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5 Hot New Handguns For 2023

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With SHOT Show 2023 comes another round of new handgun introductions, and with those, it’s possible to get a glance at where the industry stands in terms of its general priorities and direction. Buy Handguns For Sale

For this year, there are a few notable qualities, some of which reflect ongoing, longer-term trends, while others signify a newer direction in the handgun market. Of course, concealed-carry continues to be hot, and manufacturers continue to cater to CCW holders with compact, capacity-rich designs. But what’s interesting is that, while capacity still seems to be the main goal, we’re starting to see firearm designs that are more macro in size, rather than micro. Of course, there are also some retro homages to popular designs of the past. Here are five highlights from the SHOT Show 2023 floor:

European American Armory Corp. Girsan Witness 2311
The concept of a double-stack M1911 handgun is not a new one, with companies like Para Ordnance and Staccato, formerly STI International, offering such designs for decades. However, in the last year, the market of such designs has grown significantly. European American Armory Corp. Buy Handguns For Sale

is the latest company to enter the market with its Girsan Witness 2311. Able to accept standard Staccato double-stack magazines, the gun is available in 9 mm Luger, .45 ACP and 10 mm Auto and has a magazine capacity of 17 rounds, 11 rounds and 15 rounds, respectively. What really makes the Witness 2311 stand out, though, is its price point. Buy Handguns For Sale

Ruger Security-380
Concealed-carry and capacity don’t always go hand-in-hand, but with the new Ruger Security-380, consumers get a capacity-rich platform that’s easy-to-shoot and easy-to-handle. With styling and ergonomics similar to Ruger’s other Security handguns, it’s easy for folks to get used to the manual of arms. Buy Handguns For Sale

What eases handling even more, though, is the lightened recoil spring and pronounced cocking ears that enable users to get the pistol into battery more quickly. Chambered in .380 ACP, magazine capacity is 15 rounds in a flush-fit configuration, while capacity-restricted states will have a 10-round model available. Best of all, this accessible self-defense platform is affordable, too. Buy Handguns For Sale

Smith & Wesson M&P5.7
One of the surprises from SHOT ’23 was Smith & Wesson’s introduction of its 5.7×28 mm FN pistol, which provides 22+1 rounds on board in an easy-to-shoot platform. S&W is squeezing out every ounce of capability from the 5.7×28 mm round, thanks to the company’s rotating Tempo Barrel System, which makes the M&P5.7 a gas-operated, locked-breech handgun. 5 Hot New Handguns For 2023

Two models are available, one with a thumb safety and one without. The pistol also feature ambidextrous controls in the form of a mirrored slide stop and a reversible magazine release. The 5.7 mm handgun is also cut to accept a micro red-dot optic and also features a flat-face trigger, Picatinny accessory rail, threaded barrel and three-dot sights. 5 Hot New Handguns For 2023

Taurus TX22 Compact
Early iterations of Taurus’ TX22 were sized more like today’s crop of full-size, polymer-frame handguns and was initially intended to be a training tool. However, the lineup has expanded significantly over the years and now includes dedicated competition models, optics-ready options and more. 5 Hot New Handguns For 2023

One salient point that’s become clear over the years is that the TX22 is one of the most reliable rimfire handguns available today, and Taurus is reinforcing that point with its TX22 Compact. The gun is sized right for CCW use, despite the issues inherent in relying on rimfire ammunition for self-defense, but it’s available for those who are comfortable with such a concept. More importantly, the design is easily handled and, despite its compact dimensions, has an impressive magazine capacity of 13 rounds. What’s more, it’s also capable of hosting a micro red-dot sight. 5 Hot New Handguns For 2023

Walther P99 AS Final Edition
Rounding out our round-up is what seems like a fitting farewell note. Walther’s P99 came out in an entirely different market and world when it was first rolled out in 1997, and the gun served as the basis for Walther’s later designs, including the PPQ and PDP. For its time, it was an innovative design, with a unique double-action/single-action trigger system, a slide-mounted decocker, striker-status indicator and an ambidextrous, paddle-style magazine release. 5 Hot New Handguns For 2023

