The Glock Gen 3 patents have expired, and as a result we’ve seen plenty of what people are calling “clones” out there. Personally I don’t see them as clones, rather companies taking advantage of the leg work being already done. It’s like being gifted a house that is stick-built only. You can now spend your time and money deciding how it gets finished. What would your house be like if your cost was only to finish it? Would you change some things? Would it have nicer details?
That’s the same situation many manufacturers have found themselves in when entering the pistol world with a Glock-pattern gun. Just as you’ve likely got some feedback on what you’d want your house to be like, there’s more than 30 years of feedback on Glock’s design and almost as much time of aftermarket parts trying to fit into that old design.
BUL Armory was previously known mostly in the European competition circuits for their 1911s (both single and double stack). The polymer-framed, striker-fired Axe models are relatively new. The Axe is available in a couple different setups from mild to wild. The Tomahawk is the most premium of their builds.
For a close-up look at the design, and what all the $960 MSRP gets you, see the tabletop video below.
The BUL Armory Axe C Tomahawk is of course a bit flashy, but everything seems to have been done with good reason behind it, not just to look good. The top slide window shows off the fluted barrel, but also helps reduce reciprocating mass; a major source of both felt recoil and influence on how a gun settles in the hand after a shot.
By my measurements the BUL Armory Axe C Tomahawk’s slide is 15% lighter than a standard Gen 3 Glock 19 slide. If you don’t use a quality holster, or are concerned your frequent ground fights at the beach are going to get debris in the slide, BUL Armory has you covered with other models that don’t have a cut on the top of the slide.
Other enhancements can be summed up by one word, “ergonomics.” The entire frame and slide have been shaped and textured for the human hand. From intelligent grip texturing, to contours on the trigger guard, the BUL Armory Axe C Tomahawk is shaped so the gun works with what the human hand is trying to do rather than obstruct it.
Everywhere you look, the BUL Armory Axe C Tomahawk has an enhancement. Even down to dimpled pins, there’s not a single part of this gun that doesn’t appear to have had its own dedicated time in front of an engineer tasked with, “now make it better.”
Specifications as taken from the manufacturer’s website:
Barrel length: 102mm/4.02 inch
Slide: Tomahawk serrations with a weight reduction cut
Steel 3-Dot sights (glock dovetail)
Optic ready: Trijicon RMR footprint
Magazine capacity: 15 rounds X3
Weight without magazine: 560g
3.5 – 4.0 LB trigger pull
Available colors: Silver (Natural finish)
Integrated flared magwell with side cuts
High grip beavertail
Trigger Guard with a high Double Undercut
Reversible magazine release
Extended Slide Lock Lever (stainless steel)
Ambidextrous integrated thumb rest
Flat face trigger shoe
1913 Picatinny rail
Aluminum guide rod
Dimpled stainless steel pin kit
Curious how much “go” was put into all of this “show” we of course had to hit the range for our standard battery of experiences as well as to see which of the Glock-pattern magazines would behave and which would not. The Shooting Impressions video below shows two shooters including absolute first shots through the gun, full-magazine +1, multi-mag test, our trademarked “What’s For Dinner” test including ten different loads of ammunition, a sights and trigger control challenge, practical accuracy, and concluding thoughts from both shooters.
It would appear that some of our Glock-pattern magazines are either worn out (magazines aren’t forever after all) or the BUL Armory Axe C Tomahawk is built to tighter tolerances than some of those magazines could comply with.
The trigger feel is naturally better than a factory Glock, but wasn’t as “racey” as I was expecting. That makes sense for a gun sized for carry use, so I can’t really fault BUL Armory for that. Plus, if you really want to modify your trigger feel there’s 30 years of companies and products out there offering upgrades. We were recently impressed with the affordable option from M CARBO. More on that can be seen here.
So was it worth it? Fortunately, we found the BUL Armory Axe C Tomahawk below MSRP, however it still remains a bit above what I consider the normal price threshold for a quality pistol which tends to be in the $500-600 range. For the cost difference of a couple hundred dollars more, the gun came with a nice, usable case and three quality magazines. It’s also imported from Israel where labor isn’t the cheapest. I think the pricing is fair, and in exchange provides a gun that needs little done to it to perform well. Yes the trigger could be different, but that’s a matter of personal preference, not a necessity unless you lack shooting skill. Of course those who have yet to learn to “learn” a trigger are also less likely to cough out the bigger bucks this pistol demands.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * *
No issues with the included magazines or quality Glock-pattern magazines.
Ergonomics * * * * *
The most comfortable adaptation of a Glock-pattern I’ve encountered yet.
Accuracy * * * *
Our own struggles with the trigger may have played a role, but I have no doubt in the mechanical accuracy of the firearm.
Concealability * * * * *
Before the age of “micro-compacts” the 4″-barrelled, 15-rd 9mm platform was the go-to for concealability and shootability.
Overall: * * * *
We thoroughly enjoyed this pistol, but the price is a bit steep. I know it’s still much less than trying to upgrade a Glock 19 to this level, but there are plenty of alternatives that avoid all that fuss. On the other hand, it’s a master craft evolution of a classic platform. Ultimately, as with all things, whether or not something is worth the price comes down to the individual.