When it comes to guns, I’m an equal-opportunity employer. I don’t discriminate: I like big ones and small ones, fat ones and thin ones, long ones and short ones, polymer and steel, shoulder-mounted and handheld. I like guns that employ military cartridges, and I like those that make use of hunting loads; I like modern, and I like classic. I could definitely keep going, but I think you get the idea.
I told you recently about my first handgun purchase, and I have also recently been interviewing firearm instructors for your reading enjoyment. These two things have contributed to me telling you about my affair with the Glock handgun platform. It’s incredible how many of these instructors have a Glock 19 on them at all times.
When I went to the gun store to purchase my first handgun as a 21-year-old man, all roads seemed to be leading to Glock (for my particular defensive purpose, that is). After holding one, I didn’t immediately appreciate its grip angle, so I dismissed it. I wanted to be different, and the initial feeling of awkwardness in hand was my excuse for not giving a Glock the time of day—I didn’t even shoot one. So, I looked for something that would out-Glock Glock. I wanted a polymer-framed gun because I wanted to carry a nearly full-size framed gun, and I thought weight would be a make-or-break factor in whether or not it was conceal carry-friendly. I needed consistent reliability. I wanted the ability to mount a weapons light, so a rail was in order. I gravitated toward the striker-fired action because, at that point, I thought that a hammer was one more thing to snag on something, if my gun ever need be deployed. I was also looking for a good trigger. I wanted to steer away from long smooth trigger pulls like the ones found in my father’s revolvers. (I’ve always had trouble combining speed with accuracy using longer triggers—no matter how smooth.)
A Croatian-made gun distributed in the US under the name HS2000 had been growing in popularity. So much popularity, in fact, that Springfield Armory negotiated licensing rights, changed the name to the XD (for X-treme duty), and began to ramp up their line up of production. This “new” gun seemed to fit my criteria. The grip angle felt more natural in my hand, and I found it more aesthetically pleasing. It wasn’t long before an XD was living with my brand-new wife and me. Now, fast forward four or five years. That XD saw lots of range sessions, a CCW class and permit, and a level-one handgun class.
A Winsome Transition
Some older gentlemen invited me to join them at an IDPA match. I gladly obliged, liked it and returned the next month. It was on this second trip that one of the gentlemen who had invited me approached me at lunch and invited me to run one of the stages that I had just completed, but this time with his Glock 34. I tried to decline, but he was my host. I grudgingly stepped up to the stage, heard the timer sound, and commenced blasting. After I was finished, I couldn’t believe the time difference that I saw on the screen—I had blown my original time out of the water. This threw me for a loop because I had been practicing for years with my gun and hadn’t ever shot his. Still, I was satisfied to remain committed to my lovely XD. Loyalty is a trait that I highly value and strive to practice, but I may mistakenly apply it to inanimate objects from time to time. I continued to practice and compete with my XD until, one day at work, I received a phone call asking me to meet those same gentlemen for lunch. One of them had purchased a brand new G34 for me and the others had contributed a range bag, holster, mag holders, ammo and other accouterments. I tried to tell them that I couldn’t accept such a fine gift, but they simply wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. My scores immediately improved. Now I had a dilemma on my hands; I was now practicing more (and was more competent) with a platform other than what I was using for defensive applications. I took my XD into the store and traded her for a Glock of similar dimensions. Now my grip and trigger were consistent between training and carry.
Why The Improvement?
The question of why the Glock aided improvement (in my case) haunted me for a while. The first two reasons were readily apparent. The Glock had a longer sight radius and was chambered in 9mm rather than .40. So I now had a more precise sight picture and quicker follow up shots without having developed greater skill. However, before I made the switch for my defensive firearm, I shot both a Glock comparably sized to my XD, and a XD comparably sized to my new Glock. I found that my personal performance was enhanced in both cases with the Glock platform, caliber to caliber and size to size. So the question remained, why? I think that for me it came down to three things offered by Glock: first, a lower bore axis, second, a more distinct trigger break, and third, a shorter trigger reset. Before, I wouldn’t have believed that any of these three things would have made a noticeable difference, but after actually shooting a Glock, they did.
My experience has caused me to advocate a few things. No, not one specific type of handgun, rather, that shooters shoot one another’s handguns and continue to explore their options. It’s an advantage to compete and practice with a handgun platform that is concealable or has a concealable option in the manufacture’s lineup that has translatable characteristics. Conversely, I also believe that it is a classic mistake to have a range gun (that you shoot all the time) and a carry gun (that you rarely shoot) with different controls and characteristics. Shoot what you carry and carry what you shoot!
I can now shoot XDs about as well as Glocks, but I still have to focus on my fundamentals a little more to get the results I want.
Truthfully, I’ve never looked back. Yes, I do like a lot of other handguns on the market. Personally, I don’t really like the “Glock Perfection” advertising campaign, but it is interesting to note how many experienced instructors recommend and use the same guns that I’ve come to favor. For me, a couple of Glocks in the stable fill almost all of my carry needs. The words lightweight, safe, accurate, durable, and reliable have proven to be more than marketing in my experience. I’ll tell you about that on another day. Until then, beware Glock-haters; there is a possibility that all roads really do lead to Glock.