After 26 years in production, Walther is saying goodbye to its P99, but it’s going out with a bang, thanks to the P99 AS Final Edition. Made with the desirable olive-drab polymer frame, the gun makes for a fitting homage to a firearm that once was the choice of Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond. 5 Hot New Handguns For 2023

8 Smallest Handguns You Can Own

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One of the very first handguns that I ever saw up close was my dad’s Belgian Baby Browning chambered in .25 ACP. I was fascinated by the fact that it was small enough to fit in the palm of his hand, and yet it was still a fully functional pistol. Once I was old enough to start buying handguns of my own, my enthusiasm for the smallest-of-the-small didn’t waver. Buy Handguns Near Me

In pursing this littlest handgun hobby of mine, I’ve enjoyed opportunities to evaluate a variety petite pistols ranging from 9 mm defensive-carry models to unique, rimfire “utility” guns. Whether you are looking for a more compact daily-carry pistol or something spiffy to add to your collection, here are a few of the smallest handguns currently on the market:

8. Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O.: Double-Stack Micro Nine
Although sub-subcompact, double-stack magazine 9 mm pistols have been available since 1995, it was the launch of the SIG Sauer P365 in 2018 that triggered the latest concealed-carry trend colloquially known as “micro nine pistols.” 8 Smallest Handguns You Can Own

These handguns are intended to fill the niche between the double-stack subcompact and single-stack 9 mm pocket pistols. Over the last few years, these semi-automatic guns have become a new standard in the concealed-carry market. In addition to their slim frames and 10- to 13-round magazine capacities, the micro nines are about as small as you can get while still retaining the option to configure the slide for a red-dot optic. Buy Handguns Near Me

Taurus GX4 micro nine pistol red=dot optic smallest handguns pistols 9 mm
The GX4 sports useful upgrades often reserved for more expensive pistols, including metallic sights, front and rear cocking serrations and interchangeable grip backstraps.

Several micro nines are the right size for this slot, but I opted for a Taurus USA model that I’ve worked with more than some other guns. The Taurus GX4 is shown here with the T.O.R.O. optics-ready slide. While the SIG P365 set the standard for this category, the GX4 is sized to match, accepts 11-round flush-fit, or 13-round extended magazine, and it provides a useful set of features at a lower price point than most of its competition. Buy Handguns Near Me

7. Diamondback DB9: Single-Stack 9 mm Pocket Pistol
No matter how you slice it, modern single-stack 9 mm pistols designed for pocket carry are slimmer and lighter than the micro nines. Buy Handguns Near Me

Diamondback Firearms offers one of the smallest currently available. When I worked with the DB9 for the first time more than a decade ago, I was surprised to handle a 9 mm semi-auto pistol that was dimensionally similar to subcompact pistols chambered for the more diminutive .380 ACP cartridge. Buy Handguns Near Me

The fact that the DB9 could handle the more potent 9 mm cartridge in such a small package meant that had to purchase it when the evaluation timeframe was complete. Buy Handguns Near Me

diamondback firearms db9 pistol
The DB9’s small size makes it easy to carry but more challenging to master.

Today, single-stack 9 mm pocket pistols are fairly common in a variety of configurations and price points, but the DB9 remains as one of the smallest available. The pistol I have on hand tips the scale at 12.8 ozs., and that includes an empty magazine. Buy Handguns Near Me

The tradeoff for DB9’s feathery effect is a stiff level of recoil when using standard-pressure 9 mm ammunition. It is manageable, though not exactly enjoyable. Recently, Diamondback released the Gen 4 version of the DB9 with updates to the slide’s cosmetics and the grip’s texturing. Buy Handguns Near Me

6. Bond Arms Stinger Series: Double-Barrel Pocket Protection
Bond Arms’ claim to fame is offering some of the smallest and most powerful handguns available. The company’s stainless-steel, standard-frame guns live up to this boast with dual barrels chambered for cartridges including .357 Mag., 10 mm Auto, .44 Spl., .45 Colt and .410 bore shotshells. As small and potent as they are, the all-steel construction and big-bore, swing-up barrels can make these pistols a bit chunky for pocket carry. 8 Smallest Handguns You Can Own

stainless steel bond arms singer derringers on wood log
The Stingers were developed in answer to customer requests for a slimmer, lighter pistol.

