GLOCK G17 Gen 3 9mm
The Glock G17 Gen3 ran without malfunction throughout our tests, and we think its performance did nothing to lower its standing among the latest DAO pistols. Compare it against this GLOCK 17 Gen 5.
To date Glocks have proven durable and economical. One of the latest changes is the addition of an accessory rail along the dust cover. The initial appeal of the Glock pistol was largely based on its capacity (16+1) and simplicity. The field-stripping regimen is a good example. Retract the slide about one-quarter inch while pulling down on the slide latches. Remove the slide by pushing it forward off the frame. To reset the slide, apply it from the front and shift it rearward until it clicks into place. No tools necessary.
The G17 fired from a barrel that measured just less than 4.5 inches. The trigger on this pistol was the least complicated and easiest to learn of our test guns. We measured resistance to be about 8.5 pounds, and there was little variation in feel throughout the sweep of the trigger. Glock refers to this design as the SafAction trigger, but it qualifies as being double-action design because it serves to both compress and release the spring that drives forward the striker. If we were to provide a visual image of how this differs from a hammer driven system perhaps the striker could be referred to as being a cue stick and the cue ball the primer. A hammer-driven gun might be illustrated by using a hammer and chisel to strike the primer. When the chamber is loaded, the extractor bulges outward, and this can be confirmed visually or by touch.
When a round was chambered, the extractor would protrude from the right side. We thought it was easier to feel the extractor than it was to see it bulge with the naked eye. Mechanical indicators be damned, treat all guns as if they are loaded.
From the bench we discovered that the sights offered very little light to the left and right sides of the front sight blade. But we were able to print a 1.3-inch group firing the Winchester 105-grain Super Clean JSP rounds on the way to establishing a 1.7-inch average firing this new product. During rapid fire we found it impossible to track the thin cracks of light showing between the interior of the notch and the front sight blade. Instead, we tried to keep the large white dot on the front sight inside the bold white outline surrounding the rear notch. The more experienced competitive shooters on our staff said they would have preferred a more open sight picture.
Setting up for our rapid-fire test we noticed right away how much bigger the G17 was than the other guns in the test. One characteristic that added to this sensation was the square profile of the slide. The average elapsed time of our first set of ten two-shot drills was 0.64 seconds with one shot off target. We tried slowing down on our next set in an attempt to land all 20 shots. But at the end of the second set, we were still missing one shot on target.
The Glock pistol has been a success because of its reliability, and thanks to stable pricing, relatively low cost. Simplicity is another reason sales remain strong. For example, pulling back the slide and lowering the latches (shown directly above the thumb) freed the top end. Reinstalling was simply a matter of putting the slide back on to the frame.
We would like to point out a positive to the boxy profile of the Glock slide. At closer range we experimented with using the rear profile of the gun instead of the sights. We found that as long as we saw the rear panel of the slide as a perfect square and not the sides of the gun, our shots were lined up.
Originally Published In April 2008.