Editor’s Notebook: Making a Glock 17 Better?
I’ve not been a long time Glock fan in the grand scheme of things. A lot of the troops and many agencies tumbled before I did. I was presenting nationally at conferences like the now-defunct ASLET (American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers) and IALEFI (International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors) and when I did live fire classes, an increasing number of attendees were there using Glock pistols.
I finally got into the Glock game with a G19. To me, it was the best compromise of form factor, cartridge, reliability and workability. It took nearly three cases of ammo for me to get past that whole “point high” phase, with help from Dave Spaulding and others. Ultimately, our outfit went to the G22. I taught the agency transition course with it and I used it when taking a Gunsite 250 class.
Since then, I’ve taken quite a shine to the line while gaining appreciation for some other platforms. Still, it’s the Glock 17 with the reputation for being the “AK-47” of the pistol world – with considerable justification.
Unlike various iterations of 1911, I’d never seen the Glock pistol as something needing lots of customization. I quickly found out that, while not always necessary, some modifications helped some users. Robbie Barrkman had worked his magic on a Glock 26 I’d used as a backup to the G19 on the job and I was mightily impressed. Based on my experience with Barrkman’s take on the Glock pistol – and the fact he wanted me to try his new individual tailoring option for the Glock – I dug out a Gen. 2 Glock 17 and ordered up some parts.
While I’m a fan of several replacement sight systems for the Glock, I’ve become enamored of the Trijicon HD setup. A wider rear notch, allowing more light on either side of the front sight, plus the added orange paint around the front tritium dot and the robust build of the sight combined to make it my current choice. My eyes are just at the age that the orange stands out. I got these sights from Brownells.
When doing a project with a Gen 4 G19 last year, I was put in touch with GLOCKTRIGGERS.com. The trigger group on that new gun was about the worst I’d handled on any Glock – surprisingly – and the Guardian Duty kit put that gun at the top of its game. I’d also become aware of the number of smart guys using the slide stop and magazine release button designed by Larry Vickers.
The new action parts from the GLOCKTRIGGER.com Guardian (duty) kit – trigger, trigger bar, sear block, FP safety plunger and spring, along with striker spring – were ordered up simply because I didn’t know the pedigree of the original parts on this Gen. 2 and because the smooth face of the GLOCKTRIGGER.com trigger is more appealing to me. I installed those parts here as well as the Vickers magazine release and slide stop. The gun returned from ROBAR looking remarkably like the gun he did for display at trade shows.
The slide was finished in Poly T2, the gunmetal gray color. The gun had received the “Norton Special package” – the metal internals of the slide, the barrel and internal metal parts of the frame were finished in NP3. Poly T2 is the extremely tough, abrasion resistant Teflon based polymer which is self-lubricating and resistant to corrosion. Along with the NP3 – an electroless nickel applied with polytetrafluoroethylene – the gun is nearly impervious to the effects of corrosion. The NP3 makes the gun very slick, assisting in function and making it easy to clean.
Obviously, a Glock at Robar is nothing until they’ve worked on that frame. I like the grip reduction – in this case, the frontstrap reduction – and a medium texture to enhance grip. I had the high grip modification done (relieving under the trigger guard) and the beavertail fabrication – I don’t need it, but users with big hands often do. I found it made the grip very distinctive and positive. No way I can get my hand too high on this frame.
The nice cosmetics – front of the slide serrations made around the “GLOCK” logo, the Robar logo engraved on the slide – came in behind the custom fit modification. He had the TRI-Fit system installed. This modification of the backstrap brings the Glock into the 21st Century. The TRI-Fit system comes with three backstrap units, all fit into the frame in a dovetail slot. The top of each backstrap unit is formed like a hook that goes behind and around the rear frame pin in the Glock frame.
Robar refers to the three supplied backstrap units as “1911 style,” “SIG style,” and “Original.” For loaner guns at ranges and department issued guns, you can make the pistol fit the user. I used the “1911 style,” eliminating that periodic tendency for me to point high. It also seems to handle “quicker” for me, a subjective reaction not backed empirically. Feel is a big deal and this one feels the best of any Glock pistol in the shop. If I was a fan of Robar before, I’m even more a fan now.
The work done by the crew at Robar is superb. It’s a shame I wasn’t up to the effort they made.