The company has answered customer requests for a slimmer, lighter version of these tough little guns, 12 ozs., with the double-barrel Stinger series. Shown here are the new Stinger RS (Top) and the original aluminum-frame Stinger (Bottom) released in 2021. Fitted with a 3” barrel assembly, the Stinger RS, which stands for Rough Series, features stainless-steel construction but at about half the frame width of the standard version. Buy Handguns Near Me

This shaves the weight down to 16 ozs. Barrels are interchangeable, too, and Bond Arms offers versions in .380 ACP, 9 mm Luger and .38 Spl., and apparently a .327 Fed. Mag. option is coming. The pistols ship with a set of rubber grips, as well as ultra-thin polymer grips. MSRP starts at $279. BondArms.com

5. Ruger LCP Max: Double-Stack .380 ACP
In 2008, the launch of Ruger’s Light Carry Pistol, or LCP, sparked an American sub-compact arms race, which set the standard for .380 ACP pocket pistols for years to come. But with a single-stack magazine and a capacity of six or seven rounds, some folks wanted a boost in performance. In 2011, the company launched the LC9, an upsized version of its LCP chambered for 9 mm Luger with more capacity. Though it was slightly larger and heavier, the LC9 retained a slim and trim profile for everyday carry. Buy Handguns Near Me

That wasn’t enough, as folks always want more if they can get it. So, in 2021, Ruger presented the Max-9, a micro nine that accepts double-stack magazines.

Ruger LCP Max pistol handgun in hand left side view black gun
This version of the LCP can hold nearly double the rounds of the original version.

The company could have left off there, but it made sure that the LCP would not be left behind in the trend of double-stack upgrades. As such, 2021 also marked the arrival of the LCP Max chambered for .380 ACP. Just like its micro-nine compatriot, the most noteworthy change to the new LCP came in the form of a new frame for increased ammunition capacity with only a nominal change to the grip’s width. It accepts a 10-round flush-fit, or 12-round extended magazine, which makes for a significant increase. The LCP Max sports a night sight with tritium and has a smooth and light trigger pull. MSRP is $479. Ruger.com

4. KelTec P32: Single-Stack .32 ACP Micro
Prior to the .380 ACP pocket-pistol rush of the late 2000s, there was the petite .32 ACP dust-up of the late 1990s. Buy Handguns Near Me

The .32-cal. contenders for American holster space at the time included the Seecamp LWS-32, Berretta 3032 Tomcat, North American Arms Guardian and the KelTec P32. At the time, the P32 was the odd man out. It had one of those “newfangled” lightweight, injection-molded polymer frames with an internal aluminum chassis instead of an all-stainless-steel or aluminum frame. With an unloaded weight of 6.6 ozs., it was the lightest and least-expensive model in the running.

Keltec P32 small black pistol handgun right side view
The P32 may be part of a dying breed, but it still offers a balance of size and performance that’s tough to beat.

Still in production more than two decades later, the P32 fits right in with the today’s defensive semi-automatic pistols with polymer frames. There’s no question that the .380s are more powerful, but the P32 is surprisingly comfortable to shoot for its size. And when compared to the Ruger LCP II chambered in .22 LR, the P32 is slightly shorter, a bit thinner and weighs a noticeable, 4.2 ozs. lighter while also packing centerfire cartridges. Although the .32 ACP is no longer a hot topic, the P32 still comfortably fills a niche between the .380s and .22s. Who knows? The cartridge just might make a comeback. MSRP is $360. Keltec.com

3. Trailblazer Lifecard: Folding Single-Shot .22 WMR
Trailblazer Firearms offers what I would consider one of the smallest guns available today. The single-action LifeCard is a folding, single-shot utility pistol. Its unusual form factor makes it one of the easiest pistols to carry that I’ve worked with so far. The flat, squared-off folded profile is comparable in size to a tin of mints or a credit card holder. It can be tucked into just about any pocket, including the watch pocket of a pair of jeans.

