Some will say that the first thing a GLOCK buyer should consider is not buying a GLOCK. Yes, well, while there are alternatives, GLOCK brand GLOCKs are simple, durable, reliable, accurate pistols that offer tremendous bang for the buck. M’kay? Here are three things a new-to-handguns buyer should consider before bringing home one of Gaston’s gats . . .
1. Choose a size
All GLOCKs look and function the same, but they come in various sizes and calibers. To determine which model — or models — is best for you, first decide how you want to use it.
Home defense – It’s easier to shoot a handgun with a longer slide accurately than a shorter gun; the longer distance between the front and rear sight helps you aim. It’s easier to shoot a larger gun generally; it’s more secure in your hand.
If you’re not going to rock your GLOCK outside the home, buy a full-size gun: either a longslide (G17L, G24, G40 MOS) or “standard” GLOCK (G17, G22, G20, G21, G37, G31).
Carry – Unless you’re open carrying, you’ll want a GLOCK you can hide on your person. Restrict your GLOCK selection to a compact (G19, G23, G38, G32) or subcompact (G30, G33, G36, G42, G43).
Home defense and carry – Compact GLOCKs are the way to go for a dual purpose pistol. Choose from the G19, G23, G38 and G32. That said, “crossover” GLOCKs (G19x) with their full-sized frames (for a secure grip) and shorter slides are also a good choice — provided you can hide that big honking handle.
Fun! – Longslide or “standard” GLOCKs (G17L, G24, G40 MOS, G17, G22, G20, G21, G37, G31) are the most fun to shoot — because they’re the easiest to shoot.
NOTE: Some, maybe even most GLOCKs are too big for small-handed shooters. Try before you buy! While holding a GLOCK properly, make sure your entire first finger pad can rest on the trigger without the rest of the finger touching the gun.
2. Choose a caliber
All GLOCK variations within a given size range represent variations in caliber: the size of the cartridge (which includes the bullet) that the GLOCK stores, chambers and fires.
GLOCK sells big guns that fire small bullets (G17), small guns that fire big bullets (G36), big guns that fire big bullets (G20) and small guns that fire small bullets (G42).
The key to choosing a caliber: your ability to control the gun during and immediately after recoil (the “kick” as the gun fires).
There’s one general rule that’ll help you narrow down your selection: larger calibers (e.g., .40, .45, 10mm) are easiest to control in larger guns. The big guns’ extra mass and greater grip surface area help you “soak up” and control recoil.
Smaller rounds (eg., 9mm, .380) are easiest to control period, making them particularly suitable for carry guns.
NOTE: Larger caliber rounds (.40, .45, 10mm) are more destructive than smaller rounds (9mm, .380.) BUT shot placement is more important for self-defense than bullet size (big bullets that miss the target are worthless). Unless you’re willing to take the time and money to master a larger caliber GLOCK’s more powerful recoil, stick with smaller calibers (9mm, .380).
3. New or used?
A GLOCK is built like brick sh!t house. So you can save yourself a hundred dollars or more by buying a pre-owned GLOCK, without worrying overmuch about its performance or ongoing longevity.
Yes, there’s a chance any given GLOCK was abused to the point where it could malfunction, requiring replacement parts and/or repair. There are two ways to avoid those issues:
Buy from a reputable gun dealer – It’ll cost you more than a private sale but you’ll be buying from someone who knows the difference between a well-loved, rarely-fired GLOCK and one that’s been neglected or abused. And it’s good to buy from someone who stands behind the sale.
Inspect the gun yourself – Watch this video . . .
[NOTE: ALWAYS SAFETY CHECK A FIREARM BEFORE HANDLING. If you don’t know how to make sure a GLOCK is unloaded, learn that skill before you start the buying process. And don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you take it apart and put it back together.]
GLOCK is America’s favorite handgun. While other brands offer guns that are superior in some or many ways to a GLOCK, buying a GLOCK is a safe choice. Just make sure you buy the right size GLOCK in the right caliber for the right job — at the right price. Have fun and shoot safely!