. I do keep oil in the range bag but this was intentional simply to see if there was any difference in how it ran or if it would provoke a malfunction, as I hadn’t run a weapon dry before and “self-lubricating”, how could I resist?

  6. avatarIndyEric says:

    ^ Fan Boy

    Gunbroker.com has 8 of them for sale….right now. All under $600.

  7. avatarJarrett says:

    I vote we Post more negative comments. God forbid he can’t shoot 2″@50.And a glock review? Even better. Mock him relentlessly.Not everyone likes WC 1911′s.

    • avatarDrew says:

      Ha! I should post a review of the new Smith 27 I took delivery of today… Internal lock? INTERNAL LOCK? MIM? DON”T YOU KNOW ANYTHING? .. I could write the replies right now… Anyway, thanks for the review, I’m happy to read as many as folks want to post.

    • avatarI_Like_Pie says:

      I agree….cut the guy some slack folks. It really was a very good review about something he has a passion for.

      Many people don’t know how easy and beneficial these coatings are. Less than $100 and no FFL involved is all you need to get you existing glock to be like the one above.

      As mentioned before it is just about the PERFECT all weather sidearm.

    • avatarDavid says:

      I’m in the same group as he is as far as my pistol accuracy. Despite practice, I have just never been good at it. I’m very good with a rifle or shotgun though.

      I thought he wrote a good review overall.

  8. avatarSilver says:

    I never thought of Glocks as ugly, just…bland. They get the job done reliably, but they’re simply a bore.

  9. avatarJoe Grine says:

    I had the slide of one of my Glocks hard-chromed about 10 years ago. It is a low-gloss satin finish. As I recall, the company that did teh work charged me $30-35. The finish has been tough as nails. No regrets.

  10. avatarJT says:

    No thanks, I like my regular Glock the way it is.

    If anything is going to be shiny on it, it will be a stainless barrel and set of new releases, just for the contrast.

    I’m definitely more form over function, but I still enjoy pretty guns. Glock was my first handgun, because I wanted reliability and functionality over style, otherwise I would’ve gone for a 1911.

  11. avatarVan says:

    I have a saying that has served me well in life:

    Whatever turns your crank.

  12. avatarOrvil says:

    Love the new Glock! Thanks for the review. I thought the Fail Zero process obviates the need for any lube? Perhaps if the frame rails aren’t treated with their process, this would still require an occasional dab of lube?

    Either way, I’d love to have one in my stable. :)

    • avatarLC Judas says:

      It depends on who you want to believe. Fail-Zero says you don’t have to worry. Commonsense says you should but there’s a few “Lube-free” finishes out there and another is offered by Robar as Poly T2 so I think lubrication may be a thing of the past at least with weapons that already function well without it before a refinish.

      But we’re all gun nuts and love our investments. So…take your pick if you go EXO or other self lubricating aftermarket finish.

  13. avatarM Puckett says:

    I can put you in contact with excellent Instructors within an easy drive of Cleveland if you truly are intrested in professional instruction.

    Practice, contrary to popular opinion, does NOT make perfect. Perfect Practice makes perfect! A good class will save you tons of money in the long run because you will learn to positively-reinforce your skills with your ammo expenditure instead of further deepening training scars.

  14. avatarpeyton sabatino says:

    why so many people think the glock is ugly i do not know,all i know is i certainly prefer it to a 1911

  15. Ola! Lc Judas,
    In addition to your post I was wondering, Both of these guns are about the same size, the Taurus being slightly larger which doesn’t bother me. My main reason for being stuck between the two is the Glock reputation and the Taurus holding 10 rounds. I have read reviews on both and they are both very highly spoken of. I just can’t make up my mind and was hoping there is someone out there with a good deciding factor whom can help me make the best decision. Please help!
    Thx.
    To win 200% bet game

  16. avatarCharles solomon says:

    This Glock EXO looks VERY MUCH like my Smith&Wesson SD9VE and SD40VE….Hmmmmm. Is this a mimick war??????????But, My Smith&Wessons Shoot GREAT And!! for $369.00 each + tax, Of course.

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