LIfecard folding pistol 22 MAG WMR gun in hand outdoors grass background
When folded, the Lifecard will fit comfortably in just about any pocket.

lifecard .22 WMR pistol on wood

The .22 WMR (magnum) version of the Lifecard, with its steel and aluminum construction, weighs in at just 6.4 ozs., features a simple trench-sight system, a three-round ammunition compartment in the grip and is available in a variety of colors. The company also offers a .22 LR version with a polymer grip, which reduces the pistol’s weight and cost. MSRP starts at $299. TrailblazerFirearms.com

2. Ruger LCP II: Single-Stack .22 LR
A few years ago, I penned a respectful eulogy for the small-caliber pocket pistols sometimes referred to as ‘mouse guns’. However, in 2021, Ruger chose to breathe new life into the rimfire pocket pistol market. The LCP II Lite Rack chambered in .22 LR is based on the popular LCP II chambered in .380 ACP. It has the same external dimensions and trigger pull. But the slide is configured for ease of use. The magazine holds 10 rounds of .22 LR ,and this version of the LCP has a thumb safety lever on the left side.

Ruger LCP II LIte Rack pistol with ammunition magazine art
The LCP II is a modern, polymer-framed take on the classic ‘mouse gun’ pocket pistol.

A close contender for this slot is the Beretta 21A Bobcat, which is a well-made and reliable rimfire pocket pistol. The LCP is about 0.25″ taller and 0.25″ longer than the Beretta. However, the LCP weighs less, 10.9 ozs., has a thinner grip, 0.92″ at the widest point, and holds up to 11 rounds of ammunition instead of 7+1. The LCP II also has a suggested retail price that is $40 less than the 21A Bobcat. For those who wish to shoot this pistol with a sound suppressor, Ruger offers a drop-in threaded barrel and recoil spring kit on the shopruger.com website. MSRP is $439. Ruger.com

1. North American Arms Mini Short: Single-Action .22 Short Revolver
North American Arms’ (NAA) diverse series of mini single-action revolvers has represented the smallest multi-shot handguns available for quite some time. These delightfully tiny, stainless-steel revolvers are well-made with an attention to detail that shows this is a company that takes its products seriously. I’ve seen these revolvers put together at the factory in Provo, Utah, and I have to say, the process seems more like watchmaking than gun assembly.

North American Arms revolver on lifecard folding handgun pistol guns wood table outdoors
The Trailblazer Lifecard may be the size of a tin of mints, but the NAA Short can almost fit inside that tin.

The NAAs are available in three frame sizes, with the version chambered in .22 Short (NAA-22S) being the smallest of all. This revolver weighs in at 4.2 ozs. and has a profile that comfortably fits on top of a Trailblazer Lifecard. With its small grip, tiny controls and the mild recoil produced by the pill-sized .22 Short cartridges, this diminutive revolver provides an utterly unique shooting experience. However, the .22 Short-chambered Mini should be respected for what it is, a proof-of-concept handgun of which pushes the limits of size and shootability right to the edge of practicality.

Gun Of The Week: Smith & Wesson M&P 10mm M2.0

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Before this latest introduction, if you wanted a Smith & Wesson 10 mm handgun, you had to hunt for one of Smith’s third-gen semi-automatics, like the 1006 or its variants. Buy Smith & Wesson Handguns Online

The S&W 1000 series of guns is most famous for being the gun the FBI chose to adopt in a short-lived attempt to move to the 10 mm Auto cartridge as a duty round. The FBI, infamously, ultimately chose the .40 S&W instead, but the S&W 1006 and its brethren live on as one of the strongest 10 mm semi-auto handguns ever built. Now, the Smith & Wesson 10 mm is back in the form of a beefed-up M&P. Watch the video above to see this latest M&P 10 mm in use on the NRA Tech Range. Buy Smith & Wesson Handguns Online

