Glock Pistol Frequently-Asked Questions


The name Glock brings a warm fuzzy feeling to some shooters and instant distaste for others. Regardless of your current opinion, Glock pistols are here to stay. Let's take a moment and delve into just why Glock has quickly become the most popular handgun in the world and answer some frequently-asked questions.

In 1980 the Austrian Armed Forces announced its desire to replace their venerable, but tired, Walther P38 service pistol. Gaston Glock set about to fill that need. What emerged was a game-changing design that combined the desirable attributes of many different pistols with a new polymer lower frame. In 1982 the Glock, as we know it was born. Beginning with an initial order of 25,000 for the Austrian government, Glock pistols have been sold in 45 countries and have over five million units sold to date.

While not the first polymer framed handgun, Glock appeared on the scene at just the right time along with a stellar marketing plan. They quickly overcame the tagline of being a cheap plastic pistol and in just a few decades became the most popular handgun in the world. The niche that Glock carved is so wide that most every reputable manufacturer scrambled to put something out that at least looked like a Glock. Admittedly, Glock pistols may not be the sexiest thing on the shelf but performance outweighs appearance every time. Additionally, if you give it a chance they do tend to grow on you.


Why Is The Glock Pistol So Popular?

Why is Glock so popular


The first item on the list of requirements for a weapon is reliability. If you're just plinking with friends a misfire is just something to clear. However, when your sidearm can mean your life, it has to go bang every time you pull the trigger. In order to pass the Austrian governments rigorous tests, Glock pistols were put through the wringer. Ultimately they emerged as the most reliable handgun when pitted against eight other models from five different world renowned manufacturers. If you follow a regimen of basic cleaning and maintenance, Glock pistols can and will give you a lifetime of dependable service. If the FBI and military special forces depend on these it's a safe bet that you can too.


Of course, with most of us, the price is a deciding factor in almost any purchase, whether it be a handgun, television or a house. Everybody wants a cheap reliable handgun regardless of its ultimate purpose. It's easy to be drawn in by the lesser priced copies of a Glock in your local gun shop. However, there is a big difference between the price of an item and its true cost. Granted, when you only take into consideration the price of an item Glock pistols are not the lowest on the chain. When you seriously want the most reliable handgun you can find you must compare a Glock to its peers. We're talking Sig, H&K, Smith & Wesson and such. Perhaps the way to approach the subject is not necessarily a cheap reliable handgun, but a reliable handgun at a reasonable price point.

Simple/Basic Design

Reliability in a handgun can be boiled down to a few factors. Quality of manufacture, the simplicity of design, and routine maintenance. Glock has long since proven itself in the manufacturing arena. They didn't become the world's most popular handgun by turning out junk. The care and feeding of your Glock comes down to individual discipline, if you treat it right it won't let you down. That leaves design. One of Glocks claim to fame is that it has fewer moving parts than other production pistols, only 34 as per the Glock manual. The presence of fewer moving parts obviously lends itself to fewer chances of failure. Additionally. unlike some pistols, you don't need an engineering degree to break down a Glock, it can be done literally in seconds.


Due to the worldwide acceptance of Glock and its status as perhaps the most popular handgun around has led to a multitude of companies getting in the game. Next to the AR-15, the Glock is perhaps the most customizable weapon on the market. Whether you're online, at a gun show, or at your local dealer you will find no shortage of aftermarket parts to make your Glock your own. Your options range from a simple mag extension to a full-blown makeover that leaves you with something that doesn't even resemble the original. As with any component upgrades, you should do your due diligence and research the company with which you do business. This is a competitive venue and rarely do you find that cheaper turns out to be better.


Where Are Glocks Made?

Although Gaston Glock originally manufactured his cheap reliable handgun in Austria, the process soon spread to the United States in order to take advantage of the emerging US market. The Glock models made in the USA differ only from their Austrian brothers in the markings indicating the country of creation. The parent company in Austria maintains 100 percent quality control over the American operation in Smyrna Georgia. Everything right down to the tooling used in the American facility comes from, and is ordained, by the Glock parent company in Austria. The only real difference between the two versions is that if your Glock says made in the USA on its frame you just gave an American a job.

Austrian map


Is Glock Single Or Double Action?

There is much debate on whether Glock pistols are single-action or double-action. The real answer is no, they are their own animal. The world’s most reliable handgun is a striker-fired hybrid of the two more familiar systems. When the Glocks slide cycles, the striker remains in a semi-pre-cocked state. Therefore, when you squeeze the apparent double-action trigger, you only really finish the cycle and fire the chambered round. The Glock pistol is commonly referred to as a "safe-action" pistol. The result is a smooth trigger with little take-up and a relatively light pull.


What Is The Difference Between Glock Models?

