By Joe Diener
Typically, the first thing people find out about me is that I’m a gun guy. I don’t wear a stylishly outdated NRA hat, I don’t open-carry rifles in Babies “R” Us, and I don’t post Facebook memes that would get me convicted of premeditated murder in a DGU. I’ve just spent the last few years in the gun industry testing equipment that ends up in the hands of armed professionals and responsible citizens. That responsibility has been a source of pride for me . . .
After graduating college I commissioned as an officer in the Army National Guard and began working for a large defense contractor where I was part of a team that conducted live weapons fire to test thermal optics for the DOD. Due to injury early in my Army career I was unable to deploy, but when my unit’s main body began sending back their equipment from Afghanistan I walked into my arms room to find a large pile of thermal optics. My soldiers were using the exact thermal sights overseas that I had tested.
Most recently I worked for one of the world’s largest firearms companies in a testing group where we validated the company’s new products, concepts, and product changes up until they went through massive layoffs. During this time I had the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the most talented and dedicated engineers and testers in the industry.
When TTAG proposed the idea of comparison testing three of the most popular 9mm striker handguns, I contacted Robert and told him to let me know if he wanted any input on testing techniques. After spending some time on the phone, he asked if I would be interested in heading up this project by writing the procedures and supervising the testing.
The purpose will be to see what, if any, differences exist in reliability between the GLOCK 19 Gen 4, a full-size Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm, and the Springfield Armory XD(M) 9mm in a scientific, repeatable, and transparent manner. While the testing will have natural shortcomings (that I’ll address in the testing document), I feel confident we will get some very good data. I know many reading this carry these guns and I will do my best to provide the best data possible.
I once had a pistol engineer tell me a handgun should work in the hands of an inexperienced user being coached by an instructor while using quality ammunition. My response was “a pistol NEEDS to work when a soldier who’s hungry, exhausted, injured, and covered in mud and rain needs to use it because his rifle isn’t working and the enemy is standing over him.” Firearms to me always come back to their suitability for my brothers in arms and responsible citizens, not brand loyalty, fanboy-ism, or nostalgia.
As I set aside my preconceived notions I ask that the readers of TTAG do the same.