Gun Of The Week title screen text on image gun black left-side view smith & wesson m&p 2.0 10 mm auto gun

Smith & Wesson didn’t have to go back to the drawing board entirely for its new M&P M2.0 10mm. Buy Smith & Wesson Handguns Online

The company already produced a powerful, hard-hitting, polymer-frame handgun in the form of its M&P45, and that’s largely what we’re seeing in this platform, which is the M&P45 with some necessary changes to accommodate the 10 mm Auto cartridge. At the core of the M2.0 10mm is a stainless-steel chassis embedded into the polymer frame, which gives the frame enough strength and rigidity to prevent excess flex and torque during firing. Buy Smith & Wesson Handguns Online

right-side view quartering angle of black pistol handgun smith & wesson m&p 2.0 10mm auto gun optic-ready on white background

Size-wise, the M&P 10mm is the same as the M&P45, but users will get an extra edge with the 10 mm version in a couple ways. First, naturally, because of the smaller diameter of 10 mm, magazine capacity is bumped up significantly.

The M&P 10 mm holds 15 rounds in its flush-fit magazine compared to 10 rounds in the .45. Also, the 10 mm weighs slightly less than the .45, although not enough to make a noticeable difference in any practical sense. Buy Smith & Wesson Handguns Online

Some of the biggest upgrades incorporated into M&P handguns over the last few years are also present on the M&P 10 mm. One of the most noticeable changes is to the trigger. Gone is the hinged trigger of yesteryear, replaced by a blade-in-shoe safety that’s more in line with what we see in other parts of the market.

The trigger has a flatter face and breaks more cleanly with a shorter arc of travel than we’ve seen in past S&W triggers. Additionally, at the top of the slide, Smith & Wesson provides a mounting space for optics of the Trijicon RMR footprint. A polymer cover plate is installed from the factory. The steel, drift-adjustable sights are also taller to co-witness with a mounted optic.

left-side quartering view of smith&wesson m&p 2.0 10mm auto pistol handgun black gun on white background

When it comes to active use, Smith & Wesson’s classic 1006 may have been durable, but one spot where users paid for that durability was in weight. Unloaded, the steel-framed behemoth weighed in at more than 40 ozs, whereas the new M&P 10 mm weighs in at just over 29 ozs. It might seem like that’d make it a handful on the range, but thanks to the M2.0’s aggressive frame texturing and the comfortable 18-degree grip angle, this pistol was a great shooter on the range, despite its powerful chambering. We also appreciated the easily accessible thumb safety, though S&W does offer models without the safety.

The Glock 17 Pistol: American Rifleman’s Original Review

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There has been a lot in the news media lately on the Glock 17 pistol. Most of it, as might be expected of the anti-gun press’s coverage of any firearms, is pure hogwash. Buy Glock Handguns Online

Without going into details that would lead to irritation at best and apoplexy at worst, it should be said that:

  1. The Glock 17 is not an “all plastic gun”—it is, in fact and weight, about 83% steel.
  2. The Glock 17 does not “pass through metal detectors undetected.” Nineteen ounces of steel plus about 4 ozs. of lead, if a pistol and a full magazine are considered, should trip any metal detector—provided the unit is plugged in.
  3. The Glock 17 is not “invisible when passed through an X-ray screen.” It looks like what it is—again, provided the machine is plugged in, and assuming the viewer know his or her business and is attending to it.
  4. Given A, B and C (above), we are really baffled by this one: “The Libyans are said to be trying covert methods to obtain these weapons.” Why is the Glock 17 better for Libyans than other pistols? Since the Glock 17s are on the world market, why the “covert methods?” Last, but not least, who started the rumor and why—other than to make a catchy story? We don’t know and nobody in the U.S. or Austrian government seems to either. Nor does Gaston Glock, the pistol’s designer, manufacturer and chairman of the board of Glock G.m.b.H. of Deutch Wagram, Austria. Buy Glock Handguns Online

Glock visited the NRA during the height of the anti-gun press idiocy on his pistol. Together with Wolfgang Riedl, his marketing manager, and Karl Walter, the U.S. importer, he could throw no light on the Libyan tall tale source or make anything of the press reports on his “detection-proof pistol.” So much for the rumor. Buy Glock Handguns Online For Sale

Two men sitting at a table, disassembling a Glock 17 pistol.Designer Gaston Glock (l.) easily explained his pistol to NRA staffers but was mystified by press reports on its construction.

