Before I begin, I’d like to ask everyone to take a deep breath and keep in mind that some of the posts I author are intended to convey lessons that I have learned over the last year or so of my admittedly brief tenure as a member of the fellowship of the gun. Over that period, I have purchased a number of different guns and learned a lot about what I like and what I don’t. Whether you agree with me or not, please remember that as I’m discussing what works for me personally, there is no right or wrong answer. What works for me may or may not work for you. That said, let the freak out begin . . .
I’ll start with a little terminology. I’m going to refer to Glocks and similar guns (XDM, S&W M&P, etc) as “striker fired” guns. Now technically, many automatic pistols are striker fired including my Beretta and Sig Sauers, in that the external hammer hits a striker rod, which ultimately is the thing that hits the primer, igniting the round. But, for the sake of this post, I’ll refer to these as hammer fired guns and treat them differently for reasons that will become clear in a bit.
Quite simply, I don’t like striker fired guns for concealed carry. In a pure striker fired system such as Glock’s there is no external hammer and no means to de-cock. Most of the Glocks that I have seen are single action meaning that the gun is cocked by racking the slide and the only way to de-cock is to pull the trigger.
If you choose to carry concealed and you want the gun to be ready to fire when you pull the trigger (without having to rack the slide), you have no choice but to carry a cocked pistol in your holster (the same applies to 1911′s and any Single Action Only style guns, but we’re focusing on Glocks for the moment). Now, I know that Glock has developed one heck of a safety system to prevent a gun from accidentally going off, but the idea of carrying a cocked weapon that close to my body makes me mighty uncomfortable. It’s a personal thing that may not bother you, but it bothers me.
One alternative operating system is the one found on my Beretta and Sig Sauer pistols – the Double Action/Single Action (DA/SA). With a DA/SA pistol, I can chamber a round and then use a de-cocking lever to safely lower the hammer. Now, if I have to draw my pistol, the first shot I take has a heavier double action trigger pull – in the neighborhood of 10 pounds. As with a revolver, you really have to want to pull that trigger to make the gun go bang.
After the first round though, the pistol is in single action mode like a Glock and only a 4.4 pound trigger pull separates me from my next shot. The advantage here: I’ll be drawing from a holster and bringing my weapon to bear with that heavier trigger. For subsequent shots, my pistol would be pointed at the threat and I’ll have an easier trigger pull to further engage the bad guy.
Let’s contrast that with one of Glock’s Gen 4 pistols, the 9 mm Glock 17. Each and every trigger pull has about 5.5 pounts of pull weight which for me is too light on the initial draw and more than 25% heavier than my Sig for follow-up shots.
The second issue I have with the Glock is that grip angle. I remember walking into a gun store in Houston for the first time all set to buy my Glock. The salesman suggested a side by side comparison with the Springfield Armory XD. He proposed a simple test – he put a Glock in my hands and asked me to point at the threat. The problem I found is that the Glock has a very pronounced curve on the backstrap and my natural aiming point was high of the target. I had to consciously lower the muzzle of the pistol to engage my prospective assailant.
The XD, by comparison, pointed naturally straight for me. Now, if you shoot your Glock every day, you are automatically going to compensate for this higher aim point. On the other hand, if you own and use a variety of guns like I do, you are going to have to remember to adjust your aim point depending on whether you are using your Glock or one of your other guns.
I have several other guns in my collection including Sig Sauer P226, p229, P238, P239, H&K USP Tactical, Springfield Armory XDM, and a Springfield Armory 1911. Every single one of these guns points dead on for me – other than the Glock which points high. This means that if I owned a Glock, it wouldd be the one gun that I would have to compensate for when I shoot it. Not a good idea.
I encourage any prospective Glock owner to perform the aim test that my gun salesman suggested to me. If the Glock grip works for you and you don’t have the concerns that I did with the whole cocked pistol on your hip thing, buy it and be happy. You won’t be disappointed. On the other hand, if you have the same experience I did, you may want to re-think your purchase decision.