Glock 17

The quick and simple answer is caliber and size. Glock set out to create a relatively cheap reliable handgun to suit the needs of the vast shooting population. Therefore, one size definitely doesn't fit all. Over the years, the Glock offerings have grown from the original model 17 in 9mm to cover a wide array of options. The person that needs a sub-compact for concealed carry would be ill-fitted with a full sized 45 caliber weapon and the opposite would also be true.

The essential pistol has remained the same, evolving from one generation to the next with subtle improvements. The Glocks barrel varies in length and caliber while retaining the proven design and performance. Grip length and girth vary as to the shooters preference of a single-stack or a double-stacked magazine.

Glock has developed 50 variations of its original G17 in its lineup. Depending on your personal preference and needs one can be had in 9x19 mm, .40 caliber, 10mm, 45 auto, 45 G.A.P., .380, and .357 caliber. The overall size is truly the shooters choice all the way from a sub-compact that will literally fit into your pocket, to a long-slide competition model. However, each and every one holds true to Gaston Glocks original design and quality.


Why Doesn't Glock Make Anything Other Than Pistols?

While it's true that Glock has carved a niche in the world market as the most reliable handgun commercially available, it's not true that is all the Glock company manufactures. As a company, Glock was around for over two decades before venturing into the handgun market. Glock had government contracts to provide the Austrian military with field knives and collapsible entrenching tools. While they still produce these products and endorse even more, their mainstay is their offering of a relatively cheap reliable handgun.

Although they do indeed have competition in the polymer-framed, striker-fired handgun market, they are clearly the leader of the pack. From a standpoint of being competitive in the world market, perhaps it's a wiser choice to stand out in one area than to try and break into another already crowded field. Dabbling in markets in which a company isn't clearly identifiable, usually doesn't end in success. Springfield Armory has produced AR-15s and they were fine offerings, however, that's not what comes to mind when you hear the brand name. Instinctively, 99 percent of the people will instantly think of a handgun when the name Springfield Armory comes up. Such is the case with Glock, they focus mainly on one thing and they do it well.


Why Are Glock Gen 4 And 5 Illegal In California?

There has been much to do as to whether the Gen 4 & Gen 5 Glocks are illegal in the state of California. The answer is that they're legal to own for now, however, buying a new one from a licensed FFL dealer is not. The list of approved semi-automatic handguns that are available for new purchase by the general public grows shorter every year.

You can, however, purchase a new model Glock from a dealer if you are a member of law enforcement and able to take advantage of that particular exemption. These particular handguns singled out by California law can still legally be brought into the state by an individual who legally owns the weapon when they immigrate into the Republic of California. As long as you abide by the magazine capacity and ammunition restrictions and lock every part in a separate box you might just be okay.

These self-same banned weapons are able to be legally transferred from one private party to another private party who is not barred otherwise from owning a gun. Any law enforcement officer who used their exemption to purchase such a handgun can legally transfer it to another individual. Of course, every time the California legislature convenes these laws are subject to change.


How Does The Glock Safety Work?

Glock Safety

Some people shy away from Glock pistols simply because of the absence of an external, old-fashioned safety lever, and they deem the pistol unsafe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, a gun of any sort is only as safe as the person holding it.

Glock pistols do in fact have three very reliable internal safeties that must be overcome in order for the weapon to fire. The first and most obvious is the iconic mini-trigger (safety tab) on the lower edge of the primary trigger. The second is a firing pin safety that prohibits the firing pin from moving forward until it is released. A third is a steel block in the rear of the lower that restrains the trigger bar.

All three of these are a physical impediment that literally makes it impossible for the firing pin to strike a rounds primer until the trigger is depressed. The Glock mechanism is deemed a "safe action", for accidental discharge is not possible due to an impact such as dropping the weapon. Obviously, the shooter must do their part. Simple steps like not putting a round in the chamber or your finger on the trigger until you're on target and ready to fire. In short, your finger is the safety. Use it wisely and don't become a statistic.


What Are The Most Popular Glock Upgrades?

Popular Glock Upgrades

Even the most popular handgun around can be made better. There are certain areas on Glock pistols that can be tweaked for better service. The factory sights are not the fastest to align or the easiest to use. You can't go wrong with a good set of tritium night sights or adjustable ones. Glock triggers come from the factory with about a 5.5-pound trigger pull which is a safe compromise. However, your accuracy will improve with a smoother, lighter trigger. Of course, safety and proper weapon handling must be strictly observed with such an upgrade.

Perhaps the most obvious upgrade is that lowly magazine. This can be just an extension added to an existing magazine or simply more mags. Going a bit deeper, an extended magazine release and extended slide stop lever can make your life much easier and your Glock more user-friendly. There's always accessories to mount on the guns lower pic rail such as lasers and tactical lights. Moving on up the food chain, the barrel is a quick mod that can let you change calibers and improve your Glocks accuracy. Any of these popular upgrades can be easily done at your kitchen table and some are surprisingly reasonable in cost.