Glock, however, has many facts at his disposal, and we took advantage of his visit to get some first-hand information on what turns out to be a very interesting—but not supernatural—pistol.

His answer to our first question regarding his gun background was a real eye opener. Buy Glock Handguns Online

“In 1980, I didn’t know the difference between a pistol and a revolver,” Glock told us. Things progressed from there.

In 1963, Glock, a mechanical engineer with a background in synthetic materials, formed a company to produce furniture and hardware. The company eventually made combat knives, bayonets and entrenching shovels for the Austrian military that are still in the line and available in the U.S.

In 1980, Glock saw a copy of the Austrian military’s pistol requirement form, but thought little of it. Essentially, it called for 9 mm Parabellum chambering, a large magazine capacity, light weight and durability. Buy Glock Handguns Online

Then, however, his 15-man factory was approached by a foreign pistol maker that was interested in the Austrian requirement but wanted an Austrian manufacturing or assembly site—preferably Glock G.m.b.H. No deal was made, but Glock began to take matters seriously. When two more foreign pistol makers approached him with similar proposals, he made his decision. Buy Glock Handguns Online

An X-ray image of a Glock 17 pistol.This X-ray view of the fully loaded Glock was provided by Metallurgical Engineers of Atlanta (FAA Certification No. 701-31).

He studied military pistol, test procedures and requirements from all over the world and, with two of his employees, turned out a working prototype in exactly six months. It didn’t suit him in every particular so, barely giving him time to return to the drawing board, he made a second prototype in two months.

That prototype is, in every detail, the same as the pistol now used by the Austrian Army and issued in a quantity of 28,000 pieces. Buy Glock Handguns Online

If there is a similar success story around that involves a man innocent of even basic gun knowledge, and a totally new gun, we are unaware of it.

At any rate, the deed was done and a major European nation is using the Glock. Is any other nation using it? Yes, Glock told us, Norway has accepted the Glock 17, and in three years the Norwegian Army will be totally armed with it. The Glock 17 Pistol: American Rifleman’s Original Review

This is of more than passing interest for, while Austria is not, Norway is a NATO member and the Glock is, therefore, a NATO standard pistol. In addition, we were told, many military and police unit are considering the Glock 17, and some have purchased it in more than trial quantities. Not the Libyans, however.

A pair of hands starting the disassembly process of a Glock 17 pistol.The Glock 17 is easily fieldstripped by first removing the magazine and clearing the chamber. Then the slide is retracted about 1/4″ and the locking slide is depressed.

“Does the factory still have only 15 workers?”, we naively asked. Glock smiled and told us that, no, there are about 40 involved in the pistol project, but one man controls the computer panel that, in turn, control all the ultra-modern, fully computerized machinery. Buy Glock Handguns Online

Here, Glock feels, is one of his great assets. He has visited many arms factories in the last few years and confesses to amazement at the great number of “obsolete equipment mixed in with some modern equipment” found in virtually all of them. Except his.

What use does Glock G.m.b.H. make of sub-suppliers, we asked, and again got a surprising answer and another reason that Glock thinks he has an advantage over the competition. Buy Glock Handguns Online

“We make absolutely everything ourselves except the springs and raw material. The steel slide material is received in profiled bar form; we mill it to shape. The polymer is received to our patented specifications; we mold it and so forth. We also do the finishing, of course, and use three hardening processes for the slide and barrel. The final hardening produces the patented 70 Rockwell Cone finish that is harder than a file.”

A two-part question was what Glock’s next firearm project would be and if he visualized an all-plastic gun.

To this, he said his next gun if any, would be another one tailored to Austrian military requirements. He feels, and he should know, that plastics or polymer have not reached the stage where they could be used alone to produce a military-acceptable firearm. Buy Glock Handguns Online

As Glock was, with commendable speed, fully disassembling one of his pistols with only a small punch (a nail would have done nicely), we gave him a final question. Buy Glock Handguns Online

“How does the U.S.-imported Glock differ from your Austrian and Norwegian service pistols?”

We were told that the only differences, aside from markings, are that to the U.S. pistol was added the molded-in serial number plate in the polymer frame, and the rear sight that is click-adjustable for elevation. Period. Buy Glock Handguns Online

A hand removing the slide of a Glock 17 pistol from its frame.After the locking slide is depressed, the slide unit can then be slid forward from the frame.

Other questions remained, but these were best answered, in the absence of Messrs. Glock, Riedl and Walter, by a normal examination of and test session with the intriguing new pistol.

The Glock 17 is a locked-breech, hammerless pistol that is sometimes called a “double-action.” The term is misleading, and while Glock’s preferred term “Safe-Action” is not self-explanatory, Glock’s terminology and parts illustration are used here to explain matters. The Glock 17 Pistol: American Rifleman’s Original Review

When the slide (1) is retracted and released, the firing pin (5) is partially held back (“half cocked”) by the cruciform sear plate on the rear of the trigger bar (26). This does several things: it keeps the firing pin from primer contact; it allows the passive firing pin safety plunger (9) to block pin movement; and it shortens the necessary final movement or cocking of the firing pin by trigger depression when discharge is wanted. The Glock 17 Pistol: American Rifleman’s Original Review

The pistol always works that way whether the slide is retracted manually to load the chamber for the first shot or by recoil for subsequent shots. Thus, there is no difference in the trigger pulls for the first vs. subsequent shots. Such different pulls are necessary with conventional double-action that really operate as “long-pull” double-actions for only the first shot and “short-pull,” self-cocking single-actions thereafter.

A hand removing the recoil spring from a Glock 17 slide.After the slide is removed from the frame, the recoil spring and its tube are then removed, followed by the barrel.

The sample Glock 17 that we tested had a smooth, constant, medium-length pull of about 6 lbs., but lighter or heavier pulls can be had by substituting the appropriate trigger springs that are available from the importer.

The trigger itself contains the pistol’s only manual “safety.” This is a pivoted lever that protrudes through the face of the trigger and extends through the trigger’s body to emerge again at its top rear where it contacts the frame. When the trigger is depressed by the shooter in normal fashion, the safety lever pivots and its rear portion move up into the trigger body and out of contact with the frame. The trigger is then free to move backward and effect discharge. The Glock 17 Pistol: American Rifleman’s Original Review

The depression of the safety lever requires no effort as its return spring is very weak. The Safe-Action name is derived from it, and the main advantages of the system are simplicity and insurance against firing if the loaded pistol is accidentally dropped. If, as in a combat situation, the decision is made to carry the Glock with the chamber loaded, the soldier need not question whether a conventional thumb safety is “on” or “off.” The pistol will fire when the trigger is pulled, for the safety lever will automatically be pivoted out of engagement with the frame.

Obviously, this is unusual, and Glock’s manual stresses the point that the pistol ordinarily should be carried “empty, with the trigger rearward except when you intend to shoot.” It is impossible to carry or set the pistol so that the trigger remains back when a round is chambered.

The trigger’s safety lever, then, can be said to prevent the trigger from being depressed until purposely depressed by the trigger finger. Its presence and the absence of any other manual safety require that particular attention be paid to familiarization with the Glock 17 by a prospective user, particularly one used to a more conventional pistol.

Aside from the trigger, trigger safety and “half-cock” firing pin systems, the mechanics of the Glock 17 are fairly straightforward.

Takedown is accomplished by first pressing the magazine catch (19) located on the left of the frame behind the trigger; the magazine will drop of its own weight from the beveled magazine well.

The slide is then opened and closed to make sure the chamber is empty. Then the trigger is pulled and will remain in its rearward position; the slide is opened a quarter inch or so, and the locking slide (21) above the trigger is pulled down.

A hand grasping the frame of a Glock 17 pistol, showing its internal parts.Now the steel rails (arrows) are shown together with many other steel parts that account for the locking and the Safe Action firing mechanism.

With the locking slide depressed, the slide unit is slid off the front of the frame. Now the recoil spring and tube (3 & 4) can be removed, followed by the SIG-type barrel (2) with its squared chamber area that forms the massive locking lug. The barrel’s underside has an open cam (also reminiscent of SIG) that engages the steel locking block (22) molded into the polymer receiver.

That completes the field-stripping of the Glock 17 and ·further disassembly, though possible with only a nail, is not recommended by the factory.

The polymer receiver, when stripped of the slide unit, reveals the working trigger/sear parts, the locking block and the slide stop lever (27). All are of steel, as are the four molded-in slide “rails” that measure about 0.4″ in length and are located in pairs at the rear of the receiver and above and forward of the two-hand hold trigger guard. Buy Glock Handguns Online

The broad, flat-topped front sight is 0.17” wide with a white dot insert; the flat-topped rear sight, with an inserted white bracket, has a 0.125”-wide square notch, and the resultant 7”-radius sight picture is excellent. Nevertheless some doubts were voiced by shooters prior to accuracy and function testing.

What was expected was a certain military crudity in handling qualities and heavy recoil from the polymer-framed pistol’s light weight. What was discovered was that the Glock is in fact an unusually pleasant pistol to fire. Buy Glock Handguns Online

The Glock’s firing pin is worthy of mention, as it is rectangular in cross section, with a convex nose. The fired primer takes on the raised rectangular impression of the slot-like firing pin hole in the breech, with a firing pin indent in the center. It looks odd but, we found, works well. Buy Glock Handguns Online

An exploded view of the Glock 17 pistol.

The 17-round steel-lined magazine is loaded with the aid of a plastic loading tool packed with the gun. It is a sleeve that telescopes the magazine. A wedge inside its top presses downward on the magazine follower, allowing easier insertion of ammunition. Its action takes a little familiarization, but once it is mastered, a magazine can be loaded in short order, with no sore fingers. Buy Glock Handguns Online

Firers anticipated that the Glock’s trigger arrangement, requiring half-cocking for every shot, would result in a springy, hard-to-manage pull. This was not the case. While it is hardly a competition trigger, the Glock’s 6-lb. pull is an easy one to master, and has the advantage over conventional double-actions of a consistent pull on all shots. Buy Glock Handguns Online

The pistol’s pointing qualities make it hard to believe that its designer is a man of limited firearms experience. The grip is very well designed, both from the standpoint of recoil absorption and instinctive pointing. Both ham-fisted and diminutive firers found the trigger and slide release easy to reach. Rapid-fire, either one or two-handed, was facilitated by the pistol’s limited muzzle jump. In short, the Glock 17 handles quite as well as any large-capacity 9 mm tested in recent memory. Buy Glock Handguns Online

Over 300 rounds of mixed ammunition have been fired from our sample Glock 17. There were no malfunctions of any kind, and representative accuracy figures are shown in the accompanying table. Buy Glock Handguns Online

That sounds good and it is, but, according to Glock, the Austrian military has repeatedly fired five-hour test sessions of 10,000 rounds each “successfully,” that is to say, without a single misfire or malfunction.

Austrian soldiers are, apparently, a quick-shooting, hardy lot, and the Glock 17 should suit them well. Buy Glock Handguns Online


According to the latest research, the most popular firearm for home defense is the Ruger LCR .38 Special. It is a compact revolver built by Ruger and incorporates several novel features such as a polymer grip and trigger housing, monolithic receiver, and constant force trigger. Buy HOME DEFENSE: RUGER LCR .38 SPECIAL Online

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